When Canyon made its long-teased leap into the U.S. market, not all of its bikes came with it. A few were too XC, too electric, too specialized or just plain too Euro for the American palate. The Neuron was among those left behind. You’d think Canyon’s aluminum 130-millimeter-front-and-rear travel 29er would mix into the melting pot just fine, but it’ll disappear from Canyon’s web store if your region is set to North America. That, along with several aspects of the Neuron itself, changes today.
The updates made to the Neuron mirror those made to the Spectral about a year ago. There’s a protected but accessible cable channel along the downtube, painstakingly sealed and supported bearings in the main pivot, bottle mounts on all sizes, a neat little hideaway rear QR lever, and an even neater little device that keeps your bars from spinning into your top tube. But those are just party tricks. More significantly, the new Neuron CF is full carbon across its entire price range, and it went to the horizontal shock mount and accompanying new linkage seen on the Spectral and the Torque. This also means it gained the updated leverage curve we found so striking with each of those bikes. It’s meant to offer a natural ramp-up right at the sag point, consistent mid-stroke support thereafter, and a further ramp-up right before bottom-out.
Of course there’s no question this bike deserves to cross the border into the U.S. It’ll be in pretty good company. The SB130, Evil Offering and Knolly Fugitive LT are evidence we love a good mid-travel thrasher 29er … but that’s not what the Neuron is. You’ll notice there’s no “Neuron LT” or “Neuron DH” option. No builds come with a DPX2 shock, a burlier fork or even a front fender. Every single Neuron comes with a 130-millimeter-travel Fox 34 fork. And that Fox fork has a standard 51-millimeter offset and sits at a 67.5-degree head angle (67-degrees for small and XS frames, but we’ll cover that later). It would seem that the Neuron is meant to be much more mild-mannered than the North-American-born trail 29ers of today. And to drive home its status as a European immigrant, the Neuron actually supports a front derailleur.
But every Neuron build kit that’ll arrive stateside will be 1x. And every one of them is a remarkable value. There’s the Neuron CF 8.0 with a GX Eagle/Fox DPS/Fox 34 Rhythm/DT Swiss M1900 build for $3,500. Again, that’s on a full-carbon frame. But most impressive is the $4,800 Neuron CF 9.0 SL with upgrades throughout, including a set of carbon Reynolds TR 309 wheels. Canyon is also doing women’s versions of each of those with the spec dialed down a notch to $3,000 and $4,000 respectively. The women’s models receive custom touchpoints, and all small and XS Neurons are built around shorter eye-to-eye-length shocks. This increases the leverage ratio between the wheel and shock, essentially resulting in a lighter shock tune for smaller, lighter riders.Smaller, lighter riders also get something else: 27.5-inch wheels. The rear center on small and XS frames gets a little shorter in the process, shrinking from 440 down to 430 millimeters. But the bikes are still built around a 29-inch fork. Canyon claims this avoids the drastic change in geometry that comes when shrinking both wheel size and fork length, though it seems that modifying the rear end but not the front would lead to inconsistency across wheel sizes. In a more logical move, Canyon builds its small and XS bikes with a slightly narrower diameter tube set to keep them from feeling too stiff. And conversely, XL bikes are built with slightly beefier tubes. And it just happens that we’ve got an XL frame in for test, so stay tuned for an in-depth review.
This bike is meant to fill a gap that’s opened up as the aforementioned Yetis, Evils and Knollys have moved further toward the fringes. Riders looking for true adventure bikes often find themselves choosing between aggressive-XC machines that might be too XC and aggressive-trail brawlers that might be too aggressive. The Neuron is a refreshing look back at the once crowded space between.