Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Pros:

  • Confortable
  • Stiff
  • Racey

Cons:

  • Not much

Product:

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 7.0 road bike

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£2124.00

This is the cheapest bike in Canyon’s CF SLX range and it’s bang on the UCI minimum weight limit.



Either there’s a second German Wirtschaftswunder underway, spearheaded by Canyon, or the UCI is hopelessly out of touch. It’s probably a bit of both.



Not so long ago you couldn’t get near 6.8kg for love nor money, but thanks to the rapid progress of carbon frame technology paired with Canyon’s direct-sales business model, you don’t need a vast amount of either.



What’s more, impressive though the low weight is, especially when you consider it’s ‘only’ built with Shimano’s second-tier groupset, there’s more to the Ultimate CF SLX than lack of mass.



This a pro frame, as ridden by Katusha, and as such has to be stiffer than the average club racer really needs it to be, and probably more comfortable too, due to the length of the races.



To meet these two basic requirements the Canyon has a humungous bottom bracket shell with press-fit BB in a carbon sleeve, monster box-section down tube and an organic-looking seat tube cluster where the seatstays wrap around the seat tube to join directly to the top tube.



This widens their stance for more lateral stiffness without sacrificing vertical ‘give’.



For comfort the seatstays are flattened, as is the top tube. The seat tube ovalises as it approaches the bottom bracket, leaving a gap to the rear wheel instead of the fag-paper clearance that used to denote a race bike.



However, nobody could say this bike wasn’t smokin’: a cigar is due for the level of comfort that all this achieves without compromising raciness.



If you’re not used to a bike like this, the exaggerated pedalling stiffness and startling softness under your rear (I found the saddle ‘bobbed’ slightly under hard pedalling) can take a bit of getting used to. Add to that the short wheelbase, low front end, fast steering and although it might be super-comfortable, some people might be heading very quickly out of their comfort zone.

Verdict

The Ultimate CF SLX has been uprated for 2014 with 11-speed Ultegra and Ksyrium SLR wheels added to the same superb frame. Sadly the price has too: £2,799.

Full Specification

Tyres: Mavic Yksion Pro
Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium SLS
Stem: Ritchey WCS
Size Tested: M
Size Range: XS, S, M L, XL, 2XL, 3XL
Seat Post: Canyon VCLS
Saddle: Selle Italia SLS Kit Carbonio
Group Set: Shimano Ultegra 6700 Grey
Frame: Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
Supplier: www.canyon.com
  • MikeMcCarthy

    Ordering a bike from Canyon

    Pre-order.

    I live in Japan and was finally in a position to buy a decent Mountain bike, my friend recommended me to try Canyon Mountain Bikes – he has 2 of them and I was able to ride one of his one day – I loved it. I spent a lot of time checking both online and in local bike shops and as far as value for money goes and the quality of components offered on the bike I could not find a better deal – Canondale came close but still price was higher and the Canondale bike did not have the high quality components that Canyon offered.

    I sent of a few e mails to Canyon’s service center asking various questions but received no replies (Some of these questions were answered at a later date when the answers were of no help to me)

    Ordering the bike.

    I finally settled on a bike the Grand Canyon CF SL 7.9 S.E. in a large size – Canyon’s sizing chart told me I should be ordering a medium, I also e mailed about this sizing and was told I should stick to their sizing chart and order a medium – but after carefully and repeatedly sizing up their large size geometry with my present medium sized bike I felt like the large would be a better fit – this decision caused me a lot of stress and worry – after all it is not a cheap bike, and as I am importing I don’t want to get the sizing wrong. (Ultimately I made the right choice more on that later)

    Waiting for my bike.

    I placed my order on the 4th. of June which is week 23 – I was told I could expect my bike on week 27, after week 27 had come and gone and I heard nothing I contacted Canyon and was told my bike was delayed till week 29. I finally had to go though 5 delays – but every-time I had to ask repeatedly if my bike was shipped and was then told my bike was delayed, at one point after the 3rd. delay I was told my bike was ready for shipment and will be shipped out within 48 hours – after hearing nothing, after I waited 72 hours I contacted Canyon and told there was an error, my bike had not been shipped and I was issued with a new order number. At this stage I was panicking as I wanted the bike for my early August summer holiday I was told I would likely have the bike in time, but after that received 2 more delay notifications – I was never told about delays until I had repeatedly e mailed asking about my order. My summer holiday came and went around mid August (week 33) I received an e mail telling me my bike will be shipped soon and passed onto the courier company, I didn’t pin too many hopes on this new delivery date but this time it was for real! I was really excited so set about tracking my order – not such an easy task as I was given the wrong tracking info. by Canyon, it took me several e mails to both Canyon and Courier company to finally get proper tracking information.

    Bike arrives.

    Finally on 23rd. August after a long wait and many delays my bike arrived, by this point I had lost faith in Canyon so didn’t feel the excitement that one should feel when receiving ones first carbon MTB – I was expecting more problems with some aspect of the bike, I was thinking that if Canyon’s mechanics are anything like Canyons service department I will be guaranteed a bike with a problem – BUT I was not disappointed the bike was really well and safely packed, I was able to put the bike together without any problems at all, my first ride was on the road gear change etc. was very smooth and as it should be, the next day took a ride on my local trail which was well washed out covered in debris but this bike plowed through and over everything in its path, as my old bike was over 10 years old with components near 6 years old I just can’t compare the 2 – night and day – I love this bike and really can’t find any fault with it. The sizing chart recommended me to get a medium size but the large size frame I got suits my long limbed 179Cm. body perfectly – so anyone contemplating a bike order should carefully check sizing and not take the word of sizing charts.

    Conclusion.

    Though my order experience was bad and I felt that very often the people answering my questions really didn’t know much about bikes, were sloppy and really slow in answering my questions, the final product was excellent but I do worry that finally the mechanics putting the bikes together will develop the careless attitude that sales department have – maybe my experience was the 1 bad one out of hundreds of good ones.

    Would I recommend Canyon bikes ? Yes I would but if you are in a hurry for a bike you might want to choose a model that is available for purchase straight away, if you are in a position to wait well and good. I would buy from Canyon again but hope that they will endeavor to improve the services department and answer questions in a more timely and professional manner.

  • Rich

    I have the 2012 version – amazing bike, however have had a really bad experience with customer service at Canyon UK. So I’d say to people thinking about buying one to consider the after sales service at the same time – if something goes wrong with the bike Canyon are not likely to be very helpful and will try and get away with the minimum resolution they legally can (in my experience).

  • Jules

    I bought the Ultegra di2 version of this bike when Canyon dropped the price at the end of the season. Whilst I would never profess to be an expert on the technical side of cycling it is very difficult to describe how brilliant this bike feels to ride. It is stiff but the ride is remarkably forgiving and comfortable and the bare carbon finish looks super cool.

    I haven’t ridden enough bikes to say whether it’s the best when compared to a Madone/Synapse etc but what I do know is that in terms of value for money and performance the Canyon range is very hard to beat.

  • Simon Jordan

    How many superlatives can I write, well I will give an honest opinion as I own one and have ridden a few different bikes.
    I had an early Cannondale road hybrid bike, and last year treated myself, through the cycle to work scheme, to a alu synapse, the comfort was worlds away especially when I changed to a carbon seat post. It soaked up the bumps on the rutted roads around Glasgow and felt quick. I then managed to get my hands on the Carbon version for a ride and it just gets better. In fact I thought cosseting of my read end couldn’t get any better until I rode the Ultimate CF SLX. It was purchased as a fast affordable pro peloton road bike. In fact I am not sure if you can find a pro peloton frame cheaper than this.
    Looking through what little reviews there were, suggested comfort because of the seat post but overriding power transfer, so yes I assumed I would get some comfort from the carbon frame and post. But with its steel girders for a down tube connected to what looks like an Germanic over engineered and oversized BB shell and pregnant seat tube, I did have a thought this was going to feel more like a visit to a power hungry dentist, it’s a race bike after all.
    The bike had the VCLS 2 seat post and the first ride had me completing a 20 mile ride in an easy PB, but with no teeth chattering, no slightly bruised posterior, and no James Bond Martini feeling. Canyon don’t need to make a “cobbles” bike, they have one, the comfort is like sitting on your comfort chair ready for the nights TV.
    It soaks up the bumps as well as the Carbon Synapse, if not in my humble opinion better.
    It is fast, now this may not be one of those wafer thin models, strutting its stuff saying look at me. This is pure in your face raw adrenaline. If it were a car it wouldn’t be a Ferrari with its elegant looks it would be a Merc SLS AMG Coupe Black, with its stealth looks, when the power goes down the bike will handle ANYTHING!!!
    Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this bike looks ugly, in fact I love its stealth looks with it’s the unobtrusive red inserts. But I firmly believe every piece of Carbon and Volcano (yes Basalt fibres) laid make this bike, for the money, staggeringly stunning. Its super thin stiletto stays which look like they will break on anything but super smooth tarmac soak up the road as if it were a race circuit, the geometry allows for comfort 100+ mile rides, or full on race. I have ridden this in a couple of TT’s and have my best time so far (non TT bike) set on this.
    Now for the big question, would I recommend this? No Why? because I want it to be exclusive, you don’t see many of them about, and I would love to keep it this way.
    Would I get another Canyon? well actually yes and I have, the Alu version, which has a very similar geometry and ride, but although almost as fast and almost as light (500g between them), is also a world away in comfort, its the almost man, but at over a £1000 less. I swap between the Alu Canyon and Synapse depending on the weather, for my commute and winter riding, but when the roads are dry the stealth jet will come out to play.

    Just for note, I have made a couple of changes, the Saddle I have changed for my preferred Arione, the pedals I chose are carbon Ultegra to match the mech’s and the runs on Continental Attack/Force 2 rubber with Challenge latex tubes. I also swapped the seat post of the Alu from the VCLS2 to the VCLS so I had a little more setback, but there is little to choose between them for comfort.