What does it take to be a real rockstar? Under the beating heat of the Spanish sun, we had the exclusive opportunity to test out and face the speed of the hotly anticipated Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 Disc: this is a story of Lamborghinis, silver arrows, drum brakes and the entourage of a rockstar.
Who wants a Porsche with drum brakes?
After a few hundred kilometres on the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 Disc, this was exactly what we were wondering. Earlier this year we’d tested its rim brake sibling, and it had won us over with its handling, integration and design. But as a roadie with roots ensconced in mountain biking, we missed the edge that disc brakes add – particularly if one likes to get wild on the descents. But not only on the descents.
600,000 cars and 200,000 motorbikes; if you want to commute in Barcelona, you’ve got to be fast whilst retaining full (stopping) control. Well, the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 is anything but a city bike, but it’s still a dab hand at traffic light drag races (although admittedly I’m yet to pit it against the Lambo – but they look good next to each other in the garage).
The qualities of a rockstar (and yes, this time we’re referring to you – not the bike).
Be it a Lambo or a road bike beneath you, you’ve got to have the right equipment if you’re in the fast lane, equipment that you can trust when you’re living dangerously.
So we’re not just talking about decent (disc) brakes, which can arguably make the difference between a fatal crash and an adrenaline-fuelled ‘damn, that was close,’ as you charge down a pass at 107 km/h, but you also want smoothness, stability and predictability in the handling – regardless of how boring that might sound.
This is exactly where the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 Disc delivers the goods: with incredibly balanced handling and razor-sharp precision, the Ultimate tracks your movements impeccably. Despite its irrefutable racing genes, there’s a really decent level of comfort too – although it’s still a fair level below the Canyon Endurace SLX CF. On descents where you can reach high speeds there’s a generous sensation of stability, and the same applies on poor road surfaces where it keeps superb composure.
While the lithe 7.79 kg Ultimate Disc accelerates like a silver arrow on the flat, it feels a touch slower on the climbs than its 1000 g lighter rim-braked sibling.
However, the confidence gains on the descents thanks to the disc brakes means you’ll forgive it fairly quickly. The Shimano Ultegra disc are potent as well as intuitive and predictable in their modulation.
While the attribute “Griplink” in the Mavic Yksion Pro Griplink C tires promises confidence, we were left unimpressed. The 25 cc tyres deliver an acceptable quantity of comfort and speed, but require time to get a feeling for their cornering capabilities and traction, especially when the temperatures get lower and the surfaces a little wet. Our recommendation: upgrade to some better tyres!
With a 45 mm deep carbon construction on aluminium rims, the Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Disc wheels add some bling to the bike without making the price soar too high. On wind-buffeted test rides along the coast road, they feel quite vulnerable to cross winds.
The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 in detail
Drivetrain Shimano Ultegra DI2, 11-fach
Wheels Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Disc
Brakes Shimano Discbrake Flatmount ST-RS805
Tires Mavic Yksion Pro Griplink C
Weight 7.70 kg (Gr. M)
Price € 4,899
|Seat height||630 mm – 730 mm||665 mm – 765 mm||690 mm – 790 mm||720 mm – 820 mm||750 mm – 850 mm||780 mm – 880 mm||810 mm – 910 mm|
|Seat tube||430 mm||460 mm||490 mm||520 mm||550 mm||580 mm||610 mm|
|Top tube||513 mm||529 mm||543 mm||556 mm||571 mm||596 mm||611 mm|
|Head tube||89 mm||107 mm||130 mm||148 mm||174 mm||195 mm||213 mm|
|Chainstay||415 mm||415 mm||415 mm||415 mm||415 mm||415 mm||415 mm|
|Wheelbase||983 mm||988 mm||993 mm||996 mm||1011 mm||1033 mm||1046 mm|
|Stack||500 mm||522 mm||546 mm||567 mm||592 mm||613 mm||631 mm|
|Reach||368 mm||378 mm||385 mm||391 mm||399 mm||418 mm||428 mm|
|Stem length||90 mm||90 mm||90 mm||100 mm||110 mm||110 mm||120 mm|
|Handlebar width||390 mm||390 mm||390 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||430 mm|
|Crank length||170 mm||170 mm||170 mm||173 mm||175 mm||175 mm||175 mm|
The Ultimate rocks an understated and clean look, which means you can showcase some wild kit on the bike without the health authorities being alerted to an increase in the cases of vision-related injuries – or being on the receiving end of MAMIL insults.
The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 Disc delivers on performance and speed with its distinctive character and great overall concept. The good news is that you don’t have to be a fully-fledged, tattoo-sporting rockstar to ride this bike. It certainly aspires for the ultimate in terms of design, performance and integration without excluding amateurs from the scene. Regarding the spec, the only thing you want to upgrade is the tyre-wheelset combination. The € 4,199 price tag will make your dream of living (i.e. riding) good times and fast times closer than ever before… like a true rockstar.
For more information head to canyon.com
If you like the kit, we have some bad news for you: you currently can’t buy it but you can follow the guys at Sundays here.