Canyon’s top-of-the-range Pathlite blends high-tech features with powerful and sophisticated motor assistance
- Hugely capable and powerful on and off road
- ABS braking and lots of other connected, app-controlled features
- Impressive range
Canyon is a German bike company that has a reputation for making e-bikes that are both high on performance and great value for money. At over £5,200, the Pathlite:On 9 LTD SUV can hardly be viewed as a value option but it’s the top-of-the-line model, which Canyon describes as “maximalist”, and top performance is very much on the cards.
In practice, the maximalist tag means you get Bosch’s most powerful motor and biggest battery alongside premium features such as wireless gear shifting and ABS braking. The bike also comes with Bosch’s Smart System, which is designed to deliver the very best in connectivity, including features such as voice navigation and “power tuning”.
The Pathlite:ON 9 LTD SUV is as feature-rich an e-bike as you’ll come across in today’s market.
Canyon Pathlite:ON 9 LTD SUV review: What do you get for the money?
At its core, the Canyon Pathlite:ON9 LTD SUV has what you’d want in any truly capable e-bike: a powerful and effective motor. In this case, it’s a Bosch Performance Line CX, which is rated at 250W of sustained power and delivers 85nm of torque for challenging hills, accompanied by a high-capacity 750Wh battery for all-day riding. But there’s so much more to the Pathlite:ON 9 LTD SUV than just its power train.
The top-end Pathlite also gets wireless electronic gear shifting in the form of the SRAM X01 Eagle AXS derailleur. This eliminates the need to use cables for shifting and promises less maintenance, too. There’s also Bosch’s latest ABS braking system, which is designed to give maximum control and prevent wheel lock up and lift in extreme braking conditions. In this case, it’s the “All Road” variant, which is designed to improve the safety and stability of braking for on- and off-road touring.
The system also delivers two new power settings in addition to the usual Eco and Turbo modes. “Tour+” delivers a bit of extra power over Eco when pedalling hard but throttles power back to Eco levels when that power isn’t needed. “Auto” mode, meanwhile, aims to keep your speed the same over different terrains and will be a little heavier on the battery. There’s also the ability to tweak the various aspects of the power output of each level using the Bosch e-Bike Flow smartphone app.
The bike’s Kiox 300 display has a crisp colour screen and displays core metrics such as speed, distance, riding time and range. However, it’s only when connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth that you unlock the full, high-tech potential of this e-bike.
Once you’ve connected your smartphone you can access a whole load more features, including the ability to follow your route on screen and get turn-by-turn instructions over audio. Routes can be synced from online apps Strava and Komoot or you can ask the Bosch e-Bike Flow app to plot a route for you and use that instead. There’s also an option to specify the bike with a smartphone grip if you prefer to use your own phone as a display instead of the Kiox 300.
The final major component of the Bosch Smart system on the Canyon is electronic locking. Not only does this mean automatic proximity unlocking when your phone is in range of the bike, it also means the bike will emit an alarm tone if the bike is disturbed or moved, send you a notification if the bike is moved and provide GPS tracking if it is stolen. The latter part is enabled by the bike’s integrated Bosch “Connect” module, which includes 12 months of connectivity for free. If you want access to the connected security features after that period, you’ll need a subscription of €4.99 per month.
In addition to all this high-end electronic tech, the Pathlite On9 Ltd SUV is also a superbly strong trekking and touring e-bike with a massively beefy frame, a 25kg rated pannier rack, powerful hardwired lights, sturdy alloy mudguards and a kickstand. There’s also 100mm of air suspension at the front and a dropper seatpost with some built-in suspension and tough-looking, high-quality knobbly tyres.
That means the Pathlite is capable of tackling a wide variety of off-road terrain, while retaining all the practical features that would make it ideal for the daily commute, too. The high-capacity battery also means it’s a suitable long-haul tourer and there’s even the option of an axle that will let you mount a Croozer trailer.
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Canyon Pathlite:ON 9 LTD SUV review: In use
I had a blast riding the Canyon Pathlite:ON 9. In the first place it does the basics extremely well, starting with tremendously effective and smooth mid-drive motor power.
I took the Pathlite on many miles of riding over roads and trails in my local and very steep riding area, where the Calder valley emerges from the eastern edge of the Pennines. Large volume tyres with grippy tread combined with that ABS braking and front and seatpost suspension systems meant this was one of the most capable yet sure-footed and safe e-bikes I’ve ridden, and it remains nice to ride even when the gradient gets steep.
Riding down one particularly steep cycle path, which is around a one in four gradient, while applying the front brakes harder than I would normally, I could actually feel the ABS braking locking then unlocking to prevent any wheel slippage. Conversely, there was so much power up ultra steep climbs that I occasionally induced unintended wheelies. Remember, you can tune the power down in the app if you find it too much.
The electronic gear shifting worked nicely, too, and traverses several gears at once with less of the “graunching” noises I’m used to with manual gears, even in challenging off-road conditions. Just make sure you keep the removable battery that comes with the gear unit topped up.
I also found the bike’s range over this demanding hill country was excellent, at around 50 miles during my testing. That’s pretty good when you consider I was using Auto and Turbo modes more than you would normally need for everyday road riding. The 4A charger that comes as standard is pretty quick to recharge the bike, too, and charging can be carried out on the bike or by removing the battery with the provided key and charging it separately.
The extra digital features take some time to set up and get to grips with because it’s just so capable. However, once I was used to the whole setup, I found it worked well, particularly the navigation function, whether I was asking the eBike Flow mapping function to pick a route for me or uploading my own route from Komoot. With my smartphone paired to the bike but in my pocket and with my wireless earbuds connected, it delivered clear and timely turn-by-turn directions, which was a useful safety improvement over having to look at directions displayed on a screen.
The remote locking and alarm features worked as expected, although if you don’t want to run the risk of having a bike you can’t use if your smartphone runs out of power, then it’s easy enough to turn the security functions off in the app.
The GPS tracking appeared to work well, too, at least within the immediate locality, although I didn’t go to the extremes of having someone “steal” it and drive it to the other end of the country.
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Canyon Pathlite:ON 9 LTD SUV review: Is there anything it could do better?
My only really substantive complaint about the Pathlite is the weight of 28.4kg. E-bikes are usually heavier than regular bikes for obvious reasons but this is considerably heavier than average, which is something to bear in mind if you see yourself needing to lug it up and down stairs at any point.
Perhaps less of a potential issue for daily users is the security alarm tone, which is rather polite and sounds more like a truck reversing than any kind of security system alarm. It’s better than nothing, but I’d prefer it to sound louder and more annoying than this, especially as the bike is so expensive.
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Canyon Pathlite:ON 9 LTD SUV review: Should you buy it?
Otherwise, this is a highly capable machine. It’s powerful enough to cope with all types of terrain, from the daily commute to steep off-road tracks, it’s stuffed with technological aids, comes with electronic shifting and ABS and it’s beautifully made, too. It’s a perfect fit for its self-adopted “SUV” moniker.
Like its four-wheeled SUV counterparts it’s also both heavy and very, very expensive. So, if paying out more than five grand on a bike is too much for you, the Pathlite range starts at a much more palatable £2,599 with the ON 4 SUV. That model has a smaller battery and lacks the wireless shifting and ABS braking of the model reviewed here but comes with the same powerful motor and a similar set of smart features.