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2021 Canfield Tilt Bike

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2021 Canfield Tilt (Goblin Green)
2021 Canfield Tilt Bike 2021 Canfield Tilt Bike 2021 Canfield Tilt Bike 2021 Canfield Tilt Bike 2021 Canfield Tilt Bike 2021 Canfield Tilt Bike
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Review - 2021 Canfield Bikes Tilt

Ready to rip your local trails a new one, the Canfield Tilt raises the bar for short-travel versatility.

Rating: Vital Review
Review - 2021 Canfield Bikes Tilt

We admit it. We thought we needed more travel. The thought of not having enough loomed heavily as we carefully considered which bike would check all the boxes and most of us decided to buy long-travel enduro sleds. While there are some practical reasons to opt for long-travel 29ers, we did not know how much fun we were missing out on until we rode the Tilt; Canfield's latest mid-travel 29er. Or, maybe it is better to say we did not know how fun our regular trails were until we threw a leg over this trail slayer with 138mm rear and 140mm front travel. Think of it as unmuting your ride.

Strengths

  • Cane Creek suspension performance
  • Thoughtful built kit
  • CBF Suspension is superb up and downhill
  • 4-Piston brakes
  • Durability and serviceability are top-notch
  • Tons of fun with a touch of smash

Weaknesses

  • Only one drivetrain option
  • EXO tire casing is not burly enough
  • SDG Seatpost was fickle


Highlights

  • Aluminum frame
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 138mm (5.4-inches) of rear-wheel travel (optional 125mm w/ 50mm stroke shock)
  • 140mm (5.5-inches) fork travel (130mm to 150mm recommended)
  • Canfield Balanced Formula Parallel linkage suspension design
  • Tapered headtube
  • Internal cable routing
  • Threaded bottom bracket with ISCG05 mounts
  • Boost rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Single build kit with options for wheel, suspension and brake upgrades
  • Measured weight (size Large, no pedals): 31.8 pounds (14.4kg)
  • MSRP $4,899.99 USD

The standout feature on the Goblin Green aluminum Tilt frame is the patented Canfield Balanced Formula linkage. Canfield boasts that this more progressive version of the Canfield Balanced Formula (CBF) proprietary linkage pedals even more efficiently than previous iterations and descends like a champ as well. After dialing in the Cane Creek Kitsuma Air rear shock, we concur that the platform stays active in the beginning and mid-stroke and progressively ramps up in the end stroke. The result is a bike that climbs really well and loves to pop and play on the descent. We also liked how all the linkage bolts are easily serviceable from one side only.

Canfield offers the Tilt with a single base build from which riders can make some select upgrades. Our test bike was the standard option. From this point, riders can make changes a'la carte. Options include upgrading the wheels to Atomik carbon or RideFast Hotlines. There is also an option to bump up to EXT/ERA suspension. With no affect on price, riders can choose between Magura MT Trail Sport or TRP Slate T4 brakes. For those wanting to build their own Tilt, there are frame options aplenty.

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There are some other fine details that we liked. The internal cable routing is clean and we like the snazzy black aluminum caps where the housing enters and exits the downtube. Skulls on the headtube and back of the seat signal that you DGAF and are going to send it. The Goblin Green is straightforward and natural-looking, but a little mean at the same time.

Geometry

The Tilt’s geometry falls right in line with current trends. Our large test bike had a 475mm reach, a 65-degree head tube angle, 77-degree seat tube angle, and 425mm chainstays. Longer, slacker, steeper, and shorter respectively. These numbers represent kind of a golden formula for maximizing fun that many manufacturers are at least hovering around. We found this formula very much to our liking.

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Setup

Initial setup was a breeze. We had to bust out a measuring tape and a shock pump to set the sag and that was about it. We went with 30% sag and all of the compression and rebound set to the middle. Our test rider weighs about 165-pounds with gear. We started with 135 psi in the rear shock and 63 psi in the fork. The size large fit like a glove and we were out for a ride with minimal setup.

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When we first climbed aboard the Tilt for an initial test pedal around the neighborhood, it was readily apparent that the cockpit felt similar to other size larges with very similar geometry specs. There is nothing wrong with the way the cockpit feels, with one easily remedied exception. The 810mm handlebar is a bit wide for our preference. Fortunately, cutting bars is a lot simpler than making them wider.

On The Trail

We took possession of the Tilt in Reno, NV where it saw plenty of miles on our local loops around the Peavine trail network. The sprawling set of singletrack gives riders miles of options. Anything from short, smooth laps to big days with plenty of rocks to smash, it's ideal for a bike like the Tilt. In addition to our backyard network, we also got Canfield's trail bike into some of the rides in the immediate area.

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Jackass Trail Truckee, CA

We began by dialing in the Tilt’s dual Cane Creek suspension at this local spot just outside of Truckee, CA. These trails have a nice flow with some chunky bits and plenty of jibs. All this fun is packed into a 40-minute repeatable loop. With relative ease, we had the Tilt ripping how we like and two thumbs up were issued. The Tilt loves to play, pop, slash and all sorts of other bro-sims. It is incredibly fun to ride, and we just kept going back for more. Aside from all the partying we were doing, we were setting PR’s on the climbs and the descents. True story. It seemed the Tilt didn't just feel great, it was performing great as well.

Hole in the Ground, Donner Summit, CA

We took the Tilt to Hole in the Ground, one of the Tahoe region’s most iconic high alpine rides. Offering a challenging 3-4 hours over 16 miles in old-growth pines, it is one for the books. We like to hit it once a season for the sweeping vistas, alpine lakes, and to meet our spiritual quest quota. Hole in the Ground serves up a wide range of terrain that is technically challenging, full of granite boulders and slabs, roots, and finishes on a World Cup worthy staircase.

Hole in the Ground gives you its first technical downhill early in the ride and we stopped to session an area with some rock garden drops and natural doubles. We slowed the rebound settings down a little bit to keep the Tilt planted through the granite rodeo. The Tilt passed the test in the downhill sections with no problems whatsoever.

Hole in the Ground pedals for a significant portion of the ride. Fortunately, the Tilt pedals very efficiently in any of the Cane Creek’s three damping settings. The middle setting was quite good for climbing the technical terrain, firming up the pedaling platform while allowing the shock to remain active.

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The Tilt may have inspired overconfidence in the rock gardens as we found ourselves in over our head charging into the double-black staircase at the conclusion of this trail ride. The terrain got a little too steep and loose and we found ourselves unable to hang on. We were able to lay the bike down and step off without much incident when suddenly a basketball-sized boulder dislodged from the inside of the turn and smashed the shiny new bar and stem! These things happen.

Corral Trail, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Next, we headed to Corral Trail near South Lake Tahoe, CA. The Corral trail offers some of Tahoe's finest flowy technical single track accessible via a two mile road pedal. Granite boulders and high-speed berms populate the upper half of the descent and a sandy jump line has you collecting frequent flyer miles on the bottom half of this two mile downhill.

The Tilt’s 138mm of rear travel was more than enough to have a great time on this trail. The one time that we thought we were under-gunned in the most technical downhill wound up being rider error. Turns out that the Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Air shock feels pretty harsh in the locked-out setting; ask us how we know. We added a pinch of air to the Helm fork to get things firmed up as were hitting things at higher speeds than previous rides. The Tilt is an absolute blast to point downhill and off jumps of all sizes. 425mm chainstays allow this wagon wheeler to rail berms and make tight maneuvers with relative ease.

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Mammoth Bar Enduro, Auburn, CA

We decided that an ultimate test of our initial premise, that we might not actually need long-travel enduro bikes, would be to enter an enduro race. The Mammoth Bar Enduro is the third race in the California Enduro Series line-up, consisting of four stages over 12.8 miles with 2,600 feet of climbing and descending. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada have a steep, hardpack, with a mix of flowy and rowdy vibe. Conditions were extremely dry but that did not stop us from pushing the Tilt to the limit of its capabilities.

The tilt performed super well on all but the rowdiest technical section, aptly named, “Rocky.” We were once again bitten by the overconfidence bug and flatted part of the way through this massive rock garden. We changed out the Maxxis EXO casing with a more suitable Maxxis Double Down casing and had no problems with tires on race day.

Pre-riding the course with someone that knew the lines to ride really helped us stay rubber side down. The tilt has suitable geometry and enough travel to handle this particular racecourse, provided you know the lines to ride. There are other courses in this series that would definitely warrant a longer travel bike.

The Tilt is a party on wheels.

The Tilt pedals very efficiently. This was key for the uphill transfer sections on this extremely hot day in July, allowing us to give it our all on the timed downhill sections. Final conclusion? The Tilt's geometry and handling readily let the rider go beyond what the travel numbers are ready to handle. Canfield's Tilt is a great trail bike but is not an enduro racer.

DH/Technical Performance/Fun Factor

The Tilt is a party on wheels. It is super fun to point downhill through rock gardens and plays effortlessly off of jibs and jumps alike. Is it effortless to ride? Is any 29er effortless to manhandle through the turns at speed? The Tilt gets mighty close to checking “Yes.”

Rear Suspension Performance

We spent a good amount of time dialing in the Cane Creek’s air pressure and adjustments. Fortunately, Cane Creek has made this easier than ever. The Cane Creek provides high and low-speed rebound adjustments as well as high and low-speed compression adjustments via tool-free easy to turn knobs. The low-speed circuits are all managed in a single rotation of their respective knobs and the high-speed circuits are adjustable within two turns. All this made it easy to make on-the-fly adjustments, in between laps, or for terrain that demanded different ride characteristics. The Cane Creek Kitsuma DB Air and the CBF linkage can take on very different personalities.

With the three-position switch turned fully open and the rebound and compression settings all set to the middle of their ranges, the tilt felt very plush and wanted to stay on the ground. Even in these plush middle settings, the CBF linkage felt progressively stiffer as you travel into the stroke. For our preference, it felt a little too velcroed and not poppy enough in those middle settings.

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We adjusted both high and low-speed compression to the firmest settings and set both rebounds to almost the fastest settings. This really woke up the Tilt and got the party started. Even in this extreme testing configuration the shock and linkage worked together to soak up a lot of the small bumps. It was somewhat mind-blowing how well it rode with everything “turned up to eleven.” We played around a bit more and wound up staying in the upper end of the compression and rebound ranges for jumpy and buffed-out flow. Our settings were: High-speed compression 3/14 from closed, low-speed compression 3/10 from closed, high-speed rebound 12/14 from closed, and low-speed rebound 6/10 from closed. It is an incredibly fun bike to ride in the flow and on the jump lines.

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For trails with more technical characteristics and harder-hitting successive hits, we softened the compression knobs back to the middle and slowed the rebound down a bit but not below the middle. The CBF/Cane Creek combo handled successive hits in rock gardens and chunky sections without feeling harsh. It feels like it has more travel than it does in most situations. The one time we bottomed out the rear shock was in a massive G-out that probably could have been avoided. We did not notice any significant changes in how the suspension performed when braking. Terrain varies so much from trail to trail and we think we could play with the four settings on the Kitsuma DB Air forever, but we wanted to share what we thought worked for us across a variety of technical descents. Our settings were: high-speed compression 7/14 from closed, low-speed compression 5/10 from closed, high-speed rebound 8/14, and low speed rebound 6/10 from closed. The Tilt is super fun in the gnarly stuff too.

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Perceived Weight

The Tilt does not feel like a sub-30lb carbon premium-build bike and fortunately neither does its price tag. At 31.8-pounds, it feels quite stable at speed and yet not punishing at all on the climbs, or your bank account. The acceleration is not outstanding with the stock wheels, but we were too busy ripping to care.

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Climbing

The Tilt’s geometry and the CBF suspension design climb quite well. We liked the body position for climbing and we never felt the front end getting squirrely. With the three-position switch on the shock set to the firmest mode, it really gets up and goes in a sprint or on a fire road climb. We opted for the middle setting on many of our climbs because this firmed up the mid-stroke quite a bit. With the lever turned to the softest setting the Tilt had the best traction over the technical climbs but we lost a little bit of efficiency. It is a bit of personal preference whether one chooses to transfer more pedal power to the rear tire in the middle setting or lose a little power and increase traction. To each their own when it comes to the switch. At 31.8 lbs with no pedals, the Tilt is a solid upper-middle-class climber.

Canfield nailed it with a nice blend of workhorse and smattering of racehorse.

Build Kit

Canfield nailed it with a nice blend of workhorse and smattering of racehorse. Workhorses do manual labor. We need them to work hard and not break down. The Tilt sports a GX Eagle drivetrain and an SDG Tellis dropper post, saddle and grips. The rims are alloy house brand laced to Spank hubs. The carbon 1-inch rise handlebar and 40mm stem are Pro Taper. Then there is the fork and shock combo from Cane Creek that absolutely performs like a racehorse.

We have all come to trust the GX Eagle drivetrain. No frills, smooth, and dependable. The tilt comes with a 10-52 rear cassette and a 32 tooth chainring on 165mm cranks. If that’s not a low enough gear ratio, then stick to your Peloton.

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Fork Performance

We would describe the Cane Creek Helm MKII front fork as delightfully supple yet firm and buttery. We really loved what the Helm did for the handling characteristics and the overall suspension performance of the Tilt. As with the rear shock, Cane Creek made the adjustability of their fork very easy to pull off with no tools. The only tool you’ll need is a 5mm hex wrench to remove the front axle.

We rode most of the time with the high-speed compression one click from open and the low speed two clicks from open. We set the rebound in between fully open to 3 clicks from open and ended up leaving it at the latter. It is easy enough to adjust the high and low-speed compression while rolling and we definitely increased and decreased it on the fly. It’s just so supple. We found bottom on some harsh hits and opted to add more pressure. We went from 63 psi all the way up to 70 psi. After that, it was smooth landings.

Tire Performance

We really liked the way that the Maxxis Dissector 2.4 rear and Minion DHF 2.5 handled business of all kinds, we only wish that Canfield had opted for Maxxis’ beefier Double Down casing or EXO+ at the least. We ended up having to replace a tire after a rock garden in Auburn, CA gifted us a pinky-sized hole in the tread. We replaced the rear dissector with an exact match, only in the Double Down casing. It was a big improvement. We know burly tires on bikes in this travel range may feel excessive but with the Tilt's propensity for rallying, it makes sense.

Wheel Performance

The Tilt’s base build spec comes with a wheelset deemed the Canfield Special Blend AM29. The 29er wheels consist of Spank Hex J-Type hubs laced to alloy 30mm ID hoops. The Spank hubs have a 6 pawl design with a 3.5-degree engagement. The freewheel noise is not silent but they are not anywhere near as loud as a swarm of angry bees. These wheels do the job just fine. They are not on the super stiff end of the spectrum, but we felt the Tilt tracked just fine. They are also not super light and thus do not accelerate like Lambos. We didn’t notice that we were not on a high-end wheelset for two reasons. First, because we were too busy partying with the Tilt, and second because these wheels stayed quiet, did their job, and did not fail us in any way. Think workhorse. If you don’t know what you’re missing, then you don’t know.

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Brake Performance

We think the TRP Slate T4 brakes are a cool addition to a build kit that has a unique collection of components. Their feel is a little different than Shimano or SRAM. They are not as on/off as the Shimano XT or Saints, yet they are more so than the SRAM Code or Guides. We liked the ergonomic lever that hooked up nicely with our first finger. The 4-piston caliper is a huge plus considering the type of terrain that the Tilt is capable of descending. These brakes stopped when we needed them to and showed no signs of pumping up or going soft. A longer-term test would be required to assess how they hold up over time.

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Noise

Canfield has managed to make a really quiet all aluminum bike. The CBF chainstay protector did a thorough job of muting chain slap, while the machined ports where the cabled route into the frame kept the housing from making noise.

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What's The Bottom Line?

Having fun on bikes is our way of life. The Canfield Tilt increased the amount of fun by a very noticeable factor. We thought we needed bigger bikes to handle the trails that we typically ride, but we were wrong. There are instances where more travel is necessary or preferred, but the Tilt smashed 90% of the trail rides that we hit on the regular with ease and had us hollering for more. The mid-travel 29er offers a less muted version of the trails you have been riding on your bigger bike, with more feedback from the local loops. Canfield got it right when it comes to geometry, progressive suspension platform, and a nice component package. We were blown away by how supple the Cane Creek suspension and the CBF link felt in a wide range of compression and rebound settings. The Tilt is a super capable mid-travel 29er with a mix of reliable workhorse parts and premium suspension that is set to make a lot of riders very happy.

Visit www.canfieldbikes.comto learn more.


About The Reviewer

John Armbruster - Age: 42 // Years Riding MTB: 20 // Height: 5'11" (1.778m) // Weight: 157-pounds (71.2kg)

John has spent enough time mountain biking to witness the technical evolution of our sport and its bikes. Fads have come and gone but the fun never dies. He won't say no to a new trail or another lap, and when the bikes are clapped, John has the mechanical experience to revive his rigs from the ground up. Once resuscitated, he's back on the trail, clocking the miles, vert, and shenanigans.

Specifications

Product Canfield Tilt Bike
Model Year 2021
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
SM, MD, LG, XL View Geometry
Size SM MD LG XL
Top Tube Length 566mm 593mm 620mm 646mm
Head Tube Angle 65° 65° 65° 65°
Head Tube Length 110mm 115mm 120mm 125mm
Seat Tube Angle 77° 77° 77° 77°
Seat Tube Length 380mm 420mm 460mm 490mm
Bottom Bracket Height 343mm (32mm drop) 343mm (32mm drop) 343mm (32mm drop) 343mm (32mm drop)
Chainstay Length 425mm 425mm 425mm 425mm
Wheelbase 1170mm 1198mm 1225mm 1252mm
Standover 697mm 730mm 762mm 779mm
Reach 425mm 450mm 475mm 500mm
Stack 615mm 620mm 624mm 629mm
* Additional Info All specifications based on 140mm travel fork with 552mm axle-to-crown length.
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details 7005 aluminum, one-piece 7075-T6 CNC links, forged clamshell bottom bracket assembly, forged one-piece vertical stays, molded chainstay protection
Rear Travel 138mm
Rear Shock Cane Creek Kitsuma Air, 210mm x 55mm
Fork Cane Creek Helm MKII
Fork Travel 140mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset 44mm upper, 56mm lower
Handlebar ProTaper, aluminum, 1" rise, 35mm clamp diameter, 810mm width
Stem ProTaper, 35mm bar clamp, 45mm length
Grips SDG Thrice, 31mm diameter
Brakes Option 1: Magura MT Trail Sport, 4-piston front, 2-piston rear, 180mm rotors
Option 2: TRP Slate, 4-piston, 180mm rotors
Brake Levers Option 1: Magura MT Trail Sport
Option 2: TRP Slate
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG05, removable
Chainguide None
Cranks SRAM GX Eagle, 165mm length
Chainrings SRAM GX Eagle
Bottom Bracket 73mm threaded
Pedals None
Chain 12-speed
Cassette SRAM GX Eagle XG-1275, 12-speed, 10-52 tooth
Rims Canfield Special Blend AM29 wheelset
Options: Atomik AM35 Carbon, 28mm inner width; RideFast Hotline 29 Carbon wheelset, 30mm inner width
Hubs Canfield Special Blend AM29 wheelset, 110x15mm Boost front, 148x12mm Boost rear
Option: Industry Nine Hydra (with Atomic rims)
Spokes Canfield Special Blend AM29 wheelset
Tires Front: Maxxis Minion DHF, 29" x 2.5"
Rear: Maxxis Dissector, 29" x 2.4"
Saddle SDG Radar MTN (custom Canfield version)
Seatpost SDG Tellis dropper
Drop: 150mm (SM/MD), 170mm (LG/XL)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt, 35mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148x12mm Boost
Max. Tire Size 29" x 2.5" or 27.5" x 2.8"
Bottle Cage Mounts One under down tube
Colors Walter White, Goblin Green
Warranty 2 years frame
Weight 31 lb 12.8 oz (14,424 g)
Miscellaneous • CBF (Canfield Balance Formula) suspension system
• Internal cable routing
• Compatible with 27.5+ wheels
• Weight given for size MD
• Frame weight (size MD): 7.6lbs; 8.9lbs with shock
• Can be set up with 125mm rear travel with shorter (50mm) stroke shock
• Includes Trucker Co. Cream II tubeless sealant
Price
  • $4,599.99
  • $6,149.99
  • $6,199.99
More Info

canfieldbikes.com

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