German giant Canyon is arguably the best known name in the direct-sales game. With multiple pro teams riding its bikes, Canyon has proven that it’s a serious contender, but is it still competitive at the entry level? We’ve put the Endurace AL 6.0 to good use to find out.
- Bike of the Year 2017: Specialized Roubaix wins Road Bike of the Year
- Bike of the Year 2017: Canyon Endurace WMN AL 6.0 wins Women’s Budget Road Bike of the Year
The Endurace AL’s frame is the opposite of complicated, indeed it’s a bit basic looking compared to some of its direct competition. The welds aren’t disguised at all, and the slim, straight head-tube is bordering on old-fashioned in this era of tapered everything and oversized everything else.
Pleasingly however, this houses a full carbon fork and unlike Canyon’s more expensive offerings, the Endurace AL’s steerer measures a standard 1 1/8in in diameter, so it will take any standard stem.
The frame is very nicely finished too, with a tough, slightly textured paint job that feels expensive to the touch. The cabling is partly internal and the bottom bracket is a mechanic-friendly threaded unit. There’s no provision for mudguards, but hey, you can’t have everything.
Achingly modern or otherwise, the key ingredients to make cycling great again are present and correct. You sit atop a decent, branded saddle, mounted on a slim carbon seatpost, and the back end is supported by seatstays that are dainty if not otherwise elaborate in shape.
Although the frame is largely made up of straight lines, a closer look reveals that Canyon has used its trademark ‘Maximus’ seat-tube design, wherein it is skinny for most of its length to aid compliance, but flares at the bottom bracket for a super-stiff junction. In a similar vein, the downtube is pretty chunky, while the chainstays aren’t massive, but do have bit of height to them for torsional stiffness.
Canyon has always been generous with its specs and this bike is no exception. Despite a £200 price hike in the last year (that’s 25 percent!) thanks at least in part to a weakened pound, you’re still getting an awful lot of bike for your money. Rather than cutting corners, Canyon gives you the full Shimano 105 groupset — there are no nasty aftermarket brakes — the chain is Shimano’s own, and even the cables are the real McCoy.
The finishing kit is all in-house stuff apart from the saddle, and it’s nice, if unremarkable. I would maybe have preferred a narrower bar than the 42cm one on my medium test bike, but that’s personal.
Affordable aluminium frames often trade some comfort for a lively ride, but Canyon seems to have found the cheat code on this one, combining an impressively smooth back end with a springy, smile-inducing responsiveness. There is little to fault with the Endurace’s behaviour on the road.
The relaxed geometry (581mm of stack and 375mm of reach on a medium) means it’s not naturally inclined towards racing, but it is exciting and capable all the same. Generous gearing will get you up the worst climbs and the smooth personality and top-notch brakes make descending a pleasure too.
The Endurace isn’t quite as fantastic a deal as it used to be, but it remains an exceptional bike for the money.