Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 £2639

As ridden by the Omega Pharma Lotto team

BikeRadar score 5/5

Before we go any further, look again at that price: £2639 for the same frame, fork and seatpost as ridden by the Omega Pharma Lotto team in 2010.

Throw in a full Dura-Ace groupset and Ksyrium Elite wheels, not to mention a Ritchey bar and stem and a Selle Italia SLR saddle, and what does that all add up to? Quite possibly the biggest bargain of 2011.

The Canyon Ultimate isn’t just great value, it’s also a great ride. The bike reacts to pedal input instantly, and responds to steering input and body shifts just as quickly. This bike wills you to go faster, to push yourself that bit harder and really ride on the limit. Compared with its rivals here it is a little less refined, but for fast blasts and out of the saddle thrashing it’s the perfect machine.

On longer rides the brilliant VCLS seatpost takes the sting out of rougher roads – the basalt/carbon mix of material offering a high level of flex that delivers bags of comfort in a way we haven’t encountered from any other carbon post on the market.

Up front it’s a little less refined, with a bit more buzz transmitted through the handlebar. It’s not in any way uncomfortable, just more noticeable than the super-smooth Scapin or the Time’s magic carpet ride. But the Ultimate is such a pure racer’s bike with such great qualities, we’d be more than happy with it at twice the price.

What makes the Ultimate special?

Seatpost

Canyon’s own design, the VCLS seatpost weaves in basalt fibres. Basalt has four times the elasticity of carbon and you can really feel the flex through the seat of your pants. If your bike feels a bit harsh out back, this could be the answer.

Seat-tube

Another design patented by Canyon, the seat-tube tapers sharply from narrow at the top to thick and offset at the bottom bracket, which is massively oversized for stiffness but hollow to keep weight to a minimum.

Headset

Canyon’s clever i-Lock headset system eliminates the need for a traditional internal bung and tapered interface, meaning the carbon steerer is free of stresses or potential damage from a badly fitted headset or over-clamping.

Drivetrain

Normally we wouldn’t make a fuss about a full Shimano Dura-Ace groupset on an out and out superbike, but to have the full complement on a superbike that only costs £2600? That really is something to shout about.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.

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