Nerve AL 7.0

MBUK, Summer

Well equipped and as good to ride as it is to look at, the Nerve AL 7.0 is a trail full-susser to take on the big brands.

Canyon’s mid-travel Nerve full-susser has been a well rounded, attractively priced alternative to the mainstream for a few years now. Switching from 26in to 650b wheels gave Canyon the excuse for a frame refresh. Does the new version still stand comparison with the big brands?

The classic double diamond bicycle frame is probably one of the best examples of form following function. Adding suspension has tended to take the purity of the form away, leaving riders to accept that great performance sometimes just doesn’t look that nice. But the Nerve AL just looks ‘right’. There isn’t a tube junction, curve or angle out of place here. The seatstays flow seamlessly into the shock rocker, which continues the line through to the dropped top tube.

Internally routed cables and a bolt-on chainstay protector keep it all tidy, and there’s internal routing for a ‘stealth’ dropper post should you want to upgrade. Our only gripe is with the bolted thru-axle, which boosts rear end stiffness but does make it more of a fiddle to bundle the bike into your car or fix a puncture.

The Nerve AL 7.0 is Fox-sprung front and rear, shod with Schwalbe rubber on Mavic hoops, stopped by Avid’s mid-range Elixir 3s on sensibly sized rotors and powered by Shimano’s peerless Deore XT kit, all of which makes its price look like a misprint. Big-wheel-specific chainrings keep the gearing sensible for climbing too.

With Fox’s Float CTD shock taking care of rear damping duties, the result is a competent trail warrior with a firm, precise feeling rear end that’s extremely hard to unsettle.

The Canyon is an easy bike to warm to, competent at everything you’re likely to throw at it on a big day out on the trails. It’s a very good trail bike at a price that’ll be hard to beat.

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