By Nick Busca
There wasn’t a better place to test the new Canyon Endurace CF SLX than the hilly and green surroundings of the company's headquarters in Koblenz, Germany.
The continuous ups and downs, punctuated with sharp turns and also passages on unpaved roads, was the best scenario to take a first ride and glimpse at the new bike.
As its name keeps suggesting, the Canyon Endurace CF SLX is designed and built for long rides and to make you feel comfortable for all those miles spent in the saddle.
At the same time, though, the new model has gone a step forward compared to its predecessors and it’s presented as something more than a normal endurance bike: a bike that could go far, but also fast with a high level of responsiveness and control.
By retaining some of the key features of the Aeroad and the Ultimate, the new Canyon Endurace CF SLX is trying to fill the gap between the 100 per cent sportive models and the race machines.
At first glance the frame really looks like the Ultimate, and both in terms of general outlook and aero specification the new Endurace has ‘inherited’ from the other Canyon models.
I was actually kind of surprised when at the presentation I got closer to the bike and saw it was an Endurace, and not an Ultimate.
We found out if aero really matters
In order to make the Endurace CF SLX more aerodynamic than the former model, Canyon focused on the components that are more exposed to the wind, like the down tube.
Compared to the 2014 version, the new tube looks ‘less fat’ on the top and has got a more oval shape to cut the wind.
Tested in the wind tunnel, the difference between the Canyon Endurace CF SLX and the Ultimate CF SLX Disc Prototype – claims Canyon – are very tight, with the Endurace being just 1.4 watts slower than its racier cousin.
Over the course of the first 70km ride we were able to ride at the Endurace’s presentation in Germany, the very first impression I got from the bike was that of a very comfortable bike.
Canyon claims a weight of 820 grams for the size M frame, and adds that with a broad scope of adjustment, you can find a perfect position whether that's a more upright or race position.
Once more, if compared to the Ultimate, the Endurace features a 10mm higher stack and a 8mm shorter reach.
As on the Aeroad CF SLX, the Canyon Endurace CF SLX features an integrated carbon stem and handlebars.
This is the new H31 Ergocockpit, which is claimed to be 24g lighter and 10 per cent more vertically compliant than the H11 Aerocockpit.
As I have a short torso and I normally have to work on the stem to find my best position in the saddle, I was initially worried about the integrated stem and bar system that gave no possibility of adaptation.
Nevertheless the system revealed to be very comfortable, especially the ergonomic bar when tested up hills.
The clamp system has been completely redesigned: the stem is pressed into the shaft with two screws and a transition plate for a more balanced distribution of the force.
Disc brakes and wide tyres
More and more, the 'equation' that calculates the balance between control and less effort for the rider has been solved by an increased use of disc brakes.
It was my first time ever with disc brakes and I confess I had some prejudices, especially after all the that followed Movistar rider Francisco Ventoso’s accident.
Even though I didn’t like the fact that they’re very loud downhills, I have to say I was very surprised by their performance. Gone are the days when you need to constantly worry about your brake pads.
The smoother modularity of the discs gives you more control, but also more confidence while riding at speed. And I am not a rocket on descents, even though my background is downhill skiing.
The Canyon Endurace Cf SLX is also super stable on descents and it doesn’t move a bit from where you put it.
For this reason Canyon opted to equip the Endurace with the standard Shimano, flat mount hydraulic disc brakes.
All the bikes' sizes (except for the XXS which mounts 140 mm rotors) will mount 160 mm rotors on the front and on the back.
On the test ride we were brought to a small section of unpaved road. It was simply stunning to see how good the Endurace reacts to the gravel: with its set up and natural compliance both on the front and the back, it was really easy to guide it through bumps and puddles.
>>> What do pro really think about disc brakes?
To match and reap the benefits of the disc brakes, the Canyon Endurace CF SLX is equipped with 28mm tyres, but both frame and forks have clearance to take up to 33mm tyres.
Even though this tyre proved its comfort and performance even over unpaved roads, its rolling resistance on the flat will never be the same as a tyre conceived for pure speed.
As the Endurace has disc brakes, the fork has had to be reinforced so it is able to deal with heavier braking loads (especially on the left side).
The new fork is consequently heavier than the former one, and it comes in at 325g, 30g more than the fork used for the Ultimate CF SLX.
Another feature Canyon developed on the Endurace to make the bike more comfortable is a flexible seatpost.
It does look weird to see the rider in front of you literally bouncing up and down while pedalling, and the more he or she weights, the more the bouncing would be accentuated.
After seeing it on the other people I started to notice it more and more, and the general feeling I got from it is very good comfort in the long term, but an obvious loss of some watts here and there.
Personally, but differently from other riders, I didn’t feel that bouncing on my body when I started pedalling; I just saw it from the other riders in front of me.
The VCLS 2.0 seatpost that Canyon used for the new Endurace CF SLX is claimed to have more flex compared to the first version, but at the same time a kink halfway up the seat tube designed to keep the rider positioned over the bottom bracket and not behind it.
The seat clamp is also a new feature in the Endurace conceived for giving you more flex and comfort.
First appearing on the Ultimate CF SLX, the clamp is moved from its position at the top of the seat tube to a place further down.
In this way, the seatpost is effectively lengthened, enabling greater flex and therefore more comfort.
However, over the course of a 70km ride – and a short, not very steep hill – the feeling I had (and other riders of more or less my same weight, 75 kg) was of a small loss in terms of energy and power transferred to the pedals because of this movement.
Nevertheless, on a long ride, that little loss of power on small hills would be balanced out by lessened fatigue.
And this is probably the most important specification to consider if you’re looking for a bike for long rides, sportives and cyclo-tourism in hard conditions like the ones we have in the UK.
As soon as we have the bike in for a longer test, we’ll be able to put this piece of 'German Kraft' through a more thorough test.
Endurance bike of the year
The Canyon Endurace CF SLX features also an internal routing system for the cables (with an additional internal system that eliminates the rattles), a custom skewer lever that can be removed and placed in the pockets once tightened (the skewer system is internal through axle layout), and comes with Fizik’s Aliante saddle.
In terms of colours the choice will be limited to the stealth-asphalt grey or the kerosene red-grey metallic for the men's models, or the grey one and the skydive blue for the women's.
Models and pricings
The Canyon Endurace CF SLX will be available in 6 different models; just one specifically for women.
Canyone Endurace CF SLX SL: £5,099
Dura-Ace Di2 9070 and Mavic Yksion Pro SSC Griplink/Powerink wheels
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 Di2: £4,299
Dura-Ace Di2 9070 and DT Swiss RR21 wheels
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0: £3,499
Dura-Ace 9000 and DT Swiss RR21 wheels
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 8.0 Di2: £3,499
Ultegra Di2 6870 and DT Swiss RR21 wheels
Canyon Endurace CF SLX 8: £2,999
Ultegra 6800 and DT Swiss RR21 wheels
Canyon Endurace Women CF SLX 8.0 Di2: £3,499
Ultegra Di2 6870 and DT Swiss RR21 wheels
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