Lightweight XC speed machine from the German direct-to-customer company.
The Canyon LUX CF range of 100mm full-suspension bikes are aimed squarely at XC and marathon racers. Ridden to great success at famous races such as the Leadville 100 and Cape Epic, the LUX promises to be a seriously rapid machine.
The Canyon LUX CF 6.9 Pro Race is the entry point into this race-winning range.
Canyon Lux CF 6.9 Pro Race
The LUX features one of Canyon’s longest standing frame designs, so it misses out on the latest developments in frame design and fitments. At its heart is the 29er specific carbon frame that delivers 100mm of rear wheel travel.
Canyon also uses a pivotless seat/chanstay combination, relying on the carbon layup to deliver flex. This arrangement keeps weight to a minimum whilst reducing the typical maintenance regime. If this looks familiar, it is, being similar to systems as used by Scott for the Spark or Cannondale’s Scalpel.
Canyon has stuck with a typically XC (read steeper) 70 degree head angle to give the LUX a fast handling feel that starts to feel a little out of its depth on steeper terrain. A relatively steep seat angle helps keeps the front wheel down on technical climbs. Interestingly Canyon specs the LUX with some of the longest chainstays in the category to further the LUX’s mountain goat status.
The 100mm of travel is made available through a rocker driven, traditionally mounted RockShox Monarch XX Remote rear shock. Set-up with the Solo Air system is a doddle, and even though the hydraulic remote makes locking out the suspension lightning fast, it is rarely required.
Matching the RockShox Monarch XX rear shock is a non-Boost 100mm SID XX fork. Save for the upside down RS-1, the SID is RockShox’s premium XC fork, and this version has the Motion Control XX damper running a combined remote lockout with the rear.
With so little travel, the 32mm stanchions actually provide the SID with ample stiffness for the job intended. The Solo air spring feels firm on initial hits but has a good progression that still lets you get full travel when you need it.
There’s no getting away from the fact that you get a lot of kit for your money with a Canyon. Even after the Brexit horror price hike panic, Canyon’s direct to market model is hard to beat.
SRAM supplies a complete GX1 groupset. Unusually Canyon has chosen to fit the LUX with a Gripshift shifter rather than the normal trigger version. It’s a little Euro, but it’s lightweight and positive, providing effective shifting without having to release grip on the bars. The downside of this type of shifter is the inability to shift and brake properly at the same time.
SRAM also provides the brakes, with their two piston Level T brakes, running 160mm rotors.
The LUX spins on light, non-Boost DT Swiss X1700 Spline Two wheels. Canyon also fits the excellent (if a little too hardpack specific) Maxxis Ikon 3C tyre front and rear. Tyres were swapped to our benchmark Maxxis Ardent Race to keep testing as fair as possible.
Canyon supplies its own brand finishing kit with a 720mm wide handlebar and 90mm stem. 720mm is an appropriate width for the type of riding the LUX is made for, but the longer stem length marred the ride experience, pulling your weight further over the front wheel and exacerbating the steep head angle.
On the initial ride I was blown away with how rabidly the LUX accelerates, snarling away under any effort. Several times I found myself wishing for more gears to maintain this speed. This rewarding of effort continues into the LUX’s climbing prowess.
A weight significantly lower than other similarly priced XC race bikes such as the Trek Top Fuel and Merida Ninety-Six, as well as a combination of long chain stays, light wheels and fast rolling tyres, makes it a bike that gallops up the climbs. This might sound like a cliché but it really did make steeper climbs feel more manageable.
The twinned RockShox XX suspension marries together well, although the carbon flex stay design introduces a considerable resistance that the shock has to work with. This configuration works effectively like a leaf spring and produces a lot of undamped resistance to the ride. As the frame moves through its travel, resistance builds in the first part of the stroke before tension is released quickly further through the stroke.
This creates a stiff platform for efficiency at the start but also incorporates a regressive suspension path to use all available travel on harder hits. The result is that you’ll need to add a considerable amount of rebound damping to try and tame the pogo-like quality this brings to the bike. The upside is that the Lux could probably do without the remote lockout as a result, as rider input is invariably negated by the carbon’s inherent tension.
The lack of weight and firmer suspension make the LUX a bit of a handful on faster, rougher courses, with a skittish, flighty ride. This is less a bike to bludgeon along a track, and more one that rewards smoother line choices; the lack of compliance leaves you feeling like you are bouncing from one feature to another, like a greyhound taking on a set of stairs. This can see you bounced off line, just as you would be on a light hardtail.
Canyon has a knack for building great bikes, and they can be difficult to fault. The LUX delivers outstanding value for monty and it’s only really the tyres we would change out of the box. The LUX certainly best suits a racer or rider with a well developed sense of line choice that values speed and efficiency over pure fun and surefooted handling. It delivers a full suspension platform able to provide the extra squish needed for harder courses without compromising effort.