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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Took delivery of a 2021 Exceed 8, size medium, about a week ago. Saved a little money by buying from the Canyon “outlet”.
FIT: According to the Canyon fit app, I’m a medium (5’11”, 33” inseam). This surprised me- I’ve always ridden a large- and the reach number was about 20 mm shorter to what I’m used to. I tried massaging the numbers to add an inch to both my inseam and my height, and the fit app still recommended the medium, so that’s what I went with. I figured I can take advantage of their 30 day return policy if need be, but the truth is the hassle involved with repacking that thing and returning it is a major incentive to go with what they send you. As it turns out, although it feels smaller than my other bikes, it feels and handles great it (more on that in a bit). It’s got me wondering if my other bikes are too big.
GEOMETRY: A couple geometry numbers put the Exceed on my short list- the 75 degree STA and the not-too-low BB drop. We have a lot of long, steep climbs around here, and a lot of short really steep climbs. My hope was that the steeper STA would help keep the front end from wandering around on the climbs, which is something I struggle with. And we’ve got a lot of boulders, too, hence, the higher BB.
RIDE: Nothing but smiles for miles. This bike is fun! Its responsiveness makes we want to pedal hard and ride fast- maybe it’s just that new bike smell. It’s quick, nimble, flickable, and the front end tracking on a steep climb is marked improvement over my other bikes. At the same time, it’s stable and not the least bit twitchy going downhill. But it is a hardtail, and wouldn’t be my first choice for the rough stuff.
SPEC, etc. Everything arrived properly adjusted. Shifts perfectly, no rotor rub, etc. Even the infamous Reynolds rear hub is working well (hopefully that’s an issue that’s been fixed). The tires work well for our local dust-over-hardback, although it seems likely the rear will be a slick before long due to the thin, sparse tread. Not speccing a dropper on a bike with a 75 degree STA is like serving a good IPA at room temperature. Got one on order. Also going to try a 90 mm stem.
OVERALL: It’s early yet, but I’m very happy so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No, 60 mm isn’t enough IMHO. Besides, I’m cheap. I got a Brand X Ascend 125mm. I had a CRC coupon and got it for $100. Woohoo!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Update us. How do you like the bike after a couple months? Many miles on her? Details!
Still loving the bike, moreso now that I’ve got it set up and sorted. I’ve got 391 miles and a probably well over 50k of vert. Between my road, gravel, and full-squish bikes, ”my X” only gets used a few times a month.
A few mods that I would recommend for anyone: First, set it up tubeless. Next: as others have mentioned, engagement with the stock freehub is s l o w . I replaced it with a 6-pawl unit and it’s much better. Finally, add a dropper. I also added a Bontrager Droplock lever that combines both the fork lockout and the dropper lever into a single tidy 2-lever unit with ergonomics similar to a shifter.
I made a handful of other minor changes to bring the weight down a little without spending a lot of money. Total weight now with pedals and cages is 23.9 lbs on my scale.
So far I’ve had no mechanical issues of any kind. No problems yet from the much-maligned Reynolds TR wheelset. I’m hopeful they got them sorted out after the deluge of warranty claims they must’ve endured.
I’ve had two people tell me I look relaxed on the bike- “you look like you’re just chillin’”- and these observations were made during fast riding! I know Canyon is pushing the “purebred XC racer” shtick but to me the bike feels playful and user-friendly. I think the geometry just suits me well. I’m not much of a hucker or shredder- I just steer and pedal and the bike does the rest without me having think about it or manage it. I was chasing a fast friend (won his division as Downieville) down a smooth, flowy descent and was surprised at how close I was able to stay to him.
It’s not a squishy and I wouldn’t want to ride it anywhere rough or chunky. But for everything else, it’s great.
 

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I like the geo. Most brands have gone long low and slacker on their XC bikes and Canyon has kept their XC bikes pretty aggressive while still tweaking HTA a bit as well as steep 75 STA. Sounds like a great climber. I suspect 69 HTA w that STA is really nice.


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I like the geo. Most brands have gone long low and slacker on their XC bikes and Canyon has kept their XC bikes pretty aggressive while still tweaking HTA a bit as well as steep 75 STA. Sounds like a great climber. I suspect 69 HTA w that STA is really nice.


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I agree.
One thing I haven’t mentioned is the limited tire clearance. Looks like it could handle a 2.35 in back, and a little bigger than that in front. This might be a deal killer for some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Not for me. 2.35 is plenty of tire for me. Perhaps a 2.35 rear and a 2.4 up front for grip.


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I’m enjoy the stock tire setup- 2.25 rear, 2.35 front. I think it contributes to the bike‘s sprightly feel. But we’ve had peak traction conditions around here since I got the bike. I don’t expect it would be so great for loose conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You carry two bottles on your bike much? Opens up long ride ability without a hydration pack...
Yes, I prefer bottles over a hydration pack (when the route permits me to get away with it). So it’s nice that the Exceed lets me carry 2 bottles. My squishy only has room for one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Are you still living the Exceed? Any issues or things you wish it had or did differently?


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Very happy with it. The only “flaw” IMHO is the 4-pawl free hub, which some people might not even notice, and is easily rectified. All the rest of the changes I made were matters of personal preference.

It’s not for everybody. There are more versatile bikes out there, (even hardtails). But I already have a full squish trail bike, and was looking for a racy xc/gravel hardtail. On paper the Exceed looked to be just that, and in real life, it delivers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
How many miles on the Exceed? Any regrets not moving up to SLX 9? Do you find you ride this bike on shorter rides vs FS? Any more riding impressions? Thx
580 miles so far. Haven't been able to ride dirt for about a month now because of heavy rain and saturated dirt. It won't be better any time soon but here in California we need all the rain we can get so I'm not complaining. Still, it's hard having the thing sitting there looking lonesome.

SLX 9 would've been nice but 1) the 8 was immediately available, and 2) I just didn't want to spend more money. There's a point of diminishing returns where what you're paying for is not a "better" bike, but a lighter bike. If you're a serious racer looking for every edge it's be worth it. But I don't race much anymore, so not such a big deal for me. In fact, I haven't raced since Covid hit.

Choosing between the X8 and my squishy isn't so much about distance as it is the terrain. It doesn't matter how short or long a ride is, if it's rough or highly technical, I take the squishy. For a long ride, I guessimate the "cumulative pounding" factor, and pick accordingly. Horses for courses, as they say.
 
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