The new Lux CF is South Africa tested with the Canyon Topeak Factory Racing team having raced the prototype Lux at the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. Erik Kleinhans has also been training and racing with the new bike locally for the past year. In addition, sharp-eyed spectators would have gotten a close-up look of XCO riders Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Mathieu van der Poel both riding the new Lux at the Stellenbosch World Cup in March.
The most striking change is in the flat shock suspension design layout. Canyon sought to simplify the suspension mechanics with the aim of saving weight and improving suspension performance. Canyon claims the new linkage configuration is 144 grams lighter than that on the outgoing Lux. Canyon also adapted the suspension curve which they say is dramatically improved to maximise the 100 mm rear suspension travel. The revised suspension creates enough space to accommodate two water bottles within the front triangle across all frame sizes.
The Lux CF is currently available in two carbon frame models: SLX and SL. While both frames feature the same 100 mm rear suspension, the SL models have 110mm forks with the racier SLX models fitted with 100mm forks. The shorter travel forks give the SLX bikes a more aggressive race position and geometry while the SL model provides riders with a slightly longer, slacker geometry which should result in better control over faster, rougher sections of trail. Interestingly, the racier SLX models arrive fitted with dropper seat posts and a claimed weight of exactly 10 kg.
For all the in-depth details about the new Lux CF, take a look at the Canyon press release below.
Erik Kleinhans on the new Canyon Lux
Erik Kleinhans races for the Canyon Topeak Factory Racing team and also serves as the team's manager. He has been riding and providing feedback to Canyon about the new Lux for the last year. We chatted to Erik to get his opinion on the new bike.
How do the riders get involved in the early development of the Lux?
The previous Lux lasted well but it was starting to get a bit dated, especially the look. The new Canyon road bikes and trail bikes all follow a similar Canyon style and the new Lux continues that style.
Canyon has riders focussing on both marathon and XCO racers. How have they balanced the needs of both sets of riders with the Lux?
What are your favourite features of the new Lux?
Of course, performance also matters and from the first car park test outside the Canyon factory in Germany, the bike's stiffness and forward acceleration were immediately noticeable. The suspension is so good that you can ride up a climb with the suspension open. As pro riders, we might be a bit more demanding but most riders won't notice a difference when riding the bike fully open.
They also managed to get the weight down significantly. Our team race bikes for the Cape Epic were 10 kgs, with heavier tyres and other parts to handle the Epic terrain.
The Canyon bikes are also placed at a very good price point. It's a major reason why I pushed the brand to start shipping to South Africa. Even after you pay the South African duties and VAT, you can still beat other premium brands on price in South Africa.
Press release: Canyon Lux CF
Efficiency will always be the highest value currency in XC racing. The lighter your setup, the faster you’ll climb. But what goes up must come down. Whether tackling technical World Cup singletrack or long stretches of washboard dirt at the Cape Epic, the rise of the lightweight full suspension setup has helped racers press home their advantage even after the climbing is done.
Launched in 2013, the Lux CF was a stalwart of this approach. Wins at the Cape Epic with Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek, Leadville 100 domination by Alban Lakata and trips to the World Cup podium with Pauline Ferrand-Prévot backed up the bike’s racing credentials across a wide variety of terrain.
Today's XC has many different facets. On the one hand, the Lux has to perform flawlessly seven stages deep into the ABSA Cape Epic with Alban Lakata, on the other it has to stand up to being rallied through rock gardens over and over again by Mathieu van der Poel.
The new Lux
With the new Lux, we wanted to build on the success of its predecessor to make a bike that’s more than a match for the challenges of modern XC. Already proven at the Cape Epic and at home on the World Cup circuit, the new Lux gives riders the speed they need to fly.
- Be Lightweight: Coming in sub-2000 g for frame and shock was our priority to create one of the lightest full suspension platforms on the scene.
- Be Compatible: An identical fit to our Exceed XC hardtail was essential to allow riders to switch easily between hardtail and full suspension setups.
- Be Efficient: We had to nail the balance between anti-squat and active kinematics for suspension that boosts traction up loose climbs without wasting power.
- Be Capable: From geometry to suspension, the Lux had to enhance control and inspire confidence so riders can open gaps where others back off the gas.
The most striking difference between the new Lux and its predecessor is the new flat shock suspension configuration. The four-bar linkage-driven system makes the most out of 100 mm of travel to enhance control, efficiency, and rider comfort.
- Less Stress: Revised kinematics place less stress on the bearings and pivots, as well as requiring lower shock pressure to enhance reliability thanks to a low leverage curve.
- Less Weight: The new linkage requires less hardware in part due to the reduction of loads and stress in the system, making it significantly lighter than the previous design.
- Better Responsiveness: The positioning of the rear shock means there is less friction loss due to changes in force direction, while a low leverage curve enhances overall sensitivity when dealing with a short amount of travel.
When it comes to marathon racing, the more self-suffi- cient you are the better. That means carrying as much hydration as possible on the bike. With a flat shock configuration, space is freed up on the down tube so two large 800 ml water bottles can now fit within the main triangle on every frame size.
Triple Phase Suspension
Our Triple Phase Suspension concept first debuted on our Sender DH rig and has since been adapted to Torque and Spectral trail platforms. Now, we have applied it to the opposite end of the travel spectrum for XC racing with the new Lux.
The key difference over the old Lux is the far more efficient use of 100 mm of travel with better response at start and full use of the shock stroke without blowing through and bottoming out. As a result, the Lux rides like you have far more in reserve whenever the going gets rough so riders can take off where others get bogged down.
Depending on terrain and whether riders lean towards a more rigid race setup or extra plushness on the trails, the new Lux works best with sag set in the range of 20 % to 25%.
Phase 1 – Response: A steeper curve means the shock responds better at the start of the stroke for small bump sensitivity and traction over loose surfaces, while also improving comfort for enhanced rider endurance.
Phase 2 – Stability: Through the mid-stroke the suspension provides a stable platform for reduced momentum loss so the rider can maintain and build speed over technical features without blowing through the travel.
Phase 3 – Ramp: Less force is needed to fully exploit the shock stroke, giving the suspension a bottomless feel over bigger hits while avoiding harsh bottom-outs.
A low leverage ratio is not a feature often associated with full suspension XC race bikes, which makes the new Lux unique in its field. Taking this approach reduces the amount of force transmitted through the pivot points and bearings for better longevity. The latest generation of longer 210 x 55 metric shocks also makes this possible. Less pressure is required in the rear shock and means we can run lighter compression and rebound tunes to inflict less wear on the shock itself.
The new Lux is one-by only. Running a single chainring and no front derailleur allows us to make structural gains thanks to a wider bottom bracket and straighter driveside chainstay for extra stiffness. Crucially though, focussing on larger front chainring sizes (between 34-tooth and 38-tooth) means we can tune anti-squat for the most efficient setup without making any compromises.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Lux features higher levels of anti-squat for more efficient climbing and a stable platform for riding out the saddle. When ridden in open mode, the suspension remains active to deliver traction where others can’t find it.
The previous Lux showcased our command of carbon with its Flex Pivot construction. Taking the rear pivot bearings out of the equation reduces the weight of the overall system without making any sacrifices to the suspension’s performance. On top of this, the system requires less maintenance as it is entirely immune to the dirt and wear that affects normal pivot bearings.
Our new Lux adopts the same concept with key improvements learned from the previous system:
The seatstays are designed to be taut when the bike is unweighted and slacken around the sag point before becoming tauter again as the suspension moves through its travel. This reduces the total amount of deformation required by the stays, resulting in less stress on the carbon as well as better responsiveness deeper into the travel.
Flat mount brakes
The Flat Mount braking standard has made its way off the road and onto the trail. Mounting brake callipers onto the chainstay instead of the seatstay allows the Flex Pivot to better carry out its single function instead of having to provide a stable platform for braking forces while flexing simultaneously as the suspension is activated. Beyond better function, this new configuration requires less hardware, contributing to a 23 g saving over the previous design.
A Lighter Linkage
Consisting of a compact rocker hidden beneath the shock extension and a concentric pivot with slide bearings, the new linkage on the Lux requires far less hardware than its predecessor. The shock extension itself is manufactured using advanced and precise injection moulding production methods. This carbon-reinforced unit enables us to keep weight down and strength high.
We were able to go much lighter with the rocker on the new Lux because it is subject to less load than on the previous design. The unit is made up of aluminium sides connected by a steel bridge to provide maximum torsional stiffness in a limited space. Here, smaller and lighter ball bearings are housed inside the rocker and not in the frame to allow easier servicing with no risk of damaging the frame when swapping out used parts. To make sure this is a rare occurrence, the bearings are filled with a special high-viscosity, anti-corrosive grease for increased water resistance and performance over a longer lifetime.
Slide bearings can be employed for the concentric upper pivot to further save weight and improve reliability. This solution works better than heavier ball bearings with the suspension on the Lux due to the small pivot angles at play at this point.
Beyond the gains in reliability, serviceability and riding performance, the new linkage saves an impressive 144 g over the previous design, contributing greatly to the overall weight saving made on the new Lux.
Updating the Lux with a modern race geometry was a clear priority when we gathered feedback from our pro riders early on in the development process. They also requested that the new Lux should more closely mirror our Exceed hardtail to enable seamless switches between race setups, reducing time required to accustom to different riding positions.
On Track. On Trail.
The Exceed is a pioneer for more progressive XC race geometries, so we naturally took the same approach for the Lux. In a size medium, the new Lux has a 20 mm longer reach than its predecessor for extra stability at speed, while chainstay length has been reduced from 450 mm to 435 mm across all sizes for enhanced handling agility.
Reach has also been adapted across all sizes so that we could equip shorter 80 mm stems on every bike for handling consistency across the size spectrum, while stack is also lower than on the previous model to facilitate more aggressive riding positions.
One key difference between the Lux CF SLX and the Lux CF SL is a 10 mm jump in fork travel. Serious racers who strive for the most aggressive setup with steeper angles and faster handling can opt for 100 mm of travel on the Lux CF SLX. For more trail-oriented races, riders will appreciate having a little more in reserve up-front with 110 mm on the fork on the Lux CF SL, which also slackens the head angle by 0.5° for more stable handling at speed.
It’s the same paradox every time. The fastest race bikes have to be as light as possible while being strong enough to handle the punishment dished out by the world’s most demanding races and riders. Our goal with the new Lux was to create one of the lightest full suspension platforms on the scene, with an ambitious target of sub-2000 g for frame and shock for the top-end Lux CF SLX.
Our expertise in composite material applications has moved on significantly since the previous Lux was launched in 2013, leading to the most significant weight savings on the new Lux. This knowledge has enabled a wholesale reduction of metal components across the whole frame. From the suspension linkage to cable guides, clever solutions applying lighter materials have led to major weight savings.
Built to last
Relying on our wealth of knowledge in carbon fibre development, the Lux CF SLX and CF SL are not only lightweight, but also extremely strong with layups that have been reinforced in the key areas that matter. Using uni-directional carbon instead of woven reduces fibre undulation and allows us to apply the material in different directions to exploit its strength and stiffness properties. The layup varies in fibre type, direction and number of layers across the frame depending on what different sections have to deal with.
Margins are extremely fine when developing a frameset with such ambitious weight, stiffness and strength targets. Throughout the entire development process, we gained insights from our in-house CT scanner for a more detailed picture beyond what the naked eye can see. This is essential when examining frame wall thicknesses to achieve weight targets, but also when searching for traces of damage following stress cycles in the lab or hours of testing on the trail.
LUX CF SLX (SIZE M) – 1662 G
LUX CF SL (SIZE M) – 1852 G
Superlight chainstay protector
Any good chainstay protector should keep the frame material out of harm’s way while also reducing the noise of chain slap. Our superlight chainstay protector exploits an air core to deliver both those properties. Using a strong adhesive to bond to the carbon surface further reduces the need for hardware to keep weight low. 8.2 grams.
Minimalist chain guide
Despite how accomplished one-by drivetrains have become, the extra security offered by a chain guide can make all the difference when the race is on. Our super minimalist and lightweight solution fixes directly to the main pivot bolt. Any rider wishing to switch chainring sizes need only rotate the chain guide around to provide the right amount of clearance. 4.6 grams.
Internal cable routing has come a long way in recent years. From entering the head tube, no cables or lines are exposed until they re-emerge at the component they serve, that includes for the rear shock remote lockout.
Inside the frame, we have made it even simpler to carry out maintenance thanks to internal tubes that act as guides to swallow all lines, housing and all, and deliver them to where they are needed. Throw a new cable and housing in one end and they will pop right out at the other end–no fishing about required. The tubes also provide a secure hold to drastically reduce cable rattle for an even stealthier ride on track thanks to extra foam protection in the main triangle.
Beyond clean aesthetics and a super composed and quiet ride, the extra protection provided by our tubing makes clean and crisp shifting last even longer, no matter how bad the conditions get.
Tool-free access to through axles is not a given on today’s mountain bikes. For quick adjustments or rear wheel removal, we developed the Quixle. The lever neatly integrates inside the axle so it’s out of harm’s way and out of sight when you ride, yet is easy to access whenever needed.
Impact Protection Unit
Our Impact Protection Unit features on all our models where handlebar strikes against the top tube are a risk. Integrating this feature neatly behind the headset provides an immediate visual indication of any damage sustained after a crash. Hollow screws are designed to break and absorb the force of the impact meaning after an incident, only the screws have to be replaced, not the frame.
Developing our own side-loading bottle cage was an essential requirement in order to house two 800 ml bottles inside the frame. The Canyon Sideloader makes it fast and easy to access and replace bottles when on-the-go, while offering a secure hold so your hydration stays where it belongs.
From initial pencil strokes to final 3D renderings, we wanted to showcase our modern design language throughout the new Lux. Integration is a foundation of our industrial design philosophy, and the Lux takes this approach to a new level. Its characteristic flash line creates a connected look for the entire rear shock assembly, linking the seatstays, shock extension and top tube in the same logical flow.
Our fundamental design goal was to reflect this bike’s lightness and competitive edge through form alone. Geometric shapes and an abundance of straight lines leave no doubts in the mind regarding its purpose, while a low stack and forward bias contribute to its aggressive racing character. The new Lux is firmly embedded in the latest generation of Canyon mountain bike design.
Canyon Lux CF SL
Canyon Lux CF SLX