This is a hard one for me as I have never ridden any other fat bike before or since. So in one way this is totally unbiased and in another it’s totally inexperienced!
To start, why did I pick the dude? Well… After having a bad accident on the road, I thought to myself, ‘I could do with something to slow the pace down a little and get off the tarmac’. So with a 2k budget I messaged the one person I knew had a very good understanding of these contraptions and straight away his reply was ‘go for the Canyon Dude’. That was it, I got straight on the internet and as luck would have it there was a sale starting, which meant I could get the higher spec model (not save a few quid!) and that was it, With blind faith I ordered a medium Canyon Dude CF9 Unlimited.
The wait was only 2 weeks (which I have read has been a factor for some people). My first impressions as the wheels came out of the box was that my mind couldn’t comprehend how big the 4.8″ Jumbo Jim tyres were or how light they were considering their magnitude!
First ride, I thought I would throw the book at it for this one and set off on a 120k door to door ride around the Peak District. Straight from the off I was impressed with how well it climbed and the transfer of power through the frame. It is stiffer than some of the very expensive road bikes I’ve ridden. After a few km of bombing through the woods I dropped down onto the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) next to, or what was, the earth centre in Conisbrough. I had sort of dreaded this bit as I really expected it to be a hard slog pushing these great big grippy tyres along the hard packed gravel for 35k. But once again, on looking down at my Garmin I was zinging along only a tiny bit slower than when I am on my gravel bike. How this is possible? I still can’t fathom it!
Next up was one of my favourite MTB sections, ‘Cut Gate’. Superb is all I can say, I’ve ridden over there numerous times on hardtails, full suss and a CX bike (don’t ask!) and according to Strava this was my fastest time over the full course and some of the sections, except the decent, which considering there’s no suspension at all you would expect this. The only thing I really noticed is that on some of the more severe climbs, with all that traction and such low gearing it was a little hard to keep it in a straight line. This is probably to do with having such a short stem coupled with the 760mm carbon bars, compared to what I’m used to and maybe quite a steep head angle. Onwards and around Ladybower Reservoir and my first experience of the ‘fatbike effect’. Those who have one know this and for those that don’t its like you are riding along naked, the strange and bewildered looks you get!
The rest was a continuation of miles and smiles, through Wymingbrook, up to Stanage pole, past Redmires, Houndkirk Moor, Whitely Woods and through Endcliffe Park to get on the 5 Weirs walk home. 123 kilometres, 5600ft of climbing and an average of 17kph.
Considering I went through a car window 4 months previously so I wasn’t at my fittest, I would put this down to the bike and not me.
To sum this bike up I would have to say, it is a fast go anywhere XC bike, that I have also loaded up with bikepacking gear since and it just carries on unnoticed. The gear change of the sram X01 is crisp and still hasn’t needed tweaking. I have since made the DT swiss BR2250 wheelset tubeless which has not only saved weight but also improved the rolling resistance. The Fizik Tundra seat for me is a bit ‘meh’, I can put up with it but will change it at some point. Also since this first summer outing I’ve noticed that while the JJ tyres are rapid in the dry and gravel they have very little traction in proper muddy conditions.
Considering I was mainly a tarmac man this bike has really swung me. I was very worried that spunking that kind of cash on a bit of whim might have ended up with me having a very expensive garage ornament, but I’ve totally altered my cycling life just to get out on the Dude, from 200k bikepacking epics to 10mins around the woods with the dog I don’t think I’ve had a bad one.
I am also not sure if this is a bike review or how I’ve fallen for a fat bike, would I still be in the same predicament if I had bought a different bike? who knows?