The onset of Spring had me searching for a new carbon road bike. My first carbon bike, a Cannondale Synapse 105 has given me good service but in truth I needed a smaller size frame so after reading countless reviews and comparing prices I settled on the Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0
Canyon bikes operates exclusively online meaning you deal direct with the manufacturer so no retailers profit to consider and this is reflected in what you get for your money. A comprehensive web site allows to you pick and mix certain components.
Once you have selected the bike of your choice you are told the expected delivery date as a week number and by registering your credit card the process commences.
The specification I opted for was the matt black and grey frame with Ultegra 6800 group set, 50/34 compact chainring and an 11/28 cassette. Ultega 6800 brakes, Mavic Kyserium Elite wheels with Mavic Yksion 700 x 25 Pro tyres and Fizik Antares saddle. The aluminium handlebar and stem are both from Ritchey’s WTS range. The seat post is Canyon’s own-brand VCLS carbon fibre post, and the rear stays are also VCLS. I also opted for two matching bottle holders. The whole lot weighing in at 6.9kg just a touch over the UCI minimum.
On this occasion the much lauded German efficiency failed and the delivery date slipped by two weeks but I was kept informed by way of e-mail and all delivery charges were waived by way of compensation.
From the box which was a masterpiece in German engineering assembly was straightforward and you are even supplied with a torque wrench so you cannot over tighten the components.
The first thing you appreciate when you take the bike for a spin is the weight, or lack of it. It accelerates effortlessly away and this continues as the roads ramp up, the bikes glides up without a feeling that you are fighting the hill and the machine.
On the flat lanes of Hampshire the stiff frame went a long way to soaking up the vibration on poor road surface and potholes, the handling was positive and accurate. One of the big plusses was the Fizik Antares saddle which ensured maximum comfort even on our 100 mile route. The Kyserium Elite wheels are a bonus accelerating well and the Yksion Pro tyres roll and grip well on the dry roads but I did have a moment in the wet and they would not have been first choice.
The Ultegra 6800 11 speed gearing is a joy, changing gear is silky smooth and effortless and the Ultegra 6800 brakes will certainly stop you.
I am fastidious about keeping bikes clean and maintained and the negatives I have found on this bike are the white bar tape (why do manufacturers supply it) which gets dirty very quickly and the matt finish on the carbon frame that marks very easily, I would also choose alternative tyres but that is just my personal choice.
After riding the Canyon for six weeks my overall impression of is that I have an awful lot of bike for the money and it is very versatile, it has provided me with a PB on a ten-mile time trial as well as a fast comfortable ride on a 110 mile club run. The other bonus from Canyon was that the money was not taken from my credit card for a full 28 days after I had taken delivery of the bike although I suspect this might have been a German oversight.