Team Rider Justin Brigandi's Canfield Balance Review
So let’s get a few things off the table, I do ride for Canfield, and I was fully informed about how great this bike was. That said, of course, I was skeptical, I love the bros and all of the bikes they make, but it would not be the first time a bike company said that their bike had the best pedaling ability and strength. I reserved my own opinion for when I received mine. After a bit of a delay, the balances landed stateside and I started to hear how great they were from the west coast riders, no surprise as Canfield has a great following for making very unique products. Not the type of product you would expect to get from a big company, the types of products we all wish into fruition but never expect to see since only a small audience would appreciate them. Canfield to the rescue.
The balance arrives, packed in dunkaroos! (thanks vin!) We are immediately off to a great start. I build it up and it weighs only 31.02 pounds. Not bad! The build was a higher-end build of mostly light parts but nothing crazy. 165 Canfield cranks, Pike fork and tubeless set up 26” i9 wheels. Renthal 780 uncut cockpit and a dropper post, a DH’rs trail bike.
Late in the evening, we finish the bike and it’s off to the trail for a night ride. First thing is first, the pedaling is unreal. It’s not the rigid hardtail feel you think you want but really is not ideal. It’s more of the ground sticking feeling you get on a 250F. It makes no sense, and it is hard to try to put it in writing. You get no bob, no loss of power, just unbelievable traction climbing up the steepest and loosest climbs you can find. It can only be described as Eerie. There really is no other bike I have ever ridden that feels like this. For all of you Jedi riders, it is as alarming as the first time you ride rearward. As the ride goes on it is pretty normal, definitely lighter than the previous bike I came off of, also a bit snappier in the corners. (at least on 26s) While there were not many descents worth of being called DH trails, it rode spectacular and made me really curious how well it would rip the DH stuff. The small taste I got seemed promising, but the lightweight billy goat still can’t rip DH can it? 11 at night, the ride is over. Just under 9 miles on rock tech and the balance delivered. Let’s hit the bike park tomorrow.
Still, a bit reserved on the way up to Mountain Creek Bike Park I leave Vin a voicemail asking if he is sure I can send this bike like they tell me I can. For reference, I am a 230 lb Half-ass Pro DH’r. Not the smoothest but willing to go big. By the time I arrive at the park I have a text. “yeah dude send it.” GAME ON. First run up the lift and its right to jumps. My shock tune is stock at the moment, but it jumps very well and really feels quite endless. Most of this is due to design over tune IMO. After a few runs of getting used to it, we head over to the bigger drops and start checking them off the list. Pipeline, Flume, Phantom, and Covenant. Covy is about 15 feet, not bad for a trail bike...After realizing that not only is it DH strong, but it rides pretty good, I grab some of my DH buddies and we start lighting up the DH trails. First up is a very rocky, but pretty flat DH trail, worked great, especially considering it has only 160mm of travel. After this, we head to DMLH (death metal lunch hour) which is the crazy stage 5 of the MCBP enduro. While this is some of the choppiest gnarliest DH on the mountain, the bike handled it with ease. I ultimately ended up flatting in ripper, so the single-ply tires are not quite up to the task the frame is. I am not going to go say how this trail bike is so good it’s a DH bike. It is not a DH bike, but it is DH capable. I am going to say that I just took my 31lb XC bike to the bike park, and slayed the nastiest of the DH on it and hit the biggest drops in the park. The perfect Balance.