Canyon Exceed hardtail goes even lighter with new frame

Canyon Exceed hardtail goes even lighter with new frame
(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon has attempted to literally Exceed all expectations with its new carbon-fibre hardtail. 

A comprehensive frame redesign and technology integration has delivered a very lightweight hardtail 29er to market, available in no less than three grades of carbon-fibre. 

Positioned as a dedicated XC racing hardtail, the Exceed features some of the most sophisticated carbon engineered ever applied to a Canyon frame. 

Seeking to achieve weight, stiffness and strength targets, the German cycling brand opted for Toray’s M40X specification carbon-fibre. Due to its cost, this source material is rarely used in mountain biking, but it delivered all the characteristics that Canyon’s design engineers required. 

The result is an Exceed which is amazingly light and adequately strong, without suffering unduly harsh ride quality over off-road terrain. Canyon’s weight rating for the new Exceed CFR frame is 835g, which is a drop of 35g grams over its predecessor. The more affordable SLX frame is 1015g and cheaper CF grade, 1312g.

Canyon Exceed

A mechanical steering limiter stops the bars spinning in a crash and damaging the frame (Image credit: Canyon)

Slacker geo and quick steering cockpit 

Beyond the advanced composite construction, Canyon’s new Exceed also features improved geometry angles. The entire range sees a reach increase of 10mm and slacker 69-degree head angle, across all sizes. 

All new Exceeds also features an 80mm stem and 740mm width handlebar. Canyon’s engineers settled on this cockpit as the ideal leverage solution for confidently exploiting the bike’s new geometry.

The bike rear-centre has been trimmed by 20mm, delivering snappier climbing and more agile handling responses in tight switchback corners. Canyon has not sacrificed tire clearance in the rear triangle either, with the new Exceed capable of rolling large-volume 29er rubber, in the 2.35-2.4in range, with adequate mud clearance to spare. 

Clever frame details abound, including a hidden seatpost clamp bolt and head tube impact protection unit (IPU). Unlike many rival 29er carbon XC hardtails, the Exceed prevents over-rotation of the handlebars by using a mechanical limiter which is part of an integrated stem and spacing combination. 

Further enhancing the Exceed’s slick appearance are cable ports which guide into the headset, making your bike’s shift and brake routing even stealthier, but also better tensioned. 

Plenty to choose from  

Canyon is marketing its new Exceed in nine derivatives, across the three carbon-fibre grades. Sizing is generous too, from XS to XL – and yes: you can mount two water bottles in the front triangle of an XS frame. 

The two premium CFR build options are the Team and LTD variants, which respectively run Shimano’s XTR and SRAM’s XX1 Eagle AXS drivetrains.

A Fox Factory SC 100mm fork suspension the Exceed CFR Team, whilst it rolls DT Swiss XRC 1200 carbon wheels, shod with a Maxxis Ikon 2.35” tyre upfront and an Aspen 2.25” at the rear. The Exceed LTD upgrades to a RockShox SID SL Ultimate 100mm fork and Reynolds Black Label carbon wheels, although it retains a similar tyre speciation to the Team version bike. 

Pricing for the new Canyon Exceed range starts at £1,599/$1,699 and peaks at £5,439/$5,749 for the CFR Team and £6,149/$6,599 for the LTD version.  

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.