I enjoyed my time with the Canyon Inflite SL SLX 5.0. Of course by all means isn't the most performance bike out there but for the price and application Canyon has hit the nail on the head.
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If you have got the taste for racing cross or general off-roading, then we would recommend the Canyon Inflite for being robust,
For the latest Canyon Inflite AL SLX 5.0 race, it became what it originally should have been; a dedicated cross racing machine. It followed suit from its more expensive carbon siblings that were launched a year earlier and raced by the likes of Mathieu van der Poel, who was world cyclocross champion in 2015 and 2019.
Canyon is known for thinking slightly outside of the box when it comes to its off-road machines - I’m thinking of the double handlebar Grail here - and without looking too hard at the Inflite AL you can see what is slightly different to your traditional horizontal top tube cross bikes.
The kink at the end of the top tube on the Inflite is there for a number of reasons. Firstly, Canyon claims that having more exposed seatpost allows for a little more flex at the rear end for stability and comfort, and secondly that it needed to maximise space under the top tube to allow for shouldering the bike. Voila, Canyon introduces the kink in the top tube.
So you should in theory be getting an extra 15 per cent compliance at the rear over a standard horizontal frame and 37mm more shouldering room over a sloping frame – a nice idea.
I raced the Canyon Inflite AL SLX 5.0 at a couple of local cross races and enjoyed my time with it. I’m amazed at its composure, especially when I’m on the ragged edge of skill and fitness!
Of course the tyres can determine much of the feeling and the pressure you run on the day but ultimately the frame didn’t feel heavy at its very competitive weight of 8.52kg for a complete bike costing £1499!
The tyres I used were the Schwalbe X-One’s 33mm, which are tubeless ready and that is how I raced them in those dry races, using around 30psi for the conditions.
As far as the claims of rear end compliance go, it's hard to determine whether it works to help with control or offering up any more compliance at the rear, but at least I had plenty of room to shoulder the bike.
As anyone who has raced or cycled off-road knows, you'll hit bumps and holes pretty hard and once you've gone into the red like I was from the get go on race day, it isn't the most pleasant of experiences. Although, the Canyon Inflite AL SLX 5.0 race does its best to perform and having those frame technologies in place makes for easier use throughout any ride.
SRAM Apex supplies the running gear and is the most common off-road groupset on the market for the lower end of the scale bikes. It works very well as a one-by system and I think the gearing is most suiting to the application of this bike. Hydraulic brakes are a must here too and that is just what you get.
I think the Canyon Inflite AL SLX 5.0 race is great value and will be a solid purchase for a seasoned racer or a newbie to cyclocross.
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Symon Lewis joined Cycling Weekly as an Editorial Assistant in 2010, he went on to become a Tech Writer in 2014 before being promoted to Tech Editor in 2015 before taking on a role managing Video and Tech in 2019. Lewis discovered cycling via Herne Hill Velodrome, where he was renowned for his prolific performances, and spent two years as a coach at the South London velodrome.
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