Innsbruck, 30.09.2018, 16.40 local time: Alejandro Valverde rides his Canyon Ultimate CF SLX towards the World Champ title. But does the disc-brake version of the Canyon have what it takes to make you a World Champ?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best race bike of 2019 – testing 11 exclusive race bikes

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0 | 6.91 kg | € 5,399

With its harmonious and attractive looks, the Canyon Ultimate has become a true modern classic. Both the superb paint-finish and top-end build-quality of Canyon’s in-house components speak for themselves. The discreet design in Jet-Silver looks both familiar and elegant. For their CF SLX Disc 9.0 the German mail-order specialists rely on a mechanical 2×11 Dura-Ace R9120 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes. The DT Swiss PRC SPLINE 35 carbon wheels come with 160 mm rotors front and back and 700 x 25 C Continental GP 4000 SII rubber.

The Koblenzer Silver Arrow makes you feel good uphill! Next stop: PR on your favourite mountain-pass.

Other carbon components such as Canyon’s own CP10 Aero cockpit and S13 VCLS seat post help keep the overall weight low – the build weighs in at 6.91 kg in size M. This makes the CF SLX Disc 9.0 a staggering 790 g lighter than the Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 version we tested back in 2017. According to Canyon, they haven’t changed the carbon layout of the frameset since. The substantial 10 % weight-loss is therefore solely ascribable to the different choice of components. With a price tag of € 5,399 the Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0 € is by far the cheapest bike in our test.

The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0 in detail

Drivetrain Shimano Dura-Ace R9120 Mechanic 2 x 11
Gearing 52/36T und 11–28T
Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace BR-917 160/160 mm
Seatpost Canyon S13 VCLS CF 15–35 mm Setback
Stem Canyon CP10 Aerocockpit H36 100 mm
Handlebars Canyon CP10 Aerocockpit H36 410 mm
Wheels DT Swiss PRC 1400 SPLINE 35
Tires Continental GP 4000 SII 25C

A matter of combinations
The DT Swiss PRC 1400 SPLINE 35 wheels combined with the fork and cockpit make for an undefined front-end. Heavier wheels and deeper rims would make for a smoother, stiffer ride.
Tidy lines
Even with a mechanical groupset Canyon achieves a high degree of integration. The shift-cable of the front derailleur is hardly noticeable, but is also exposed to the elements.
It’s getting clampy in here!
The beautifully-integrated seatpost clamp provides strong clamping force and is easily accessible. This remains an elegant solution!
Manual switch
Dura-Ace groupsets with mechanical shifters and hydraulic brakes have bigger hoods than Di2 versions.

The geometry of the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0

Size 2XS XS S M L XL 2XL
Seat tube 434 mm 467 mm 494 mm 522 mm 554 mm 584 mm 614 mm
Top tube 513 mm 529 mm 543 mm 556 mm 571 mm 596 mm 612 mm
Head tube 89 mm 107 mm 130 mm 148 mm 174 mm 195 mm 213 mm
Head angle 69.6° 71.0° 72.3° 73.3° 73.3° 73.5° 73.8°
Seat angle 73.9° 73.8° 73.8° 73.8° 73.8° 73.8° 73.8°
Chainstay 415 mm 415 mm 415 mm 415 mm 415 mm 415 mm 415 mm
BB Drop 72 mm 72 mm 70 mm 70 mm 70 mm 70 mm 70 mm
Wheelbase 983 mm 988 mm 993 mm 996 mm 1,011 mm 1,034 mm 1,046 mm
Reach 369 mm 378 mm 385 mm 391 mm 399 mm 418 mm 428 mm
Stack 500 mm 522 mm 546 mm 567 mm 592 mm 613 mm 631 mm

The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0 in test

On startup, the Canyon benefits from its lower system weight. The bottom bracket is stiff enough to provide nimble acceleration in any situation, whether you’re accelerating from a standstill or blasting out corners. This character also makes it shine on steep ramps and long climbs. However, when riding on the flats in full TT-mode, the Canyon clearly lacks efficiency. Here aero-rigs with deeper rim-profiles and heavier wheels stand clearly ahead.

Tuning tip
Stiffer wheelset
Stiffer seat post for riders with long legs
Helmet Oakley ARO3 | Glasses Oakley Trillbe | Jersey PEdAL ED Hane Lightweight Jersey | Bibs PEdAL ED Tsuki Bibshort | Socks PEdAL ED Yurei Regular Socks | Shoes Fizik Aria R3

The handling of the Canyon exudes lightness and agility from every pore. Unfortunately, unlike the CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 we tested back in 2017, the overall package of the new version doesn’t convince us entirely – the lack of riding stability and nervous straight-line tracking are mainly responsible for this. The DT Swiss PRC 1400 SPLINE 35 wheelset is relatively soft and the accumulation of compliance from the cockpit, fork and wheelset is responsible for a lack of precision, especially in the front-end.

In this instance the slightly heavier, deeper rims of the CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 from our 2017 test harmonized with the frameset a lot better. Here, the unsteady front-end makes for an undefined ride and clearly dents your confidence. In terms of comfort, it’s an entirely different story. No matter how bad the road surface is, the Canyon shines with a good degree of compliance in the frameset, cockpit and seat post, which efficiently dampen vibrations and bigger hits. Nothing stands in the way of a long weekend ride! The S13 VCLS seat post is extremely flexible and perhaps even a little too compliant for riders with long legs.

Conclusion

The Canyon CF SLX Disc 9.0 is an absolute rocket on startup and climbs. The price-conscious among us will find a comfortable entry-level package in the premium range. With its sketchy front-end, the CF SLX Disc 9.0 lacks composure and precision.

Tops

  • Nimble acceleration
  • Price/performance ratio
  • Integration

Flops

  • Undefined handling
  • Strong seat post flex at full extension

For mor info head to: canyon.de

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best race bike of 2019 – testing 11 exclusive race bikes

All bikes in test: Argonaut Road Bike | Basso Diamante SV 2019 | Bianchi Oltre XR4 Disc | BMC Timemachine Road 01 TWO | Cervélo S5 | EXEPT Allroad Classic | FOCUS IZALCO MAX 9.8 | MERIDA REACTO DISC TEAM-E | Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 Disc | Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc


This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #011

GRAN FONDO Cycling Magazine is published in a digital app format in both English and German. Download the app for iOS or Android to read all articles on your tablet or smartphone. 100% free!

Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Valentin Rühl