Canyon Nerve AL+ 9.0 SL – first look

Bling enduro-ready 150mm rig

BikeRadar have just taken delivery of the top-of-the-range Canyon Nerve AL+ 9.0 SL. For £3,149 the 150mm all-mountain bike has an impressive enduro-ready setup complete with enviable componentry and attention to detail.


Not to be mistaken with models from the similarly named Nerve AL range, the AL+ bikes cover the slacker and longer travel side of Canyon’s all-mountain offerings and comes in five versions, ranging from £1,539 to £3,149.

German company Canyon Bikes have a reputation for offering premium-kitted bikes at a price point that others struggle to match, achieved by eliminating middlemen and selling direct to customers. 

An extensive hydroforming effort has ensured a stiff and strong frame without a weight penalty. Stiffness has been addressed at both ends of the bike, the front using a tapered head tube and the rear employing a 12mm thru-axle. 

Geometry has been revised for 2013. The result is a 67-degree head angle and 74-degree seat tube angle, chosen to improve both handling and efficiency.

The 32 TALAS fork and Float rear shock are from Fox and use CTD technology, providing the rider with fast and easy-to-understand adjustment for different terrain. Both ends also benefit from Fox’s Kashima coating, reducing stiction and ensuring a plush ride.

The Nerve AL+ 9.0 SL is a head-turning bike adorned with gold CrankBros components, from the black-and-gold Cobalt 3 wheelset down to the similarly themed cockpit.

The lightweight cobalt 3 wheelset adds bling appeal with its gold spokes:
James Costley-White/Future Publishing

Gold spokes add bling appeal

However, don’t be fooled – this bike is not a case of all the gear and no idea. It’s been carefully specced with the aggressive (and weight conscious) trail rider in mind – Formula’s T1 brakes offer stopping with a power-to-weight ratio that’s hard to match, and Continental Mountain King Protection tyres provide familiar traction.

Instead of opting for a double setup, Canyon have chosen to run a Shimano XTR triple groupset. This bucks the transmission trend that most all-mountain bikes are taking, but at least potential problems with chain slap should be limited by the rear derailleur’s chain tensioning Shadow Plus technology

While many manufacturers are offering particularly short stems and super-wide bars, Canyon’s Euro influences show through with the choice to spec the Medium test bike with an 80mm stem and 720mm CrankBros Cobalt 2 (XC/race) riser bar.

Keeping things bang up to date, the Nerve AL+ 9.0 SL gets a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post (with internally routed hosing) topped with a Selle Italia Carbonio saddle, making this an enduro-ready ride.

A rockshox reverb stealth dropper post keeps things looking nice and clean with its internal hose routing:
James Costley-White/Future Publishing

Internal hose routing keeps things looking clean and tidy

Well thought-out frame protection features on both the down tube and areas prone to cable rub. The total bike tips our scales at 12.3kg (27.1lb).

For those worried about the limitations of direct-to-consumer sales, there’s good news for the UK market. In February 2013, Canyon opened their first office/service centre in Kingston, London, to better support UK buyers. They’ll be running their very first demo day there tomorrow, Monday 6 May. 

And here’s the full spec for the Canyon Nerve AL+ 9.0 SL…

  • Frame: Canyon Nerve AL+
  • Shock: Fox Float CTD Boost Valve w/ Trail Adjust
  • Fork: Fox 32 TALAS 150 FIT CTD w/ Trail Adjust
  • Headset: Cane Creek Series 40
  • Stem: CrankBros Iodine 1
  • Handlebar: CrankBros Cobalt 2 Riser
  • Grips: Ergon GA-1
  • Brakes: Formula T1
  • Shifter: Shimano XTR, 10-speed
  • Crankset: Shimano XTR
  • Cassette: Shimano Deore XT, 11-36T, 10-speed
  • Wheelset: CrankBros Cobalt 3
  • Front tyre: Continental Mountain King Protection 2.4in
  • Rear tyre: Continental Mountain King Protection 2.4in
  • Saddle: Selle Italia SLS Kit Carbonio
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Weight: 12.3kg (27.1lb)
  • Price: £3,149

For more information on Canyon bikes visit