Thursday, March 15, 2018

No New Cockpits Under The Sun

Great news!  The biplane has landed:

So far, response from social media has been enthusiastic:

Obviously the first question that comes to mind is a highly technical one, and it is as follows:


Duh, because gravel, that's why:

The Hover bar is Canyon’s totally unique integrated carbon cockpit that the new Grail gravel bike was designed around. 

The Hover bar (otherwise known as the ‘Canyon CP01 Gravel Carbon) was developed in a bid to improve front end comfort and control without the added complication and weight of a Future Shock-style system or a suspension fork.

So instead of the suspension fork you don't need you've now got a double-decker bar you don't need.  Plus, the design falls short of even amateur cockpit engineering efforts, since it doesn't incorporate braking from the additional hand positions:

Confused yet?  You're not alone:

Unlike every other drop bar in existence — where the stem attaches to a clamping area in the middle of the tops of the bar — the Hover bar places the tops of the bar above a stem that connects to an additional bar that in turn connects the apex of the hooks.

If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is, and I highly recommend you closely examine the included photos to actually begin to understand what’s going on.

But it's still not as confusing as the bar I'm designing:

The real question on my gravel-specific Mobius Bar is going to be which direction to wrap the bar tape:

Of course it may have occurred to you that if you want a funky-looking bar that offers various hand positions for all-terrain riding you could always go with a Jones H-Bar:

Which is why the savvy among you have no doubt already figured out that this design is less about control and front end compliance for gravel-grinding and more about people who suffer from crabon-itis yet can't come to grips with the fact that they need a few more headset spacers, an angled stem, or perhaps a bike with a taller headtube:

Canyon developed the Hover bar for two reasons: to provide a long-distance friendly upright riding position without resorting to using a super-long head tube or high-rise stem, and in a bid to improve front end compliance.

Oh sure, this is way more elegant than a taller headtube or angled stem:

Please it even makes this look elegant:

It is truly astounding the lengths (and heights) people will go to in order to attain the riding position of a Rivendell with a crabon bike:

And let's not forget the prescience of Sheldon Brown:

Canyon?  More like Can-yawn.


MolassesChamois said...

Hail Sheldon!

Serial Retrogrouch said... it because cockpits are vampires?

Watch and Camera Guy said...


Anonymous said...


dnk said...

Out on the road --- late at night.

See my pretty baby in every headlight --- Alice.

Dallas Alice.

Anonymous said...

I am the winner

Chazu said...

Hail Sheldon, indeed.

Mike O. said...

Without a doubt, Hail Sheldon! I still use his Gear Calculator,

Anonymous said...

A design only a douche could love

" There's a sucker born every minute and two to take him." said...

If you are enough of a sucker to think you need a gravel specific bike then the takers figure you'll buy all sorts of unnecessary components for your unnecessary bike.

wishiwasmerckx said...

It is actually interesting to look how the cockpit design has changed over time.

Form indeed follows function.

Back in the glory days of the mid-80's, bikes were steel with Campy super record friction shifters on the downtube. You rode on the drops to get aero and to easily reach the shift levers, and on the tops only when you were sitting up. The brake levers were mounted several inches lower on the bar than today to assure that they were in easy reach.

Then bike designers said goodbye to friction shifters. Al kidding aside, this corresponded with the rise of triathletes, for whom friction shifting was a bridge too far.

Now the brake levers migrated north a few inches, and people began to ride on the top of the bar instead of the drops. The drops were rendered to vestigial status, where they remain today.

In this latest design, the top of the bar has migrated northward, and the actual bar has become the new drops. It sure is ugly. I'll bet next they'll say that it functions like the front wing of a Formula 1 car, creating downdraft which keeps the front wheel from sliding out under extreme cornering efforts. Then everybody will have to have it.

Kind of makes me pine for the simple elegance of the Cinelli Spinaci.

This new set-up reminds me of my Merlin titanium, which to this day has a supplemental bar which attaches across the front edge of the drops, thus allowing the rider to get very aerodynamic. It also serves to majorly fuck up your bar taping strategy.

Canyon bike, only a Mom could love said...

Pretty iffy review for someone you really wanted to love this bike: "uncomfortable", "break your wrists", "rather disappointing", "expect the looks to be polarizing", "coming in a JUST $6,420"; but..... "The bike is an ABSOLUTE JOY to descend on." (how unusual)

I tend to move my hands around when riding and I’m particularly fond of resting them on the transition from the tops to the ramps, with my thumbs gently hooked around the inside edge of the bar.
The Hover bar doesn’t lend itself well to this position — the inside edge of the bar is a very harsh corner rather than a more usual gentle curve. This creates a pressure point that was very uncomfortable if I rode like this for any length of time.

Please never put your hands here as you will inevitably break your wrists if you crash

Schwalbe G-One tire review
I found the tyres rolled quickly on compacted gravel roads and asphalt, but their performance off road was rather disappointing — the tightly packed low-ish-profile tread clogged on wet ground and the tyres were easily overwhelmed in corners and during hard braking.

The sandy conditions certainly weren’t the ideal terrain for the tyres and I understand why Canyon would want to spec a crowd-pleasing all-round tread, but if you plan on spending much time off-road in anything but the driest conditions, I suggest you swap these out for something more aggressive.

The bike is an absolute joy to descend on

As is almost always the case with Canyon, the Grail also presents impressive value for money, with my blingy top-end test bike coming in at just €4,599 (approx £4,080 / $6,420 / AU$8,135). A very competitive price for a Di2 equipped bike with high-end carbon wheels and a fancy proprietary cockpit.

I’ve personally grown quite fond of the way the Grail looks but expect the looks to be polarising, it’s a truly far out bike and I suspect more conservative riders could be turned off by the idea of a double-decker handlebar.

Spokey said...

baker's dozen?


I have my own sort of home brew version of that handlebar. I put a second stem under the original one and put a horizontal aluminum bar there. I hang my handlbar bag, bell, and headlamp on that so I can have aero bars (stop the laughing!) on the main bar.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Rivy's Leo Roadini. I built one up this winter and couldn't be happier with it.
When simply sloping the top tube up to the head tube (non-compact geometry?) seems like a stroke of genius, you know Big Bicycle has wandered off into the marketingly-wankerly wilderness.

bad boy of the south said...

don't look now,but methinks snob's renovo is in april's road bike action.just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Hover Bar? Is it silly? Yes! Excessive? Yes! Should I hate it? Yes!

Do I hate it? Surprisingly, No! Would I ride one? Maybe?

There's some situations where this bar might be ideal for you; like when you buy a bike that somebody's chopped too much of the steer tube off on. Of course the cost of this means it would probably be cheaper and easier just to buy a new fork! If it's crabon Fibur it probably needs replacing anyway.


DaveD said...

I'm still laughing, since the term "cockpit" was misappropriated by the Fred sled industry. What next, 4-stripe epaulets on jerseys to signify captain of this rig?

Olle Nilsson said...

Oldentards rejoice! We can finally slam our stems.

Bikeboy said...

I got me a set of them Jones bars, for my post-retirement bicycle. (Why NOT a post-retirement bicycle, to go along with my road bike, mountain bike, cyclocross bike, tri bike, gravel bike, etc.?) I first saw it on the Snob, so I hope he gets to collect a commission, or whatever...

I got the Jones grips, and then taped the whole bar for additional hand positions. I figure it'll work nicely and be comfortable on my aging wrists.

(Retirement is still a year or so off; until then, it will mostly be my "Sunday driver" while I put a few more miles on my commuter bike. Oh! I forgot to mention it earlier, when I was naming off all my bikes!)

leroy said...

The Sheldon Brown reference reminded me that on my commute home last night I felt a presence behind me as I rolled to a stop at the bottom of the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side.

I looked over my shoulder and there was a benignly smiling apparition in a bike helmet who could have passed for Sheldon Brown's doppelganger.

I couldn't decide whether it was unsettling or comforting.

I went with comforting.

And my dog insists it was just the wind that gave him the chills.

BamaPhred said...

Reserving my opinion until I can get a "handle" on the concept and decide just how far it will fly when I give it the old four seam fast ball grip and fling it

jellyfishsalad71 said...

That Sheldon bike is totally nuts. Never seen anything like it. Amazing that someone with so much bike nous came up with such a frankenbuild.

HDEB said...

Crazy about the pedestrian bridge in Miami!

The hoverbar seems silly to me but so do all drop bars for 95% of the riding I do. Despite sucking just as badly as anyone else, I seem to pass many uptight roadies while riding a 50+ year old three speed while barefoot -- perhaps they're at the end of an epic and struggling to maintain 12mph. I am a sucky, snarky, smug douchebag : )

Mike Merideth said...

Hey, it's driving traffic to your site! I saw a picture of that bar on twitter and thought "I bet BSNYC is already roasting this". You did not disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Forget Canyon’s new Hover bar. I want the BSNYC-designed Mobius Bar with dual-wind-tunnel technology NOW!

Anonymous said...

how we still miss Sheldon.

Matt said...

I can't believe Sheldon didn't put his "Real Man Saddle" on this would have been perfect!

Die free said...

Sheldon Brown. That guy did great things.

NourskSiklist said...

Invoking Sheldon,the grand old man of biek retrogrouches? Classy.I mean it. Brown didn't give a rat's ass about snobbery and poseurs; he just rode. I miss his presence and wit. Like Bill Hicks, he's one of those people we could really need these days. And that gravel bike thing is getting more desperate every season. It's a silly contrivance for selling more bieks. Mownteen bicycles are the tool of choice for off-road riding. One can pretend otherwise, of course.

Anonymous said...

snob has salmoning and sheldon has the recessed nut/bolt to their name.

Coline said...

Just wrap those mobius bars counterintuitively and you should be fine.

JLRB said...

Scranus Madness

Francois said...

That canyon stuff is for people who really need butterfly handlebars, but can't accept the switch to non-crabon gear.
I suspect they also buy gravel bikes mostly for the tire clearance.
Really, they should just take the plunge and get a touring bike.

Unknown said...

I’ve just clamped a 24ft fibre glass extension ladder to my commuter’s steerer.
It’s bollocks in a high wind but I get a sneaky if somewhat brief glance of all the beautiful people as they slumber in their second story bedrooms.
Unfortunately this morning I was arrested as an aerial pedalling peeping Tom so it looks like the sex crime list for me unless my defence of being Buster Keaton’s stuntman who has just accidentally slipped through a wormhole from the past doesn’t stand up.
Then again perhaps I should just plead guilty and cop it sweet seeing as how they missed the more severe charge of possession of a really phuckt idea.
Seems fair.

P.S. Love yer work Snob. I’m an avid reader of all your columns/blogs and doing my bit to spread your message in Melbourne.
Sometimes you make me laugh my arse off and others you make me less inactive.

You’ve also taught me to find the wanker in myself at times which is a great leveller and leads to cheaper more enjoyable cycling.
Cheers bro.

P.P.S. I’ve been begrudgingly wearing my foam lid here since the Grand Nanny said I must. In that time I’ve had some spills and I’m glad to report the only damage my bike lid has ever incurred is from swooping Magpies in nesting season.
Still wear it on the road as the fines now are about $150 but on the bike trails. Nah. No way. Not post Snob.
So thanks for that too mate. Nothing quite as exhilarating as taking the seemingly inconsequential risk I’ve been taking since 1970 when I learned the art of balance on two wheels.

Unknown said...

Designed to sell or another answer to a question no one has asked...

leroy said...

Ride safe all!

I'm not worried. I really did see a smiling Sheldon Brown look-a-like over my shoulder the other evening.

That's got to mean good luck.

DaveD said...

Remember the inverted biplane Scott "Drop-In" handlebars?

Towel racks for handlebars seem to be making an undesired comeback...

Die free said...

Since Snobby left us Thursday leftovers for Friday, I will use this an opportunity say again what an awesome dude Shendon Brown was.

Pist Off said...

Real biek cyclists don’t give a fuck if they’re creating something a Fred will call ”frankenbuild.” Rider fit and comfort should trump all other considerations unless you’re a pro. Also. Every bike is a delight on descents, especially compared to the ascents. That is faint praise of that gawd awful Canyon.

Dave said...

Yes, hail Sheldon. And I'll raise you one Jobst Brandt who would no doubt heap a few pithy words regarding the craptastic absurdity of this "new" design for handlebars.

Miss Spelt said...

May I humbly suggest a new entry in your cacography to join the likes of helment and crabon?... "grovel bike". For no particular reason except my brain thought it up without any help from me. I'm sure it'll become a classic. You're welcome!

JLRB said...

Steal the hipster - spare the bike

Ps - giggling girl

Skidmark said...

Slam the stem— stack the bar—brilliant.

Die free said...

Man, already they are saying the autonomous uber is not at fault.

The pedestrian "came out of no where" like we always do. AND they were hit by a speeding automobile that couldn't haven't possibly have seen them, or stopped/avoided it. Perhaps had the robot not been breaking the law (speeding) then maybe the pedestrian would not have been "no where" but somewhere to be seen OR perhaps even have cleared the road.

How the fk could the be robot speeding? These things only do what we tell them to, how the fk could we allow it to exceed the speed limit?

But speeding that's ok, that does not contribute significantly to accidents... And no one is responsible but the dead pedestrian.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

WRM, you didn't mention this morning on your other blog that the victim of the self driving fatality was on a bicycle!

wle said...

I love "the puppeteer" setup... somehow i missed it in 2010.. is amazing in its simplicity and devotion to function.. .. if it actually works.. ..what gauge wire is that?.. looks like a regular brake cable with a lead ball at the end.. would work for tri- and quad-level setups...

wle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brent Hugh said...

"The real question on my gravel-specific Mobius Bar is going to be which direction to wrap the bar tape"

The real advantage is that your bar tape is going to last twice as long thanks to having only one side--topologically speaking, that is.

You see, most bar tape has two sides. The outside receives all the wear and the inside none.

But on the Mobius Bar, the bar tape will have just one seamless side, distributing the wear over twice the surface area and making the it last twice as long.öbius-strip-conveyor-belts-last-longer

This is the advance in bicycle technology we've all been waiting for. Please get it on the market ASAP.