TESTED: Canyon Ultimate CF SLX disc 9.0 Di2

Introduction

Currently in it’s forth iteration the Canyon Ultimate has proven itself capable of podiums and wins at the worlds toughest classics, grand tours and World Championships.

The bike

By tweaking the tube shapes around the seat tube, head tube and downtube areas coupled with an integrated aero bar stem combination Canyon claim this current version of the Ultimate is 14% more aerodynamic than the previous iteration. Available in disc or rim brakes, women’s specific platforms and various build options the Canyon Ultimate is a light weight ‘semi aero’ climber’s race bike.

The hidden seat post clamp is a thing of beauty but the location of it is a stroke of genius. Canyon positioned it slightly lower down the seat tube which enables a little flex, or compliance, which is said to improve the supple nature and comfort of the ride. The Ultimate accommodates tyres up to 28” wide — our test bike had the iconic 25″ Continental GP 4000s fitted to a non-standard DT Swiss PRC 1400 Spline, 65mm wheelset. Integrated cabling is a minimum entry requirement to the modern race bike and Canyon have lined everything up perfectly on the Ultimate.

Geometry and sizing

Available in seven different sizes with varying bar width, crank and stem lengths to boot, Canyon say they will gladly alter the factory spec on these items on request prior to shipping. That’s a really neat deal when you consider how crucial stem length is to fit and handling; not to mention the cost of replacing an integrated bar stem setup. Nice one guys.


The Ride, by Matthew Grobler

I spent almost three weeks riding this bike and all I can say is the hype about Canyon is real. The CF SLX Ultimate is a beautifully engineered race-ready bike, with a performance enhancing combination of comfort, stiffness and speed. I found I could race hard, the geometry puts you into an aggressive racing position to do so, yet somehow manages to provide a substantial level of comfort over rougher roads.

The Shimano Di2 disc brakes are smooth, powerful and reassuring. There is no arguing the confidence they give you when descending, navigating through traffic or sitting in a bunch at 80kph. I think whether you are a newbie rider or total racing snake the benefit of disc brakes is significant.

Even though it isn’t an out and out aero bike the integrated ‘H36’ aero bar /stem begs to differ and the sight of the cockpit oozes aero appeal. There is a lot of stiffness for out of the saddle efforts which gives the bike a super responsive feel to it, yet, on rougher roads there is some reduction of the majority of the usual vibrations. The layup is no doubt on point. The cockpit also provides a very clean cable and an easy access point to mount the Di2 junction box for a fuss-free recharge.

Canyon has somehow created a climber that is almost aero-in-style without it being full bore aero. I was impressed with the Canyon Ultimate and how it somehow manages to give off more aggression with more comfort. Climbing and acceleration seems to come naturally and with ease. The couple extra grams in the deep section wheels did little to detract from the climbing ability of the bike. Coming from a Specialized Power saddle the stock Fizik Antares saddle was unfamiliar at first but after a couple minutes was absolutely fine. It is the Ultimate performance bike and I couldn’t fault it and what’s more, it is simply so beautiful. It’s a work of art.

Extras?

Canyon have a Garmin mount specifically designed for this cockpit which improves the bikes aesthetics, rider visibility and improves air flow. It’s a must-have optional extra available at check out which you shouldn’t skip. Pricing is roughly R650.

Summary

As a combined unit the Canyon Ultimate is simply an unbelievable ride. I felt as fast on it as on my personal race bike which is a full aero affair, but things just felt a little more compliant, solid, slick and smooth.

Test rider Matthew Grobler stomping the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX through the suburbs of Cape Town.

MORE: http://www.canyon.com

IMAGES: Gary Perkin



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