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Canyon Precede:ON 7

I bought or technically leased a Canyon Precede:ON 7 (2022) electric bike last fall. This post is about my experiences with it after riding for about 2000 km this winter. The season was a bit colder than usual, and we had more snow than in years, so I properly put the bike through its paces.

I've been cycling for almost 20 years. I've never owned a car nor used public transport regularly. I pedal all distances below 30km in all seasons. Besides commuting, I've mountain biked and raced BMX, and I still actively ride my road bike during the spring and summer months.

I've owned a handful of bikes and kept them until their frames failed. Buying new bikes or gear has not been a major part of my hobby, and frankly, I'm quite sceptical about the benefits of updating bikes or gear frequently. I've never owned an E-bike before, but I've rented one a couple of times.

The bike arrived in a hilariously large box. I suppose there's no need to worry about damage during transport.

There was immediately one quality issue. The bike has a belt drive, and thus, the rear frame has a split point through which one can change the belt. That gap is filled with a plug that is fastened onto the frame. The plug was loose, and the threads were stripped factory new. Fortunately, a Canyon service center is nearby, and they re-threaded it as a warranty repair.

The second time I had to take the bike for a warranty repair was due to the Bosch display dying late winter. I've got nothing but positive things to say about the local Canyon service center: it has been exceptional.

Despite the two hiccups, the build quality is reasonably good. Besides the seat post, which was a bit noisy before greasing, everything feels 'tight,' with no play or annoying creaks. I'm especially impressed by the solid fenders. The mounts are made from thick aluminum tubes and do not have any selectively adjustable parts that tend to break easily. I've probably gone through five pairs of plastic fenders on my other commuter.

I chose the belt drive because it is claimed to be low-maintenance. I do all bike maintenance myself, and it's usually a painless effort, but especially during the winter months, I prefer to avoid it altogether.

The belt is silent, and the only upkeep I've done is wash the bike a couple of times. However, on one particularly slushy and snowy ride, the belt flipped over, causing the non-drive side to contact the rear cog. It did not seem to cause any permanent damage, but time will tell if it affected the belt's longevity.

It was a snowy one! You can also see the belt wrong side up on the rear cog.

One inconvenience of the belt drive system is changing the rear tire. Taking the wheel off is not too bad, but remounting it takes some extra steps. First, I must remove the belt tensioner, then slip on the belt, secure the 15mm rear wheel bolts, and, finally, reattach the tensioner.

The Enviolo gear hub delivers stepless shifting. It works fine but takes a bit of getting used to. My only issue has been when the temperature drops below -15C. The shifter becomes extremely stiff and almost impossible to use. The internal oil likely solidifies in the cold, though that's just my guess.

The drive is what you would expect from a weighty, stiff aluminium bike. The only compliance comes from the tires, and the stock ones have a reasonably large air space and are pretty comfortable. However, they are way too thin for commuting. I had two punctures in the first 800km and had to change them to more puncture-resistant ones.

The bike's riding position is relaxed, favoring a traditional or commuter-friendly stance over a sporty one. This, and its long wheelbase, makes it stable even when the road is slippery.

I've ridden only Shimano electric motors on a couple of rental bikes, and the Bosch motor feels superior. Riding feels natural, and when the speed surpasses the legal limit of 24kph, the power cuts off smoothly. Pedaling through slushy wet snow can feel almost effortless with the Bosch 'Tour' assist mode, which is the second of four power assistance levels.

Other commuting niceties include the rear rack and integrated front and rear lights. I've been carrying groceries with soft, foldable bags like the Ikea bags, except they have hooks that snap on the rear rack rails. 

Summary

It is a good winter bike. The strong Bosch motor helps push through snowy unplowed roads. The solid, long fenders keep my shoes dry and I trust them to not break as easily as their off-the-shelf counterparts. There is pretty good tire clearance for at least the 2.25-inch studded tires, which I ran for a few months. I've done no maintenance, not suffered from rusty, squeaking chains, nor frozen freehubs (although the shifting does degrade in very low temperatures)

It is not the most exciting or nimble bike. It is boring - but in a good way for a commuter. Perhaps it is due to its weight and the upright riding position that I am not keen to take it for a spin outside the mandatory commutes, friend visits, or grocery pickups.


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