With the new Precede:ON AL, Canyon present an absolute bargain in the field of urban ebikes with prices starting from just € 2,599. Do you have to accept compromises in terms of the motor, components and handling, or can the German ebike tick all the right boxes and perform as a jack of all trades?
Let’s be honest. These days, everyone wants to jump on the green, urban bandwagon, be hip(ster), wear second-hand clothes, eat vegan or not at all. Own a car? No thanks, you don’t need that in the city and it’s way too expensive. That was your parents’ thing in rural areas, where they were stuck without a vehicle with a combustion engine. The alternative: smart ebikes, which are far superior to regular cars in the city. However, they often cost the same as a car, which is beyond what many city dwellers are willing or able to pay. The good news is that Canyon’s latest bike is available at prices starting from € 2,599, making it a serious threat to the competition. Whether it’s for the daily commute to the office, transporting the kids to school, or running errands on the way home, the new Canyon Precede:ON AL promises to be your urban transport means of choice, giving you unlimited urban mobility and freedom. Are Canyon promising more than they can deliver or is this the jack of all trades of urban mobility? One thing is certain: the Precede:ON AL does a lot of things right!
Chapter 1: Design and integration
What does a closer inspection of the aluminium version of the new Canyon Precede:ON reveal? The first thing you’ll notice is the ebike’s coherent design. The continuous line from the rear axle to the cockpit gives the bike a dynamic look. In addition to a high level of versatility and functionality, Canyon have also focused on the bike’s aesthetics, launching one of the best-integrated aluminium bikes on the market today. The one-piece CP0023 DualFit cockpit offers excellent integration, unobtrusively routing the cables into the frame without getting in the way of the headlight. On the downside, the cockpit is inferior to a classic two-part system in terms of adjustability, since not even the stem length can be adjusted. The champagne finish of the Precede:ON AL is beautiful, though marred by the somewhat crude looking weld seams.
Chapter 2: Transport and light
When it comes to transporting luggage and passengers, the Canyon Precede:ON AL offers a lot of pros and a few cons. The luggage rack can carry loads of up to 25 kg and is compatible with the ORTLIEB QL3.1 system. If that’s not enough, you can fit the optionally available front luggage rack for an additional 5 kg of carrying capacity on the Precede:ON AL. If that’s still not enough, there’s an adapter you can use to attach a Croozer trailer, allowing you to transport either your shopping, kids or dogs. Unfortunately, if you want to transport your kids without a trailer, you’re in trouble. The new Precede:ON isn’t approved for child seats, which somewhat contradicts Canyon’s intended purpose and promise. If you don’t have a trailer, the little ones will have to pedal themselves. We were impressed with the high-quality Supernova system, which is reserved for the Precede:ON 5 and 6 models and comes with a practical high beam function.
Chapter 3: Motor and battery
As with the Precede:ON CF, Canyon choose to rely on a mid-mounted motor from Bosch. In contrast to the expensive carbon version, which comes equipped with Bosch’s most powerful Performance Line CX motor, the aluminium versions have to make do with the Bosch Performance Line (Precede:ON AL 6 and 7) or Bosch Active Line Plus (Precede:ON 5) motors. They’re less powerful than the 85 Nm Performance Line CX motor, putting out just 65 and 50 Nm torque, respectively. At 300 and 270% per cent, they also offer less support than the flagship model, which can amplify the rider’s input by 340%. You’ll notice this when pulling away and on the climbs. We didn’t test the model with Bosch Active Line Plus, but we wouldn’t recommend using it to tackle steep climbs when fully loaded. However, the motor is more than sufficient in flat cities and a sensible choice by Canyon, allowing them to offer an urban ebike for as little as € 2,599.
Regarding battery capacity, frame sizes XS to M get a 500 Wh battery, while the large 625 Wh battery is reserved for sizes L and XL. The advantage of the smaller battery isn’t just the price, saving you at least € 200 compared to the bigger models, but it also reduces the bike’s weight. Nevertheless, the range should be similar in most cases since smaller riders are often lighter and thus make the motor work less. The charging port is neatly integrated near the bottom bracket of the frame. If you prefer charging the battery inside, you can simply unlock and remove it. This is particularly useful if you don’t have a power outlet nearby or if your neighbours complain about you charging your bike with electricity that you don’t pay for yourself.
Chapter 4: Gears and components
The new Canyon Precede:ON AL is available in three versions ranging from € 2,599 to € 3,699 and relies on two drivetrain options: a classic derailleur or a belt drive. The Precede:ON 5 and 6 models come with Shimano groupsets (Shimano DEORE 11-speed on the ON 5, Shimano DEORE XT 12-speed on the ON 6), whereas the Precede:ON 7 features an Enviolo hub and a GATES belt drive. The gear ratios are quite large, so you can carry on pedalling comfortably at high speeds. However, those who live in hilly towns would be happier with smaller gear ratios. The remaining differences in the spec are minor and can be found in the following table.
|Model||Precede:ON 5||Precede:ON 6||Precede:ON 7|
|Motor||Bosch Active Line Plus | 50 Nm||Bosch Performance Line | 65 Nm||Bosch Performance Line | 65 Nm|
|Groupset||Shimano DEORE 11-speed||Shimano DEORE XT 12-speed||Enviolo hub|
|Lights||Light Skin/Supernova E3||Supernova Mini2/Supernoa E3||Supernova Mini2/Supernoa E3|
|Brakes||Promax DC925||Magura MT Thirty||Magura MT Thirty|
Chapter 5: Geometry
As with the CF version, Canyon rely on two different frame shapes, offering a classic frame and a step-through version of the Precede:ON, depending on the size. The Precede:ON AL is available with a regular frame in sizes M, L and XL, while the step-through versions are available in XS, S, M and L. We’re big fans of this concept.
|Seat post||440 mm||482 mm||535 mm|
|Top tube||589 mm||626 mm||666 mm|
|Head tube||182 mm||229 mm||280 mm|
|Chainstays||505 mm||505 mm||505 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,174 mm||1,214 mm||1,258 mm|
|Reach||412 mm||434 mm||460 mm|
|Stack||627 mm||671 mm||718 mm|
|Seat post||365 mm||404 mm||440 mm||485 mm|
|Top tube||551 mm||569 mm||589 mm||620 mm|
|Head tube||176 mm||186 mm||202 mm||229 mm|
|Chainstays||505 mm||505 mm||505 mm||505 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,135 mm||1,154 mm||1,176 mm||1,214 mm|
|Reach||375 mm||390 mm||406 mm||434 mm|
|Stack||621 mm||631 mm||645 mm||671 mm|
Chapter 6: On the road – Putting it to the test
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: how does the new Canyon Precede:ON AL 7 perform in real life in the city? The first thing you’ll notice is the comfortable and upright riding position, which is great for everyday urban life. In terms of acceleration, the Bosch Performance Line motor does a good job, but you’ll have to admit defeat against bikes with the significantly more powerful Bosch Performance Line CX motor when pulling away at the traffic lights. The 650 x 57B Schwalbe G-One Allround tires left a positive impression since they provide a good level of comfort and are a great choice for the city. However, the tires are the only source of compliance and comfort aboard the Precede:ON AL. The frame is stiff and the seat post doesn’t flex either. Something like the VCLS carbon post would have worked wonders here, though it probably wouldn’t be feasible at this price point. We’re familiar with the cockpit from the Commuter:ON and it’s great, but it doesn’t offer any compliance either. As such, the ebike undoubtedly feel most comfortable in the city centre. You should think twice about long rides on poorly maintained roads through the countryside.
The strength of the Canyon Precede:ON AL 7 is in covering short distances and running errands as it handles well when fully loaded. The urban ebike has a balanced and low centre of gravity, making the handling fun and intuitive, with or without a load. The Canyon feels completely in its element on winding roads or doing fun manoeuvres: it’s the cornering king of urban city runabouts. Nevertheless, the bike’s wheelbase, weight and long tail allow it to remain composed at high speeds. As such, we can recommend this ebike to both beginners and advanced riders that want to cruise through the in style and already own a more comfortable bike for trips into the countryside.
Our verdict on the Canyon Precede:ON AL 7
With the Precede:ON AL 7, Canyon have firmly positioned themselves in the affordable ebike segment, creating an absolute value for money hit. The stylish bike offers fun and intuitive handling, good cargo-carrying options and accessories such as lights, mudguards and a stand. If you spend a lot of time beyond city limits, we’d recommend something a little more comfortable. For city dwellers with smooth asphalt under their tires, the new Precede:ON AL could be a great choice!
- fun and intuitive handling
- good value for money
- very composed
- good components
- stylish and clean look
- good cargo-carrying options
- lack of comfort
- not approved for a child seat
For more information on the Canyon Precede:ON AL 7, visit canyon.com
Words: Philipp Schwab, Benjamin Topf Photos: Benjamin Topf