The downhill bike test 2018: Canyon Sender
The benchmark bike kicks off our test
The first bike to come out of the downhill bike test is from Canyon. The Canyon Sender really did hit the ground running, from the up to date sizing to the MX link suspension design this bike got people talking. They are now also part of a big name, high flying factory team with Troy Brosnan and Mark Wallace on board.
One of the major bike brands of current times with some big player bikes in the lineup. Canyon have most definitely gone from strength to strength. They're also a direct sale company which keeps them in touch price wise with every other brand on this test.
Canyon had stuck with the 27.5” or 650b format this year even with some of the big players opting for the 29” wheel. This test for the overall downhill bike of 2018 will find and answer some questions of whether the wheel size is a big deal or not. Canyon seem happy with the Sender as it is for the time being. If most definitely is not slowing Troy Brosnan down! Why fix what isn't broken?
Canyon Sender detail gallery
Canyon Sender specification
Frame Canyon Sender CF
Rear Shock Ohlins TTX Coil
Fork Fox Factory 40
Headset Acros DH
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 DH
Chain Guide MRP AMG Chain Guide| Bashguard | Al Backplate
Shifters SRAM X01 DH, 7 speed
Brakes Magura MT7
Wheelset Mavic Deemax
Tyres Schwalbe Magic Mary
Handlebar Reverse Nico Vink
Grips Canyon G5
Saddle SDG I-Fly Custom
Seat post SDG Micro I-Beam SP
The bike used for this test is not a fully standard build. We've been testing the Sender for two years now and always make some simple modifications whenever we get one in. The main one comes in the way of an Ohlins coil TTX rear damper. Other items such as the stoppers have changed to an MT7 from Magura and Hope chainset. The full spec is to the left.
Opinion - IEUAN WILLIAMS.
The Canyon Sender. Where do I begin? The clean cut lines and great finish really do make this a sure thing to be involved in this test.
The size is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Canyon Sender. the super impressive 480mm reach on the XL bike means there is more than enough room for the tallest of riders.
As the Canyon factory team all run a coil, it seemed like a change that could make a difference and we've found that when we added the Ohlins Coil TTX damper, the gains were impressive. There's a bit more weight with the coil damper but this could be more of a positive than a negative when it comes to the ride. We ended up with a bike that had more rearward grip from the coil damper and a playful and progressive feel to the ride still. This made both of us enjoy the bike.
After getting some early laps in on some of the other contenders like the Orange 329 and the Commencal Supreme 29 there was a noticeable difference jumping back onto a 27.5 bike. Most noticeably on the rough braking bumps. Where the larger wheel would just roll over with less hocking up on the edges, the Sender would get caught up. We did like the combination of a small wheel and 1301mm wheelbase though, when getting into some corners it really does turn on a sixpence. This is definitely aided by the 340mm bottom bracket and a coil damper sucking the bike to the floor.
Reliability wise, the Sender was flawless. This particular bike is almost two years old now and still looks and rides like a new bike. The new Magura MT7 stoppers were great with power, modulation and a communicative lever feel. It helped not having to grab a handful of brake to slow down, small amounts of pressure gave enough power to keep things in hand.
The front triangle is made from carbon to keep it stiff and sturdy but alloy rear stays mean there is flex where you need it. This gives solid performance over rough terrain and, with the floating rear MX Link, there is little in the way of fatigue from the rear end. This really helped on the long alpine descents and all equates into a very fast and easy to ride machine. For all of you that know the section, this was one of the best bikes on the trip through the “10%” on the Pleney lift.
The Sender will most definitely be up there and in with a chance of the overall but there are some serious names to bat away first. This bike has had some 29” wheels fitted for a test previously so don’t be shocked if this comes out for a spin soon.
Opinion - TOM COOPER
Having ridden the Canyon before it is a bike that I know pretty well. With more than enough room with the XL size and supple, smooth suspension coming from the MX Link rear end the Sender is easy to handle.
The Ohlins rear shock had been added since I last rode the bike there was an obvious difference in performance. The level of grip on offer from the rear is great but when compared to the big wheeled Commencal, I feel like wheel size might offer even greater advantages here.
The weigh-in showed that the canyon was one of the heavier bikes that we had. This was almost to its advantage in places though - it’s not like we had to pedal the bike uphill at any point! When the track was fast yet bumpy the bike seemed to track over the roots and rough ground with little movement, even when the chop was big enough to almost lose the wheels in.
There is no denying that the Sender is a great bike but this is only the first out of many so this is early days with some big name bikes to come. It’s an open race for now.
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