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First Ride: 2023 Canyon Neuron

Mar 21, 2023
by Henry Quinney  


Canyon have certainly been busy. It feels like every six months another stalwart of their range gets a big refresh or update. With some of their bikes, in fact most of them with perhaps the exception of the Lux Trail we reviewed last year, these weren't mere facelifts but instead posed large, sweeping changes.

Whether it's the Sender, Torque, Strive or Spectral, Canyon seemed to put a focus on progressive geometry and sensible design. During this process the Neuron, which was never a particularly progressive bike even when it was launched, seemed to be falling away from the pack in regards to what Canyon were able to offer on other models.

Canyon Neuron Details
• Wheel size: 29"
• Carbon or aluminum frames
• Travel: 130mm / 140mm fork
• 66° head angle
• 76° seat tube angle
• Chainstay length: 430 or 440mm
• Sizes: XS - XL
• Prices from $2,099 USD
canyon.com

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It should be stated here, that the Neuron has never been, and isn't meant to be, the most out-there, descending-focused bike Canyon could make. In fact, it's more about how well compromises are struck and balanced. I would go further and say if you want a 130 mm-ish trail bike that places a bit more of an emphasis on going down then there is also the Spectral 125.

photo
The bike has a similar layout but very different numbers.

The new bikes does see it get the lower-longer-slacker treatment. The head angle is a degree less at 66, the seat tube angle steepens by a degree and a half, and the reach swells by around 20 mm on the extra-small to medium sizes, and by even more as you go to the larger sizes. The large sees an increase of around 30 mm and the XL of 45 mm - which is a lot.

Seat tubes haven't only gotten steeper but also shorter, around 20 mm less depending on your size. The carbon frame is also lighter than the outgoing model, with 200 grams shaved.

photo
The cables drop through the headset.

Frame Details

Canyon have managed to include some clever design features for their new Neuron. The integrated chain device and ample frame protection is both impressive and appreciated. While the frame doesn't have an internal hatch, it does have a wallet that can clip to the upper-bottle mounts. The Canyon Load Bad includes all the basics you will need to get you out of a spot of mid-ride trouble.

This new bike also sees new pivot hardware with improved sealing compared to the previous version, as well as revised routing. Canyon claims this routing, which goes in via the headset is better sealed and lighter. However, I don't totally understand their thinking. I'm not averse to headset routing but it needs to justify the complication with a significant aesthetic payoff. Moving a cable a few inches, whilst also leaving them exposed to the point of entry seems a bit backward and poorly executed to me.

If the headset routing doesn't aggravate the internet so much that they turn away, hopefully the threaded bottom bracket brings them back. All the frames also have bolt-on protectors for the downtube and chainstay. The chainstay protection is specifically designed to prevent chain suck, too.

A medium carbon Neuron frame has a weight of 2448 grams, and the AL Neuron 3100 grams. Both have clearance for 2.4 inch tyres.

The bike also has three bolts for the water bottle mounts, meaning that if you choose to run a piggyback shock then you can move the bottle to the lower mount which, while harder to reach for some riders, will also give the required clearance.

For those riders nervous about going direct-to-customer, Canyon have made all the spare parts and bearings available to order via their website.

photo
The wallet is a nice touch, and in my opinion doesn't look too goofy or wayward.



Geometry

photo

The Neuron seems a step in the right direction for the platform, while also not going so far as to stray away from what the bike is meant to do, and how many of its customers may intend to ride it. It's steeper in the seat tube but not so much so that it risks overloading the rider's wrists. It's also noted that it's generous in terms of stack. That should not only provide a more relaxed seated position but also stop the longer reach and still not-excessive seat tube angle making the bike feel too large when seated.

That stack on the new bike is greater than the outgoing Neuron, in the large in particular, where it increases by around 15 mm.

That stack may well also help the rider get their weight over the rear axle when the trails get steeper, too. The bike is also slacker. Again, nothing extreme. Having ridden the Neuron, I think they could have probably quite happily taken another degree off the head angle and it would only improve the bike but, then again, if you ask Mike Levy, people in the Sea to Sky only ride triple-black-rainbow-crushed-diamonds, so maybe our demands are different. However, I look at something like the Transition Smuggler, and when you ride that the 65-degree head angle really makes the bike feel a lot more planted and less willing to be bullied on the front end.




photo
Canyon have been making some really great integrated chain guides in recent years, and the Neuron gets the same treatment.

Models & Pricing
photo
The new Neuron Young Hero is a kids bike that will feature, 27.5” wheels, and the same trail geometry and suspension kinematics as the full-size Neuron. The Neuron Young Hero will be available for €1,599, and is not available in the US.

photo
In the US, there will be the alloy-framed SRAM-equipped NS or SX Neuron 5 or 6, for $2,099 or $2,599 respectively. However, other locations will see the very sensibly equipped XT Neuron 7, which looks like a winner to me.

photo
The Neuron CF 9 SL will sell for $5,499 and has Fox Factory suspension, AXS GX and carbon XMC1501 wheels.



Initial Impressions

I've had to opportunity to ride the Neuron in between snowstorms in the Canadian winter. It's an exciting bike, that's for sure. The amount of these that will be sold will make it a very important bike, too.

My test bike, the Neuron CF 9 SL, has some great features and feels a lot like a long-legged cross-country bike that's happy to gallop up trails and cruise down them. When pushed, it's a bike that can sometimes get bullied by the trail slightly due to its combination of not-that-slack geometry and, in my opinion, peculiar spec choices. Then again, what it loses in this area, it gains in terms of sharp handling and efficiency.

It's versatile if you want something to double up for XC duty, and perhaps not if you're looking for something that's going to encroach on the territory of the 150 or 160 mm bike. That said, a 200 mm front rotor and GRIP2 damper would help.

The traction on the rear hasn't blown me away, and can often feel like it struggles to really track and settle on anything nearing rough. On smoother trails, though, it can hold its own, and is much more comfortable on trails that have a constant speed, rather than ones where you're trying to slow the bike down into turns or tech.

It feels efficient, and rides lighter than the 14ish kilograms (30.8 lb) that it is. The pedalling position is comfortable and neutral, and it's a strong technical climber.

Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
341 articles

116 Comments
  • 163 4
 Nice looking bike, shame about the stupid headset.
  • 74 0
 Just the worst. Could we just fast-forward a few years of development to get rid of this garbage?
  • 78 2
 There are so many brands putting "do-not-buy" stickers right onto their bikes steerer tubes lately.


Only on the carbon modell on this bike though.
  • 10 0
 Yes, considering that there is not internal nor external routing option in you want to swap to a normal headset.... unless you've got a good driller, a zip ties army, and a strong appetite for wasting a bike.
  • 24 37
flag mr-fabio (Mar 21, 2023 at 3:29) (Below Threshold)
 @JohSch: To be honest that is not a deal breaker for me. I would buy the bike. I personally think internal routing looks clean and I like it. I don't see much of a hassle maintenance wise.

Now bring the pitchforks and torches
  • 15 0
 If it just had a normal headset, so we could swap the stock one for a -2deg headset...
  • 31 0
 i wouldn't mind headset routing if it really tidied up the cabled and properly hid them, but it doesn't look any cleaner than cables going into the headtube anyway so i really wonder whats th point, it's not worth it, just manufacturers saving on the cost of holes in a headtube.
  • 18 1
 @mr-fabio: A proper tube-in-tube routing is totally fine. You push the housing in one end and it pops out the other no problem. Headset routing is an abomination and something internal and external routing fans should be united on to destroy this evil that plagues the earth.
  • 11 1
 @maglor: yes, its purely cost.

I have a feeling Acros give this sh1te headsets to bike manuf’s for free, so that Acros sell a new headset every 3 months due to water ingress / poor quality bearings.
  • 5 2
 I'd suggest we all pop into our local bike shops pretending to be in the market for a new biike. Find the most expensive one with headset routing, then just before handing over the card suddenly notice the headset routing and walk away. Not sure how this would work for web sales, maybe a "Tik-Tok" is it? of the browsing process instead. (The latter would at least stop headset routing in China).
  • 14 1
 Oh man, what an epic fail. Canyon, I just bought a Torque off you a few weeks ago, am very happy. Am shopping for a new trail bike for my wife, was seriously interested when I saw you've updated the Neuron. Once I saw the headset routing, I won't look at this bike any further. Please understand, I will never buy a bike with headset cable routing. Never.
  • 3 0
 @mr-fabio: Torched and pitchforked. Poor guy
  • 61 6
 Best video intro ever! All pb editors should mandatory from now on do this
  • 62 0
 Yeah, I've mandated a new company policy that all intros have to be via song and interpretive dance.
  • 6 0
 @brianpark: Laying the groundwork for a pivot into Pinkbike TikTok dances and the repeating revenue of Spotify.. very smart
  • 8 1
 @brianpark: you’d better start adding chapters to your videos so I can skip the song and dance intro. Henry’s singing was the most painful thing I’ve endured so far today
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: I see you secret plan- Get Disney to free Pinkbike from Outside!
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: If Henry aka Hank-the-Shank gets some sweet laid back licks on the guitar in the background, can we get distortion on a banjo for Levy's soundtrack?
  • 1 0
 @chrsei: no! You must not be a Star Wars fan.
  • 1 0
 @TwoNGlenn: Andor was absolutely amazing though, best SW since Empire strikes back.
  • 1 0
 @Rusettipasta: I haven’t seen it. Still a poor ratio of good/bad.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: Looking forward to adding Levy and have them do a Milli Vanilli spoof.
  • 6 1
 I'm 6 minutes in and this is already the best bike review video I've ever seen. Riding genres lambasted, brand identities deftly defined, and dry humor delivered flawlessly. Don't know a thing about the bike yet and I'm ok with that.
  • 1 0
 @TwoNGlenn: What is the bad? Andor was a great series, period. Not just a great SW series. The only bad part I can think of was the gang of cyborg kids that were the Jar Jar Binks of Book of Boba Fett. The Mandolorian has been solid, as has Kenobi.
  • 2 0
 Henry, blink twice at the start of your next video if you need our help escaping.
  • 2 1
 @ReformedRoadie: The movies with Rey were unfulfilling, to be polite. I initially thought it was cool to have a female as the lead role, but eventually realized she had zero character arc, was fairly unlikable, and faced no real challenges. She was a total Mary Sue. The treatment Luke was criminal, as was the death of Han.
The movie "Solo" was mediocre. Kenobi seems more about Reva than anything. I haven't seen Andor, so maybe it's good, eh? All I'm saying is that the SW franchise has waded into the Girl Power arena. While that's cool for a bit, it gets tedious when all the females are smart, flawless, and wise, but the men are feckless wimps who need someone more "diverse" to bail them out every situation.

Oh, and Rogue One was awesome!
  • 2 0
 @TwoNGlenn: Actually, IMO the Disney stuff is better than episodes 1-3. 4-6 is cult than CGI killed it.
  • 1 0
 @TwoNGlenn: Andor is sooo good. If you liked Rogue one, it's a no brainer.
Solo was...ok.
You have to admit the Kenobi v. Vader fight was pretty good.
What do you think of the Mandolorian?
  • 28 0
 MVDP will be reeling like a teenage girl from that hit
  • 2 0
 I see what you did there..
  • 32 6
 Sram brakes are stupid : you need the DH model with 200mm rotors for a 130mm trail bike. I wonder why they bother to make Guide and Level models
  • 14 6
 I don't think being labeled as the DH model is as bad as the floating bite point and leaky calipers of Shimano. I just had to replace the seals on an XT caliper a couple months ago... oh no wait, Shimano doesn't sell seals. Their calipers are disposable.
  • 5 1
 @jeremy3220: yet, there is a load of companies making seals, slave pistons, master piston... My deores from 4 years ago are top notch. they had the wandering bite point, but a pacient bleed and new not shimano oil got rid of it.

I also broke a ceramic piston, but got all 4 replaced by high end aluminium ones with brand new seals too.
  • 7 0
 I complained so much about my ride on Guide brakes that my buddies made me a "Sponsored by Guide R" t-shirt for my birthday.
  • 1 2
 @Notmeatall: But those companies aren't Shimano. Not really a point in their favor.
  • 1 0
 Are they really that bad? I had Juicy 5 brakes on an old bike and they had enough stopping power. Are the new Guides less powerful or do they have other issues?
  • 1 0
 @Jacquers: I'm sure Guide R's aren't as bad as rim brakes, but they sure felt like it compared to the XT's I was used to.
  • 1 0
 @Notmeatall: what "not shimano oil" are you using? I am interested in such a solution for my deore brakes.
  • 1 0
 @skyroach: I'm using Motul 2,5w fork oil. It's boiling point is the highest that I can put my hands on. I've seen people using Putoline GPR6 2.5w (for rear shock) with great sucess, and also that british madman (Bernard Kerr) team using Motorex Hidraulic Fluid 75.
  • 22 0
 Based on the difference of the cable routing it has never been more tempting to go for the alloy option.
  • 3 0
 If only the seattube wasn't bend...
  • 15 1
 Kudos to the creative minds at PB, you've really carved out an identity and then evolved it again recently. Considering how many people hate seeing themselves on video, is it a coincidence that all your tech editors have such good screen presence, or are you recruiting with that in mind and then putting them through a tonne of media training?
  • 11 0
 Fantastic first look (despite the singing) Smile
Great comments about stack height, too, which is the only measure on the Fuel Ex where I was scratching my head.
Henry can really sell you a bike during the coffee break Smile
  • 12 1
 I think it looks like a nicely balanced trail bike for people who prefer intermediate trails.
  • 3 0
 Or for those with mellower terrain. I split my time between the east and west coast, and my bike needs for the two different riding areas are... Uh... Very different.
  • 8 0
 Ridden several Canyon models(including the Neuron) over the last few years at various bike festivals and always walked away thinking "it's a decent bike because of the price." I'm not suggesting their bikes are dogs rather I just don't get super excited about them. If they weren't a direct to consumer brand I think they'd have a rougher go at it. Was also expecting to see the top end spec on this review weighing closer to 28-29lbs. 31lbs for a top spec 130/140mm bike is a bit chunky. Don't get me wrong. I could totally have fun on this bike, but with so many more good options it's getting harder and harder to stand out.
  • 2 0
 interesting. Totally opposite of my experience. I walked away from my Whistler demo on a Spectral thinking it was one of the best bikes I've ridden in a long time.
  • 9 0
 Lets get real here, headset cable routing is being pushed so that manufacturers can simplify frame production and remove the openings where prior routing would have gone. Cost reduction being push as innovation...nonsense.
  • 10 1
 Absolutely in love with all of these 140/130 reasonably priced trail bikes lately
  • 9 1
 Also, great video Henry - this was a great mix of fun and information that works really well
  • 8 2
 3K EUR for CF8 carbon, complete SLX, FOX performance and DT Swiss XM wheels is absolute steal. Not sure why they still insist with 27.5 for size Small though...
  • 4 0
 Edit: Just realized the weight in the video seems about right, but the weight in the article is different.

Also: The under-chin lighting is normally horrendous for human faces. Henry pulls it off. That's true glamour right there.
  • 2 0
 I fully agree with you. Something doesn't add up. With all those carbon parts, and carbon wheels, 29.5 lbs for the CF9SL seems very heavy. I'm wondering if the claimed frame weight is for an XS, 27.5 bike and without the shock. That would make a bit more sense.
  • 5 0
 So basically geo, weight and price of my 2020 Orbea Occam, except inferior cable routing and 10mm less rear travel. I guess that's still progress.
  • 3 0
 It's great that Canyon HAS made a mid-travel trailbike that isn't too far out there in any regard. Probably suits a ton of riders. It's also sad the Canyon HAS jumped onto the silly headset routing bandwagon. Sheesh, we just get bike cos to almost unilaterally comb back around to threaded BBs and now we're off to the silly races again with a new fad.
  • 5 2
 @henryquinney - While I could definitely do without the singing and comedy, I think you nailed it with the discussion about the interplay between STA, HTA and stack and how that may relate to different terrain. Undulating is definitely a thing for most people. This is the info that can help a lot of people decipher reviews when making buying decisions and comparing bikes. Well done.
  • 4 0
 Call it the Canyon Neuron 2023 review.

Shoot a nice video.

Lots of talk about how the Canyon is a bit of doing everything / kinda sorta.. and then..

Slap it around the ears with the Transition. Keep it up guys.
  • 5 0
 Ha ha, love these type of videos, different, funny and entertaining. Makes me laugh...
  • 7 1
 That intro song was killer! Henry i love it!
  • 1 0
 I wonder about sizing - previously I was fitting into L with 182cm - now it is M (bike grew by 1cm with 183 now being max for M and min for L - previously it was 182). Any thoughts (taking into account other measurements) how accurate is their calculator now?
  • 1 0
 Btw: my inseam is 88 cm
  • 2 1
 I stopped watching at internal headset routing. Immediate pass for me and don't care how great the rest of the bike may be. There are plenty of phenomenal bikes these days and I'll pick one that isn't displaying this level of stupid.
  • 1 0
 No problem with a conservative platform in the lineup, and it looks great. My issue with the Neuron is just that it's mismatched. With this geometry, I'd prefer shorter travel and lighter weight (Element, Spur, or Epic Evo with higher stack), OR with this travel/weight I'd prefer more aggressive geo.
  • 4 0
 Can’t wait for the Quinney and Joe Barnes collab
  • 4 0
 only thing the matters… HEAD SET CABLE ROUTING Frown
  • 7 0
 canyon trying to sell us more alumium bikes Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @bohne: true that
  • 1 0
 I wanna know more about the hate towards headset cable routing. Why is it hated, is it due to rattling or what?
  • 3 0
 Cheers to @henryquinney for carrying on the tradition of British guys reinterpreting the blues.
  • 5 1
 Damn that was one of the best videos of all time!
  • 3 1
 Yes!!! Great, creative and entertaining video! Kudos to whomever came up with the ideas and the filming / editing team(s) - especially for the intro of this video. Well done.
  • 2 0
 Good looking bike, but seem quite heavy at 30.8lbs with a 2448 gram frame. Not sure if I dig the 27.5 wheels on the small frame. I ride smalls and like 29er wheels.
  • 4 0
 one more to add to the Henry Quinney cringe list
  • 2 0
 Good god, the first half of the video review was un-bearable. Too much meaningless filler, so i skipped to the second half of the video when the bike appears.
  • 4 2
 Uninterrupted seat tube, hallelujah. Good to see more bikes with this feature.
  • 6 0
 Its bonkers how many manufacturers still have stupid kinked seat tubes in the era of cheap long travel droppers.
Must be at least 80%. of frames.
Always a big no no for me
  • 2 0
 @Kebabroll:
Yea same. One of the reasons I love the hope hb916 is you can slam a 240mm one up dropper in a large!
  • 1 0
 @rich-2000: Ideal! I’ll stick to my trusty single pivot filing cabinet for that same reason.
Those kinked tubes also have the post at a silly angle. Sooo wrong.
  • 3 0
 henry you've the singing voice of an angel, more please Smile
  • 2 3
 Patient: "Doctor: My FOICAR (Fear Of Internal CAble Routing) is getting worse and worse!"
Doctor: "I know, the only thing you really can do: Buy bikes that are made from aluminum, have ECAR (External CAble Routing), BSA/T47 and don't cost a Yeti. That will take away any raison d'être from FOICAR and extinct it once and for all."
And now, my dear patient, get out there, and be brave.
Oh, and don't forget to look for bottle cage mounting points inside the main triangle. That will help too!"
  • 4 0
 NOPE
  • 2 0
 The bike or Henry's cringe-inducing singing? Or perhaps both?
  • 3 0
 Top Gear meets PB. Dig it.
  • 1 0
 Can FIT4 please die a horrible death? I wonder how low Fox went on the OE pricing for this 34 in order for Canyon to pass up GRIP 2
  • 1 0
 Fit4 has its purpose. The amount of available compression damping far exceeds what is available on the revalved (in ‘22 I believe) Grip2. That is part of the reason why I purposely, of my own volition, purchased a Fit4 fork recently. Sacrilege, I know.
  • 1 0
 @heffernw: even with a custom tune I never liked the feel of mine. What do you weigh, if you don't mind me asking? Regardless it seems like an odd fit for the Shadow cat
  • 1 0
 @Jshemuel: I am about 190 pounds right now. I find more than enough range personally in the open setting using the 22 clicks of low speed adjustment, and sometimes use the middle setting for dirt jumping duties. I am not in a rush to change things, but I could see myself installing the Fractive kit from Vorsprung down the line as I will admit the firmest setting doesn’t serve me much purpose currently.
  • 1 0
 @heffernw: ah, I'm 135.
  • 3 0
 Behold, a heavier Canyon Izzo with a worse fork...
  • 1 0
 Damn, u wrote my exact thoughts!
  • 2 0
 Commençal Tempo headset has opened a new world.
  • 1 3
 I am not sure what I just watched but I liked!!!
Thank you for not letting @mikelevy do the review. He is good but too predictable.
I am now going on the Transition site to check the bike out... and the canyon one as well, later.
  • 1 0
 Btw Henry, it says 66 degree head angle and 76 degree head angle in the top description box!
  • 2 0
 HAH song gave me a laugh this morning. Love it. Thanks, Henry
  • 1 0
 Henry has really come into his own. Time to promote him to Levy’s intern…?
  • 3 1
 Henry really coming into his own as a presenter here. Nice bikes, too.
  • 3 1
 Comedy gold. Henry is hitting his stride.
  • 2 0
 If not notes.
  • 1 0
 I’d be expecting a call from MVDP’s people.

Also. I would have predicted a Morrissey tribute over the blues.
  • 1 0
 Is there a dictionary for Henry’s English? I know/use pillock but some of his other ones….I enjoyed that.
  • 1 0
 Jacob Rees-Mogg in a decked out Citroen Saxo, listening to Wu-Tang I'm here for this
  • 1 0
 hmm that's odd I was watching the video when suddenly both my speakers blew out.
  • 2 0
 What frame bag is that?
  • 1 0
 I wonder how this compares to the Norco Fluid. Similar geometry.
  • 11 14
 I'm not sure I like it. Looks like a decent bike at first, but the closer you look, the more stuff you see that seems just slightly off the mark.

The frame geometry is a bit on the conservative side - wouldn't have looked out of place on a bike released in 2018, but seems a bit dated for 2023. The rear suspension uses a very long yoke to drive the shock. The cables are routed through the headset. The CF8 complete build with a carbon frame for 3.000 € looks good on paper, but then again the frame is only rated ASTM category 3 so probably neither strong nor durable. The build kit also looks good at first, but then you see stuff like the house-brand dropper post, acros headset, stepcast fork with fit4 damper, fragile XM1700 wheels, Shimano BB52, small brakes, cheap raceface cockpit with long stem and narrow bars, etc.

Remains to be seen if the bike really is inexpensive, or just cheap.
  • 1 1
 On the green and black bike the colour change in front of the bottom bracket makes it look like an ebike Frown
  • 1 0
 66 or 76 head angle? Siiick!!
  • 2 0
 It's one hell of a flip chip
  • 1 0
 This better be on Quinney’s greatest hits album.
  • 1 0
 Its a crime that i can't find this song on Spotify
  • 1 0
 my monitor screen cracked
  • 1 0
 Seat tube is rather long.
  • 2 0
 So it’s an Izzo.
  • 1 0
 Did he really say “The Earth is flat”? WTF?!!
  • 1 0
 Boring !
  • 1 3
 Non-ebike reviews are boring, there is only so much that can be said about frame geometry and ride dynamics, big motors and big batteries are exciting.







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