It’s Canyon's first road disc bike for consumers, so the Endurace CF SLX is kind of a big deal. We’ve just got back from a quick test of the new bike on the German firm’s home roads of Koblenz, and have reached some early thoughts on how it rides.
Anyone who’s considering buying this bike probably already knows two things: Canyon has a reputation for cost-effective excellence, but it has struggled to fulfil delivery orders recently. During a factory tour last week, Canyon reps assured us that logistical gremlins are gone, but the production schedule means that the first Endurace CF SLX units will be delivered from August.
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As the name implies, this is a bike for endurance cyclists, those who want to ride long distances or in a more relaxed style outside competition. So it’s more for the gran fondo riders, sportive enthusiasts and weekend warriors among us rather than the race whippets.
That said, if you’re considering buying one of these bikes then you'll need to have deep pockets, as implied by Canyon’s premium SLX suffix. Prices start at €3,599 for a mechanical Ultegra-equipped Canyon Endurace CF SLX 8.0, and go up to €6,299 for the Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL, which sports Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 groupset. Nope, there’s no Shimano 105 version, at least not yet.
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL spec overview
This top-end model we rode gets electronic Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting, a semi-compact 52/36t Dura-Ace crankset and 11-28t cassette, and Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL Disc Clincher WTS wheels wrapped in Mavic Yksion Pro GripLink/PowerLink rubber.
Up front there’s the new H31 Ergocockpit, and under your backside is Fizik’s Aliante R3 saddle – a slightly racier choice than the R5 used elsewhere in the range. Total weight for the bike is 7.3kg, and paint-wise you can choose a stealthy black or an eye-gouging kerosene red (as ridden).
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL frame and equipment
We've seen a prototype Canyon with disc brakes before: the Ultimate CF SLX, which we spotted at Eurobike last year before being ridden by the Movistar and Katyusha teams. The Endurace CF SLX is a very different beast though – it carries over frame tubing shapes from the Ultimate, to retain stiffness and aero slipperiness, but has gone big on comfort.
So there’s a split seatpost with a ‘leaf spring’ design, plus a lowered seatpost clamp hidden 100mm down the seat tube to increase the amount of flex; there’s a new fully integrated carbon cockpit, claimed to be lighter, comfier and just as fast as that used on the racy Aeroad model. And large 28mm tyres are used throughout the six bikes in the range.
Plus, of course, there are disc brakes – meaty Shimano BR-R785 hydraulic disc brakes, paired to 12mm thru-axles and strong enough to generate massive stopping forces. We’ve been riding these a lot over the past 12 months and consider them today’s gold standard for roadie discs.
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL ride impressions
We rode the top-end Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL around 70km across a mix of terrain, starting with some buttery smooth German tarmac. This was followed by snaking twists and turns through quaint villages, over medieval cobbles, along riverside bike paths, up a series of hilly switchbacks, and then memorably over some rough gravel roads and dirt tracks. We had to dodge cow poo at this point. The ride finished with a fast riverside chaingang along regular main roads back to our starting point.
So the bike was put through a real range of situations, and it performed superbly. This is one comfy ride, with the design features mentioned above combining well to make the saddle a very pleasant place to be on various surfaces. Even when juddering over dirt roads, it was much smoother than you’d expect on a road bike, for which we were grateful. Fit some knobblier rubber and you'd have no problem mixing it in the company of gravel bikes.
Which isn’t to say the Canyon Endurace CF SLX lacks stiffness or speed: climbing up a series of switchbacks I could feel the bike converting every watt of my effort into upwards momentum. The fact it weighs just 7.3kg certainly helps attack those hills, but that would be for nothing if the frame flexed unpleasantly under hard effort. It does not.
The rider position is not the raciest, as expected – but neither does it feel pedestrian. For this tester at least, it struck a fine compromise. I wouldn’t describe the steering as twitchy, but threading through tight turns it certainly felt quick, and a firm grip of the bars was required on fast, sweeping descents.
As expected, the braking feels marvellous. Conditions were mostly dry, granted, but power from those hydraulic Shimano stoppers was excellent, and we’re getting to the point now where we’re happy to tackle fast descents with just one finger on each of the levers.
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL price and availability
This top-of-the-range model costs €6,299 / £5,099 / $5,899, making it more than a thousand Euros more expensive than the Endurace CF SLX 9.0 that sits below it at €5,199 / £4,299 / $4,879.
All versions are on sale now. Canyon claims its well-documented delivery issues have now been resolved, meaning it's back to fulfilling new orders within 1-6 weeks after they've been built (Canyon builds bike models in batches).
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL vs. the competition
So, this is the multi-thousand dollar question – how does Canyon’s first road disc bike compare against the competition? Well if you’re looking for something exceedingly comfortable yet quick, and never mind the price, then it could be just the ticket. Our US editor-in-chief Ben Delaney recently rode the Trek Domane SLR on the Belgian cobbles and described it as “the most important endurance road bike of 2016” – but Canyon’s new bike will definitely have it looking over its shoulder.
The Domane SLR 7 Disc is Trek’s top endurance model with disc brakes, and like the Endurace CF SLX it also has some cunning comfort features built in, in particular its front and rear IsoSpeed decouplers that enable subtle pivoting at the head and seat tubes. It runs on Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes running on 160mm rotors. It costs $6,499 / £4,800.
Or you could consider the Giant Defy Advanced SL 0, which our former technical editor James Huang hammered around the Scottish Highlands and declared fast, light and stiff. It runs on Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, and injects comfort via a long and slim integrated seat mast. However, questions did remain about whether it was as comfortable as claimed – our tester did experience numbness in his hands after long, rough rides. Cost is £5,499 / $8,300.
Finally, Cannondale’s Synapse Hi-Mod Disc is often named as a benchmark for high-end endurance road disc bikes. It has precise handling, great high-speed performance and some very effective comfort features like a ‘Micro Suspension’ rear triangle to reduce road noise. It runs on Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and costs £9,750 / £7,499.
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL: full spec as tested
|Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL|
|Frame||Canyon Endurace CF SLX|
|Fork||Canyon One One Four SLX Disc|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070|
|Shift / brake levers||Shimano Di2 ST-R785|
|Wheels||Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL Disc Clincher WTS|
|Rim width (mm)||17|
|Tyres||Mavic Yksion Pro SSC GripLink/PowerLink, 28mm|
|Cassette||Shimano Dura-Ace CS-9000|
|Chainset||Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano SM-BB92-41B|
|Gear ratios||52/36 with 11-28|
|Cockpit||Canyon H31 Ergocockpit|
|Saddle||Fizik Aliante R3|
|Seatpost||Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0, 25/13mm setback|
|Colour||Stealth - asphalt grey, kerosene red - grey metallic|
|Size range||2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL|