Canyon Neuron:ON CF 8 review

by 0

As a short-travel but full-power eMTB, I think the Canyon Neuron:ON has tough sales game ahead of it. But to dismiss it might be to miss out on a great injection of fun on your rides.

  • Brand: Canyon
  • Product: Neuron:ON CF 8
  • From: Canyon
  • Price: £5,349
  • Tested: by Hannah

Pros:

  • Reliable and clear Bosch system
  • Fun and responsive handling
  • Typically well specced bike from Canyon

Cons:

  • Slippery tyres
  • Shock is a little under-gunned

It’s a trail bike. An electric trail bike. I think bikes like this have a place in the world, but I suspect human nature might make you go ‘MOAR!’.

Yes, you’ve got a great big motor to get you up the great big hills, so why not just add all the suspension you might ever need to the mix? Well, that is one school of thought, but if you mostly ride wheels on the ground bridleways and red trails, I think you might be taking some of the fun out of your ride by driving over it with a massive enduro-sofa.

The Canyon Neuron:ON CF 8 can make the trails out of your door feel fun and lively, even if what’s on your doorstep is more Deptford that Dolomites.

And yes, you could keep things lively with a low-fat ebike with smaller battery and less power – but then you’d be missing out on the level of assist that makes it impossible to kid yourself that you don’t have the time or the energy for a quick lap. Or another hill. Or maybe just another lap…

Another competitor for the wallets of buyers is going to be cheaper ebikes, with lower cost motors and components. The package you get here, with the Bosch CX motor, comes with a certain amount of confidence in both the product itself, and Canyon’s experience in customer support.

But that’s the competition. What about the Canyon Neuron:ON? What does it bring to the fight? Let’s take a closer look.

The Medium size Neuron:ON CF8 on test here weighs in at a not-bad-for-an-eMTB but still hefty 22.1kg. There is no pretending that this is anything other than hefty – cheeky trails over stiles will be an uncomfortable deadlift away.

It comes shod with some rather inadequate Schwalbe blue (Addix Speedgrip) compound Nobby Nic tyres. This blue rubber compound is to my mind too slippery for confident handling in most UK conditions. I swapped the front tyre out for a super grippy (but less hard wearing) Pirelli Scorpion Enduro Race tyre. With stacks of grip up front, I left the more slippery but durable Nobby Nic on the back. If you buy this bike, you should at least budget for an alternative front tyre, unless you live somewhere very dry and have free healthcare.

The newer format Bosch connector is a huge improvement on the previous one – still bizarrely labyrinthine levels of complicated layout, but much less ‘is it in yet?’.

The Bosch display is simple, the button thumb friendly. Possibly a touch too thumb friendly – it’s very light touch and easy to accidentally shift assist modes on the way to or from your dropper. The dropper function isn’t as buttery smooth as some higher end levers, but it’s perfectly acceptable and didn’t go waggly or cause any issues during the test.

The Bosch app allows you to track your miles and adjust your assist settings – something I didn’t feel the need to do. However, you might like to note that the Flow App that goes with it only allows the bike to be paired with one app at a time. I assume this is intended as a security feature, but if you were hoping to share the bike with someone else in your household I can imagine this might get a touch annoying.

That said, it is perfectly possible to ride the bike without the app – I mostly did. I’m more interested in riding than watching stats tick over.

The Fox 34 Float Performance fork and Fox DPS Performance shock are a little under-gunned compared to what we’re getting used to seeing on full power ebikes. However, in a trail riding setting – think wheels on the ground, occasional rollable drops – I could tune myself into a comfortable but lively ride.

I suspect that heavier riders might have a harder time balancing support and comfort. But for me, it showed that it doesn’t take a trip to a bike park with giant features to have fun – simply zipping around the bridleway network is enough to put a smile on your face.

And with a massive battery and heaps of assist potential, you can choose whether to turbo up the hills to get the fast laps in, or string it out in Eco mode and ride every line on the map.

I found that what worked for fast laps on gradual – albeit rocky – descents, did not work so well as things got steeper with bigger, choppier, drops.

A firmer suspension set up was needed to avoid diving through all the travel. But this kind of steep terrain with big hits is not the bread and butter of what this bike is really designed for (and there are other bikes in the Canyon:ON line up that will gobble up such terrain for breakfast, lunch and dinner).

If you like to ride trails and tell your bike where to go on those trails – here, not there, point the way you want to go and get there – then it’s a nice, precise feeling ride. Get out there, see the scenery, have fun from your doorstep without the need to ‘go epic’.

Rides on the Neuron:ON aren’t boring, but they’re also easy on the mind, with no range anxiety. Wrap up whatever the weather and get pedalling – with so much assist at your (toe?) fingertips, excuses not to ride evaporate. That could of course be said of many an ebike, and the Neuron:ON is a little ‘vanilla’. Nothing really ‘wrong’ with it, but equally there’s nothing all that notable about it.

I have put this bike through some horrible slop and grit, and some very splashy rides. I have not given it the tender loving care One Careful Owner might be inclined to give it. Yet it has powered on through, not skipping a beat. Everything just works – gears, brakes, motor, the lot.

Or rather, it did, right up until the ‘one last ride’ before writing the review.

Typical.

Because an ebike encourages you out the door regardless of the weather, I thought that getting out in the middle of Storm Debi might be amusing. And indeed it was. However, upon reaching the gate at the end of one descent, the bike started riding away from me – the motor running without me on the bike – much less the pedals. ‘Possessed assist’ perhaps, in purple mode.

The thumb control didn’t do anything, and a someone frantic pushing of buttons on the main display eventually had a strange sequence of lights showing up, before I managed to turn it off. On turning it back on, the thumb remote didn’t do anything, but everything else seemed fine. Odd. And rather disconcerting – I wouldn’t have liked to have found myself stuck in purple ‘possessed assist’ mode on a technical section.

After a night in the garage everything seemed to be back to working normally – perhaps a bit of Storm Debi found its way into the workings? I don’t know – it was unusually windy when I was riding, but no wetter than many other occasions that I’d ridden in.

Since then, I’ve ridden it plenty more, and in equally wet conditions without a repeat of the incident. The ‘working again fine now’ element is all very well, but if the fault occurred on a tricky trail I think it would be pretty scary, and potentially injurious.

In the interests of investigation, I asked Canyon if there was any way to look under the bonnet and see if there was an error report or similar. I was given a link to Bosch service centres, and was surprised to discover there were four shops within pedalling distance. That’s certainly easier than the last time I tried to find an RAC certified garage for my van.

This generation of Bosch bikes has the port for connecting the bike to diagnostics under the main control panel. On opening this up, the mechanic noted that the rubber port cover wasn’t fully in place – meaning it would be a little easier than necessary for water to get in there. I guess it must have come from the factory this way, as I hadn’t opened it up. You could also see that some mud had seeped in around the control panel. While it wasn’t bone dry in there, it wasn’t exactly wet either – so it’s not clear if this could have been the cause of the malfunction or not.

It’s the first time I’ve seen ebike aftersales service in action, and it was very much like taking a car to a dealership. The computer that gets plugged in to the bike reveals a series of screens used to diagnose issues with the various parts of the system – controllers, battery, motor. It produces a diagnostics report that can be sent off by the bike shop to Bosch for further assistance.

While the bike shop was in there, they performed a firmware update to the bike – which I could also have done myself via the Flow app. £25 later (a cost covered by Canyon as part of the diagnostics and support process) I wasn’t any the wiser, but at least I knew there wasn’t an obvious loose wire or pool of water.

The bike shop I went to (Cycle Fast in Sowerby Bridge) sells almost no bikes, instead focussing on servicing. They deal with both Bosch and Shimano motors, and say that the Bosch support system is particularly slick, and that it’s easy to get hold of extra support from them. With no skin in the game trying to sell you bikes, that seems to me like a useful insight.

Whatever happened, hasn’t happened again. It was quite wet on the day it happened, and very windy. Perhaps that was just enough to blow some water into somewhere it shouldn’t have been? Bosch has reviewed the video and the diagnostics, and said they’ve never seen anything like this happen with this generation of motors. It’s possible it was somehow stuck in ‘walk’ mode, although it seemed to me like it was faster/more powerful than that. But in the wind and rain and slip, maybe it seemed faster than it was.

If I owned this, I’d keep riding it (I have ridden it plenty since, it’s not happened again, even in the wet). If it did happen again, I’d want further investigation, and would likely take Bosch up on the offer of a new controller as a first step (it’s a fairly simple swap you can do yourself at home). From what I’ve seen and heard so far, it seems like that process of investigation and resolution would be reasonably easy to make happen.

Overall

I still think the Canyon Neuron:ON CF 8 is a tricky sell. It’s a fun bike, and if you owned it and took it trail riding I think you’d have next to no complaints (once you’ve given it a better front tyre). But it is a bit ‘vanilla’ and taking the leap to owning it might need some coercion, especially in a market where prices on bikes are currently being slashed all over the place. I think there’s peace of mind in buying a Bosch motor on a bike that is from a company that appears to be in good financial health. How much peace of mind is worth to you is for you to judge. And of course, vanilla ice cream remains a popular choice, despite the existence of so many other flavours.

Canyon Neuron:ON CF 8 specification

  • Frame // Canyon Neuron:ON CF 130mm
  • Fork // FOX 34 Float Performance GRIP 140mm
  • Shock // FOX DPS Performance
  • Wheels // DT Swiss HLN350
  • Front tyre // Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29×2.4in Addix Speedgrip
  • Rear tyre // Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29×2.4in Addix Speedgrip
  • Chainset // FSA 762 Forged Crank Bosch gen4 36T
  • Drivetrain // Shimano Deore XT M8100 12-speed 10-51T
  • Brakes // Shimano DEORE XT M8120, 203/203mm
  • Stem // Canyon E-MTB 45mm, 35mm
  • Bars // Canyon:ON Aluminium Riser bar, 780 x 20mm, 35mm
  • Grips // Canyon Lock-on
  • Seatpost // Iridium Dropper Post, 170mm, 30.9mm
  • Saddle // Fizik Terra Alpaca X5
  • Bottom Bracket // Bosch
  • Motor // Bosch Performance Line CX
  • Battery // Bosch PowerTube 750Wh
  • Size tested // M
  • Sizes available // S, M, L, XL
  • Weight // 22.1kg
  • Head angle // 65,5°
  • Actual seat angle // 69.3°
  • Seat tube length // 440mm
  • Head tube length // 130mm
  • Effective top tube // 614mm
  • BB height // 36mm BB drop
  • Reach // 460mm
  • Chainstay // 450mm
  • Wheelbase // 1,232mm

Join our mailing list to receive Singletrack editorial wisdom directly in your inbox.

Each newsletter is headed up by an exclusive editorial from our team and includes stories and news you don’t want to miss.

Sign up to receive awesome editorial content from Hannah every week.

Check your inbox for our confirmation email and click the link to activate your newsletter.
We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

More Reviews

Giant Stance 29 1 review

The Giant Stance 29 1 is a refreshingly affordable mountain bike. Yer classic entry level full-sus…

Cannondale Habit Carbon LT 1 review

Long story short: the Cannondale Habit Carbon LT is a great little bike. Key question: would…

The Grinder: Zefal Bike Taxi Tow Rope, Continental Argotal, Fox Dropframe helmet, Zipp 1ZERO HiTop Wheels

Is that creak me or the bike? Real-world product reviews from real-world riders.

Wolf Tooth Resolve Dropper Post review

The Wolf Tooth Resolve dropper does away with the usual IFP arrangement, that can leak air…


You must be logged in to reply to this topic.