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Rein Taaramae's wireless shifting Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - Gallery

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A detailed look at the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX of Katusha's new signing Rein Taaramäe

A detailed look at the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX of Katusha's new signing Rein Taaramäe (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Katusha have moved from Mavic wheels and tyres (rebranded VeloFlex) to Zipp and Continental respectively

Katusha have moved from Mavic wheels and tyres (rebranded VeloFlex) to Zipp and Continental respectively (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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The Aeroad features an hourglass head tube to reduce its frontal profile. Inside the head tube is an oversized steerer for greater stiffness. The German brand has then used a special headset to reduce the overall external size

The Aeroad features an hourglass head tube to reduce its frontal profile. Inside the head tube is an oversized steerer for greater stiffness. The German brand has then used a special headset to reduce the overall external size (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Another view of just how beautifully clean a SRAM eTap bike looks

Another view of just how beautifully clean a SRAM eTap bike looks (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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The Canyon Aeroad features a deep seat tube that hugs the rear wheel. Note the traditional internal cable routing for the brake

The Canyon Aeroad features a deep seat tube that hugs the rear wheel. Note the traditional internal cable routing for the brake (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Despite not needing the cable ports, Katusha are clearly riding a 'EL' electronic Di2/EPS version of Aeroad

Despite not needing the cable ports, Katusha are clearly riding a 'EL' electronic Di2/EPS version of Aeroad (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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SRAM's eTap shifting system is rather clever. The front and rear derailleurs each use the same battery type

SRAM's eTap shifting system is rather clever. The front and rear derailleurs each use the same battery type (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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There's little similar about this though, the components from the house of SRAM are all new to Katusha. Moving away from Shimano also means a change of pedals, and Katusha are now on Look

There's little similar about this though, the components from the house of SRAM are all new to Katusha. Moving away from Shimano also means a change of pedals, and Katusha are now on Look (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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A closer look reveals a slight graphic refinement from last year, but otherwise it's very much the same frame for Katusha

A closer look reveals a slight graphic refinement from last year, but otherwise it's very much the same frame for Katusha (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX uses direct-mount rim brakes in easily accessed positions. SRAM doesn't offer such a product and so Katusha have picked Shimano Dura-Ace calipers

The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX uses direct-mount rim brakes in easily accessed positions. SRAM doesn't offer such a product and so Katusha have picked Shimano Dura-Ace calipers (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Canyon has its own one-piece integrated carbon handlebar and stem for use on the Aeroad CF SLX, however, Taaramäe uses a more traditional setup for what we assume is for greater adjustability in handlebar angle. As seen in these photos, the Estonian rider has his bars rolled upward

Canyon has its own one-piece integrated carbon handlebar and stem for use on the Aeroad CF SLX, however, Taaramäe uses a more traditional setup for what we assume is for greater adjustability in handlebar angle. As seen in these photos, the Estonian rider has his bars rolled upward (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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SRAM's new eTap shifting provides for a clutter-free look on the bike

SRAM's new eTap shifting provides for a clutter-free look on the bike (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Rein Taaramäe has his Selle Italia SLR saddle slammed extremely rearward on the Aeroad

Rein Taaramäe has his Selle Italia SLR saddle slammed extremely rearward on the Aeroad (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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The Katusha frame colours are much the same from 2015

The Katusha frame colours are much the same from 2015 (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX is a top-tier aerodynamic road bike

The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX is a top-tier aerodynamic road bike (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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For 2016, Katusha has moved over to SRAM. Along with new Zipp wheels and Quarq power meters, the Russian team are racing with the all-new wireless eTap groupset

For 2016, Katusha has moved over to SRAM. Along with new Zipp wheels and Quarq power meters, the Russian team are racing with the all-new wireless eTap groupset (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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The older Aeroad featured a special flip dropout for fork offset adjustment. Seeking to drop the weight, the current Aeroad doesn't offer such a feature

The older Aeroad featured a special flip dropout for fork offset adjustment. Seeking to drop the weight, the current Aeroad doesn't offer such a feature (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Rein Taaramae in Katusha colours in 2016

Rein Taaramae in Katusha colours in 2016 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

A pro since he was 20, the now 28-year-old Rein Taaramäe is a multiple road and time trial champion of his home country – Estonia. Much of Taaramäe's professional cycling career was spent riding for Cofidis, and in that time he collected plenty of victories and podiums, but perhaps none bigger than his 2011 stage win at the Vuelta a España.

Riding for Astana in 2015, Taaramäe won both the Arctic Race of Norway and Vuelta a Burgos. Switching things up for 2016, the Estonian rider joins the Russian outfit Katushawhich recently avoided a ban despite two riders testing positive for prohibited substances over a 12-month period – on a one-year contract.

Much as Taaramäe is new to the Canyon-sponsored team in red, so is American component-powerhouse SRAM. Last year, AG2R La Mondiale was the only WorldTour team on SRAM components, and now Katusha makes that two.

For the 2015 season, we speculated that SRAM had taken some time out of its previously intensive sponsorships while it perfected its eTap wireless shifting group. The company strongly disputed such claims at the time, but it seems there may have been some truth to our conjecture after all.

The house of SRAM also includes the global brands of Zipp and Quarq, and such a sponsorship sees these components supplied too. This covers power meters and wheelsets only, and the American sponsorship doesn't extend to cockpit components. That's an area Canyon not only takes care of, but is actively expanding in.

Aero + road = Aeroad

Canyon's current generation of the Aeroad CF SLX aero road bike was first launched at the 2014 Tour de France. It's a frame designed to be fast over a range of 'average' yaw angles, as opposed to seeking an all-out class leading number in just one plane.

The key tubes feature blunt back edges for similar aerodynamic benefits as commonly used Kammtail designs, although Canyon its profiles are different.

Stating it doesn't really affect wind-tunnel numbers, Canyon kept the direct-mount rim brakes in a traditional (and easy to adjust) placement. To reduce the profile, front-specific brake calipers are used at both ends of the bike.

The aeroad features an hourglass head tube to reduce its frontal profile. inside the head tube is an oversized steerer for greater stiffness. the german brand has then used a special headset to reduce the overall external size : the aeroad features an hourglass head tube to reduce its frontal profile. inside the head tube is an oversized steerer for greater stiffness. the german brand has then used a special headset to reduce the overall external size
There's an oversized 1 1/4in steerer tube in there (standard is 1 1/8in), but you wouldn't know it

The Aeroad's frame stiffness figures are rather impressive, with a large down tube and oversized 1 1/4in fork steerer taking much of the applause here. Canyon has taken an extra step to overcome the additional girth of that wider steerer tube, and so the headset bearings are slimmer than normal.

Ready for flight, Canyon at the cockpit

Recent years have seen the German engineers at Canyon busy creating a range of cockpit components that deserve their well-respected branding. A good example is the monocoque Aerocockpit CF integrated stem and handlebar, an item used on both the Aeroad CF SLX 9 and newer Ultimate CF SLX 9 Aero.

In a similar story to the XXX bar on Trek's new Madone, this one-piece handlebar setup plays a big part of Canyon's aero claims. In fact, the German consumer-direct brand claims this bar setup earns a 5.5W advantage compared with a more traditional two-piece bar and stem setup.

Use of such an integrated bar is quite common among the Canyon sponsored teams, including the new women's Canyon//SRAM bikes, although it's not always possible when riders seek more specific fitment.

This is likely the reason for Taaramäe's use of a more traditional stem and handlebar setup. Such a thing allows Taaramäe to roll the bars back slightly and be more specific about drop shape choice too.

Wires at the brakes only

Joining the likes of Ag2R and the new Canyon//SRAM women's team, Katusha are now riding SRAM's new wireless eTap gearing.

The wireless components consist of new derailleurs and shifter/brake levers. The brake calipers, crankset, chain and cassette continue over from SRAM Red 22 groupset, albeit with some minor graphic refreshments to best match the cleaner-looking eTap.

The new shifting style has likely taken a bit of getting used to for the riders who are coming off of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrains from last season. For Taaramäe, it's possibly an even bigger adjustment having come from the thumb and finger shifting of Campagnolo EPS.

It's a simple setup in the case of Taaramäe's bike, with no sign of additional 'Blip' shifters (optional plug-in buttons for shifting from either the handlebar drops or tops).

Where many brands now do one frame that can handle mechanical and electronic shifting, Canyon still does it a little differently. The Aeroad frame is available in either a mechanical or electronic configuration, with specific cable ports in each. For the case of this Katusha bike, it's a standard Aeroad CF SLX 'El' frame built for Di2 and EPS shifting, but with the minimal electronic ports unused.

For the brakes, the Shimano Dura-Ace calipers stand out for a SRAM sponsored team. As previously reported from the Tour Down Under, this is due to SRAM currently not offering direct-mount road brake calipers and therefore the team has simply picked the best available.

The Selle Italia saddle of choice appears to be a hybrid of models currently offered by the Italian company. Here, Taaramäe is using a 131mm width SLR 'Team Edition' saddle, but with what's likely a 'Kit Carbonio' base and rails for further weight savings.

With the move away from Shimano, an easily overlooked aspect is the change of pedal systems. SRAM doesn't offer its own pedals and so sponsored teams can then choose between popular non-Shimano choices of Look, Speedplay and Time systems.

For Taaramäe, Katusha's move to Look pedals in 2016 is likely a blessing, having used the same pedal while at Astana the year before. However, existing riders may be going through a steep adaption curve with changing out such a major contact point. During the Tour Down Under, we saw at least one rider fiddling with this cleat position after the stage.

One odd point is the lack of a computer mount on this ride. Normally we wouldn't think too much of it, but the addition of a SRAM 'eTap' Quarq power meter makes this a peculiar exclusion. While the photos we took didn't show one, race photos of Taaramäe clearly show a Garmin Edge 520 in use out the front of his bars. 

Frame: Canyon Aeroad CF SLX, size large
Fork: Canyon Aeroblade SLX
Headset: Acros, Canyon
Stem: Canyon V13, 120mm x -6 degree, 1 1/4in steerer
Handlebar: Canyon H32 Ergo CF, 42cm width
Tape: Selle Italia Smootape Gran Fondo
Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace 9010
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace 9010
Brake levers: SRAM eTap
Front derailleur: SRAM eTap wireless
Rear derailleur: SRAM eTap wireless
Shift levers: SRAM eTap wireless
Cassette: SRAM X-Glide 1190, 11-28T
Chain: SRAM RED 22
Crankset: SRAM eTap Quarq power meter, GXP, 175mm, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: SRAM GXP pressfit
Pedals: Look Keo Blade 2 CroMo
Wheelset: Zipp 404 Firecrest tubular
Front tyre: Continental Competition, 25mm
Rear tyre: Continental Competition, 25mm
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR ‘Team Edition’ Carbonio
Seatpost: Canyon S27 Aero VCLS CF
Bottle cages: Elite Custom Race (2)
Computer: Garmin Edge 520 (not pictured)

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.84m (6ft)
Rider's weight: 67kg (148lb)
Saddle height from BB, c-t: 780mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 551mm
Saddle setback: 84mm
Tip of saddle to centre of bar: 610mm
Saddle-to-bar drop: 100mm
Head tube length: 167mm
Top tube length (effective): 572mm
Total bicycle weight: 7.28kg (16.05lb) (computer not included)