When it comes to commuting bikes, a lot of brands are happy to settle on a bike that just ‘does the job’. The result is a plethora of uninspiring commuting workhorses that aren’t going to fire up anyone’s enthusiasm for riding to work on a grey day.
But Canyon has applied the same attention to detail into its commuter ranges as it has to its pro-level race bikes, and one of the results of that approach is its bold, mustard-coloured Commuter 7.
This comes with a rear rack, full-length aluminium mudguards, a clean and commuter-friendly Gates Carbon belt drive, front and rear dynamo lighting and even a bell. In other words, the complete commuter package.
Canyon Commuter 7 frame
The Commuter 7 – which is also available in a very 2021 Anchor Grey – has a hydroformed aluminium frame with a flattened top tube, an oversized tapered head tube and a square profile down tube. The hydroforming maximises the weld area at the head tube, increasing strength and adding stiffness.
Its tight rear triangle, meanwhile, helps to make the bike a bit more nimble than most commuter machines. The reasonably relaxed head angle and steep seat angle combine to make the bike quick to accelerate and feel efficient when you’re pedalling, while the Commuter 7’s wide bar delivers stable steering.
Keeping vulnerable wires and cables out of harm’s way is a smart choice for a bike that’s going to be ridden day after day, all-year round, and Canyon’s full-carbon fork has internal routing for both the brake hose and the dynamo wire.
Similarly, Canyon’s use of a one-piece bar and stem reduces the number of bolts, which can be particularly prone to corrosion. All cables and hoses are internally routed, which also frees up handlebar space for a bike computer, phone or extra lights.
Canyon Commuter 7 geometry
Canyon Commuter 7 kit
Canyon’s Commuter 7 comes complete with just about everything you need for day-to-day commuting.
German companies like their dynamo lighting systems (they’re rare on British bikes) and Canyon has gone for a Shimano front hub dynamo, which generates power for a Supernova E3 front light and a mudguard-mounted E3 tail light. Both of these stay on up to four minutes after you stop pedalling.
The 205-lumen front light provides enough power for illuminating your progress on unlit roads, bike paths, towpaths and similar. The rear light’s three super-bright LEDs are powerful but because they’re mounted quite low you may also want a seatpost light – or one on your backpack or helmet – for a bit of extra visibility.
Wingee’s aluminium mudguards have proved tough and weren’t knocked out of line during testing, though I would like to have seen a quick-release safety fitting in case something gets trapped between the front tyre and mudguard.
A slimline rear rack rounds off the Commuter 7’s impressive spec. This is compatible with Ortlieb’s latest QL3.1 rack-mounting system.
Canyon Commuter 7 Gates belt drive
The Commuter 7’s drivetrain is exactly what I’d choose if I was designing a commuting bike from scratch.
Gates’s CDN Carbon belt drive is rarely seen but as the belt doesn’t stretch it keeps its efficiency better than a chain. The polymer and carbon belt is also tough and doesn’t need lubricating so there’s no chance of oily tracks on your clothing when you arrive at work.
The belt drive does need to be correctly tensioned to work perfectly. This can be achieved by using complex sliding dropouts but these make rear tyre punctures a hassle. Instead, Canyon has opted for vertical dropouts, making it easier to remove the rear wheel, and an eccentric bottom bracket that houses an adaptor.
It sounds complicated but in reality it’s just a case of rotating the crescent-shaped adaptor, which moves the crankset; once you’ve achieved the correct tension you simply tighten the adaptor. This may matter little to you but the mechanic servicing your bike will be grateful.
The other distinguishing factor about the belt is that, unlike a chain, it can’t be split. You won’t need to replace a Gates Carbon belt very often because Gates claims it will last up to four times longer than a chain. But you do need to be able to split the frame to do so, and Canyon’s answer – a split at the driveside rear dropout – is a neat and well-thought-out solution.
Canyon Commuter 7 ride impressions
Shimano’s latest 11-speed Alfine hub gear gives you an impressively wide 409 per cent range. The top gear will allow you to hustle along and keep up with traffic, the lowest gear will help you up steep climbs. And despite its 13kg weight, I could still spin up my toughest local inclines.
Shimano’s mountain bike-style gear shifters work with their usual slickness, with crisper shifts from the hub gear than I found on some of Shimano’s earlier hub gears.
And while Shimano’s hydraulic MT200 brakes with their 160mm diameter rotors are Altus-level components, you wouldn’t guess these were budget-level.
The long brake levers are well shaped to fit three fingers, they have a progressive feel and the braking was consistently rub-free and silent during extensive all-weather testing.
The tubeless-ready Alex 650b rims are a hefty 515g each but I’d take toughness and durability over low weight for a commuting bike.
Schwalbe’s 40mm G-One Allround tyres are an excellent choice. Essentially a gravel tyre, these roll well on tarmac and excel on towpaths and trails so they’re ideal for mixed-surface commutes, and you also have the option of running them tubeless to increase comfort and reduce the likelihood of punctures.
The Commuter 7’s contact points are very good. It has a wide, well-shaped bar with a subtle 3-degree rise, giving you an upright riding position that’s great for navigating busy traffic and for getting a good view of your surroundings.
Ergon’s ergonomically designed multi-density grips have a flattened wing shape that offers great support and cushioning.
While saddle choice is always personal, I was glad to see that Canyon hasn’t gone for a broad and overly squishy one. Canyon’s Sport saddle is more slender than many and its padding is spot on when you’re cycling in non-padded shorts.
Canyon Commuter 7 bottom line
Canyon’s Commuter 7 is one of the best thought-out commuter bikes I’ve ever tested. The ride is superb, the handling ideal for the commuting environment and Canyon even throws in Knog’s funky Oi bell on what’s an already comprehensive kit line-up.
Some more tech-minded consumers may find the threaded bottom bracket old-fashioned but if the crank-retaining bolts are kept tight, these sealed units should last and last and, unlike some press-fit systems, they don’t creak.
The weight weenie in me would like the Canyon to shed a few grams too, as at 13kg it is a bit of a lump if you ever need to carry it, but it’s not excessively heavy.
This is about as good a commuter bike as you can buy today and I have no reservation whatsoever in recommending it. It comes with all the fittings for commuting and a ride that’s everything you need from a commuter bike.