Review | The 2020 Canyon Neuron AL 7.0 Is All-New, And It’s Ripper Value

The not-so-minor details


2020 Canyon Neuron AL 7.0


Canyon Australia


$3,599 AUD




- Capable & comfortable all-round handling
- Fantastic suspension quality front & rear
- The organic pedal efficiency
- Practical, well-considered frame detailing


- Seat tube is still too long!
- Minimalist chainstay protector is too minimalist
- The squishy & slippery Selle Italia saddle

Wil Tests & Reviews The 2020 Canyon Neuron AL

German brand Canyon has just announced its newest mountain bike; the Neuron AL. Modelled on the latest Neuron CF that was rolled out just over a year ago, the Neuron AL takes the same recipe, but cooks it up with an alloy frame to bring the price of entry down to a bit over $2K. Widening the scope even further, the 2020 Neuron AL will be available in a totally new XX-Small size, which is offered in both women’s builds and a new ‘Young Hero’ model designed specifically for kids from 8-years old. More on that in a bit.

Check out the video review of the 2020 Canyon Neuron AL below!

Positioned between the Lux (100mm XC race bike) and the Spectral (150mm All Mountain bike), the Neuron is Canyon’s do-it-all trail bike. It’s equipped with 130mm of travel front and rear, and comes with 29in wheels on the bigger sizes, and 27.5in wheels on the smaller sizes. That puts it onto similar turf as bikes like the Merida One-Twenty, Specialized Stumpjumper ST, Trek Fuel EX, Giant Trance 29, Norco Optic and GT Sensor.

How does the Neuron compare to those bikes? We’ve been testing the AL 7.0 for the past couple of weeks to find out. But first, let’t take a closer look at the full range to see exactly what’s changed over the old model.

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0 harcourt wil
We’ve been thoroughly impressed with the Neuron AL 7.0 after a couple of weeks of riding on our home trails. Read on for the full review.

All-New Alloy Frame

Compared to the pre-2020 Neuron AL, the new model gets a fully redesigned frame. And we think you’ll agree that it’s all the better looking for it. The overall silhouette is borne from the Neuron CF, a result of some very impressive hydroforming that has helped shape and curve the aluminium alloy tubes to closely mirror the carbon model. The weight difference between the carbon and alloy frames? Just 750g, with the Neuron AL claimed to weigh 3.4kg with the rear shock.

The biggest difference over the old Neuron AL is the revised suspension platform, which sees the rear shock flipped up 90° to mount horizontally underneath the top tube. With the new layout, Canyon has managed to lower standover height while still maintaining clearance for a water bottle inside the frame. Medium and larger frame sizes will fit a full-size 750ml bottle, while smaller sizes are restricted to a 600ml bottle.

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
The Neuron AL moves to a new suspension layout for 2020, which helps to lower the standover height. It promises improved suppleness and support, while still accommodating a water bottle inside the mainframe.

According to Canyon, the new ‘Triple Phase Suspension’ platform comes with improved small-bump sensitivity and greater ending-stroke support over the old Neuron AL. Helping to lower stiction, the lower eyelet of the rear shock is now captured and driven by a forged alloy yoke, which connects to the seat tube rocker link via two large sealed bearings. This yoke also extends the effective eye-to-eye length of the shock, offering the designers greater control over the leverage ratio throughout the travel.

Overall the frame has a clean and well-considered shape. There’s a threaded bottom bracket shell, the tool-free Quixle rear axle, and internal cable routing through the downtube. Unfortunately there’s no bolt-on cable channel like you’ll see on the Neuron CF and the Spectral, which we suspect is a cost-saving decision. However, Canyon has fitted neat pivot bearing caps, and the main pivot receives additional axial seals to keep as much crud out as possible.

Along with bigger diameter bearings, the main pivot is also made extra wide to improve back-end stiffness. Because of this broader main pivot, the Neuron AL is now 1x only, whereas the Neuron CF and Spectral will both take a front mech. It is 2020 though, so perhaps Germany’s biggest direct-to-consumer brand has finally conceded the death of the front derailleur. According to Canyon, going 1x specific also allowed the designers to optimise the Neuron AL’s anti-squat value to improve pedalling performance over the previous model.

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
The Neuron AL features 130mm of travel front and rear and is either built around 29in wheels (M-XL) or 27.5in wheels (XXS-S).

What Models Are In The Neuron AL Lineup?

Canyon will have five Neuron AL models on offer for 2020, ranging in price from $2,349 to $3,599 AUD. There are two unisex models, two women’s models (WMN) and a grom-specific ‘Young Hero’ model.

There are no fewer than six frame sizes on offer, starting from XXS and going all the way up to an XL. Canyon says this will suit riders from 155cm (5’1”) up to 192cm (6’4”) tall. The Young Hero model is pitched at riders as young as 8-years old, from a height of 140cm (4’7”) to 165cm (5’5”) tall.

What’s particularly impressive to see is that as well as coming with smaller 27.5in wheels, the XXS-S sizes also get different suspension kinematics and lighter damper tunes to better suit the lighter riders aboard them. Additionally, those smaller sizes get 10mm shorter chainstays, shorter crank arms, and narrower 740mm handlebars.

Read on for an overview of the five new models, followed by our review of the Neuron AL 7.0 that I’ve been testing for the past few weeks.

2020 canyon neuron wmn al 7.0
The 7.0 is the most expensive Neuron AL model, which still comes in under $3,500 – that’s cracking value given the spec!

2020 Canyon Neuron WMN AL 7.0 Specs

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
The unisex version of the Neuron AL 7.0 gets a Fox suspension package and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with a 4-piston calliper up front and a 2-piston out back.

2020 Canyon Neuron AL 7.0 Specs

2020 canyon neuron wmn al 6.0
The Neuron WMN models are available in smaller sizes and feature a lighter suspension tune as well as women’s specific saddles.

2020 Canyon Neuron WMN AL 6.0 Specs

2020 canyon neuron al 6.0
The Neuron AL 6.0 features a Shimano 1×12 drivetrain along with tubeless compatible Race Face wheels and an internally-routed dropper post. All for under $3K too.

2020 Canyon Neuron AL 6.0 Specs

2020 canyon neuron al young hero
Look at this little fella! Canyon calls this Neuron AL model the Young Hero, which comes in a XXS size designed for budding shredders.

2020 Canyon Neuron AL Young Hero Specs

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
We’ve been testing the 2020 Canyon Neuron AL 7.0, which at $3,449 is the most expensive model in the Neuron AL range.

Setting Up The Neuron AL 7.0

As with previous Canyon’s I’ve ridden, I chose a Medium size in the Neuron AL to suit my 175cm (5’9″) height. However, be aware that Canyon is still running old school seat tube lengths – the 445mm seat tube on the Medium is too long, and meant that even with the collar of the dropper post slammed down onto the frame, the maximum saddle height was still a lick over what I’d normally have. As a quick comparison, the same size Norco Optic has a 415mm seat tube length – a full 30mm shorter. I’m aware that I sound like a broken record here, but given long-stroke dropper posts are very much in-vogue, Canyon really needs to shorten its seat tubes to keep up with the times. I’ve experienced exactly the same issue on the Neuron CF and the Spectral, and anyone who’s borderline between two sizes needs to be aware of how their saddle height should be factored into that decision process.

I ended up swapping the stock Selle Italia saddle, which is downright awful anyway. It’s very slopey in its profile, and the cover is also slippery. I fitted a lower profile Bontrager Arvada saddle and slid it forward on the rails as much as possible, in order to help lower the effective saddle height a few mm’s.


As for suspension setup, Canyon recommends a sag range of 27-30% for the Neuron’s rear shock. For my 68kg riding weight, that ended up being 180-190psi inside the Float DPS. I ended up favouring the slightly higher pressure setup with a little less sag, and I ran the rebound dial at halfway (7/14 clicks).

Up front the Fox 34 Rhythm fork comes with a single volume spacer from the factory. However, I found I was bottoming it out regularly enough to add a 2nd spacer, which also improved mid-stroke support. I set the air pressure (72psi) and rebound setting (10/22 clicks) as per the setup chart on the back of the fork, which proved to be pretty much bang-on. I did find on steeper terrain that dialling in some low-speed compression damping (about 1/3rd of the blue dial’s rotation) helped to stabilise the fork, providing a better balance with the stable rear suspension.

The wheels arrived already setup tubeless, and I set pressures at 23psi on the front and 27psi on the rear. That’s a little higher than I’d normally go for, since the stock Continental Mountain King tyres are quite supple. They’re reasonably light for their given volume, weighing in at 857g on my scales. At 2.3in wide, they’re about as big as the Neuron AL will take, with 2.4in being the maximum recommended rear tyre width (tyre and rim width dependent). Those who want to run new-school 2.5-2.6in rubber will have to look elsewhere.

Confirmed weight for our Medium test bike without pedals was 14.24kg. That’s not particularly light, but still respectable for a trail bike with a dropper post that sells for less than four grand. As I found out within the first outing though, it certainly rides a lot lighter than that.

 fo2020 canyon neuron al 7.0 fox 34 rhythm fork
Up front is a smooth Fox 34 Rhythm fork with the excellent GRIP damper inside.
2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
Canyon recommends the rear shock be setup with 27-30% sag.

What Does It Do Well?

Having spent a lot of time on the 2019 Neuron CF 9.0 SL last year, I was fully expecting the Neuron AL to feel much the same, just a bit heavier. Geometry-wise, the carbon and alloy Neuron’s are indeed identical. That means you’ve got the same reach measurement (433mm on our Medium), and the same head angle (67.5°) and effective seat tube angle (74.5°).

The riding position is slightly different though, since the Neuron AL comes with a shorter 50mm stem, compared to 60mm on the Neuron CF. Along with the 760mm wide flat bars, it still puts you into a comfy-but-stretched-out position. Compared to the Spectral, the Neuron isn’t particularly upright, with a much more XC-ish feel that is biased towards long-distance comfort and hammering out big kms.

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
The 760mm flat bars and 50mm stem give the Neuron AL an XC-ish, but comfortable riding position.

Like the carbon Neuron, the organic pedal efficiency is without doubt one of the biggest strengths of the Neuron AL. This bike has a very sporty feel to it, with minimal bob while seated even with the Fox shock set to full open. Compared to the competition, it’s more efficient than the Fuel EX, Stumpjumper ST and Trance 29, though perhaps not quite as zippy than the Merida One-Twenty. Unless I was pedalling out of the saddle on a long fireroad climb, I felt no need to touch the shock’s compression switch. When pushing hard, there’s a sensation of elasticity within the chain as you can feel the anti-squat driving the rear tyre, giving you excellent return on your pedalling efforts.

What’s most impressive about the inbuilt anti-squat is that it falls away quickly as you go through the travel, so it doesn’t detract from the suspension’s ability to absorb impacts. Canyon has spec’d a light damper tune on the Float DPS shock, and the result is a very supple and active feel, even while pedalling up choppy climbs. This is balanced beautifully with the 34 Rhythm fork, which delivers excellent small-bump response from its semi-open bath GRIP damper.

Furthermore, the Neuron AL feels noticeably more lively and spirited than the Neuron CF. At first I thought the rear shock might have a different tune, but it doesn’t – it’s exactly the same. This difference could be due to some additional flex in the alloy frame, or it might be down to the alloy wheels (compared to the carbon Reynolds wheels that come on the Neuron CF I tested), or more likely a combination of the two. Whatever it is, it helps to give the Neuron AL fantastic compliance in the rough, which gave me more control when things got really rocky and loose. I wouldn’t say it’s flexy, just better damped compared to the stiff and slightly muted carbon frame.


On the note of the wheels, it was only halfway through the test that I realised Canyon has actually built the Neuron AL with different width rims front and rear. In a very on-trend move, the rear wheel has a 25mm internal rim width, while the front is 30mm wide. The tyres are exactly the same, but they measure up differently. The front tyre measures at 2.35in wide and has a slightly more stable feel, while the rear tyre measures 2.28in wide with a more ‘lightbulb’ profile for added compliance and comfort. Very clever Canyon.

Add those supple tyres with the Neuron AL’s sensitive suspension, comfy riding position and efficient pedalling manners, and you’ve got a bike that’ll happily rack up the miles all day long. It’s certainly not a light bike, but despite this, I found myself consistently wanting to ride this bike further and longer than I thought I would.

Part of this eagerness comes down to how well the Neuron AL holds momentum. The wheels are quite heavy (2.11kg confirmed), so once you get them up to speed, they like keeping that speed. The hubs also roll very freely. While some may shit-can Shimano’s cup & cone hub bearings, there’s no denying the fact that they’re easy to service, and they produce very little drag on the trail. Along with the active fork, which eagerly hoovers up harsh edges that would normally temper your riding tempo, the Neuron AL relishes in motoring along over rough and undulating terrain.

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0 continental mountain king
Canyon has spec’d 2.3in wide Continental Mountain King tyres along with different rim widths – 30mm front & 25mm rear.
2020 canyon neuron al 7.0 continental mountain king tyre
The Conti tyres come in at around 850g each, and they offer good traction on loose-over-hardpack trail surfaces.

What Does It Struggle With?

For the grasshoppers out there, I did find that while the Neuron Al has plenty of pep and liveliness about it, with good mid-stroke support to the rear suspension, I have been bottoming out the fork and shock once or twice on each ride. Now I should stipulate here that the suspension on the new Neuron AL is a yuuuuge step up from the previous model. The old Neuron AL would bottom-out at the mere sight of a gutter, unless you pumped up the bejeesus out of the rear shock, in which case it would just feel really harsh and uncomfortable. Canyon’s new Triple Phase Suspension layout does come with a lot of marketing hyperbole, but there’s no denying it’s a vast improvement with better small-bump sensitivity, and a lot more support to the travel. And while I was able to kiss full travel, it was never a harsh or overly audible sensation.

If you did want a bit more bottom-out support for those harsher landings, it’s of course possible to fit more volume spacers inside the 34 fork, and the shock comes from the factory with a medium 0.4³ spacer inside, giving you options to go bigger if you fancy. (On a side note, I’d love to see Canyon include volume spacers with the bike to give customers the opportunity to dial the bike in for their preferences). I really like the plush suspension feel as it is though, which makes it terrifically smooth and efficient for gassing it along choppy trails. And really, for those who are more intent on racking up the air miles, the burlier Spectral with its much more progressive suspension design, would likely be a better bet.


Those who ride bikes on the internet may also be turned off by the Neuron’s conservative 67.5° head angle, which isn’t the slackest around. In comparison, the Fuel EX and Trance 29 are slacker at 66°, and the Norco Optic is even slacker at 65°. Canyon has also maintained a 51mm fork offset, unlike those bikes that have moved to trendier 42-44mm offsets. Depending on your intentions, I don’t think it’s a big a problem for the Neuron AL though. No, it isn’t as sure-footed on the really steep stuff at full-whacko speeds, with a twitchier front end. However, the effective suspension, compliant chassis and this bike’s ability to hold momentum provide it with greater ground-hugging stability than what you’d expect from eyeballing some numbers in a geometry chart.

And when things get tight, the Neuron is noticeably more agile than those aforementioned competitors, with less input required at the bars to duck and weave through the trees. It’s also more efficient and easier to climb on, giving it a more enthusiastic and well-rounded personality.

I’d say in terms of handling, the Neuron AL is most comparable to the Merida One-Twenty. The One-Twenty is a lick slacker (67.3°) and it now comes with a reduced offset fork. That gives it a touch more high-speed stability compared to the Neuron AL. Both bikes are comparable on the climbs and through twistier singletrack, though at slower speeds the Neuron AL offers lighter and more intuitive steering, with less understeer on flatter corners. Otherwise they’re both sprightly trail bikes that are easy and bucketloads of fun to ride.

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
The Neuron AL isn’t the slackest in its class, but it also isn’t pretending to be a shrunken-down enduro bike.

Component Highs & Lows

Given the price tag, Canyon has done a marvellous job decking out the Neuron AL 7.0 with decent performing parts where it counts. The suspension is excellent – I have no complaints there at all. It’s also nice to see a 150mm travel dropper post, even if the action is sluggish and the lever is cheap and wobbly. But hey, it goes up and down, so how greedy you wanna be?

Along with the front & rear-specific rims, Canyon also puts a 4-piston brake calliper up front and a 2-piston calliper out back, showing exceptional attention to detail. These are Alivio series brakes, but bike-snobbery aside, they’re actually quite good. The bite point feels a bit wooden, though they dish out decent power thanks to the bigger front calliper and 180mm rotors. They aren’t overly grabby, which makes them ideal for less experienced riders, and you’re less likely to lock up the rear wheel due to the less powerful two-piston calliper. While the longer 2-finger brake levers are also good for newer riders, I was able to run them further inboard to facilitate 1-finger braking pretty easily.


The only bummer with the brakes was a slight rattle from the pads moving about in the calliper body, which let down the bike’s otherwise quiet performance. This was exacerbated by the minimalist chainstay protector, which could do with being thicker and more generously sized – particularly just behind the chainring, where there is currently some paint chippage going on.

After setting the derailleur’s B-tension correctly, the drivetrain otherwise proved to be low-fuss throughout testing, and I dig the smaller 30T chainring. You’ll spin out the 30×11 top gear pretty easily on the road, but I’d rather have the low-range gearing for technical off-road climbing than top-end speed on the bitumen.

It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden Continental tyres, but I was impressed with these Mountain Kings. They’re certainly grippier and more versatile than the Maxxis Forekasters that come on the Neuron CF models, with better traction on scrabbly, loose-over-hardpack trails. The supple casing does mean they need more pressure to prevent them from folding over. While investigating the Neuron AL’s outer limits, I managed to burp the front tyre pretty badly, and on my final test ride I also pinch-flatted the rear tyre, twice, which will forever now require an inner tube. Still, I think they’re a great match to the Neuron’s intentions, with a good balance between weight, rolling resistance, grip and suppleness.

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
Canyon have put together an impressive package in the Neuron AL 7.0. The suspension is excellent, the 4/2-piston brake combo works well, and the own-brand finishing kit does the job just fine.

Flow’s Verdict

Having already tested the Neuron CF – a good quality carbon trail bike, if a tad uninspiring – my expectations of this alloy version weren’t particularly high. Not only were my expectations exceeded though, I can also honestly say that I enjoyed riding this Neuron AL 7.0 more than I did the carbon model, which costs twice as much. It took me a while to put my finger on why that is, but there’s definitely a more lively and compliant ride quality that comes from the alloy chassis. Add in the front & rear-specific rim widths, and the supple Conti tyres, and the Neuron AL more readily contorts and adapts to the terrain.

Those chasing the slackest geometry around will no doubt look elsewhere. It’s important to note however, that the Neuron AL isn’t meant to be a shrunken-down enduro pinner, and Canyon certainly isn’t pretending otherwise. It’s an efficient and springy all-round trail bike that’s intended to cover miles and cover them comfortably. It isn’t particularly light, but it carries momentum incredibly well, giving the Neuron AL a willingness to ride for longer. Put on a lighter set of wheels and some faster tyres, and you’d get on fine at your local club XC race. Assuming you weren’t expecting a podium, it would also make a great partner for multi-day events like the Port to Port.

And so given the sub-$4K price tag, dollar-for-dollar the Canyon Neuron AL 7.0 is without doubt one of the best-value trail bikes I’ve ridden. If you haven’t yet been convinced that you desperately need carbon fibre, or more travel than this, then the Neuron AL will surely tick a lot of boxes for a lot of riders.

2020 canyon neuron al 7.0
The Neuron AL is up for covering a lot of miles on varied terrain. This is a terrific all-round trail bike.

Mo’ Flow Please!

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