Looking for a stylish and functional commuter bike for urban areas? The Canyon Urban could well be worth a look.
Canyon is best known for making performance bikes, used by athletes the world over. Not content with just making road and mountain bikes, the German brand has launched a range of bikes designed for commuting and travelling around urban areas.
The Canyon Urban and Commuter ranges start from £599 with the Urban 4.0 SL which features a standard chain drivetrain. There is a selection of models moving through to the top of the line Commuter 7.0 for £1599. The £1199 Canyon Urban 7.0 is the model at which you start to get the belt drive and is the model we have here for testing.
In addition, the Canyon Urban comes with anti-theft features too. The ‘IXOW’ system is designed to help keep your wheels and seatpost where they belong: on your bike. By using an innovative axle and seatpost clamp design, the components can only be adjusted and removed by those in the know…
Well thought out, good quality German design. This is a bike that will no doubt appeal to those who own a Smeg fridge that sits next to their Dualit Toaster and Phillipe Starck Orange Squeezer.
You also get Canyon’s VCLS seat post too. The seat post has a split design with two halves able to move past each other, creating some deflection. This is designed to improve your rear end comfort and smooth out crap roads.
The big news here is that the Canyon Urban comes with a belt drive in place of a standard chain. According to Canyon the belt drive requires much less maintenance than a standard chain and eliminates the need for oil.
There are 8 gears, located in the rear hub, by way of Shimano’s Alfine system. This is again ideal for low maintenance, with the gears protected and encased within the hub body, avoiding the need for frequent lubrication and cleaning.
I really like the tan leather handle bar grips and saddle. They complement the frame very well and are a nice contrast against the blue frame. The combination of VCLS seatpost and wide tyres works well and the bike is pretty comfy.
Canyon has done a great job with the specification of this bike. The designers have identified that the person who buys this bike wants anything for an easy life and consequently doesn’t want to be doing wheel upgrades and swapping tyres.
This means that all the kit is good and you don’t get any stocking filler components where performance has been sacrificed to meet a price point. The wheels are ideal, the tyres are good, the hydraulic disc brakes are excellent and the drive train is functional.
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I get to test ride a lot of different bikes at Cycling Weekly but the Canyon Urban is very high up charts when it comes to admiring glances and positive comments from passers by. People seem to really like the way this bike looks and I do too.
You don’t ride this bike, you cruise on it. Whilst doing so, I feel people look upon you subconsciously assuming you are travelling to your East London architects’ studio having left your Saab in the garage, such is the style and design. There is no doubt this is a cool bike.
Durability of the belt drive has really impressed us. This really is a low hassle, low maintenance system that is ideal for those who want a quick and efficient form of urban transport.
The Shimano Alfine hub gives a decent range of eight gears for flat terrain, but it can be a struggle on steep hills. If you live in a particularly hilly area, you may be better off with a bike offering a greater range.
Riding out of the saddle feels unnatural, ungainly and slightly awkward on the Canyon Urban too. This is a result of the geometry, wide bars and very short stem. Again, this only really presents itself as an issue when riding up hills, with the geometry better suited to nimble turns down side streets and darting through traffic.
There is a fundamental problem with the Canyon Urban though. It may feature some novel anti-theft features to stop scum bags half-inching your wheels and seatpost, but there is nothing special to address the issue of thieves taking the whole bike.
Being such a nice bike, it stands out and is arguably too nice to leave anywhere even when locked up. By all means get one, just make sure it is insured and budget for a couple of good locks.
Thanks to its direct sales business model, Canyon is able to cut out the middle man and pass those savings on to the customer. The result of this is bikes that a very competitively priced. It is hard to find a bike with as high a spec for the price. You could argue that the value on offer here enables you to budget for some good insurance and quality bike locks, both of which I would highly recommend!
For more information on the different models available, head over to Canyon.
Best suited to short rides and flatter urban areas, the Canyon Urban 7.0 is good value and had superb, intelligent design. Ideal for those wanting a low maintenance form of urban transport that simply works