Accessibility Widget: On | Off

$3,399 Canyon Sender 6 Review - Vital's Summer of Downhill 12

27.5-inch wheels, limited geometry adjustments and only $3,399 USD - we see how the cheapest downhill bike in our summer DH test session performs against the rest.

$3,399 Canyon Sender 6 Review - Vital's Summer of Downhill

So far this summer we have spent time piloting downhill bikes produced by dealer-based companies and designed around 29-inch wheels. While both the Pivot Phoenix 29 and Trek Session 8 sported build kits that struck different price points, both have higher retail prices than most consumer-direct brands can offer nowadays. There are perks and downsides to purchasing your bicycle directly from the manufacturer, and our Summer of Downhill test session wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t see how these ‘add to cart’ bikes perform.

Next on our chopping block is the cheapest downhill bike in our test pool - Canyon’s Sender 6. Canyon completely revamped their Sender CFR carbon frame last year which has since enjoyed success under Troy Brosnan and Tahnee Seagrave on the World Cup stage with both riders taking wins in 2021. With plenty of proof in the pudding surrounding the higher end Sender, we were stoked to try Canyon's entry-level aluminum framed bike. The Sender 6 is a dedicated 27.5-inch-wheeled platform with limited geometry adjustments and a neck snapping price point aimed at hard-hitting freeride or downhill riders. We enjoyed putting the Sender 6 through the wringer to see if buying a bike with the lowest price tag has any limitations in performance on the trail. 

 

Canyon Sender 6 Highlights

  • Full aluminum frame 
  • 27.5-inch wheels 
  • 200mm (7.8-inches) of rear wheel travel // 203mm (7.9-inches) fork travel 
  • Adjustable chainstay length (430mm - 446mm)
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Integrated cable routing via down tube frame protector 
  • Marzocchi Bomber 58 fork
  • Marzocchi Bomber CR coil rear shock 
  • SRAM Code R brakes 
  • SRAM GX 7-speed drivetrain 
  • Sun Ringle ADD Comp wheelset
  • 27.5x2.40 Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C Maxx Grip front and rear 
  • 157x12mm rear hub spacing 
  • Threaded bottom bracket with ISCG-05 chain guide mount 
  • 6-year limited warranty 
  • 30-day return policy 
  • Measured weight (size large, no pedals): 38.8-pounds (17.6kg) 
  • Sizes: small, medium, large, X-large (for riders from: 5' 5" to 6' 2") 
  • MSRP $3,399 USD 

Strengths

  • Fun and maneuverable when riding jumps and bike park flow trails
  • SRAM GX drivetrain 
  • Snappy and responsive in corners
  • Amazing value at low price point with solid components

Weaknesses

  • Limited frame adjustability
  • Acros headset 
  • Not the most stable at high speed
  • Lack of dealer-based support


Canyon Sender 6 Overview

Photo

The Sender 6 is Canyon’s least expensive downhill bike option retailing for $3,399 USD. Introduced to their lineup in 2018, the frame has remained unchanged since its release while the more expensive Sender CFR carbon frame saw multiple updates last year. Geared towards freeride or park riders who want a thrashable downhill bike at a cost-effective price point, the Sender 6 frame packs on a few extra pounds compared to its carbon counterpart. However, the aluminum frame was still optimized to achieve intentional lateral flex for a controlled and comfortable ride experience. The rear suspension utilizes a traditional four bar linkage design that sees the rear shock driven by the seat stays. In comparison, the CFR carbon frame has two aluminum links that drive the shock which provides more tunability to the suspension kinematics. Despite limited leverage rate tunability on the Sender 6, Canyon states they were still able to maximize their Triple Phase Suspension leverage curve. The goal of this leverage curve is to provide mid-stroke support and bottom-out resistance by having a leverage rate that increases further into the travel. 

Photo

Photo
Photo

There is only one geometry adjustment offered on Sender 6 providing riders the choice between a 430mm and 446mm chain stay length via a rear axle flip chip. For riders looking to rock a mixed wheel setup keep scrolling as the Sender 6 is a dedicated 27.5-inch wheeled machine. While you might be able to jerry rig a mixed wheel setup at home, there are no additional pivot flip chips or reach-adjust headset cups that are meant to allow for a mixed wheel setup. Also found at the chain stays is a molded rubber chain slap protector as well as a plastic protector on the non-drive side to eliminate shoe rub. Located at the junction of the seat stays is a generously sized rear fender to protect shock and rider from flying debris. A debated feature amongst the Vital staff, for riders who think the fender will drop their lift-line clout, the fender is removable. The shifter cable and rear brake line are not routed internally but rather dive between the frame and an external downtube protector. A nice compromise on a less expensive build that creates a clean aesthetic and simplifies rear brake or shifter cable replacement. Lastly, both pivots found on the front triangle use a cassette tool to loosen or tighten. This choice appears to use less material compared to standard hex head bolts but does require a special tool to adjust. (You ride with a cassette tool on you, right?)  

Sender CFR FMD - MSRP $4,799 USD
Sender CFR - MSRP $5,799 USD

The Sender 6 build is highlighted by Marzocchi Bomber 58 fork, Marzocchi Bomber CR coil rear shock, SRAM GX 7-speed drivetrain, TruVativ cranks and Maxxis DHR II 3C Maxx Grip tires front and rear. As is expected with the majority of base-level builds, all contact point components are handled by Canyon’s own house brand products. The two more expensive builds are built around the Sender carbon frame option. The Sender CFR FMD build retails for $4,799 USD and offers riders a full Shimano Saint groupset, FOX Performance Elite suspension and DT Swiss FR2020 wheels. The most expensive Sender CFR build retails for $5,799 USD and flaunts top-end Rockshox Ultimate suspension, SRAM XO1 drivetrain and DT Swiss FR560 wheels. Riders purchasing any Sender build will also receive a Canyon tool case to store tools or replacement parts, an owner's manual, torque wrench with bit set, shock pump and assembly paste.      

Test Riders

Piloting our Sender 6 test bike was Vital’s own Jason Schroeder and long-time contributor, Sean “Griz” McClendon. Both have an extensive history within the mountain bike industry. First between the tape racing downhill at the National and World Cup level followed by years working for multiple brands within the mountain bike industry. With a decade age gap and a few pounds between them, they each have their own unique preferences and riding styles.

Photo

Jason Schroeder

  • 26 years old
  • 8 years racing downhill
  • 168lbs (76.2kgs)
  • 6' (182cm)
  • Riding style: Relatively upright with weight more rearward than most. Enjoys a sneaking straight line and ripping jump lines.
  • @shredder_schroeder

Photo

Sean "Griz" McClendon

  • 36 years young
  • 11 years racing downhill
  • 190lbs (86.2kgs)
  • 5'10" (177cm)
  • Riding style: Feet up, back flat and neutrally displaced on the bike. Often seeking outside lines, side hits and enjoys flat landings.
  • @26griz

Setup, Fitment and Suspension Settings 

To match our test rider heights of 5-foot-10-inches and 6-foot, Canyon provided a size large Sender 6. By today’s standards, the size large has an average reach of 460mm. Curious what size Sender 6 you would ride? Canyon keeps things simple and adjusts reach length by 20mm increments between each size. With limited opportunity to test ride and insure fitment of Canyon bikes due to their direct-to-consumer model, it is worth noting that Canyon offers a 30 day home trial return policy to original owners. Riders can assemble and test ride their Canyon bicycle with the option to return the bike if expectations are not met. Returned bikes with significant signs of wear are subject to a 18% restocking fee deducted from the total return amount. As mentioned above, the Sender 6 has two chain stay length options: 430mm and 446mm. With only one one geometry adjustment we do appreciate the length difference being significant enough to provide riders with two unique setups. Changing between each chain stay length provided a 1256mm or 1272mm wheelbase for our large test bike. Contact point components are handled entirely by Canyon branded parts. No surprise here as this is standard with most entry level complete builds to achieve a lower price point. Canyon’s G5 Riser handlebar has 30mm of rise combined with a 780mm width and is attached to Canyon’s Vorbau G5 stem which can be adjusted between 45mm or 50mm of reach. Finally, Canyon’s own G5 lock-on grips have a thinner profile with a familiar micro-diamond pattern. The Sender 6 is rocking Morzocchi suspension with the Bomber 58 fork and Bomber CR coil rear shock. Both Marzocchi components have only compression and rebound external adjustments while the Bomber 58 fork also offers air spring adjustment via bottom-out spacers. For setup purposes during testing, we installed Sprindex Adjustable Springs to fine-tune spring weight for our two test riders. 

Sean's Sender 6 Setup

Setting up the Sender 6 was fairly simple as the geometry felt immediately familiar. The 460mm reach falls within my preferred sizing and required minimal cockpit adjustments to feel comfortable. I rolled the Canyon G5 Riser bars slightly back to achieve a neutral feel and kept stack height minimal with only a 5mm spacer under the upper fork crown. The stock 780mm width was spot on for my needs and I appreciate Canyon choosing a 30mm rise bar. I also like the fact that Canyon offers riders two reach options with their G5 Vorbau direct mount stem. I chose to run the 50mm reach option for the entirety of testing. This has always been my go-to stem length on downhill bikes and helps keep my weight balanced over the front axle. Another test bike and another pair of lack-luster grips! The diamond pattern of the Canyon G5 grips provided adequate grip but the thinner diameter lacked enough material to dampen vibrations. Hand fatigue would definitely be a concern of mine if I ran the grips for more than a few days of back to back downhill riding. One modification that was necessary for me to enjoy riding the Sender 6 was chopping an inch off the seat post. With around a 30-inch inseam the stock seat post length did not allow the seat to lower enough for me to get my weight rearward.

Marzocchi Bomber 58 Fork

  • Pressure: 95 psi
  • Rebound: 12 clicks from closed
  • Compression: 5 clicks from closed

Marzocchi Bomber CR Shock

  • Spring weight: 470-pound
  • Rebound: 7 clicks from closed
  • Low-speed compression: 15 clicks from closed

For suspension setup my first goal was getting the fork and shock spring rates balanced. I eventually settled on 95 psi in the air spring on the Marzocchi Bomber 58 fork with the Sprindex spring adjusted to 470-pounds on the Marzocchi Bomber CR shock. Once balanced, I found myself dialing back compression evenly on both the fork and shock. When shock compression was set at 6-7 clicks from closed (neutral), my feet and ankles took a beating from trail chunder and caused frequent foot adjustments. This was even when riding with my very aggressive Deity TMAC pedals. Eager to resolve the issue, I made a mid-run adjustment and fully opened compression on the Bomber CR shock. Immediately my feet were more easily kept in place and the suspension felt more active. Half a lap later I added two clicks of compression to assist with support while pumping rollers and was stoked on the overall performance. With the Marzocchi Bomber 58 fork equipped with four bottom out spacers, I did the same thing as the shock – turned compression wide open, did a lap, closed compression two clicks and that was that. The only time I did change my compression settings in both fork and shock was when riding flowy jump trails where small bump sensitivity wasn’t an issue. In those situations, I added some additional compression damping to increase support and better maintain speed. Being the second to test ride the Sender 6 I simply left rebound settings the same as Jason as no adjustment felt needed. Overall, it was refreshing to have suspension that required minimal, tool-free tinkering. There is nothing worse than wasting time between runs fussing with suspension setup as your pals heckle you for holding up the party!

Jason's Sender 6 Setup

Right from the get-go I felt comfortable on the large Sender 6. With a 460mm reach my cockpit area was a tad snug for my wing span but matched the playful demeanor of the 27.5-inch wheels nicely. To maximize space within my rider triangle, I ran the Canyon G5 Vorbau stem in the 50mm length for the entirety of testing. This is the third bike in our Summer of Downhill test session and the third bike with 780mm wide handlebars. Maybe I’m the only one who wants something wider on my downhill bike but I was again a little under gunned when it came to confidence and stability at high speed. My personal preference is still in the 787-790mm range. Besides the width, my front end height felt spot on for my preferences! The Canyon G5 Riser handlebars offered a pleasant 30mm of rise with only an 8-degree back sweep. A slightly higher rise bar in the 38mm range is my typical go-to but for testing purposes the stock G5 Riser handlebar was appropriate for the Sender 6. The Acros upper headset cap was about 10mm thick which required only an additional 5mm headset spacer below the upper crown to raise bars at my desired height. Under the stem was a 5mm stem riser that I also left installed during testing. Finally, I slammed the fork stanchions flush with the upper flat crown of the Marzocchi Bomber 58. This achieved a nice ride height while also keeping my weight balanced over the front wheel. The last contact point which did fall short in my mind was the Canyon G5 grips. They were quite thin with a simple micro-diamond pattern. Not to sound like a broken record with all the downhill bikes we’ve tested this Summer, but I guess brands are assuming riders will immediately change out the stock grips with their personal favorites. 

Marzocchi Bomber 58 Fork

  • Pressure: 65 psi
  • Rebound: 12 clicks from closed
  • Compression: 3 clicks from closed

Marzocchi Bomber CR Shock

  • Spring weight: 440-pound
  • Rebound: 8 clicks from closed
  • Low-speed compression: 8 clicks from closed

Suspension setup on the Sender 6 was simple and mindless as the Marzocchi Bomber 58 fork and Bomber CR coil shock have limited adjustments. However, I enjoyed the ‘set-it and forget-it’ mentality which let me just focus on the abilities of the bike. For the Bomber CR shock I set rebound one-click open from neutral and low-speed compression two-clicks closed from neutral. I chose more low-speed compression damping to help keep the Sender 6 more stable when pumping through big berms or rollers as the bike had a tendency to squirm under my weight. Initially I rode with the stock 400-pound spring but quickly swapped to the Sprindex adjustable 400-440-pound spring. I settled on a 440-pound spring weight which kept the rear end supported around mid-stroke without hindering initial stroke suppleness. Moving to the fork, with four bottom-out spacers installed in the Bomber 58 fork I was able to run air pressure within the recommended amount for my body weight. Pumping the fork up to 65 psi struck a great balance of support when hitting large compressions while also matching the spring weight of the rear shock. Love me a balanced bike! The external compression adjustment on the Bomber 58 fork only offers 8 clicks of adjustment. I always start with clickers in the middle and throughout testing I opened and closed compression 1-2 clicks but honestly couldn’t feel a difference. Rebound I ran one-click open from neutral. I’m a fan of fast rebound but the Bomber 58 must have a light rebound tune as any less damping caused the fork to top out. Lastly, I personally love the sharp aesthetic of the Marzocchi Bomber 58 lower arch when compared to the newer FOX 40 design. This probably has no effect on actual performance or torsional strength but the Marzocchi looks so much more badass in my eyes.    

Canyon's Sender 6 Prioritizes Air Time Over Straight Lines  

Trails Ridden 

All testing on our Sender 6 was split between The Basin Gravity Park and Tamarack Ski Resort. Both bike parks are close to our home base of Boise, Idaho, and offer a variety of trails between them. The Basin is mostly machine-built trails with countless flowing berms and jumps with an average higher speed. In contrast, Tamarack is mostly raw, single track with limited built-up features. It offers some proper rough, technical, and rocky descents. Summer weather in the mountains brings dry, dusty and loose conditions with most test days reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Sean's Impressions

Photo

When I realized the Sender 6 was engineered around bike park riding, my goal was to test the bike and suspension on the most technical and rough downhill tracks at my disposal as I figured the bike would naturally jump like a panther. After plenty of testing, this has definitely rang true as the Sender 6 is a natural born killer in a bike park environment! I felt super comfortable riding jumps as the bike offered ample pop, agile maneuverability and the capacity to juice momentum when pumping through the rear wheel. The Sender 6 absolutely crushes bermed corners even in the longer, 446mm chain stay orientation. The 27.5-inch wheels promoted slapping and dicing up turns in a playful manner that was refreshing after spending so much time on 29-inch wheels as of late. My only gripe when cornering was the narrow 2.4-inch Maxxis Minion DHR II front tire that lacked stability in looser conditions. As I mentioned above with my suspension setup, arriving at minimal compression damping in both the fork and shock allowed the Sender 6 to ride more settled, smooth and active. The four bar suspension design did provide more feedback through my feet than other downhill bikes we’ve tested so far this Summer. This didn’t exactly hold the Sender 6 back in my opinion, but did require a precise approach in rough sections. In chunky, choppy chatter the 27.5-inch wheels did not offer as smooth a ride as 29-inch wheels. Even still, the Sender 6 held its own and managed every trail I sent it down just at a less intense pace than other more race focused downhill bikes. Geared towards riders looking to thrash their downhill bike or get rowdy on freeride lines, I think Canyon hit the mark with how much fun the Sender 6 is to toss around.

Jason's Impressions 

Photo

Of the downhill bikes we’ve tested so far this Summer I've had the most fun banging out laps on the Sender 6! Like I mentioned above, the size large was a tad small for my preferences but ended up matching the snappy, agile demeanor of the 27.5-inch wheels. It’s been three years since I rode a 27.5-inch downhill bike (Commencal Supreme) and I honestly forgot how much easier they are to turn when compared to a dual 29-inch wheeled steed. Sometimes with bigger wheels I have a tendency to not commit hard enough to corners and end up getting stood-up while exiting turns. On the Sender 6, I loved being able to weight my body and settle into long arched corners without the sensation of being overpowered by the wheels. When playing around with the two chain stay length options I had a hard time distinguishing differences in cornering performance. Sure, the longer 446mm length provided a more planted feel but the shorter 430mm length didn’t leave me wallowing out in corners. Where the shorter chain stay length did excel was when manualing rollers or maneuvering through slow, technical sections of trail. On the contrary, the 446mm chain stay length did improve stability when hitting straight, rocky sections of trail at higher speeds. Riders will have to choose which setting best suits their riding style but I applaud Canyon for offering a geometry adjustment that provides noticeable changes to the bike's handling characteristics. 

The Sender 6 excelled when riding technical trails that required multiple body movements to stay on line. I chalk this up to the shorter reach and smaller wheelbase making it more manageable to man-handle the bike. When riding flowy jump trails the Sender 6 was by far the most fun and capable of making shapes as I diced up trail features. Undeniably where this bike shined most, I never noticed the 38.8-pound weight limiting my ability to pop the bike off jumps. Lastly, for all the praise I’ve given to the technical descending abilities of the Sender 6 it would not be my next race bike. Yes, it’s perfectly capable of getting riders down the most gnar trails they can find at a reasonably quick pace. But the simplicity of the four bar linkage design matched with the smaller wheels and modest wheelbase would not be best suited for all-out downhill smashing. I think the Sender 6 would be a great option for younger riders wanting to get into downhill racing without draining their bank account. For those planning to spend more days between the tape than at a bike park, I'd lean towards the Sender CFR carbon option.

Rear Suspension Performance

Sean's Impressions

Photo

The four-bar linkage utilized by Canyon functioned well across a variety of terrain, highlighted by excellent progression towards the end of the stroke. I landed on a 470-pound spring weight which provided a balanced compression rate to match the 95 psi in the Bomber 58 fork. Over the years I’ve ridden a handful of four bar linkage bikes and have always felt they do an adequate job remaining composed in rough, gnarly sections of trail. With that said, there is noticeably more feedback transferred to your feet and ankles. The Sender 6 never felt overwhelmed when riding rough sections but the bike definitely let me know I was putting the suspension to work. As I mentioned above during my shock setup, fine tuning compression was crucial to insure my feet remained settled. When jumping, pumping and pressing into corners the suspension design was both predictable and supported, which is the environment the Sender 6 excels in most.

Jason's Impressions

Photo

My first day on the Sender 6 was spent moving up in spring weight, beginning with the stock 400-pound spring and settling on 440-pounds. Even though Canyon says some ending stroke progression exists on the Sender 6 due to their Triple Phase Suspension curve, I still felt like the bike was compressing at a linear rate. With a 440-pound spring weight I was able to maintain a plush initial stroke while also gaining more ending stroke support. To compensate for a lack of mid-stroke support when pumping and riding berms, I also added additional low-speed compression. By the end of my rear suspension tinkering, I was happy with the balance I found between the Bomber 58 fork and the Bomber CR shock which allowed me to maintain an even weight distribution over the Sender 6. When encountering multiple high speed impacts, for example through a chunky rock garden, the Sender 6 remained composed but provided more feedback than other bikes we have tested this Summer. I would see a rock, hit the rock, and feel the compression under me. This isn’t to say the Sender 6 wasn’t up to the task of eating harsh compressions but I would feel these impacts much more through my feet. Overall, I enjoyed the predictable feel of the Sender 6 making it easy to ride jump trials with confidence as well as anticipate how the bike would respond over rough sections of trail.

Sender 6 Build Kit

Sean's Standout Components: SRAM GX 7-speed Drivetrain

Photo

Same as the Trek Session 8 we tested previously, the stand out component for me was the SRAM GX 7-speed drivetrain. The shifting is quick and smooth while the clutch derailleur keeps chain slap noise to a minimum. Truly a workhouse of a drivetrain. But for me, the GX drivetrain stands out more-so with the Sender 6 because riders are getting bulletproof components on a complete build that is $1,700 USD cheaper than the Session 8. At such a cost-friendly price point the GX drivetrain really tops the list of what riders receive component-wise with the Sender 6. Riders will have a tough time finding other complete downhill bike builds sporting a GX drivetrain that are even close to the same price.

Sean's Least Favorite Components: Acros Headset

Photo

I was second to swing a leg over the Sender 6 and when Jason handed the bike over he immediately warned me the headset had been creaking. Assuming the headset had not been tightened completely and had simply settled after some initial runs, I re-tightened and torqued the headset. Unfortunately to my discontent, about two runs later I realized the creaking and popping had returned. And louder this time. Throughout testing I proceeded to re-tighten and torque the headset multiple times as well as grease the headset cups. In the end, I never eliminated the noise and would swap out the Acros headset immediately if I were to spend more time aboard the Sender 6.

Jason's Standout Components: Maxxis Minion DHR II Tires

Photo

When analyzing the build kit of the Sender 6 I was excited to see it came stock with Maxxis Minion DHRII tires mounted front and rear. The past few years it seems the majority of bikes come with Maxxis Assegai tires and a change was definitely welcomed. Not that I don’t enjoy aspects of the Assegai design but in general I find the design can be unpredictable as a front tire when riding off cambers or cornering. The Maxxis Minion DHR II is a classic gravity tire that I’ve spent plenty of time riding as a rear tire. Well, turns out I’m also a fan of how it performs as a front tire too! When riding our loose over hard pack conditions I found the most traction with the dual DHR II setup compared to our other downhill bikes we've tested this Summer. Most notably in loose corners the tires had great side knob grip that was very predictable. I attribute this added traction to the side knob sipes that are cut fully through the knobs parallel to the tread pattern. My amateur tire analysis chalks this up to why the tires are able to bit that extra amount into loose conditions whereas the partial knob siping found on the Assegai model limits the tire from fully conforming to the ground. 

Jason's Least Favorite Components: Canyon Vorbau G5 Stem

Photo

My least favorite component of the Sender 6 build was the Canyon Vorbau G5 direct mount stem. I’m a fan of the 45mm or 50mm reach adjustment, however the six-bolt design made adjusting the reach an absolute pain. I removed the stem once to check the thickness of the stem spacers mounted between the stem and upper fork crown. Upon loosening everything my handlebars immediately slid in the stem and the two piece stem spacer went darting cross the floor. During my racing days I would remove my stem multiple times a year to fly with my bike and can imagine the headache this stem would cause. Looking towards the future, the stock Vorbau G5 stem is nice to establish your desired reach but I would opt for an aftermarket, 8-bolt style direct mount stem fairly immediately. 

Noise

Photo

We cannot discuss the noise level of the Sender 6 without praising the SRAM GX drivetrain. Canyon did nothing fancy with the chain stay protector as it’s simply molded plastic with rubber on top. A classic approach to solving chain slap protection, we have become accustomed to the new norm of raised or ribbed chain slap protectors that add an extra level of noise cancellation. On the Sender 6 the majority of the drivetrain noise was managed by the GX drivetrain. In particular, the clutched rear derailleur. Regardless of how rough or repetitive the bumps were, the derailleur excelled at minimizing chain movement or clanking to a moderate level. Some expected noise persisted but overall we were able to enjoy descents without feeling like we were riding a box of rocks down the mountain. However, the Sender 6 squealed back at us from an unexpected location - the Acros headset. Despite multiple resets preloading the headset and additional grease, nothing resolved the creaking long term. It’s been a while since we’ve had a loud headset and would quickly swap to another headset if testing were to continue.    

Value

Likely one of the more heated debates within the mountain bike industry is the value proposition presented by consumer-direct brands. The first two downhill bikes we reviewed this Summer were heavily criticized for their subjectively high retail value when compared to consumer direct brands. Not exactly an ‘apples to apples’ comparison in our book due to differences in business models, we understand the difficulty in paying more money for a bike with the same components as what a consumer direct brand can offer. Without opening this can of worms fully, we can confidently say that for $3,399 USD it’s going to be hard to top the package riders will receive with the Sender 6. Designed as a bike park ready downhill bike, the Sender 6 aluminum frame is bulletproof with well thought out cable routing and solid chain stay protection. The build kit is fantastic with very few weak points and provides riders with the same SRAM GX drivetrain and SRAM Code R brakes as other downhill bike options in the $4,500-5,500 USD range. With such a low retail price, riders could also hypothetically take money saved and place it towards immediate component upgrades if they so choose. 

"Sounds good to me, take my money already!” While all of this sounds too good to be true, the lack of dealer-based support may be a factor to consider for riders less mechanically inclined. If you choose to shop with a consumer-direct brand like Canyon, you may end up dealing directly with them via phone or email to remedy any issues you have and could be left performing services on your own. This is not to say you couldn’t walk into any shop with your Sender 6 and receive general maintenance assistance. However, most shops carry a handful of bicycle brands that they deal directly with and have mechanics who are familiar with wrenching on those brands. For those who want to drop off their bike and have their local shop deal with sourcing replacement parts and service, we would recommend making sure your shop is willing to work on consumer-direct bikes. For riders who have no issue performing their own service, you might even enjoy getting to go straight to Canyon for technical support. Good news is Canyon does provide replacement bearings, hardware, derailleur hangers and frame protectors directly on their website. There is also a Help Center on Canyon’s website which provides detailed frame drawing, maintenance tutorials and instructions on handling warranty or technical issues. At the end of the day, each rider will have to weigh out if the cheap price tag outweighs having to perform maintenance without the complete assistance of a bike shop. 

What's The Bottom Line?

Canyon’s Sender 6 is a value-packed, fun-having machine! A perfect option for riders who spend their time ripping bike park trails where air time and slapping corners is priority over straight lines and all out speed. The 27.5-inch wheels create a lively demeanor while not limiting the abilities of the Sender 6 in chunky, aggressive or technical sections of trail. The added weight does take some extra effort to wrangle down the trail but the money saved by shopping consumer-direct could leave extra funds available for lighter component upgrades. Regardless, the function of the stock components right out of the box are ready for downhill laps with no immediate changes necessary. Likely not the first choice for our next downhill race bike, the Sender 6 is still a suitable option for intermediate to expert racers wanting to remain competitive at a regional level. Finally, riders should take into account that the lack of Canyon dealers will result in more responsibility for maintenance and direct communication with Canyon for technical support. 

For more information on the Canyon Sender lineup, head over to www.canyon.com 

To view key specs and compare bikes, head over to the Vital MTB Product Guide.


About The Testers

Jason Schroeder - Age: 26 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Height: 6' (182cm) // Weight: 168-pounds (76.2kg)

A once-upon-a-time World Cup downhill racer turned desk jockey, Jason has spent years within the bicycle industry from both sides of the tape. A fan of all day adventures in the saddle or flowing around a bowl at the skatepark, he doesn't discriminate from any form of two wheel riding. Originally a SoCal native now residing in Boise, Idaho, you can find Jason camped out in his van most weekends at any given trailhead in the greater Pacific NorthWest.

Sean McClendon - Age: 36 // Years Riding: 21 // Height: 5'10" (177cm) // Weight: 190-pounds (86.2kg)

Griz" is a battered veteran of MTB gravity racing. Following a major crash during the 2010 USA National Championship Pro downhill race, he put in the hours and fought his way back to health and the fun that is two wheels. Griz has ridden for a number of the USA's top teams throughout his racing career, testing prototype frames and components along the way. Currently managing US Dealer sales and the Fresh Blood amateur development team at DEITY Components, he remains motivated by the mantra "whips don't lie." You'll often find him perfecting his high-flying sideways aerial maneuvers while living the #pinelife in Idaho.

MORE SUMMER OF DOWNHILL BIKE TESTS

12 comments
Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment