Canyon Precede:ON at a glance
- Elegant style
- Super powerful electric assistance
- Very efficient brakes
- Comprehensive, practical, and intuitive onboard computer
- RPM management
- Great gear panel
- Too heavy (23 kilos/50lbs)
- Bulky frame
- Mediocre comfort
- Frustrating automatic transmission
- No suspension
- Exorbitant price
Released in September 2020, the Canyon Precede:ON aims to be the ideal electric city bike, combining robustness, endurance, and connectivity. We tested it over a hundred kilometers (62 miles). Let’s deep dive into our impressions and findings.
Canyon, a solid reputation e-bike brand
Canyon has become a brand name in the world of cycling. Renamed in 2002, the German company designs high-end models that are renowned throughout the world: from road bikes to MTBs and triathlon bikes, Canyon has managed to diversify and build a solid image among professionals.
The manufacturer didn’t hesitate to go the electric route and now offers an extensive catalog: ten trendy models make up its worldwide offer, all adapted to various uses (city, road, off-road). In short, there’s something for everyone, as long as you pay the price. Canyon wants to be considered a premium brand, and that’s evident in its choice of features.
Read also: Is Canyon a good e-bike brand to buy? Complete brand & models review – in this article.
Canyon Precede:ON Datasheet
|E-bike Model||Canyon Precede:ON|
|Number of assist levels||4|
|Advertised riding range||100 km (62.13 mi)|
|Weight||22.15 kg (48.83 lbs)|
|Wheel size||27.5 inches|
|Weight limit||140 kg (308.64 lbs)|
Design: the SUV of electric bikes
It’s hard to miss the Canyon Precede:ON when it rolls down the street. It’s also hard to look away once you see it. The Precede:ON is an eye-catcher. Its impressive size makes it like the SUV of urban e-bikes.
A massive size, a slightly futuristic style, thick 27.5 inch wheels ready to tackle both city streets and forest paths. Available in a “cradle frame” version (open, easy to ride) and a “classic frame” version (closed), the option of four sizes (XS, S, M and L) makes the bike accessible to the maximum number of riders.
The German manufacturer clearly designed this e-bike with minimalism in mind (total lack of wires) while not being stingy on the equipment. The carbon frame of the Precede:ON is very clean with a beautiful finish: Canyon has an eye for detail, and it shows. The thickness of the down tube, where the battery is located, reinforces its robust appearance. Dare we say, the bike is a handsome beast. You either like it or you don’t.
Canyon is a premium brand and has opted for a high standard when it comes to tech: the studded G-One Allround gravel tires from Schwalbe are some of the best on the market. This is an important advantage for both city and trail use. Of course, versatility and grip are the key words.
Canyon uses other major manufacturers, like Tektro for the brake discs, Gates for the belt drive (no mess, little wear), Enviolo for the automatic transmission (see below) and Bosch for the engine block. You can see at the base of the frame that it is the Performance Line CX Gen 4, one of the most powerful for the city.
Canyon completes its design with Ergon handles that passed the comfortability test, the Selle Royale Fizik Essenza saddle, a seatpost that’s also carbon and a Supernova Mini 2 Pro ultra powerful light (with two settings to choose from) which helps make you visible as much as making the road visible.
As mentioned above, Canyon did not hold back with its design, except for one thing. The Wingee Ortlieb mudguards (aluminum) and the luggage rack with a maximum load capacity of 25 kilos (55 lbs) features really make the Precede:ON the ideal urban bike, which unfortunately means the lack of suspension, makes the overall comfort even worse. We’ll come back to that.
Let’s finish the grand tour with the carbon handlebars, which have the Bosch Kiox display centered in the middle. Needed to communicate the electric assistance you’re getting, this removable onboard computer provides a plethora of information that gets displayed on several interfaces. A section of the test is dedicated entirely to it.
An application for futurists
Let’s be clear from the start: the Bosch eBike Connect app that accompanies the Canyon experience is not a must-have. If you want to enjoy your bike without having to deal with a whole bunch of data, do so. For purists, the mobile app might still be desirable if you have an interest in data.
How does Bosch eBike Connect work? To use it, you first download it from the iOS or Android app stores, then activate your Bluetooth. Next, simply pair your phone to your bike by following the instructions; it takes less than two minutes.
The home page is split into two parts: the main interface, which takes up 95% of the screen, displays your mileage, average speed, calories burned and elevation gain. All of these data are from the current month. A line dedicated to the previous month is also available.
As you navigate down, the home page shows you a bunch of free and paid features and a few articles about updates and other news. At the bottom, five tabs (including the home page) lead to your riding and trip statistics.
The “Charts” tab lists your trips. Clicking on a trip displays a map showing your route, time, duration and distance. If you toggle to the right, the stats continue, showing the number of calories burned and your average cadence (RPM).
Another swipe brings up graphs showing changes in altitude, your speed over the distance covered, your cadence and the power transferred throughout the journey. These precise results are particularly suited to those who make a long, constant habit of using the app. But after all, why wouldn’t you?
Tab number three is a map. You can add favorite addresses (Go Home, Go to Trail, Saved Routes, Saved Places) and plan a trip. The latter option is then supposed to be displayed on the small onboard screen attached to the handlebars, but we could never really get it to work.
The fourth tab (a bike icon) provides all the technical and software information of the model, while the last tab is dedicated to settings, legal, help and about.
RPM and automatic transmission: how does the Precede:ON work?
The operation of the Precede:ON is based on a complex equation involving two important elements: the Enviolo Automatiq Sport automatic transmission, which is closely linked to the control and adjustment of the RPM (revolutions per minute). Understanding this system means finding its balance in three given situations: flat, uphill and starting off. But this is not always easy.
Adjusting your RPM and finding your balance
What is the RPM? The “Revolutions Per Minute” is the number of pedal revolutions made each minute. It’s worth mentioning that the Canyon Precede:ON allows you to control your RPM.
You can access the RPM settings with a module that has physical buttons, found on the left side of the handlebars. The RPM varies between 30 and 120 and goes in increments of five. With this really wide range, the e-bike can adapt to the maximum possible number of riders according to whatever their preference may be.
Depending on the RPM you select, the Precede:ON will apply a higher or lower level of resistance when you pedal. The higher your RPM, the less resistance you get. So if you enter a higher RPM into the system, the Canyon will release some of the ballast and make the pedaling more relaxed.
Conversely, the lower your RPM, the more resistance you get. This resistance comes into play at starting up and is applied during your accelerations. As we explained above, the idea is to find a balanced RPM between flat terrain, hills, and starting off, because the level of resistance, which adapts according to the speed (managed by the automatic transmission), will always correspond to the selected RPM.
Enviolo automatic transmission
The purpose of the Enviolo Automatiq Sport transmission is simpler to understand: instead of shifting gears manually, the system does it for you. However, you don’t have any control over the gear shifting whatsoever. For example, the Enviolo always puts you back in first gear when you are stopped or at a very low speed.
Overall, the system works perfectly: the gear shifting is smooth, silent and adapts very well to your speed. The only exception is that the rate of your RPM can sometimes make the experience frustrating. And that’s the whole point of that famous balance that makes up the sometimes complex bike equation.
From the test run, I decided to set it at an RPM of 65, which I consider accurate for my pedaling cadence. This RPM proved to be good for flat roads and hills, but absolutely not adapted to my starting pace. At first speed (since the program systematically brings you back to it when you stop), this RPM makes you feel like you’re grinding in a vacuum.
Of course, the Bosch engine and its 85 Nm of torque exude power and dynamism (see below), but this grinding sensation when starting is still a nuisance. At least in my case. The automatic upshift brings everything back to normal, but you have to get going at a minimum speed to do so.
On the other hand, a rider looking for strong resistance from start to finish should not have the same problem. But you still have to be okay with the intense effort that you’ll encounter on uneven ground.
For riders who seek a more leisurely trip, changing your RPM while riding is a possibility. You will have to pay close attention because you can get distracted and forget when to change it, but after a few rides, the manipulation will come more naturally. Before a hill, for example, you would then increase your RPM to make the climb easier.
However, this type of programming is designed for you to find your ideal RPM and not touch it afterwards. Adjusting your RPM every time you start your e-bike would be a hindering practice. Buying this e-bike, therefore, requires you to take an in-depth look at it and adjust its settings according to your desires at the time.
Canyon Precede:ON in daily life
Primarily built for the city, but not just that
The Canyon Precede:ON is very well suited for city trips. It is a versatile bike that’s capable of covering short, medium and long distances, but can also take on dirt roads if you feel like exploring some more rural spots.
The semi-sporty riding position encourages you to utilize the full potential of the engine. But the e-bike can also hold itself back with the different assistance modes (see below), and thus acclimates well to many riding styles.
Electric assistance that takes the edge off
This is clearly one of the big strengths of the Canyon Precede:ON. Its powerful Bosch Performance Line CX Gen 4 engine coupled with 85 Nm of torque delivers an impressive performance at the highest assist levels. There are five in total: Turbo, Sport, Tour, Eco and Off (no assist).
In Turbo mode, the pedals become ultra-sensitive: the slightest tap brings instant power. Remember to tighten the brake levers to prevent accidental starting. Once the “windmilling” sequence is over, the Precede:ON climbs very quickly to 25 km/h (15.5 mph).
Even better: going up to 28 km/h (17.4 mph) is very easy despite the absence of assistance once the 25 km/h (15.5 mph) threshold is passed. The e-bike benefits from a substantial freewheel and a dynamic performance that pushes you to go fast. This makes the e-bike all the more admirable considering its weight of 23 kilos (50 lbs). Good news: you don’t feel it.
The power differences between the modes are accurately defined: this asset allows you to choose precisely which type of assistance you want. I did notice a big gap between the Turbo and Tour modes: with a strong headwind, the former easily propelled me to 26 km/h (16mph), compared to 22 km/h (13.6 mph) for the latter.
In urban settings with heavy traffic, the Precede:ON is up to the task of navigating through and overtaking slower traffic. Beware, however, of its bulky size, which does not allow you to dodge traffic as easily as a Cowboy, for example.
Overall, the Turbo and Sport modes are the desirable choices for vigorous trips, while the Tour and Eco modes, in addition to giving you longer autonomy, are suited to more “chill” routes when you’re not in a hurry.
Comfort in trouble
For an electric bike sold for $5,000, you’d expect comfort to be a priority. Well, think again. This is unfortunately not the case with the Precede:ON, which does not have a suspension system, a crucial element for absorbing shocks and smoothing out your many trips. And the seat doesn’t work any magic.
Sure, the thick wheels cushion the roughness of the road a little, but bumps, sidewalks and cobblestones are a real nuisance for your rear end. It’s a shame, especially since the Precede:ON – and its autonomous design – is intended for long distances.
After a 15-kilometer (9-mile) ride, my backside, believe me, did not appreciate it. For shorter routes, the lack of comfort is less obvious. On the other hand, there’s nothing to complain about when it comes to the handles; they’re very satisfactory when it comes to comfort.
The hydraulic disc brakes of the Precede:ON are perfect. I simply can’t find any fault. Biting, responsive and progressive, they meet all the expectations a cyclist could have.
In fact, there is a real sense of security when you maneuver the Precede:ON. You don’t have to worry about going fast, because the brake system is a real lifesaver in case of an emergency.
Stable as can be
Speaking of feeling safe, its good stability plays a central role as well. The weight of the Precede:ON is well distributed and works in its favor. Riding this electric bike feels like riding no other.
As for handling, you do need to get the hang of it because of its enormous size. I feel like you have to learn to tame it to be completely at ease with it. Once this step is done, it’s a delight.
Accessories: an attractive package
The Precede:ON’s great list of accessories makes it even more of a city bike: the luggage rack is directly attached to the rear chainstay and the mudguard, which is itself attached to the seat stay. The whole thing looks super sturdy and would be very practical for carrying things. A small bell is located on the right side of the handlebars.
A kickstand is there for you when needed, while at the front, the Supernova Mini 2 Pro light dazzles with its brightness (two settings to choose from). You will, without a doubt, be seen by other cyclists. And you can be assured that it will light up even the darkest of roads. You can adjust its inclination vertically.
All around, it’s top of the line.
Read also: Selection of our favorite e-bike accessories to help you find the right gear for your needs.
Bosch Kiox, a simple and complete onboard computer
The Precede:ON has the Bosch Kiox onboard computer at its helm. Perfectly integrated, this removable module is essential for using the electric assist. But above all, it is both all-encompassing and alluring for data enthusiasts – much like the Bosch eBike Connect mobile application.
Navigating the Bosch Kiox interface requires using the physical buttons on the left side of the handlebars. All the buttons are grouped in a dedicated module. They allow you, depending on their function, to switch from one assistance mode to another, to access the RPM parameters in one click or to switch from one interface to another. A “walk mode” button has also been installed for walking the e-bike.
The main interface shows the time, the percentage of battery remaining and gives you access to the Kiox configuration (My e-bike, Displays, Bluetooth, My Profile, System Configuration and Information). For example, it is possible to reset the onboard computer, set an automatic reset or modify the content of the different interfaces.
The interface you’ll be most interested in on the road is your speed. Knowing how fast you’re going is quite satisfying. Clicking through will display your autonomy (depending on the current mode) and the time, the current distance covered and the travel time, the power and the RPM/BPM (beats per minute), the average speed and the maximum speed, or the number of calories burned and the total distance covered.
Overall, the Bosch Kiox is intuitive and very easy to use. The navigation push buttons are perfectly placed, even for small fingers like mine. Navigating through Bosch Kiox during a trip – while being careful of course – was not a problem for me, as its good ergonomics make it easy.
Real autonomy vs advertised autonomy
On the official product page of the Precede:ON, Canyon promises a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles), which can vary depending on the weight of the rider, indicates an asterisk. Other conditions are obviously a factor, such as weather conditions (wind, temperature), tire pressure and altitude difference.
Charged at 100%, the 500 Wh battery offers different autonomies depending on the assistance mode selected: 57 km (35 mi) in Turbo, 64 km (40 mi) in Sport, 79 km (49 mi) in Tour and 121 km (75 mi) in Eco. In reality, the figures are consistent. Ride for about 7 km (4 mi) in Turbo and the Bosch Kiox will have 50 km (31 mi) of range left.
Canyon doesn’t seem to overestimate the range of its e-bike, which offers more than the adequate range in Turbo and Sport modes. In Tour and especially in Eco mode, the Precede:ON is one of the top leaders in the category. At the same time, at this price, we expected nothing less.
As for recharging, you have to be patient: it took me three and a half hours to go from 10% to 75%. You should expect it to take at least four and a half hours to reach 100%, according to my estimations. A session during the night or morning of working from home will do the trick. In any case, the good autonomy of the bike means you don’t have to recharge it every day.
Always practical, the removable battery allows you to recharge it just about anywhere, as long as you have a plug nearby.
Who should use the Precede:ON
Obviously, it’s for wealthy users. At just over $5,000, the Precede:ON is not for everyone and targets a more limited range of potential riders. Since its large size is unavoidable, this bulky Canyon does not belong in an apartment. Not even a large one. It’s more logical to store it in a yard or garage, generally synonymous with a house.
If your building has a very secure bike room, that could be a helpful solution. And unless you want to bulk up your legs, arms and shoulders, I wouldn’t recommend carrying it up the stairs. In a modestly sized elevator, the Precede:ON barely fits when tipped forward. The thickness of its handlebar is not practical for this situation, because it is difficult to grip to perform the maneuver.
As far as uses are concerned, the Precede:ON is suitable for city dwellers riding short, medium and long distances, even more so with the aforementioned conditions met, although you can’t be too concerned about comfort. Going for a ride on a few beaten tracks is also quite feasible.
Price and availability of the Canyon Precede:ON
At the time of writing, the Canyon Precede:ON is only available through the manufacturer’s website. There’s no store to visit where you can take it for a test ride: be sure this is the bike you want, because at $5000, it’s a real investment.
In the event there are technical issues, Canyon suggests that you contact a bike repair store or a qualified technician.
Canyon Precede:ON – final test score: 7/10
Rating the Canyon Precede:ON was not easy. As the test progressed, an 8/10 was slowly but surely taking shape, but in the end, common sense prevailed over passion. And for two reasons: the prohibitive price of $5000 and the complex – sometimes unstable – equation of the RPM and the electric transmission. You shouldn’t feel like you’re grinding in a vacuum when starting up with such a premium product.
But the Precede:ON is in many ways impressive: a very cool design with a beautiful finish, an imposing but assertive size, high-end materials and an array of accessories designed for the city. But its main strengths lie in its high performance, its range, varying between 57 to 121 kilometers (35 to 75 miles) depending on the assistance mode used, and its very powerful brakes.
Read also: Complete Global List of Electric Bike Brands (550+), Models & Countries – in this article.
This excellent city companion also plays the versatility card thanks to its thick gravel tires, which are an ideal ally for trails and other small country roads. Long trips are no problem for it, although comfort was not a priority for Canyon (no suspension). It’s a pity: at this price, this detail should have been given special attention.
To top it all off, the Bosch Kiox onboard computer provides an extremely well-executed digital touch, which will satisfy data enthusiasts. On the other hand, the Precede:ON is a bulky and heavy electric bike – 23 kilograms (50 pounds) on the scale – that has no place in an apartment.