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Is This a Prototype Canyon Grail CFR? New Carbon Canyon Gravel Race Bike Spy Shots

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, riding
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Canyon has a new carbon gravel race bike in the works, we’d heard the rumors, we’d seen some teasers, but now we have a detailed up-close look at what could be the next evolution of their popular but divisive Grail gravel bike. Official details are still effectively nonexistent, but I spotted a whole handful of various next-gen Canyon CFR gravel bikes warming up for this weekend’s FNLD GRVL event in Finland this weekend, and even rode next to one for quite some time. It’s a very finished bike, that I’d imagine isn’t too far off from real-world availability, if only passed on the sheer number of Canyon-sponsored riders spied riding the camouflaged prototypes here in Lahti.

Canyon Grail CFR prototype gravel race bike

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, pro bike
all photos by Cory Benson, c. Bikerumor.com

Just to be clear, I don’t actually know the name of this new carbon Canyon gravel bike, and when I asked Canyon for more info, they told me I would have to wait to find out any details beyond what I happened to see out on the Finnish gravel roads or spotted around the event venue. I suspect I will know more soon, but for now this will truly all be a lot of assumptions.

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, angled

But with Tiffany Cromwell’s race bike leaned up outside of the Canyon pit area while she was giving interviews to the racing press, a couple more pro prototypes spotted leaning against the legs of various other riders, and riding around a version that appears to belong to one of Canyon’s product development team… I can glean a lot of fun details.

For lack of a better name, I’m going to call it a Grail CFR – based on the fact that Grail is Canyon’s gravel race bike, and CFR because that’s their top-tier race-ready carbon layups, and also because CFR is printed on the toptube.

What’s New? Tech details

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, complete

First thing of note to cyclists who know the Grail is that this new Canyon CFR gravel prototype does NOT have the wild double-decker Hover bar. But it still has an interesting integrated cockpit solution, just a more conventional one. Also, the fork looks much deeper (more aero?) and bulkier much like the Grizl‘s fork without extra mounts. But there’s also some wild boxy up top, truncated airfoil down low downtube shaping hidden under some effective camo graphics.

A glove box in the downtube?

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, angled rear

There’s also a D-shaped semi-aero seatpost that looks borrowed from Canyon road bikes like the new Ultimate. And a direct mount mini chain guide that appears to also mean this is 2x compatible since there is a little routing port for the Di2 wire of your electronic front derailleur.

And what’s that?

A door in the top of the downtube big enough to stuff a spare tube, mini-tools, and other gravel roadside repair essentials inside so you don’t need a saddle bag or to fill up your jersey & bib shorts cargo pockets.

A new integrated 1-piece gravel cockpit?

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, integrated cockpit

There’s also a modern one-piece carbon integrated bar+stem cockpit, and internal cable routing through the upper headset cover.

The bar on Cromwell’s bike looks especially well-suited to gravel racing, with a gently curving backswept top and a medium level of flare to the drops.

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, bar detail

As for that cable routing, it is not completely internal through the bar, instead tucking under the virtual stem and entering a very large upper headset cover. It’s big enough that I can’t quite tell if it directs the cables inside of or outside of the upper headset bearing. I’ve got my fingers crossed for outside for the easier maintenance potential. The cockpit also has a molded-in recess to attach a new style of out-front GPS mount. Cromwell’s bike was sporting a 3D-printed mount for her cycling computer, but the product development guy’s bike looked to have a more finished solution that fit his device.

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, internal frame storage

And even though there are not anything cage mounts on the fork, there are still tons of attachment points to play with. Start with direct toptube bag mounts, then Cromwell’s smaller bike gets a frame bag (?) mount above the snap-in glove box door, plus 2 standard sets of bottle cage mounts inside the main triangle, and a cage mount under the downtube.

The bikes also feature bosses under the seatstays where in the past Canyon has bolted on a removable stay to support full coverage fenders. And the back of the fork crown has two side-by-side mounts suggesting a more moto-style self-supporting front fender.

Aero bikepacking bags for gravel racing?

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, development bike pre-ride

Another one of the slickest details is this super integrated partial frame bag from the R& D team bike, with a very-aero snug fit against the boxier shaping at the front of the main triangle. It looks a lot like the Aero Pack System that Apidura developed with Ridley last summer for their optimized Kanzo Fast gravel racing setup.

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, alternative storage

Canyon worked with Apidura for a customized set of Racing Series bikepacking bags to fit the Grizl two years back, so this looks like a next evolution of that project – literally down to the same orange and black zipper pulls.

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, frame bag

On this larger-sized frame there is space under the aerodynamic partial frame bag for the glove box door to peek out, but it’s not clear if you could easily access both at the same time.

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, bike build raw frame

I also happened to get the lucky chance to spot a less-painted version of the new Canyon Grail CFR gravel prototype stripped down as the team mechanics were building up a new bike for one of their athletes racing a Shimano Di2 2x drivetrain.

That gives a bit more of a raw look at the opening for the glove box port in the down tube, and a clearer view of the transition from boxy to aero downtube shaping, without camo tape hiding it. It also shows the removable front derailleur braze-on tab vs. the filler plate or chain guide solution on the other bikes.

Canyon Grail CFR gravel timeline and expected availability?

Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, riding non-driveside

Here’s some more speculation, and something I am less sure of…

Depending on which bike you look at, a lot about these Canyon CFR gravel prototypes look very well finished and close to production-ready. The pro bikes with shape-obscuring graphics look so close to finished, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see this new bike launch in the next month or two. That aero racing bag looks pretty dial-in as well.


Canyon CFR prototype gravel race bike at FNLD GRVL, riding

The fact that Cromwell is racing with a 3D-printed GPS mount suggests that part may still be in development. And I doubt Canyon will release a bike that you can’t confidently attach any major cycling computer to it with a proper mount. And the general finish on the frame, and specifically the little glove box door of this development team member’s bike suggest some more refinements remain.

I’d guess ‘end of summer’ for a launch, and since Canyon tend to launch once the bike is actually available, you likely could be racing around your local gravel roads in autumn 2023.

Stay tuned, a new Canyon CFR gravel bike is coming soon!


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11 months ago

Another clever design from Canyon, but I question the move to a non-standard D-shaped seat post. So many great posts out there from Ergon to the elastomer models that now won’t work.

They also use a hidden cable system that hopefully allows users to switch to a standard bar and stem. You can see from the unfinished frame on the stand that the cables are hanging from the headset just waiting for bars to be attached. With all the interesting gravel bars out there now there will be many buyers committed to their favorites.

11 months ago
Reply to  mud

Ergon & Canyon are already working together (siblings right?). Why not develop a new version of the S14 seatpost that is a D profile?

The move to D profile makes sense if you want to standardize your parts internally to the Canyon Brand.

Agreed on the whole, let’s hope for options that are compatible with existing market offering.

I just raced Unbound on the inflite, I am a big Canyon fan and will definitely be considering this bike. This addresses a lot of the needs I have.

Staffan Jerkeman
Staffan Jerkeman
11 months ago
Reply to  Inflite

Maybe you can fit a round seatpost with an adapter like BMC’s that allows you to fit a 27.2 mm round seatpost

11 months ago

that frame bag is real nice

11 months ago

I love my Grail, but one day I woke up, looked at that bar and love was over, I had to sell the bike.

11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Love my Grizl. I would have paid more for my Grizl than the Grail’s were selling for to avoid that bar

11 months ago

smart move to ditch that divisive Hover bar, it was the main thing that prevented me from buying a Canyon gravel bike.

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