Canyon’s Stoic hardtail mountain bike is a progressive-shaped alloy machine that’s built to go fast as a full-susser but without rear suspension.
At the heart of any hard-hitting bike like this is a burly frame and, by choosing not to follow the steel trend of many other hardtail bike makers, Canyon has built the Stoic from the same 6061-T6 aluminium used on its alloy full-suss bikes.
The German direct-sales giant touts its creation as ‘the best enduro hardtail’ and the go-to for everything from technical trails to jump sessions and pump track laps.
In order to achieve this, it’s opted for 27.5in wheels on the smallest three sizes and 29in wheels on the bigger three, but all of the frames get the same low-slung, raked-out geometry for confident handling at speed.
The lengthy appearance of the bike is exaggerated by a super-low standover height and an oversized down tube, which curves up to create a long gusset with the top tube.
Home mechanics will rejoice at the threaded bottom-bracket shell and partially internal cable routing, which uses a large hole just in front of the bottom bracket for easy installation through the down tube.
The chainstay yoke gives plenty of mud clearance for wide tyres fitted to wide rims.
Canyon Stoic geometry
Canyon’s Stoic is available in a wide range of six sizes. This gives riders the option to go up or down depending on whether they want the snappy playfulness of a shorter bike or the stability of a longer one.
At just shy of six-foot-tall, I’ve been testing the size large which keeps things roomy up front with a 480mm reach and compact at the back with 428mm chainstays. The head angle is the same across the range, at a slack 65 degrees.
The 75-degree seat tube gives an upright climb position and the bottom bracket is dropped super-low below the axles to 60mm, for rail-like cornering.
A low 460mm seat tube makes the frame perfectly suited to long-travel dropper posts.
|Seat angle (degrees)||75||75||75||75||75||75|
|Head angle (degrees)||65||65||65||65||65||65|
|Seat tube (cm)||36.5||36.5||40||43||46||50|
|Top tube (cm)||53.9||56.4||59.1||62.3||65||67.8|
|Head tube (cm)||9||9||10||9||10||11|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||4.5||4.5||4.5||6||6||6|
Canyon Stoic 4 specifications
Starting at £799, there are three models of Stoic in the Canyon range and the one I’ve got here is the top-specced 4. As we’ve become accustomed with direct-sale brands, the kit you get for the money is pretty impressive.
The RockShox Pike Select RC fork has good damping and support, and the SRAM Guide T brakes – although a more budget option – still have four pistons and well-modulated stopping power.
My only complaint is the lever throw adjustment screw, which is angled in such a way that accessing it with most multi-tools is near impossible.
With no rear suspension to help with grip, wheel and tyre choice are particularly critical on a hardtail, but Canyon has nailed it here by wrapping the wide 30mm internal Alex Rims with soft compound Schwalbe rubber. The Magic Mary and Hans Dampf combo balances rolling speed with grip, even in winter slop.
Canyon’s G5 cockpit gives the bike a clean finish, and as the bar and stem are designed as a package there are useful but discrete markers to help with alignment.
Canyon Stoic 4 ride impressions
Hardtails make for great winter bikes; they’re simple, easy to clean and have fewer moving parts to get grimed up or damaged.
I’ve been making full use of these advantages by subjecting the Stoic to some of the harshest UK conditions and just about every type of trail I can find – from fast trail-centre singletrack to big manmade jumps and slippery root-infested chutes that wouldn’t feel out of place at a World Cup.
In general, the Stoic has coped with everything. Of course, a hardtail is never going to match an enduro bike on really tough terrain, but it’s only when things really accelerated and got rough that I began to feel the limits, and perhaps a degree of harshness, from the stiff aluminium.
Canyon Stoic 4 climbing performance
Considering the Stoic isn’t that light at 14.86kg, and is specced with deep-tread soft-compound tyres, it rolls surprisingly fast and I didn’t feel it dragging half as much as I might have expected on muddy fire roads.
The steep 75-degree seat angle positions your weight nicely for climbing, even with the short rear end, so I never found winching up steep grinds too arduous an affair.
The 170mm dropper post means that it’s easy to get the saddle out the way, allowing you to keep your flow on undulating terrain with punchy ascents and short drops.
This might be a bike with its intentions set firmly on the downs, but it doesn’t make those steep ups or longer, mellower trails feel like a drag.
Canyon Stoic 4 descending performance
As well as being incredibly fun to ride, the Stoic gives full-suss trail bikes a good run for their money.
The solid rear-end meant I was able to eke speed out of every undulation and, when I got to a turn, the slack geometry and low centre of gravity just egged me on to throw it in with full commitment.
Nearly every time it would hold its arc and spit me out perfectly and, because of the generous wheelbase, you can attack and maintain control through the roots and rocks that want to push you off line.
There’s always going to be a trade-off between fast and playful, and this large-sized Stoic definitely sits towards the latter.
Because of the long front centre and the fact that the bottom bracket drops so far below the axles of the 29in wheels, it takes a lot of rearward movement to get the bike on to its back wheel. This means that picking up off obstacles or pumping jump transitions takes a bit more effort and forward planning.
You feel the length in the air too, which is great if you’re going flat-out, but isn’t as precise for tight transitions or boosting sideways for a bit of showboating.
These criticisms are of course what makes the bike feel so good on technical terrain, so it’s a case of deciding what you want the bike to excel at and sizing it appropriately.
Canyon Stoic 4 bottom line
You could argue that a steel-framed equivalent would give a slightly superior ride feel, and lessen those harsh square-edged hits, but in almost every other way the Stoic excels.
The geometry is spot on, the appearance is clean and elegant, and it’s built up with a solid suite of parts. I’d choose this bike over many other hardcore hardtails out there and when you factor in the price the Stoic looks like an even better option.
|Price||AUD $2649.00EUR €1699.00GBP £1639.00USD $1799.00|
|Weight||14.86kg (L) – without pedals|
|Available sizes||2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Brakes||SRAM Guide T, 200/180mm rotors|
|Cassette||SRAM PG-1210, 11-50t|
|Chain||SRAM SX Eagle 12s|
|Cranks||SRAM Descendent DUB, 30t chainring|
|Fork||RockShox Pike Select RC, 140mm travel|
|Grips/Tape||Canyon G5 lock-on|
|Handlebar||Canyon G5 780mm|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM NX Eagle (1x12)|
|Seatpost||Iridium Dropper 170mm|
|Shifter||SRAM NX Eagle|
|Stem||Canyon G5, 40mm|
|Tyres||Schwalbe Magic Mary EVO Super Trail Addix Soft 29 x 2.35in (f), Schwalbe Hans Dampf EVO Super Trail Addix Soft 29 x 2.35in (r)|
|Wheels||KT M5ER hubs on Alex Rims DP30 rims|