This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Up until now Canyon's main road bike focus has been all about low weight and aggressive geometry, producing thoroughbred road bikes ridden at the highest level by the Spanish Movistar and Russian Katusha teams. The new Endurace is described as having 'sport geometry', while the chief engineer on the project, Michael Adomeit, says it has 'comfort at the core of its concept, yet it's still a capable racing bike'.
- Highs: Phenomenal value, exciting to ride
- Lows: Front not as smooth as the back
That's nothing new these days, of course, with Specialized's Roubaix, Giant's Defy and Cannondale's Synapse all following similar design and marketing mantras. Canyon, though, has a definite head start in the comfort stakes thanks to its longstanding VCLS know-how. This Vertical Compliance, Lateral Stiffness technology has been developed in-house and features a carbon matrix that enables the frame to flex in a predetermined direction while maintaining all-important rigidity elsewhere. Canyon has previously used VCLS in forks and seatposts – the Endurace uses it in the seatstays and the junction of the seat-tube and top-tube as well.
The seatpost's two independently acting halves create comfort-giving suspension
It may have 'sport geometry', but that doesn't translate to super-relaxed frame angles. Both the head and seat angles are steep, which will keep the handling sharp, but Canyon has shortened the top tube a tad, keeping you a little taller in the saddle, while the chainstays have gained 5mm for extra stability – though with a wheelbase of just 989mm it's still going to be pretty agile. The SL fork is 6mm taller than standard, which raises the front without the need for a taller head tube or a stack of excess spacers. Overall weight is kept low thanks to a frame that weighs 1040g and a fork that contributes a mere 340g.
On the road the Endurace hasn't lost any of the typical Canyon character we like. The steering is quick and direct, with the drivetrain's stiffness making it punchy to accelerate. The DT Swiss rims now have an internal width of 18mm rather than 15mm, which shapes the big 25mm Continental boots well and results in very impressive grip and cushioning. When paired with the VCLS 2.0 seatpost it's almost like you're floating on air.
Using its 'Vertical Compliance, Lateral Stiffness' technology, Canyon is aiming both at speed and comfort
This supple back end contrasts with the swift steering, which makes this bike great on descents; the rear wheel hugs the ground and grips well, enabling you to point the handlebar at the apex and find the fastest route down even the most technical descents. But that snappy and exciting front end can't quite match the back when it comes to reducing vibration. The slim-legged fork does a decent job but on gritty road surfaces it finds its limit far more quickly than the rear. That said, the Endurance certainly hits the mark for a distance bike – but its geometry and low weight mean it still retains the excitement of a true racer's weapon.
That it achieves this ride and such a superb spec at this price is an even more impressive achievement. Canyon's direct-sell business model allows it to spec full 11-speed Dura-Ace when most similarly priced bikes have Ultegra, and it fits the same finishing kit – Ritchey cockpit, DT Swiss wheels and Continental rubber – across the entire range for an economy of scale and savings that are passed on to the consumer.