There's an arms race going on in XC racing at the moment with brands constantly trying to one-up each other and produce the lightest hardtail frame possible. Unno and Specialized are currently leading the charge, but Canyon has now entered the ring with an update of its Exceed hardtail.
This hardtail, which we assume Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Mathieu Van Der Poel would have considered riding at the Tokyo Olympics, weighs a claimed 835 grams in size medium. Breaking that down, the carbon frame weighs 740 grams, the paint on the top model a further 39 and then the chain suck plate, chainstay protector, SRAM UDH and integrated seat clamp make up the remaining 48 grams. You don't need a math degree to realized that those numbers don't quite add up, but Canyon overstates the weight to allow for variances in the production method.
XC racingFrame Weight:
CFR - 835 grams, CF SLX - 1015 grams, CF - 1,312 gramsBike Weight:
8.9kg / 19.6 lb (CFR LTD, no pedals)Wheelsize:
100mm fork recommendedHead Angle:
€1,699 - €6,499More info: canyon.com
For comparison, the Specialized Epic and Unno Aora are both claimed to weigh 790 grams in medium. It's tough to make direct comparisons as different companies measure with different bits of hardware attached but it's fair to say the Exceed is very much in the ballpark with the lightest hardtails money can buy.
So, how did Canyon get this bike so light? It all comes down to the carbon they used. There are three different specs of carbon for the bike with only the top of the range CFR level hitting the claimed weight. This is because it uses what Canyon calls 'Unicorn Hair' and what engineers call Toray M40X. It's very rare to find this fiber on a mountain bike as Toray only supplies it to three manufacturers and its cost also makes it pretty prohibitive too. As well as being super light, the fiber is also apparently strong and stiff so the new Exceed required less reinforcing to pass impact tests. This is the first time Canyon has used this grade of carbon across any of their bikes however they state that they intend to use it more in the future.
Canyon has also revised the geometry of the Exceed following feedback from its racers. The head angle has been slackened by 0.5° down to 69°, reaches have grown by around 10mm and chainstays shrunk by 2mm.
The front end of this bike has also seen some interesting changes including a one-piece bar and stem that will keep riders in a super racy position. The stem has a negative rise of 6° and a length of 80mm, while the bars measure 740mm in width. Just under that cockpit sits redesigned routing that now sees the cables plunge into the frame through the headset. This may seem an unusual decision on a mountain bike but it has been a feature on most road bikes released in the past year and it apparently allows for tighter routing, allowing Canyon to trim weight from the headtube. The final front end update is an Impact Protection Unit that prevents the handlebars from over-rotating and the fork hitting the frame.
One other cool detail to notice is the integrated seat tube clamp that's adopted from Canyon's cyclocross range and prevents the build-up of muck versus a conventional clamp design.
Canyon will be releasing 9 models of the Exceed in total across 3 levels of carbon spec. 7 of the builds will be unisex and 2 women specific.CF Models - frame weight 1,312 grams
Exceed CF 5 - €1,699
Exceed WMN 5 - €1,699
Exceed CF 6 - €2,199
Exceed CF 7 - €2,699
Exceed WMN 7 - €2,699CF SLX Models - frame weight 1,015 grams
Exceed CF SLX 8 - €3,699
Exceed CF SLX 9 - €4,699CFR Models - frame weight 835 grams
Exceed CFR Team - €5,699
Exceed CFR LTD - €6,499
More info on all models, here