The notion of aero bikes needs to be confronted; no longer just uncompromising pure speed specialists, the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX is leading this new charge. Proclaimed to be rigid enough for any finishing sprint, light enough for the steepest climbs, yet comfy enough for long days in the saddle, the Koblenz company aren’t pigeonholing their new Aeroad; they’re just highlighting its race­worthiness. But have they found the right equation?

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Point the bike downhill and the Aeroad is a smooth and confident descender that handles with impeccable precision, further strengthened by the super rigid bar and stem combo.

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 | 6.96 kg | € 4,699
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 | 6.96 kg | € 4,699

While this group test aims to look beyond price, we’d be fools to not mention this one. The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 (the top­of­the­line model wasn’t available) retails for only €4,699, just a third of the price of the most expensive bike on test. Naturally, this huge saving means that some components are less exotic, seen in the price­reducing mechanical Dura Ace and Mavic Cosmic Pro wheelset.

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Influenced by the frameset of Canyon’s Speedmax time­trial bike, the Aeroad has a harsh, take­no­prisoners aesthetic with a stern­looking tube profile and stylish frame detailing. Compared to other bikes in its segment, Canyon haven’t gone overboard with the aero details: their partiality to direct mount brakes show a lot more pragmatism, making them easier to adjust and less susceptible to setup problems. The same clear thinking has been carried through the rest of the components and cable routing – even on the CF’s tidy ­looking aero­style bars.

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The Aeroad can be seen in a wide variety of uses amongst the pros, taking a flogging on the cobbles of Flanders and North France with Alexander Kristoff, and scaling mountains underneath two of the world’s top climbers, Valverde and Rodriguez. But can amateurs derive the same benefits from its polymath nature, too? During our testing around Barcelona, the Aeroad was consistently put through its paces on climbs like the brutally steep Rat Penat, with its sections above 20% proving the ideal measuring stick. Super agile, the bike was responsive and rigid, working its way masterfully up the gradient.

Details of the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0

Uncomplicated: The direct mount brakes are easier to adjust and less susceptible to setup problems than fully integrated solutions on other aero bikes. The only thing that was not in harmony was the brake squeal from the Mavic Cosmic Pro wheels. Even after long days out on the bike, they wouldn’t stop squealing.
Uncomplicated: The direct mount brakes are easier to adjust and less susceptible to setup problems than fully integrated solutions on other aero bikes. The only thing that was not in harmony was the brake squeal from the Mavic Cosmic Pro wheels. Even after long days out on the bike, they wouldn’t stop squealing.
Integrated: Canyon’s own Aerocockpit CF hosts the brake and shifting cables or – if you run electronic shifting – the Junction Box of a Di2 or the interface of Campagnolo’s EPS.
Integrated: Canyon’s own Aerocockpit CF hosts the brake and shifting cables or – if you run electronic shifting – the Junction Box of a Di2 or the interface of Campagnolo’s EPS.
Aerodynamics vs. Comfort: The test bike came with a tower of spacers. To the racers among us this constituted a crime whilst it was a blessing for the less aggressive riders.
Aerodynamics vs. Comfort: The test bike came with a tower of spacers. To the racers among us this constituted a crime whilst it was a blessing for the less aggressive riders.
Simple: Easy to access and nicely integrated seat clamp.
Simple: Easy to access and nicely integrated seat clamp.

Specifications of the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0

  • Drivetrain: Shimano Dura Ace 2×11 SP
  • Gears: Chainrings: 52/36 | Cassette: 11-28
  • Brakes: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Tyres: Mavic Yksion Pro Griplink/ Mavic Powerlink
  • Wheelset: Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Exalith WTS
  • Weight: 6.96 kg
  • Price: € 4,699
Geometry of the Canyon Aeroad.
Geometry of the Canyon Aeroad.

So Canyon have managed to widen the boundaries of aero bikes, creating a specialist bike with widespread appeal for amateurs and pros – although we’d bet good money they’d like a more flexible set-up than on offer with the bike’s one-piece bar and stem, something which Canyon are looking to add as an option to future models.

Conclusion

The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 keeps it real. Retailing for only € 4,699, the bike achieves not only an incredible symbiosis of price, race, and all-round performance, but also excels with a high level of simplicity – an important point if you still want to work and maintain your bike yourself.

Strengths

  • Pure pragmatism: super fast all-rounder
  • User-friendly: it might be aero but Canyon have kept it simple
  • Superb handling and well balanced – Suited for the broadest range of riders

Weaknesses

  • Cockpit options limited

For more information check the Canyon website.

About the test

With 10 test riders descending on Barcelona from across the globe, we dedicated 9 days to pushing this season’s most exclusive and exciting and exciting bikes to their limits in a one-of-a-kind group test. Each rider brought his or her own specific experience to the process, with a test team comprised of four women and six men, including former Tour de France riders, biomechanics, bike shop owners, tour guides and amateur riders. In short: a gathering of highly experienced and well-versed road riding enthusiasts. Our goal was a simple one, to give you all the information needed to make you a winner: Why? Becuase life’s too short to ride the wrong bikes.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The 10 most exclusive and exciting bikes in Test



All bikes in test: Storck Aernario Platinum G1 | Specialized S-Works Venge | Ritte Ace | Focus Izalco Max Disc“ | Festka One LT Dazzle | Crema Doma | Cervelo C5 | Bianchi Specialissima | Trek Madone 9.9

Words: Markus Ybanez, Robin Schmitt, Emmie Collinge Photos: Constantin Gerlach, Klaus Kneist, Christoph Bayer