For 2019, Canyon have redesigned the Neuron, their 130mm travel trail bike. The updated Neuron, which will now be available in the US, has updated suspension workings and more modern geometry. It takes some major aesthetic cues from the Lux, Canyon's 100mm XC bike, and the Spectral, their more aggressive trail bike. The Neuron sits pretty squarely between the two as a versatile 130mm trail bike.
The medium, large, and XL Neurons roll on 29" wheels, while the small and XS bikes are designed around 27.5" wheels. There's a wide range of build options and there's also a women's specific build that has different touch points. The Neuron starts at $3,499 USD / 2,699 EUR and then the top end 9.0 Unlimited build sells for $6,999 USD.
Canyon Neuron Details
• Intended use: XC / trail
• Wheel size: 29" (Small and XS 27.5")
• Rear wheel travel: 130mm
• Boost 12x148
• Carbon frame
• Size: S through XL
• Weight: 12.4kg - (CF9.0 LTD)
• Price: $3,499 - $6,999 USD
• Available this spring
While Canyon is a newer name to the bike game in the United States when compared to the likes of Trek or Specialized, the direct-to-consumer German brand has a well-established presence in Europe. Canyon have control over every aspect of the design and construction of their bikes, and are able to deliver their bikes at very competitive prices directly to riders by foregoing the once traditional bike shop sales model.
Back in the day, the Neuron was the Nerve. The Nerve had been reimagined a few times, as most bikes typically are, and was a mainstay in Canyon's line. It served much the same purpose as the modern Neuron does - an "all-rounder" that suits a variety of riders. As a capable 26" bike to start and then a 29er, the Nerve was apparently pretty successful until the advent of 27.5" wheels.
The Nerve, at this point, was essentially dead and needed a full update and re-branding. Bring on the Neuron. Frame Details Full carbon frame:
Front to back, the Neuron is all carbon and that's the only way it comes.IPU:
Canyon's IPU (Impact Protection Unit) keeps the bars from over-rotating to the point where your controls could damage the top tube in the event of a crash, or if your bike inadvertently tips over onto the sidewalk while you're waiting in line for a cappuccino before your morning ride.1x or 2x:
There's a removable front derailleur mount that gives the option of running the Neuron as a 1x or 2x bike.
Frame Options / Build Kits
Cable routing: The Neuron uses a bolt-on cable guide/guard to simply and neatly route cables on the downtube. It does double duty as added protection against rock strike and shuttle pad damage. It's replaceable if you break it for far less money than a new frame would cost.
Sealed and covered bearings: Bearings on the Neuron are sealed and covered as much as possible. The idea, according to Canyon, is to prevent debris from getting anywhere close to where it could do damage. Low maintenance seems to be an underlying theme in the design.
The bearings are asymmetrical on the main pivot with two on the drivetrain side and one on the non-drive side. In addition to the standard sealed bearings, there is an added additional seal next to the bearings themselves functioning as an outer shield. The shock extension also acts in this capacity, further protecting the bearings beneath it.
The Neuron is available in five different build options. All of the bikes have 130mm of travel front and back. The builds start at $3,499 USD for the CF 8.0 which has a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide T brakes, Fox 34 Rythym fork, and aluminum DT wheels with a claimed weight of 29.1 lb (13.22 kg).
The Neuron CF 9.0 Unlimited get the top-of-the-line parts spec, complete with Shimano's new 12-speed XTR drivetrain, a Fox Factory 34 fork, and a DT Swiss carbon XMC 1200 wheelset. The Unlimited weighs a reported 26.7 lb (12.12 kg) and sells for $6,999 USD.
In addition to these builds, there are also two "women's specific builds" that feature the same geometry and frame but different contact points including narrower bars and a shorter stem. The women's specific build is available on the GX and X01 Eagle options.
For the 8.0 and 9.0 builds that feature aluminum wheels, Canyon have gone with two different rim widths. The front is 30mm while the back is 25. The logic behind this is that it saves weight and allows for a more appropriate tire profile.Geometry / Kinematics
The Neuron, according to Canyon is designed to be balanced and "easy" to ride. To achieve this, they gave the bike fairly conservative geometry numbers. The headtube on the 27.5" wheeled XS and S frames is 67° and those bikes have 430mm chainstays. The M-XL bikes with 29" wheels have a 67.5° headtube and 440mm chainstays. The seattube angle is 74.5° on all bikes, which is a pretty conservative number compared to some other bikes we've seen as of late.
Canyon says they did a lot of testing in developing the bike and went with some slightly un-orthodox spec to get all of the bikes, in all sizes, to offer the same ride feel. The XS and S, even though they have 27.5" wheels, use the same 29" fork with 51mm of offset found on the larger frame sizes. The smaller bikes have 4mm less trail in order to create the same feel as the larger sized bikes. They also claim that for smaller riders, "a 27.5" wheel already feels like a 29er."
Taking all of this a little further, Canyon have also spec'd the XS and S bikes with a 740mm handlebar. Now, it's not difficult to draw the correlation between smaller riders with narrower shoulders needing a narrower bar however, Canyon say that there's more to it. In their testing and research they found that handlebar width coupled with the amount of trail a bike has was directly correlated to how the bike rides. Engineers and riders tested different bar widths on different frame sizes and with different fork offsets and even wheel sizes to come up with this conclusion.
According to Canyon, this is the same testing that led them to spec the XS and S bikes as a 27.5" wheeled only ride, coupled with a 29" fork. If you look at the geo chart, there's even a new column and number to make this more scientific. In making this number consistent across sizes the way they wanted, they say that the bike feels the same across frame sizes and works just as good for a shorter rider as a taller one. Whether this is the result of too much time in a lab and over-engineering, or if it actually has some tangibility on the trail is yet to be proven, but I suspect this isn't the last time we'll see this number in a geo chart.
The suspension on the Neuron takes some inspiration from Canyon's Sender DH rig, but is scaled back to a "trail" application. There's a high amount of sensitivity built into all stages of the travel.
The first phase of travel is sensitive, the middle is designed to be supportive and then the end of the travel ramps up to prevent a harsh bottom out. The XS and S bikes have a 195x45mm shock and the M-XL bikes have a 210x50mm.
The smaller bikes have a different kinematic from the larger sized bikes. Canyon's engineers attribute this to the riders on smaller bikes generally being lighter than average and needing different tunes than riders on a larger bike, as well as the smaller bikes having a higher leverage ratio than the larger bikes. This puts a smaller and lighter rider more in the middle of the shock's range of settings, rather than at the extreme, allowing for more adjustability out of the box.
I had the opportunity to check out the new Neuron in western Portugal, where, in addition to speaking with the engineers and product team about what was new with the Neuron, I was able to get a good day of riding in on the bike.
In addition to climbing up paved roads through villages and spinning along on steep gravel paths in the forest, there was singletrack and chunky rock-laden descents over fire charred hillsides. From technical, rooty and rock to mellow and smooth, there was a little bit of everything. It definitely wasn't a bike park, and I'd say the riding we did was just good old fashioned mountain biking - the type of terrain the Neuron was designed Neuron for.
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In addition to sharing a very similar aesthetic to Canyon's new Lux
cross-country race bike, the Neuron also behaves in quite the same manner as it moves through its suspension. As advertised, the bike is supportive and supple, although I did toggle the pedaling platform on the shock off and on at times. The need for it isn't huge, especially if you pedal circles more than squares, but when you've been going uphill for what seems like hours, you'll take what you can get as far as help goes, even if it's more mental than anything else.
The bike felt stable and confident in tight uphill corners, however, most of the climbing that we did was more on wide open terrain, so the real verdict on that will have to wait for when I have one back on familiar terrain for a longer period of time. Overall, while pointed uphill, the Neuron performed about as well as a 130mm bike should in the terrain I was in. Nothing stood out and really wowed me, but there was nothing that detracted from the experience either. It's a solid and capable climber.
One thing that's worth noting is that while there is a generous amount of standover on the Neuron, the seat mast is fairly tall. Tall enough that on a size medium, with the dropper post spec'd, the shortest seat height one can run is 70 cm. If you need a lower seat height than this, you can either use a shorter dropper post, or you'll want to size down, and that will put you on a 27.5" wheeled bike. This ties in with Canyon's philosophy of having all of the bikes ride the same, despite wheel size, however, a lot of people are accustomed to buying bikes based on wheel size. Whether Canyon's philosophy of bar width, trail, and those numbers adding up to a consistent ride can be validated as science or dismissed as snake oil, this is going to be a mental hurdle for some riders to get past.Descending
When it comes to descending, the Neuron very noticeably carries over some traits from the Lux, and it feels closer to it than its other longer travel sibling, the Spectral. With 30% sag the suspension was supple and handled small bumps well, and didn't shy away from soaking up larger hits, although there are limits to how hard it can be pushed.
The Neuron has a very balanced, neutral feel. It's not super long or slack, and its performance place it smack dab in the middle of the trail category. To compare it to a bike that has been out for a bit now, the Neuron has a similar feel to Pivot's new Trail 429, and the numbers associated with both of the bikes back this up. The chainstays on the Neuron are a little more lengthy and while this seemed to help keep the bike pretty stable in higher speed technical terrain, I wasn't blown away by the bike's ability to corner. It did a decent job, but wasn't overly quick when it got tight.First Impressions