The trail bike category is hot, but most of the options are aiming at the aggressive rider that’s looking for big bike performance in a lighter package. The other end of the spectrum is someone looking for a fun bike that handles like a regular mountain bike, perhaps someone coming from XC but looking for more travel. Or someone just getting into mountain biking that really just needs one good bike that can do a lot.

For that, direct-to-consumer brand Canyon Bicycles has the Neuron. Late last year, Zach spent some time on the higher end carbon fiber Canyon Neuron CF. But we wanted to see if the lower priced alloy model could measure up on our local trails. Would it provide the friendly experience it’s designed for without disappointing a more advanced rider?

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review and tech details

Tech details & actual weight

The Neuron is a 130mm travel bike that comes in five sizes. The smaller two, XS and Small, use 27.5″ wheels with shorter chainstays and geometry adjusted for smaller riders. The other sizes use 29er wheels, but all sizes use a 29er fork because they liked the way it handled even with the smaller wheels.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review and tech details
The rear shift cable runs internal, and there’s a port and mounts for a front derailleur if you ever wanted to add one.

Speaking of sizing…

I felt like I was exactly between sizes. I’m 6’2″ with a 33-34″ inseam and I tested a Large, but have ridden the pedal-assist Neuron ON eMTB in size XL. Between the two, if I were making it my personal bike, I’d lean toward the XL for long term ownership. But it’s close. Both bikes fit and rode well, and I can appreciate the more nimble characteristics of a smaller bike. Any taller than 6’2″ and I’d definitely recommend the XL, though, and any shorter and I’d suggest the Large.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review and tech details

The bike retails for $2,499 USD, which is quite fair considering the base is a very upgrade-worth frame. Parts list at this price are fair, too, with Mavic XA Trail wheels, Maxxis tires, Fox Performance suspension, SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain and Shimano Deore brakes. It also includes a housebound dropper seatpost.

Shift cable run inside the frame, but rear brake and dropper seatpost lines run along the downtube, captured with clips. It’s clean, and it makes for much easier repairs. The dropper post remote enters the seatpost just above the BB, allowing for the tidy look of a modern stealth post.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike component spec details

The SRAM group performed flawlessly, as all of our Eagle test groups have. The Shimano Deore brakes also worked great, but were very firm at the lever. I usually solve this by letting a drop or two of fluid out, but since this was a short term test, I left it alone. But, should your bike have this, it’s worth resolving because I only had to pull the levers a tiny bit to get full stopping power. But when it’s set up like this, they don’t typically provide as much modulation as when the contact point comes in a little later. Unfortunately brakes at this level don’t have all the reach and bite adjustments of higher end models. And, for that matter, neither do the SRAM shifters, so you’re kinda stuck with where those thick bar mounts will sit in relation to one another.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike component spec details

On the plus side, the grips were quite comfortable and did a good job mitigating vibrations. The dropper post worked fine, but the lever was a little mushy compared to some others I’ve used. No dead stroke or anything, just not very direct feeling even if it was doing the job just fine.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review and tech details

The suspension uses an upper rocker link that functions the same as the carbon model, but without the additional bearing shielding and articulating cover plate. It’s all solid looking from the side…

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review and tech details

…but it was these upper rear pivots that had me concerned. The stays are small, as are the overall pivot points, especially for a high stress area like this where there’s no seatstay bridge to keep everything moving in sync under hard lateral forces. Fortunately, my fears weren’t realized…the joints performed well and didn’t exhibit any noticeable flex or asymmetric movement out on the trail.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review and tech details canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review and tech details

Other nice touches include protective clear decals on the stays and a stealth rear thru axle with hidden lever. Just pull it out and you have a full length lever to use for removal. Slide it in and it’s quite stealth.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike component spec details

The Neuron AL comes with meaty 29×2.35 Maxxis Forekaster and Ardent Race tires, which were perfect for our local dirt and hardpacked, occasionally rooty trails.

what comes with the canyon neuron al trail mountain bike

Canyon ships their bikes in oversized boxes so that they’re mostly assembled. Just attach the front wheel and handlebar and you’re mostly ready to start setup. Small tags on the derailleur and shock provide guidance, and it comes with an entire box of ownership materials to help…including the tools you’ll need to assemble it.

Considering the target audience for this bike, it’s a good thing that it comes with tubes pre-installed but includes the tubeless valve stems. For those just getting into it, there’s no need to add the complexity of tubeless setup right out of the box…and I kept the tubes in for my month-long test. Which means…

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike actual weight

…you could easily drop 1/3 to 1/2 pound off the actual weight of 30.16lb (13.68kg). Claimed weight is 29.5lb (13.4kg) for a size medium, which seems spot on if you removed the tubes. It’s not the lightest bike in the world, but it’s on par with others in this price range. And there’s a lot of low hanging fruit for shedding weight with smart upgrades.

Canyon Neuron AL ride review

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review

I’d best describe the Canyon Neuron AL as an extremely approachable, easy to ride trail bike. The geometry isn’t too aggressive in either direction, making it comfortable with just about anything.

Because it’s not trying to be super slack and low, there’s great bottom bracket and pedal clearance, too. Yet, it never felt “tall” when trying to maneuver it between twisty, tree-lined sections.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review

The suspension does a great job of supporting the rider. It’s nicely progressive to provide a well cushioned response on bigger hits, drops and G-outs. On several rides, the shock’s O-ring showed that I’d used all the travel, but I never noticed while riding…I never felt anything close to a bottom out.

More advanced riders will eventually want to upgrade to a more sophisticated rear shock and fork to smooth out the little stuff, but the bike did a fantastic job of floating over repetitive root sections without feeling like was just skipping over them. I ran between 30-35% sag, which is more than my normal 25-30%. At 25% sag, the rear suspension felt too firm and wasn’t able to get in tune with the terrain. Which is a similar issue Zach felt on the CF (he also ran lower rear shock pressure than Canyon’s guide suggests).

On seated climbs, there’s no noticeable pedal bob even with the shock set in full open mode. It doesn’t feel sluggish, but also doesn’t feel super snappy. It just moves along as your pedal without any drama.

canyon neuron al trail mountain bike review

My only quibble is that the bike is just a tad slow to initiate a turn. And I do mean a tad. I think our relatively flat singletrack made this more obvious than if I’d been riding it where it’s big climbs followed by big descents. It’s not excessively slow, but I found myself trying to start my turns just a fraction of a second early to avoid coming out too wide.

The flip side is that it’s super stable at speed and doesn’t flinch in the long fast sweepers. It’s incredibly easy to hold a line on this bike.

Chainstay length is 440mm (17.33″), which is reasonably short, so I suspect it has more to do with the front end’s geometry and fork offset. That said, the front wheel isn’t pushed out too far or anything, so it’s still very easy to get your weight over it to keep traction while cornering hard.

The 2019 Canyon Neuron AL comes in your choice of Stealth (black/silver) or Burst Orange (tested). But only one build spec.

The Neuron AL has good spec for the price, doesn’t leave anything wanting right out of the box for new riders. Even for intermediate riders, there’s nothing that feels like it has to be upgraded right away. But the frame and ride quality make it very much worth upgrading over time. It’s a very fun bike, with confident handling and easy to ride manners. For the target market, I can’t think of anything I change.

Canyon.com

23 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the great review! Were you able to get the seat low enough for your 33 to 34 inch inseam? Canyons perfect positioning system says that it is not possible given the length of the dropper seatpost. You did not have this problem?

  2. Since my question, I’ve purchased, received and ridden my Neuron 7.0 (7 miles total, seriously). I found lots of industry material but very few user reviews so here goes: I’m coming off a ’18 YT Jeffsy AL. I was concerned about the Neuron’s: 1) BB height, 2) saddle height; 3) inability to handle downhills (allegedly), and 4) upright not modern geo. As to each: 1) 13.2″ Pretty average it seems by modern standards. I didn’t have any pedal strikes over my 7 mile, curb jumping-only ride. 2) Canyon US is totally whacked. The bike in L in Europe and Aus is correctly listed as having a fine saddle height for me– 6′ with 33.3in. inseam. The Canyon Us site says I need a M. Nonsense. The bile fits me fine in L. The pedal reach doesn’t require slamming the seat post. 3) Bike seems very similar to a Jeffsy. I haven’t ridden anything serious yet but I’d be surprised if I feel an appreciable difference based on geo. I think Canyon is pushing serious riders to Spectral. I don’t need 150/150. ’nuff said.

    My biggest concern now is that the handling does, as some reviews say, seem fast and possibly even twitchy Not sure if that’s due to 160 bars as opposed to 180 on Jeffsy or the offset. It seems to be a perfectly solid bike at a phenomenal price.

  3. Thanks for the great review. It’s very difficult finding a review for the lower end models as reviewers are trying to push the higher end bikes because that’s what the bike companies want. But having the carbon frame is unnecessary for a mountain bike. It’s $1000 essentially to save a pound. Tires and suspension are more important for ride quality too. Some reviewers have said the Neuron lacks progressive geometry, but I compared the numbers and I’m just not seeing it. The reach, wheelbase, head tube angle, seat tube angle, and stack height all seem on par with the newest geometry. (BB height, I can’t figure out, but BB height trends for 29ers are now starting to go back up; this reviewer suggests the BB height isn’t low.) Am I missing something? The weight on this bike is actually a little better than most bikes of this type, I’ve found, by about a pound, which is important.

    I had honestly planned to buy the Spectral this year, but then Canyon added to the travel (it’s now 150/160, not 150/150 as another responder says), added about a pound, added to the price, and made the tires a little skinnier–none of which sat well with me.

    One question about the Neuron AL: How big can you go with the tires? I’d rather have a minimum of 2.4 inch width.

  4. truss, just from eyeballing, a 2.4 would fit. However, that advice is worth what it cost. The 2.35s the come with it are pretty fast rolling and have held a corner for me well. I’ve ridden it on trail now about 20 miles……

    I note that all in the same paragraph you suggest that saving a pound (via carbon) isn’t worth $1k but also “is important.” Based on my pretty extensive internet research you can easily get the Neuron to about 29 pounds (tubeless, remove reflectors, change seat) and that’s about a pound less than the nearest competition. Also not particularly a big deal to me but all things being equal (and this is below equal on price), that matters. I can also (re)confirm that the Neuron climbs really well compared to 27.5 Jeffsy.

  5. Bob, thanks for additional comments. Canyon says max tire width is 2.4. By saying weight is and isn’t signifcant I meant, of course, the value that you get. Weight definitely matters. But $1000 (or more) to save a pound isn’t worth it. The performance benefit of carbon for a full sus bike with mtn bike tires also isn’t persuasive.

    I should also note that in what I wrote I shouldn’t have said “progressive” geometry but maybe modern and comparable to other bikes in its class. No, it isn’t comparable to the latest enduro rigs’ geometry.

  6. I’m considering the Neural al 7, Trance 2 29, and Fezzari cascade peak. Have you considered these and if not what other brand/model? So far I’m leaning toward the Cascade Peak (just not a fan of the colors).

  7. Drew, I considered those and Jeffsy 29er and Marin Rift Zone. I ultimately choose Neuron 7.0 based on my perception that it’s a particularly strong value and evenly balances climbing and descending capabilities. I’m happy with choice. All the bikes in this category look really good in my view.

  8. I bought this bike a few months ago and there wasn’t a single review at the time so it was a bit of a gamble. Now ridden about 300 miles in southern california. It’s my first MTB after a lot of road riding and I think it’s a very solid entry bike. It’s better than the similar trail bikes I rented before buying. It’s on sale right now for $2200 which is incredible value. I have it in XL and converted tubeless. I think it’s pretty light for an XL — my girlfriend has XS Santa Cruz 5010 MSRP $3600 and it’s heavier than the canyon :-0. I think the dropper post is a weak point. The design of the remote sucks and I already stripped the allen bolt trying to get it secure — it does have mushy feel when activating as this review notes. Also it has a little side-to-side play if you jiggle the seat. I have a PNW lever waiting to go in.

    • Eian: funny, I also stripped the bolt trying to secure the dropper remote. But it’s worked like a charm since I re-installed it correctly. The bracket needs to face forward with remote sitting mostly under the bar. Solid as a rock now.

      • Ditto, problem with the dropper post. I’ve tightened the remote so much, yet it still moves, that I’m pretty sure I’ll strip it if I go farther, yet it isn’t fixed yet. Plus, pushing the button actually doesn’t do anything (I did hook up the cable correctly). The seat just slowly goes down when you sit on it. Otherwise I like the bike–not that I’ve been able to ride it yet! (In addition to the post issue, I’m getting rid of the cheap Mavic XA Trail wheels, so don’t want to ride them and haven’t gotten the new wheels yet.)

        In reference to the sizing noted by the Bike Rumor! author, I don’t agree with him. I have a 34″ inseam and am 6′ 1/2″. The large is sized right for me, except that with the dropper post only going down so far (which is not very far, and you can’t saw off an inch of post to make it fit), it just fits me. The high bottom bracket also makes the bike seem big. The cockpit, arm reach, etc. is spot on. I’m sure the medium would have fit, but I don’t like tighter quarters on a bike.

      • Robert: it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out how the remote was configured…just not intuitive and no photo to go off…but I do have it correct now and it wasn’t until later that I stripped the bolt on one of my retightenings. I think maybe I have a little more cable tension for whatever reason. It is holding for now so I’m not messing with it.

        Truss: my first try on the dropper it wasn’t really working. I remember taking it apart again and fooling with how much of the cable was in the seat stay and how much was on the outside of the frame. The first time I installed the seat I think the wire kinked.

        Funny that we’re having this conversation: I emailed Canyon to complain about the dropper and remote and they said, “user error, we’ve had no reports of problems with this dropper. Go to hardware store and get replacement parts if you’re having trouble.”

    • I just received my Neuron 7.0 AL. The dropper remote was already fixed to my steering bar, so seems Canyon did change something in the installation procedure.

  9. Hi Robert. Is itpossible to set the saddle height to 28.15″? (middle bottom bracket to top side saddle) thx

  10. Jorg, don’t know. It’s possible to set the saddle to a height that fits a guy with a 34″ inseam which the Canyon perfect position system says IS NOT possible. They are wrong……

    • The question is whether to go M or L. I also have an 86 cm inseam and fit on a L, but not by much. The saddle would be too high on an XL.

  11. Canyon US has updated its website (at least for Neuron) and the PPS for the bike now has a person 6′ tall with 33″ or longer inseam on L. Previously, that was incorrectly indicating M.

  12. I’ve done my first 100 miles on my new neuron 7.0 Al. I’m 6’3” (1.93). Did a bike fitting and used those figures to select this bike.

    I had a bit of problem with setting up the gears out of the box. A bike shop nearby solved the problem. The pad was crooked out of the box.

    The bill went straight to canyon without any discussion, good service.

    For the terrain here in holland the bike performs really nice. Firm single tracks with a lot of roots and short climbs and descents.

    Grtz Nils

  13. Another comment on the bike: First on the dropper post: my post didn’t work at all out of the box. Turned out that it was simply the cable being 1 cm too short. LBS fixed it; sent bill to Canyon; done. The only part of the bike that I don’t approve of is the dropper lever; bad design by Canyon; love the post itself.

    I remain amused that a $2500 bike is considered for beginners. I’m far from a beginner and love the bike. I did do the following upgrades prior to the first ride: 1) went tubeless; 2) got rid of the Ardent Race, which really isn’t a good match on this bike, and I think was chosen cynically just to reduce weight; 3) I like the Forekaster and moved it to the back; 4) put a Maxxis Minion 2.5″ on the front; 5) swapped the wheels out for Bontrager Line Pro 30 carbon wheels. Although Canyon says 2.4″ are the max tires you should use, you can see in the front (not the back) that it’ll take more. To be honest, out of all these changes the most decisive is the Minion 2.5 on the front. It’s a beast and eats trail. (I did not go with the heaviest Minion 2.5″ option, btw.) The Bontragers are good in the sense that they dropped the weight by a pound; I’m sure they affect the ride quality, but I never rode the Mavics so I can’t comment on that. See this July 3, 2019, article for the most affordable carbon hoops: https://www.bikemag.com/gear/the-best-carbon-wheels-under-1300/

    Drive train, shifting, brakes, saddle, suspension–all great. Obviously things like the shifters and derailreur ought to work well for a few months at least, so praising those after having the bike for a couple months doesn’t mean a whole lot. 1 x 12, however, is fabulous.

    • My Neuron AL 7.0 came with Schwalbe Nobby Nics. Does Canyon deliver the bike with different components depending on the country/market?

  14. Has anybody tried to fit larger chainring on the cranks? Where I ride I need to comute 5km to the trails and the speed of the group easily exceeds 40kph (25mph). Is there space for something bigger like 34t?

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