Canyon's Ultimate CF SL 9.0 road bike scores highly on our Shimano Ultegra group bike test, let's see how it gets on...

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10


  • Lightweight
  • Well built


  • Not much


Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0


Price as reviewed:

This product is featured in: Ultegra 11-speed race bikes.

For the last couple of years, Joaquim Rodriguez has topped the UCI’s World Tour rankings aboard a Canyon.

In terms of marketing, Canyon seems to have it well and truly sewn up. What’s more, the brand’s visibility is becoming more prominent, as two WorldTour teams, Katusha and Movistar, are competing on Canyon bikes in top-flight races this year.

Canyon isn’t available in shops; it retails direct to the public via its website. The bikes are prepared and dispatched from the Canyon facility in Germany, while manufacturing takes place in Taiwan.

Operating in this way cuts out distributor costs and offers the public more bike for their buck. The downside is that you can’t sit astride the bike on a shop floor to ascertain the right size; you must do so virtually, using Canyon’s Perfect Positioning System fitting guide. The Ultimate CF SL comes in seven sizes, ranging from XS through to 3XL.

The frame geometry is the same as that of the Ultimate being ridden by the likes of Alex Dowsett, but the CF SL 9.0’s carbon layup is slightly different, and it’s a shade heavier than the team issue SLX version. At a claimed 6.95kg (our demo came in just over at 7.1kg), it is the lightest bike out of the four in this test — and not far off the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg.

Weight is kept low by Canyon’s top-quality build, and by the frame, which features internal cable routing, asymmetric chainstays and VCLS Technology. VCLS (Vertical Comfort Lateral Stiffness) refers to the stays and how they work in conjunction with the VCLS seatpost to provide greater comfort. Further weight has been shifted by using carbon dropouts and a carbon bearing seat in the bottom bracket.

The Ultegra groupset runs throughout the bike, and a Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheelset, shod with Mavic Kysion Pro tyres, provides the rolling stock. The Ultimate CF SL 9.0 has also been kitted out with a Ritchey WCS Evo Curve handlebar and matching Ritchey WCS stem.


This build quality is reflected in the bike’s aesthetics as well as how it feels on the road. The colourway shown is what Canyon refers to as Shark Silver and Kyan. The Kyan blue features inside the fork and chainstays and is matched by the graphics of the Mavic wheels. The resulting good looks belie this bike’s modest price tag.The ride quality, too, punches above its price point. Erring slightly more to the race market, yet offering all-day comfort, the Ultimate CF SL 9.0 is a true all-rounder. It’s that rare thing, an affordable thoroughbred.

Frame:Canyon Ultimate CF SL carbon
Fork:Canyon One One Four SLC carbon
Size range:XS to 3XL
Groupset:Shimano Ultegra 6800
Wheels:Mavic Ksyrium Elite S WTS
Bars :Ritchey WSC Evo Curve
Stem :Ritchey WSC 4-Axis 44
Saddle:Fizik Anares
Size tested:L
  • MikeMcCarthy

    Numan my inseam from crotch to floor is near 90cms. I have long legs – but I think small is not suitable for you – go for the Medium you will be Ok with that Small is definately going to be too small!

  • Numan Kurtuldu

    Congratulations to your new Canyon, sorry this is a bit late.
    Well, i will give an order for Ultimate CF SL 9.0. But i am not really sure for its size.

    I’ am 178 cm and my insame is 82.5cm.
    Canyon tool and staff told , i have to pick size S. But i think, M will fit me.

    We are nearly same, what is your inseam? Because size L is a big frame.
    Thank you.

  • MikeMcCarthy

    Will, Your story is a nightmare next to mine. I feel your pain.

  • Will Birchall

    Well, seems you are not the only person to suffer at the hands of Canyon’s customer service…
    I bought an Ultimate CF SL in February this year. It took a few weeks for the bike to arrive which was fine and within the quoted delivery timeframe. When the bike arrived, the front forks had pierced the bottom of the ‘Bikeguard’ (read £15 cardboard box which is designed to be sturdy enough for multiple uses!) The forks were a right-off and although it took a couple of weeks to resolve, Canyon sent out a replacement fork and they covered the cost of my LBS to fit the fork. All good? Well not really.
    Since then, (bear in mind I’m posting this in July – less than 5 months after purchase!) whilst pedalling very steadily along a flat or slightly downhill stretch of road, the rear mech hanger failed and the rear mech came round with the chain, cracking the seat stay. The bike has never been banged or dropped or crashed. It was completed unexpected. 5 members of my bike club and myself stood at the road side wondering what on earth caused that to happen and how the mech had cracked the seat stay.
    So again, back to Canyon with their permanently slow email replies. It seems that for the last 5 months they have been experiencing much higher email traffic than normal…
    Unsurprisingly, Canyon were not all that helpful. Except for bestowing the wonders of their crash replacement programme. Immediately they stated that this wasn’t a warranty issue. On one phone call to Canyon a member of staff said ‘Look Will, we’ve all been riding bikes for years here at Canyon, mech hangers don’t Just snap.’ Great. So not only have you not even looked at the bike yet but you’ve made up your mind that I’m lying and that the hanger could have only broken because i’ve mistreated the bike.
    More recently, Canyon have explained to me that my version of events cannot be true. They claim that I must have bent the hanger, resulting in the mech going into the wheel and then the seat stay. For this to be the case, they presume i was going up a hill in my lowest gear. I can prove that this wasn’t the case via GPX files and photographs taken immediately after the incident. This simply is not what happened, the wheels I used that day are completely unmarked. Surely they would show some scratch or other sign of damage had I stuck a rear mech into the spokes?
    A few days later, A member of my bike club notices another Canyon user reporting a very similar problem. I forward this to Canyon to see if there are any commonalities between the two faults. No response.

    Now, Canyon have come back to me and confirmed it is not covered by warranty and it’ll cost £650 to replace the frame. They also want me to buy new brake pads, bar tape and a new ‘bikeguard’!
    I’m just gutted more than anything. You pay £1500 for a bike, a bike that I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed for the 3 months I’ve actually been able to use it. However, the rigidity and lack of helpfulness from Canyon has been staggering. Yes, you get more for your money by going direct, no doubt, but how much of a headache this creates when things go wrong.
    Buy one and keep your fingers crossed nothing does go wrong is all I can say.

  • MikeMcCarthy

    Ordering a Canyon bike.

    I live in Japan and was finally in a position to buy a decent Mountain bike, my friend recommended me to try Canyon Mountain Bikes – he has 2 of them and I was able to ride one of his one day – I loved it. I spent a lot of time checking both online and in local bike shops and as far as value for money goes and the quality of components offered on the bike I could not find a better deal – Canondale came close but still price was higher and the Canondale bike did not have the high quality components that Canyon offered.

    I sent of a few e mails to Canyon’s service center asking various questions but received no replies (Some of these questions were answered at a later date when the answers were of no help to me)

    Ordering the bike.

    I finally settled on a bike the Grand Canyon CF SL 7.9 S.E. in a large size – Canyon’s sizing chart told me I should be ordering a medium, I also e mailed about this sizing and was told I should stick to their sizing chart and order a medium – but after carefully and repeatedly sizing up their large size geometry with my present medium sized bike I felt like the large would be a better fit – this decision caused me a lot of stress and worry – after all it is not a cheap bike, and as I am importing I don’t want to get the sizing wrong. (Ultimately I made the right choice more on that later)

    Waiting for my bike.

    I placed my order on the 4th. of June which is week 23 – I was told I could expect my bike on week 27, after week 27 had come and gone and I heard nothing I contacted Canyon and was told my bike was delayed till week 29. I finally had to go though 5 delays – but every-time I had to ask repeatedly if my bike was shipped and was then told my bike was delayed, at one point after the 3rd. delay I was told my bike was ready for shipment and will be shipped out within 48 hours – after hearing nothing, after I waited 72 hours I contacted Canyon and told there was an error, my bike had not been shipped and I was issued with a new order number. At this stage I was panicking as I wanted the bike for my early August summer holiday I was told I would likely have the bike in time, but after that received 2 more delay notifications – I was never told about delays until I had repeatedly e mailed asking about my order. My summer holiday came and went around mid August (week 33) I received an e mail telling me my bike will be shipped soon and passed onto the courier company, I didn’t pin too many hopes on this new delivery date but this time it was for real! I was really excited so set about tracking my order – not such an easy task as I was given the wrong tracking info. by Canyon, it took me several e mails to both Canyon and Courier company to finally get proper tracking information.

    Bike arrives.

    Finally on 23rd. August after a long wait and many delays my bike arrived, by this point I had lost faith in Canyon so didn’t feel the excitement that one should feel when receiving ones first carbon MTB – I was expecting more problems with some aspect of the bike, I was thinking that if Canyon’s mechanics are anything like Canyons service department I will be guaranteed a bike with a problem – BUT I was not disappointed the bike was really well and safely packed, I was able to put the bike together without any problems at all, my first ride was on the road gear change etc. was very smooth and as it should be, the next day took a ride on my local trail which was well washed out covered in debris but this bike plowed through and over everything in its path, as my old bike was over 10 years old with components near 6 years old I just can’t compare the 2 – night and day – I love this bike and really can’t find any fault with it. The sizing chart recommended me to get a medium size but the large size frame I got suits my long limbed 179Cm. body perfectly – so anyone contemplating a bike order should carefully check sizing and not take the word of sizing charts.


    Though my order experience was bad and I felt that very often the people answering my questions really didn’t know much about bikes, were sloppy and really slow in answering my questions, the final product was excellent but I do worry that finally the mechanics putting the bikes together will develop the careless attitude that sales department have – maybe my experience was the 1 bad one out of hundreds of good ones.

    Would I recommend Canyon bikes ? Yes I would but if you are in a hurry for a bike you might want to choose a model that is available for purchase straight away, if you are in a position to wait well and good. I would buy from Canyon again but hope that they will endeavor to improve the services department and answer questions in a more timely and professional manner.