Canyon have launched their first disc-equipped road bike. The all-new Endurace CF SLX is designed to combine the increased versatility disc brakes can offer, with an endurance-focussed geometry, low weight and aerodynamics.
Canyon first moved into the endurance market back in 2014 with the launch of the original Endurace - a machine pitched, as the name suggests, to bridge the gap between endurance and race.
This Endurace CF SLX is a very different beast and has a frame inspired by the latest Ultimate CF SLX - and weighing just 820g - but adds disc brakes, 12mm thru-axles and wider tyres into the mix, while adopting a more relaxed geometry than Canyon's race-focussed bikes.
Six bikes make up the range, from £2,999 to £5,099, including one women's-specific model. Now let's take a closer look at what Canyon have to say about the Endurace CF SLX.
The Endurace CF SLX is a significant launch for Canyon, being the German firm's first disc-equipped road bike. It's disc-only - not a rim brake in sight - with Canyon using Shimano's BR-RS785 hydraulic disc brakes on every model, and opting for 160mm rotors at the front and rear (other than on the XXS frame, which has 140mm rotors).
The frame uses the flat-mount disc standard and Canyon have gone for 12mm thru-axles at both ends of the bike, in order to "provide a stiff and stable interface between the wheels and frame better designed to cope with the forces applied by disc brakes."
Canyon have partnered with DT Swiss to use the RWS (Ratchet Wheelmounting System) system, designed to offer fast wheel changes and adjustment. The skewer is rotated to tighten and once set in the desired position can be left in place or, according to Canyon, removed altogether and placed in a jersey pocket.
Comfort is key to any endurance bike and that's also true of the Endurace CF SLX. Every bike in the Endurace CF SLX range is specced with Canyon's VCLS 2.0 seatpost, which has a leafspring design able to flex significantly more than a conventional seatpost.
Canyon say the curved design of the seatpost has also enabled them to achieve additional flex, but this inevitably places the rider further behind the bracket, potentially impacting on power transfer. As a result, Canyon have added a kink to the seattube, which in turn has allowed them to shorten the toptube length without affecting the seattube angle.
As on the Ultimate CF SLX, the seatpost clamp has been moved down to the seatstay junction - a design which is said to be lighter but, more importantly, also allows more of the seatpost to flex. Canyon say the seatpost's effective flexing length is increased by up to 110mm.
Tyres are also crucial to comfort and all Endurace CF SLX bikes are specced with 28mm tyres as standard, and there's room to go as wide as 33mm.
Geometry is also vital to any endurance bike and the Endurance CF SLX is no different, using Canyon's Sport geometry to place the rider in a more relaxed position than the Ultimate CF SLX (Sport Pro geometry) and Aeroad CF SLX (Pro geometry).
Compared to the current Ultimate CF SLX, the Endurace's Sport geometry adds approximately 10mm to the stack and shortens the reach by around 8mm. Canyon say instead of simply extending the headtube length to achieve a greater stack height, they instead added that height to the fork and crown for a "more balanced and aggressive design". Basically it makes the Endurace look more like a race bike, while still relaxing the position.
Otherwise, the Endurace's chainstays have been lengthened by 5mm to 415mm to give the bike a more sure-footed and planted feel on fast descents, according to Canyon.
Aerodynamics aren't necessarily what you'd think of with a comfort-focussed bike, but the Endurace's tube profiles are inspired by the latest version of the Ultimate CF SLX, which received a semi-aero makeover this time last year.
The Endurace shares many of the tube profiles of the Ultimate CF SLX, from the hourglass headtube and aero-profiled fork, to the narrower, D-shaped seattube and downtube. Canyon say these tube profiles strike a balance between aerodynamic efficiency, stiffness and low weight.
"Any gain in aerodynamic performance is usually offset by a loss of frame stiffness or a gain in weight," say Canyon. "Although previously, we favoured boxier, aerodynamically inefficient tube profiles as they provided the best stiffness-to-weight properties, we now succeed in finding the ideal balance between stiffness, lightness and aerodynamic efficiency.
"To do this, we focussed on improving the aerodynamic performance of components most exposed to the wind, such as the downtube, and compensate any loss in torsional stiffness by bolstering aerodynamically neutral parts of the frame, like the toptube [which has a flat and broad profile]."
But disc brakes aren't aerodynamic, surely? That's not the case, according to Canyon. "Despite the additional hardware and increase in frontal surface area, disc brakes pose only a relatively minor aerodynamic disadvantage compared to rim brakes," they say.
Back-to-back wind tunnel tests revealed a 3.3 watt difference between the Ultimate CF SLX and Endurace CF SLX at 45km/h and the majority of that discrepancy comes from disc-specific wheelsets, which generally require more spokes and larger hub bodies.
Otherwise, Canyon say the Endurace CF SLX offers a similar level of stiffness to the Ultimate CF SLX, while at a claimed 820g, it's certainly one of the lightest endurance frames on the market, let alone one which is disc-ready.
As we've already mentioned, the Endurace CF SLX will initially be available in six models.
All come with Canyon's new Ergocockpit once-piece handlebar and stem. It's inspired by the integrated Aerocockpit found elsewhere in the Canyon range, but is said to offer a ten per cent improvement in vertical compliance, while being 24g lighter.
The handlebar itself has a six degree sweepback to reduce pressure on the wrists, a three degree flare to increase control and leverage on the drops, a short reach, and an ergonomically and aerodynamically profiled shape.
On to the bikes themselves, and the Endurace CF SLX 8.0 opens the range at £2,999 with Shimano Ultegra, before the £3,499 Endurace CF SLX 8.0 Di2 with Shimano Ultegra Di2. There's also a women's specific version of that bike.
At the same price you'll find the Endurace CF SLX 9.0 with Shimano Dura-Ace, before stepping up to the Endurace CF SLX 9.0 Di2 with, you guessed it, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 for £4,299. At the top of the range there's the Endurace CF SLX 9.0 SL with Dura-Ace Di2 and upgraded Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL wheels for £5,099.
You can see all models of the Canyon Endurace CF SLX in the photo gallery below, as well as plenty more images of the bike and development.