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Field Test: 2020 Canyon Lux – A Very Fast Baseline

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PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Canyon Lux SLX 9.0 Team


Words by Sarah Moore, photography by Margus Riga
The Canyon Lux was released back in June of 2018, which by our standards usually makes it ‘old’ news. But since we hadn’t spent much time on it, and it’s got World Cup and World Championship winning pedigree under Mathieu van der Poel and Pauline Ferrand Prevot, we included it in our cross-country Field Test as a baseline. We were also interested to see how race-focused geometry has evolved in the past two years.

With a 70-degree head angle, the Lux has the steepest front-end of all the bikes in this Field Test. The 74.5-degree effective seat-tube angle on our size medium is in line with the other bikes, and the 435mm reach is the same as the Cannondale Scalpel, although the Lux pairs that with a longer 80mm stem. Other key numbers include 435mm chainstays and a 1,126mm wheelbase.

Canyon Lux SLX 9.0 Team Details

• Travel: 100mm rear / 100mm fork
• Carbon frame
• Wheel size: 29″
• Head Angle: 70-degrees
• Seat Tube Angle: 74.5-degrees (effective)
• Reach: 435mm (size M)
• Chainstay length: 435mm
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 22.5 lb / 10.2 kg (w/ dropper)
• Price: $6,999 USD
www.canyon.com

The Lux uses a flex-pivot suspension design, with the seat stays flexing rather than using bearings, thereby saving a bunch of weight. The Canyon is a bit different than how Cannondale does it on their Scalpel, though, which has a section on the chainstay that flexes like a pivot, not the seat stay. Other details include integrated chain retention, Canyon’s Quixle thru-axle that makes it easy to remove the rear wheel without tools, internal cable routing, what Canyon calls their Impact Protection Unit bump stop, and flat-mount disc brakes.

The Lux CF SLX 9.0 Team that we’re testing is available in four sizes, small through extra-large, all of which are available only with 29″ wheels, 100mm forks, and 100mm of rear travel.

Climbing

The Canyon Lux’s strongest point is climbing. It gets around tight corners like a charm, as you would expect given its geometry. That being said, I never felt like I was truly comfortable while on the Lux. Yes, the seat angle is half a degree steeper than the Supercaliber, but the position didn’t feel as modern or inspiring.

While the quick handling allows you to wind through tight sections easily and make last-minute line choice decisions, the Lux doesn’t have the best traction, so while you might be able to change lines quickly, it doesn’t always translate into cleaning it. It feels to me like the Lux sacrifices a bit of traction for efficiency, and I dabbed more while on it than any other bike. In part, that’s because the bike feels like it “rides high” as the suspension doesn’t move a ton, despite sitting at the recommended 25-percent sag.

That being said, on long, smooth climbs and less technical sections, it’s incredibly efficient and as if all the watts are going into forward momentum. It also did well (like really, really well) in the Efficiency Test, but that’s still to come. In other words, it’s a speed machine on smooth ground.

Descending

Relatively speaking, it feels like you’re a long way over the front of the Lux when descending and, while I tried riding with and without the seat down, I was really glad this bike had a dropper post for steeper sections. I think it’s telling that, despite being the only bike I rode with a dropper, I didn’t set my fastest time on the descent when aboard the Lux. Nothing comes as easy on the downhills as it does on a longer, slacker cross-country bike, but no surprises there. When I was riding the Lux, it just seemed like the edge was closer and I had to be very selective with my line choices.

That feeling was partly due to the geometry, and partly due to the fact that the rear-end just didn’t maintain traction that well. It’s very much as if compliance and comfort have been sacrificed in the name of efficiency… Like it’s a race bike. It didn’t help that I kept accidentally hitting the lockout lever whenever I used the dropper post, either. The Lux is most comparable to the 60mm-travel Trek Supercaliber on the descents, which has almost half as much cushion.

Conditions were quite wet during testing, so the rocks and roots offered far less traction than usual and that didn’t help the Lux’s cause. But there are plenty of places around the world full of smoother terrain, which is exactly where the Lux will shine.


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