Pro gravel bike: Peter Stetina's Canyon Grail

2x set-up with a blend of Shimano Dura-Ace and GRX on US rider's version of the new Grail

ClockUpdated 13:36, Monday 16th October 2023. Published 13:00, Monday 16th October 2023
The Canyon Grail has now officially been released, but Peter Stetina has been using the bike for a while

© Peter Stetina

The Canyon Grail has now officially been released, but Peter Stetina has been using the bike for a while

Despite only being officially released last week, Canyon’s newest Grail has already been tried and tested at some of the biggest gravel races in 2023, and it’s built up an impressive list of victories.

A victory at Unbound Gravel was followed by a world title at the recent Gravel World Championships as Kasia Niewiadoma topped the women’s podium aboard the more race-orientated new bike.

Former WorldTour pro Peter Stetina is another of those riders who has been putting Canyon’s newest steed throughout its paces in 2023. The American was first spotted riding the bike at Unbound in June, one of its earliest outings.

Now that the bike has been officially unveiled, we took a closer look at Stetina’s new Grail build.

Hover bar out, aero bars in

The old Grail was already on the more race-orientated side of the scale, but Canyon has taken this to the next level with the newest version.

Aesthetically, Canyon has sacrificed one significant part of the older design to achieve this: the famous hover bar. The Grail’s previous two-tier handlebar helped the bike to stand out from the crowd, but it’s been ditched for the more aerodynamic CP0039 cockpit.

It includes a mounting point for extension bars which have become increasingly popular in the world of gravel, mainly due to the current trend towards longer, ultra-endurance events.

For his build, Stetina stuck to the CP0039 cockpit without any extensions. His bars have a 16-degree flare, a set-up he feel strikes the right balance between aerodynamics and handling.

It's also interesting to see that Stetina's computer mount doubles up as a mount for a front light.

Faster but also more practical

Canyon didn’t just design the Grail to be fast in races, it wanted the bike to be fast on any gravel ride. That means that it has to be as suitable for multi-day adventures and ultra-endurance events.

To achieve this, the Grail needed to be practical, and that’s the inspiration behind the bike’s other headline feature: its new storage solutions.

This includes in-frame storage in the head tube and the ‘LOAD FidLock QuickLoader' external frame bag which integrates seamlessly with the shape of the frame, keeping drag to a minimum.

Stetina carries a pump, tube, CO2 canister, tire lever, multi tool, and patch kit inside. As a result, there's no need for a saddle bag.

To side-step the problem of the frame bag getting in the way of whipping a bottle out, Stetina is using side-mount cages for easy access to his hydration.

Shimano components

Stetina has shunned the norms of gravel riding and followed the route taken by many of the WorldTour pros who have started dabbling with gravel riding by speccing his bike with a 2x Shimano set-up.

This set-up is a blend of Dura-Ace at the front, including a 50/34t chainset, and GRX at the rear, with a 11-34t cassette.

A 2x set-up is a rare sight at most American gravel races among the dedicated gravel pros, but we spotted plenty of WorldTour pros using them at the recent Gravel World Championships, including men’s champion Matej Mohorič.

At this point it appears to be the American’s preferred set-up having used it multiple times over the last few years, which perhaps isn’t too surprising considering that he is also a former WorldTour pro.

The build is completed with the Shimano GRX wheelset which tips the scales at a claimed 1,461g - that’s impressively lightweight for a gravel wheelset.

Those wheels are paired with IRC Boken Plus tyres.

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