German manufacturer Canyon has released an aluminium version of the Inflite cyclo-cross race bike, complete with the kinked toptube design first seen on last year's carbon CX machine. At £1,299 for a SRAM Apex-equipped build, the Canyon Inflite AL SLX 6.0 Race looks a value-packed option for budding cyclo-cross racers.

The direct-to-consumer brand shook up the cyclo-cross bike scene last year with a frame design that is both an aesthetic challenge to the norm and functionally well considered.

The distinctive kinked toptube – designed to make the carrying of the bike up and over insurmountable objects that bit easier – remains, although it's more subtle on the aluminium frame. The Inflite AL SLX also share the same race-focussed geometry as its upscale carbon sibling. Other updates to the range for the 2018/19 race season include the adoption of Shimano’s clutch rear deraillieur on two carbon models, while the headline act, the Inflite CF SLX 9.0, gets the SRAM Red eTap treatment.

Alloy alloy

Although older iterations of the Inflite were based around an aluminum frame, that bike was something of a road/cyclo-cross hybrid with a geometry and mudguard mounts to match. The 2019 release sees the material return to the fore in a bike that shares the flagship carbon machine's race focus.

Canyon Inflite AL SLX 6.0 Race

A reported build weight of 8.7kg (size M) compares favourably with alloy alternatives – for example, the Cannondale CAADX SE 105 is around a kilo heavier – while the Canyon is only a touch portlier than the carbon-framed Trek Boone 5 (8.4kg in 56 cm frame, as well as twice the price). While Canyon hasn't stated the weight of the alloy frame itself, the overall weight is kept down thanks to a full carbon fork (360g) - the same Canyon One One Four Inflite CF Disc found on the range-topping Inflite CF SLX 9.0 Race.

While the Inflite AL SLX has the same racy geometry as the carbon frame, the seatstay design is different. On the alloy bike, the seatstays don't flow into the toptube, as with the carbon machine, and the seatclamp is in a more traditional position (rather than being on the seattube) – potentially reducing the amount of comfort-enhancing flex.

"The Inflite’s distinctive kinked top tube remains, making the bike easier and more comfortable to throw over your shoulder when required"

The distinctive kinked toptube remains though – while it's less pronounced, it's still designed to make the bike easier and more comfortable to throw over your shoulder when required, and there's acres of mud-shredding clearance, too.

Other notable features include a SRAM Apex 1 groupset and a set of DT Swiss C 1850 Spline wheels that are wrapped in tubeless-ready 33mm Schwalbe X-Ones.

The Inflite AL SLX 6.0 Race is available in ‘race black’ or ‘hot mint’ – the latter ensuring you’ll definitely be noticed when taking on your local cyclo-cross race.

Canyon Inflite CF SL 8.0 Team

New clutch rear mech introduced to carbon model to stop you getting cross

Another notable change in the 2019 Inflite range is the introduction of the Shimano Ultegra RX rear derailleur to both the CF SL 8.0 Team and CF SL 8.0 – the first time we’ve seen it on a complete build.

Launched in April but not available until now, the new clutch-based system has been introduced to try and help eliminate dropped chains. The technology is a regular feature of mountain biking groupsets, and provides increased chain stabilisation when riding over rough stuff – keeping your chain firmly in place on the chainring.

Canyon Inflite specs and pricing

Canyon will offer the Inflite in three different ranges, with a total of six builds and one frameset available from £1,299 to £4,199.

Canyon Inflite SLX 9.0 Race

The entry-level Inflite AL SLX 6.0 Race revealed above is priced at £1,299 and comes with a SRAM Apex 1 groupset.

The lowest rung on the Inflite’s carbon range is the £1,799 CF SL 7.0 Race, which is based around a SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain with Quarq Prime crankset – enabling an upgrade to the Quarq DZero power meter spider if desired. The CF SL range, which is based around a 1,050g carbon frame, is completed by the 8.0 (£2,299, Shimano Ultegra) and 8.0 Team (£3,249, Shimano Ultegra Di2) mentioned above, as well as the SRAM Force 1-packing CF SL 8.0 Race (£2,699). The CF SL is also available as frameset only (£1,449).

Finally, the range-topping CF SLX 9.0 Race (£4,199) gets the flagship 940g frame and takes over where 2018’s Pro Race left off. New features for this year include a SRAM Red eTap drivetrain and Quarq’s Prime Carbon crankset.