BUDGET BIKE SHOOTOUT
CANYON NEURON AL 6.0 SL REVIEW
NIC’S PICK – BUDGET FRIENDLY POCKET ROCKET
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Shootout Sponsored By:
ZOIC Clothing & USWE Sports
One of the top contenders in our Sub-$2,000 Shootout, the Canyon Neuron 6.0 SL is a fun, playful and fast mountain bike. It’s also the most expensive bike in our roundup, coming with a price tag of $1,999. With a capable spec, 130mm of travel and some pretty nimble geometry, the Canyon Neuron is a great option for both newer riders and the discerning shorter-travel trail bike rider.
The Neuron AL 6.0 SL from Canyon is a 130mm trail bike that likes to dabble in the cross-country realm. Canyon gave this Neuron a relatively modest spec, featuring a 130mm Rockshox Recon RL fork paired with a Rockshox Deluxe RT Debonaire rear shock. A SRAM NX Eagle group handles drivetrain duty while a Maxxis Forekaster (f) and Ardent (r) 29” tires help deliver the pedal power to the ground. Out of the five bikes in our Budget Bike Shootout, the Neuron is one of only 3 bikes to be equipped with a dropper post. Shimano’s MT200 disc brakes provide the stopping on the Neuron AL 6.0 SL. Instead of getting into the geometry numbers, we’ve decided to copy the geo chart in below.
One thing we found common among all our test bikes is the less-than-ideal tire spec. The Canyon, like many others, comes with the Maxxis Forekaster tires, which not only don’t have a lot of grip, but also have very thin sidewalls. These lightweight tires had our testers folding tires and squirming off lips or in berms. A heavier duty tire with some proper knobs will most definitely be needed for all riders that don’t live in areas with super grippy and soft soil. Granted, your average beginner rider will not be folding tires in berms but having a tire with actual traction knobs will make for a safer and more enjoyable experience on the trail.
Canyon Bikes always put out some really good-looking machines and the Neuron is certainly a pretty sweet looking machine, however some may not love the bend in the top tube. It didn’t bother us too much. Especially once we were on the trail.
The Canyon Neuron is a supple and smooth bike that offers a nice suspension feel while in the saddle or standing over rougher terrain. It smooths out the trail nicely and really helped mute some of the rougher trails better than some others in the shootout. If you’re heavy or a hard charger, you may find the end of travel more often as it only has 130mm of travel and a bit linear for big hits. We think adding one volume reducer will help shredders take this bike to the next level. Although for 90% or more, of riders, this tune and bike will be a great ride.
The geometry on the Canyon Neuron is pretty spot on for a 130mm bike. It’s not a new-school short-travel shredder, but it is a good all-around trail bike that will still make most trails fun. The Neuron handles well, is quick, balanced and nimble. The bike will do what you need it to do at speed but if you ride a lot of super steep terrain at high speed, this may not be for you, and chances are you aren’t looking at 130mm bikes anyways.
The Wolf’s Last Word
As the most expensive bike in the shootout, the Canyon Neuron AL needed to perform well and it did. From a pure performance standpoint, it is definitely one of the top picks for our group of five riders and it offers some really great on-trail characteristics. From a spec perspective compared to price, it gets harder to come away with clear winners as what we may find more important may not coincide with the consumer’s opinion. The Canyon has slightly nicer suspension spec than its closest competitor, the $200 cheaper Giant Stance 29-1, however, the cranks and other drivetrain components are not as nice on the Canyon Neuron AL. We’d rather have nicer suspension and brakes but there is certainly some heavy thinking that needs to go into comparing bikes with Truvativ Stylo cranks to SRAM SX Eagle. Likewise, it’s worth looking at SX vs NX components matchups to see what makes the most difference to you.
Putting tire spec and small components aside, the Canyon Neuron AL is Nic Hall’s top pick of the shootout and the bike he would spend his own $2,000 on. The rest of the crew can’t fault him there as this bike is a very well-rounded trail bike and will not only be a huge step up in performance for novice-level riders, but it will certainly help intermediate riders push their skills and development even further. The suspension performance is great, it looks sharp and is a great platform to upgrade as you grow into the sport.
Frame: 6061-Aluminum / 130mm
Fork: RockShox Recon RL / 130mm
Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT Debon Air
Brakes: Shimano MT200
Handlebar: Iridium Flatbar
Shifter: SRAM NX Eagle
Seatpost: Iridium Dropper
Saddle: Selle Italia X-Base
Wheels: Mavic XM 424 | Shimano MT400 SH11
Tires: MAXXIS Forekaster 29 x 2.35” EXO 3C Maxx Speed
Cassette: SRAM PG-1230 Eagle 11-50 12s
Cranks: Truvativ Stylo 6K DUB 30t
Derailleur: SRAM NX Eagle 12-Speed
It’s a Rocket Ship
Ready to Upgrade and Grow With its Owner
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