Gear News

Canyon introduce first carbon fibre cyclo-cross race frame, the 940g Inflite CF SLX

Distinctive kinked toptube said to increase shouldering clearance on Canyon's all-new cyclo-cross race bike

Canyon’s Inflite has been a staple of the German firm’s range since 2013, occupying a middleground between all-out cyclo-cross machine and all-weather road bike. Now, however, the Inflite CF SLX has been introduced – Canyon’s first carbon-fibre, no-holds-barred cyclo-cross race bike.

Whereas the existing Inflite has previously been a byword for versatility within the Canyon range, with the aluminium frame available in either cyclo-cross or road builds, the latest addition to the line-up is focussed purely on CX performance.

– Canyon Inflite CF SLX 9.0 Pro Race first ride review –

That means you get a carbon fibre frame which weighs a claimed 940g, designed to make the bike easier to shoulder in a cyclo-cross race. That gives the Inflite its striking kinked toptube, which increases the space inside the main triangle to apparently provide a better platform for the rider’s shoulder.

Canyon have introduced the Inflite CF SLX cyclo-cross race bike

By using this horizontal-but-kinked design, rather than a sloping toptube, Canyon have been able to offer that additional clearance while placing the seatpost clamp further down the seattube (at the seatstay junction). This is said to increase the seatpost’s bending length by up to 110mm to offer a claimed 15 per cent improvement in deflection.

The downtube is also 1.5 degrees steeper to increase the size of the gap between the tube and the front tyre, which in turn makes it easier for the rider to wrap an arm around the downtube and grab the handlebar when running with the bike.

The Inflite has previously only been available in aluminium, with a rough-and-ready frame able to stand up to the rigours of off-road riding but coming at a weight penalty. By switching to carbon fibre for the Inflite CF SLX, Canyon have been able to achieve that headline weight of 940g for the frame and 1,300g for the frameset (size medium).

Canyon say they have used a combination of high tensile, high modulus and intermediate modulus carbon fibres to strike a balance of weight, stiffness and durability. “Solely employing high modulus fibres would result in a light and stiff construction, but the frame walls would have to be excessively thick to meet our durability targets, therefore negating any gains,” according to Canyon. “Applying a combination of fibres enables us to deliver the strength required for modern cross racing.”

The carbon fibre frame weighs a claimed 940g

Mud clearance is also key for cyclo-cross and Canyon have sought to increase clearance across the frameset, while also reducing the surface area of the frame by a claimed 8.5 per cent in key mud-collecting areas. All cable entry and exit ports have also been sealed, while any bolts have been covered by rubber caps to make it harder for mud and grime to infiltrate the bike.

Canyon have looked to the mountain bike world as far as the new Inflite’s geometry is concerned, extending the reach and wheelbase to increase stability, while using shorter stems and wider handlebars for extra control. You’ll also find a longer rake and a 72.5 degree head angle for fast handling.

Canyon Inflite CF SLX cyclo-cross bike
Canyon Inflite CF SLX cyclo-cross bike
Canyon Inflite CF SLX cyclo-cross bike

The Inflite CF SLX will be available in a wide range of sizes, from XXXS to XXL. The smallest two sizes use 650B wheels and, combined with tweaks to the geometry, aim to provide the same handling characteristics at the rest of the range.

The frame is compatible with 1x and 2x drivetrains, with those bikes specced with a single chainring coming with a height-adjustable chain catcher. Canyon have also developed a new version of the H31 Ergocockpit CF integrated handlebar and stem for the Inflite CF SLX. As we’ve already covered, it’s based around a 10mm shorter stem and wider handlebar to match the Inflite’s longer reach and offer ‘sharper and more accurate handling on the cross course.’ The tops have a six-degree sweepback to reduce pressure on the wrists, while a three-degree flare is said to increase control and leverage on the drops.

To cover the final details, the frame is based around 12mm thru-axles and fully internal cable routing. Canyon have also moved where the front derailleur cable exits the frame and developed a new splash guard, with the result a claimed 31 per cent reduction in drivetrain friction.

Canyon Inflite CF SLX cyclo-cross bike
Canyon Inflite CF SLX cyclo-cross bike
Canyon Inflite CF SLX cyclo-cross bike

Canyon Inflite CF SLX specs and pricing

Canyon will offer the Inflite CF SLX in three builds from £2,499 to £3,599. The range-opening Inflite CF SLX 8.0 Pro Race at £2,499 comes with a SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain with Quarq Prime crankset, which allows the rider to upgrade Quarq DZero power meter spider if they want.

Step up a level and the £2,899 Inflite CF SLX 9.0 is based around a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with Rotor 3D30 chainset, while the flagship £3,599 Inflite CF SLX 9.0 Pro Race gets a SRAM Force CX1 drivetrain with Quarq Prime Carbon crankset. You can also get the Inflite CF SLX as a frameset only for £1,799.

Website: Canyon

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