the mountain bike classic gets a new look

Canyon Neuron 2023 Review

Canyon Neuron 2023 – the mountain bike classic gets a new look

Canyon prescribes a rejuvenation for its entire Neuron platform. We not only tested the most exciting bikes of the 2023 lineup, but also compared the aluminum versus the carbon version and differentiated the bike from the Spectral 125.
Canyon Neuron AL 7 2023
Canyon re-imagines one of its most popular models for 2023. Can the 2023 Neuron fill in the footsteps of its predecessor?
The Canyon Neuron is the VW Golf of the bike industry, because it is one of the best-selling All Mountains worldwide. The predecessor had been on the market unchanged since 2019. After four years, the guys from Koblenz are giving their chart-topper a new frame. The timing of the new edition is not surprising. At the presentation in Spain it impressed, because Canyon is considered one of the most innovative manufacturers in the industry. Finding out what is technically possible and setting new development goals is as much a part of Canyon’s image as bike boxes are to direct mail. Anyone who looks at the new Neuron with this in the back of their minds will be taken aback. Because the obvious evolutions that have shaped Canyon’s image in the past are not obvious at first glance. And that raises a huge question. Has the bike industry reached the zenith of its development?

What’s new on the Canyon Neuron 2023 (Version M118 & M119)

Of course, the Canyon Neuron cannot do without evolution entirely. Design, cable routing and geometry have been updated in 2023. The popular cable duct of the carbon predecessor on the down tube has given way to internal cable routing through the headset. In this particular case, the constructive and visual advantages outweigh the argument of easier maintenance. The current aluminum model has a classic cable routing without routing the cables through the head tube. The model names that Canyon is introducing with the 2023 Neuron range is also new. As in the automotive industry, Canyon uses the abbreviations M118 & M 119 to make it clearer to the customer, which model series it is. All Aluminum Neurons have the model code M118. The Carbon platform is identified by the code M119. Especially when these bikes later find their way onto the used market, but also when it comes to service or spare parts, this detail helps a lot.

Even in 2023, the Neuron will only roll on 29er wheels from frame size M

The strategy for the wheels, on the other hand, remains untouched. From size M, the wheel diameter increases to the standard 29er. The frame sizes XS & S, on the other hand, roll on 27.5 inch tires. In our opinion, the size-dependent choice of wheels definitely makes sense and shows that Canyon remains true to its approach of building bikes that fit everyone. Even if this significantly increases the complexity and thus the costs in the supply chain. It just makes sense to equip smaller people with smaller wheels. By the way, you can find a detailed article about the correct frame size here.
Touring fully off-road
We’ve covered quite a few kilometers and meters of altitude on the new carbon and aluminum model.
The Canyon Neuron is an All Mountain MTB
The old Neuron was always a rock for touring riders. Because, while many all-mountain models became significantly more downhill-oriented, the Neuron always remained true to its touring character.
The predecessor: the old Canyon Neuron from 2019
The old Canyon Neuron was first sold in 2019 and has been one of the most popular All Mountains on the market over the past few years. Let’s compare it to its predecessor.
Cable duct on old Canyon Neuron CF
The cable duct that nestled in the down tube in the old model is no longer there in the new version. Mechanics in particular always found this solution great, because it made changing the gear cable or the brakes super easy.
Cable routing on the new Canyon Neuron AL
In the new carbon model, the decision was made to route the cables internally through the headset. This is visually more appealing and has design advantages. If the cables come out through the head tube, you save on additional openings in the carbon frame. This reduces the complexity of the construction and the frame weight. The aluminum models (image) have a very classic cable routing through the down tube.

The rear kinematics of the Canyon Neuron – never change a winning team

What hasn’t changed compared to the predecessor is the bolted BSA bottom bracket and the rear kinematics. And even if not changing something is almost a risk in the bike industry, Canyon has to be congratulated on this decision. Because a defining feature of the old Neuron series was the first-class rear triangle. Drive-neutral, sensitive and with enough reserves for larger impacts. Pivot points and damper mounting remain unchanged from the predecessor. On the trail, it feels like the Neuron has more than its nominal 130 mm of travel.
“Old
The direct comparison NEW (left) VS. OLD (right). We congratulate the designers on having the courage to adopt something good, which has been tried and tested from its predecessor. The rear kinematics remain unchanged compared to the predecessor. And that’s a good thing!
The rear triangle on the Canyon Neuron remains
The extremely high Horst link bearing already attracted attention in the predecessor, but works very well for the entire rear triangle.
Canyon Neuron rear triangle M118
You get 130 millimeters of travel in the rear triangle from the 50 millimeters cubic capacity of the damper. The riding impression revealed, that this is obviously a healthy gear ratio.

How much does the new Canyon Neuron weigh?

In recent years, the weights in the industry have clearly developed in one direction. Canyon is aware of this and has meticulously paid attention to the weight during development. The Neuron 7 costs €2700 and weighs 14.4 kilos including pedals, inner tubes in the tires and bottle cages. Without pedals and bottle holders, we weighed it in size M at 13.9 kilos. That’s impressive for an aluminum bike in this price range. The aluminum frame weighs 3060 grams with the thru-axle and seat clamp. According to Canyon, the carbon frame weighs a whopping 600 grams less. According to the manufacturer, the carbon top model weighs less than 13 kilos. And these values should unravel the knot of frustration for long-established bikers. What recently became apparent with the new Cube Stereo One models is now confirmed: the peak in weight development has been surpassed.
  • Bottom bracket: BSA (bolted)
  • Wheel size: XS & S – 27.5 inches ; from M – 29 inches
  • Rear wheel dimensions: 12×148
  • Seat clamp: 35 mm
  • Seatpost: 30.9mm
  • Cable routing: integrated, through the head tube carbon); through the down tube (for aluminum)
  • Weight carbon frame 2400 grams (without damper)
  • Weight aluminum frame 3060 grams (without damper)
  • Bottle holder From size M there’s space for 2 bottles
  • Special feature Attachment option for a storage package

Strong climber – the Neuron stays true to its character

We have ridden various Neuron models over 8000 meters uphill. Both in technical terrain and on easy gravel roads. And this is where the geometry of the Neuron comes into its own. Because in the latest version, you have a slightly sportier posture in the saddle than with the predecessor. The steeper seat angle allows you to climb even more efficiently on steep climbs. However, Canyon shows sensitivity here and does not drift into the extremely sporty position. In our opinion, the current posture in the saddle is perfect for using it as a touring bike. The efficient rear end, the low weight and the well-rolling Wicked Will rear tire make even long climbs in the Alps or tours in the low mountain ranges with lots of altitude meters possible. If you screw on the bottle holders correctly, from frame size M even two drinking bottles fit into the frame triangle. This also has an impact on the touring character of the bike. Our interim uphill conclusion after climbing Everest with the carbon and aluminum model: The Neuron retains its climbing strength even in the latest version. And that was always one of the reasons why the old model was so successful.
“A
The steeper seat tube angle makes climbing easier, especially in extreme terrain.
Touring fully for crossing the Alps
But the new Canyon does just as well as its predecessor on normal climbs.

This is how the Canyon Neuron rides downhill with its new geometry

With our comparison option on bike-test.com it is clear that the biggest change in the current Neuron is in the geometry. Because in comparison you can not only see that the geometry score has improved compared to the predecessor. This works even independent of size. Two things are very noticeable here: The steering angle is flatter, the reach is significantly longer. When seated, the bike feels similar to its predecessor but is slightly sportier. But as soon as you drop the saddle and roll over the trails while standing, the difference becomes clear. Because handling on the trail has grown up. Especially on alpine trails, the longer reach and wheelbase of the new Neuron turned out to be a confidence factor when things get faster on rough terrain. In steep sections of trail, the increased stack of the new model allows you to stand very confidently behind the handlebars. Canyon breathes new descent qualities into the bike that its predecessor didn’t have, without drifting off to the extreme.
“Handles
Now, it feels comfortable here too. Thanks to the geometry update, the new Canyon Neuron is much more confident in steep, bumpy terrain.

What is the difference between Canyon Neuron and Spectral 125?

To be completely honest: Canyon does not make it easy for its customers at this point. Because you are spoiled for choice. Neuron and Spectral 125 have exactly the same suspension travel on the fork, but are aimed at completely different target groups. With the same suspension travel, the Spectral 125 usually has a 36 mm fork, while the Neuron uses 34 stanchions. The thicker fork on the Spectral is significantly stiffer and therefore ready for a rougher downhill. The slacker steering angle and the thicker tire profile of the Spectral are exactly the same as the suspension fork. A direct comparison also shows that the Spectral 125 works much more progressively with the rear triangle kinematics. At the same price, the Spectral 125 will always be a bit heavier. In short: The Spectral 125 is a good option for those who want to shred, jib and jump. Those who take a more holistic view of mountain biking and like to enjoy single trails on long tours will be happier with the Neuron. For the Spectral, the climb is just a must, the Neuron sees it as part of the bigger picture and not as a nuisance. With the Cube Stereo One 44, a large competitor does not actually come from its own ranks.
Canyon Spectral 125 vs Neuron
Twins, but fraternal. Although the Spectral 125 and Neuron share the same fork travel, they target completely different audiences.
Canyon Spectral 125
The thicker fork, the slacker steering angle and the chunkier tires make it clear: The Spectral 125 is all about having fun on the descent.
Canyon Spectral 125 Damper
The damper with reservoir and the significantly more progressive working method of the Spectral rear triangle appeal to new-school bikers in particular.

The Canyon Neuron aluminum models

As usual, we not only provide in-depth insights into the details. In contrast to all other media, our innovative and absolutely objective test system allows us to provide information on the entire model family. The price entry level for the Neuron is €1899 and is therefore on the same level as the Rockrider AM 100 S by Decatlon. If you want to ride tough trails even cheaper, you will inevitably end up with a trailhardtail such as the Rose Bonero .

All Canyon Neuron Carbon models from 2023

You can get a carbon frame from Canyon for as little as €3.000. This means, that the Koblenz-based direct seller is undercutting its strongest rival, Cube, by €300. Including the women’s version, there are 5 model variants made of carbon, which differ in price by €1.000 each.
Canyon Neuron out and about data-recalc-dims=
Canyon Neuron CF experiences
Despite the new version, the Neuron remains true to its character and should continue to be a very good choice for many touring riders in the future.

Conclusion on the 2023 Canyon Neuron

Canyon is walking a tightrope with the new version of the Neuron. The people from Koblenz get as many elements as possible from their predecessor. However, the changes that have made it into the new bike significantly improve the riding experience. Above all, the new geometry should be mentioned here. The latest Neuron generation also remains true to the values that were so popular with its predecessors: the bike puts touring suitability above all else and is the perfect companion for crossing the Alps or extended tours in the low mountain ranges. The differentiation from the Spectral 125 is retained. And even against its fiercest competitor, Cube, they can hold their own. In terms of price, many Canyon models are cheaper than those from the specialist brand Cube.
In this article, the author Ludwig Döhl has incorporated his experience from more than 100,000 kilometers in the mountain bike saddle.

About the author

Ludwig

... has spent more than 100,000 kilometers in the saddle of over 1000 different mountain bikes. The essence of many hours on the trail: Mountain bikes are awesome when they match your personal preferences! With this realization, he founded bike-test.com to assist cyclists in finding their very own dream bike.

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