At GearLimits we don’t always get a lot of time to ride a bike before we have to make a review. It could be down to my skill level, but I actually need time and kilometers to really get a feel for a bike. The whole feel and balance of a bike really differs slightly every time. With the Canyon Neuron, I was very happy that I had enough time to really understand the bike.
The Canyon is a trail bike with a full carbon frame, 13 mm travel front and rear and 29 inch tires. I road with this bike during the winter months on all trails of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, the Netherlands. These are sandy and loamy cross-country trails with sharp short climbs, little fast downhill sections and weaving trails through trees and heather. Most of the time the ground was quite humid, even with snow, and with many brake washboard sections and firm, protruding, often wet tree roots.
First of all, I have to say that I think it is a really pretty bike. Where the previous Neuron looked a bit dull, this one has a great vibrant blue color and sleek matte finish. I like it and I got a lot of positive comments about the look of the bike on the trails. If the blue color is a bit too bright for your taste, there is also a basic and more modest color combination available.
This is really a bike that makes you want to ride. It immediately felt and fit well, and the more I rode on it, the better it felt. The first couple of rides I thought I was “hard” on my bike and felt like I had to push the bike through the corners. I thought it was a bit of a long time thing. Until I discovered how you can also make this bike dance back and forth, despite the longer geometry. Dropper down, and you weave your bike through those faster swaying turns. It is a matter of feeling that balance, understanding the weight of the bike and relying on the grip on your tires. It goes to show that sometimes you really have to make a lot of kilometers to really feel a bike.
Weight & climbing
If you lift the bike up, despite its full carbon frames and carbon wheels, it does not feel super light. But as you rip downhill at speed it feels and handles super light, and just it climbs just as lightly and nimbly (certainly for a fully). You can keep on piling on the power on your pedals because even on the softest setting of the rear shock felt nary a pedal-bob. That is a good sign that not too much energy had been lost in the damper when pedaling.
Both the front and rear shocks were fantastic as far as I am concerned. The 130 mm FOX Performance Float DPS LV behind and the Fox Performance Elite for me was a wonderful combination.
On many of the trails that I rode, there were really mega washboard sections created by too much braking on the trails, and it just felt great to let the bike run freely, hands of the brakes. The suspension was “silky smooth,” very progressive on heavier impacts and quite proficient at smoothing out the smaller annoying stuff. The 29-inch wheels also help with that.
Also playing on the streets I enjoyed how especially the Float rear shock handles everything quite naturally.
This bike handles speed well. Downhill, stable, smooth also when you catch some air, and once you get that feeling it is super agile. Speed uphill is in order as well, over roots and over steps. Very nice. In addition to the great suspension, I also had the feeling that the frame also really contributes to the comfort of the bike.
Low bottom bracket
The only thing I worried about a bit was that when I pedaled through not too sharp turns, I regularly hit the ground with the inside pedal. I had the feeling that the bottom bracket was a little lower than with other bikes that I have ridden. That, of course, depends (certainly in the case of a fully) on how hard you pump your tires, and with how much sag your rear shock is tuned. After pumping up both, there was less pedal strike. But I noticed that I did adapt my riding.
By the way, the lower bottom bracket also means a lower center of gravity as a rule, so perhaps that also contributed to the great handling that I mentioned earlier.
Last but not least, the component set-up: Nice crisp shifting 1×12 SRAM X01 Eagle with a lot of reach that will easily handle really steep stuff and full-on downhill bombing. The Maxxis ForeKaster 2.35 inch tires gave a lot of grip in all those fast corners, SRAM Guide R brakes, very trustworthy and just high-speed.
All in all a really great bike. Even though it is not meant for high-speed racing, I have been able to improve a lot of Strava PR’s (not that I ride for those, god forbid 😉 ) on both climbing and descending. And, no small matter: this bike costs € 3699, -. So you get a lot of bike for your buck.