German online-only outfit Canyon Bicycles have quietly climbed into the upper echelons of the carbon road frame world over the past decade by virtue of sound engineering principles and without the benefit of grand marketing campaigns.
That visibility has peaked with their sponsorship of ProTour team Omega Pharma-Lotto (and last year’s UCI world championship win with Cadel Evans) and we’ve now taken delivery of our first Canyon tester, an Ultimate CF SLX Team.
Canyon aim for a high level of pedalling and handling stiffness combined with a smooth ride on the Ultimate CF SLX. Much of the frame design revolves around their unique OneOneFour carbon fork, which starts out with a 1-1/2in diameter at the base of the crown but maintains a healthy 1-1/4in dimension the rest of the way up for even better front end stiffness than most tapered steerers.
Canyon’s tapered steerer tube has a bigger 1-1/4in diameter up top instead of the usual 1-1/8in
That translates to a bigger head tube and correspondingly greater surface areas for the wide, flattened top tube and enormous bi-ovalised down tube. In addition, the seat tube is tapered and notably asymmetric, sporting a broad and squared-off profile down at the conventional threaded bottom bracket shell and a slender, round shape up top.
Bonded to the back of the bottom bracket is a pair of broad and tall chainstays matched to pencil-thin seatstays. Not to be overlooked is the included 27.2mm-diameter Ritchey WCS carbon seatpost with Canyon-exclusive basalt fibres integrated into the carbon layup for more comfort.
Meaty chainstays are paired to pencil-thin seatstays on the Ultimate CF SLX Team
Our 52cm frame, fork and headset weigh just 1.42kg (3.13lb) and the complete bike built with Campagnolo Record, Mavic Cosmic Carbone carbon tubulars and Ritchey finishing kit (but without pedals) is a UCI-busting 6.25kg (13.78lb).
Initial test rides have been favourable and Canyon’s design formula seems to work so far, but look for a complete review here on BikeRadar in the summer.
The ‘Maximus’ seat tube is asymmetric to gain more pedalling efficiency