The Sender manages to calm the roughest and wildest tracks, and makes speed easily won.
Pros: Fast, stable and controlled; great spec; a true budget racer
Cons: Handlebar is an odd shape
Launched in 2016, the Sender has become a staple on the top steps of the World Cup podium, thanks to Troy Brosnan’s skillful and consistent riding.
The bike has remained largely unchanged since its conception, and we don’t blame Canyon for sticking to the formula – it’s managed to create one of best-performing downhill bikes currently on the market.
The Sender uses a carbon fibre mainframe and alloy rear triangle. Its four-bar Horst link rear-end delivers 200mm of travel.
There also an additional linkage that drives the rear shock – which Canyon claims helped to tune the suspension to what it considers ideal anti-squat, pedal kickback, anti-rise and progression characteristics – and a small sag marker on the rocker link and driveside seatstay means you won’t need to be double-jointed to check your bike is set up correctly.
Chainstay length is adjustable between 430mm and 446mm using flip-chips at the rear dropouts. You can alter the 63-degree head angle too, by one-degree in either direction, by swapping headset cups.
Canyon’s Cable Cushion system claims to eliminate all rattle and movement from the internal routing. You also get a large down tube protector to help stop frame damage from rock strikes, and an integrated mudguard, attached to the seatstay brace, to shield the shock and linkage from grime, which should help increase bearing and shock service intervals.
Geometry-wise, Canyon was ahead of the game when this bike launched nearly four years ago. The large size has a 460mm reach, a 1,273mm wheelbase and a 63-degree head angle. I opted to run the bike in the longest 446mm chainstay setting.
Canyon has specced some top-notch kit, including a RockShox BoXXer RC fork with Charger damper and DebonAir spring, and a Vivid RC2 air-sprung rear shock.
Also from the SRAM group are the GX DH groupset and full-fat Code R brakes.
Other big-name kit includes an e*thirteen chainguide, SDG I-Beam seatpost and I-Fly saddle, and DT Swiss FR 2020 wheels, with a 30mm internal width.
The bike is finished off with Maxxis Minion DHR II DH tyres and Canyon-branded bar, stem and grips.
The Canyon Sender CF 7.0 is a very balanced bike and was easy to ride confidently and quickly from the get-go.
The suspension feels supportive, the geometry perfect and the spec almost faultless. There’s a good front-to-back balance, with the 460mm reach on the large working well with the 446mm chainstay length and 1,273mm wheelbase. This makes the bike feel particularly calm and easy to control.
You aren’t expending unnecessary energy taming it, instead it lets you instinctively and naturally take lines, and push hard over techy terrain and through turns.
The ride is confident: hit a rough section of track with randomly placed bumps and it will behave predictably time and again. Likewise on jumps, regardless of take-off size and shape, it’s predictably and reliably going to behave in the same way.
This is great because it means you can just get on with the job of riding as fast, or as flamboyantly, as you want.
The suspension plays an integral part in this too. On medium to large hits, the fork and shock work together flawlessly, absorbing even the harshest impacts without so much as a whimper.
It’s also a doddle to set up thanks to the air springs. If the bike needs a quick fettle to get it back in check, it’s as easy as cracking out the shock pump for a re-tune.
There is a trade-off though. While the suspension is active, it doesn’t reach the levels of smoothness provided by bikes with more rearward axle paths. But it certainly does a great job of ironing out most square-edged hits with no fuss, and does the majority of the heavy lifting for you.
The adjustable wheelbase is a nice feature and relatively easy to use, with only two Allen keys required. However, I didn’t find that the shorter setting provided any benefit over the longer one. In fact, the long setting didn’t prove to be any less flickable than the shorter one and did offer a better balance overall.
There is a small amount of buzz through the bars, but this could be rectified by using a different set of grips or bars, and I didn’t feel that the bike’s chassis had any in-built harshness. Despite this bit of buzz and feedback, it is fair to say that it’s a very fast bike, and that’s the overriding sensation you get when you’re riding it. It just wants to go fast and will do so without raising every hair on your body.
It does struggle a bit on slightly flatter, slower-paced trails though. You need to lean quite far forwards over the bars to stop the front end feeling distant and like it wants to wander. I put this down to the geometry not being designed for flatter, slower tracks, and this comes as no surprise — the bike’s a downhill race machine, after all.
The spec is impeccable. The Code R brakes offer exceptional power with great modulation and are a clear step up from the Guide REs we see on other bikes in this price range.
SRAM’s GX DH drivetrain is fantastic and ideally suited to the bike. I was never left wanting for more than seven gears, and it means the chain can be kept shorter and the chain line is better.
The tubeless Maxxis Minion DHR II tyres performed as expected and I didn’t burp, rip the casing or puncture them. But if you’re living in a particularly damp country, you’re going to want to invest in some mud tyres.
I’d also be tempted to change Canyon’s G5 handle bar out for a different one. The bar’s shape makes them feel like they have down-sweep, which isn’t something I enjoyed.
However, all of these features add up to a solid performer that feels like it’s worth way more than the £2,999 / $4,799 asking price.
The Sender is a smooth, predictable machine that’s fantastic value for money. The geometry and suspension, coupled with the great spec, make it easy to ride fast, and if you’re a potential podium-topper, it’ll give you a great shot at your goals.
|Weight||16.6kg (L) – Without pedals|
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL|
|Tyres||Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip 27.5x2.4in|
|Shifter||SRAM GX DH|
|Seatpost||SDG I-Beam rigid|
|Rear shock||RockShox Vivid R2C|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM GX DH (1x7)|
|Bottom bracket||SRAM GXP|
|Frame||Carbon fibre, 200mm (7.9in) travel|
|Fork||RockShox BoXXer RC, 200mm (7.9in) travel|
|Cranks||Truvativ Descendant, 36t|
|Cassette||SRAM PG-720, 11-25t|
|Brakes||SRAM Code R, 200/180mm rotors|
|Wheels||DT Swiss FR 2020 rims on DT Swiss Hubs|