Canyon’s Endurace AL 7.0 is another regular visitor to BikeRadar’s upper reaches when it comes to £1,000 road bikes.
The 2020 model is very similar to the 2019 model – the same frame and fork – but this year’s bike comes with Fulcrum 900 wheels rather than last year’s Mavic Aksiums.
And in the absence of Rose’s Pro SL – sold out after leading our rankings in 2018 and 2019 – the Endurace is flying the flag for Germany’s online suppliers. As an internet-only purchase this represents fabulous value however you spin it.
Bike of the Year 2020
The Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 is part of our annual Bike of the Year test.
Head to our Bike of the Year hub for the full list of winners, categories and shortlisted bikes, as well as the latest reviews – or read our behind-the-scenes feature on how we tested Bike of the Year 2020.
It’s yet another of our top road bikes that puts distance riding at the top of its priorities – hence the ‘Endurace’ name that trips up the spellchecker if you’re not careful.
Canyon says the Endurace AL 7.0 is “made for Gran Fondos and long weekend adventures,” and that it’s “comfortable, fast and durable… the definition of the modern do-it-all bike.”
So, how accurate are Canyon’s claims?
Canyon’s H17 Ergobar. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Well, I found the Canyon to be an impressive mile-eater. My medium-size model has a middling 547mm top tube and 175mm head tube, resulting in a position that isn’t stretched out, but it’s far from being sit-up-and-beg.
The frame angles aren’t that far removed from a race-bike’s with a steepish 73.5-degree seat angle paired with a 72.5-degree head angle that keeps the handling on the sharp side.
The 989mm wheelbase adds to a lively machine that will spin smoothly along at 20mph and it’s one of the most nimble climbers on test. It’s light and stiff with a low enough bottom gear to stay seated that much longer.
Its stiff frame and taut front end – the all-carbon fork has a straight 1 1/8in steerer – form a dynamic and efficient pairing, and although the Canyon isn’t super-plush, it’s more than comfortable.
This is helped by some very well-chosen components, from the carbon VCLS – Vertical Compliance, Lateral Stiffness – seatpost that reduces pressure through to the excellent Selle Italia saddle.
Selle Italia X3 saddle and carbon fibre seatpost. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The rest of the cockpit components are equally well considered for big days out.
Company’s such as Cube have long flattened or ovalised their bar tops, and the tops of Canyon’s own H17 Ergo AL bar are both slightly ovalised and swept back a little – a combination designed “to provide more comfort as well as control”.
The gel-backed, grippy, rubberised bar tape is a nice finishing touch to a front end that balances good road feel and comfort.
Light and well equipped
If you’re looking for the lowest weight and maximum bang for your £1,000, Canyon’s Endurace has those credentials.
Its 8.36kg weight – exactly the same as last year’s – isn’t that low by today’s superbike standards, where you could easily come in under 7kg or even 6kg, but not that long ago this would have been seriously cutting-edge.
There was a time when anything under 20lb was considered light, and if you go imperial this looks even more impressive at 18.4lb. This compares with 8.83kg for our winning bike and over 9kg for some of the other competitors.
To put it in perspective, this is lighter than most 1990s Tour de France-winning bikes and only 100g heavier than the Trek Lance Armstrong rode in 2002. It’s really not heavy.
Shimano 105 rim brakes. David Caudery / Immediate Media
It’s top mark for Canyon’s kit, from front to back and top to bottom. Its full Shimano 105 including the excellent rim brakes, some of the best calipers out there.
One change from last year – as with Giant’s Contend SL2 that’s also on test – is the move to a pro-compact 52/36 chainset, which gives you a sprinting top gear of 125in in the 52×11 top.
Even if you descend like a pro rider, I don’t think you’re ever going to spin out on this. Unlike the Giant, Canyon has paired this with a wider-ranging 11-34 cassette, giving a somewhat more climbing-friendly 36×34 bottom gear, more than 10 per cent smaller than the Giant’s lowest.
While the Fulcrum wheels are new this year, frankly I wasn’t able to detect any performance differences between these and last year’s Mavic Aksiums.
The Fulcrum’s rear wheel has four more spokes than the Aksiums, but with a claimed 10g weight difference and similarly shallow rims there’s little between them.
The rear wheel is asymmetrical for improved “lateral and torsional stiffness”, and I couldn’t induce any brake rub.
Fulcrum’s Racing 900 wheelset. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Another thing the Fulcrums have in common with the Aksiums is a small raised imperfection on each rim where the pinned ends don’t align perfectly. It’s only a fraction of a millimetre out but does cause a minor click when braking, which is annoying but only temporary.
Overall, though, they work very well with the Shimano brakes and drivetrain.
The tyres are about as good as you’ll get at this price. Continental’s Grand Prix SL is the predecessor to its top-line GP4000 but the Grand Prix is the least expensive Conti tyre to feature its BlackChili compound, which maximises speed without overly compromising durability.
The nominally 25mm-wide tyres measure a shade under 26mm on the Fulcrum rims, eking out a fraction more comfort-boosting air volume.
One of the few criticisms I have with Canyon is its sizing. I’m 176cm tall and Canyon’s sizing chart has me at the top-end of the ‘Small’ frame size, but I know it’s too small; it’s medium for me every time.
Even in the medium, a lot of seatpost is exposed and the top 4cm of the seatpost’s height markings are visible.
There are six sizes in the 2020 Endurace range with the 2XL designed for riders over 192cm tall (6ft 3.5in) though the super-sized 3XL is no longer made.
Shimano’s 105 drivetrain.
Overall, there’s very little that I can fault on the Canyon.
The Fulcrum wheels will lose their annoying ‘clicks’ as the miles mount and then you’re left with a lightweight, aluminium distance machine with the best kit seen on a £1,000 bike.
I also reckon 2020’s red-with-black logos colour-scheme looks better than last year’s largely black finish.
Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 geometry
Sizes available (*tested): XS, S, M*, L, XL, XXL
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 53.7cm
Top tube: 54.7cm
Head tube: 17.5cm
Bottom bracket drop: 7cm
With thanks to…
BikeRadar would like to thank 100%, Q36.5, Lazer, Garmin and Facom for their support during our Bike of the Year test.