With its sporty urban bikes for commuters, Canyon’s Commuter:ON series has been on the market since this year. The electric drive system is particularly unusual here, with the company relying on the removable and lightweight Fazua system. But there are many more interesting features to discover — so it’s high time for a detailed test!
Where are the cables here? What can already be seen on some bikes from this year, Canyon brings on the Commuter:ON to the point: shift cables, brake lines and the power cable of the headlight disappear through a central opening on the handlebar and are then routed through the stem into the frame. The front part of the bike looks extremely tidy, the view of the quite wide and high head tube of the frame is thus disturbed by nothing. In combination with the (only in the front area) smoothly ground welds and the formally perfectly matching carbon fork, the bike looks like a single piece.
We tested the Commuter:ON 7 with a matte, shimmering champagne-colored frame. A stylish color that changes between light gold and cool gray depending on the incidence of light. As a contrast, all add-on parts are consistently kept in matte black, which further emphasizes the look of the frame.
The lighting system is installed pleasantly inconspicuous, the same applies to the electric drive: this is located together with a compact control element in the down tube and is hardly noticeable from the outside. Actually, only the rack could be more discreet — instead of holding bars for panniers on the side, Canyon has installed a “real” rack here, which can also be loaded from above and also offers some holding points. After all, this solution is always more versatile.
As already mentioned, Canyon relies on the electric drive system from Fazua: this is a fairly compact mid-motor, which is positioned together with the battery in the down tube. Both together form the so-called DrivePack, which can be removed from the frame in one piece. The battery has a capacity of 250 Wh, the motor offers a maximum torque of 55 Nm. And thanks to the fairly light drive, the Commuter:ON 7 also has a comparatively low total weight of 17.8 kg (weighed in size L).
Shimano’s XT model series with 12 speeds is used as a gearshift. A high-quality derailleur that impresses in particular with its huge bandwidth: so the cassette offers an enormous spread of 10 to 51 teeth, which covers everything from steep climbs to fast driving on the flat. For the deceleration then provide hydraulic disc brakes of the type MT200, also from Shimano.
The permanently installed lighting system is powered by the battery of the e-drive and consists of an ultra-compact headlight from Lightskin at the front, which presumably has the same lens as installed in the Lightskin handlebar. At the rear, the proven rear light from Supernova is used, which is firmly attached to the sturdy Wingee metal mudguard. From Schwalbe are the 40 mm wide tires with the model G-One, the equipment then completes the already mentioned rack and the minimalist Knog Oi bell.
The Fazua drive is supposed to allow for an inconspicuous integration of the electrical components, which also apparently works. Accordingly, there is no conspicuous display on the handlebars, instead there is only a compact button on the down tube. With this, the drive can be switched on and off, you can set the riding mode and also the battery level is displayed in 20% steps. Interesting here is that this display of the remaining battery capacity dynamically adapts to the selected riding mode. Thus, less range is displayed with strong support than with a weak support level.
Breeze, River and Rocket are the three available drive modes, with Breeze being the lowest and Rocket the highest. Both deliver the power rather linearly and thus differ from the River mode, which provides the support more depending on the pedaling force: The harder you pedal, the more support the motor then provides. The three riding modes are visually distinguished by the different colors of the LED lighting, which is cleverly adjusted to the ambient light by a brightness sensor.
However, the fact that you can only see a little of this lighting — regardless of it’s brightness — is due to the position of the button on the down tube. From the rider’s perspective, the button is completely covered by the top tube and can only be seen when you consciously look down from the side. To make matters worse, the button is touch-sensitive and does not offer a noticeable pressure point when changing the riding mode. Accordingly, pressing the button is not always recognized correctly and you have to look down again to make sure that the desired drive mode is set. A somewhat complicated operation — but you should keep in mind that once you have found the right driving mode for you, you will certainly not constantly switch back and forth between the different modes.
To remove the DrivePack with the battery, you have to unlock it with a key, then unlock it with a handle and remove it downwards. However, the front wheel must also be steered in, which makes the whole thing a somewhat shaky affair. It is therefore a pity that Canyon — in view of the otherwise complete equipment — has not immediately installed a bicycle stand on the wheel. By the way, those who have a charging option in the immediate vicinity of the bike still cannot avoid this process: unfortunately, direct charging of the battery in the frame of the bike is not possible.
As usual nowadays, Fazua also offers a dedicated app that connects to the drive system via Bluetooth. It can be used to display current driving data, as well as for tracking and GPS navigation (although this is done via the smartphone; the drive itself does not have a GPS module).
Here we come to the Commuter:ON’s core discipline, where the bike can fully convince. The electric drive from Fazua is very quiet (even under load), but also powerful. To assess: Compared to other bikes in this weight class, the motor is noticeably stronger. Compared to classic mid-motors, however, it offers less power, but these bikes are then often significantly heavier. However, the combination of a fairly light weight and sufficiently powerful drive makes the Commuter:ON an agile and sporty urban bike that also offers enough support on steep climbs.
Of course, the drive on the mountain also benefits from the derailleur with its huge gear range. Shimano’s XT not only works very precisely and without much effort, but also offers such large reserves that you can often do without the smallest gear even on steep climbs! On the other hand, the bike can also be moved effortlessly well above the 25 km/h limit of the e-drive on the flat, without the cadence becoming uncomfortably high. By the way, the motor is switched on and off very smoothly and without interruption.
The range information on Canyon’s website currently varies between 75 km and 120 km — but the latter value is probably very optimistic, which includes many kilometers with low support or at a speed above 25 km/h (and thus without active e-drive). However, those who use the drive frequently (stop-and-go in the city) and in the higher support level should actually expect a realistic value of around 75 km.
As a direct distributor, Canyon deals intensively with the subject of ergonomics, if only to avoid unnecessary returns. So they pay particular attention to the geometry of frame and associated components such as saddle, stem and handlebars for as many riders of the same height as possible to choose suitable. And indeed, the test bike in size L fits perfectly for me as a 1.85 m tall rider. The seating position is a good compromise between comfort and sportiness. The same applies to the handlebars, which, with a width of around 62 cm and a slight backward bend (backsweep), allow a comfortable posture. Good thing, because the handlebar-stem unit with integrated lines, neither handlebars nor stem can be subsequently adjusted or replaced. At least Canyon but offers the option to adjust the stem by 10 mm in height.
A plus in comfort provide the Ergo grips from Ergon on the handlebars, which prevent a bending of the wrist down. The saddle comes from Canyon itself and is quite narrow with 13 cm, but surprisingly comfortable. The tires are also sufficiently wide with 40 mm to absorb potholes or other bumps somewhat. Thanks to their fine knobs, they also provide enough grip on slippery surfaces like gravel, but can also be moved quickly on asphalt.
The brakes perform inconspicuously but safely, as does the lighting system. The tiny headlight is astonishing: despite its compact dimensions, it provides enough light to see something – and not just be seen.
Thanks to the removable DrivePack, the Commuter:ON can also be used without an electric drive. As “Commuter:OFF”, the bike then weighs only 14.5 kg and can be used like a normal bike. The opening on the down tube can be closed with an optional cover (which, however, weighs an additional 400 g), and you then have to do without the lighting due to the lack of power supply.
A lot of highlights and a few flaws: Overall, Canyon’s Commuter:ON convinces all along the line as a sporty urban bike with complete equipment for commuters. Thanks to the comparatively low weight, the e-bike is pleasantly agile and the built-in derailleur offers enough reserves for almost all routes. The equipment and workmanship are of high quality and features like the tidy cockpit make the bike an eye-catcher. The motor is also convincing in its performance with quiet operation and sufficient power — only in the handling of the drive system you have to accept the aforementioned limitations. The same applies to the fact that the battery cannot be charged directly in the bike.
On the other hand, the ability to remove the battery for charging is a unique selling point among lightweight e-bikes. Those who cannot or do not always want to lug their bike into the apartment will find the solution here. The option to ride without the DrivePack seems just as interesting — but hand on heart: most of the time, you might still want to lug along the 3.4 kg light e-drive, since riding with electric support offers much more riding fun!
With a price of 3,299 euros, the Commuter:ON 7 is – measured by its equipment and the good overall quality – absolutely within the framework. As usual with Canyon, the bikes can only be ordered via the web store on Canyon’s website. There, the tested bike is also available in the color Dark Navy, as well as a variant with a comfort frame in trapezoid shape.