Canyon Grand Canyon CF 9.0 - First ride £2650

Blisteringly quick

BikeRadar score 4/5

Canyon’s new carbon hardtail is a blisteringly quick race missile. Somehow it manages to be surprisingly comfortable and fun on technical trails too.

Ride & handling: Fun and forgiving on technical trails

Thanks to its low weight, the CF 9.0 explodes up climbs or out of corners as fast as you can flick the gears. Power delivery out of the saddle is savagely direct and lockout on the forks is ideal for smoother climbs or sharp sprints.

There’s still enough smoothness between the saddle and trail to mean you have to pedal as though you were on a suspension bike to stop the seatpost bouncing backwards when grinding the big ring round. That won’t please everyone but the payback in comfort, fatigue reduction and ability to keep the rear wheel stuck right down becomes more obvious the further you ride.

Ripping round timed test loops, the bike proved much more fun and forgiving than we expected on tight, rocky, slippery trails. Whiplash-quick reactions mean it’s a riot of understeering traction corrections, power slides and featherweight agility that less experienced riders might be overwhelmed by. If you’ve got the skill to exploit it though, the CF 9.0 offers a huge amount of insanely responsive fun that will push your speed potential to its limit.

Frame & equipment: Ready-to-race package at a superb price

The new Grand Canyon frame has a tapered head tube and massive main tubes with size-specific fibre layups for optimum weight and strength. Gears are routed internally and the headset even has a unique ‘stop’ in the bearings to prevent the bars smashing into the wafer-thin top tube in a crash.

The patented tapered Maximus seat tube, double wall bottom bracket shell and super-deep, square section chainstay mean none of your power is going astray. Meanwhile, the asymmetric seatstays use a fattened offside strut to fight torque from the direct mounted brake. The upper part of the stays and the custom skinny-diameter Ritchey seatpost use the VCLS (Vertical Comfort, Lateral Stiffness) carbon fibre layup Canyon developed for their road bikes.

The 9.0 comes with a full Shimano XTR drivetrain, bar the XT cassette. Even with alloy (rather than carbon) Syntace bars and DT Swiss wheels and fork it just squeezes under 9.1kg (20lb) without pedals. It’s not all about diet though.

The DT Swiss fork is the stiff 32mm leg version rather than the lighter 28mm one, the carbon levered Formula R1 brakes have a 180mm front rotor and the Schwalbe tyres are a full 2.25in in width. The relatively wide flat bar comes with bar ends already fitted for maximum climbing speed, completing an excellent ready-to-race package at a superb price. 

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.

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