Over the weekend on the island of Mallorca for the Toros de Gravel, Canyon was one of the sponsors of the new European gravel gran fondo, teasing pending updates to their popular but divisive Grail gravel bike. The biggest news is that an aluminum version of the Grail is coming soon – without the wild double-decker Hover bar. Plus, both the new alloy Grail and the original carbon frames will be available with 1x SRAM drivetrains too…
Canyon Grail AL affordable aluminum gravel bike
Canyon’s original carbon Grail CF caught a lot of flak – and buzz – with its two-leveled biplane-style Hover bar. Claiming more comfort on the tops for rough tracks and more responsive control descending in the drops, it had some solid ideas on a carbon bike that performed well on its own. But if you weren’t sold on the idea, or just weren’t ready to get locked into one bar & one position option, Canyon looks to have your back in a new, more affordable alloy Grail AL.
Details remain limited on the new alloy Grail AL, but we got our hands on the new bike for a close up look. Plus, the bike rumor has it that the full details should be available later this week. Of course, the big standout feature over the Grail CF is that the Grail AL features a gently sloping toptube with a conventional headtube & headset configuration.
What’s new in the alloy Canyon Grail AL?
That of course means a conventional handlebar and stem (sorry no biplane Hover
board bar is likely coming in alloy), plus more conventional Stack & Reach calculations on the bike. With the new alloy bike comes a new compact alloy handlebar called the Gravel AL HB50. Presumably, it will come in several width options.
2019 Canyon Grail AL – Tech Details
The alloy Grail looks pretty solidly built with massive welds and gussets at the headtube & seat cluster. Seatstays are flattened and get a curve at their ends to offer some comforting flex, working together with the seattube flattened just above the bottom bracket.
The alloy bike also builds in plenty of functionality. The model we got a sneak preview of was sporting a single ring SRAM Rival 1x drivetrain (a departure from the all Shimano 2x setups when the carbon bike debuted), but it retains 2x compatibility with a removable front derailleur hanger.Mounts on the seatstays will support a rear rack, while the bike also offers full fender capability.
Inside the main triangle there are two standard bottle cage mounts and routing for Di2 electronics, plus a third bottle cage mount under the downtube. The bike has plenty of clearance for these 700x40mm Schwalbe G-One Bite tires, and no chainstay bridge to collect mud.
The long chainstays suggest a stable ride like the carbon version claims, although Canyon calls the geometry for this bike ‘Sport’ vs. the ‘Gravel Pro’ of the carbon bike. We suspect the difference is just relative to the conventional vs. Hover bar setup, with ultimate fit likely to be the same for both. Modular internal routing looks to handle most setup options. And the full carbon fork looks to be shared with the carbon bike.
1st annual Toros de Gravel gran fondo Mallorca
The bike was previewed at the first edition of what is likely going to turn into a popular European gravel race on the Spanish island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean. Based at the velodrome in the small town of Sineu in the center of the island known as a road riding destination, the Toros de Gravel event covered some 140km of technical terrain mixing smooth gravel roads, quiet paved back road, and gnarly rock strewn tracks winding along the coast. I took the opportunity to put the original carbon Grail to the test for several taxing days on the island and will publish a detailed review in the coming weeks.
2019 Canyon Grail CF updates
We also got a look at the next season of carbon Grails too. What’s missing from this picture is the front derailleur. Available now, Canyon has added a couple of SRAM Force 1x complete builds of the two levels of carbon bikes – both the Grail CF SLX & SL. Both also include an adjustable direct, high-mount chain retention device that may make it onto the 1x alloy bikes as well. The bike (& Hover bar) itself look to be otherwise unchanged.
We’ll update when we know more concrete details on the new alloy bikes.