Hyped with “Go anywhere, do everything!”, Canyon have housed this long-running favourite in its stable for years: the Nerve AL 9.9 LTD. But is it really as versatile as this German direct-order company proclaim, or is it better just going home and doing nothing?
Buying the Canyon Nerve is a bit of a minefield when it comes to choosing which of the many build specs you’d prefer, and even whether you want 27.5″ or 29″ wheels. Oh, and then there’s the damning colour choice: each model comes in two different colourways. For the purposes of this group test, we unwrapped the top-of-the-range 29er in sleek black. Retailing at the very tidy price of just € 3,499, it boasted a spec that left no room for complaint, seeing Shimano parts cast their masterful hand at shifting and braking. There’s the 2×11 XTR drivetrain mixed with RaceFace Next SL carbon cranks and lightweight DT Swiss XM 1501 SPLINE ONE wheels (that Canyon have teamed with a Continental Mountain King tyre at the front and a less aggressive Continental X-King at the rear). The cockpit has been made in-house, although we’d have welcomed a shorter stem for more direct control – 80 mm just didn’t cut the mustard.[emaillocker id=”139658″]
Despite the aluminium frame, the slick components have kept the weight down to a tidy 12.63 kg. The combination of this low weight, the low rolling resistance, and the aggressive position mean that the Canyon accelerates like a greyhound at the dog track. The Nerve is quick on climbs, and its balanced position means you’ll get up double-figure technical gradients with ease. The rear suspension works efficiently on the climbs, but lacks responsiveness on descents and hammers through its travel. Even as a 29er, the Nerve’s pretty nimble on corners, but its fairly steep geometry mean that it needs a firmer hand at high speeds and on technical terrain, so it’s not the kindest to your confidence.
Specs of the Canyon Nerve AL 9.9
Fork: FOX 34 Float Factory
Rear shock: FOX Float Factory DPS
Brakes: Shimano XT
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
Stem: Canyon V14
Handlebar: Canyon H23 CF
Wheels: DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One
Tires: Continental Mountain King 2,4/ X-King 2,4
Weight: 12.63 kg
Price: € 3,499
The Canyon Nerve AL is a bike that – as promised – will take you everywhere thanks to its great riding position, high quality parts, and speedy genes. However, its performance on descents isn’t as potent as its rivals, so we’d point it uphill towards those riders who prefer the satisfaction gleaned from riding with less focus on shredding.
- Super-comfortable riding position
- top spec
- great climber
- can’t handle really tough terrain
- long stem
- rear suspension suffers with big hits
For more information head to the Canyon Website.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: 9 short-travel trail bikes in comparison
All bikes in test: Evil The Following X1 | FOCUS Spine C Factory | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 8000 | Norco OPTIC C7.2 | Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition | SCOTT Genius 910 | Specialized Camber Comp Carbon 29 | Trek FUEL EX 9.8 29
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Words: Photos: Noah Haxel, Christoph Bayer