The new Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 is a bad ass looking machine, but has the addition of disc brakes ruined a machine that was previously awarded our bike of the year?
The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc has been a long time coming. We first found out about the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc when Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff perhaps accidentally posted a picture of the new bike on social media. That was a prototype, but finally, after what seems a big wait, here is the bike. It’s a little heavier than the awarding winning non disc original, so we were keen to see how it stacked up.
The first thing to point out that is that this is the frame the pros will ride when they use discs in 2017.
Now, one of the things I am sure you want to know is, how does the weight differ from the non-disc version? The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 we have here hits our scales at 7.76kg making it roughly 600g heavier than the equivalent non-disc version. It’s not much at all, considering the superior braking and is commendable for an aerobike.
What I do have to point out is that the equivalent non-disc Aeroad is £600 lighter on your wallet though.
The increase in system weight comes from a combination of changes, necessary for the inclusion of hydraulic discs plus thru-axels. Disc brakes create increased braking forces on the frame, so Canyon has beefed up the frame in a few key areas by adding additional carbon to the tune of about 70g. Most of this is on the non-drive side, where the flat mount calipers are situated.
Video – Bike of the year, the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
The frame looks awesome though and the loss of the rim brake callipers has created a really tidy look. I have no doubt this bike will turn heads, but if the stealth black isn’t for you, there is also a red option.
There will be a full range of models once SRAM Red HRD and the new Dura Ace groupsets are available, but in the meantime Canyon is offering Ultegra mechanical and the Di2 you see here. As is customary with Canyon you get a full Ultegra groupset too, with no stocking filler components dropped in.
Interestingly Canyon has opted for a Continental GP4000 23mm tyre front and 25mm tyre rear. This is no accident, and is a very deliberate choice. Having spoken to some of the worlds top aerodynamicists, the consensus is that the GP4000 is the most aerodynamic commercially available tyre.
It was not designed to be, but just happens to be a case of serendipity. Further to this, being slightly narrower is optimal over the lower rolling resistance of 25mm tyre at speeds typically over 35kph. It would appear that Canyon has done its homework, hence the 23mm front and 25mm rear.
Similar to the Ultimate Disc, the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc features Shimano’s top spec BR-RS805 flat mount calipers and 160mm Ice Tech rotors front and rear for ‘optimal power and breaking modulation.’
I am glad Canyon has gone for 160mm rotors over 140mm. A bike we have previously reviewed – the Merida Scultura Disc, is equipped with 160mm rotors front and rear and the main advantage is superior heat dissipation, which is sensible when you consider mountain bikes have bigger rotors, yet the braking on road bikes is likely to be more sustained and can be at higher speeds.
Wheels are disc brake specific, 62mm deep Reynolds Strike tubeless ready carbon clinchers. They have an internal rim width of 17mm and a claimed weight of 1700g. Overall, they seem like a great pairing on paper for the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc and we look forward to seeing how they roll.
The saddle is a Fizik Arione R5 and the bars are Canyon’s proprietary aero cockpit. The integrated bars look awesome, but are not as practical as a traditional bar and stem because you can’t easily change your stem length. It is worth pointing out that Canyon gives you the option to specify a longer integrated stem at the point of purchase and I would also highly recommend purchasing Canyon’s proprietary out front computer mount too.
At 410mm the bars a shade narrower than the 420 or 440mm widths normally found on bikes this size, the reason being, that making you narrower is faster aerodynamically One final detail – the bike uses 12mm thru-axels and Canyon’s new detachable levers which are said to save in the region of one watt. Every little helps!
Regardless of the savings, they look really smart. There is also a women’s specific model of the same bike you see here too.
The first time I rode the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc I was instantly and overwhelmingly struck by how fast this bike feels and is. Riding two abreast with my usual training partner I was accused of half wheeling and pushing on. I was riding with a power meter at my normal Zone 2 output – the reality was that this bike was so slippery, it was causing me to unintentionally half wheel. Consequently I had to put in quantifiably less effort to ride next to my mate, that I normally would riding my Cannondale SuperSix.
Having extensively ridden various non disc versions of the Canyon Aeroad, I was concerned that the disc version would be sluggish owing to the extra weight. It isn’t. According to Canyon the addition of disc brakes makes the Aeroad around 1 watt less aerodynamic than the non disc version, but it isn’t noticeable.
I completed the Rapha Festive 500 aboard the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc and it performed superbly. Riding around the Peak Disctrict, there are some poorly surfaced roads in places and it was on these that the comfort impressed me. To cope with the increased stress on the frame from discs, designers have to beef up the frame. This can sacrifice ride quality, but Canyon has done a great job of retaining the compliance of the non disc version. For an aerobike this is great and if you can live with the aggressive geometry, this is a bike your can happily ride all day.
Having extensively ridden various non disc versions of the Canyon Aeroad, I was concerned that the disc version would be sluggish owing to the extra weight. Despite being around half a kilo heavier (a non disc version weighs around 7.2kg with Ultegra) it still feels as responsive and willing as the non-disc version. When accelerating on the steepest gradients, you can detect the increase in weight, so if this important to you I would suggest opting for a model with the new Dura-Ace R9170 – the weight of hyrdro discs has but cut significantly with this groupset.
The superior braking offered on by the discs on the Canyon Aeroad Cf SLX really enhanced by riding experience. With greater consistency and control came vastly increased confidence and higher speeds followed. In both wet and dry riding downhill is far more enjoyable on this bike, than the non disc version. Speaking of which, I should confirm the Aeroad Disc is stable and stiff under braking too having stood up well to the steep technical descents of the Peak District.
Although slightly heavier, I would bet all the money I have that if I were to ride a 100 mile time trial through the Peak District, I would be faster on the disc brake version, simply because of the cumulative time saved on descents, through the vastly superior braking.
I was really impressed with the carbon Reynolds wheels and had no issue riding and ruining them on dirty winter roads because you are not going to wear the rim – an advantage of disc brakes.
One little gripe I have is the aero cockpit and in particular the screw in plate which secures the Di2 junction box and cables. This plate is a real faff to get back on once you have unscrewed it and could be a more ergonomic design in my opinion. Fortunately the new Dura-Ace R9150 will allow you to put the junction box in the bar end, for much easier access.
We test a lot of bikes, but occasionally a bike comes along that really turns heads and stops people in the street. Anyone who sees you riding the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc will automatically assume you stole it from Batman, instantly qualifying you as a badass. According to Canyon the addition of disc brakes makes the Aeroad around 1 watt less aerodynamic than the non disc version, but it really isn’t noticeable. Any slight whiff of a tail wind and this KOM gobbling stealth bomber takes flight at remarkable pace.
Even with the rise in prices of imported goods from a weaker Brexit Pound, Canyon continues to off excellent value for money. As mentioned, the disc brake model is £600 more expensive than the non disc version with the same Ultegra groupset and Reynolds wheels.
Although this is top spec machine with a high price, the cost is highly competitive against the likes of Cervélo, Pinarello and BMC. If you were to buy one of their premium frames, with a comparable spec, your wallet would be considerably lighter.
The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc is a stunning looking stealth bomber of a machine that turned heads everywhere I took it. Intelligently specced and commendably light for aero, disc equipped machine, It rides superbly. If I were buying a Canyon Aeroad CF SLX, would I go for the disc brake or rim brake version? That is the question that I am sure many of you will consider. The disc brake version has impressed me to such a degree that it would be my choice, especially now the lighter disc brake groupsets are available. Here you have a bike that has retained all the ride characteristics we loved in the rim brake version, while adding vastly superior braking that will allow you to descend with much greater confidence in all weather. Couple that with Canyon's value and looks and you are on to a winner.