Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Canyon Endurance CF SLX Disc 9.0 Review

You know when you see top end bikes on the television, in a bike shop or in a magazine and you think ‘I’d love to have a good go on one of those, just to see what it does for my riding?’

Canyon Endurance CF SLX in Aero Titanium

Having that opportunity recently, the good people at Canyon UK sent me one of their top bikes, the Canyon Endurance CF SLX for review.  Having covered 50,000 or so miles on the road now, I'm getting a good feel for attributes of bikes and practicalities in day to day use.

New Bike Day

The bike arrives well packed and is really easy to set-up.  There is plenty of protective packaging  all you have to do is install the bars and the front wheel in reality.  All in all, it took me about thirty minutes to get the position dialled with seat height, saddle fore/aft, bar height etc.  Bike was delivered by UPS, everything needed to set it up is in the box.  

Once built, I couldn't wait to get out on it to see how a six grand bike performs on the road. By most peoples budget this would be a well considered purchase and not only does it need to look the business but also perform to a very high standard.

30 Second Clip of Bike fully built
A Comfortable and Fast Ride

The Endurance CF SLX has a more relaxed position suitable for long days in the saddle, sportives, and multi-day events.  I have a dodgy disc in my lower back, so always ride with some stack on the stem.  I was able to set the Endurance CF SLX almost spot on with my bike fit measurements leading to a really good position which was comfortable but also quick.  It would be the bike I'd choose out of the range for that reason.

One question that you might ask yourself is - What’s the difference between the Endurance CF SLX and the Canyon Aeroad?

Having ridden an Aeroad from Chester to Cardiff last year, I can answer that, it all lies in the geometry.  The Aeroad has a more aggressive geometry allowing you to get a lower position in the cockpit, ideal for racing.  You’ll see Continental team Canyon Eisberg racing them in 2018.  So, if you’re someone that likes an aero position when you ride, then it’s also a rather good bike.

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (Pre Pedal Installation)
The test bike was built with a top spec including full Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset, DT Swiss ERC 1400 wheels (21mm profile), coming in at £5,899 including VAT.  (Delivery is £32.99 on top of the bike cost when you order, plus the bikebguard box at £14.99 so the overall bike cost is £5,946.98).

Colour was Aero Titanium, which was very distinctive and invited a lot of comment on the road.  The electronic groupset was sublime with effortless gear changes achieved with a tap of your fingers, trimming being done electronically. Full build details can be found on the Canyon website here.  

DT Swiss Hoops - Very Quick & Responsive on all Surfaces
Riding the bike, the one characteristic that really stood out for me was how quick it was to pick up speed.  At 6.9kg in weight, power just went straight through to the road and you are hurtling along before you know it.  With those characteristics climbing was a joy, easy to find a rhythm and push up anything.  It’s a quick bike and really well balanced at the front.

Descending, it was predictable which is always reassuring. Cornering was grippy on the Continental GP4000 28mm rubber which also soaked up the vibration from the road. Braking was sharp in all weather conditions with the Dura-Ace disc brakes.  

Shot showing the rear end of the bike
On that subject, I know disc brakes divide opinion with many pro riders conveying concern about them in a race environment.  Running a recent twitter poll around disc brakes, I asked peoples opinion about them.  843 people gave their opinion when asked and 71% of people were favourable towards them, results below: -

I currently ride them - 38% of respondents
Will spec them with my next bike - 33% of respondents
Never plan to ride them - 29% of respondents

Disc brakes give a lot of stopping power
So seems disc brakes will likely become more common on the road in the future.  Asking a similar question about groupset choice in another survey (1200 respondents) 69% indicated Shimano as their preferred groupset, so a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 disc brake seems a pretty good bet if you're buying a bike.

Having covered a few hundred miles on the Endurance CF SLX, I can honestly say it was a joy to ride in any conditions.  With the road camber in the UK being in such poor condition, the wide tyres were very forgiving whilst also have the credentials to ride quickly.  Continental GP4000 is a tyre set I've used on my other bikes for some years, they roll well.

  • Bike comes 95% built, is easy to set-up.
  • Top spec out of the box means not having to spend money on upgrades
  • Dura-Ace Di2 groupset was absolutely on-point.
  • 28mm tyres make the ride very comfortable for UK roads.
  • Comfortable geometry make the bike suitable for short fast rides aswell as long days.
  • Bike very easy to clean with wide apertures in the frame.
  • 30 day exchange period on bikes.
  • 6 year guarantee.
  • Deep section wheels can catch the wind on blowy days, I'd likely buy an additional front wheel for those moments with a shallower section to swap in/out.  Personal preference only.
  • You'll need to know your measurements to order the right bike so it's worth taking a few minutes to use their perfect positioning utility on the website.  Link here.  You can use the livechat on their site or drop them an e-mail if any doubt.  
  • Standard Garmin mounts wont fit the bars, you'll need to buy one of the Canyon approved out front mounts.  
  • Handlebar position is fixed.  If you find your set-up isn't spot on then Canyon offer a cockpit swap within the first 30 days and have different length and width options. 
  • If you want mudguards for the winter, you can add Raceblade temporary mudguards for around £35.  Wiggle sell them.  With the 28mm tyres, the bike can easily cope with the winter however I think this would be staying wrapped up warm and the winter hack would be taking the punishment.
Sum Up

  • A seriously quick road bike, which comes with a very high specification, direct from Canyon,
  • Ideal for riders who want a bike which can handle multiple scenarios from a Sunday spin to a multi-day event with a more relaxed geometry than an out and out road racing bike yet not compromising on top end performance, pick up and handling.
  • The 28mm tyres and big frame clearances mean the bike is ideal for all road conditions, handling well as a climber, descender or all day rouler.  The bike is multi-dimensional, not a one trick pony.  
  • Dura-Ace Di2 is a stunning groupset, if you're spending this sort of money on a bike you may aswell go all out.
  • The Endurance range starts from £799 right up to £6,249 so there's a bike for everyone.  If discs aren't for you, then you can spec/buy without them.  See the website for details.  
Canyon are hosting a number of demo events around the UK between February and March if you want to take a look at the range or test pilot a bike.  More information can be viewed here.

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