Canyon's New Exceed Hardtail Frame Uses 'Unicorn Hair' Carbon Fiber & Weighs 835 Grams

Aug 18, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
Canyon Exceed 2021

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.
Details

Intended use: XC racing
Frame Weight: CFR - 835 grams, CF SLX - 1015 grams, CF - 1,312 grams
Bike Weight: 8.9kg / 19.6 lb (CFR LTD, no pedals)
Wheelsize: 29"
Travel: 100mm fork recommended
Head Angle: 69°
Price: €1,699 - €6,499
More 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.

Canyon Exceed 2021

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 Exceed 2021

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.
Canyon Exceed 2021

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 Exceed 2021
Cables now enter the frame through the headset, underneath the one-piece bar and stem.
Canyon Exceed 2021
High spec models get this inverted D232 seatpost from DT Swiss

Canyon Exceed 2021
Space for 2 water bottles inside the front triangle

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

Canyon Exceed 2021
Exceed CF 6

Exceed CF 5 - €1,699
Exceed WMN 5 - €1,699
Exceed CF 6 - €2,199
Exceed CF 7 - €2,699
Exceed WMN 7 - €2,699

CF SLX Models - frame weight 1,015 grams

Canyon Exceed 2021
Exceed CF SLX 9

Exceed CF SLX 8 - €3,699
Exceed CF SLX 9 - €4,699

CFR Models - frame weight 835 grams

Canyon Exceed 2021
Exceed CFR Team

Exceed CFR Team - €5,699
Exceed CFR LTD - €6,499

More info on all models, here.


125 Comments

  • 115 4
 Head Angle: 69°
*nice
  • 5 0
 nice
  • 6 1
 I was the 69th upvote on your comment. My good work is done for the day.
  • 3 0
 nice
  • 2 0
 I would upvote this comment but it already has 69
  • 1 0
 nice
  • 1 0
 Giggity
  • 59 1
 My bike frame is made from troll ass hair.
  • 65 0
 Yeti?
  • 7 1
 Haha no, it was a joke because it's heavy af, Dartmoor Hornet No unicorn wizardry here, just a crapload of good ol'aluminium!
  • 7 0
 @fullendurbro: careful. This comment may be offensive to trolls
  • 15 0
 @Lloydmeister: Waki is long gone dude
  • 1 0
 @nskerb: too good to be true but hope dies last
  • 48 0
 That frame weighs lees than a Minion
  • 13 0
 That really does put things into perspective. Wow
  • 12 0
 @sjma: it's not much more than a Deore or NX cassette either.
  • 31 3
 Hambini still will get old if it and shout and rant about how ‘f*cking shit’ it is, how his mate measured it with laser beams and how construction of that quality wouldn’t be used In his fetishised world of aerospace.

Meanwhile, it someone will be rather happy riding it very quickly somewhere in the woods...... blissfully unaware of their headtube being microns out..... simpletons.
  • 2 0
 Lol - how true.
  • 10 1
 He does have a point in that the top end frames from some manufactures cost aerospace money while having slinky level tolerances. At the same time there are brands that give you very good tolerances for moderate money. All the press fit bb creaking uproar or shocks and bearing becoming screwed quickly is really due to poor frame tolerances so it is a factor to consider when buying.
  • 4 1
 @Konyp: oh yea he has a point about creaking press fit BB’s, but everyone knows that anyway. Not sure everyone needs to know about the internal carbon layup of their Canyon bike though, especially when it makes zero difference to how it rides in the real world....

I also see he sells ludicrously priced £300- £400 odd replacement bbs that would cost about £10 to machine plus some quality bearings, but sure - he isn’t ripping people off, oh no. He is saint Hambini doing a public service, no clever marketing at all l.
  • 1 0
 I have a canyon stitched with undersized headtube and the bottom bearing is so stuck in the frame that it has seized after just few rides. to put a new bearing in I had to hammer it in. to be clear that is not a headtube cup but a 1.5" bearing and it should be rather loose.
  • 26 0
 Give me back my hair you bastards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 4 0
 shaved your balls?
  • 4 0
 Glorious back hair! Jerks. lol
  • 1 0
 Did they leave you bald?
  • 1 0
 My man!! Long time no speak!! Yes, the monsters took all of it but now I should be more aero??? lol
  • 22 0
 Is this a bicycle or a wizards wand? Curious...very curious
  • 40 0
 12 inches, unicorn hair, quite supple.
  • 28 0
 Pivot gonna make their next bike out of phoenix feathers
  • 12 0
 @Upduro: will the bikes be able to race each other if the phoenix feathers came from the same bird?
  • 5 1
 @Supergirl56: I think Neville’s wand is cherry and unicorn hair. I wonder if Canyon hired Ollivander.
  • 7 0
 I'm still looking for the Elderwand bike.
  • 1 0
 @Hayek: probably
  • 8 0
 Unicorn hair is going to be a joke. Just saying.
  • 7 0
 Does it fart rainbows?
  • 20 1
 @h82crash: No but it pisses IPA.
  • 6 0
 ....and shits Skittles.
  • 2 15
flag mtb-scotland (Aug 18, 2020 at 10:41) (Below Threshold)
 @h82crash: unicorns are white not rainbow coloured
  • 2 0
 @mtb-scotland: Only the womens bikes are painted in their "Unicorn" colours too (which is white, so you're right Smile ). Guys don't get the unicorn...

But then, the frames are the same geo between M and W bikes...only the bar, saddle and chain ring change...point me at a bike where those three items haven't been changed straight out of the bike shop doors....soooo....if you really really want that unicorn paint job, you can do so Smile
  • 12 0
 @mtb-scotland: actually unicorns can be alot of colors. The one im riding now is purple
  • 3 0
 @mtb-scotland: You may have misread, my comment made no reference to the color of unicorns.
  • 1 13
flag mtb-scotland (Aug 18, 2020 at 14:51) (Below Threshold)
 @pdxjeremy: no they actually can't. Unicorns are white
  • 4 0
 In the defence of @mtb-scotland: the unicorn is literally his national animal, like the bald eagle is to the US. I think he knows..
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: well no, sorry. Today my unicorn is pink. They say if you don't like them you can eat some rainbow poop.
And sorry, think pink one is naughty
  • 2 0
 @pdxjeremy: well yes. your unicorn is white but been coloured pink. It's fake
  • 10 8
 Canyon just broke the UCI rules on road bikes, with a 13 lb 11 oz ride with this same proprietary Japanese-made unicorn hair. Good on them. Sub 5 kg road bikes and lightweight XC bikes are the future. www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2020/08/11/canyon-unveils-13lb-11oz-bicycle-cocking-a-snook-at-cyclings-governing-body/#724e25a75671
  • 21 0
 Lots of companies go below the UCI weight limit. It's not that hard, especially when it comes to climbing (rather than aero) bikes with climbing (rather than areo) wheels.

Lots of teams end up just adding weight to the bike to get them up to the 6.8kg weight limit, even after they add bottle cages and pedals and everything else.
  • 1 2
 @doggparadox: I've read that many add power meters like the hub design ones made by Cycleops. Puts the weight in a place where it doesn't hurt speed as much due to it being close to the center of a rotating mass.
  • 4 0
 Yep, almost all "off the peg" bikes on the World Tour teams are under the UCI mandated weight. This allows the riders a bit of wiggle room with bottle cages, double wrapped bars, etc. The weight is taken at the start line, not at the bike shop Smile
  • 5 0
 I had a Fuji SL1 that was ~1 lb below the limit, off the shelf, with alloy wheels... 13 years ago. Also, since when does Forbes write about bikes?

Maybe they shouldn't.
  • 1 0
 @handynzl: Does it include full bottles?
  • 5 0
 @TucsonDon: no it has to be bolted to the bike to be included in the weight. This is why wahoo bolt comes with a little screw so you can secure it to your handlebar and count it as part of your weight
  • 1 0
 @mrbadwrench: I always just assumed that bolt was to really make sure it wouldn't come off. (which would be good for road racers too) But that's genius.
  • 2 1
 The CF 5 would be a great option for a junior XC racer. But, it's not available in the US until January, and it looks like we won't be getting anything below the more expensive CF 7.

I sometimes feel like Canyon's real purpose in life is to make Americans feel like we're missing out on great products that other countries have access to. Like, you know, the rest of the world often feels about us.

Also, could you please just publish a normal size chart instead of your tool that just returns "Unfortunately, we are unable to recommend a frame size based on your measurements. Check your measurements are accurate and entered properly into the form." For any measurements I put in.
  • 1 0
 That’s okay we can’t even buy canyon bikes in Canada yet. Coming spring 2021.
  • 1 0
 Their size calculator has more in common with a Magic 8-ball than a size chart. I’ve had the same calculator for the same bike tell me I should be on both an XS and a Large on different days.
  • 1 0
 Check your inseam is your actual inseam and not your 32'' trouser size.
  • 4 0
 I bet with fewer passenger jets being manufactured more high end fiber is going to be available for sporting goods.
  • 2 0
 Still waiting on my layoff. Will drastically ramp up my saddle time.
  • 1 0
 Looking at the bottom bracket and chainstay junction, it just looks massive compared to my Epic. I wonder if it is a really stiff ride? Just doesn't look all that compliant. I was absolutely amazed at how comfortable my Epic was.
  • 2 1
 I wonder if the growing (PUN!) size of WCXC tires (Maxxis now doing 2.4 WT Aspen and Rekon Race) will push all these manufactures to give these lightweight hardtail some better tire clearance (to maybe fit 29x2.6 tires)?
  • 2 0
 The mid level bikes and up come with a 30mm front rim and 28mm rear rim, and their website says that the frame is designed to fit up to 2.4" tyres.

Going over 2.4 would be a hard sell for an XC racer.

You'd probably get a 2.6" tyre on to the front wheel if the fork is a 29/27.5+ fork - not sure about on the SIDs though....
  • 2 1
 Going over 2.4" gives you diminished returns in grip but the weight starts to add up quickly, so I doubt we will see it soon if at all but you never know

2.2" rear and 2.4" front seems to me optimal for most conditions with currently available tires
  • 2 1
 My point was more from a versatility standpoint. Not everyone who rides one of these hardtail may want to live with 2.4 tires all the time. Sometimes they might want to rock some bigger tires, for more comfort or something.

I feel like XC bikes are going to the opposite end of the spectrum as Enduro bikes, where manufactures are saying "these bikes will always be ridden in a race format as specced and never in any other situations" - and Enduro bikes manufacturers are saying "weight doesn't matter because Enduro bikes need to be reliable so here they are at 40lbs."

It seems like the industry really wants us to adopt the N+1 Bike Stable where we have a specific bike for every specific use case. Tire clearance too easily makes bikes more versatile, can't have that.
  • 4 0
 @PHeller: I think XC is a very specific niche.

There are a lot of hardcore hardtails and trail bikes out there for anyone who isn't a weight weenie XC racer.

These are purpose built race bikes. So I agree with the industry on this one. If you aren't a dedicated racer just get a more suitable bike. More versatility is always going to mean some compromises need to be made.
  • 4 0
 @PHeller: 2.4" is small? Pre Maxxis WT, that would have been considered radically wide for an XC bike.
  • 2 0
 @denson-91: I think optimal tire size is really dependent upon the weight of the rider. A 150lb rider has very different needs than a 200lb rider.
  • 1 0
 @Explodo: My intuition agrees with that. And yet Nino Schurter weighs 150 lbs and has been racing with 2.4" tires starting last year
  • 2 1
 I think studies have proven that a wider tires (and thus a wider contact patch) will have less rolling resistance but more edge knob engagement than a narrower tire at the same pressure, or with increased pressure match the same level of grip with less rolling resistance due to a smaller contact patch when not on edge.

The Aspen and Rekon Race are good examples of this - they are offered in wider sizes and their tread patterns are sparse in the center but knobby on the outside.
  • 3 0
 These kinds of bikes really aren't a compromise. Wanting a full on XC race bike to be more trail friendly is about as silly as wanting a full DH bike to be more trail friendly. "I love the Session, but I wish it had less pedal bob on the climbs".

@showmethemountains: Technically 2.4...but they don't measure 2.4.
  • 2 0
 “ One other cool detail to notice is the integrated seat tube clamp that sits underneath the junction of the top tube and downtube.”

Do you mean the seat tube instead?
  • 4 0
 Nope, seatpost clamp on this one is under the bottom bracket to allow for extra seatpost flex (for added comfort). Canyon is really really pushing the envelope with this one.
  • 1 0
 @doggparadox: The intersection of the top tube and down tube is the head tube, is it not? The BB is the intersection between the down and seat tubes.
  • 2 0
 @MaplePanda: that would be correct. Messed up the image in my head there.
  • 4 0
 Noone going to trip out over the *gasp* "knockblock" system?!
  • 1 0
 Accomplice on iTunes today. Not gonna but this bike so gonna stop ogling it , get a beer and remember what awesome riding looks like
  • 3 0
 New project bike for Dangerholm?
  • 4 1
 What could have been, but you lost me at pressfit :/
  • 3 0
 this CF6 with Fox fork and SLX is a good deal for any racer.
  • 4 1
 Harvested at Candy Mountain.
  • 1 0
 surprised by the decision to spec 80mm stem on every frame size. also at 322g that bar/stem combo is pretty heavy by xc standards
  • 1 0
 "You don't need a math degree to realized that those numbers don't quite add up"
Please ask @mikelevy to add up. Should be easier than gears ratio Big Grin
  • 1 1
 Geometry chart lists wheel radius but not effective top tube length. Please, can someone at Canyon take the non-cycling engineer who put this table together on a bike ride with an ill fitting bike? Thanks a lot!
  • 1 0
 My Giant is my made with the same Toray carbon and it doesn't feel like a unicorny. Maybe Canyons are really built by Giant hmmm.
  • 3 0
 Huck it.
  • 2 0
 If I ever wanted to seriously race xc, I would absolutely get one of these
  • 2 0
 Holy light AF single speed!!!
  • 3 1
 Will. It blend?
  • 1 0
 Singlespeed. FU autocorrect
  • 1 1
 Cables through the headtube... didn't work out so well for the 1st gen Ripley...
  • 1 1
 I got the perfect drivetrain lube for this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqL4DRZ2EkA
  • 1 0
 I'd like to see the cut away for that cable routing
  • 1 0
 Im going to crack this frame on the first ride!
  • 1 0
 Hi Warranty? I went off a curb
  • 1 0
 And then, along came Mondraker ...
  • 1 0
 That Quicksilver paint job of the CF6 is badass!
  • 1 0
 That seat tube length is ridiculously long!
  • 3 5
 They made the seat tube even taller and didn’t touch the head tube angle? Completely missed the mark with the geometry in my opinion.
  • 5 0
 They did touch the head tube angle though, not by much but they did touch it, as stated by the article
  • 1 1
 This is some Harry Potter type of s$%@!
  • 1 1
 looks like cannondale FSI
  • 1 1
 With that long seat tube it looks like a gravel bike with a flatbar.
  • 4 0
 Actually I wouldn't mind having one as my gravel bike. Just slap on some innerbarends and Thunder Burts.
  • 1 1
 my frame is made from unicorn hair and my wheel sets made from fairy dust
  • 1 2
 Would make a great bike packer, just overfork, add an angleset, some beefier tires …..
  • 1 1
 Silly rabbit, plastics for kids
  • 1 2
 Why only 29er?? Where is 27.5?

AndCanyon as always has veru ugly color schemes Frown
Germans need to learn from Orbea
  • 6 0
 Oh i can answer your first question IT'S AN XC BIKE
  • 1 1
 This bike exceeeds my budget. wptsh
  • 1 0
 What a porker!
  • 1 2
 Canyon exceed vs curb, who will win?
  • 2 4
 Cracking news
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