At first glance, Canyon’s new Neuron trail bike looks an awful lot like the silhouette of the old Neuron, but tucked inside a relatively minor-looking reshaping is a complete overhaul to the consumer-direct retailer’s best-selling mountain bike.
The new Neuron gets every update you could wish for in a modernized trail bike – lighter, stronger, stiffer, longer geometry, slacker steering, steeper seat angle with more dropper drop, plus tidy cable routing, improved durability, and more. This is Canyon’s category-ignoring, fully-capable mid-travel full-suspension all-rounder – 130mm rear wheel travel paired to 140mm forks – a bike for mountain bikers who don’t want to overthink it and just want to go mountain biking…
2023 Canyon Neuron CF carbon trail mountain bike
In a line-up that has 9 or 10 different mountain bikes – just from XC to Enduro – one of my first questions to Canyon was, “Why is the Neuron their top-selling mountain bike?”. The answer essentially boils down to reality.
Most mountain bikers don’t really race cross-country, and would rather have a more confidently-handling bike for all sorts of trail riding. And really, no matter how much we all may dream of ‘shredding the gnar’ and smashing big days down uber-technical gravity tracks, most of us aren’t racing enduro, and we usually don’t need a big-travel gravity bike.
What we really need is a bike that is fast & fun on buff singletrack, is comfortable climbing smooth fireroads or steep switchbacks, capable of descending rough technical tracks, and is simply up for all-day mountain biking adventures over any type of trail you’ll uncover riding unfamiliar terrain. You know… a mountain bike. That’s the new Neuron – a mountain bike. No pigeon-holing required.
OK, so what’s new?
It’s almost easier to say what’s not new. What hasn’t changed is this is still a 130mm trail bike paired to a set of solid 140mm forks – the excellent Fox 34 for almost every build. What’s new is that the 2023 Canyon Neuron is lighter, stronger & more capable than ever.
Starting with lighter, Canyon says they shaved 200g off the old carbon Neuron with the new model, mainly by tweaking tube shapes and optimizing the carbon layup. There’s not a big shift in material or layout, just everything done a bit more precisely. That’s now a claimed weight of 2440g (size M) for the frame and all its hardware – or just a shade over 2kg for the bare frame pieces bolted together.
So how does a lighter bike get stronger?
Canyon moves to a stiffer, wider main pivot for the new trail bike and upgrades to stronger, better-sealed bearings and reinforced pivot bolts all around. Plus, the new bike gets a new bolt-on integrated but replaceable downtube protector, and burly rubber chainstay protection that wraps entirely around the stay even up next to the chainring to eliminate any chain-slap noise and guard against chainsuck. The main pivot also gets a tiny integrated chainguide for extra security over rougher trails.
Overall the carbon frame keeps mostly the same 4-bar suspension layout and much the same kinematics with Canyon’s signature Triple Phase Suspension.
The frame shape even looks mostly the same, outside of a slightly raised downtube kink in front of the bottom bracket. But the new Neuron does also straighten its seattube and lowers its seat clamp by 20mm – together allowing riders to now run longer-travel dropper seatposts.
Cable routing is another big shift on the new Neuron. The bike goes fully internal with wiring routed through a headset cap punctured for as many cables as you need. Inside, fully guided tubes make it easy to route rear derailleur & brake lines deep through the frame and chainstays, also with new seals as they bridge from front to rear triangles. The new bike also still gets a steering stop to prevent damage to the cables (or to your toptube from a brake lever). But now this Impact Protection Unit 2.0 (IPU2) is smaller and more discreet than ever, tucked flush into the toptube just behind the headset. Apparently, updated cable routing alone saved 80g.
Other new details include a BSA threaded bottom bracket, a standard UDH for your current derailleur or whatever else drivetrain drops today, the built-in QR rear Boost thru-axle lever, room for a full size water bottle cage, plus an extra mount for a small tool bag.
Geometry & Fit
A big part of modernizing the new Canyon Neuron meant reshaping its versatile geometry. Longer & longer & slacker geo are the hallmarks of most modern trail updates, and the Neuron is no exception. The new bike grows frame Reach by around 22mm depending on size and moves all the new sizes to a one degree slacker 66° head angle for more confident descending. But to shift rider weight a bit more forward for better control and to get back uphill easier, they get a one-and-a-half-degree steepened 76° seat angle.
Pair that all with longer droppers, and you can get back when you need to, but still keep the front wheel weighted for traction on steeper-than-ever climbs.
While we still talk mostly about modern mountain bikes having all transitioned to 29ers, Canyon is one of the few companies that has stuck to its position of delivering the same ride for all riders, and still uses frame size-specific wheel sizes. The two smallest XS & S sizes get 27.5″ wheels, while M, L & XL get 29″ wheels. This allows them to give the exact-same uncompromised steering geometry to bikes of all sizes, while bing able to shorten the wheel base and continue to lower frame Stack for small riders to deliver a consistent ride feel to mountain bikers of all sizes.
2023 Canyon Neuron – Pricing, availability & options
All in all, there are 11 different models in the new 2023 Canyon Neuron line-up – with either the 2440g carbon frame or the 3100g aluminum frame that shares much of the same tech, just without the deeper integration.
At the top is a premium Neuron CF LTD build with Fox Factory suspension, SRAM X01 AXS drivetrain & RockShox Reverb AXS dropper, and ultralight DT Swiss XMC 1200 carbon wheels.
A bit more into a value performance price-point, the 5000€ Canyon Neuron CF 9 SL that I test rode gets the same lightened carbon frame, the same Fox Factory 34 fork & Float DPS shock, but a more affordable GX AXS wireless groupset (that performs exactly like X01), still with carbon SRAM cranks and the same RaceFace Next 35 carbon cockpit, still with 4-piston Code RSC brakes, and still with a lightweight set of carbon DT Swiss XMC 1501, just with slightly heavier hubs and Canyon’s house-brand Iridium dropper seatpost.
Then, the Neuron CF 9 drops back to a Performance Elite fork, a Performance shock, a mechanical XT drivetrain, and XMC 1700 carbon wheels. And the Neuron CF 8 & 8 WMN go Fox Performance, SLX 1×12, and DT XM1700 alloy wheels to save even more.
The alloy bikes top out with the 2700€ Neuron 7 & 7 WMN with SLX, Fox Performance suspension & DT XM 1700 wheels. The Neuron 6 & 6 WMN keep the SLX drivetrain, dialing it back to a Rythmn fork and DT LN star ratchet wheels to save a bit of money. Then the Neuron 5 takes it one step further with a RockShox Reocn Silver fork & Deluves Select+ chock paired to a Deore 12sp drivetrain and house-brand alloy wheels.
The last of the alloy bikes is the 27.5-only Canyon Neuron Young Hero edition for just 1600€ with a Manitou Machete Comp 130mm fork, Mara IL shock to keep 130mm of rear wheel travel, and a Deore 1×12 drivetrain. Built for kids to get into trail riding, the Young Hero comes spec’d with kid-sized Tektro brake levers, short 152mm alloy Canyon cranks & narrow 700mm bar, and it is available in its own smaller 2XS & XS sizes.
The whole new Neuron line-up is available online direct from Canyon now.
US mountain bikers will however have to wait a bit and get just three of the new Neurons this spring into summer, all with SRAM drivetrains. The top-tier $5500 Neuron CF 9 SL stays the same with GX AXS drivetrain & carbon DT wheels. Then, the aluminum Neuron 6 at $2600 and Neuron 5 at $2100 both swap in slightly altered complete builds compared to the rest of the world’s bikes with SRAM mechanical groupsets.
But how does it ride?
Stay tuned for our full review of the new Neuron and how it fits in between the Lux Trail and Spectral 125 later today. Sneak peek: It’s a solid trail bike for the all-around mountain biker, but those other ‘trail’ bikes certainly have their merits, too.