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
  • 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.