The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 Ltd is the top-spec aero bike from the German brand. Although expensive, it costs significantly less than equivalent models from rival brands
The Aeroad is also available in the disc brake version, which we have also reviewed, with this 9.0 Ltd model being the highest spec offered in the non-disc version.
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Around since 2015, the Aeroad remains an impressively light frame when compared to the Venge, Madone or S5. Despite the low weight, stiffness and aerodynamics are not sacrificed thanks to Canyon’s well designed bottom bracket and Trident 2.0 aero tube profiles.
The bikes designers spent many hours in the wind tunnel honing the shape and applying lessons learnt from the design of the Canyon Speedmax TT bike.
The geometry is aggressive, ideally suited to racers and is lower at the front end than other race bikes. The Aeroad is well poised and balanced, though, with great aerodynamic stability when riding in a TT-style effort.
With external brake cables and less integration than the S-Works Venge, the Canyon Aeroad may look a little antiquated next to the latest generation of aerobikes. However, like the Cervelo S5, the upside of this is slightly easier maintenance.
It should also be pointed out that the fork has an adjustable rake, meaning you can tune the handling slightly.
The 9.0 Ltd is the highest-spec Aeroad Canyon offers. Our test bike is equipped with Dura-Ace Di2 but I should point out that the 2017 model you can now buy features the updated Dura-Ace R9150 Di2. You also get some of the best wheels available – the Zipp 404 NSWs.
The cockpit consists of Canyon’s proprietary aerobar and you also get the seriously cool Shimano sprint shifters on the drops. Canyon really has nailed the spec for the price – it even comes with premium Continental TT tyres, 23mm front, 25mm rear.
The direct-mount brakes are an easily overlooked and offer improved stiffness and power over single-bolt calipers.
The Aeroad isn’t a bike for every cyclist. Its stiff persona, aerodynamic creation and low front end make it an ideal bike for racing or for those with a more flexible physiology. That’s not to say it won’t suit the weekend meander, but forget about a ‘sit up and beg’ front end — this thing really wants to be ridden fast, whether in a race or not.
We’ll start with the stiffness, because it’s the first thing you feel when you ride the Aeroad CF SLX. However, although stiff when you put the power down the ride isn’t uncompromising – it’s reasonably compliant and I would place it second in the aerobike comfort stakes behind the Trek Madone.
The ride still manages to be forgiving, and harshness only rears its head on terrible tarmac roads.
Once up to speed the aerodynamic profile takes over, and it constantly feels as if the Aeroad is ticking along a couple of miles per hour faster than a non-aero bike. This is because it is.
We travelled to Derby Velodrome to perform some aero testing on the world’s leading aero bikes with the assistance of WattShop. More specific details of the testing and the results will be published in the April 6 issue of Cycling Weekly.
The results suggested that the Canyon Aeroad was only a fraction slower than the S-Works Venge ViAS and Trek Madone. It may not be as fast on the flat, but at nearly a kilo lighter the Aeroad is significantly more spritely than the Venge on steep gradients.
The low weight of the Aeroad really is its trump card. This is a bike that feels great on climbs, which is not often said for aero bikes. I’ve even taken one into the Italian Alps – though I did switch to some Mavic climbing wheels.
Good design is simple and unfussy. This is a bike you can live with thanks to the direct-mount brakes and simple cable routing through the handlebar. The Aeroad is light, stiff and aero and looks badass – characteristics that have the power to induce a grin every time you get out of the saddle and put the hammer down.
The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 Ltd, is the top-spec model offered by the German brand and consequently has a price to match. However, despite costing £7,599 the Canyon still offers good value when compared to the competition, especially when you factor in the results of our aero testing which placed it just behind the Venge and the Madone. You should also consider that a Cervelo S5 with a less expensive spec will retail at £9,000.
What’s more, you can buy a bike with same frame we have here for just over three grand in an Ultegra build. A bike with pretty much the same aerodynamic performance.
*Note that the 2017 spec bike is the same frame, but now comes with the updated Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 groupset.
The Canyon Aeroad is an excellent bike and superb to ride. Canyon has nailed the spec, with an excellent attention to detail that includes sprint shifters and quality tyres. It might be a couple of watts slower than slightly more modern designs, but the Aeroad is lighter and offers unrivalled value.