Your complete guide to Canyon’s 2017 road bikes
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 – riding 1.jpg
Germany’s Canyon Bicycles has carved a sizeable chunk of the market for itself over the past few years partly – although certainly not exclusively – thanks to a direct-to-consumer sales model that allows it to offer excellent value for money.
The pricing is backed up by bikes that are the real deal. It does its own product development in-house in Koblenz and it is one of only two brands (Specialized being the other) to support two World Tour teams: Katusha-Alpecin and Movistar.
The Canyon road bike line-up is huge. We make it 82 models (including framesets) at the moment, plus another four cyclocross models. That lot could be difficult to navigate but there are essentially three different types of bike:
• Aeroad: aero road bike.
• Ultimate: lightweight road bike.
• Endurace: endurance road bike.
The Ultimate and Endurace are further sub-divided into different platforms. The Endurace, for example, comes in an AL version, a CF version, a CF SL version, and a CF SLX version (see Jargon Buster below).
Then, within each of those categories there are models in various different builds, each given a different number, so you end up with a name like the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 8.0. The higher the number, the higher the level of spec, 10.0 being the highest.
Oh, and Canyon now offers most of its platforms with flat mount hydraulic disc brakes, with 12mm thru axles front and rear and 160mm rotors (except for the 2XS size).
Keeping up? Good.
Here’s a quick jargon buster before we get cracking:
CF SL Carbon-fibre Super Light
CF SLX Carbon-fibre Super Light Extreme
Disc/Aero Denotes changes to componentry
Wmn Female frame/unisex frame with women’s components
Right, let’s get into some of the highlights.
The Aeroad is Canyon’s aero road bike – as you could probably work out from the name – so it’s up against the likes of the Giant Propel, Trek Madone and Scott Foil.
Keeping things simple, there’s just one Aeroad platform in the range: the second generation Aeroad CF SLX, available in rim brake and disc brake versions.
We reviewed the disc brake version earlier in the year. We had the 8.0 build (£4,499) with Shimano’s second tier Ultegra groupset in Di2 (electronic) format.
“With its Trident 2.0 tube profiles (essentially a cut-off aerofoil, Kamm tail shape) and skinny head tube and fork blades, the Aeroad is a fast bike,” we said. “Even without a wind tunnel at hand, it’s clear out on the road that it’s an aerodynamically efficient bike. The drag is further reduced by fully internal hose and wire routing, even including around the handlebar with Canyon’s own one-piece setup providing a very clean and uncluttered front-end.
Like the rim brake version, the Aeroad CF SLX Disc is built to an aggressive geometry. This is, after all, a bike with a focus on speed. We still found it to be comfortable, especially by aero road bike standards.
If you can do without Di2, the mechanical shifting version of the Aeroad CF SLX Disc 8.0 (above) is £3,799. Yes, that’s still a big chunk of cash but this is bike that’s built around a World Tour level frameset.
When we reviewed the rim brake Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 6.0 last year (this model is no longer available although the frameset is unchanged) we described it as “fast, exciting and comfortable, an aero bike that easily justifies its price tag.”
“Aero road bikes have traditionally been compromised,” we said. “They are fast, yes, no doubt about that, but you have to sacrifice the low weight and comfort of a regular road bike. With the Aeroad, that’s simply not the case: it’s wonderfully compliant and forgiving over rough roads, and at 7.31kg, even in this cheapest build, it ascends like a mountain goat – you’ll not be wishing for a lighter bike on steeper gradients, that’s for sure.
“But the impression that is most imprinted on your memory after a ride on the Aeroad is just how quick it feels, and how direct and engaging the handling is.”
The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 6.0 was built up with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Exalith WTS wheels. The model closest to that in the current range is the 8.0 (above) with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Reynolds Strike carbon clinchers. Priced £3,249, it’s the least expensive complete Aeroad you can buy.
The range goes right up to the £7,599 Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 Ltd (above) with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and 58mm deep Zipp 404 carbon clinchers. That’s some seriously high-end equipment.
Buy if: You want a pro-level aero frameset with an impressive spec for the money.
The Ultimates are designed to be lightweight and stiff race bikes with some aero features. There are four different framesets, each available in several different builds.
Ultimate CF Evo
The Evo is the super-high-end version of the Ultimate CF (below) – extremely light thanks to high-grade carbon fibre and a careful laying up process – and built up with boutique components.
Canyon boasts that the Ultimate CF Evo weighs just 935g. That’s not for the frame, it’s the frame and fork together! The frameset, which comes with Canyon’s own H36 aero handlebar and stem and S14 carbon-fibre seatpost, is priced £2,949.
There are only two complete Ultimate CF Evos available, the least expensive of which is the 10.0 SL (above) at a piffling £8,999. It comes fitted with SRAM’s top-level Red groupset, Lightweight’s Meilenstein Obermayer wheels, and brakes and cranks from THM.
Canyon says that this model (with a compact chainset, presumably to keep the weight as low as possible) weighs a ridiculously light 5.1kg. It’s really a bike to grab the headlines, though. We can’t see Canyon selling too many of these.
The Ultimate CF Evo is available with rim brakes only; there’s no disc brake version.
Buy if: You want a super-light race bike with boutique parts… and you have a lot of cash to spend.
Ultimate CF SLX
We reviewed the rim brake Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 (below, now £4,099 in a slightly different build) last year and said, “Bang for buck, you’ll struggle to find a better race machine… Even taking value out of the equation, you’ll be hard pressed to beat the weight and performance of the German company’s ‘all-round’ racer.”
Stiffness through the wide press-fit bottom bracket is impressive so every pedal revolution transfers directly into speed. We also like the fact that the Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 is so lightweight. We measured it at 6.53kg which is below the UCI’s minimum limit for racing, so even the most challenged climbers aren’t going to have problems on the ascents.
We were impressed by the bike’s comfort too. Canyon uses an integrated seatpost clamp with an adjustment bolt that sits between the seatstays as they merge into the seat tube. This leaves a lot of exposed seatpost that flexes under load. At times you can feel the seatpost flexing, which can be a little disconcerting, but it does mean you don’t feel battered by rough roads.
The most affordable Ultimate CF SLX complete bike is the 8.0 (above). £2,999 bags you a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Mavic’s very good Ksyrium Pro Exalith SL WTS wheels (which offer excellent braking, although they chew through brake pads quickly).
SRAM and Campagnolo builds are available too. The £4,999 Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 Ltd (above), for example, is built up with Campag’s top-level Super Record groupset and Bora One 35 wheels.
We reviewed the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 (above, £4,399) earlier this year and were as impressed as we were with the rim brake version. We said it offers the same brilliant performance and handling, and benefits from improved braking in all weathers. The comfort is still there too.
“Though it’s an out-and-out race bike, it’s not harsh and punishing even when riding along rough roads,” we said.
On the downside, the disc brake version is heavier and more expensive than a rim brake alternative, but if you want a race bike with disc brakes, this is one of the best choices on the market right now.
Canyon offers both the disc brake and rim brake versions of the CF SLX in women’s models. It’s not just the components that are different – such as women’s-specific saddles – the frames are built to different geometries too. The most affordable women’s model is the £3,599 Ultimate Wmn CF SLX 8.0 Di2 (above), with Shimano Ultegra electronic shifting.
Buy if: You’re after a lightweight, stiff and responsive race bike that offers a high level of comfort too.
Ultimate CF SL
The Ultimate CF SL has features of the Ultimate CF SLX but it’s actually quite a different frame. The down tube is a completely different shape, for example, and the seatpost is held in place by an external rather than an internal clamp.
The Ultimate CF SL is heavier too. Canyon claims a weight of 940g for the rim brake frame in a size medium compared to just 790g for the equivalent Ultimate CF SLX. That’s still pretty lightweight, though.
On the other hand, the CF SL models are a lot cheaper for comparable spec, and if bought alone the frameset is less than half the price (£1,049 versus £2,199).
The most affordable complete bike is the £1,349 Ultimate CF SL 7.0 (above) which is built up with Shimano’s mid-range 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels. Other very good components include a Fizik Antares R7 saddle and Continental Grand Prix 4000S tyres. This looks superb value for money.
Ultimate CF SL Disc models start with the £1,799 8.0 (above). This is a Shimano 105/ Mavic Aksium spec too.
There are no women’s specific disc models but there are three rim brake bikes to choose from kicking off with Shimano Ultegra-equipped Ultimate Wmn CF SL 9.0 (above) at £1,849.
Buy if: You’re looking for a lightweight race bike and don’t want to pay top-end pricing.
Ultimate AL SLX
Many people think that a carbon-fibre frame is necessarily better than an aluminium frame. They’re wrong. Carbon allows manufacturers to produce bikes that are amazingly stiff for their weight, but aluminium is still a great frame material, particularly when you’re trying to make a price point.
The Ultimate AL SLX is built to the same Sport Pro geometry as the carbon bikes and features Canyon’s Maximus seat tube. It bulges out on the non-driveside to increase the cross-sectional area, but not on the driveside so as not to interfere with the drivetrain. Canyon reckons that this increases the lateral stiffness of the frame in the bottom bracket area significantly.
The frame has a claimed weight of 1,170g (size medium) while Canyon’s full-carbon One One Four SLX fork that slots in at the front is 295g.
There are only three complete bikes in the Ultimate AL SLX range. The cheapest of these is the 9.0 (above) at £1,699 with Shimano’s second tier Ultegra groupset and very good Mavic Ksyrium Elite WTS wheels.
The carbon fibre-framed Ultimate CF SL 9.0, priced £1,849, has exactly the same components, so you’re essentially paying £150 extra for the carbon-fibre frame. Bearing in mind that if bought as a frameset only the difference in price is £350 (£699 versus £1,049), we’d say you’re getting a better deal if you stump up the extra cash for the Ultimate CF SL 9.0 in this instance.
The Ultimate AL SLX isn’t available in disc or women’s specific models.
Buy if: You want a fast and lively aluminium road bike with a strong spec for the money.
The Endurace bikes are designed for endurance riding – the clue’s in the name! – so they’re built to geometries that are more relaxed than those of the Aeroads or Ultimates meaning that you’ll sit more upright in the saddle.
The Endurace CF SLX and Endurace CF SL bikes are available in disc brake versions only, the Endurace CF is rim brake only, and the Endurace AL has both disc brake and rim brake models.
Endurace CF SLX
We reviewed the Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL (now £5,199) here on road.cc last year.
We said that it offers “a wonderfully smooth and comfortable ride yet with fast and engaging handling to indulge all those who like to ride quickly.”
The Endurace CF SLX looks pretty sporty for an endurance bike. That’s partly because Canyon has added some of the front-end height through the fork rather than the head tube.
It’s the smoothness that’s the key feature, though. The two-part VCLS 2.0 seatpost provides a huge range of rearward deflection at the saddle – you can actually see the saddle moving underneath you when you look.
The fact that Canyon sites the seat clamp inside the frame allows more of the seatpost to flex back and forth, ramping up the available deflection.
The H31 Ergocockpit integrated handlebar/stem is designed to reduce the bike’s frontal area and it has also been tuned to provide more compliance.
Although the Endurace’s geometry is more relaxed than the Ultimate’s, it’s more agile and nimble than many rival endurance bikes.
Our review bike was fitted with a top-end Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL Disc wheels, but you can get less expensive specs. The most affordable complete Endurace CF SLX is the 8.0 at £3,899. This model has a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Reynolds Assault carbon wheels.
Buy if: You want a wonderfully smooth and comfortable endurance disc road bike with plenty of pace on tap.
Endurace CF SL
The Endurace CF SL frame is 200g heavier than the SLX’s but at 1,020g it’s still a decent weight for a disc brake endurance design.
Like the Endurace CF SLX bikes, most of the SLs benefit from Canyon’s two-part leaf-spring VCLS seatpost that works brilliantly to smooth the ride. The only exception is the entry-level model: the £1,799 women’s specific Wmn CF SL Disc 7.0.
The 8.0 (above), also £1,799, looks killer value with a Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium Disc wheels. You don’t get the H31 Ergocockpit combined bar and stem at this price, but you still get high-quality components like a Fizik Ardea saddle and Continental Grand Prix 4000S tyres.
Buy if: You want plenty of comfort and the all-weather assurance of disc brakes
The Endurace CF is a rim brake frameset that has been in Canyon’s range for a few years now.
This is a bike that feels really settled at speed but sparkles when you turn up the power through the corners or up the climbs. It feels closer to a race bike than many of its peers, but it’s definitely more comfortable and easier to manage on longer rides, especially towards the end when you’re a bit tired and your reactions are a bit slower.
The most affordable model is the £1,329 7.0 (available in both standard and women’s-specific versions, above), Canyon’s entry-level carbon bike. With a Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic’s high value Aksium wheels, it offers a lot for your money.
Buy if: You want a carbon-fibre endurance bike and have decided on rim brakes
Canyon added disc brake models to its Endurace AL aluminium lineup earlier this year but we’ve not had the chance to ride any yet. You get the same 12mm thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes as you do on the carbon Endurace disc bikes, clearance for wide tyres and fully internal cable routing.
The frame weighs a claimed 1,350g for a size medium, which is a decent weight for aluminium and compares favourably with lightweight aluminium frames from Kinesis and Trek.
Canyon has tried to maximise compliance by using specially shaped and very slender seatstays while there’s the now familiar Maximus seat tube to provide lateral frame stiffness. The seat tube accommodates a 27.2mm seatpost and Canyon specs a carbon fibre S23 VCLS seatpost with 25mm of setback.
The £1,499 Endurace AL Disc 7.0 (available in both standard and women’s-specific versions, above) has a seriously impressive spec, decked out in a Shimano Ultegra groupset, Shimano RS685 hydraulic disc brakes and DT Swiss R24 Spline wheels.
Rim brake Endurace ALs are still available, the cheapest of these being the 5.0 (above), available in both standard and women’s-specific versions for £799. You get a complete Shimano Tiagra groupset and branded components from the likes of Selle Italia and Continental.
Buy if: You’re after a road bike in an endurance geometry and don’t want to spend top-end prices