Canyon do a road based hybrid in the Roadlite and a more trail orientated bike in the Pathlite. The model I tested was the Pathlite 7.0. Number 2 in the range the bike has a good standard of components.
Staring at the front the forks are Suntour SR NRX-E with 75mm Travel and a bolt through axle providing a perfect level of stiffness. The drivetrain is a combination is a combination of Shimano SLX, Deore XT, and XT from the mountain bike range, providing a nice range with 2 x 11 chainset and a 11 42 rear cassette. More than enough gears for climbing. Stopping is provided by Shimano SLX Hydraulic discs.
Right for those of you who are now starting to drift off because of all the jargon, these are very good components though to be expected on a £1300 bike perhaps.
The stem and handlebar are a flat bar and one piece and my model came with Ergon GX2 grips.
I was sent a sizing guide and after a bit of fun measuring my inside leg the correct size arrived. The box arrived unbuilt and being a qualified mechanic I found the set up easy. Now I want to just issue a word of warning here. There is an instructional video on YouTube and many people think they can build a bike for themselves but please don't. Take it to a mechanic to do. Quite apart from the safety aspect, I've seen some horrible injuries, it's easy to strip a thread, damage your brake calipers or over tighten something. Then there's indexing. Indexing is an art, please don't do it unless you can, rattling chains are just so annoying.
So the bike was set up and I was astounded by just how beautiful it was.. Stealth black with little detail, perfect in it's simplicity. Feeling good I picked a suitable outfit and took the Pathlite out for it's first spin.
It's been a while since I've used a Shimano MTB based groupset and straight away I was reminded how much I love it. My hardtail has SRAM and whilst that has it's good points, the simplicity and smoothness of the SLX impressed me. Everygear change was a delight, the brakes were predictable, quiet and silk like. The bike was so ridable straight away, there was no getting to know it.
There are a couple of issues for me though. I don't like ergonomic grips, hands are personal and in my experience cause me more problems than they solve. The one piece stem and bars didn't allow for me to get the position I like. I sometimes felt a little too upright if I had the saddle position correct and although this is a personal preference in many ways, there were times I felt perched rather than on the bike if you know what I mean. Easiest way to describe it is I was the passenger rather than the pilot.
Rubber is by Maxxix Ramblers and provide a good balance of rolling resiatnce and grip. If you're mostly tarmac riding, you good swap them out for something slicker but if doing that go for the Pathlite's sister bike the Roadlite. An iridium stock seatpost does well and reducing bumps and a stock saddle is comfortable enough but if doing long distances, it'd be worth considering changing it.
The pedals are decent enough but again can be changed if required but worryingly the test model didn't come with a bell. Now a bell may not be a legal requirement but every bike sold must come with a bell. If a bike is assembled and PDI checked (pre delivery inspection) that bike must leave the shop with a working bell. It is even illegal for a mechanic to lend the customer a screwdriver to remove it. What happens afterwards well meh!
Okay so now on to the import bit. How does the Canyon Pathlite ride. Well I'm not going to lie or sugar coat this. It's is bloody lovely. The Pathlite looks fast resting against a gate and once you're pedalling it doesn't disappoint in the slightest. Obviously it's not like my road machine but compared to most MTB based hybrids it's a rapier. The Suntour Fork provides a smooth ride reducing roadbuzz to a minimum also tackling towpaths and fireroads with ease. It did struggle in deep gravel but I've seen full blown XC machines dig in there as well. What really surprised me was just how nimble the Pathlite is. I had a play on the beginner green runs at Afan and it hit the switchbacks and simple singletrack with accuracy and provided enough feedback for the rider to have confidence. I'd actually consider using the Pathlite in a cross race and to be fair Canyon do know a thing or two about cross.
Things in the world have changed since I tested the Pathlite and at the time the emphasis was on creating a workout whilst riding. The workouts, for me were aimed at non cyclists staring to ride rather than committed riders but still had a positive affect. At the time of writing we've moved into lock down and things have changed. Here's what Canyon have to say
Stay Fit, Stay Healthy
Canyon’s new campaign is designed to help people add structure to their indoor bike workouts, and to encourage riding your workout to those who can safely outside. It aims to educate those new to indoor cycling, promoting the idea that you can use a regular outdoor bike to set-up an effective indoor cycling station. By building cycling workouts into your daily routine, within the confines of your house or garden, significant health and fitness improvements can be achieved. The added bonus is that the bike is ready to use outdoors, when the time is right.
Canyon believes that cycling – whether inside, once per day or if possible, safely outside – is the one of the best forms of exercise for physical and mental wellbeing. So why choose cycling as a method of keeping fit? Not only is it easily achievable, inside and out with the same piece of equipment, but riding is a brilliant cardiovascular activity that can also help to improve muscle definition, strength and power. As a non-weight baring exercise, regular riding is kind on the body’s joints and is unlikely to cause repetitive strain injuries, due to the low impact.
It is widely acknowledged that regular cycling relieves stress, anxiety and can even help combat depression. This is partly due to a regulation of the hormone cortisol as a result of the aerobic nature of the activity. Canyon fully understands that there’s also a noticeable feel-good-feeling that comes with the freedom of cycling, which is why this new campaign is so appropriate during the current times.
The government’s advice is to stay home and stay safe, which is why there is no better moment to put together an indoor cycling setup. Canyon is keen to emphasise, through Stay Fit, Stay Healthy, that riding inside is doable and is hugely beneficial. It should be an activity for not just cyclists but for people who want to keep in shape and exercise safely. Right now, Canyon’s focus isn’t just on the roads or trails.
This time can be used to get bikes in good working order, or to select the right bike if investing in a new one, and to mix up home workouts with a decent indoor cycling setup. This time will pass and all riders – old and new – will be in a great place to get outside and reap the benefits of the great outdoors once again. Many of Canyon’s professional riders are training at home and making the most of the current situation.
Responsible outdoor cycling
For those without any kind of home trainer or cycling setup, outdoor cycling in isolation is still permitted. It’s worth making the most of this, if it’s safe to do so. While we all love outdoor cycling, we are currently living under restrictions that mean we can’t all enjoy this. If you do live in an area that allows you to cycle outside, keep to the government’s guidelines. The workout routines can also be done effectively on quiet roads or paths, should you be able to get outdoors. Canyon’s hybrid range is the go-to choice for a variety of hybrid fitness bikes, and newly-added colourways have just been added to the Pathlite and Roadlite ranges.
These days will end, hopefully soon. I'm hoping that cycling will become the noem in many areas. I've written in the past about cycling improved my life and both mental and physical health. Personally I'm happiest on my road or my cross bike but for many people, who ride towpaths, cycle paths with mixed surface and want to ride something that will cover these things then a hybrid is perfect, The Canyon Pathlite range starts at £749 and with the increase in Cycle Schemes the whole range is attainable within that. The SL 7.0 model I tested is currently on Canyon's Website at £1199 and with the spec it has is a total bargain.
For a full range of Canyon Bikes
As I've been writing this review I've recieved word that the Pathlite SL 7.0 has a new sibling The AL SL 7,0 which has received a few tweaks to the spec.
This includes a 1x 12 10-51 new XT gearing, SLX 7100 brakes and Schwalbe G-One Bite-in rubber. This upgrades provide a 0.4kg saving in weight. Going for a 1 x gearing will make a simpler system whilst providing enough of a range and the Schwalbe tyres will be faster rolling. Both models are available and the Canyon website has a lovely comparison feature to allow you to look at the machines side by side. Personally I'd go for the new spec on the old stealth paint job if I could. Either way it's going to be a great bike.
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