Canyon Nerve XC 9.0

Canyon Nerve XC 9.0 - 2011 model
Nerve XC 9.0 on the test ride in Frigliana (Malaga)

My 2011 Nerve arrived in time, as promised by Canyon, to fly out to Malaga (Spain) early April. From the box to the bikebag, off for a real  test on the trails. The bike delivered was as described on the site with the exception of the seatpost which was a regular aluminum Irridium instead of the Easton xc90 carbon. A few months later I would receive the upgrade, by then a Irridium carbon, and could keep the aluminum version as well. Nice service, no complaints.

Getting the setup of the Fox RP23 correct was pretty troublesome on day 1 of our trip. As my previous fully was a Specialized Epic with Brain I wasn’t a 100% sure and reread the instructions a couple of times. In the end it turned out the shock was actually broken and none of the settings really worked. This meant I was pretty much “pumping” my way up the Andalucian climbs for 5 days but at least had a nice soft travel in the descents…  When I got back, and after double checking with our LBS, I returned the shock to Canyon and received a new one 4 weeks later. The service was again ok but should have been avoided by testing before sending the bike.

In the meanwhile I had purchased a new RP23 replacement shock as I was off for the Grand Raid Christalp in Switzerland and a week of biking in the French Alps. Now the bike was showing it’s full potential. With a correctly tuned RP23, 3×10 gears and a comfortable sitting position, it climbs really well. Special mention for the 36 cog on the cassette which comes in really handy if you like climbing on your middle ring (33) – like I do.

Grand Raid Verbier - tested in real mtb conditions

The SRAM X0 components have all been very reliable so far and the shifters and brakes are nicely integrated with Matchmakers on the handlebar. The X0 brakes are consistent also in longer descents and the brake pads are not wearing out too fast. The Fox RLC fork with the 15 mm thru axle is responsive, as can be expected from a Fox fork, and my impression was that you actually do have a better and “stiffer” control with the 15mm axle as opposed to the 9mm axles. The Crossmax ST is price/quality wise top notch and potentially the best wheelset I have ridden so far. I was a bit dissapoined that the Nobby Nic Evolution 2.25 tires did not come in the UST version but as such they are great allround tires and was glad to have them in the Alps.

There is not much terrain you can’t cover with the Nerve xc and at 11.8kg with pedals the bike can work both as a marathon racer or a good touring bike. In technical descents and on singletracks you feel in control with the Fox shocks, brakes, tires and 680mm handlebar. The frame details and paint finish are up to the standards of much more expensive brands and price/quality wise the components are excellent. If you are looking for a bike in the 120mm suspension category you should consider the Nerve xc.


Frame: New Nerve XC Race, 7005 Series Aluminium, Opti-Sized Alloy Tubeset, 120 mm suspension (sand blasted black)
Fork: Fox 32 F120 FIT RLC, 120 mm, 1.5 taper, 15 mm thru axle
Suspension: Fox Float RP 23 Boost Valve XXV
Headset: Acros AiX-03
Rear derailleur: SRAM X0 Long Cage 10-speed
Front derailleur: SRAM X0 3×10
Shifters: SRAM X0 Trigger 10-speed
Brakes: Avid X0 185/185
Wheelset: Mavic Crossmax ST
Chain: SRAM PG-1070 12-36 10-speed
Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2,25″ Evolution (with inner tubes)
Crankset: SRAM X0 carbon 10-speed – 44/33/22
Bottom bracket: Truvativ GXP BB
Stem: Syntace F149 (31,8)
Handlebar: Easton EA 70 Riser 685/20 mm
Grips: Canyon Bracelets
Saddle: Selle Italia SL Kit Carbonio > replaced by Fizik Gobi
Seatpost: Irridium Carbon – 30.9 > replaced by Thomson Elite
Crankbrothers Candy 2 pedals
Elite bottle cage 


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By Maarten Patteeuw

Maarten is an avid road and mountain biker who lives and breathes everything rolling on two wheels. You can follow his rantings on Twitter by looking for @maapathel.