Bike Review: Canyon Lux SL 7.0 Race

Words by: Lance Stephenson | Images by: Frans Le Roux

After Full Sus attended the SA launch of Canyon Bikes late last year, we could not wait to put one of their models through its paces with a proper bike review. LANCE STEPHENSON spent a couple of weeks on board their new XC flyer, the Lux.

This has to be the “dark horse” bike that I’ve secretly wanted to ride since I saw the Topeak Ergon crew testing it in Jonkershoek on a training ride late in 2017. The sleek lines and two bottle frame configuration had my attention, but what really got my juices flowing was the simple, clean and elegant suspension layout with its tidy rocker links and all.

Internal cabling looks neat while the white Lux logo does not stand out

Canyon claim to have the holy trinity of suspension action with their kinematics of this platform. The first
third of the suspension stroke is “sensitive” second third is “stable”, and the last third is “progressive”. This is
jargon for: The bike floats small bumps but jitters around on bigger bumps. Which you’d expect is a bad thing when talking suspension. Not in this case, we are testing a XC/ marathon rig here. It has a modern slack head angle, it has short chainstays and it is fitted with a beefy 34mm 110mm Fox fork. This bike is quick, nimble and happy to take a drop and jump better than bigger brand name bikes in the same
category. The bike has an amazing red finish (red is my favourite colour) and it looks like it moves at 100km/h just standing still. The suspension parts all hide their fasteners, and bolts on the inside, giving the sleek clean appearance detail that I love. It’s like the door handles retreat into the door when parked.

On the trail reveals the most important part of a bike. How it rides is actually all that matters. I rolled out of my gate to take a gentle jaunt down to my trails, riding three high speed speed bumps on the way downhill, the bike “pops” over them with a direct and sudden move, making it feel sharp and ready to go, and it lands with a distinctive poise that assures you the suspension works. This is good, and I know it’s a tar downhill, but it bodes well. I turn onto the trail and start meandering up, fighting for traction in the thick white sand. I find myself sitting very upright on the bike, not having to lean and fight the front end as much as some bikes. This is particularly good for any bike when climbing as you don’t overuse your back. Once I was higher up, I starting riding some tight, blown-out switchbacks with ease. The steering is light and lets the bike flow upwards, never feeling like it loses its line. Nice!

A white strip runs all along the top tube and blends in perfectly with the rear suspension pivot

I head downstream now, having earned my downhill. My first section is very fast and with loose rocks. The bike is nervous, bordering on twitchy, but somehow doesn’t make me nervous. It stays composed for me, I have to get hard on the brakes and turn hard left into the trail. Cutting from hard pack with big loose rocks to soft sandy flowy turns, the bike feels solid and happy. The suspension midstroke is superb through turns where you g-out with momentum and the rear end is stiff enough to hold the line. I get to another rocky section, this time slower and the suspension there feels less composed, jittery and harsh even. It makes me realise this is a racing sled, and as such, needs the pace to stay high to get the most float out of it. I keep it pinned now and the bike bogs down less and starts gliding over the top of the rocks … quiet, fast and happy.

The IPU (impact protection unit) protects the frame from handlebar impacts

Getting to the bottom I am out of breath. I had pushed downhill and got the most out of the bike I could. This bike likes to go fast, it’s designed like that. I dropped the suspension pressure front and rear 5% and the bike is instantly more forgiving, making this bike quite versatile and better on the bigger rougher stuff.

A small integrated chain guide will make you sure you never drop a chain

Now, the parts. Full XT groupset, with DT 1700 wheelset (love these wheels). Fox bouncers front and rear with remote lockouts. Ergon enduro grips (ultracomfy) and a little detail that is quite radical, it has a head
lock/stop lock headset system that stops the handle bar swinging past 90 degrees and hurting the frame. This is a great feature and I quite enjoyed that.

Crucially a second water bottle can be fitted to the inside of the front triangle

CONCLUSION

This bike punches way above its weight category, on price and ride. You’ll have to buy a bike R20k more to get an equal spec and ride! Buy it if you want a race ready rig that is going to climb fast and descend well. Don’t buy it if you want an arm chair ride.

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