An impressive engineering marvel and a watershed moment for road discs... but I wish it came in something other than black
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It is a truly impressive engineering marvel, weighing just 6.04kg for my size medium sample. It also likely represents a watershed moment where truly lightweight production disc bikes become commonplace. It’s built with parts that are actually usable and, most importantly, it’s a great bike to ride. I just wish it didn’t only come in black.
Pickup is very quick and they make a most pleasing whirr when coasting. I couldn’t elicit any meaningful flex from the 1,283g (claimed weight) wheels and they are, overall, a sensible and suitably flashy fit for a bike of this pedigree.
The Continental Grand Prix TT tyres are sensibly wide.Jack Luke / Immediate Media
In another nod toward practicality, the bike ships with Continental Grand Prix TT clinchers in a sensible 25mm width. These super-light and supple tyres have a lovely ride quality and feel very fast, though that’s largely down to the super-thin tread — don’t expect years of wear out of these!
Nonetheless, these still feature a Vectran puncture protection layer, so they’re actually usable in the real world.
Many comparable halo-spec ultralight builds opt for alarmingly narrow tubular tyres to keep weight down, so hats off to Canyon for speccing something more practical.
It’s also worth noting that the wheels are tubeless compatible, but the surprisingly narrow 18mm internal width means they are probably best suited to tyres 28mm wide or below.
The Schmolke seatpost and Selle Italia C59 saddle combo is undoubtedly lightweight but is also quite nerve-wracking.Jack Luke / Immediate Media
The bike ships with an ultralight Schmolke TLO seatpost, which is topped with a Selle Italia C59 carbon shell saddle. This pairing is… well, I’ll call it nerve-wracking.
It’s the only seatpost/saddle combo that I’ve ever used which flexes so much that I’ve had to account for sag — when weighted with my 68kg mass, the nose of the saddle would point ever so slightly upward, forcing me to tip it down for my preferred fit.
The wings of the saddle also have an alarmingly sharp edge on the underside and flex very visibly.
On the other hand, this flex translates into a surprisingly comfortable ride. The lack of cushioning on the saddle is definitely noticeable, but the wings are scooped in such a way that the saddle coddled my peachy bot’ in a reassuring carbon fondle. The considerable fore and aft flex of the post also helps improve comfort.
However, if this bike was my own, I’d likely swap the saddle for something with a bit more squish for day-to-day riding. Increased comfort is worth a small weight penalty.
I like the overall shape of Canyon’s cockpits.Jack Luke / Immediate Media
Canyon supplies its own integrated CP20 one-piece cockpit with the bike. Unlike its other one-piece cockpits, this will not be available aftermarket.
The CP20 is impressively light at a claimed 270g in an unspecified size — around 50g less than Canyon’s CP10 cockpit. There are lighter traditional bar and stem combinations out there, but not by a huge margin.
I get on well with the overall shape of Canyon’s cockpits — the reach on the hoods is generous, the flat profile of the tops is comfortable and the drops are plenty roomy. In terms of ride quality, they also strike a good balance between stiffness and comfort.
If such things matter to you, the bars also share the same (to use the hot bike industry phrase of right now) ‘design language’ as the rest of the frame, so they blend in well aesthetically.
There are no options to specify bar width or stem length on the Canyon site, but I have been assured that, should you be interested in buying a bike, this can be customised.
The slender fork on the Ultimate makes for a surprisingly comfortable ride.Jack Luke / Immediate Media
Canyon Ultimate CF Evo Disc 10.0 LTD ride impressions
The low overall weight of the bike, of course, makes this bike an exceptionally good climber. The long, steppy and unpleasant climbs typical of my favourite loops in the south-west of England were dispatched with less trauma than usual. The low-profile and lightweight wheels accelerate well and the frame feels pleasingly reactive under power.
Even in its new lightweight guise, when descending, the Ultimate is very predictable and the front-end is reassuringly stiff under heavy braking. The disc brakes, which are almost unheard of on a bike of this weight, also boost confidence on technical descents.
The Evo is also surprisingly comfortable, with the slender, straight-legged fork flexing visibly and absorbing general chatter on rough roads.
Likewise, while my bum could definitely feel the effects of having been perched on a slither of carbon after a long ride, my lower back was less ravaged than I expected.
The location of this seat clamp troubles me deeply.Jack Luke / Immediate Media
The integrated seat clamp is the only aspect of the frame I take issue with. This is located between the seatstays on the back of the seat tube in an effort to maximise the amount of exposed seatpost to increase flex and thus, improve comfort. This system annoyed me the first time I rode an Ultimate and it continues to do so.
Yes, it might be comfy, but the 4mm head bolt for the clamp is located in exactly the place that mud accumulates and no multi-tool I own is slender enough to make adjustments on the road possible.
Canyon Ultimate CF Evo Disc 10.0 LTD conclusion
Any modern, reasonably-priced road bike is more than sufficient for the needs of us 23km/h weekend plodders, and buying an expensive halo model such as the Ultimate CF Evo Disc 10.0 LTD is — at least in part — an emotionally-led decision.
You want to ride a £9k bike with a low weight because it makes you feel good and you enjoy riding something at the cutting-edge of bike tech. Therefore, evaluations on things such as value for money can pretty much be thrown out of the window.
Likewise, Canyon makes no claims about exceptional aero performance or flawless integration with the Ultimate CF Evo — its USP is lightness and in that regard, it excels.
There are few (no?) other production disc-equipped bikes from mainstream manufacturers that can come close to the bike’s impressively low weight and it really shows on the road. Climbing on such a light bike yet having the power of disc brakes on tap was undoubtedly novel.
It would likely be possible to custom build a lighter disc-equipped (no need to remind me that rim brakes are lighter) bike for the same money but, for a subset of the market, the ease of buying an off-the-shelf superbike is undeniably tempting.
I know black is a crowd-pleaser but it’s also so boring.Jack Luke / Immediate Media
My only really pointed criticism is directed at the finish of the bike. The Canyon is only available in a dull but crowd-pleasing matte black finish, which, in my mind, just doesn’t scream premium. If I were spending £9k on a bike, I’d want to stand out.
I understand that a jazzy paint job comes at the cost of additional weight, and adding weight is hardly the point of this bike, but I’d gladly pay a small weight penalty to have a hot pink speed weapon.
Jack has been riding and fettling bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork, fixie-botherer, tandem-evangelist, hill-climbing try hard, and thinks nothing of taking on a daft challenge for the BikeRadar YouTube channel. With a near encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling tech — from the most esoteric niche nonsense to the most cutting edge modern kit — Jack takes pride in his ability to seek out tech and stories that would otherwise go unreported. Jack has been at BikeRadar for three years now and is regularly testing an esoteric mix of weird and wonderful bikes.