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2021 Canyon Stoic 4 Bike

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2021 Canyon Stoic 4
2021 Canyon Stoic 4 Bike 2021 Canyon Stoic 4 Bike
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Canyon Stoic 4 Hardtail Long-Term Review

A can't-go-wrong hardtail for both experienced and new MTB riders

Rating: Vital Review
Canyon Stoic 4 Hardtail Long-Term Review

When Canyon announced the aluminum Stoic hardtail on December 8, 2020, we immediately hit them up to see if we could get one to test. The price, the spec and the geometry looked fantastic, and we’re always stoked to see what an *affordable* mountain bike can do.

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Strengths

  • Price
  • Looks great
  • Fork spec
  • External rear brake line routing - no bleeding
  • Decent hub engagement
  • 170mm dropper on our medium
  • Solid trail geometry
  • Versatility

Weaknesses

  • Wheel / tire / rotational weight
  • Tires too aggressive for many conditions
  • Cable and hose lengths out of box were long
  • Stem is unnecessarily complicated

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Highlights

  • 6061-T6 Aluminum frame
  • 140mm fork travel
  • 200mm front rotor (sizes M, L and XL)
  • Size-specific dropper post offerings
  • 1x12-speed NX Eagle drivetrain
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • 2.6-inch rear tire capability
  • Six sizes - 27.5-inch wheels (XXS, XS, S), 29-inch wheels (M, L, XL)
  • Price: $1,999 USD
  • Weight: 31 pounds, 9 oz / 14.31kg - size medium, no pedals

Let’s address two things before we go further. First of all, Vital MTB is based in the USA. The bike we tested is the Stoic 4, and for US buyers, Canyon also offers the less expensive Stoic 2. European Canyon customers have an additional model, the Stoic 3, which US buyers can't get, somewhere in between. Secondly, we asked Canyon for this bike to review, and they were nice enough to send it over. That means we’re not Canyon customers, so we can’t speak to the buying process or customer service experiences with Canyon. That’s why the internet exists. Do some homework and see if buying a bike directly off the Canyon website, having it shipped to your home in a box and handling the assembly yourself makes sense. Canyon does make bike assembly a breeze, and they supply all the necessary tools required with the bike. Not a home mechanic? Plan on $50 to $100 for a local bike shop to put the Stoic together.

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Alright we lied, there are three things to address. When we received the Stoic 4 not long after its release, the price was $1,799 US - a great price. Fast-forward through the better part of a year and the Stoic 4 is now $1,999 USD, thanks to covid-related supply issues or whatever. Regardless, if the bike is in stock (good luck), the Stoic is still a good value.

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Canyon Stoic 4 Build

Let's power through the boilerplate of the Stoic, and if you’re antsy for a ride review, scroll down.

Canyon calls the Stoic an enduro hardtail. It’s a stout, aluminum bike ready for some serious riding with a 140mm-travel fork and tires that are ready to eat. Sizes XXS, XS and Small run 27.5-inch wheels only. Medium, Large and XL use 29-inch wheels. We tested a medium, and the weight of our size medium with Deity Deftrap flat pedals is 32 pounds 9 ounces or 14.77 kgs.

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Visually, the Stoic 4 looks fantastic with clean lines and a subtle, utilitarian color. A 65-degree head angle plays well with the short 428mm chainstays, and the 75-degree seat angle makes climbing easy paired our medium’s 455mm reach. The 6061-T6 alloy frame is built for abuse and has a Canyon durability ranking of "class 4" - the same as their full-suspension enduro bikes.

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The air-sprung RockShox Pike Select RC is a highlight of the build with 140mm of travel, 42mm offset, external rebound control and six-position compression adjustment. We’ve ridden more than our fair share of Pikes. They’re dependable, smooth and this Select RC has just enough adjustment for riders to play with as they try in vain to erase the unsuspended, unrelenting torture of a hardtail's rear end. We actually dig the Maxle QR in this application as the bike can be stashed and stowed with minimal effort.

A SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain makes the bike go forward, SRAM Guide T brakes make the bike stop, and meaty Schwalbe tires help the bike grab the trail. Canyon’s G5 cockpit handle the swerves, and the Iridium dropper post with 170mm of range on our medium is a great length. L and XL sizes also run 170mm droppers. This is better than some offerings out there, but taller, longer-legged riders may want a little more adjustment as the bikes size up. We feel Canyon went proper with the dropper length at this price point. Smaller Stoics get less drop, too.

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The wheelset is no frills, but made for work with Alex DP30 30mm-internal-width rims and a KT M5ER rear hub that has fairly decent engagement.

On the Trail

Stoic seems like a fitting name. Aren’t most hardtail riders people who can endure pain or hardship without complaining?* Well, it’s mountain biking, so if nothing else, hardtail riders definitely seek punishment, but we’re not so sure about the complainy part.

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The Stoic is a really fun ride, especially for someone coming from a full squish trail bike. The geometry is right at home. It’s responsive in the corners and reacts well in higher-speed situations with the relaxed head angle, aggressive tires and 32-pound heft. The efficiency of a hardtail on the climbs will always blow away any rear shock technology or anti-squat manipulation, but the Stoic's weight is definitely on the chunky end of the spectrum considering there is no rear suspension to nerd out on. The significant piece of the weight is found in the wheels and tires, too, so while all-day affairs are definitely possible, the rotational weight and tire selection combined with the sting of that stiff aluminum frame can speed up rider fatigue.

The Maxle makes it easy to pull the front tire and throw the bike in the back of the Yaris.

On the flip side, we were never concerned with how irresponsibly we treated the Stoic, and never felt the need to baby the bike. The bike could handle rock smashing just fine and laps down the slalom track and through dirt jump lines at the local park proved just how fun and versatile this hardtail is. Hitting rhythm jumps on a full suspension bike always makes us feel guilty, if not a little sick to our stomach. The energy between landings and lips is just gobbled up and wasted as we question why we even bothered to drop in to the jump line. With the Stoic, we kept the bar and stem height on the higher side, thanks to Canyon leaving an ample amount of steer tube. The rhythm experience on the Stoic at our local park wasn't far off from our dedicated 26" dirt jumper. Of course the wheels are massive and the weight limits movement in the air, but we could also finish the line and pedal straight out on a 10-mile ride from the jumps. The Stoic is not too steep, not too slack and a whole lot of just right.

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The Schwalbe Magic Mary / Hans Dampf combo is an aggressive one and will be overkill for riders who aren't in lush, loamy terrain. The 2.35 / 2.4 width is spot-on, and on our mostly hard-packed to loose-over-hard trail conditions, the tires would break traction as the knobs would fold in corners. It was a predictable (and often fun) experience, but on the same trails and conditions with lower-profile tires, traction was was superior. On straighter, rougher trails, once the wheels were up to speed, they'd plow confidently. We never suffered a puncture or pinch flat either. One last final consideration how these tires impact jump lines. If conditions were even remotely soft, we wouldn't dare take the Stoic through a set in fear of tracking up lips and landings with the huge knobs. Our trail builders work hard to buff out the lanes, and we want to respect that effort.

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While not sexy, the SRAM Guide T brakes have worked well. Our terrain doesn't require extend periods of hard braking, but in the quick-shut-down scenarios we do have, the low-budget brakes stopped just fine, especially with the 200mm rotor up front. The lever adjust is a pain and the mounting system with the NX shifter isn't ideal, however.

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On the topic of unsexy, our NX Eagle drivetrain was worked just fine. The rear derailleur came loose once, but once snugged back up, gears were shifted with aplomb. Shifting at the lever takes more finesse with the fingers than with GX or X01. If you're a Vital reader, you know our thoughts on the NX cassette's portly weight and its HG freehub body interface as a bummer for drivetrain upgrading. If you're new to Vital, re-read that last sentence.

Those cables, tho.

The long cables and the basic nature of the frame's internal cable routing will lead to a noisy on-trail experience as the housings and hoses clap together or rattle within the frame. Bonus to Canyon for keeping the rear brake routing external. Aside from the cable noise, we haven't heard a creak out of the threaded bottom bracket or headset during our time of testing.

Things That Could Be Improved

We’re going to break this into two sections: general improvements we think apply to anyone riding this bike, and then a list of items for full-on bike nerds that don’t actually impact how fun and capable the Stoic is on the trail.

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Every-rider Improvements

The shifter-brake-clamp-coupler dealie. Yep. That's it. This is the one thing that bums us out every time we ride. We’ve air shifted more than a few times because our shifter is too far in-board. To get our rear brake lever in the right place, our shifter is way inside because of the clamp interface of the Guide T Brakes. Baller SRAM brakes and shifters have the handy MatchMaker interface built into the bar clamp and it is better positioned. The Guide T brakes don't because of the dual-bolt bar clamp. We were too lazy to look up what this lower-budget interface might be actually be called, but it should be called the RelationshipRuiner. A SRAM Discrete clamp is pretty cheap and may open up position options. We didn't have one handy, but our fear is that our shifter would be too far outboard, hitting our knuckles. We'll try to update if get a hold of one.

Bike Nerd Improvements

To repeat, these are general annoyances that a long-time, internet-savvy bike nerd would consider weaknesses, possibly unacceptable. If the world as we know it was about to end in a month and the Stoic, in its stock condition, was the only bike we could ride without changing any of the items mentioned below, we'd be more than thankful to rip this sled as-is.

All the cables were pretty darn long out of the box. We did shorten the dropper cable, and if we bought the bike, we’d trim brake lines, too. Additionally, there can be cable noise with their internal routing system which silence lovers will need to sort out.

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The Canyon G5 stem is kooky. We’ve ranted about it before in other canyon reviews. The design means there are always extra bolts to deal with during a cockpit mod or headset adjust, but once bar roll and stem height is sorted, it's not a huge problem.

Brake lever adjustment with the SRAM Guide T brakes is a PIA because tweaking lever requires turning a small hex bolt that's hard to access if the lever is mounted to the bars. Like the stem, however, once the happy place has bee found, messing with the lever position is infrequent. For what it's worth, we’re just thankful there is lever adjust.

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The SRAM NX drivetrain has a heavy cassette and is used with an HG freehub body on the rear hub. Upgrading to a nicer, lighter SRAM cassette like GX or X01, requires an XD driver body. We tried to sleuth around the KT website to see if there's a driver upgrade for their M5ER hub, but it doesn't look like it. Since that appears to be the case, a new rear hub or wheel is mandatory to get rid of that NX weight penalty.

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This next one may be considered more broad than just a bike-nerd improvement.  As we described in the ride report above, the beefy Magic Mary front tire is no joke. It has big, deep lugs and is made for loose conditions. It’s not a super fast tire, it’s not a light tire and Schwalbe calls it "the ultimate gravity tire." If riding conditions are deep and loose, this tire is a champ, but the tire can squirm in hard-packed dirt conditions and on slabby rocks. Those big side knobs need something to dig into, and if they're just rolling on top of something firm, they're flexing. We also think a more versatile tire choice makes the Stoic a more versatile bike.

What's the Bottom Line

We would definitely consider the Stoic as a daily driver and trail weapon for our fast, rolling nearby trails and bike park jumps. We'd have no problems taking it into heavier terrain, too, if we needed to remind ourselves of the good old days before rear suspension technology. The only thing we’d changed out of the box for riding in our local Idaho foothills is swapping to a less aggressive front tire and trimming down those cables and hoses.

Anyone mountain bikers looking for a dependable and versatile hardtail that will last should consider the Stoic 4. Whether the only bike in the garage or an alternative second bike next to an enduro bike, the Stoic promises to perform. Keep hitting refresh on canyon.com and maybe you’ll get lucky enough to buy one. We give the $1,999 Canyon Stoic 4 4.5 out of 5 stars for its value, spec and on-trail performance.

*Honesty note: We looked up the definition of Stoic to be sure.

Post-review Alternate Stoic Build

We rode the Stoic 4 in its stock configuration for a good nine months and ended up asking Canyon if we could keep the bike for some tweaking. They said yes, and we've since customized the Stoic into the perfect hardtail for our local trails and bike parks. The riding in the Boise foothills is prime hardtail territory, so with parts from our review queue and hoarding bin, we have our Stoic built up to a 26-pound, 9-ounce singletrack slayer. Is it absurd to take a $2,000 hardtail and put another $3,000 in parts on it? Totally. Is it fun? Duh.

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We kept the parts swap simple for now, leaving the stock Guide T brakes because they work well enough, and there's not a ton of heavy braking on the local rides. They did get the new SRAM HS2 rotors mounted up to Santa Cruz Reserve 27 carbon wheels. The cockpit leans toward XC with Race Face Next SL carbon bars at 760mm wide and a 40mm Race Face Aeffect R 35 stem. Deity Knuckleduster grips bring the suppleness. As this review is published, we still have a high bar height. The Race Face bars are a bit flatter than stock, and when we find our way into the pumptrack and dirt jumps with the Stoic, it's nice to feel propped up. Ideally, we'd drop the stem and get some higher rise bars, but this setup has been fine.

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Kenda Regolith tires are another solid match that we've grown to enjoy locally. They roll fast and corner well lower-profile knobs, and filled-in intermediate channel. There's a 2.4" up front with 2.2" out back. We tried a 2.6/2.4 combo, but prefer the smaller rear tire. We don't find the higher volume substitute to work well as a bump-absorber out back. Instead we find the bike getting bounced too much. What does help with the hardtail sting is the BikeYoke Sagma saddle. It's a suspension saddle that has just enough give to really take the edge off. So far, we've been impressed with its comfort.

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Finally, the easiest way to mitigate cable noise and length is to just nuke the cables, so we went full Boujee. The SRAM X01 AXS Eagle drivetrain and RockShox AXS Reverb dropper are the icing on the cake, getting rid of cables, noise (well, aside from the robot servos), and tidying up the build. The original NX chain is still on there, and yeah, we realize the no-no of mixing and matching used drivetrain parts, but that's where we're at. The weather is getting colder, so we'll trim up the brake lines someday, too.

Disclaimer: We would never buy a $2,000 hardtail and then buy this pile of nice parts to put on it. It's not a real-world scenario, but we ain't gonna lie...this thing is a freakin' hoot so far. -gordo

Specifications

Product Canyon Stoic 4 Bike
Model Year 2021
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
2XS, XS, SM, MD, LG, XL View Geometry
Size 2XS XS SM MD LG XL
Top Tube Length 539mm 564mm 591mm 623mm 650mm 678mm
Head Tube Angle 65° 65° 65° 65° 65° 65°
Head Tube Length 90mm 90mm 100mm 90mm 100mm 110mm
Seat Tube Angle 75° 75° 75° 75° 75° 75°
Seat Tube Length 365mm 365mm 400mm 430mm 460mm 500mm
Bottom Bracket Height 45mm drop 45mm drop 45mm drop 60mm drop 60mm drop 60mm drop
Chainstay Length 418mm 418mm 418mm 428mm 428mm 428mm
Wheelbase 1104mm 1129mm 1158mm 1193mm 1222mm 1252mm
Standover 741mm 740mm 742mm 768mm 773mm 774mm
Reach 380mm 405mm 430mm 455mm 480mm 505mm
Stack 592mm 592mm 601mm 626mm 635mm 644mm
* Additional Info 2XS/XS/SM have 27.5" wheels; MD/LG/XL have 29" wheels
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29"
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details 6061-T6 alloy
Rear Travel Hardtail
Rear Shock None
Fork RockShox Pike Select RC
Offset: 46mm (2XS/XS/SM), 42mm (MD/LG/XL)
Fork Travel 140mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset
Handlebar Canyon G5 Riser, 30mm rise
Width: 740mm (2XS/XS), 760mm (SM), 780mm (MD/LG/XL)
Stem Canyon G5, 40mm length
Grips Canyon G5, lock-on
Brakes SRAM Guide T, 4-piston, SRAM CenterLine rotors (180mm front on 2XS/XS/SM, 200mm front on MD/LG/XL, 180mm rear on all sizes)
Brake Levers SRAM Guide T
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed, trigger
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs None
Chainguide None
Cranks Truvativ Descendant 6K Eagle DUB
Length: 165mm (2XS/XS/SM), 170mm (MD/LG/XL)
Chainrings Truvativ Descendant 6K Eagle, 30 tooth
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB, 73mm BSA threaded
Pedals None
Chain SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette SRAM SX Eagle PG-1210, 12-speed, 11-50 tooth
Rims Alexrims DP30, 30mm inner width
Hubs KT, TW1F 15x110mm Boost front, M5ER 12x148mm Boost rear with HG driver
Spokes
Tires Front: Schwalbe Magic Mary, Evo, Super Trail
Rear: Schwalbe Hans Dampf, 2.35"
Saddle Velo VL-5120
Seatpost JD dropper
Drop: 125mm (2XS), 150mm (XS/SM), 170mm (MD/LG/XL)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12x148mm Boost
Max. Tire Size 2XS/XS/SM: 27.5" x 2.8"
MD/LG/XL: 29" x 2.6"
Bottle Cage Mounts One inside front triangle
Colors Flat Green
Warranty 6 years frame and Canyon components
Weight 31 lb 1.4 oz (14,100 g)
Miscellaneous • 2XS/XS/SM have 27.5" wheels; MD/LG/XL have 29" wheels
• Internal derailleur cable and dropper seatpost routing; external brake hose routing
• Includes torque wrench set, shock pump, and assembly paste
Price $1,999
More Info

Canyon's New, Affordable Hardtail is Trail-Ready and Up for Anything (press release)

canyon.com

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