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2017 Canfield Balance – First Impressions

Words Jon Harris
Photos Jon Harris
Date Jan 24, 2017

I got to ride the first iteration of the modern Balance when it was released in 2014. Last year the frame had a nip and tuck job done with a bump in travel (165 millimeters), a slight stretch to the top tube and a drop in the bottom bracket height. The suspension gubbins also got tweaked along with a lower leverage ratio and a bigger kick up ramp at the end of stroke for a more progressive feel on the big hits. Add in an all-new CNC’ded upper link, a redesigned rear triangle to improves tire clearance, and the tweaked frame is full of improved details.

2017 Canfield Balance.

From a distance it’s hard to see the changes made to the new frame over the previous version. It’s a nip and tuck job but it’s all been done to bring the Balance in line with contemporary thinking.

Canfield doesn’t like to use the word Enduro, but this bike is aimed at that market. It’s designed to be an aggressive bike for ripping anything you throw at it, be that the bike park or grunting up to get to some big alpine descent.

2017 Canfield Balance.

And here’s a closer look.

We got sent a frame and a few key components to build up the bike, although Canfield does offer full builds with varying specs. That means this build is a bit of a mish-mash of parts that I had on hand or needed to be tested as you will see.

2017 Canfield Balance.

The rear suspension is a dual link design but one that differs enough from others that it is patented. The Canfield Balance Formula suspension as it is named, promises efficient pedaling with minimal pedal feedback.

The retro-riffic colour combination of this frame sends me back to the days when I had a poster of Han’s Ray on his GT Zaskar. It definitely stands out from the crowd of carbon frames available today.

2017 Canfield Balance.

A closer look at those purple anodized links. The frame is available in either this Factory Raw finish or anodized black with a choice of link colours. This frame has welds for days.

2017 Canfield Balance.

The Balance is our test sled for the Formula 35 fork. This fork is set up with 170mm of travel. Formula supplied the fork with a set of purple decals and I’m undecided if I should go for the full matchy-matchy with the links or leave it like it is right now.

2017 Canfield Balance.

Proudly made in Italy, the Formula 35 warrants a separate review which it will get soon. Suffice to say so far I’m very impressed.

Crampon Mountain pedals." src="/media/original_images/IMG_20170112_152403.jpgw1600" alt="2017 Canfield Balance." data-recalc-dims="1" />

Mud clearance on the rear triangle is plentiful. Canfield thoughtfully supplied a matching pair of their new Crampon Mountain pedals.

2017 Canfield Balance.

The head angle sits at a slack 65 degrees which clarifies the intentions of this bike. On this Large frame the reach is an accommodating 460mm. The seat angle sits at 75.5 degrees which puts me in a nice position over the pedals when it’s time to climb.

2017 Canfield Balance.

You can choose shocks from Cane Creek, DVO or Push. The Cane Creek DB Air has a lot of adjustability, but there is a good base set up on Canfield’s website as a starting point. The chainstays are nice and short at 16.5″ and contribute to the way the Balance rides.

2017 Canfield Balance.

More of those welds and the burly head tube gusset. This frame is built for abuse and doesn’t hide its intentions.

2017 Canfield Balance.

The iconic Canfield headtube badge.

I thoroughly enjoyed my brief time with the previous version of the Balance (I even owned a Canfield Lucky back in the noughties), so I’m happy to have this Balance under me for a longer period this time. That short rear end made the previous version really playful and easy to place, so with a little more length to stabilize the bike at speed, I’m expecting to scare myself on this bike.

2017 Canfield Balance Features

  • Ÿ27.5” Aggressive All Mountain / 165mm travel
  • Ÿ7005 aluminum with an all new, stiff CNC’d upper link
  • ŸPatented Canfield Balance Formula Suspension
  • Ÿ216mm x 63mm shock included*
  • Ÿ142 x 12mm rear dropouts, axle included
  • ŸTapered headtube
  • Ÿ15mm pivot bearings
  • ŸReplaceable rear derailleur hanger, spare hanger included
  • ŸAnodized and factory raw frame options
  • ŸAvailable in Small, Medium, Large and X-Large

The Balance is available on Canfield’s webstore as a frame only or a factory build. The frame only starts at $2099 USD with full builds starting around the $4500 USD mark. You can pick through your options on frame colour, link colour and choose shocks from Cane Creek, DVO or Push.


Up for some rowdy lines?

Comments

wacek-keepshack
0
Wacek Keepshack  - Jan. 27, 2017, 10:26 a.m.

Freaking cool bike! I love this thing about not mentioning Enduro. A smart move… yet… it exposes how ridiculous we are and unaware of our own motives. Why? Because people haaaate trends and fashions soooo much. And that makes the devil smile. Because the triendiest and most fashionable thing in Mountain Biking these days is… laughing at Enduro and whining everytime some company mentions it. No.. Enduro wasn't created by the industry, it was a big unlabeled bag of grey matter of people who rode bicycles in off road terrain, who sucked at racing. No it had nothing to do with sucking at XC or DH. It had to do with sucking at racing, sucking at riding. But since Enduro became a big sport they got exposed. They sucked at Enduro racing. Because what else than racing points whether you can or cannot ride a bike? In 2003 they would have called themselves Freeriders. Freeride competitons went off, so by 2010 they were calling themselves Enduro riders. Now they ride Trail bikes… marketing only exploits the weakness and vanity. You won't grow such a huge tree with golden apples like Enduro out of nothing… Funny, humans are funny.

Reply

whatyouthink
0
whatyouthink  - Jan. 25, 2017, 6:21 a.m.

what changed with 2017? seems like all the same details as my 2016? freaking delicious bicycle though. i put a push 11-6 on mine and it is like the rebirth of the freeride bike.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 25, 2017, 11:04 a.m.

This isn't any different than the one introduced late last year.

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - Jan. 25, 2017, 4:18 p.m.

There is a difference between them , they just updated the tube set , can,t remember where i read it .

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 25, 2017, 5:31 a.m.

Weight? I'd own a Riot if the frame wasn't so heavy. Hopefully the carbon Riot comes out in 2018 and is competitive in its class.

Reply

whatyouthink
0
whatyouthink  - Jan. 25, 2017, 6:23 a.m.

my balance is somewhere up near 35 pounds i think. the weight really doesn't bug me. it has obvious intentions

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 25, 2017, 6:40 a.m.

The Riot is 1.5lbs heavier than a comparable trail bike frame I just bought and it's not tougher or stiffer. That's just less optimized design/engineering. Not everyone cares about frame weight. I do.

Reply

whatyouthink
0
whatyouthink  - Jan. 25, 2017, 6:58 a.m.

my balance is my bike park bike. i have had carbon, it is lighter but those rock strikes freak me out… rock vs plastic i cringe and pull over to inspect. rock vs balance i apologize to the rock.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Jan. 25, 2017, 7:14 a.m.

Fair enough if you are taking a lift up weight isn't much of an issue and can actually be beneficial. I was comparing metal to metal, but if you add Shelter Tape to a carbon frame in critical areas it's tougher than any AL frame and way lighter.

I also ride up so I can go down. I don't do bike parks or shuttles.

Reply

whatyouthink
0
whatyouthink  - Jan. 25, 2017, 9:24 a.m.

oh i climb it too. i am not a fast climber so it just doesn't phase me. but you know what feels good passing someone who is on a 25 pound carbon xc bike while i am on a nearly 7 inch travel monster truck. and it does happen.

Reply

psychosquirrel
0
psychosquirrel  - Jan. 25, 2017, 9:22 a.m.

My balance is around that also (2015), but it really has a stable peddling platform. I often also ride a carbon tracer under 30lb and I honestly don't have any more trouble pedaling the Balance. I love the stability descending. Demo'd the 16 and it was even more stable and fast. Don't let the weight scare you.

Reply

jonathan-harris
0
Jonathan Harris  - Jan. 25, 2017, 9:25 a.m.

I will throw the bike onto my scale tonight but I seem to recall it being around 33lbs when I first weighed it. Given that the bike was built with a mish-mash of parts, it's not running tubeless and there are some obvious components that could be lighter, I think that is reasonable.

Reply

rivs
0
Rivs  - Jan. 25, 2017, 12:45 a.m.

Awesome looks good , but where do I put my water bottle .

Reply

Killingtonvt
0
Vin Quenneville  - Jan. 25, 2017, 2:26 p.m.

The 2017's have a water bottle mount at the bottom of the downtube, (The frame tested was a 2016).

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - Jan. 25, 2017, 4:21 p.m.

yup my thoughts as well , some changes to the top tube shape and it looks like one could fit in there , the GG Trail Pistol is a perfect example of what could be done

Reply

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