Canyon has launched a limited run of Grizl CF SL 7 Throwback gravel bikes, which aims to pay homage to the 1990s pioneers of mountain biking. Special features include a retro-inspired paint job, silver alloy DT Swiss GR wheels and a pink stem faceplate.
Underneath, it’s a thoroughly modern gravel bike though, using a regular Grizl CF frameset, SRAM Rival AXS XPLR groupset and 45mm Schwalbe G-One Bite tyres. It’s available in a limited run of 250 bikes and will be priced at €3,799.
The decision to honour the pioneers of mountain biking with a gravel bike is interesting, with the oft-repeated mantra that modern gravel bikes are in many ways a throwback to the tech used in early mountain bikes.
The limited or non-existent suspension, narrower tyres and higher gearing on a gravel bike than a modern mountain bike do make it more like those older MTBs (which were themselves derived from hybrid road bikes). That’s apart from gravel bikes’ drop bars in place of flats, disc brakes in place of cantilevers and tyres with a decent level of off-road grip.
Canyon says that the number of comments it received to the effect that ‘Gravel is just mountain biking from the 90s!’ when it launched the Grizl in 2021 led it to offer the limited edition Grizl CF SL 7 Throwback gravel bike. According to the brand, the bike’s paint job harks back to the pioneering decade of mountain biking – but with 1× gearing and a carbon frame, so as to ensure the retro vibe doesn’t affect performance.
Canyon points out that 1990s mountain bikes made traversing terrain that a modern mountain bike would glide over much more of a challenge, a concept known as ‘underbiking’ – having a bike that you had to work with to negotiate the trails.
The idea is that the Grizl CF SL 7 Throwback lets you cover big miles, but still makes riding light trails a decent challenge and a fun ride, without needing to head to a bike park.
1990s colour scheme
To hark back to the early days of mountain biking, Canyon has gone for a light blue frame with white logos, pink accents at the chainstays, bottom bracket and fork legs, and pink patches on the seat tube.
That’s complemented by a pink anodised faceplate to the otherwise modern-looking black-finished stem, chrome finish bars in place of the usual matt black alloy or carbon, and brushed silver alloy DT Swiss GR 1600 wheels.
Component-wise the Grizl CF SL 7 Throwback is right up to date, with 45mm Schwalbe G-One Bite gravel tyres (on 700c rims rather than the 26in, which was the diameter of choice for 1990s MTBs), SRAM Rival AXS XPLR wireless electronic shifting and hydraulic braking, all unheard of in the days of repurposed hybrid road tyres, down tube shifters and cantilever brakes that were the 1990s.
You also get the Grizl’s standard set of three bottle bosses, top tube bag bolts and cargo mounts on the fork legs, so your Grizl is set up for longer runs or bikepacking – another thoroughly modern pursuit that would have been entirely alien to the mountain bikers of thirty-plus years ago on their clunkers.
The Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 Throwback is available from today, 14th March 2023, on Canyon’s site in a limited edition of 250 bikes, priced at €3,799.
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