Born in Germany, Canyon makes some of the best bikes you can buy, and their business model is entirely based online. Now they are shifting their Germanic focus to making some of the best electric bikes you can buy. Also, no surprise here given their mountain bike heritage, some of the best electric mountain bikes.
Retailing in the UK and the rest of Europe as well as Australia and the US, the brand has serious pedigree with Canyon bikes being ridden by professional athletes across a range of cycling disciplines. They’re also incredibly popular bikes, due in part to their excellent value for money.
Canyon’s direct-sell model is partly to thank for this. Bikes are purchased online via the Canyon website, then assembled and shipped out to customers almost ready to ride. Usually, all you need to do is open the box, unpack the bike and pop the handlebars on the stem with all necessary tools and instructions provided.
Selling directly means that Canyon saves money on bricks-and-mortar infrastructure, which is passed on to customers. That’s not to say Canyon is a ‘cheap’ bike brand — far from it! The bikes it makes have won awards, races, group-tests and more, and are often highly rated by product testers and customers alike.
Now, for 2020, Canyon has dramatically increased it’s eBike offerings…
Canyon electric bikes 2020: which should you buy?
The Canyon e-bike range now consists of 6 models spanning everything from commuter and leisure riding to all-mountain MTB. The ‘e’ stands for electric, as these bikes have an electric motor powered by an on-board battery. This system gives what’s called an electric-assist; you still need to pedal, but the battery boosts the power you’re putting in through your pedal strokes giving you greater output, whether that’s a faster turn of speed on flats or making climbing significantly easier. Top speed is legally restricted to 25kph.
New additions to the eBike line-up are the brand new Grand Canyon:ON hardtail mountain bike and Pathlite:ON, a do-it-all commuter slash trekking bike.
Both the Neuron:ON trail eMTB and Spectral:ON all-mountain eMTB have had major overhauls. The Neuron:ON has a new, stiffer front end, an integrated battery in the down tube, and the Canyon:ON cockpit which allows cables to be internally routed through the handlebar.
The updated Spectral:ON has a completely redesigned carbon front triangle with new geometry and tweaked suspension kinematics to give an improved ride feel with more control. It’s also got the integrated battery and tidy cockpit design.
Then there’s the Roadlite:ON, a sleek eBike that doesn’t actually look or handle like an eBike, apart from when you want a bit of help on the climbs and over longer distances.
If you’re concerned about a lack of hands-on opportunities before you buy, Canyon also has an extensive demo program for its road, mountain, commuter and electric ranges which allows prospective purchasers to take one for a spin and see how it feels and fits.
1. Grand Canyon:ON
Best for: quick whips round your local trails, bike paths or longer cross-country adventures
Reasons to buy
Take the efficiency and fun of a hardtail mountain bike and add a motor, and you’ve opened up a whole lot of possibilities. Hardtails are a blast to ride and are great if you’re looking for a versatile bike for off-road riding, a bit of A to B travelling over mixed surfaces, taking on towpaths or seeing what paths lie in your local woods, parks and countryside.
The 120mm of front travel (100mm on the size XS) gives plenty of cushioning to take a lot of the work out of rough terrain, and gives extra traction. Combine this with chunky, grippy Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres and you’ve got a package that should offer a confident, enjoyable ride experience.
The range-topping Canyon Canyon:ON AL 9.0 comes equipped with Fox 34 Rhythm forks with a Shimano Deore XT/SLX blend drivetrain. Wheels are a combination of RaceFace AR30 rims with Shimano hubs, and the bike is finished with Canyon’s eBike specific SD:ON saddle and Iridium dropper seatpost.
Two nifty features are the USB-C charging point on the top tube (sadly not on the XS size) which allows you to charge phones, GPS units and lights on the go, and the concealed kick-stand mount. Ebikes are still heavier than regular bikes, though getting lighter all the time, and adding a kickstand means you can park it up, upright, without having to find something to lean it against or having to hoist it up off the ground.
Another feature that seems like a great idea is the Abus YourPlus key system that the battery uses. You need a key to release the battery for off-bike charging, and to lock it in place again. This system means you can use the same key for your bike and your Abus lock, including select D-locks, chain locks, etc, which is much handier than scrabbling around for multiple keys.
• Shop the Grand Canyon:ON rangeGrand Canyon:ON AL 9.0 - £3049; Grand Canyon:ON AL 8.0 - £2599; Grand Canyon:ON WMN AL 8.0 - £2599
Best for exploring trails near and far
Reasons to buy
The Neuron:ON is a full suspension eMTB that’s ideal for everything from a quick blast around your local trails to longer days out exploring the countryside.
It’s had a big redesign for 2020 and now features an integrated battery in the downtube giving it a much neater, sleeker look over the previous incarnation. This redesign includes a suspension platform designed around the heavier weight and torque that comes with eMTBs, with a whole new front end that promises increased stiffness and better responsiveness.
The integrated Shimano E8035 battery can be charged in-situ or removed, with a charging pack that fits neatly in a rucksack for refills on-the-go. Its new position in the frame along with other geometry alterations give the bike a low centre of gravity that in turn provides extra stability and confidence on descents.
130mm of travel up front and 135mm rear travel is just right for the majority of UK trails and trail centres. It’s enough to allow for some technical, demanding riding if that’s your bag, but not so much that it sucks the fun from flatter trails.
Extra weight needs extra power to control speed and stop, so Canyon have built the wheels with a steel freehub to withstand the added torque plus chunky eBike specific Shimano brake rotors and powerful 4-piston brake calipers on the range-topping model.
The Neuron:ON 9.0 comes with a RockShox Deluxe Select R shock with RockShox Pike Ultimate forks, a more than capable set up for some hardcore riding. Shimano Deore XT and SLX 1 x 12 drivetrain and brakes give a wide range of gears, and the RaceFace AR30 rims with Shimano hubs have a capable combo of Schwalbe Hans Dampf and Nobby Nic tyres. As with other eMTBs in the range, it comes with an SD:ON saddle plus Iridium dropper seatpost.
Other features are, as you’d expect from Canyon, well considered; the dropper post, the saddle that provides good support for eMTB riding, and a minimalist cockpit and motor control with cables routed through the bars.
In fact, aside from a slightly chunkier downtube and the fact that this will fly up climbs, it’s a bike that keeps its e-assist on the downlow.
• Shop the Neuron:ON range Canyon Neuron:ON 9.0 - £4199; Canyon Neuron:ON 8.0 - £3749; Canyon Neuron:ON WMN 7.0 - £3349; Canyon Neuron:ON WMN 7.0 - £3349
Best for: urban riding, from commuting to shopping
Reasons to buy
From commuting or shopping to trekking to the school run, this versatile eBike is the workhorse of the Canyon eBike lineup. This user-friendly eBike boasts myriad features for the utilitarian cyclist or the avid tourer, including a kickstand, integrated lights and rack, and a double battery that gives a huge range on top-end models.
In fact, if you’re looking for the one bike that can do pretty much everything, the brand new Pathlite:ON is that bike. The fact that it’s designed for versatile use is clear in everything from the core frame design itself through to the parts, accessories and features it has.
The aluminium frame sits the rider in an upright position that’s ideal for navigating traffic or enjoying views while trekking, while the wide 57mm tyres will do a great job of soaking up uneven terrain and providing good grip when the ground is slick. And if the tyres don’t smooth out the ride, the 100mm of suspension in the Suntour forks up front will do, providing comfort for rides long and short.
The workhorse elements of the Pathlite:ON include the integrated pannier rack and the fact that the bike has been specifically designed to work well with Croozer trailers, which means you can bring your shopping, kit or pet for the ride, or use it for the school or nursery run.
The motor on this bike is the Bosch Powertube 500, which gives two levels of support. The battery is integrated into the downtube for a neat look and can be charged on the bike or removed. It’s kept securely in place with a lock and key mechanism, which also means it won’t rattle loose if you’re riding hard on uneven ground.
For the bike-packers out there, the top two models in the range come with two batteries; one integrated into the frame, the other placed on top. Working together, these can give up to a whopping 150km in a single ride before they need to be topped up, which opens up a whole lot of distance. Think of the possibilities!
The range-topping 9.0 features Shimano Deore XT brakes with XT/SLX drivetrain with FSA crank and chainring, Alexrims MD25 rims with Shimano hubs and Schwalbe G-One Allround tyres in a chunky, grippy 57mm width. A rather snazzy Brooks C17 saddle finishes off the look.
Other extremely handy features is the integrated lights. These can be controlled with a remote switch on the handlebar that attaches via a magnet, so it can be moved and placed to a convenient position for the user. Anyone who lives in wetter climates will also be very happy to see the integrated mudguards too.
And finally, while it may seem like a little thing, but the Pathlite:ON has a kickstand… So you can park up wherever you fancy without having to find somewhere to lean your bike.
• Shop the Pathlite:ON range Pathlite:ON 9.0 - £4649; Pathlite:ON 8.0 - £4099; Pathlite:ON 7.0 - £2799; Pathlite:ON 6.0 - £2599; Pathlite:ON 5.9 - £2349
Best for those who want an eBike that doesn’t look or feel like an eBike
Reasons to buy
If you’re looking for a bike for fitness riding, commuting or generally getting about but don’t want or need a high-powered eBike motor, then cast your eyes over the rather lovely-looking Roadlite:ON.
This flat-bar bike doesn’t really look like an eBike at all. The Fazua Evation motor and battery are hidden in the downtube, and you can, if you want, remove them completely and use the bike as a regular, non-powered bike.
It’s been designed to feel and ride like a regular bike too, so first up it’s light. At a claimed 15kg it’s among the lightest in it’s category, which will be especially good news for anyone who has to heft their bike up and down stairs.
Part of the reason for this lightness is the smaller 250Wh battery (most eBike batteries in the Canyon range are 500Wh). This does make the battery less powerful, so while it still give you extra oomph up climbs, it’s not going to see you flying uphill at speed with no effort. Canyon describes it as ‘climbs like you on a very good day’ and we reckon that explains it quite nicely.
Another advantage of that Fazua Evation motor is that once you hit the top e-assist speed of 25kph, while you won’t get any more help from the motor, you also won’t experience any drag when it cuts out. If you’ve ever ridden other eBikes, you may well have experienced this; a sudden resistance against the pedals, like you’ve applied the brakes a little, which is the friction of the motor dragging against the force you're putting into the drive train. Not having this is likely to make the ride feel a whole lot smoother.
The motor has three assist levels and the battery will provide up to 8 hours of life, and will start to reduce power when it’s at 20% battery so you know it’s time for a top-up.
Other features include hydraulic disc brakes, a 1x12 drivetrain that gives plenty of high and low gears for making short work of steep climbs and quick sprints, and a one-piece carbon cockpit that helps take the edge off road chatter.
If you’re splurging on the top model, the 9.0 has a Shimano XTR 1x12 drivetrain with RS600 hydraulic disc brakes, Schwalbe G-One Allround 35mm tyres, and a Canyon carbon seatpost which will help absorb some of those road-surface vibrations.
• Shop the Roadlite:ON range Roadlite:ON AL 9.0 - £3449; Roadlite:ON AL 8.0 - £3049; Roadlite:ON AL 7.0 - £2499
Best for: rock gardens, jumps and technical tracks
Reasons to buy
The Spectral:ON is an eMTB built for BIG terrain. At home with steep descents, rock gardens, roots, jumps and general ‘gnar’, it’s more than capable of handling downhill tracks and bikeparks in the UK and abroad, and is ideal for big days out on the trails in places like the French Alps.
For 2020 it’s had a complete overhaul, and now features a stiff and light carbon front triangle, complete with a fibre-reinforced skid plate and bash guard to keep the downtube and underneath protected from rock strikes.
The battery for the Shimano Steps E8000 motor now resides in the downtube, hidden away, making for a much better-looking bike over previous models.
150mm of travel front and rear combined with a slack 66.5 degree head angle will give the bike a planted, secure feeling when tackling descents, but the real magic is the addition of that Steps motor. Pop it on full and you can rocket up short climbs to get to the fun downhills again, or in a more economic mode you’ll be able to cover greater distances and explore more mountain and moor than ever before.
One interesting element of the Spectral:ON is the wheel size — or rather, wheel sizes. Canyon have opted to fit a 29er up front and a 27.5 at the back (apart from on the XS size) which gives you better traction and roll-over abilities at the front, and a more manoeuverable rear to help you tackle tight corners and twisty trails.
Powerful 4-piston hydraulic brakes combined with huge 203mm brake rotors provide enough oomph to slow, stop and stay in control when on steep stuff, and the redesigned geometry gives it a lower centre of gravity, which means a more planted, stable feel.
One final feature that’s worth raving about is the addition of a USB-C charge point on the top tube, so you can charge your phone, GPS, lights or whatever else you fancy on the go.
The pinnacle of the range, the CF 9.0, has an impressive build for the price, with Fox 36 Factory Float fork with Fox DPx2 Factory shock, Shimano XTR groupset and brakes, Reynolds TRe carbon wheels and a Fox Transfer Factory dropper seatpost.
• Shop the Spectral:ON range Spectral:ON CF 9.0 £6499; Spectral:ON CF 8.0 £5199; Spectral:ON CF 7.0 £4299
Best for: going the distance
Reasons to buy
A pure e-road bike, Endurance:ON is priced very competitively. Built around a powerful Fazua motor and comfortable frame geometry, the aluminium Endurace:ON has a maximum range of 90km per charge, and 11-speed Shimano GRX gearing.
Designed to be ridden all day, the Endurance:ON uses hydraulic disc brakes and Schwalbe E-One Evo 32 mm tyres alongside that Shimano shifting, as well as hydraulic braking when you need a hard stop.
The Fazua Evation motor system has three power settings (100W, 210W and 250W) to push you to and keep you at the legal limit of 25kph (about 16mph). Once you are past that, Canyon promises you'll encounter none of the drag that plague many older e-bikes.
Unusually for Canyon, Enurance:ON only comes in one spec and one colour, although there is a choice of four frame sizes.
• Shop Endurance:ON Endurance:ON AL 7.0 – £2,799