German online-only outfit Canyon Bicycles has quietly climbed into the upper echelons of the carbon road frame world over the past decade by virtue of sound engineering principles and without the benefit of grand marketing campaigns.
That visibility has peaked recently with its sponsorship of ProTour team Omega Pharma-Lotto (and last year's UCI world championship win with Cadel Evans) and we've now recently taken delivery of our first-ever Canyon tester, an Ultimate CF SLX Team.
Canyon aims for a high level of pedaling and handling stiffness combined with a smooth ride on the Ultimate CF SLX chassis. Much of the frame design revolves around Canyon's unique OneOneFour carbon fork, which starts out with a 1 1/2" diameter at the base of the crown but maintains a healthy 1 1/4" dimension the rest of the way up for even better front-end stiffness than most tapered steerers.
That translates to a bigger head tube and correspondingly greater surface areas for the wide, flattened top tube and enormous bi-ovalised downtube. In addition, the seat tube is tapered and notably asymmetric, sporting a broad and squared-off profile down at the conventional threaded bottom bracket shell and a slender, round shape up top.
Bonded to the back of the bottom bracket is a pair of broad and tall chain stays matched to pencil-thin seat stays. Not to be overlooked is the included 27.2mm-diameter Ritchey WCS carbon post with Canyon-exclusive basalt fibres integrated into the carbon lay-up for more comfort.
Our 52cm frame, fork and headset weigh just 1.42kg (3.13lb) and the complete bike built with Campagnolo Record, Mavic Cosmic Carbone carbon tubulars and Ritchey finishing kit (but without pedals) is a UCI-busting 6.25kg (13.78lb).
Initial test rides have been quite favourable and Canyon's design formula seems to work so far, but look for a complete review later in the summer.