This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
It was only last week that Canyon announced it would be offering disc brake options for each of its road bike ranges. Straight off the back of that news, here's the disc brake version of Canyon's popular Ultimate road bike.
This model, the Ultimate CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2, retails for £4,399/ €4,899 and sits in the middle of three disc brake options, along with a disc frameset that'll retail for £2,199/€2,999
Now, if you're reading this with your stomach churning at the sight of those shiny bits at the centre of each wheel then don't worry, the rim brake Ultimate range isn't going anywhere. For now.
The transition to discs has meant some major changes to the Ultimate chassis. The frame and fork both use 12mm axles, 142mm at the rear and 100mm wide up front. To deal with the extra forces involved, the Ultimate disc frames feature more material, particularly at the non-driveside of the frame and fork, where the Flat Mount calipers are mounted.
Canyon claims that these changes have added just 70g to the weight of each frame, yet that total doesn't account for the weight difference in the braking hardware itself, which will be more significant. We weighed our size medium test bike in at 7.79kg/(17.2lbs). A like-for-like comparison isn't easy to make, that's because this model uses Mavic's weightier, disc-specific Carbon Cosmic Pro wheelset, but we think it's fair to say that you're looking for a weight penalty of around 1kg to switch to discs.
In terms of geometry, the Ultimate is close, though not identical, to its rim brake brother. There's a slightly longer wheelbase to the disc models, mostly down to a slight extension at the rear chainstays, yet the bike's head and seat angles stay within a fraction of a degree of the rim brake frames. Reach figures remain identical across the board too (with the exception of the women's models). Disc and rim brake Ultimates will be available in 7 sizes ranging from 2XS through to 2XL.
Unlike the rim brake frame, disc versions of the Ultimate go without a brace at the seat stays. As well as providing a cleaner look, this design allows for wider tyres than ever before – up to 33mm, according to Canyon.
The Ultimate is also big on integration and is full of neat touches: its integrated seatpost clamp, for example, tucks away behind the seatstay/seattube intersection yet leaves enough space to use a torque wrench to set the single bolt to its require 5nm value. Similarly, the cockpit of the integrated aero cockpit is an in-house Canyon design that features a specific recess for Shimano's Di2 junction box. Even the spacers below and the top cap above it are specific to its wind-cheating profile.
This particular bike uses Shimano's 6870 Ultegra Di2 groupset in combination with Shimano's excellent BR-RS805 hydraulic disc brakes. Canyon has chosen to run with Shimano's 160mm IceTech rotors rather than the 140mm versions preferred by other manufacturers. The one exception to this will be bikes sold in the 2XS frame size which will feature the smaller, lighter 140mm rotors.
We're sure you'll agree that there's plenty more to say about this one, and we'll post our findings once we've got some decent miles in.