Mountain

Canyon Exceed’s ‘unicorn’ carbon creates 835-gram frame

The carbon used in the Canyon Exceed creates an 835-gram frameset and is so rare, the company calls it ‘unicorn hair.’

Canyon’s Exceed carbon hardtail lineup aims to prove that less is more — less bike equals more speed. These featherweights use some rare materials to create an ultralight race bike with DNA from the road racing world.

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The Exceed frames are fabricated with the same modulus carbon used in Canyon’s super-light road climbing bike, the Ultimate CFR. Almost predictably, the Exceed CFR frame goes easy on the scale, at just 835g for a size medium, according to Canyon.

The Toray M40X carbon used in the Canyon Exceed is so rare that the company calls it “unicorn hair.” It has previously been used in golf club shafts because it provides high tensile strength — or the resistance to breaking under stress — and high stiffness. That combo is quite difficult to achieve, and it’s often a combo that bike manufacturers seek out in frame designs, usually with trade-offs. According to Canyon, the M40x carbon used on the Exceed frame achieves that magic balance. In other words, Canyon says this bad boy is stiff and strong.

Canyon Exceed CFR LTD
Canyon Exceed CFR LTD Photo: Canyon Bicycles
Canyon Exceed CF 7
Canyon Exceed CF 7 Photo: Canyon Bicycles
Canyon Exceed CF 8 Photo: Canyon Bicycles
Canyon Exceed CF SLX 9
CF SLX 9 Photo: Canyon Bicycles

On top of the changes to the carbon itself, the Exceed also gets a slightly slacker head tube angle — 69 degrees — to help tackle rowdier terrain now common on XC courses. If that wasn’t enough to indicate that XC is growing up, Canyon’s purebred racing hardtail also has clearance for 2.4-inch tires. You’ll never mistake it for a trail bike, but that’s certainly a departure from the skinny-tired, steep-head-angled racers of yore. All Exceed models will accommodate two frame-mounted bottle cages — even the size XS.

Canyon Exceed bottle cages

The geometry tweaks continue with a 10mm increase in the reach figure, and a transition to 80mm stems. The rear-center measurement gets shorter by 2mm. Those combinations should make the Exceed a quick handler, but with a bit more confidence thanks to the slacker head tube angle.

Exceed Pricing

Pricing starts at $1,999 for the Canyon Exceed CF 7, $3,499 for the Exceed CF 8, $4,499 for the Exceed CF SLX 9, and $6,999 for the Exceed CFR depending on spec. The bikes are available from the Canyon web site.