Canyon Grand Canyon AL 4.0 review

Light and well-equipped, but a bit dated

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £749.00 RRP

Our review

Light and lively traditional XC machine at a good price, but unsuitable for rougher play
Buy if, You're a fan of more traditional XC riding and aren't tempted by the toughest of terrain
Pros: Light, lively and well-equipped bike in a classic XC-speed style; frame is dated but still rides really smoothly if the shape suits you
Cons: Traditional handling and lack of easy dropper post addition undermine rough-riding confidence; no local shop support
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Canyon has become a byword for value by taking distributors and bike shops out of the equation and shipping bikes direct to your door from Germany. The fact that the Grand Canyon looks decent but not dazzling for the price is a sign of just how aggressive the UK market is.

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While it’s a sweet-riding bike for cross-country (XC) duties, the geometry and features are dated by current trail standards.

Canyon Grand Canyon AL 4.0 frame

Canyon doesn’t cut corners on quality and this frame is a looker, with tidy welding clear through the ‘lava red’ finish (black also available). Both main tubes taper and flatten as they head backwards to stop twist at the bottom bracket and allow some vertical flex ahead of the seat tube.

Subtly tapered A-frame chainstays lead to neat cowled dropouts for an old-school 135mm QR rear axle. The rear brake uses an ‘IS’ parallel mount, not the newer ‘post’ standard, and there’s no dropper post routing.

Geometry is similarly traditional and XC-orientated, with a 70-degree head angle, long 450mm chainstays and a very short 415mm reach (L).

While the Canyon’s 44mm head tube is set up with an internal lower bearing for the stock non-tapered fork, you could fit an oversize external bearing for tapered fork compatibility
While the Canyon’s 44mm head tube is set up with an internal lower bearing for the stock non-tapered fork, you could fit an oversize external bearing for tapered fork compatibility
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

Canyon Grand Canyon AL 4.0 kit

In classic XC style, a long stem (100mm) keeps the cockpit length reasonable and is combined with a narrow 720mm bar. Canyon supplies the slide-on Bracelet grips, which aren’t as secure as lock-ons in the wet.

The traditional theme continues with the Grand Canyon having a double crankset, which sits at the heart of a light-action 2×10 Shimano Deore transmission.

Brakes are also Deore, complete with a 180mm front rotor to boost power, and the ‘Centerlock’ rotors sit on ultra-durable, smooth-rolling Shimano hubs.

The rims are narrow, at 19mm, and the tiny tread of the Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres is designed for speed, not rowdy-terrain control, but they combine to create a light and responsive wheelset that suits the character of this 29er well.

Canyon Grand Canyon AL 4.0 ride

If you want a traditional XC bike, then the Grand Canyon is a beaut. Physics is in its favour, because compared to similar bikes it’s pretty light, with the lowest-weight wheels wrapped in semi-slick tyres.

This means it accelerates with enthusiasm and maintains speed easily. The 2×10 drivetrain gives more gear options than the 1x set-ups on the other bikes, once you’ve worked out how to juggle the closer-ratio cassette and double chainrings.

It also provides the highest top gear for maxing out your speed on smoother trails or road sections. While the head angle is steep and twitchy, the stability provided by the long stem means the Canyon stays on line with less nursing and nudging on power climbs. The long back end also makes looping out less likely if you’re clawing up a super-steep pitch.

Lightweight, narrow-rimmed wheels and fast-rolling, tubeless-ready Schwalbe semi-slick tyres suit the XC character of the Grand Canyon
Lightweight, narrow-rimmed wheels and fast-rolling, tubeless-ready Schwalbe semi-slick tyres suit the XC character of the Grand Canyon
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

What it lacks in modern features and geometry, the Grand Canyon makes up for with a really smooth and cultured ride feel. It glides smoothly over small rocks and roots, sustaining speed and delaying fatigue.

The air-sprung RockShox Recon fork is usefully active too, and you can lock it out for smooth stuff. Schwalbe’s ‘Performance’-grade tyres use a dual-compound tread and higher-TPI carcass than its ‘Active Line’ rubber for improved grip and glide.

Add a Selle Italia saddle for similarly comfy and mileage-friendly contact, and it’s a bike that loves a long, fast ride.

What the Canyon isn’t so fond of is steep downhill, techy or high-speed stuff. The long-stem cockpit can’t react quickly or sensitively enough to tweak lines and regain traction when the wheels slip, and the steep head angle means the steering has much less of a tendency to self-correct than with a slacker front end.

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Although the back end is long, the overall wheelbase is very short, which reduces stability at speed. The QR wheel attachment erodes front-wheel accuracy and the 100mm of travel doesn’t go far when it comes to controlling bigger impacts. With no way to fit a dropper neatly either, it’s definitely more suited to the climbs than the descents.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Grand Canyon AL 4.0
Brand Canyon

Available Sizes XS S M L XL
Rear Tyre Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance 29x2.25in
Wheelbase (in) 44.09
Top Tube (in) 24.02
Seat Tube (in) 19.09
Chainstays (in) 17.72
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.01
Spoke Type 32 silver stainless
Stem Crankbrothers Iridium, 100mm
Shifters Shimano Deore (2x10)
Seatpost Crankbrothers Iridium rigid
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Selle Italia X-Base
Rims Alex MD19, 19mm
Rear Wheel Weight 2730
Rear Hub Shimano TX505
Bottom Bracket Shimano HollowTech II
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore Shadow Plus
Headset Type FSA
Head Angle 70
Handlebar Crankbrothers Iridium flat, 720mm
Grips/Tape Canyon Bracelets
Front Wheel Weight 2180
Front Tyre Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance 29x2.25in
Front Hub Shimano TX505
Frame Material Custom aluminium
Fork RockShox Recon RL w/ OneLoc lockout, 100mm (3.9in) travel
Cranks Shimano MT500, 36/26t
Chain KMC X-10-93
Cassette Shimano Deore, 11-36t
Brakes Shimano M315, 180/160mm
Frame size tested L