Canyon finally releases the new Aeroad | Lighter, more integrated and faster than ever

Lighter, more aero, disc-only and lots of hidden tricks for the 2021 Canyon Aeroad

Mathieu van der Poel riding the new Canyon Aeroad

After months of teasing in Zwift adverts and at pro races, the new 2021 Canyon Aeroad has finally been officially released.

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With more than four years of development behind it, in conjunction with aero experts Swiss Side, Canyon has boldly claimed the new Aeroad to be the “fastest race bike on the market”.

Replacing the old Aeroad CF SLX and CF SL models, the new 2021 Aeroad is disc-only and includes a new CFR tier at the top of the range, with CF SLX and CF SL models below it.

In its lightest guise, the Aeroad CFR Di2 is claimed to weigh 7.26kg, but even the cheapest models are said to weigh under 8kg.

Available to purchase on Canyon’s website now, prices start at £3,399 / €3,299 / $3,349 for the most affordable CF SL build and rise to £9,299 / €8,999 / $9,099 for the most expensive CFR build.

For a full breakdown of all the available builds and price points, see our overview at the end of the article.

Want to know how the new Aeroad rides? Check out our full 2021 Canyon Aeroad CFR Di2 review.

2021 Canyon Aeroad | Here’s what you need to know

  • Disc-only aero road bike, with new CFR halo range, plus CF SLX and CF SL tiers
  • Top-spec CFR model weighs a claimed 7.26kg for a size medium
  • Claimed frame weights: CFR 915g, CF SLX 990g, CF SL 996g
  • Developed in conjunction with aero experts Swiss Side
  • Claimed to be an average of 5.4w more aerodynamically efficient than the old Aeroad at 45kph
  • Geometry updated to be slightly less aggressive and match Canyon’s lightweight race bike, the Ultimate
  • Integrated cockpit with adjustable handlebar width at CFR and CF SLX levels
  • Clearance for 30mm tyres
  • A women’s-specific build is available at CF SL level
  • Prices from £3,399 / €3,299 / AU$5,149 to £9,299 / €8,999 / AU$14,099

Aero and light enough

While some brands are going down the route of converging their aero and lightweight bikes into one do-it-all package (such as Specialized with its Tarmac SL7), Canyon has focused on making the new Aeroad as aerodynamically efficient as possible. The Ultimate remains Canyon’s lightweight platform.

That doesn’t mean it has ignored weight concerns, though. The top-of-the-range CFR models are said to use Canyon’s most advanced carbon fibre manufacturing techniques, to reduce weight and bring the new Aeroad as close to the 6.8kg UCI weight limit as possible.

Canyon Aeroad CFR
The new Aeroad is light enough to convince pro climbers such as Warren Barguil and Alejandro Valverde to ride it in the mountains.
Canyon / Tino Pohlmann

On top of that, increased use of proprietary parts and components means Canyon has been able to reduce the Aeroad’s total system weight by optimising those parts solely for the bike, rather than for more general use.

The net effect is that the Aeroad CFR frameset is 168g lighter than the outgoing CF SLX version, according to Canyon. That includes the seatpost, cockpit and small parts such as the seatpost and steerer tube clamps.

The Aeroad CFR frame alone weighs a claimed 915g, according to Canyon, down from 1,010g for the old Aeroad CF SLX.

The new (and now second-tier) CF SLX frame has a claimed frame weight of 990g, while the CF SL comes in at 996g. If that seems like a small jump between the second and third-tier frames, Canyon says that’s a result of the reduced hardware required for the CF SLX’s fully integrated cockpit.

Specced with 62mm, tubeless-ready carbon wheels, our size medium Aeroad CFR Di2 test bike weighs 7.3kg, with bottle cages and the included GPS computer mount – indicating it would be possible to build it as a sub-7kg aero bike with lighter wheels.

As for the frame, from the outside the changes are quite subtle. The most obvious is that the kammtail aerofoil tube shapes have, across the board, been made wider and deeper than before.

This, Canyon claims, improves the Aeroad’s aerodynamic efficiency across a wide range of yaw angles, and even enables it to harness the ‘sailing effect’ in certain situations where the frameset acts as a sail and the bike is essentially pushed along by the wind.

The Aeroad is specced with Continental GP5000 clincher tyres at every level, with a 25mm tyre on the front and a 28mm tyre on the rear.

According to Canyon, this offers the best compromise of aerodynamics, rolling resistance and comfort. As such, the bike has been specifically designed around this, with the bottom bracket height adjusted to compensate for the larger rear tyre.

Aero development

Let’s take a closer look at some of the aero development behind the new Aeroad.

The bike is the result of a long-term collaboration with aero experts Swiss Side. Canyon says it performed over seven times more CFD (computational fluid dynamics) testing for this latest evolution of the Aeroad platform, with each area on the bike apparently assessed and refined to maximise performance.

The simulated tests included a range of yaw angles between +/- 20 degrees and included a rider’s legs in both a horizontal and vertical position. Once the fastest frame parts were determined in the CFD software, these were then validated at the GCT wind tunnel in southern Germany – a cycling-specific wind tunnel that Canyon claims is among the most advanced in the world.

Notably, Canyon says the new Aeroad doesn’t maximise its aerodynamic efficiency within the current UCI rules. It says it could have made the kammtail aerofoil tubes even deeper in places, but decided against doing so because this would have compromised ride quality and ergonomics.

Canyon Aeroad 2021 wind tunnel data
The wind tunnel results of the new vs old Aeroad, plus drawings of the old Aeroad, the ‘most aero’ CFD model Canyon created during development, and the final model.

Canyon also tested the new Aeroad in the wind tunnel, both with and without a dummy with spinning legs. As Canyon notes, a rider’s legs have a significant impact on the airflow over the bike, so it’s crucial to account for this influence during development.

Canyon says a dummy is preferred to a real human being because it provides readings with greater precision and repeatability. Given nothing stock was available on the market, however, it developed its own dummy, dubbed ‘Ferdi’.

Overall, the claimed aerodynamic drag saving of the new Aeroad versus the outgoing Aeroad CF SLX is an average of 5.4 watts at 45kph, across a range of yaw angles from -20 to +20 degrees.

That measurement includes Ferdi and two water bottles. Without the water bottles, the saving actually drops to 4.4 watts, but increases to 7.4 watts without Ferdi (though the latter figure is somewhat less relevant for obvious reasons).