Canyon‘s reputation has been forged in making tech-driven, lightweight out-and-out race machines – all with the added bonus of lower prices, thanks to the German firm’s direct-to-consumer online only business model.
Highs: Value packed, high capable endurance bike that’s exciting to ride too
Lows: The front end can’t match the oh-so-smooth rear
Buy if: You want a lightweight sportive machine with responsive handling that’s good enough to race
With the Endurace Canyon has stepped beyond its normal race obsessed designs to create a bike for the sportive or endurance rider. Michael Adomeit, the chief engineer on the Endurace project, told BikeRadar that the ride’s all new ‘Sport Geometry’ has “comfort at the core of its concept [while still delivering] very much a capable racing bike”.
Canyon’s vcls technology blends stiffness and compliance in this seat tube junction: Robert Smith
Canyon’s VCLS technology blends stiffness and compliance in this seat tube junction
It’s a trend we’ve seen again and again from our previous Bike of the Year champs such as Giant’s Defy and Cannondale’s Synapse. Specialized’s latest generation SL4 Roubaix follows the same mantra. Even so, the way Canyon has achieved its aim is a little different.
Geometry wise it’s still very much a Canyon, with a steep 73.25-degree head angle and a steeper 73.5-degree seat. Canyon has taken 9mm out of the reach (down to 380mm from 389mm) and added 5mm to the chainstays; the SL fork is actually 6mm taller than the standard One One Four fork, and raises the front end a little without having to use a taller head tube or excess spacers.
The wheelbase meanwhile is now 989mm, still short enough to keep things agile. The frame tips the scales at 1040g with the fork adding just 340g, so it builds up into a light bike (7.08kg l/58cm).
The comfort also comes from existing Canyon tech, that being VCLS (Vertical Compliance Lateral Stiffness) – an in-house developed carbon fibre matrix design that enables the frame to flex in a predetermined direction while maintaining rigidity elsewhere. Previous Canyons have used VCLS in the fork and seatpost; the Endurace uses it in the seatstays, seat tube and top tube junction as well as the fork and seatpost.
As with the rest of Canyon’s range, the pricing on the CF 9.0 Pro is keen. At £1999 for a spec including full Campagnolo Chorus 11, replete with classy carbon chainset and carbon bladed ergolevers, the bike looks a million dollars. Look further and there’s plenty more to impress, largely down to some clever parts management. Whichever model you buy, they all come with the same saddle, Ritchey cockpit, DT Swiss wheels and Conti tyres. Buying in bigger numbers than just one model has economies of scale and those savings are passed on to the consumer.
While the angles are recognisably canyon, the reach has been shortened slightly and the front is 6mm higher:
While the angles are recognisably Canyon, the reach has been shortened slightly and the front is 6mm higher
What impresses most with the Endurace is just how much like Canyon’s excellent Ultimate CF SLX it feels in terms of its handling. The steering is quick and direct, and the inherent stiffness through the drivetrain makes it punchy to accelerate.
The wider rimmed DT Swiss R23’s (18mm rather than 15mm) shape the big 25 Conti tyres well and the grip and cushioning is truly impressive – especially when combined with the clever VCLS 2.0 seatpost, giving the back end of the bike a floating on air feel. The supple back end’s contrast with the swift steering makes this a great machine for descending, the rear wheel hugs the ground and grips enabling you to point the bars at an apex and find the fastest route down the most technical road descents.
We couldn’t find fault with the Chorus drivetrain and skeletal brakes – each shift is sharp, fast and crisp and Campag still has the edge on multi-shifts enabling you to move up to four cogs in either direction… just great for when you want to get on the power as soon as you crest a rise, or punch into the start of a climb.
The only downside is that although the back end is impressively smooth the front, much loved for its fast reactive steering and flex free feel, can’t quite match the back in the smoothing stakes. The lovely Ritchey WCS Evocurve bars, with their ergonomically shaped cross section and slight backswept design, are a real boon on long in-saddle climbs, but on tarnished and damaged road surfaces some buzz does make it through to your hands – and feels amplified when put in contrast to the rear.
That said, we’ve got huge admiration for what Canyon has achieved with the Endurace. It’s a capable all-rounder that’s beautifully put together, with great kit and at a price that’ll put plenty of its rivals to shame.