Testing the Canyon Neuron CF 9.0 LTD 130mm trail bike!
Words: Ryan Walsch Photos: Nick Waygood
Canyon have certainly proven that they can offer exceptionally good value bikes direct to consumers here in Australia and with strong athletes representing them across many genres we know the bikes work well! More recently we reviewed the Lux and Spectral which sit either side of the Neuron and we thought if fitting to spend some time on the recently revised Neuron, with an updated frame and suspension kinematics delivering a nimble trail bike that could be more than enough bike to get the heart racing and exploring new terrain.
Packing 130mm of travel into the front and rear, the Neuron offers modern but conservative geometry for all day rideability and a confidence inspiring ride. More on the refined and delicate side than a hard hitting down country bike the Neuron rewards finesse and a riders' climbing prowess.
Canyon claims the Neuron is the ideal bike for your next big multi-day epic mountain ride, load up and set off into the hills on a bike prepared for anything you may come across. There are quite a few other bikes that sit in a similar sort of space, like the previous Trek Fuel EX, a Scott Spark, Giant Trance 29, Norco Optic and even the Specialized Stumpjumper ST.
The Canyon Neuron’s construction is exceptionally neat and shares lines and linkage bearing protecting design features with other Canyon models. The main pivot bearings themselves are covered with discrete plastic covers which worked wonders on the recently revamped Spectral I reviewed last season which keeps water and debris at bay. To Canyon’s credit, the two smallest sizes of Neuron remain with a more appropriate 27.5 inch wheel size benefiting shorter riders on the trail and not trying to squish everything into a 29er package.
Two other design features worth a mention are the steering lock and full length cable routing on the underside of the downtube. The steering lock can save the top tube serious or even frame ending shifter or lever damage in the event of a crash or tumble by preventing the bars' full rotation, more and more companies are following this trend and Canyon was one of the first! Look closely at the underside of the down tube and you’re able to faintly see the outline of a full length sheath that contains all the brake, gear and dropper lines while providing the down tube with robust impact protection like no other.
Looking along the line of the top tube and the seat tube, the aesthetics are beautiful across the size range, the Canyon Neuron is a very sharp looking bike and one that I was excited to ride when building it up. With the Canyon Neuron's rear shock's orientation to the underside of top tube, stand over figures are reduced, along with a reduction of the overall length in the seat tube allowing for longer length droppers and a more manoeuvrable bike thanks to more clearance over the frame.
Trail bikes with the magic 130mm travel are arguably the most versatile of bikes and are adept in getting on with it and tackling anything at hand especially when tipping the scales at a scant 12.3kgs for our size large test bike The Neuron has been Caynon’s most popular dual suspension bike and this revamp has increased its capabilities and will no doubt make it another favourite with riders of all backgrounds.
As a direct to consumer brand, Canyon pride themselves with their out of the box build quality and the Neuron CF 9.0 LTD was no exception requiring very little time to build at all. All tools that were required to use were in the box already including a shock pump and I was able to hit the trails quickly once I had set the bike up to my liking.
On The Trail
Getting comfortable on the Canyon Neuron was hassle-free with the accurate sizing chart corresponding nicely with 453mm reach on our size large test bike.The in house carbon riser bar has a sensible sweep and are finished off nicely with a quality set of Ergon EA20 grips which support the hand nicely on rough terrain without feeling too bulky in hand. I was surprised by the in house Iridium saddle, the more time I spent on it the less I noticed it was there, proving that its ergonomics were refined and well thought out.
All models have been equipped with a 60mm stem which gives the rider a very connected feel to the bike when paired with a 67.5 degree head angle. The head angle is perfect for a lightweight trail bike of this nature with super precise steering while feeling confident at speed and when pointing back down a hill.
The relatively small headtube and exceptional stand over clearance make moving the bike around on the trail very easy to do. Linking tight switchbacks and obstacles in quick succession is easily done as a result and we applaud the more room up front over the predecessor.
Canyon have kept the chain stay length at 440mm and it feels like a good balance between stability and manoeuvrability on the trail, a decision that can often sway a bike's balance one way or the other.
The Neuron is well suited for exploring mountain bike trails of all kinds, not being bound by any one genre, the 130mm chassis can pedal all day or get a bit rowdy on the descents. As Canyon states, the Neuron will be enjoyed by both beginner and experienced riders alike with a modern and confidence inspiring geometry.
Riders looking for a short travel trail/enduro bike should look for something a bit burlier and with more progressive geometry as the Neuron is not intended for hard hitting gravity fuelled days. Rather Canyon have created a light weight and exceptionally well specced trail bike with a spirited and playful feel on the trail, keep those pedals turning and you will be rewarded by a fun and responsive ride.
I did notice on the first ride that the gear cable outer migrated down to the bottom bracket shell and allowed it to rub on the rear tyre. I stopped, coaxed it back up and cinched down the clamps and placed a zip tie at the point it was rubbing just to be sure. The points on the chain stay which the cable guide is mounted may be a tad too far apart and prone to slipping towards the wheel when the cable outer migrates along, it hasn’t moved since but worth a mention.
The Neuron is an easy bike to want to ride, with its balanced handling and low weight it's just a blast to grab and go ride. Like all Canyon bikes, the Neuron is incredibly well equipped at all price points there is a lot going for it. Clearly at this top spec it was an amazing bike, but the characteristics of how the bike rides will remain the same no matter what price point you're looking at. If you’re looking for a all day capable trail bike that can mix it up with cross-country events, marathon events or just whole hearted mountain epics with long climbs and fun flowing descents, then take a serious look at the Canyon Neuron – it's well suited to the majority of Australian trails.
Neuron CF 9.0 LTD
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Frame material: Carbon mainframe and both stays
Fork: Fox Factory 34 FIT4, 130mm
Shock: Fox Factory DPS Float, 130mm travel
Shifter: SRAM Eagle XO 12sp
Derailleur: SRAM Eagle XO 12sp
Cranks: SRAM Eagle XO carbon DUB, 32t
Bottom Bracket: SRAM DUB threaded
Chain: SRAM Eagle XO 12sp
Cassette: SRAM Eagle XG-1295 12sp
Wheels: DT Swiss XMC 1200 Carbon
Tyres: Maxxis Forekaster 2.35” EXO 3C TR
Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC 180/180mm
Stem: Canyon V12
Handlebar: Canyon H23 Carbon, 15mm Rise
Seat post: Fox Factory Dropper, 150mm drop
Grips: Ergon EA20