UKH

Any Canyon Grail Users? Time to Plunge into the World of Gravel!

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 crayefish 19 Jun 2021

So, while I have been recovering from a broken wrist and ribs (big crash on my mtb), I've been playing it safe and fitted some gravel tyres to my XC bike and been hitting the local forest trails and tarmac.  Its been really good fun and I think I want to take the plunge into the world of gravel biking and bike-packing, which aligns with my other interests too.

I've fallen in love with the Canyon Grail... those 'biplane' bars are just so cool, only lacking the Lewis machine gun to clear the road ahead.  Looking to get a Grail CF 8.0 SL when they become available again; great spec for the money of course, being Canyon.

Anyone here have any experience of what they're like to own, specifically on the sizing (I'm unhelpfully on the border of L and XL), suitability for bike-packing and general long distance comfort & fun factor?  I'll be mostly using for tarmac and light off-road... for more demanding single track I've got my XC bike.

Thanks in advance.

 neuromancer 19 Jun 2021
In reply to crayefish:

Haven't they stopped the grail for the grzl?

Canyon size up large. Look at reach to compare to bikes you own.

 crayefish 19 Jun 2021
In reply to neuromancer:

No, both in parallel; the Grizl being off road focused, having room for bigger tyres and more mounts for bike packing (which its a shame the grail misses), and the Grail being more road/speed focused.

Thanks.  Unfortunately, I only own an XC bike (which is actually a touch too small), so nothing really to compare.

 neuromancer 19 Jun 2021
In reply to crayefish:

You mean they still have loads of old grails left unsold because of the double bar design and they need to keep flogging them!

In the absence of any other knowledge, go for the smaller of two sizes.

The balance of speed to grip is about your tyres really; the geometry between the two will be remarkably similar.

I have an inflite that I use for the purposes you describe. It's lighter than both, though tops out at 40c. I am 5'11 and ride a small. 

In reply to crayefish:

Personally speaking, before buying any bike of significant cost I'd pay someone with a Retul rig to get me my stack and reach. Geometries vary *so* much that looking at manufacturer sizes or seat tube length sizes is not hugely helpful, but that's me.

2
 Marek 19 Jun 2021
In reply to Alkis:

> Personally speaking, before buying any bike of significant cost I'd pay someone with a Retul rig to get me my stack and reach. Geometries vary *so* much that looking at manufacturer sizes or seat tube length sizes is not hugely helpful, but that's me.

Hmm, I'm skeptical. My preferred stack-n-reach is quite different on every bike I've got (fast road, gravel, hardtail, FS...). I don't believe that there's any such thing as a generic 'correct' fit - you have to work out what works for you given the sort of riding you do (on each bike), whether you're more likely to be racing or enjoying a day out (how important is being 'aero'?), the terrain you're likely to be on (flat and fast or steep and technical?) and so on. It's particularly hard to do for a gravel bike because it's so much of a jack-of-all-trades. I think you just have to go for something 'about right' and then adjust as you gain experience and your body adapts to a new riding position (particularly for someone coming from an XC rather than RR background). 

In reply to Marek:

That is true, although I basically approached this the other way around, as in I knew what position I wanted to be in (more aggressive than most gravel bikes but more relaxed than an outright racing position) and the fitter provided me with value ranges that can give me that position. Unsurprisingly, most  bikes that fitted that geometry are endurance road bikes. COVID and this damn bike shortage is a right mess because trying bikes is difficult right now.

 crayefish 19 Jun 2021
In reply to Marek:

Trouble with the Grail is the lack of stem adjustment.  I'm basically left with saddle movement, which is probably 50mm with the split seatpost and saddle play, enough to get my reach/position right but at the risk of then not being balanced on the bike properly.

I could of course order both the L and XL, and then send one back for a full refund!  The question would be, could I even tell what's 'right' just by sitting on it in my living room (and not actually riding outside for a few hours/days).  First World problems...

I dont think its the end of the world, as my XC bike being too small hasn't held me back (aside from making it a bit tail happy in the corners), but getting the right fit is of course better if you can!

 Marek 19 Jun 2021
In reply to crayefish:

> Trouble with the Grail is the lack of stem adjustment.  I'm basically left with saddle movement,...

Yes, that's always a challenge - to some extent - with Canyon bikes! I'm wary of relying on saddle movement to compensate for lack of stem variation, though. Your saddle position should be optimised for pedalling dynamics (much more important on a road bike then an MTB 'cos you tend to spend far more time in exactly the same position).

> I dont think its the end of the world, as my XC bike being too small hasn't held me back (aside from making it a bit tail happy in the corners), but getting the right fit is of course better if you can!

It really helps if you are fairly tolerant in terms of fit. One thing I would add with respect to a gravel bike fit is that unlike a road bike you really need to be able to shift your weight around much more when you get onto steep and technical terrain, particularly be able to get your arse off the back of the saddle. Gravel bikes are very traction limited compared to an MTB and weight distribution can get quite critical. If you set up your gravel bike like a road bike (long and low, efficient for flat terrain) it gets to be very hard to shift your weight backward and maintain any useful braking ability when you hit the loose stony drops. Certainly gave me a few 'moments' before I figured how to tweek my gravel bike setup (about 4cm less reach - to the hoods - and 2cm more stack than my normal road bike setup).

Of course, one option is to add a dropper post, but in my book that's crossing the line into drop-bar-MTB territory.

Post edited at 20:38
 neuromancer 19 Jun 2021
In reply to crayefish:

Bikes are adjustable, but the body is adaptable. 

Most fits work for most people. Pick your priority. 

 jethro kiernan 20 Jun 2021

> Of course, one option is to add a dropper post, but in my book that's crossing the line into drop-bar-MTB territory.

Looking at getting a gravel bike, mainly for exploring and bike packing but also my usual roads (yr Eryri, Snowdonia) are turning gridlocked and the risk at certain times is a little high.

plenty of fire tracks, bridle ways mixed with some road that  helps avoid this, I would consider a gravel specific dropper post though as moving from valley to valley off-road can involve some quite steep sections 😏🚴

just trying to find a frame in these times is hard and components are like hens teeth if you want to self build 🍺

 crayefish 21 Jun 2021
In reply to Marek:

> Yes, that's always a challenge - to some extent - with Canyon bikes! I'm wary of relying on saddle movement to compensate for lack of stem variation, though. Your saddle position should be optimised for pedalling dynamics (much more important on a road bike then an MTB 'cos you tend to spend far more time in exactly the same position).

Yeah, you're right.  Its not ideal, but its al least something.  I'm probably 10mm back from an ideal position on my XC but I've found it no issue (ignorance?).  And I'm 98% seated on the trails here.

> It really helps if you are fairly tolerant in terms of fit. One thing I would add with respect to a gravel bike fit is that unlike a road bike you really need to be able to shift your weight around much more when you get onto steep and technical terrain, particularly be able to get your arse off the back of the saddle. Gravel bikes are very traction limited compared to an MTB and weight distribution can get quite critical. If you set up your gravel bike like a road bike (long and low, efficient for flat terrain) it gets to be very hard to shift your weight backward and maintain any useful braking ability when you hit the loose stony drops. Certainly gave me a few 'moments' before I figured how to tweek my gravel bike setup (about 4cm less reach - to the hoods - and 2cm more stack than my normal road bike setup).

To be honest I don't envisage much technical terrain that would require me to get off the back of the bike.  In flatland I rarely even need to on my XC bike even.  Though if I go abroad things will actually involve hills, which changs that, but again, if I'm going abroad on a gravel bike, it will be likely loaded up with luggage and not on more challenging trails.  However, as things don't always work out the way one wants, anything serious that crops up can have the seat dropped manually if required.

> Of course, one option is to add a dropper post, but in my book that's crossing the line into drop-bar-MTB territory.

Definitely no plans for a dropper, not for what I want to do.

I'm looking at getting a bike fit now, as hopefully will clear up the fit side.

No Grail specific experiences though from anyone?


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