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Canyon Lux CF SLX 9 LTD review

A traditionalist’s dream XC bike

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £6,899.00 RRP | USD $7,499.00 | EUR €6,999.00 | AUD $10,949.00
Canyon Lux CF SLX 9 LTD

Our review

Quickly up to speed and with no kit compromises, I loved the Lux on all but the steepest descents
Pros: Snappy acceleration and impressive climbing performance; kit list is unrivalled in this test
Cons: More traditional geometry means tackling the latest XC courses will require sharp handling skills; non-adjustable bar wasn’t as comfy as the rest on test, although it looks great!
Skip to view product specifications

Canyon’s Lux has been around for a few years and its shape is conservative by today’s standards. This doesn’t necessarily hold it back between the tape though, with XC superstars Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Mathieu van der Poel both racing the bike to numerous titles and podiums.

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Canyon Lux CF SLX 9 LTD frame and kit

Made from Canyon’s SLX carbon, the Lux provides 100mm of travel, with no pivots in the rear triangle to keep weight low and stiffness high. The front of the frame has a block to prevent the bar swinging all the way round and damaging the top tube in a crash.

Further back, there’s room for two bottles – handy for marathon racers. Cables run internally, including to the front of the shock for the remote lockout.

At the back, asymmetrical stays aid stiffness and tyre clearance, while the rear axle has a neat hidden lever for smooth lines. A mini chain guide is attached to the main pivot, above the chainring.

Angled pack shot of a white Canyon Lux CF SLX 9 LTD full suspension mountain bike
Reynolds Blacklabel carbon rims are built onto co-branded Industry Nine hubs.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The Canyon’s spec leaves little to be desired. Ultimate-level suspension from RockShox, comprising a SID SL fork and SIDLuxe shock, is controlled by a bar-mounted lockout. Reynolds Blacklabel carbon rims are built onto co-branded Industry Nine hubs with a ridiculously fast freehub pick-up, and shod with Maxxis Ikon (front) and Aspen (rear) tyres.

SRAM’s XX1 AXS wireless drivetrain removes a cable from the cockpit, where Canyon’s CP08 integrated bar/stem sits. This has a flattened top section to make holding the bar centrally (for aerodynamic reasons on long drags) more comfortable. You also get a DT Swiss D 232 One post, with an inverted design and 60mm of drop.

Canyon Lux CF SLX 9 LTD geometry

SMLXL
Seat angle (degrees)74.574.574.574.5
Head angle (degrees)70707070
Chainstay (cm)43.543.543.543.5
Seat tube (cm)42.546.550.554.5
Top tube (cm)57.659.962.364.9
Head tube (cm)91011.514
Bottom bracket drop (cm)3.83.83.83.8
Wheelbase (mm)1,1021,1261,1511,179
Standover (cm)78.678.979.681.1
Stack (cm)58.259.160.562.9
Reach (cm)41.543.545.547.5

Canyon Lux CF SLX 9 LTD ride impressions

Despite its traditional geometry, the Lux still gets around fast. The suspension is stiff in its early stroke but opens up when hitting fair-sized obstacles. It absorbs impacts effectively, helps you pedal smoothly over rocks and roots, and maintains momentum up technical climbs.

That said, if you encounter multiple impacts on a flatter section of trail, you can end up pedalling in the soggier mid-stroke.

Cyclist riding a white Canyon Lux CF SLX 9 LTD full-suspension mountain bike
The Aspen on the rear is one of Maxxis’s fastest tyres, but it’s good for dry weather only.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

On the smoothest climbs I used the lockout to further boost efficiency. It gives a very firm pedalling platform, though, so use with caution if the trail is loose and you want to sprint.

Where the Lux really stands out from the crowd is on the most technical climbs. With a shortish wheelbase (1,151mm) and steep 70-degree head angle, it’s an easy bike to thread a line through narrow gaps or pull round the tightest corners. It also has a mean turn of speed, reacting instantly to inputs and feeling razor-sharp on flat, twisty tracks.

With XC courses becoming more technical, the Lux’s conservative shape held it back when I pushed the bike down gnarlier tracks. Your weight is well over the front wheel, which doesn’t bolster confidence, and the Canyon is the only bike I had on test with a head angle in the 70s.

While a degree or two might not sound a lot, it makes a difference to handling, especially when paired with a shorter reach. As on the NS Synonym, the Ikon front tyre rolls fast, but doesn’t have the cornering grip of some.

In terms of kit, the AXS drivetrain is near faultless, although with such a light action through the lever you’re relying on feel through the cranks to confirm a shift in gear.

The fork is also excellent, with a smooth yet very supportive feel. RockShox’ new Charger Race Day damper feels plush even when running the fork with more pressure and less sag to keep it from bobbing under power.

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I’m not keen on the integrated cockpit, though. The bar feels harsh and, being fixed, I couldn’t roll it to my preferred sweep. On the other hand, the DT Swiss post is great, providing just enough drop to get the saddle out of the way for better control of the bike. The long seat tube on the large size (505mm) meant even 182cm (6ft) tall testers had to run the post as low as it’d go.

How we tested

We put four high-end XC race bikes to the test, which were tested on all day epics, bar-chewing, on-the-limit evening blasts and back-to-back comparative loops.

This way, not only could we be sure they can go the distance, but also that we’ve revealed their every nuance has been revealed.

Other bikes on test:

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $10949.00EUR €6999.00GBP £6899.00USD $7499.00
Weight 10.21kg (L)
Brand Canyon

Features

Available sizes S, M, L, XL
Headset Integrated
Tyres Maxxis Ikon TR 29x2.35in (f), Maxxis Aspen 29x2.25in (r)
Stem Canyon CP08 cockpit
Shifter SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS (1x12)
Seatpost DT Swiss D 232 One 60mm dropper
Saddle Selle Italia SLR KC Boost
Rear Shocks RockShox SIDLuxe Ultimate
Rear derailleur SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
Handlebar Canyon CP08 cockpit
Bottom bracket SRAM DUB
Grips/Tape Ergon GA20
Frame CF SLX carbon fibre, 100mm (3.9in) travel
Fork RockShox SID SL Ultimate, 100mm (3.9in) travel
Cranks SRAM XX1 Eagle, 34t
Chain SRAM
Cassette SRAM XG-1295
Brakes SRAM Level Ultimate, 160mm rotors
Wheels Reynolds Blacklabel XC rims on Industry Nine hubs