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The Grand Canyon:ON is pitched as a bit of a do-it-all explorer. Not so much a mountain bike for the keen trail rider, but more of a go most places bike for the person that wants to explore without running into terrain that brings them to a halt.
Grand Canyon:ON Key Specifications
- Hardtail with 120mm fork travel
- 29inch wheels
- 2.6in tyres
- Bosch Cx Motor
- 625Wh or 750Wh battery (not removable)
- Claimed weight around 24 kg, including ABS system and a 750Wh battery
Grand Canyon:ON Pricing
- Grand Canyon:ON 7 625Wh £2,899
- Grand Canyon:ON 7 750Wh £3,099
- Grand Canyon:ON 8 750Wh £3,649
- Grand Canyon:ON 9 750Wh £4,149
This new Grand Canyon:ON is a little longer than previous iterations, a little steeper in the seat tube for better pedalling, and a little longer in the chainstays for stability, especially when climbing. Plus, it now comes equipped with the Bosch motor instead of the previous Shimano. There’s a strong emphasis in the marketing on things like ‘confidence’, ‘flexibility’, and ‘safety’ – it’s a bike for those who might want to just cruise along the bike path to the ice cream stand, but who might also wonder ‘what’s over there?’ on a camping holiday in the forest. I got the chance to cruise around parts of Tuscany on this bike, so here’s my first look.
Grand Canyon:ON First Look
We were given the top spec of the range, which comes with an ABS front brake from Magura. For someone used to modern mountain bike brakes these long and flat two finger brakes feel quite chunky and alien. The ABS is also rather an alien thing – grab a fistful of front brake and it modulates the braking, stopping you from completely locking up the front wheel. In theory this stops you panic braking and sending yourself over the bars, however I can’t help but feel that anyone liable to make such a mistake is going to find themselves thrown – possibly literally – by the way your rear wheel will likely skid sideways while your front wheel keeps rolling. Interesting tech, but I’m not convinced this is the place for it – though I’d be quite interested in seeing it on the back of my longtail cargo bike. I can imagine it being quite handy in stopping those heart-stopping moments where an emergency stop sees your rear end swinging round to meet you. Anyway, I digress.
The ABS system also adds a little weight to this bike. Given that I see this bike as appealing to those who want something to sit on the back of their camper van for occasional holiday exploring, I would imagine that the lighter the better here. And it’s not light – in fact some full suspension Canyons, like the Spectral:ON CF, are lighter. There’s also competition for the campsite tourers’ money within the Canyon lineup, in the form of the Pathlite. It’s much more of a gentle hybrid type bike rather than a capable mountain bike, but with the step through options and front suspension I can see the market being split.
If you’re certain you want to do a bit of trail riding however, then the Grand Canyon:ON is the better option. It’s more capable of tackling things like singletrack. If you’re just after a cheap mountain bike with a motor – perhaps for towing your kids up hills on family days out – then the Grand Canyon is worth checking out.
The Grand Canyon on comes with the Bosch motor, which offers the handy theft protection feature. Use the app to tell it you’re not using it, and an alarm will sound if it’s moved. It can also be used to disable the motor when your phone isn’t nearby.
The Bosch has a useful four modes, which provide a nice balanced range of assist options. The initiation of the assist is a little more abrupt than with the Shimano system, which has both pluses and minuses to my mind. In this instance, the Bosch controller is the ‘many buttons many lights’ version. Although I find it a bit much when all you want to do is change assist levels, I can see that in this market the option to pair it with your phone, put your phone on your bars, and use it to find your way, cycle through display options (perhaps so you know how much range you have left) and so on could be useful. The downside is that the buttons are all a little small, and less dextrous hands (older ones, perhaps?), or gloved hands, may struggle to hit the right spots.
In order to save a little weight and improve the simplicity of the bike, it is not possible to remove the battery from the bike for charging. Data collected from existing users of Bosch systems shows that the number of people who take the battery out of the bike to charge it is relatively low. But, if you’re one of those people – perhaps because you don’t have a power point in your shed – then you should note that your probably need to look elsewhere.
I happily rode this bike down singletrack, up steep Tuscan gravel trails, and even through a few large Tuscan puddles. Aside from the multi-finger ABS brakes, nothing about it took any getting used to. Just get on and ride what’s in front of you. The large tyres and suspension fork are plenty comfortable enough for the easy trails this bike is likely to encounter. It’ll not forgive you any foolish mistakes if you hurl yourself down something beyond your skillset, but that’s not what it’s for.
The Bosch motor has a well established reputation, and the Grand Canyon:ON continues to be a relatively budget option for those wanting to hit the trails with some assist. It’s no hardcore hardtail, but it’s capable enough to be fun out on the trails. However, if you get out there often enough and you’ve got the budget, I can’t help but think you’ll be eyeing up the full suspension electric options from Canyon and wondering where one of them might take you.