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.
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.