Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 9 review

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Canyon’s Grand Canyon:ON 9, like all of its electric mountain bikes, uses a Shimano motor. The bike is intended to pair the best facets of Canyon’s Grand Canyon hardtail with an EP8 drive unit, making it a versatile performer on the trails and in the city. That Shimano motor provides ample torque and power, with three modes (Eco, Trail and Boost). The spec list includes a Fox 34 Rhythm fork, Shimano gearing and braking and Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance tyres.

Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 9 frame details

The fat down tube conceals a full-size 630Wh battery, which, if you tune it for economical power usage, will deliver over 100km of range for lighter riders. However, if you need to remove the powerpack to charge it, you have to undo four Allen bolts, which is a bit time-consuming. The ON 9 has sophisticated aluminium tube profiles, with huge welds joining slimline rear stays (for increased compliance over rough ground) and a funky oversized seat tube.

Its geometry is modern without being radical, with the large frame we tested sporting a reach of 455mm. A heavily sloped top tube keeps the frame out of the way on technical terrain and provides room to move about. The Canyon also has a very low bottom bracket height, for a lower centre of gravity and stable rider position.

Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 9 specifications

The geometry contributes to a stable, smooth and predictable ride. A dropper post is a welcome sight, with enough travel to suit taller riders. Canyon sensibly specs big 203mm brake rotors front and rear, too, so there’s plenty of stopping power from the sorted Shimano brakes. You need decent brakes to slow down the 2.6in Schwalbe tyres, which, although they have lots of cushioning and stability, have harder rubber than some other mountain bike tyres. This means the blocky tread lasts well, but doesn’t dig in and conform to the ground, so the tyres feel a bit nervous over roots and wet rocks.

They also have less traction than you need when you’re in the most powerful motor mode going uphill, where the rear tyre can wheelspin and upset your balance. The Shimano STEPS cranks eat into the power. Even when seated, they twist and contort under power when using big flat pedals that exert a lot of leverage. Heavy riders will want to swap them out (a relatively easy and inexpensive job). Everything else is totally sorted. The 120mm-travel Fox 34 Rhythm fork works well and you wouldn’t want any more bounce upsetting the shape and balance of a hardtail mountain bike.

Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 9 geometry

Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 9 ride impressions

There’s plenty of speed on tap. This bike impressed from the moment I slung a leg over it. It’s rapid and has well considered geometry, which makes you feel planted and stable, without pedal strikes becoming an issue on lumpy ground. With its balanced head angle, wide bar and short stem, there’s a precise and reactive (yet not too eager) feel to the steering. Lean the bike and you change direction smoothly, and it’s easy to predict the handling, because it never seems to unsettle your position, even if you get airborne. The Canyon rides like a ‘proper’ aggressive hardtail, yet it’s still comfy and well-balanced around town.

The motor is far more powerful than its rivals, too. You can blast uphill, stream through the smooth 12-speed Shimano gears and always remain in the sweet spot for power delivery, and there’s way more juice to drag a heavy rider up steep hills in the top modes. As you can also tune it for maximum economy in Shimano’s E-Tube app, it brings you the best of both worlds.Like all electric hardtails, the frame amplifies motor noise, but it does a good job of quietening trail chatter and feels smooth over choppy surfaces.

Although the Canyon has a plush Fox fork and a steep head angle, your weight doesn’t get pitched about. In fact, there’s a real calmness if you let the bike rip through bombholes or deep berms. We did have a major issue when the battery stopped communicating with the motor, but it’s rare that Shimano’s proven system fails, and all electric bikes are fallible. Canyon sent out a new battery, as they would for a customer.

Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 9 bottom line

It’s one of the best electric hardtails, and at home in the city too. This is a stellar electric hardtail, with ample power and torque, that will suit urban adventurers as well as seasoned mountain bikers. There’s plenty of speed on tap, geometry is well thought-out and the steering reliable yet reactive. Beyond a possible need for a tyre upgrade, Canyon’s Grand Canyon:ON 9 is difficult to find fault with.


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