To the west of Berlin, in the Grunewald forest, Canyon bikes, the direct distribution German bike manufacturer, unveiled to us their latest machine; the Endurace.
Sitting under the Ultimate CF SL in the Canyon range, it borrows a lot in both technology and style from its more established sibling. In fact, at first glance you’d do well to differentiate the two frames on more than the paint job alone.
Some people like a new bike to look totally new, but Canyon are sticking to their principals on this one, and they spend a good hour explaining the differences through an efficient German presentation.
I salute Canyon for sticking to their engineering principals rather than relying on their marketing department or jazzy graphics.
The bike is designed to be, and promoted as, a comfortable race bike. In the UK, that sometimes translates as ‘Sportive’ bike. But don’t be fooled it’s still all about the speed.
A new internal carbon layup keeps the frame stiff where necessary, and subtly flexible where not. They’ve used their own VCLS technology everywhere on the 1040gram frame (size medium). It stands for ‘Vertical Comfort, Lateral Stiffness’.
Other bits of technical development are easier to spot. The super thin seat stays, the VCLS 2.0 seat post, and the top-tube seat-tube junction are all engineered with this philosophy in mind.
The carbon fork has also been updated from the version available on the Ultimate CF. It sits slightly higher inside the head tube by 6mm. By maximising it’s length, it also increases the available amount of flex, thereby again increasing comfort.
That extra 6mm effects the head tube too. At 165mm for our size medium test ride, it’s not exactly ‘tall’. A similarly priced, and sized, Specialized Roubaix, for example, has a gargantuan 190mm headtube in comparison.
When it comes to the wheels, you’d be forgiven for expecting to see a pair of Mavic’s underneath the Endurace’s carbon frame, as has been commonplace on Canyon bikes for the last couple of years.
They’ve mixed things up here though with a set of DT Swiss’ R23 Spine’s, wrapped in 25mm Continental GP4000s II’s. The wider rim on the DT wheel set has the potential for increased handling and grip, and it pushes the width of the tyres up to around 27mm, making them even more comfortable too.
We took the 9.0 (Ultegra) bike for a spin on the very flat and silky roads around Berlin for the annual Velothon ‘sportive’. I say sportive, at the front end it felt more like a race to me, so perhaps I was on the perfect bike for such an occasion.
A three-hour torrential downpour killed the mood slightly, but even so the bike didn’t disappoint. Its hard to comment on the feedback through the bike completely until we get to ride it on our own roughed up British roads, where the ‘comfort’ will really be tested, but for the several hours I was aboard, it was as advertised, comfortable and fast.