The new Canyon Grizl – First ride

Canyon goes grizzly

Canyon has today unveiled its newest gravel bike, the Grizl, which promises to be a more adventurous bikepacking orientated evolution of Grail. We were lucky enough to receive a review sample months ahead of the launch, and so with a mixture of excitement and curiosity, we went to the trails in the Guadarrama area in the north of Madrid to experience the new bike in the wild.

Born as an evolution of the Grail model, the new Grizl represents a slight turning point in the roster of the Koblenz-based manufacturer – historically a highly performance-orientated brand.

With a clearly more adventurous and all-terrain soul, Canyon's latest creation taps into the gravel trend for a 650B version of the frame. Though, importantly, Canyon has steered away from what it calls the ‘flip-flop’ approach of other brands that offer a switch between two wheel sizes to change tyre clearance. Instead, Canyon specs 650B wheels for its smaller frame sizes, and sticks rigidly to 700C wheel size for its larger models. Nevertheless, the Grizl can still easily accommodate 50mm tyres.

We rode the CF SL8 with Shimano GRX 800, and found the bike was able to handle almost any terrain we could access. That made it a great partner for improvised adventures, but also managed to evoke a sense of road riding character when on the tarmac. But we’ll get onto more of that later.

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Tyre clearance and geometry

One of the new features of the Grizl is a more generous tyre clearance at the front and rear, allowing up to 50mm tyres to be fitted (even on a 700C wheel), which makes for considerable versatility – offering us confidence even on moderate mtb trails.

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As standard, it comes equipped with Schwalbe G-One 45mm tyres, a true gravel bestseller, and at that width the Grizl can also fit mudguards. Although the Grizl retains much of the geometry of the Grail (curious double handlebars excluded), the wheelbase is longer than the brand's cyclo-cross or endurance models, which offered a little more stability while riding. That seemed to nicely balance the Grizl’s wide, low drop road handlebars and a shorter stem (a tight 80mm for a size medium), which might otherwise create a slight twitchiness to the handling.

Photo: © Roo Fowler 

The geometry is surprisingly consistent across the sizes. That is largely because the Grizl engineers have veered away from the two-wheel size model of some competitors, and have opted instead for each size to work natively with the appropriate wheel size: sizes 2XS and XS mount 650 wheels, and the rest, 700s.

Photo: © Roo Fowler 

The CF SL carbon frame is surprisingly light (950 grams in size M) considering its ‘tough Swiss Army Knife functionality’, as Canyon describes it. That made for easier days in the saddle, as did an overall comfortable geometry – in terms of fit and seat tube/head tube angles.

It comes ready to mount a dropper seat post, but we would be reluctant to switch that in, as one of the highlights of this new Grizl is that it comes with a VCLS Seatpost as standard – made up of two vertical carbon pieces that flex with road imperfections. We loved it.

Photo: © Roo Fowler 

When it comes to the brakes, the Grizl has a 160mm disc on the front wheel and 140mm on the rear – which some may find bold, but Canyon is clearly confident that 140mm can offer enough braking force at the back. The DT Swiss wheels come with traditional twist lever thru-axles, which may not be as svelte as Allen keys but certainly preferable when it comes to quick wheel removal and ease of use.

More adventure

While we may not have been expecting a new gravel bike in Canyon’s range, given the success of the Grail, now we’ve seen the Grizl, it not only fits a slot in Canyon’s gravel range, but really gives a little more fun and adventure to the brand’s entire portfolio – we couldn’t help admiring how much fun Canyon had with the Grizl’s launch video.

We found the bike to match all the rough conditions we could throw at it on the trails of Guadarrama. It also reminded us of the simple and balanced ride quality of the Endurace. However, it was really the bikepacking inclinations of the Grizl that suited our trip perfectly. It is ready to mount fork and top tube bags and we made full use of all three bottle cages mounts. Canyon even has a collaboration with Apidura to market its own line of bikepacking bags.

The general shift to gravel and cycling adventures has changed the cycling market considerably, and we’re happy to see that Canyon is keeping itself sharply at the forefront.

Seven versions of the Grizl will be available, six equipped with Shimano GRX and one model specced with the new Campagnolo Ekar. See the full range here.

Prices range from € 1,999 to € 4,599.

Many thanks to Hotel&Spa CicloLodge El Nevero who welcomed us to their facilities in Lozoya, in the heart of the Sierra de Guadarrama, to test the new Grizl.

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