Canyon bikes are regarded as some of the best value options on the market, offering higher end components than most can at each price point; largely made possible thanks to the German brand’s direct sales method.
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 to make 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 – based in Koblenz, Germany – 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, and you won’t get kudos from your local bike shop.
Canyon bikes is still based in Koblenz – though they do have an office in the UK, based in Chessington.
Useful links for road bike shoppers…
Canyon bikes are designed by engineers, with assistance from computers. However, they also sponsor UCI pro teams Movistar, Katusha, and Canyon/SRAM – giving them access to athlete feedback from those pushing their bikes to the limits.
Canyon WMN bikes
In 2017, Canyon introduced some 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 narrow 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.
Here’s what it means:
- AL: Aluminum
- CF: Carbon Fibre
- CF SL: Carbon Fibre Super Light
- CF SLX: Carbon Fibre Super Light Extreme
- WMN: Female frame/unisex frame with women’s components
- Disc/Aero: denotes changes to componentry
Canyon offers a wide range of bikes to suit varying rider needs – here’s a look at the key model families…
Canyon bikes: 2019 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, these elements might lose milliseconds, 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 been the winning set of wheels at stages of the Tour de France, but it was also the frame which carried Alexander Kristoff’s 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.
The Canyon Ultimate is the brand’s ‘all rounder’ – it’s been at the top of Canyon’s popularity stakes for a decade and won the Cycling Weekly ‘Bike of the Year’ award in 2017. The 2018 women’s model was selected for an Editor’s Choice award, too.
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 racey 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.
The Endurace is an ‘all-day’ bike, with a ‘Sport Geometry’ that puts the rider in a slightly more upright position to relieve pressure on the lower back and arms.
It’s not just in the measurements, though. Most carbon versions of the Endurace feature Canyon’s VCLS seat post, which is split down the middle 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. Since a bike such as this is likely to be ridden in all conditions 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 for added cushion. 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.
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 pedal efficiency. This said, of course adjustments can be made.
- Canyon Speedmax CF SLX TT bike review
The Speedmax CF SLX features greater integration – and comes with a bento box and hydration system that Canyon claims can save 7W 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, to fork rake is adjustable so riders can tune the ride to their own handling preferences.
There are several versions of the CF SLX – the ‘pro’ has seen further geometry tweaks, with a more long distance focused geometry and a longer wheelbase for greater stability. The CF SLX SL features the same set up with a more weight conscious build.
Inflite and Grail cyclocross/gravel bikes
The 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.
All of the bikes come race ready, with single chainrings and mud hacking tyres.
The Canyon Grail is quite a different beast. A thoroughbred gravel bike, its defining feature is the two part bar, with a floating top designed to dampen out chatter whilst offering multiple contact points and greater stability thanks to a flare at the drop.
The higher end models also feature 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 Reynolds or DT Swiss depending upon spec choice.
The geometry is a tad more agressive than the Endurace, with around 10mm less stack, though a long wheelbase and short effective stem length ensure nimble handling.
Canyon hybrid 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 ‘Urban’ and ‘Commuter’ models.
Canyon’s Urban bikes are designed for nipping around city streets, whilst the Urban models place 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 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 handlbars and wide Schwalbe G-One tyres as well as disc brakes.