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The Takeaway: An excellent all-purpose gravel bike with signature Canyon value.
New adventure-oriented gravel platform from Canyon
Uses a standard handlebar
More tire clearance than the Grail
Two carbon frame platforms: SLX (lighter) and SL (cheaper)
Six models in the USA priced $2,199 to $4,899
Weight: (Grizl CF SL 8, size small)
Price: $2,999 (Grizl CF SL 8)
The latter you probably know from its signature biplane handlebar. But as you can probably see from the images, the Grizl uses a standard handlebar. And while this is the most apparent visual difference between the Grail and the Grizl, it is not the only difference.
—Five Cool Details—
Though the bikes have similar fit and handling geometry, the Grizl has more tire clearance (50mm max versus 42mm for the Grail) and more cargo mounts. That positions the Grizl as more of an experience-oriented bike while Canyon pegs the Grail as a fast, performance-oriented gravel bike.
Carbon framed Grizl models drop down lower than Grail models with an opening price of $2,199 versus $2,699 for the Grail. Note that currently, there are aluminum framed Grail models while there is only a carbon-framed Grizl —this will change when the Grizl aluminum models land later this year.
You can buy the Grizl at Canyon.com starting today.
Canyon Grizl – Ride Impressions
I spent my time on the Grizl doing what I love to do on gravel bikes: A bit of everything. Some singletrack mountain bike trails, a lot of dirt roads, and some pavement to get to, or link, those singletracks and dirt roads.
For dirt and singletrack, the Grizl’s handling is excellent. With its lengthier wheelbase, short stem, and wide bar, the Grizl is planted with almost mountain-bike-like handling. On steeper downhills and over looser dirt, it’s predictable and confidence-inspiring.
—Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 Build Details—
Shift/Brake Levers: Shimano GRX 810
Front Derailleur: Shimano GRX 810
Rear Derailleur: Shimano GRX 810
Crank: Shimano GRX 810 31/48
Cassette: Shimano HG800 11-speed, 11-34
Brake Calipers: Shimano GRX 810 hydraulic
Brake Rotors: Front-160mm, Rear-160mm
Wheels: DT Swiss G 1800 Spline DB 25, 25mm inner width
Tires: Maxxis Rambler SilkShield, 45mm
Handlebar: Canyon Ergo AL HB0050
Stem: Canyon Stem V13
Seatpost: Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0
Saddle: WTB Volt
On curving dirt roads and trails, the Grizl carves intuitively and shrugs off the attempts of most bumps and softer/looser dirt patches to unsettle it from its line. At least some credit goes to the Maxxis Rambler tires, which rolled fast and smoothly but offered excellent cornering traction and predictable breakaway. At least they did on the dirt around me in Durango, Colorado—you may get different results on your dirt.
On the pavement, the Grizl’s big and low-pressure tires can make it feel a bit sluggish, and the handling can get a bit weird when the casings flex and fold as they load up in high traction cornering situations. But if you’re spending most of your time on the pavement with the stock tires, you’re doing it wrong. The Ramblers roll well enough that interlinking gravel sectors with pavement liaisons aren’t torturous, and once you’re on dirt, the tires are fantastic. But if you want better performance on pavement, you’ll want to wrap the Grizl’s wheels in a narrower, smoother, higher pressure tire.
Ride comfort is good. Better than average, but it’s not an exceptionally plush gravel bike. The 45mm Maxxis Rambler tires do most of the work (I ran them in the high 20 psi range), but the rear of the bike, when seated, gets additional help from Canyon’s effective VLCS leaf spring post.
The Grizl is fairly firm upfront—notably firmer than the Grail as the Grizl doesn’t get the leaf-spring tops of the Grail’s handlebar. But while firm-ish upfront, it is in line with other high-performance, rigid gravel bikes I’ve ridden.
Overall, it damps impacts reasonably well, but the Grizel’s frame has the directness and firmness often found in high-performance carbon frames. While that may be a drawback on the roughest surfaces, it’s a benefit on smoother surfaces as it helps give the Grizl a relatively lively and efficient feel even with the stock 45mm tires.
The build on my Grizl test bike—the CF SL 8—was mainly excellent. I have a few personal quibbles with some touchpoints—I think the WTB saddle too squishy, and the Canyon bars don’t have enough flair. But the Shimano GRX mechanical drivetrain was superb, as always, the DT-Swiss wheels were reliable, as always, and the Maxxis tires just worked, as usual.
As far as where this bike fits, I see the Grizl is not a fast on/off-road drop-bar bike in the vein of the Cervelo Aspero or 3T Exploro Racemax, nor is it a full-on expedition bike like the Salsa Cutthroat or Open WI.DE. It is a lighter-weight adventure/exploration bike like a Salsa Warbird or the current Specialized Diverge: a bike that can link together many surfaces and make some shorter/faster bikepacking/touring trips.
Canyon Grizl Frames
Compared to the insanity that is the Grail, the Grizl is much more straightforward. The Grizl is essentially a gravel-ized version of Canyon’s Ultimate road frame. But while the Canyon claims some moderate aerodynamic benefits to the Ultimate’s shapes, they’re not making any such claims about the Grizel’s tubes.
Unlike the Grail, the Grizl takes a standard bar and stem, which gives the rider much more options for adjustments, fitting, and upgrades. However, there’s still one potential hiccough. The Grizl employs Canyon’s 1.25-inch upper fork steerer diameter, which means the stem also needs a 1.25-inch clamp instead of a standard 1.125-inch clamp. While there are several stem options for Canyon’s larger steerer size—Zipp, Ritchey, PRO, and Canyon—it does prevent the rider from using a Redshift or Kinekt suspension stem and makes installing a gravel suspension fork more difficult.
At launch, there are carbon Grizl frames—aluminum models are coming later in 2021. The top-of-the-line SLX frame comes in at a claimed 950 grams, while the less expensive SL model weighs 75 to 100g more depending on frame size.
Besides weight, there is one notable difference between the SL and SLX frames. The SL frame has a third water bottle/cargo mount under the downtube, while the SLX does not. That’s because the SLX frame has a mount for Canyon’s internal Shimano Di2 battery holder in the same general area.
That aside, the two Grizl frames are identical and relatively straightforward. The fork has dual three-pack mounts for water or cargo cages, there’s a spot for direct mounting a top tube bag, and it also has fender mounts.
The Grizl runs a round 27.2mm post with Canyon’s lowered clamp to increase the post’s bending length to improve compliance, and you’ll find a press-fit 92 bottom bracket. Hoses and housing run internally with provisions for a dropper post.
Like many gravel bikes, the Grizl gets a dropped drive-side chainstay to improve tire and chainring clearance. Stated tire clearance is 50mm, but that’s with 6mm space all around for debris which means riders can shoehorn in something bigger than 50 if they’re willing to gamble. Canyon states the Grizl is designed around one wheel size only. For most frame sizes, that’s 700c, but the XS and S frames are built around 650b wheels.
While the Grizl takes flat-mount calipers, it’s a modified standard for a minimum 160mm rotor, with the option to step up to 180mm rotors. The latter size provides for more stopping power if you’re riding with a lot of cargo. Because of the modified standard, on the Grizl, the front caliper adapter reads 140mm to fit a 160mm rotor and 160mm to fit a 180mm rotor.
Maximum system weight—bike, rider, cargo—is 120Kg/265lb.
Canyon Grizl Apidura Bags
There’s no reason you can’t use pretty much any gravel bag on the Grizl—including bar bags which could be problematic to fit on a Grail. But if you like brand synergy, you might want to check out the Canyon X Apidura bag collection developed for the Grizl. The bags use welded construction and are waterproof, with internal tabs to keep the contents from bouncing around.
The four bags on offer are:
Saddle Pack 5L $199
Frame Pack 2.3L (2XS to L frames) $139
Frame Pack 4.5L (XL and XXL frames) $149
Bolt-On Top Tube Pack $79
Canyon will eventually sell the bags on its website.
Canyon Grizl Geometry
The Grizl’s fit and handling geometry are almost identical to the Grail. Canyon took a page from the mountain bike playbook for both of its gravel bikes and stretched the frame’s reach and wheelbase. This, says Canyon, improves the Grizl’s stability.
And to offset the potential drawbacks of a longer bike, Canyon’s team tweaked the cockpit, “To keep the steering responsive, we offset [a longer wheelbase] with 20 mm shorter stems than on our road models, while 20 mm wider bars increase leverage for steering input, and ensure more balance when things get bumpy.”
Those bars are Canyon branded with a moderate drop flare (about 45mm wider at the drops than the hoods). They’re not as aggressively flared as many gravel bars like the popular Easton AX, which is 68mm wider at the drops than hoods. Whether that’s bad or good depends on your preferences—I prefer a more aggressively flared bar on my gravel bikes.
While stacks are taller than a road racing bike, Canyon doesn’t go sky high with the Grizl’s stack, allowing riders to get fairly low for a gravel bike. Canyon ships the bike with 27.5mm of headset spacers for riders who prefer to be more upright, and the stem can be upturned as well.
The Grizl comes in seven sizes: double extra-small (2XS) to double extra-large (2XL). As is somewhat standard practice for Canyon, the two smallest sizes run 650b wheels, while larger frames run 700c wheels. There is one Grizl women’s model; however, it runs the same geometry as the other Grizl frames with only touchpoint differentiation.
See below for the whole geometry breakdown.
Canyon Grizl Models and Builds Details
Six Grizl models come into the USA. All models get Shimano GRX drivetrains—five get 2x systems, and one is a 1x build with a dropper post. All models use DT-Swiss wheelsets with tubeless-ready aluminum rims wrapped in 45mm Maxxis Rambler tubeless-ready tires.
We get one model with the lighter SLX frame in the USA: The SLX 8 Di2 ($4,899). This is also the only model with electronic shifting. All the other models use the heavier SL frame and mechanical shifting.
Other markets get different model lineups. Unfortunately, the Grizl with Campagnolo’s excellent Ekar group is, currently, one of the models that does not make it to the USA.
Full build details below.
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