Launched a couple of years ago, Canyon’s Aeroad CF SLX has impressed us with its racy personality, and the value for money that the German direct-sales brand offers. As one of the bikes campaigned by Movistar and Katusha, it’s prime for picking over around TdF-time, and by a stroke of luck Canyon had a test bike in the latter’s team colour built with a pro-level spec.
This paint job is now sold out and the SRAM eTap build isn’t one you could buy at the time of writing (we expect it will be in future), but we weren’t going to miss the opportunity to feature this remarkable machine. Clinchers aside, this is identical to Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff’s race bike.
The Aeroad is a futuristic looking thing, sharing many design cues with its time-trial stable mate the Speedmax. Virtually every part of the frameset seems to sport an aerodynamic cross-section, with truncated aerofoils throughout, and the way different frame elements blend together is nothing short of lovely.
In total, the Aeroad is one of the slickest designs we’ve ever seen – if you want a bike to turn heads, you’d struggle to do better than this.
Where other range-topping bikes from big names like Specialized and Trek are awash with proprietary technology (think concealed brakes and aero fairings), the Aeroad is refreshingly straightforward.
Single-minded race machine
SRAM’s wireless-shifting eTap groupset is fantastic, with an idiot-proof logic that should have Shimano and Campagnolo’s engineers kicking themselves for not thinking of it: left paddle for easier gears, right paddle for harder ones, both together to shift the front. It works very well, and the click from the paddles means you always know when you’ve shifted.
Tech aside, the Aeroad is a focused racing weapon. It’s not uncomfortable by aero bike standards but it won’t cosset you, rewarding an aggressive riding style and an assertive approach to rougher roads.
The aim is not to endure bumps, it’s to fly through them so quickly you don’t feel them, taking advantage of the bike’s ample rear-end stiffness to send watts through your back tyre. On really broken surfaces things can get a bit chattery up front and we did wonder if the substantial bar-stem combo was a factor, but it was never excessive.
The Zipp 404 Firecrest carbon clinchers on our test bike are two versions out of date, but still a tasty set of wheels. Crosswind behaviour is impressive for their depth, and at high speeds they cause the steering to weight up slightly, helping keep you on your line. Braking is a noisy affair, but this is one area that Zipp has since made radical changes with its Firestrike and NSW models, so it’s not likely to be a factor in future buying decisions.
The Aeroad looks fast and it is. Point it down an incline and it becomes an absolute missile, seemingly gathering speed without impediment. The bike’s abilities are not in doubt, the only question becomes: are you brave enough?
|Name||Aeroad CF SLX|
|Available Sizes||XXS XS S M L XL XXL|
|Top Tube (cm)||57|
|Standover Height (cm)||78.5|
|Seat Tube (cm)||50|
|Bottom Bracket Height (cm)||27.5|
|Wheelset||Zipp 404 Firecrest carbon clinchers, 58mm deep rims, 18 spokes front, 24 spokes rear|
|Stem||Canyon H11 carbon Aerocockpit 110mm|
|Seatpost||Canyon S27 Aero|
|Rear Wheel Weight||1490|
|Rear Tyre||Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700x25mm|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM eTap|
|Headset Type||Canyon A|
|Handlebar||Canyon H11 carbon Aerocockpit 45cm|
|Front Wheel Weight||1170|
|Front Tyre||Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700x25mm|
|Frame Material||Canyon Aeroad carbon|
|Fork||Canyon Aeroblade carbon|
|Cranks||SRAM Red 172.5mm 52/36|
|Cassette||SRAM XG-1190 11-28|
|Frame size tested||S|