This article originally published on BikeRadar
The podium of this year's Paris-Roubaix was occupied by so-called 'endurance' bikes. But Katusha's Alexander Kristoff scored a well-earned ninth place aboard the recently redesigned Canyon Ultimate CF SLX road racer, with just a few minor equipment changes to survive the pavé.
Canyon team liaison manager Andreas Walzer said the frameset was designed from the outset to accommodate the higher-volume tires required for Paris-Roubaix's notorious cobbles. Indeed, Kristoff's Mavic-badged FMB Paris-Roubaix tubulars fit through the frame and fork as promised, albeit without much (if any) room to spare.
As an added bonus, the standard head tube length also meant Kristoff didn't have to go to any extreme measures to achieve his desired position, although it's only in these rarified circles that a 140mm-long stem can be considered commonplace.
When we arrived at the team hotel for photographs the day before the race, Kristoff had his tires mounted to Mavic's M40, wide-profile carbon tubular wheels, which won Paris-Roubaix under Johan Vansummeren in 2011.
Kristoff switched to Cosmic Carbone SLR wheels on Sunday, though, sacrificing the supposedly smoother ride and lighter weight of the M40's bulbous all-carbon rims for the surer braking performance of the SLR's textured Exalith aluminum sidewalls.
Additional pavé-induced equipment choices included two layers of Ritchey handlebar tape, flatland-friendly 53/46T matched Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 chainrings, and aluminum Elite Ciussi bottle cages.
Otherwise, Kristoff's machine is essentially the same as when the overhauled Canyon Ultimate CF SLX frame was first presented to the public at the 2012 Tour de France. The latest model retains the predecessor's nominally roundish tube shapes, gradual transitions, and ultra-oversized 1 1/4in to 1 1/2in tapered front end, but with more refinement that brings the claimed weight down to under 800g.
The previous model was remarkably comfortable out back, and judging by appearances we – and surely Kristoff – are hoping Canyon has continued that trend this time around.
Cable routing is newly internal and, like many Shimano-equipped riders at this year's Paris-Roubaix, Kristoff opted for the company's previous-generation Dura-Ace 7900 group.
According to several riders and teams we've spoken to, the shift levers' longer throws are less likely to unintentionally change gears when pinballing across the pavé. Should Kristoff decide to switch to the new Di2 setup, his mechanics will have to build a whole new bike – the routing isn't convertible. We doubt Kristoff troubled himself with such minutiae during Sunday's grueling slog across the cobbled countryside, though.
Total weight as pictured is a light-for-Roubaix 7.25kg (15.98lb).
Katusha team frames' minimal paint leaves the woven surface layers exposed at the bottom bracket shell