Canyon Endurace CF 8 review - top value carbon comfort
Canyon's new entry-level carbon endurance bike range is as tough as they come - and the price of this Ultegra-specced model will be very hard to beat
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Although the Endurace CF 8 is a thoroughly modern bike with a killer spec for the money, it has swapped a little bit of nimbleness for toughness. If you're only interested in tarmac and short bursts of high speed this might not be the bike for you. But if your riding is more relaxed, longer and takes in some rougher surfaces then this Canyon is an ideal bike with an unbeatable price (£2,199 at the time of review) and competitive weight (8.5kg) for its category.
Superb value for money
Lots of tyre clearance
No mudguard eyes
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The Canyon Endurace has traditionally been half endurance bike and half race bike. The clue is in the name. This model, from the newly updated affordable end of the range, still manages to splice the two categories together very neatly, but now it's maybe around two-thirds endurance and one-third race: there’s more of an emphasis on all-road capability with bigger tyre clearance and more robust wheels that are suitable for gravel.
Canyon relaunched the Endurace CF (opens in new tab) - its entry-level carbon endurance bike (opens in new tab) range - at the beginning of this year. It was out with what was left of rim-brake and women-specific bikes and in with a redesigned and simplified disc-only line-up with a broader unisex size range.
This mechanical Shimano Ultegra 8000 (opens in new tab)-equipped model is one up from the entry-level in a line-up of four new carbon Endurace CFs, with the top SRAM Rival AXS (opens in new tab)-equipped model designated ‘all road’ and coming with chunkier 35mm tyres, though the rest of frame and geometry is the same.
As is the case with most brands’ second-tier carbon bikes, the material the Endurace CF is made from is a lower grade of carbon-fibre compared with the Endurace CF SLX and SL. But 8.5kg is not heavy for a bike at this price. The new Cannondale Synapse 2 RL (opens in new tab) with mechanical Ultegra weighs 9.5kg in the equivalent size (and costs almost twice as much). The Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 AX (opens in new tab) is also heavier at just over 9kg.
The Canyon has the shorter reach and taller stack of the modern endurance bike, intended to give a more upright position for long-distance comfort.
That means more weight is inevitably borne by the sit bones, so there’s a round 27.2mm carbon VCLS (Canyon’s shock-absorbing system) seatpost with the clamp bolt further down the seat tube for a longer effective flexing section. This, along with the big tyres, works very effectively as suspension.
If you fit a longer stem than the 100mm specced (Canyon offers replacements at 50% discount since you can't swap it at point of purchase) and slam it, it’s possible to achieve a more aggressive position: the stack height of the size M Endurace is 2.3cm taller than that of the equivalent Canyon Ultimate CF SLX race bike. If that’s what you’re after, my advice would be to choose a smaller rather than larger Endurace for your height (Canyon’s sizing chart is a good guide).
The geometry itself works hard to keep a racy feel. The shorter reach naturally leads to a shorter front-centre, which means the Endurace actually has a slightly shorter wheelbase than the Ultimate CF SLX (opens in new tab) in the size M and handling feels very agile. Like it or loathe it, it has a pressfit BB (which didn’t creak once during my time with this bike).
Fork trail is also based on the Ultimate, supplying pin-sharp steering.
You get the bosses on the top tube for a bag and you might reasonably expect more mounts under the down tube and perhaps mudguard eyes - the new Cannondale Synapse has these. I would rather have mudguard eyes than top tube bag bosses.
The full Ultegra groupset - 11-speed mechanical version, which is being continued alongside the new 12-speed Di2 for the time being - is well functioning and reliable.
You get a 52/36 chainset, confirmation that pacier riding isn’t off the table, but the 11-34 cassette should get most people up most hills.
The Fulcrum Racing 900 DB wheels aren’t quite so impressive - they’re certainly robust but are not lightweight at just under 2kg. These are listed on Fulcrum’s website as suitable for road and gravel, have 28 spokes per wheel and weigh just under 2kg. With an internal rim width of 19mm they’re not up with the modern wide wheels. An upgrade would save weight and add responsiveness.
They’re tubeless ready but come with Schwalbe One clinchers with tubes, a 30mm on the front and 32mm at the back. These are good tyres (and superior to the Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres that the Synapse gets).
The bar and stem are Canyon’s own and if you like to be able to adjust your position easily you’ll love that they’re all traditional standard and separate components (though watch out for the 1 ¼ steerer stem).
I didn’t get on with the very grippy surface of the Selle Italia Model X short-nosed saddle - it is moulded rather than covered - and the unusual rail design at the rear meant it annoyingly couldn’t accommodate my Silca Mattone seat pack. For me, unless I'm touring, behind the saddle is the only acceptable place for a pack. But that's just me, so I'm not going to deduct a point for that.
I’ve done both comfortable rides and fast rides on the Canyon Endurace CF 8 and it took me a while to decide which it was better at. I kept going out for ‘one last ride’ to see if I could make up my mind - which says that Canyon has done a good job balancing endurance and race. However, I finally concluded that endurance edges it.
The bouncy VCLS seatpost in conjunction with the big tyres - as long as you’ve got the pressure right - supplies a very plush ride on surfaces that road bikes and even endurance bikes of a few years ago would just not have been able to handle without shaking bottles out of cages and eyes out of skulls.
My first ride was a steady, sociable couple of hours of chatting in the lanes. The pace was surprisingly high for the perceived exertion and I put that down to good vibration absorption. The finale was the descent of Pebble Combe, the steep gully under Box Hill, a real test of cornering confidence with its high-speed left hander. On the Canyon I never felt my fingers reaching for the brakes. It seemed to find the best line through the bend and stay fixed on it.
The frame and fork are very stiff - something not immediately obvious with the flexible seatpost and big tyres.
I’ve found it’s perfectly feasible to average 20mph on my regular loops, but the Canyon does need a little bit more power than a pure road bike requires. I’m not going to complain about the Fulcrum Racing 900 wheels because of the generally great spec, but if these were swapped for lighter, more aerodynamic ones set up tubeless I’ve no doubt speed and responsiveness would both go up a level: what the Canyon lacks slightly is a willingness to accelerate or to surge up steep climbs.
However, these wheels have stayed completely true and are perfect for the rougher surfaces. I prefer smooth surfaces and higher average speeds than traversing more technical terrain, so they’re a compromise that doesn’t work for me personally.
Value and conclusion
Compared to the competition, the Canyon Endurace CF 8 supplies superb value for money. I’ve already mentioned the Cannondale Synapse 2 RL: admittedly you’re also paying for its integrated SmartSense lights and radar but it’s almost twice the price.
The Specialized Roubaix Sport with Shimano 105 (opens in new tab) and very basic aluminium wheels costs £3,100 while the entry level carbon Trek Domane SL 5 - also 105-based - retails at £2,850.
To conclude, while the ‘race’ in its name might have given up a little ground to ‘endurance’ in this model, I propose that Endurace here stands for ‘endurance’ and ‘ace’, which refers to the comfort paired with the incredible spec. If you’re only interested in high speeds and smooth tarmac then the Endurace CF 8 may not be the bike for you - without a wheel upgrade at least - but if your rides take in some rougher terrain then this is an ideal bike that has what could be an unbeatable spec for the price.
- Frame Canyon Endurace CF (carbon fibre)
- Fork Canyon Canyon FK0089 CF Disc (1 ¼ steerer)
- Groupset Shimano Ultegra 8020 mechanical/hydraulic disc
- Wheels Fulcrum Racing 900 DB
- Bar Canyon H17 Ergobar AL (42cm)
- Stem Canyon V13 alu (100mm)
- Seatpost Canyon SP0057 VCLS
- Saddle Selle Italia Model X
- Weight 8.5kg
- Size tested M
- Contact www.canyon.com
Is Canyon Endurace a fast bike?
The new entry-level Endurace range is aimed more at long-distance, comfortable riding than outright speed. With its burly wheels and wide, sturdy tyres it has an all-road capability that the Canyon Ultimate, the brand's race bike, doesn't have. That said, with faster wheels and tyres there's no reason why it can't match a purer road bike.
Does Canyon Endurace have mudguard mounts?
The Canyon Endurace CF 8 doesn't have mudguard mounts, which is a pity because in bad weather there's no protection for your back or feet. We'd rather have mudguard mounts than mounts for a top tube bag.
How much does a Canyon Endurace weigh?
The Canyon Endurace CF 8 in a size M weighs 8.5kg, which is pretty competitive compared to its more expensive rivals.
Is the Canyon Endurace a gravel bike?
We'd say the Endurace CF is more 'all-road' than gravel, though this latest version is certainly burly enough to deal with rough, unmetalled roads and farm tracks. The Endurace CF 7 All-Road has 35mm tyres and actually has 'all-road' in its name, so there's your answer.
What's the difference between the Canyon Endurace and the Canyon Ultimate?
The Canyon Ultimate is Canyon's race bike and has more aggressive geometry - chiefly a lower stack height The stack height of the size M Endurace is 2.3cm taller than that of the equivalent Canyon Ultimate CF SLX race bike.
The shorter reach of the Endurace naturally leads to a shorter front-centre, which means the Endurace actually has a slightly shorter wheelbase than the Ultimate CF SLX in the size M and handling feels very agile.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
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