Radical styling, fantastic attention to detail and potent performance without the need to change gears makes this electric bike a tantalizing proposition. But, with its high price tag the Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 might just be a little bit too good for the commuting task it was designed for.
Fantastic design and build quality
Really effortless belt drive riding
Eats up the miles in style
Not everyone will warm to the angular design
Premium-grade and expensive as a result
A potential magnet for thieves
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The Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 is currently Canyon’s top-of-the range e-bike with striking looks, excellent performance and an exquisite attention to design detail that makes it a very appealing proposition.
With a price tag that puts it firmly into the growing range of premium electric bikes that are out there right now, Canyon’s variation on the theme stands out on several counts. Aside from the dramatic angular frame design there is innovation aplenty, with a Gates belt drive and Enviolo automatic shifting allowing you to just get on and ride.
While the Precede:ON CF 9 aims to remove hassle from the cycle riding equation it’s also got more than enough to tempt bike enthusiasts with a banquet of quality components that come together to produce one of the best e-bikes out there.
Standard and step-through frame options mean it’ll meet any kind of rider preference while the experience it delivers leaves you wanting more. Boosting the appeal is the impressive combination of on-board tech, with Bosch supplying the motor, battery and handlebar-mounted computer.
Chunky tires make amends for the rigid frame design while brakes, lights, saddle and handlebars all boast a premium edge. It’s a great get-on-and-go bike, which turns heads for good measure.
Price and release date
Canyon’s Precede:ON CF 9 was released at the beginning of September 2020 and is currently priced at £4,699 / €4,999 (about $6,000 / AU$8,500). Canyon’s business model is to sell direct, so you order your bike online from the company, which should mean it ships pretty much anywhere.
The Canyon Precede:ON CF9 is striking to look at, even when it’s finished in sober Anchor Grey as our test model was. Champagne is the alternative colour option if you’re looking for something a little more flamboyant.
Design-wise it’s angular all the way and there are elements of this bike that really showcase the craftsmanship on offer, with the carbon-fiber frame (sizes M through to XL) being a standout feature.
Similarly, the handlebars have everything cleverly integrated into the design, plus there are no visible cables either. Canyon spent a long time engineering the bike so that all of the gubbins that normally sits outside of a bike frame now lies hidden inside it. Those rubber grips on the handlebars, by the way, are a dream to rest your hands on. The saddle is a minor work of art too, and accommodating enough for a few kilometers a day.
The electric motor, battery and display all come from Bosch, with the former being its Bosch Performance CX unit featuring 85Nm of torque, as more frequently encountered on electric mountain bikes.
Meanwhile, the battery is a 500Wh example, which Canyon says is good for a range of 65km and this has been nicely integrated into the down tube so you barely know it’s there.
The computer is a Kiox edition from Bosch, and its boxy design fits in perfectly with the way the rest of the bike looks. It can be detached from its mounting cradle with a gentle tug and the bike can’t be used without it in situ.
Elsewhere, the wheels turn out to be ideally suited to the ride quality. Being a rigid frame with no suspension, the spoked 25mm width Axelrims/Shimano wheels and Schwalbe G-One Allround 57mm tires do an excellent job of damping the journey over lumpy road surfaces. Even if you head off road the mildly-knobbled rubber prevents any unwanted slippage from over zealous bursts of power.
Braking is impressive too, with the TRP hydraulic discs taking care of business with no messing about. As with everything else on the Canyon Precede:ON CF9, the overwhelming feeling is one of quality.
Front and rear lights are small but powerful LED units, which prove to be way brighter than you expect. In fact, it’s even possible to dip the front one, a Supernova Mini 2 Pro, from a high beam of 550 lumens down to 235 just so you don’t dazzle oncoming traffic. The Supernova E3 taillight looks tiny, but boy, it’s bright too.
Our test model came with a robust rack above the back wheel, which has a maximum load capacity of 25kg. A front rack is another additional option, which can handle a payload of 5kg if you’re looking to lug multiple things around.
Full mudguards come as standard on the Canyon Precede:ON CF9, which makes sense especially if you’re going to be using it for commuting and have work clothes to keep looking respectable.
The devil really is in the detail with this e-bike: Canyon has spent quite lot of time ensuring that the kickstand looks like it’s an integral part of the frame design, so it too features angular lines. It’s a nice touch.
Our example came with a top-of-the-range Abus Bordo Plus lock too, which also makes a lot of sense given the value of the Canyon Precede:ON CF9.
Unlike many conventional bikes, especially those with myriad gears to maintain as you ride, the Canyon Precede:ON CF9 will appeal to many because of its simple Enviolo automatic shifting. Riding this e-bike is wonderfully smooth, with the Gates belt drive getting rid of the tick of a regular bike chain. There’s an entertaining whirr from the power unit as you pedal, but otherwise the Canyon Precede:ON CF9 delivers a silky smooth experience as you sail down the road.
The Bosch computer system allows easy management of the different drive modes and it’s simple to pick through these (Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo) as and when you need to. Manual controls for the computer and power modes are found in the cluster on the left-hand side of the handlebars. In fact everything can be controlled from here, plus there’s a button for the lights too.
Central to the riding experience is the cadence setting, which can be set via the computer. The continuously variable shifting system will then make sure that you can keep pedaling steadily while the Enviolo unit does the rest.
It might take you a couple of minor excursions to get the best from the settings but there’s an ideal level for most tastes. If anything we found the bike too easy to ride on our inaugural spin, but over time we managed to strike a practical balance between getting some exercise and enjoying the benefits that emanate from the Bosch power unit.
Out on the roads the Canyon Precede:ON CF9 really starts to shift if you’re so inclined, especially if you're lucky enough to be on a smooth surface. It weighs in at around 22kg, so it’s actually lighter than the chunky lines of the frame suggest. We got a respectable return from the power unit too, with a battery range that seemed to easily live up to the claims from Canyon: nothing to worry about on that front. Which you’d hope for on a nearly £5K e-bike.
While it excels on the roads and cycle paths, go off-piste by taking a short cut across a grassy field and this e-bike quickly reminds you that there’s no suspension, save for a bit of sponginess provided by those bulbous tyres. Canyon has designed this to be a commuter bike though, and for getting to and from a place of work it’s spot on.
That said, the high price of the Canyon Precede:ON CF9 means you’ll want to keep an eye on it and you’ll definitely want a premium lock on board as ours did. This is a brilliant e-bike, but in some respects we feel it’s perhaps a little bit too good for the daily commute. We just wanted to keep our example under lock and key and, well, just marvel at that dazzling design. Which is the exact opposite of what the Canyon Precede:ON CF9 was created for.
First reviewed October 2020
Buy it if
You need to commute
Less of us are heading to actual places of work, but if you’ve got to go then it might as well be on the dazzling Canyon Precede:ON CF9.
You’re not a cycling enthusiast per se
This is a bike that can be enjoyed by anyone including those that want to revisit cycling after being stuck driving a car for their commute.
It’s time to go electric
This isn’t an impulse purchase, but if you’ve got deep pockets then you’ll be rewarded with a bike that encapsulates all that’s great about e-bikes.
Don't buy it if
You’re not bothered about style, or indeed quality
There are plenty of cheaper e-bikes on the market and no shortage of good ones at that.
You want to buy your e-bike from a physical shop
Canyon sells direct to customers, which is all well and good, but some people still prefer face-to-face bike shops that can help with cycle-related questions.
You’re a worrier
The Canyon Precede:ON CF9 is expensive and its looks attract attention, which might well include unwanted glances from bike thieves.
Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.
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