If you are in the market for a reliable commuting bike then the Canyon Commuter 4.0 is a really good option. Out of the box there really is nothing to change and the full complement of accessories mean everything is thought about and covered for you. The ride is comfortable and relatively easy although the drag on the dynamo hub is something to be aware of at least for the first few months. It also represents great value for money when looking at the spec, however it might still be a little expensive if all you actually want it to do is take you to the station and spend most of its time locked up against railings.
Fully loaded spec
Drag from dynamo hub
Is £999 too much for a commuter?
By James Bracey
When a brand uses the name 'Commuter' for a range of bikes you can be pretty assured as to whom it is aimed at. Comprising of six models split over two very different frame designs, Canyon's Commuter range has high spec and high reliability at its core to ensure the regular rider won't be let down. The Canyon Commuter 4.0 on test sits near the middle of the range and represents probably the best value for money of the lot.
Durability and comfort are key aspects of the Commuter 4.0's frameset. Both frame and fork have been constructed using an unspecified grade of aluminium alloy and have been designed to be simple, plain and unobtrusive, therefore allowing the bike to blend into the background rather than attract unwelcome attention when locked up.
Geometry is relaxed with a tall head tube and short reach creating a safe and comfortable upright riding position that provides clear vision in traffic. The dropped top tube increases standover clearance making it easy to mount and dismount in town. Tyre clearances are plenty big enough to cope with the 35mm Schwalbe tyres and included guards without causing any issues. The frame also bucks the trend for internal cable routing opting instead for maintenance friendly external routing under the downtube. Full complement of eyelets for mounting guards and racks are included as well as two bottle cage mounts.
Canyon has opted for reliability over lightweight with the spec of the Commuter 4.0. The 1x11 speed drivetrain is based around Shimano SLX, Shimano's third tier MTB groupset. This means it's solidly built, reliable and should last a good amount of time before needing to be replaced. One neat touch with the under bar shifter is the ability to shift down the cassette using either a finger pull or push so avoiding any confusion and pretty useful when riding with gloves.
It has a single front chainring fitted with a chain guard to protect your clothing. The gearing is ideal for flat to rolling commuting with the 44 tooth chainring combining well with the wide range 11-46 tooth cassette. Giving a spread of gear that can easily suit the rider who wants to take it easy and cruise as much as the commuter who wants to get there as quickly as possible.
Fitting a Shimano dynamo front hub means the Commuter 4.0 has powerful lights available to it at any time without the need and hassle to fit and charge lights. The Supernova E3 lightset provide a good constant spread of light at the front. It's listed as producing 205 lumens that, although might sound low, is actually more than enough to create excellent visibility and is capable of safely lighting the way along a dark road or lane. It is also fitted with a set of Tubus Wingee full mudguards. Solidly built and with zero rattles, these are proper high quality items. The rear guard can also take a set of panniers. This does look to be limited to a specific set from Ortlieb but the good news is for once these don't seem to be the most expensive set on the market.
The rest of the componentry is focussed around comfort and durability. Two standouts of which are the comfortable Iridium Fitness saddle and the ergonomic handlebar grips that provide a decent platform to support the hands whilst riding.
As expected, the Canyon Commuter 4.0 is a really easy bike to get along with and use on a daily basis. The riding position puts you in a commanding position keeping your head and shoulders nice and upright. Ideal for visibility in traffic and also to aid rider awareness during a ride. Canyon has adjusted the geometry based on the style of riding this bike is suitable for and it has a very relaxed approach to handling. Steering is certainly more St Bernard than Greyhound and that is reassuring on the early morning commute when your brain isn't quite up to speed.
The alloy frame and relatively heavy overall weight create a rather muted ride that does a good job of shielding the rider from poor road surfaces. The larger volume Schwalbe tyres also offer a good level of grip with the all-over tread pattern enabling the Commuter 4.0 to deal with riding on a variety of surfaces admirably.
One area that does hinder the Commuter 4.0 is the front dynamo hub. Although it does provide the bike with full-time lights it has the downside of creating a large amount of drag at the front wheel. This obviously has the negative aspect of making it harder to maintain speed during a ride without exerting more effort than necessary. This drag will reduce in time as the hub wears in but it will take you a few months of riding before this happens.
Just one pound shy of a thousand and the Commuter 4.0 does seem quite a lot of money for a bike that is designed to be locked up and vulnerable for the majority of its life. However what you are getting is a bike designed to give reliable service for many years and to be relatively enjoyable to ride during that time. When you look at the actual quality of the components then the Commuter 4.0 does represent pretty good value for money. The Supernova lights and front dynamo hub, for example, would set you back nearly three hundred pounds just on their own. When you add in the fact that there is really nothing you would need to change or add then it does become a pretty good package.
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