The Canyon has the spec of a much more expensive machine, thanks to the German company’s direct-sales approach: full Shimano Ultegra groupset, Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels and Continental GP 4000S tyres.
Some bikes hang good kit off a so-so frame and end up disappointing, but that’s not the case here. The aluminium frame features internal cable routing to cut drag and an hourglass shaped head tube to minimise the frontal area. The carbon fork is the same as that fitted to the full-carbon Speedmax, and horizontal dropouts allow the rear tyre to be moved close to the frame for better aerodynamics.
A slippery frame is all well and good, but the rider accounts for more wind resistance than the bike. To be truly fast, a time trial bike must put the rider in an aero position. The Canyon’s 175mm head tube isn’t super-low, but the Profile Wing bar and extensions allow plenty of adjustment, while the seatpost clamp can be adjusted to give an effective seat-tube angle of 75-78 degrees.
With the fit dialled in, it’s time to start riding. The Canyon feels stiff and responsive, with little flex from the bottom bracket, while the Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels spin up to speed quickly. They’re a good weight and the 30mm-deep rim and bladed spokes add to their aero credentials.
It was on straight, rolling roads that the Canyon felt in its element. The beefy frame didn’t waste a watt of effort, and a crosswind failed to push it off course. On sweeping downhill bends things felt stable but never dull, while the Continental tyres gave us confidence to push hard, even on damp roads. The 53×11-tooth top gear means you’re unlikely to spin out on all but the steepest descents.
The Canyon’s low weight helps keep the pace up on the climbs, though the 39x25t bottom gear means grinding rather than spinning up the steepest sections. While the Speedmax is stiff it stops short of being jarring on rough tarmac, and the Profile bar’s padded armrests and the comfortable TT-specific Selle Italia saddle help take the sting from the road.
Canyon speedmax al 8.0: Geoff Waugh
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.