We’re going to be racing the Canyon Sender CF9.0 all year at the British National Downhill Series.

Here’s a first look at the bike he’ll be sending down the UK’s biggest and gnarliest.

Photos by Ian Lean

The basics:

    • 203mm travel
    • Carbon front triangle with alloy rear triangle
    • 6 year guarantee
    • 27.5″ wheels
    • Available in Stealth and Infra-Stealth colours
    • 4 sizes available
    • £4349
    • Learn more here at Canyon’s website

You guys know we love downhill. We run our own downhill team, we spend more time than we should at British downhill races and, of course, we love hurling ourselves down anything we can possibly find… against the clock or just for a laugh.

Despite that, we’ve noticed we don’t test as many DH bikes as we’d like to. So, we’ve decided to change that.

This year we’ve brought old-school Wideopen Team Captain Rich Thomas back for one-more mission, to test a Canyon Sender 9.0.

The Canyon Sender then. A World Cup downhill worthy platform that probably costs about the same as your enduro or trail bike.

It’s easy to chuck about the phrase ‘race ready out of the box’ but it’s genuinely the case with the Sender. We pulled it out of the box, put the bars on and chucked it straight down the British National Downhill at Rheola, scoring a 5th place result and a podium.

The bike has some innovative touches but essentially, it’s pretty straight forward. 203mm travel, 27.5″ wheels and a carbon front end with an alloy rear triangle.

The bike is built with Fox, SRAM, DT Swiss and Maxxis. The fastest of the fast might make some changes but for the rest of us, it’s a bike that you’ll do well to out-talent.

Is the Sender one of the best looking downhill bikes going? We reckon so.

Smooth, sleek lines pair up with simple graphics and some bold colours. Simple graphics. It’s a bike that, we reckon at least, manages to look loud and subtle all at the same time.

Fast standing still, right?

Long chain stay fans will like this.

The Sender has two settings to adjust the chain stay length from 430mm to 446mm. Once you know what you’re doing you can flip the settings with just a multi-tool in 5 minutes.

The bike also comes with a very neat and tidy small-block 10-24T cassette.

Tucked away inside the bike is a 240 x 75mm Fox Float X2 Factory air shock.

The Canyon Sender is one of the first downhill bikes that was built specifically around an air shock, rather than a coil.

Alongside saving weight, the air shock also means less hassle setting the bike up and no delays between unboxing and riding.

Canyon say that was a super important consideration as a mail-order, customer-direct company.

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The Sender frame is stacked with little features that show proper thought and rider input. The two marks you can see here align neatly to show 30% sag, making suspension set up a little less hassle.

We unboxed the bike and used the Fox Suspension website to set up the suspension.

You hit this link to the Fox site, use their suggested settings for sag and rebound and then line up the ‘sag’ marker on the frame.

That gave us a great base setting that worked well for Rich’s first few siting runs at Rheola. From there, we thought we’d need to make some tweaks.

To our surprise, we didn’t need to make any changes other than dropping some tyre pressure.

Another nice touch is Canyon’s V22 Stem. The V22 allows you to run both a 35mm or 31.8mm bar.

The stem is offers 46mm and 60mm length positions. With 31.88mm you’re able to run adjustable inserts that also let you adjust the height the bar sits in the stem. It’s easy to use and perfect for getting your setup just right.

The air setup isn’t just on the rear, the bike comes with the mighty Fox 40 Factory with Kashima stanchions and the FIT Grip 2 air cartridge.

Canyon’s direct-to-the-customer setup must leave plenty of opportunities for crappy setup.

To help guarantee well built, well maintained bikes, Canyon include this stacked box of accessories. The box includes carbon assembly paste, a torque key, a shock pump, all your manuals and warranty stuff and a little dry-bag for your must haves.

It’s a really nice, well designed added extra.

On track the bike didn’t let us (or more importantly Rich) down.

“The actual ride is really nice and really balanced.

Literally, the bike doesn’t make a sound, it’s so quiet, which is obviously really nice… If your bike is rattling about all over the place it makes you a bit anxious like there might be something loose or something wrong”

We’ve taken it straight out the box, cut the handlebars down and got the suspension set up and I’ve now raced it down one of the toughest tracks in the country and it’s not skipped a beat. Besides Fort William you can’t really throw anything more of a bike.

Sometimes you get a bike and you’ve got to change the odd angle, or the tyres or the wheels or the handle bars and stem but on this they’re spot on. There’s so much adjustment.

It’s a really good bike for anyone to just pick up and crack on”

We’ll be racing the Canyon Sender all year and reporting back each race to let you know how it goes.

If you want to learn more you can visit Canyon’s website here.

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