Canyon’s Neuron line resides somewhere between the XC and Trail bike categories, whatever that means in this era of ever expanding product categorization. Canyon tend to communicate the line as a “bridge” between their Lux full suspension XC bike and the Spectral Trail/Enduro offering. Going so far as to reference the name, Neuron, as the nerves “that bridge between cells in the body”. Of course they also refer to the Neuron line as a perfect “touring bike”, which sounds like justification to millennials that they won’t feel triggered by not being fast enough. (Insert Gen-X angst here).
However you want to classify it, the Neuron is designed to address the emerging market of mid-travel, slightly more slack, do anything workhorses just as capable riding fast XC as hitting black lines at the local bike park. Canyon’s addition of the CF SLX to the Neuron line reinforces the all important “light weight” aspect to that all-rounder status… and thus confuses things a bit. Is this a race bike, is it an all day or multi-day “touring” rig, what are we looking at?
Whatever it is, the Neuron CF SLX is intriguing… just don’t call it down-country am I right Pinkbike fans?
Coming in at just 2280 grams for the frameset (size M), the SLX lops 250 grams off the already lightweight Neuron CF SL. In the top of the line Shimano XTR build the full bike weighs just 11.7 kg/25.8 lbs, which is just 1.5 kg/3 lbs heavier than Canyon’s top of the line XC race bike.
So, the Neuron CF SLX is an XC bike right? Something you would want for BC Bike Race, or the Moab Rocks races. Its light but its capable. This is not a rigid whippet of an XC bike which will leave you feeling the days terrain… even if that 3 lbs saved a few seconds on that long climb.
The Neuron CF SLX boasts 130mm of travel front and rear. Giving 30mm more travel than most pure XC race bikes, and kicking the standard 120mm for the category up a notch. Somewhat like Shimano XTR 51t cog’s one tooth middle finger to SRAM’s 50 tooth Eagle low gear.
With races like BC Bike race, the Trans-Rockies Moab and Golden offerings, TransAlp and many other races finally skewing toward longer and multi-day formats as well as more demanding terrain, not to mention our favorite, off road multisport, we believe the mid-travel, light weight bike is a much needed segment.
The fact is Geoff Kabush dominated many of the premier long distance MTB races in 2019 riding the Yeti SB 100, a 120mm/100mm travel bike. The Neuron CF SLX falls right in line with the Yeti and similar bikes like the Scott Spark, the Specialized Epic EVO, and many others.
In the end, how and if that extra 10mm is utilized will come down to personal preference and riding style.
Geometry and Fit
The geometry of the Neuron follows through with Canyon’s bridge concept with the head tube angle being slightly slacker than the XC bike and slightly steeper than the Trail bike.
For the rider the slacker build from pure XC will impart confidence on steep and feature rich terrain, while the light weight retains the quickness you want on climbs and less technical trail.
One feature of the Neuron line we really like is the full spectrum adjustment based on size. Not only do the XS and S sizes utilize 27.5 wheel size they also feature size adjusted bars and stems as well as adjustments to tubing diameter and top tube height, thus making each size a fully developed concept for that size’s needs.
That said the SLX fame is not currently available in XS and S sizes, most likely due to those frame sizes currently being manufactured. DirtTRI will be sharing that availability as soon as we have more information.
The Neuron line offers several interesting features we believe all riders will appreciate.
To keep you on the trail the whole year round, the Neuron
comes equipped with long-life industrial-grade bearings
with double-lip seals, and a specially formulated
grease that repels water and dirt more effectively than
standard lubricants. The main pivot – subject to especially
high loads – is completely enclosed by additional
x-ring seals, and is also protected by a screw-on cap,
keeping dirt and moisture well away. The main pivot is
also asymmetrical, with two bearings on the drive side to
cope with higher loads due to chain tension.
Internal cable routing results in a clean, refined look while
also protecting cables from dirt and water. To make maintenance
as simple as possible, we’ve integrated a plastic cable
channel into the down tube, which protects the frame from
flying stones and ground impacts, and allows the cables to
be swapped out quickly. Individual parts of the cable channel
are also simple to replace if required.
Impact Protection Unit
The Impact Protection Unit (IPU) – designed and patented
by Canyon – protects the top tube from being damaged
by the brake or gear levers in the event of a crash or
because of hits sustained during transport. When hit
hard, the IPU’s hollow screws are designed to break and
absorb the impact, leaving the top tube unharmed. The
IPU can be replaced if needed.
For the DirtTRI Athlete
Ok, we get it, its a nice bike, what makes it any better than my… (insert brand here)?
Well, firstly DirtTRI is on the Canyon demo list. We are still a little guy in the review world, so we expect to actually throw a leg over the bike in early 2020… unless we can find a demo somewhere nearby.
That said, we do genuinely find this to be an intriguing bike. Off road multisport is not a single discipline and therefore the physical and equipment demands are different than straight MTB racing. For many athletes, particularly those new to off road triathlon and mountain biking, will find a bit more travel and a bit slacker geometry to be confidence inspiring.
For the more experienced athlete a bit more travel, or full suspension in general is often a game changer when it comes to running off the bike. Sure, many of the UCI World Cup racers still ride hard tails, but they aren’t trying to run after those races. The muscular and structural demands which come with the micro-vibrations and terrain challenges of mountain biking are significantly less when riding full suspension. When it comes to running after a hard MTB leg the benefits can be massive.
Lastly with XTERRA’s recent announcement of a shift toward fewer but larger events we, the off road triathletes, are left with opportunities for new races.
While we at DirtTRI are working hard to develop and promote non-XTERRA off road triathlons we would strongly suggest looking into some of the MTB races we mentioned above, and we are working on partnerships there as well.
The Breck Epic, Golden 6, BC Bike Race, Moab Rocks, TransAlp and so on are amazing events in amazing places. We as off road multisport endurance athletes are fully capable of single discipline racing. A bike like the Canyon Neuron CF SLX presents the DirtTRI athlete with an excellent platform which can complete with the best in pure XC, long distance more technical XC, and could even dabble in Enduro if you are so inclined.
This is where our mind goes when we say this is an “intriguing bike”.
Find Canyon’s Press Release below.
CANYON ADDS SUPER-LIGHT NEURON CF SLX TO ITS 130 MM FULL-SUS PORTFOLIO
With its 130 millimetres of suspension travel, the Neuron is extremely versatile and one of the most popular full suspension bikes in Canyon’s MTB portfolio. Capable of tackling everything from after-work trail sessions to
multi-day stage races, this bike is nimble uphill yet not afraid to let it rip on descents. Now the family welcomes a new, ultra low-weight top model Neuron CF SLX 9.0 LTD at $6499.
The Neuron CF SLX frame weighs a mere 2,280 grams*, 250 grams less than the already light Neuron CF SL. Thanks to its top-level spec with Shimano XTR 1×12 drivetrain and brakes, FOX Float DPS Factory shock and FOX 34 Factory fork as well as DT Swiss XMC1200 carbon wheels, the Neuron CF SLX 9.0 LTD achieves a total weight of super-light 11.7 kg (size M). The impressive 250-gram weight saving on the frame is due to the use of
special 40T UD carbon fibers, which at the same time further increase the tensile strength of the main frame and rear triangle. To pay tribute to this engineering achievement, the Canyon designers have given the CF SLX
frame a very special finish. A minimally coloured “Tinted Black” clear lacquer allows the rider a clear view of the carbon fibre structures on the top tube at all times.
With the newcomer, the Neuron family includes six models ranging from the aluminum Neuron AL 6.0 SL at $1999 through the carbon Neuron CF 9.0 SL at $4499 and up to this new Neuron CF SLX LTD at $6499. Learn
more at http://www.canyon.com/us