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Trail Bike: The Amazing Canyon Neuron CF 9.0 SL Is an XC Racer’s

Weight: 27.6 lb.
Style: Trail
Travel: 130mm
Fork travel: 130mm
Tire size
: 2.3-inch
Wheel size: 27.5-inch (XS, S), 29-inch (M, L, XL)

If you were already having trouble deciding what mountain bike you wanted to buy in 2019, Canyon’s newest bike will probably make the decision tougher. The new Neuron CF is a 130mm trail bike that falls between the brand’s enduro and cross-country models. Previous iterations of the model have been available in Europe for a while, but this brand new iteration will be available to consumers in the U.S. starting February 2019.

Within Canyon’s line, the all-carbon Neuron sits between the Lux, a 100mm 29er cross-country race bike, and the Spectral, a rowdier 27.5-wheel enduro bike with 140mm (rear) and 150mm (fork) travel, which makes the Neuron CF a great potential option for riders who want a bike that’s multifaceted and designed to excel on variety of terrain.

Key features include a plastic cable cover running along the bottom of the downtube that keeps housing and hoses protected and makes replacing them simpler; a removable front derailleur for 2x drivetrain compatibility; a low-profile thru axle with hidden lever; room for a water bottle inside the front triangle; a threaded bottom bracket shell; and a headset stop that prevents the bar from swinging around and damaging the top tube.

Twist Stopper

This system prevents the bars and fork from damaging the fork.

Lots of Power

SRAM’s four-piston Guide brakes offer lots of stopping power.

Grunge Guard

The suspension pivots are covered to prevent contamination

Premium Handles

Ergon’s excellent GA20 lock-on grips are standard equipment.

Spikey and Grippy

The Maxxis Forekaster tires are designed for loose and wet trail conditions.

Neuron CF Options for the U.S.

There will be three unisex and two women’s-specific (designated by “WMN” in the model name) Neuron CF models available in the U.S. in 2019: the WMN CF 8.0 ($2,999), CF 8.0 ($3,499), WMN CF 9.0 ($3,999) CF 9.0 SL ($4,799), and CF 9.0 Unlimited ($6,999). As is typical for Canyon’s bikes, especially at the highest end, the Neuron is a strong value with great tech, features, and parts for the money.

The WMN CF 8.0, seen above, is complete with a Fox 34 Rhythm fork, SRAM GX Eagle groupset, SRAM Guide T brakeset, DT Swiss M1900 wheelset, 2.3-inch Maxxis Forekaster tires, Iridium WMN Trail saddle, and an Iridium dropper post.

trail bike
The geometry for every size of the Canyon Neuron CF.

Ride Impressions

It seems like every new and redesigned trail bike has been hit with the lower/longer/more-stable stick and enduroified with bigger forks, bigger brakes, wider tires, and piggyback shocks, which is great if you’re looking for a downsized enduro bike. But that’s not what everyone wants.

Canyon’s Neuron is noticeably different than shorter travel bikes with enduro feelz like Evil’s Following MB. The 130mm—with matched-travel fork—Neuron rides more like an upsized XC bike like the Yeti SB100.

This is a shorter, quicker, and livelier trail bike. The reach and wheelbase are on the shorter end of the modern trail-bike geometry spectrum—433mm and 1166mm respectively—while the BB is slightly high (38mm drop); factors which often create a livelier feeling bike. Meanwhile, the combination of 130mm travel and 51mm offset Fox 34 fork and 67.5-degree head tube angle create quicker steering feel.

For contrast, GT’s Sensor—also a 130mm bike with 130mm fork—in a size medium has 12mm longer reach, two-degree slacker head tube angle, 28mm longer wheelbase, and 11mm lower bottom bracket than the Neuron.

And though on paper the Neuron looks a lot like Cannondale’s Habit, the Neuron is another tick quicker and more XC-like on the trail.

The rear suspension is another contributor to the Neuron’s sporty feel. On paper it’s listed at 130mm, but it’s a firm and sporty 130mm. This is a crisp pedaling bike, with little apparent unwanted motion. The middle of the its travel is very supportive, and strong progression means it takes a sizable hit to get to the end of the travel.

So while trail bikes overall have been trending softer and more stable, the Neuron goes a different direction and offers riders a light feeling (in ways both good and bad – it is a touch flexy) and efficient bike that is great for covering distance, climbs efficiently, and handles well at low to moderate speeds.

It’s like an XC bike with the sharp points filed off, and a great bike for marathon racing, and demanding stage races like the Breck Epic or BC Bike Race, or riding fast on the trails not built by your local downhill racers.

The Neuron is not is a rowdy bike. Unlike some new-gen trail bikes, it won’t crush downhills, it’s not built for sending gaps, and it’s not the most stable thing. But that’s okay: the Neuron is a different kind of trail bike for a different kind of rider. If you’re looking for a trail bike that goes against current trends and is a bit more XC than enduro, this could be your bike.

Neuron CF 9.0 SL
  • 🗸Aglile and quick XC style trail bike.
  • 🗸Full-carbon frame and a carbon wheelset for less than $5k
  • ✘Rear axle came loose a few times
  • ✘Perhaps too quick and agile