Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0 Di2 Aero
The Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0 Di2 Aero is the most race-ready bike on test in this year’s Bike of the Year, and rides better than past versions but retains lightness and stiffness.
The size large R051 chassis is lightweight (920g frame), but also shaped and sculpted for compliance. The angular front-end junctions add stiffness, while the straight-legged and skinny forks offer fore-aft compliance.
The seatstays are incredibly skinny and meet lightweight carbon dropouts that blend into mid-sized, squared-off chainstays.
Those skinny seatstays. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Bike of the Year 2020
The Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0 Di2 Aero 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.
Shimano’s Pressfit BB72 is substantial. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The bottom bracket is substantial but the seat tube flowing from it is flattened in its lower third. It’s that combination of seatstays, seat tube, buzz-killing VCLS seatpost and Fizik Antares saddle that serves up a smooth ride outback, despite 48mm-deep stiff carbon DT Swiss wheels that feature a narrow profile and 25mm Continental tyres.
Upfront the story’s less clear. On the positive, the one-piece CP10 carbon bar and stem reduces drag and it’s aero-bike fast over silky tarmac.
Unfortunately, in sync with the steep, 73.3 head angle, straight-legged fork and narrow tyre, it’s a little ragged over rough roads.
The front-end can feel a little twitchy. David Caudery / Immediate Media
It handles well through fast, open corners and holds speed beautifully, but the front end doesn’t feel as balanced as, say, Focus’s Izalco. The mix of steep head angle and narrow bar-width edges into twitchy territory.
The sharpness of the steering, for example, means that you can veer into oversteering until you’ve acclimatised to the subtle adjustments.
The Ultimate is a light and stiff and fast. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The Ultimate’s race-DNA means that your concentration mustn’t wane, but treat it with respect and you’ll fly. Those speed intentions derive from the 592mm stack and 399mm reach on my large size.
As noted, the head angle’s steep at 73.3 degrees and at 73.8 degrees, the seat angle’s steep to match. A 1,011mm wheelbase steers the Ultimate CF into an aggressive position that encourages effort and subsequent speed.
Canyon’s direct-to-consumer model cuts down on overheads and those savings are passed on.
Shimano Ultegra Di2 (52/36, 11-30 cassette). David Caudery / Immediate Media
Shimano Ultegra Di2 handles shifting duties and it’d be hard to justify upgrading to Dura-Ace Di2. Canyon hasn’t skimped on rotors, either, choosing Shimano’s Ice Tech 160mm rotors upfront and at the rear.
The Continental GP5000 tyres are among the best and sit on DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut wheels, which are tubeless compatible.
Canyon must be applauded for the Ultimate and a specification that’s up there with superbikes. It’s arguably the most race-focused on test, although it requires handling dexterity to maximise its capabilities.
Fizik’s Antares saddle sits atop the carbon seatpost. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0 Di2 Aero geometry
Sizes (* tested): XXS, XS, S, M, L*, XL, XXL
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 73.3 degrees
Seat tube: 55.4cm
Top tube: 57.1cm
Head tube: 17.4cm
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.