It's over two years since we reviewed the Stoic 4, Canyon's aluminium trail hardtail. Fresh off the back of 'Hardtail of the year' test we test the cheaper Stoic 2 to see how it stacks up in the sub £1,000 category.
If you’ve been following our Hardtail of the Year test, you’re probably wondering why the Canyon Stoic 2 wasn’t in the mix. And the answer is simple. It didn’t arrive on time to make the cut. Now that it’s here though, and with the Hardtail of the Year test still front of mind, I wanted to see how the Canyon would have stacked up in the sub £1k category of that test.
At first glance, the alloy frame on this 29er hardtail has a more modern profile than either the Voodoo Bizango Pro or the Vitus Sentier 29. Digging into the numbers confirms that; the low slung top tube combined with a slack 64.1º head angle and generous 475mm reach on the size L make the Stoic longer, slacker and lower than both of those bikes.
Best of all, the Stoic comes in six unique frame sizes to guarantee a perfect fit. Canyon even mixes wheel sizes across the size range: XXS, XS and S get 27.5in wheels, M, L and XL roll on full 29in. I feel that Canyon has missed a trick by not offering a MX option though. Still, with all of the standover clearance it’s really easy to up size if you want a longer, more stable bike. Not that you’ll need to do so, because the Stoic is roughly one full size longer in the cockpit than the Voodoo, Vitus and On-One, so if anything, you’re more likely to go the other way.
On the scale the Stoic 2 is comparable in weight with the Calibre Line T3-27 and the On-One Scandal SX. But it’s worth noting that both of those bike sport dropper posts. It has a similar tyre spec to the Vitus, which does not have a dropper post, and weighed in at 13.9kg, so the Stoic 2 is marginally heavier at 14.68kg.
Some of that additional weight is in the steel upper tubes of the 140mm travel Suntour XCR 34 29 Air fork. The suspension fork has a smooth composed action, and feels less erratic than some of the entry-level RockShox forks we’ve tested. Which means you can ride harder and with more confidence as it helps limit the bigger swings in dynamic geometry you get on most hardtails with longer travel forks.
How long the fork will stay that way is anyone’s guess and getting it serviced, or sourcing spare parts, isn’t going to be as straightforward as with a RockShox unit, as most shops won’t be interested in cracking it open just in case they open up a can of worms. Especially when the bike was bought directly from Canyon.
In terms of drivetrain, Canyon has gone with the light action Shimano Deore 10 speed, with a recent switch to the new 10-speed Shimano Cues U600 on the latest model. It’s been smart with the gearing too. The smaller 30t chainring ensures that you can still keep the pedals turning on the climbs even with the closer ratio 11-42t cassette.
How it rides
In a word: silent. There’s no cable rattle to accompany you on every ride, but the cable routing still needs attention as the cables rub on the fork crown. And while that seems innocuous, unaddressed, the cables will wear a deep, unsightly groove in the fork crown over time. So you’ll either want to shorten the cables from the off, or put some clear protective tape where they touch the fork crown.
The blissfully silent ride is mostly due to the excellent chainstay protection, but there’s also a nice damped feel to the soft compound Schwalbe tyres, without introducing too much drag. The Schwalbe tyres come with the reinforced Super Trail casing for increased puncture resistance, so you can run them a little softer than normal to improve both traction and comfort. It’s still no match for the Calibre Line T3-27 with its 2.6in plus size tyres when it comes to traction and control though.
And while on the subject of control the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes are excellent, especially with the extra stopping power afforded by the bigger 203/180mm rotors. The Canyon Stoic 2 frame is ripe for a dropper post upgrade, but the bike doesn’t come with a quick release seat collar so you will need a multi-tool to hand for constantly adjusting the saddle height to match the terrain.
Now, given that Canyon Stoic 2 is cheaper than all of the bikes in the sub £1K category of our Hardtail of the Year test you could just buy a 30.9mm diameter £100 dropper post and be done with it. The bike doesn’t come with pedals either, not even the cheap plastic variety, so you’ll need to factor that into the headline price too.
And while the specification may not be quite as good value as the Voodoo Bizango Pro or the Vitus Sentier 29, Canyon offers a more modern frame platform on which to upgrade so it’s still right up there in the mix with the best of them. All it needs now is a 27.5in rear wheel with a 2.6in tyre and we’d probably have a new winner for our Hardtail of the Year test. Maybe next year? I sure hope so.