On May 10, Canyon announced its second gravel bike, the Grizl. The bike is designed for technical terrain, with a customizable setup for “underbiking fun”, week-long trips or big days in the saddle.
Canyon is known for focusing on performance and, while performance was still a factor, going into the development of this bike the designers quickly realized that in gravel, the riding experience itself was the most important component.
To emphasize the brand’s commitment to the fun, unexpected, experience-based side of gravel cycling, the bike has been teased with a fun advertising campaign featuring the “Grizl”: an Inner grizzly gravel soigneur who will give riders the kick and motivation they need to get out the door and on to the bike.
Grail and Grizl
Canyon says that gravel falls on a spectrum: From all-road type terrain, to light gravel, to rough gravel and finally singletrack. The brand’s other gravel bike, the Grail (known for its recognizable Double Decker handlebars) fits closer to the road bike side of the spectrum, toeing the balance between dirt and pavement and prioritizing efficiency.
The Grizl, on the other hand, falls on the rougher gravel and single track side of things. The new Grizl bike family is designed for more technical terrain, but also features mounts for bikepacking fun. Double handlebar haters will be pleased to hear that it has one single standard, flared, aluminum handlebar.
Specific (wheel) sizing
Although Canyon calls the Grizl a Swiss Army Knife bike, there is one aspect that riders won’t be able to swap: wheel size.
The brand says that larger wheels are faster and roll better: “we’ve always been firm believers that if you create a bike to run both 700C tires and wider 650B setups, then you’ve probably cut a corner somewhere when it comes to geometry.”
Most of the seven sizes of the Grizl are designed around 700c tires. The exception is frame sizes 2XS and XS, whose riders would benefit from fit and handling proportional to their body size with a 650B setup according to the designers.
Though the bikes come stock with 45mm tires, the Grizl will accommodate 50mm tires mounted on the 700C rims.
The Grizl’s geometry is similar to the Grail’s—the bikes have the same stack and reach. The bike’s riding position is somewhere between Canyon’s endurance road bikes and its more aggressive road bikes such as the Ultimate.
It features an extended wheelbase for added stability which, in conjunction with a dropped driveside chainstay construction, increases the bike’s tire clearance without disrupting the chainrings. The Grizl comes in 1X and 2X options which both allow for up to 50mm tire clearance.
The painted Grizl CF SLX frame with small parts included weighs 950g. In its full build, which includes the fork and the aluminum bar and stem combo, the bike weighs just above 8.5kg.
The frame and fork have a carefully curated set of mounting rivets. The fork has three mounting points for cages, small packs or extra water bottles, and can accommodate up to 3kg on each side.
The frame has top tube mounts, a third bottle cage mount and fender mounts (fenders will fit with up to 45 mm tires.) In a very Canyon touch, the technical specs and recommended torque settings for the mounts are subtly printed on the frame itself because, “bolts can go AWOL at the worst possible moments.”
In collaboration with Apidura, Canyon also designed a set of packs specifically for the Grizl. The 5L saddle pack, 2.4L or 4L frame pack and 1L bolt-on top tube pack were developed for a variety of riding styles.
The Grizl features Canyon’s integrated seatpost clamp paired with a compliant 27.2 mm carbon VCLS seatpost to provide comfort on rough terrain. The seatpost can be swapped out for a dropper post using internal routing through the down tube.
The bike’s 160 mm disc rotors, which are standard on most sizes, can also be swapped for 180 mm rotors when needed.
The Grizl’s colourways, wildberry splatter, olive sky, earl grey, matcha splash and kale smash, are really fun and eye-catching. I smiled when I first saw the bike, and smiled even more when I first started pedaling on it.
I took the Grizl CF SL 8 out for a short initial ride and felt consistently confident and stable riding it on a variety of surfaces. It’s a really fun bike to play around on.
This matcha splash coloured bike is spec’d with Shimano GRX 800, running 48/31 chainrings and a 11-34 cassette. The DT Swiss G 1800 wheels come wrapped in Schwalbe G-One Bite 45mm tires. From my initial impressions, the bike strikes a great balance between being surprisingly fast and nimble yet it also maintains the stability of a hardtail on rougher terrain. It’s also pretty fairly priced, at $3,899.
Canyon semi-jokingly says that the Grizl is a bike “with principles”, but I think the casual aside genuinely rings true. The brand confidently says that riders don’t need the option to switch to 650b, as 700c is better (for most riders.) Canyon was also consciously conservative with putting mounts on the bike, but the mounts that it added are all thoroughly explained and independently important. The little mount notations on the frame (thread, torque, bolt length, max load) feel like they are expecting you to encounter the unexpected, but they’ve got your back when you do.
Despite a few strongly held opinions, the Grizl still has numerous customization options and use cases. I think the designers did a great job in capturing the essence of the casual and malleable gravel experience, while still laying down a few boundaries to maximize the fun.
Stay tuned for the full Canyon Grizl review.
The Canyon Grizl is available at Canyon.com/en-ca/ in size 2XS-2XL and ranges from $ 2,849-$ 6,299.