Canyon Speedmax CF 9 £2507.94

Aggressive yet comfortable ride

BikeRadar score 5/5

Canyon are one of the biggest direct-selling brands in Germany. Judging by the outstanding performance and value of the Speedmax 9.0, they deserve to be equally popular in the UK.

The CF 9 isn't the lightest bike at this price but its stiffness, speed appetite and precision handling aren't just inspirational, they're inescapable. Add long-haul comfort and great-value kit, and the Canyon opens a yawning chasm over the competition.

Ride & handling: Outstanding power delivery, precision and surprising comfort

Most bikes take at least a few pedal turns before they start to reveal their personality. However, the Canyon is already transmitting its total commitment to destroying your personal bests with the first hand on the bars and crisper than usual snap of the cleat into pedal.

The deep slab sided mainframe and monster chainstays echo and rumble like a taxiing jet fighter as you trickle towards the open road, and then it unleashes. Despite relatively heavy wheels (6.12lb/ 2,780g) and overall bike weight (19.2lb/8.71kg), the Speedmax picks up speed like a rocket.

It’s not so much the initial snap but the overwhelming sense that you’re unleashing a vast depth of speed potential. Once those Mavic Cosmic Carbon SL wheels are rolling, you’ll be clicking the Shimano Dura-Ace gears up and up through the range in a ratio crescendo.

There’s no loss of acceleration as you heave yourself onto the monster carbon fibre chainring either. Shoulder- to-foot and foot-to-tarmac power transmission through the huge bottom bracket and super-deep crankarms is granite solid and utterly inspiring.

Whether you’re squeezing a big gear out of a small corner, muscling over a short climb or spinning a high cadence blur with screaming legs, there’s a permanent sense of a big helping hand shoving you down the road.

The aerodynamics of frame and wheelhugger at the back, plus an aggressive body position mean this power surge carries on to a cruising speed well above our test average on flat or rolling terrain too.

Luckily the Speedmax manages the fact that corners and braking markers arrive faster than usual with clinical precision too. At slow speeds the sharp, quick-witted steering and far-forward rider position are slightly nervy and we were worried it might be a widow-maker at high speed.

But plummeting down twisting back roads in the Dales or staying locked into the aerobars on big sweeping corners there’s no hint of malice or sudden steering-snap murder, holding a line and railing round turns with total assurance.

There’s also comfort at high speed. At slow speeds on rough roads, the deep frame and wheels suggest a punishing ride. Assume the position and push the speed up past 20mph though and it genuinely starts to glide, leaving the saddle and arm pads vibration – and fatigue-free.

Frame & equipment: Quality chassis plus superb brand-name kit

The quality of the frameset is obvious. Canyon don’t save money with riveted-on cable stops – instead there are neat inserts for full internal cable routing. The horizontal wheel adjusters get thumbwheel stop screws and the rounded two-bolt seat clamp dovetails into place for minimum drag.

The deep section down tube expands into a webbed fin, which flows into a full wheel wrap aero seat tube. Bladed seatstays keep turbulence tamed at the trailing edge. The oversized bottom bracket and deep rectangular chainstays mean no shortage of stiffness, and full-carbon forks provide a light, stiff, aero threat up front.

Despite the fact the frameset and forks alone cost €1,999 Canyon have used the lack of a shop mark-up in the price to create a jaw-dropping complete bike for the money. The Vision carbon time trial cranks alone are worth £650, but the stiffness they add is worth their substantial near kilo weight and helps you grunt the big rings up climbs.

Mavic’s rock solid Cosmic Carbone deep-section wheels aren’t light either but, together with Continental Triathlon tyres, underline the pedigree and performance intent of the bike. Shimano’s top Dura-Ace group provides rear mech, shifters and brake levers, with brake callipers and front mech from the Ultegra family.

Canyon have stayed with proven brand-name kit for the widely adjustable Profile cockpit and Selle Italia’s flabby-looking (but Ironman-comfortable) NT1 saddle.

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