We sling a leg over three of the latest bikes that have caught our eye – Canyon’s Lux CF XC racer, GT’s Zaskar Carbon high-speed hardtail and the topvalue Pinnacle Kapur 3
CANYON LUX CF SLX 9.0 PRO RACE
£5,046.98 (shipped) All-new platform for marathon and XC racers
We’ve already seen the new Lux in action between the legs of marathon XC world champion Alban Lakata and all-round MTB badass Mathieu van der Poel, and now it’s available to us lesser mortals too. Canyon claim it’s lighter, more e cient and more responsive than the previous version, while still retaining its race-focused DNA. We hit the trails to find out if its appeal extends beyond the race course.
The CF SLX frame is claimed to tip the scales at just 1,662g (medium, without shock), which is a competitive weight for a 100mm full-sus. In accordance with current XC trends, the reach has been lengthened by 20mm (it’s 450mm on the large size) and matched with 15mm shorter chainstays than on the outgoing model (now 435mm). All sizes are specced with 80mm stems, and the head and seat angles come in at 70 degrees and 74.5 degrees respectively. We’d class the geometry as ‘conservatively progressive’ – a theme that runs throughout most of Canyon’s mountain bike range.
At this price you’d expect a seriously high-end component package and Canyon – who’ve become a byword for kit value thanks to their online-only ‘direct sales’ model – don’t disappoint. The snappily-titled CF SLX 9.0 Pro Race comes with SRAM’s top-spec XX1 Eagle 12-speed transmission, complete with carbon cranks. These are fitted with a meaty 34t chainring. While fine for world-class riders like ‘The Albanator’, we found this a bit big for our puny humanoid legs and think a 32t ring would be more suitable for everyday riders. That said, Canyon have optimised the suspension’s anti-squat performance around a 34-38t ring, so changing it could adversely a ect performance.
Elsewhere, you have a Who’s Who of high-end parts, including a RockShox SID World Cup fork, SRAM Level Ultimate brakes and Reynolds Blacklabel carbon wheels – which would cost you over £3,000 if you bought them all aftermarket. Finally, the Lux comes with a dropper post – a short-travel KS
FROM THE FIRST PEDAL ON THE LU X, THERE’ S NO DOUBT YOU’ RE ON AN OUT AND OUT SPEED MACHINE. YOU PEDAL HARD AND IT
LEV Si, which adds welcome extra control on descents and undulating trails. It’s a great addition to an already sorted spec.
The ride From the first pedal on the Lux, there’s no doubt you’re on an outand-out speed machine. Sti ness is hard to measure outside of a lab, but there’s certainly no lack of it on the Canyon. You pedal hard and it responds, simple as that. On rocky climbs, the suspension feels nicely supple and active over small bumps, thanks to the long-for-XC 55mm stroke of the RockShox Deluxe shock. Its horizontal positioning means you can fit two bottles within the frame – useful if you’re a keen marathon racer. Tearing through the singletrack, the Lux feels rapid. Its feathery weight and aggressive ride position mean you’ll have no excuses for poor performance come race day.
We tried our hardest to like the GripShift shifter, but just couldn’t get along with it. When sprinting hard or climbing out of the saddle, changing gears just wasn’t as easy as with a regular trigger shifter. The 720mm bar is a pretty modest width by modern standards too. Many XC pros use bars that are even narrower, but we’re not World Cup racers, so we’d have preferred something wider, for more control.
There’s no doubt that the Canyon is a well-designed and competitively priced XC race bike. But, despite the welcome inclusion of a dropper post, it lacks the race/ trail crossover X factor achieved by other brands, such as Cannondale, with the Scalpel. The relatively conservative geometry, narrow bar and GripShift shifting aren’t what all XC riders will be looking for in 2018. Perhaps that’s missing the point of whom this bike is aimed at though. Yes, there are a few strange spec choices and the ride isn’t the most exciting, but the Lux seems to be a solid, lightweight bike that won’t throw up any surprises during a complete season of training and racing. JOE NORLEDGE www.canyon.com
Hardcore marathon/XC race bike that’s relatively good value considering the kit you get
SPECFrame Carbon fibre, 100mm (3.9in) travel Fork RockShox SID World Cup, 100mm (3.9in) travelShock RockShox Deluxe RLR Drivetrain SRAM XX1 Eagle (1x12) Wheelset Reynolds Blacklabel XC 259 wheels, Maxxis Ikon 3C MaxxSpeed TR 29x2.2in tyres Brakes SRAM Level Ultimate, 180/160mm rotorsBar/stemCanyon, 720mm/Canyon, 80mm Seatpost/saddle KS LEV Si 100mm dropper/Selle Italia SLR LiteWeight 10.4kg (22.93lb), large size without pedals
The Lux’s aggressive posture marks it out as a purebred racer and so does its weight, thanks to its carbon frame, rims and cranks Blisteringly fast and competitively priced package that’ll suit a dedicated racer Relatively conservative geometry for a modern XC bikeSome curious component choices
An ‘Impact Protection Unit’ in the top tube stops the fork spinning and damaging the frame if you crash