Canyon Grail CF SL 7 eTap review

Fast, balanced and versatile on almost any terrain, is the Canyon Grail the most complete gravel bike on the market?

Canyon Grail CF SL 7 eTap
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Cyclingnews Verdict

As good in a straight line as it is when the road gets rough and twisty - the Canyon Grail CF SL 7 eTap is one of the most complete gravel bikes on the market


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    Super fast on all terrain

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    Exceptional ride quality

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    Well-balanced handling manners

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    Unique handlebar assembly works

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    Relatively lightweight

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    Well priced thanks to the direct-sell model


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    Colourway not the most inspiring

You can trust Cyclingnews Our experts spend countless hours testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Gravel riding has exploded on a global scale and more and more entrants are populating the best gravel bike line-up, making it harder to formulate a decision on which bike to buy. Of all the manufacturers however, Canyon was one of the early adopters of the concept, not only when it came to creating a gravel-specific bike with the Canyon Grail, but also developing unique components to help make the off-road experience faster and more comfortable. 

The all-carbon CF SL nameplate is sandwiched between the range-topping CF SLX and entry-level Grail AL monikers, and represents the brand's second-tier option. It combines electronic shifting with proven geometry and ride comfort, but how adept is it when the trail gets gnarly? 

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Testing scorecard and notes
Design and aesthetics Design-wise the Grail looks superb, and cuts a unique and vivid profile. Our test bike however, looks a little bland and could have done with a bolder, catchier paint scheme7/10
Components SRAM's third-tier electronic groupset - Rival eTap AXS - powers the Grail. It's reliable, offering instant shifting, powerful braking and a stellar mix of gears9/10
Performance, handling and geometryA versatile, razor-sharp dirt destroyer - the Grail combines road-bike-like speed with hardtail mountain bike traction - the result is a fast and precise gravel bike10/10
WeightWeighing 8.79kg, the Grail CF SL 7 eTap is lighter than some aero road bikes. This means it's fast up the climbs and even sprightlier through serpentine terrain10/10
Value for moneyAt £3,349 / $3,199 / €3,599, there aren’t many options as well appointed for the same money. It’s easily one of the best gravel bikes on the market 9/10
Overall ratingRow 5 - Cell 1 90%

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Aaron Borrill

Aaron was the Tech Editor Cyclingnews between July 2019 and June 2022. He was born and raised in South Africa, where he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. Throughout this career, Aaron has spent almost two decades writing about bikes, cars, and anything else with wheels. Prior to joining the Cyclingnews team, his experience spanned a stint as Gear & Digital editor of Bicycling magazine, as well as a time at TopCar as Associate Editor. 

Now based in the UK's Surrey Hills, Aaron's life revolves around bikes. He's a competitive racer, Stravaholic, and Zwift enthusiast. He’s twice ridden the Cape Epic, completed the Haute Route Alps, and represented South Africa in the 2022 Zwift eSports World Championships.

Height: 175cm

Weight: 61.5kg

Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB