Canyon is known for offering quality mountain bikes at affordable prices, thanks to their direct-to-consumer model. The brand began selling in North America less than a year ago, though unfortunately for consumers, the full line is not yet available in the USA. However, I was able to test ride the Canyon Neuron AL 9.0 — a bike not offered in the US — at Sea Otter Europe recently, and here’s what I found.
The Neuron is a trail bike that falls between the Lux XC bike and the longer-travel Spectral trail bike. For size small and extra small bikes, the Neuron features 120mm of rear suspension travel and 27.5″ wheels, while larger sizes feature 110mm of rear suspension and 29er wheels. The 69.3° head tube angle (size XL frame, tested) is fairly steep in terms of trail bike standards, placing this bike between aggressive XC and light duty trail bikes. Interestingly enough, the Neuron’s head tube angle is less than one degree slacker than the Lux XC race bike, and only offers an additional 10mm of rear travel.
The Neuron is currently only offered in an aluminum frame, though don’t assume it’s a heavy bike; Canyon claims the Neuron AL 9.0 I tested weighs 12.9kg (just over 28lbs.) in size medium. With internal routing and a medium gloss finish, the Neuron has a pretty clean look and appears to be well constructed. Unfortunately the rear end is not currently Boost-spaced which limits available wheel upgrades down the line.
A Fox 34 Performance fork with 120mm of travel is specced along with a Shimano 2×11, mostly XT, drivetrain. While it’s true there are still many 2x drivetrain fans out there, more of them tend to be XC racers and riders who are looking for more of a top-end than most 1x drivetrains can offer. XT brakes, a Fox performance rear shock, RockShox Reverb dropper post (125mm travel), and a nice, DT Swiss 1501 Spline ONE 25 wheelset come with the 9.0 build I tested.
While stock tires can be easily swapped out, the manufacturer’s choice tends to say a lot about the intended use for the bike. The 2.35″ Schwalbe Nobby Nics are a safe, all-round choice for a trail bike, neither overly aggressive nor under-gunned. Canyon specced this build with 25mm internal width rims, which gives the tires a nice profile.
I took the Canyon Neuron AL 9.0 for a spin on the trails at Taiala in Girona, Spain and had no idea what to expect from the ride. Luckily I linked up with a local rider, Marc, who showed me where to find the steepest, rockiest descents on the course.
Climbing on the Neuron was, not surprisingly, very efficient. The steep head tube angle keeps the steering tracking straight ahead while the short, 110mm of rear suspension travel offered little pedal bob.
At one point, Marc suggested we go to the top of a particularly steep and rutted powerline cut and then bomb back down. I misunderstood and assumed he meant that we should ride up to the top, so I started pedaling. After 30 seconds or so, I looked back to see Marc was pushing his bike up, hike-a-bike style. I debated about doing the same, but found the Neuron was getting the job done, despite the steepness of the grade and the tricky root and rock transitions. I nearly made it to the top too, but eventually ran out of motivation when I saw an e-bike rider clean a particularly steep section ahead of me. Still, the fact that I was within striking distance of e-bike riders on this climb was impressive.
Turning the bike downhill, the Neuron handled admirably despite its relatively steep head tube angle and limited suspension. I wasn’t quite able to keep up with Marc who was on a Canyon Strive, but the Neuron did allow me to push faster speeds than I would have thought, keeping Marc in sight.
I had some issues with the cockpit controls, finding the dropper post remote placement on the right a little awkward. Swapping the control over to the left, where the front shifter is not used as often as the right, would be an easy improvement. Still, because the bike features a 2x drivetrain, buyers are stuck with a “push style” dropper remote instead of an easier-to-use lever.
Overall, the Neuron is a trail bike that sits in an unusual spot, offering just slightly more travel and a somewhat relaxed geometry compared to Canyon’s XC race bike. It seems the Neuron is geared toward XC riders who don’t necessarily want to race, preferring to have a bit of fun, without taking too much of a weight penalty or going overboard with suspension travel.
The Neuron AL 9.0 retails for €2,999 which is roughly $3,500 USD, though the bike is not currently offered to consumers in the United States.