By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan published
Canyon bikes are regarded as some of the best value options on the market, offering higher end components than most brands at each price point, largely made possible thanks to the German brand's direct sales model.
Sponsor to several pro teams, Canyon has a state of the art factory in Koblenz, where it is able to carry out extensive research and testing, using computer assisted engineering and to design frames that are light, robust and stiff.
Who are Canyon Bikes?
Like many established brands, Canyon Bikes started out with a very different name and a very different business. In 1985, brothers Roman and Franc Arnold founded Radsport Arnold, supplying Italian bike parts to racers around their home country of Germany.
In 2001, the company became a bike manufacturer, and took on the name 'Canyon Bicycles'. From then on, frame designers and engineers were recruited and the company began to grow.
Canyon operates via a direct sales method, selling bikes online and delivering them to the customer's door. As a result, its most oft quoted selling point is its ability to pass the savings reaped by a lack of overheads on to the customer. The downside is that trying-before-you-buy is a big ask, unless you attend a demo day.
Canyon bikes is still based in Koblenz, though they do have an office in the UK, based in Chessington, and a US office in Carlsbad, California.
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Canyon bikes are designed by engineers with assistance from computers. They also sponsor WorldTour team Movistar and the women's Canyon/SRAM, as well as Pro Continental Alpecin-Fenix and Arkea-Samsic and multiple dirt teams and triathletes - giving them access to athlete feedback from those pushing their bikes to the limits.
Canyon WMN bikes
In 2017,Canyon introduced brand new women's frames, built around data based on thousands of female customers. The research was applied to the Canyon Ultimate, and Canyon Endurace - and in these cases, the bikes have a female specific geometry. All other model families - such as the Aeroad and time trial varieties - are available with identical frames to the unisex version, but with female specific components such as narrower handlebars and women's saddles.
Canyon jargon buster:
A browse through the Canyon bikes range will reveal some common naming patterns. Bikes bear a model family name (Aeroad/Ultimate/Endurace), a frame grade (AL/CF SL/CF SLX) and then a number (7.0, 8.0, 9.0) which denotes the level of componentry. To differentiate the electric bike models, Canyon use the word 'ON' after the family name.
Here's what it means:
- AL: Aluminium
- CF: Carbon Fibre
- CF SL: Carbon Fibre Super Light
- CF SLX: Carbon Fibre Super LightExtreme
- WMN: Female frame/unisex frame with women's components
- Disc/Aero: denotes changes to componentry
Canyon has also launched its CFR sub-brand. Standing for Canyon Factory Racing, it denotes its premium bikes built with military grade ultra-high modulus carbon fibre and top spec components, including the 6.2kg Ultimate CFR.
Canyon offers a wide range of bikes to suit varying rider needs - here's a look at the key model families...
Canyon bikes: 2020 models
As the name might suggest, the Aeroad has been designed to cheat the wind and take you from A to B as quickly as possible. Wind tunnel testing has resulted in what Canyon call 'Trident 2.0 tube profiles' - which basically means they've been cut to provide optimum efficiency.
Aero bikes are traditionally heavier than their more climb or all-rounder orientated cousins, but the Aeroad does stand out here with most bikes in the range tipping the scales just above 7kg in a size medium. The range consists of rim and disc brake versions.The Aeroad loses some aero points for its external brake cables and lower level of front end integration when compared with competitors, though the top end models still come with a one piece ‘H36 Aerocockpit’.
When compared against five aero road bikes in our own independent testing, it came third to the Trek Madone Race Shop LTD and Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS. However, the lower integration might lose milliseconds on a track, but can save a lot of time when it comes to maintenance.
The geometry, as you'd expect, is low and long - it's an aggressive stance to suit a racer. The Aeroad has won stages of the Tour de France, and it was also the frame which carried Mathieu van der Poel to Amstel Gold victory in 2019 and Alexander Kristoff to his win in the 2015 Tour of Flanders- so it can be versatile in the right hands. Models are available with and without disc brakes.
At five years old, it's certainly due an update now and we've seen glimpses of what looks to be an updated model, but having made it on to our 2019 Editors Choice list, you can see we still highly rate it.
Prices start at £2,499 for a Shimano 105 build with rim brakes, and top out at £6,599 for an all singing SRAM Red eTap AXS, disc brake with DT Swiss ARC 1100 wheelset.
The Canyon Ultimate is the brand's 'all rounder' - it's been at the top of Canyon'spopularity stakes for a decade and won various accolades with us, including Bike of the Year and Editor's Choice awards, and we suspect it will do so again with the latest CF Evo Disc 10.0 LTD version. With two World Championships and three Grand Tours to its name, it's easy to see why it's a firm favourite all round.
Canyon Ultimate: 2017 bike of the year
The aim of the Ultimate's game is to combine a low weight with a stiff frame that accelerates well. The 'Sport Pro Geometry' is meant to be racy enough but allowing for comfortable long rides for those of us not quite as resilient as pro riders.
Most models are available with or without discs and with lighter components on 'SL' models and additional speed focused elements such as integrated stems or deeper wheels on 'aero' iterations.In the Ultimate range you'll also find the new 'WMN' frames with fine tuned female specific geometry.
With prices ranging from £1,599 for the Ultimate CF SL 7.0, a Shimano 105 rim brake version, up to the range topping £8,499 Ultimate CFR Disc EPS, complete with Campagnolo Super Record EPS and DT Swiss PRC 1100 Dicut wheeelset, there's a version to suit most budgets, making it easy to see how it attracts so many fans.
The Endurace is an 'all-day' bike, with a 'Sport Geometry' that puts the rider in a slightly more upright position to relievepressure on the lower back and arms.
It's not just in the measurements, though. Most carbon versions of the Endurace feature Canyon's VCLS (Vertical compliance, lateral stiffness) seat stays and, high-end models also come with the distinctive VCLS split carbon seat post to help dampen road vibrations before they reach the rider's body.
There are carbon and aluminium frame options to choose from, as well as disc and rim brakes on offer depending upon your preferences, and most recently an an electric model with the Endurace:ON. Since a bike such as this is likely to be ridden in all weathers and down roads of varying conditions, disc brakes - which offer greater stopping power in the wet - seem like a smart choice.
The tyres specced are also designed to provide a little comfort over varied terrain and in an assortment of conditions; most are 25mm or 28mm and some head up to 30mm wide for added cushioning. Most carbon models use a semi-compact 52/36 chainset whilst the aluminium bikes often have a 50/34 which will provide a little less resistance on the hills.
Prices range from the sub-£1000 Endurace AL 6.0 with alloy frame and Shimano Tiagra 10-speed shifting right up to £7,399 for the pro-level Endurace CF SLX Disx 9.0 ETAP with a Red eTap AXS groupset and DT Swiss ERC 1100 Dicut db wheelset.
Canyon Speedmax Time Trial Bike
Canyon's time trial bike range has been optimised for testers and triathletes alike. The range consists of two key standards: the CF and CF SLX (no real surprises there).
The Speedmax CF is the less expensive of the two, and offers a little less integration around the cockpit. This means it loses a couple of aero points, but it is a lot easier to adjust when it comes time to tweak your position. The geometry of the CF has a slightly higher stack and shorter reach, putting the rider into a more balanced position - which will suit those not quite strong enough to hold an extreme position without losing pedalling efficiency. This said, of course adjustments can be made.
The Speedmax CF SLX features greater integration, and comes with a bento box and hydration system that Canyon claims can save 7 watts at 50kph. With this system, it's not UCI legal - but can be used for CTT events and triathlons and the extras can be removed easily.
The brakes are also hidden behind a flexible cover, making them aero but also easy to access - and there's a clever tool storage system located in the top tube. The seat tube angle is sharper than previous models, allowing the rider to sit forward over the bottom bracket, and as per a few Canyon models, the fork rake is adjustable so riders can tune the ride to their own handling preferences.
There are several versions of the Speedmax, including the UCI legal stripped down £8379 Time Trial edition, with a high spec finish and Zipp 808 Firecreast front and Super 9 rear wheel as standard.Prices start at £1,639 for the Speeedmax CF 7.0 and top out with the £8379 Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 TT.
Inflite cyclocross and Grail gravel bikes
For those who like to get out and explore the trails rather than being confined to the tarmac, Canyon has an offering in the Inflite cyclocross bikeas well as the somewhat controversial Grail
The race-oriented Inflite range was revisited in 2017 when Canyon introduced the CF SLX carbon frame models. These feature a striking 'kink' in the frame with the aim of making shouldering the bike easier. A low seat post wedge also offers extra flex (15 per cent more, apparently) and thus greater comfort, and you can fit tyres up to 40mm. Smaller frames come with 650b wheels for more consistent geometry across the range.
>>> Watch the Canyon Inflite CF SLX preview video
Since it started on the pro cyclocross circuit in 2018, it's gone on to become a double world champion under Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Mathieu Van der Poel. All of the bikes come race ready, with single or double chainrings (as preferred by MvdP) and mud hacking tyres.There are two grades of carbon frame: the SL and SLX, with prices reaching up to £4,199.
The Canyon Grail is available in carbon or alloy and is quite a different beast. A thoroughbred gravel bike, the carbon Grail features the two part bar, with a floating top designed to dampen out chatter whilst offering greater stability thanks to a flare at the drop.
The higher end models also use the VCLS 2.0 carbon split seatpost to further dampen vibration, and Canyon worked with Schwalbe to develop a 400mm tubeless tyre called the 'G-One Bite' which is designed to ride well both on and off-road. The tyre works in conjunction with tubeless ready carbon or alloy rims, from either ReynoldsorDT Swiss depending upon spec choice. Prices start at £2,299 for the Grail CF SL 7 and go up to £4,649 for the Grail CF SLX 8 eTap.
The alloy version of the Grail gives a much more affordable gravel riding entry point at £1,399 for the aluminium frame and carbon fork combo, although you lose the double decker carbon bar.There's a new carbon e-bike version of the Grail too, which does feature Canyon's fancy bars and is priced from £4.699 up to £5,699.
Canyon hybrid/city bikes
Canyon's hybrid bikes are far from ordinary, with sleek lines that are designed to stand out, as well as integration that makes for limited maintenance. The range is split into riding styles which capture all six of the models; Pathlite, Pathlite:ON,Commuter, Commuter:ON and the Roadlite and Roadlite:ON.
The Pathlite and Pathlite:ON are Canyon's latest range of hybrid tourers, which feature lightweight aluminium frames, 75mm front suspension travel, mountain bike gearing and wide 40mm tyres. The Pathlite:ON is the e-bike version, with 100mm of travel and an integrated Bosch Powertube 500 battery. Some models even have a second battery, which provide a power boost and longer range of up to 160km.
The Roadlite is a specifically city bikes, designed to be light, agile and fast with both carbon and aluminium frames to chose from. Again the Roadlite:ON is the e-bike version which comes with three battery modes to give you up to 120km range and speeds of up to 25kph depending on setting.
Canyon's Commuter bike range is designed for nipping around city streets. It places a greater significance on practicalities, with integrated lights and mudguards or pannier racks fitted as standard. Belt drives keep oil away from clothing and hub gears are used across the range to reduce maintenance. Higher end models feature the carbon VCLS 2.0 seat post, which divides in the centre to dampen road buzz.
For those with more of a fitness motivation, there's the Roadlite range which combines a light road bike frame with flat handlebars and wide Schwalbe G-One tyres as well as disc brakes and prices from £749 to £2,799.
Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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