Canyon Neuron:ON Review Overview
Canyon continues its innovation for 2023 with the release of the all-new Neuron:ON. Based on trail geometry and shorter travel, the Neuron ON is a great value bike for all types of riders.
Our test took place in Tuscany Italy which was a little damp, but throughout a day of intensive trail testing, we were able to gain an insight into the workings of the new Neuron ON.
Canyon has slotted the Neuron:ON below the Spectral:ON in terms of capability but not fun. Based around a carbon frame and integrated motor, they have extended the viability of the Neuron:ON platform.
The e-bike is the second full-suspension electric bike now to be built around the Bosch Generation 4 Performance CX motor and smart system battery in Canyon’s lineup. It comes in three versions all with a carbon frame and 150mm (front)/140mm (rear) of suspension.
The frame is also completely new, well proportioned in design, and contains either a 750 Wh Bosch battery or a 625 Wh battery. The geometry of the front triangle is the same as the Spectral:ON, with a different rear end. It is very comfortable to ride and will keep many types of riders in their fun zone.
The wheel size for this bike is 29” front and rear, a popular choice for stability and great rolling resistance characteristics. The larger wheels also add a bit of clearance so you can roll over roots and rocks with ease.
This bike is designed for a wide range of riders from the semi-pro to the complete beginner. It’s a bike that many will feel immediately at home on and is extremely competitive in scope for the lower end of the market.
This bike is perfect for all-mountain trail riding and having fun on your bike. It’s not about how much travel you have, but how you use it. This bike can do a lot, so ride it and have fun, but don’t push it too far. It can make docile trails on a bigger bike come alive and is also great for cruising comfortably on gravel roads.
Reasons to Buy the Neuron:ON
If you’re in the market for an e-bike with great value and a high-quality performance-to-price ratio, then we highly recommend this one. It’s a top choice in a very competitive category, suitable for both novice and experienced riders. We can confidently say that no other bike in this category can match its reliability, quality components, excellent geometry, and lightweight feel. It’s not trying to be flashy or more than what it is – it simply works.
Things to Consider
If you require long range, the battery can only be charged within the bike’s frame. This allows the designers to reduce the bike’s weight. If you plan on riding more than 60 miles, bring a charger for a mid-day recharge. Additionally, if you’ll be riding on rough, rocky terrain frequently, consider upgrading the tires.
The Neuron:ON’s Components
The carbon frame is again one of Canyon’s top-quality frame builds and uses a full carbon frame front triangle. Following the design language of the Spectral:ON and Strive:ON the bike is fully integrated and has embedded cable routing and entry points through the headset. The electronics from Bosch are also integrated with a top tube display plus bar mounted wireless mini remote. It is possible to mount a Bosch Kioxx 300 display. The motor orientation is flat with the battery placed in front of the motor position but closer together meaning the battery can’t be removed unless you rotate the motor by undoing some bolts. This improves the integrated look of the frame. The low standover height of other Canyon frames is continued here with a suitably long hydraulic seatpost taking care of fine rider saddle height adjustments. Again, we applaud Canyon with its downtube design as it is very sleek with a well-designed surfacing aspect hiding the battery extremely well.
Suspension travel is 150 mm front and 140mm rear. Categorized as medium travel by today’s bike market this is the ideal length for fun on the trails. It is not designed for massive hits, as it uses the 34 mm lower leg diameter. Shorter travel bikes tend to react faster and encourage a more playful ride feel. Our test version came with the Fox Elite 34 with a performance Elite rear shock. The rear suspension is a four bar link design that is active when pedaling or braking, in this form of travel it is also very reactive and gives the rider ability to gain instant feedback and pop from their inputs. This translates to a lively feel on the trail.
Transmission duties were handled by the 12 speed Shimano XT drivetrain which was efficient and didn’t miss a beat.
Braking is done with Shimano XT brakes and 120mm discs. These are reliable brakes that are easy to set up and maintain.
The wheel package is based on 29” wheels and is about low rolling resistance and smooth rolling. DT Swiss wheels provide a reliable base mounted to Schwalbe tires. These tires worked well and gave a good grip without slowing us down on flat trails. We would upgrade the rear tire to a stronger casing if riding on rocky trails to avoid pinch punctures.
Bosch Motor and Battery
As we have mentioned in other tests, Bosch has done well with their system and it finally approaches most of our desires from an OEM system. The new simplicity tied with the flexibility to add features later on gives riders a great interface to use.
The mini remote is the easiest remote to use on the market and although not super tough, is easy to position on the bar and requires no previous knowledge to understand and operate. The remote battery seems to last a very long time as well.
The latest smart system software allows the user to fully tune all power modes from the Bosch Flow app. The app is clear and easy to use. For the intended use cases of this e-bike, the ability to now map your routes and see where you have been on your phone is really good. If you use a robust quad-lock your phone can become the bike’s display.
Bosch offers two battery options, the 625 Wh or the 750 Wh. Range anxiety is basically non-existent with this setup. Although with your Neuron you can’t hot swap your battery mid-ride for more range. Based on our 40 mile ride we can’t see the need really to have to do that. We were exhausted and returned to base with 20-30 percent remaining after spending all day in EMTB mode.
The Bosch motor has 85Nm of torque which is more than enough for all the imagined use cases of this bike. It has a distinctive feel to it compared to other motors on the market. As we have tested previously and commented It is marginally more “assist” in its feel compared to a Shimano motor. The motor is not completely silent but makes enough noise so you know what is happening. Audible feedback is a good idea for the beginner riding market as they learn to manage their motor power and physical output.
The Neuron:ON felt immediately like our bike. Something we know to be a good indicator of bike quality. Yes, we are experienced riders, but this electric bike just feels easy to sit on. The top tube length puts the rider in an ideal all-around position for climbing and descending without feeling too stretched out. Our L test size is ideal for 6ft riders. We felt on descents the bike was big enough to give stability, especially matched with 29” wheels. Climbs were effortless with an easy ride feel characterizing climbing, no front-end lift, and minimal wheel slip. This is due to a well-tailored rear chainstay length that gives great balance across the wheelbase with respect to the front center (the distance between the bottom bracket and the front axle), the rider sits centrally on the bike.
On The Trail
The aim of the Neuron is as an all-arounder. That means this e-bike could be used in any normal riding situation (not extreme) and be able to react positively for a wide range of user types. The main aim of this e-bike is the ability to have fun. If you want to take it down an enduro trail you will be under-biked. Life-risking trails are not the aim of this rig, it’s more about trail access and exploration across a range of fun trails.
If the trails have an up-and-down flow, this bike flies along keeping both tires in contact with the ground and the ride is very smooth. It’s such a good feeling to know that the bike will react when you need it.
Downhill the Neuron is not a killer do-all e-bike. It needs finesse to take it to the limit on rough stuff, but if the trails are chill then it will feel like you are riding faster than you might otherwise have thought you could as the 29” wheels give an inbuilt stability to the ride.
The suspension we would characterize as reactive, and gives enough pop to allow the bike to be danced from one feature to another. We rode down a particularly fun trail called ironically “The Canyon,” this trail allowed us to really play with the bike and we never felt out of control. It corners exceptionally well and smoothly.
The wheel package felt reliable and solid but we would say this bike has enough forward thinking to fit a pair of beefy tires like the Eddy Current and you have a bike that can withstand a lot more than one might imagine it was built for.
Our Takeaway from the Canyon Neuron:ON
I would love to have one of these in my garage. It was such a fun bike to ride, felt light and playful and doesn’t cost the earth. A big Enduro bike doesn’t cut it on half the trails I ride, this does.
Also, a great bike demonstrating the versatility of the Bosch system. Normally we don’t like 29” wheels, this made us like them again. So much fun.