This article originally published on BikeRadar
German direct-to-consumer bike brand Canyon has had yet another busy year behind the curtain, unveiling not only a new road flagship but three all-new mountain bike platforms as well. Buyers in the US will still unfortunately have to wait for the chance to purchase bikes and frames but there will at least be a teaser to start.
Canyon 2013 MTB: bigger wheels, more carbon
Canyon's new race platform flagship is the Grand Canyon CF SLX 29, a 29er carbon hardtail that was already being raced this season by the Topeak-Ergon team. While light at a claimed 1,100g for a medium size, Canyon touts more heavily the frame's stiffness and handling. Front triangle stiffness is supposedly particularly high what with the bulbous down tube, tapered head tube, and 15mm thru-axle on complete bikes, all of which should make for excellent handling precision.
However, Canyon has also paid attention to the middle and rear end, too, with the frame's huge chain stays, 142x12mm thru-axle dropouts, a flared asymmetrical seat tube design borrowed from the company's road range, and an extra-wide press-fit bottom bracket shell that also lends additional tire clearance.
Handling looks to be somewhat on the quicker side but that's appropriate given the bike's racing intentions. Head tube angle is 70 degrees across the board, chain stays are an impressively short 433mm, and the bottom bracket offset is a relatively low -60mm for what we expect to nimble steering but good stability at high speed.
Canyon has even addressed impact durability – at least concerning the possibility of your bars swinging around and slamming into the top tube. Canyon's new 'Impact Protection Unit' comprises a rigid stop bolted to the top tube (with breakaway hollow bolts) and a special headset top cover that prevents the controls from ever contacting the frame in the event of a crash. Canyon didn't provide a weight estimate for the system but it looks admirably lightweight and should be at least reasonably effective for cross-country use.
Canyon also unveiled a new 120mm-travel 26" full-suspension carbon fiber cross-country platform, the Nerve CF. Boasting an ultralight claimed frame weight of just 1.9kg (4.19lb), the new bike features a single-pivot rear end with a floating shock mount and tuned flex in the stays in lieu of conventional dropouts that Canyon says improves stiffness and reduces weight.
Despite the impressive showing at the scale, Canyon insists the Nerve CF isn't just a cross-country race machine. Head tube angle sits at a middle-of-the-road 69.5 degrees, 180mm front and rear rotors and 15mm thru-axle forks are included as standard equipment on complete builds, and there's built-in routing for RockShox's Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost.
Finally, there's also a new Nerve AL 29 range, built with a slightly less generous 110mm of travel but with 29" wheels. Canyon builds this frame using hydroformed aluminum instead of carbon fiber but claimed frame weight is an impressive 2.65kg (5.84lb) nonetheless. The Nerve AL 29 also makes do with conventional dropout pivots on the true four-bar rear end instead of the Nerve CF's fancier carbon fiber flex stays plus a more conventional fixed lower anchor for the rear shock.
Additional features include a 142x12mm thru-axle rear end, a direct mount front derailleur, internal routing for a RockShox Reverb Stealth seatpost, a tapered front end, and versatile geometry with a 70-degree head tube angle and 450mm-long chain stays.
Disc brakes coming for the road
We've already covered Canyon's new Ultimate CF SLX road flagship and Speedmax CF Evo time trial/triathlon rigs in detail so we won't bother to rehash things here. However, Canyon did preview an intriguing Ultimate CF SLX Disc concept that looked tantalizingly close to production ready.
The main frame is essentially unchanged from the standard rim brake version but the non-driveside seat stay is slightly more offset from the frame's centerline to clear the chain stay-mounted caliper. Up front is an entirely new fork, however, built with asymmetrical legs, post mount caliper tabs, and a clever clip-on hose guide that's admirably sleek and tidy.
There's no word yet on when this bike will see production but it's a fairly sure bet that it will be offered to consumers at some point in the future.
US consumers will unfortunately still have to wait an unspecified amount of time to purchase any of Canyon's frames and bikes but the company has at least found a way to get its intriguing VCLS Flat seatpost on to American soil. Conveniently, Canyon founder Roman Arnold and Ergon founder Franc Arnold are brothers and the latter will sell the new post in the US under the Ergon label.