Super-fast and super-comfortable, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8 Disc Di2 TT bike's high levels of adjustability makes it a solid choice for time triallists of all abilities
- - Adjustable cockpit and saddle
- - Hydraulic disc brakes
- - Compliant ride quality
- - Superb spec level including power meter and Shimano Di2 electronic drivetrain
- - On-bike storage is great with an integrated bento box
- - No front-end cable integration
- - Rubber bar-ends prone to falling out
Canyon's new Speedmax represents a progressive step up from its forebear in terms of innovation: it's all about adjustability, new and improved aerodynamics and disc-brake actuation. To help create the slippery facade you see here Canyon worked closely together with aerodynamic specialists Swiss Side as well as pro triathletes Jan Frodeno and Patrick Lange. As a result, Canyon claims the bike pictured here is as aerodynamic as the previous-generation 2019 Ironman World Championship-winning Speedmax CF SLX, give or take a few watts.
Aerodynamics aside, the Speedmax CF 8 has been specced to the hilt and will find favour with those looking for a time trial/triathlon bike that delivers a balance between speed, comfort and adjustability - the latter of which is a bonus for beginner riders. At £6,299 / €5,799, it's the second priciest model in the CF line but still cheaper than models in the CF SLX and CFR ranges.
With British time trial season in full swing, I decided to give some of the local 10- and 25-mile time trials a bash to properly test the Speedmax CF 8's credentials and establish where it sits in the best time trial bikes hierarchy.
It's an intriguing colourway isn't it? And could easily pass for something from the Bianchi Pantone swatch book. Canyon calls it 'Non Mint' but if it's not your cup of tea it's also available in 'Stealth' (black). That said, the (non) mint paint contrasts the black Canyon wordmark logo as well as the detailing and trim on the top tube that flows into the frame-integrated bento box, handlebar and seatpost.
While it still bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor, the new model gets more pronounced, 8mm dropped seatstays (designed to optimise airflow around the rear wheel) and a chunkier fork and disc brakes - additions that have not only pumped it up with some much-needed muscle but also dialled in compliance. The frame is very angular with chunky faceted tubing that helps create a cohesive visual package: architecture that shouts more than hints at its modus operandi.
Of course, integration was also a big part of the new Speedmax's blueprint but unlike its CF SLX and CFR siblings, the front end errs a little on the messy side, what with the visible brake hose and exposed Di2 wiring assembly. Other than that, it's a pretty good-looking bike.
Regardless of which model you choose in the CF range, each bike is packed with value. Of course the further up you go in the portfolio (CF SLX and CFR) the pricier and more endowed the bike becomes but the CF 8 pictured here represents the sweet spot in the Speedmax CF line-up. It's handsomely appointed and gets a selection of trick parts including a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050 drivetrain and Dura-Ace R9180 TT braking system. It also gets a Shimano Ultegra R8000 4iiii 170mm left-crank power meter which is a pretty handy, lightweight addition. The 52/36T, 11-30T chainset isn't the biggest around but it offers more 'user friendly' gear ratios for training, while possibly losing out a bit when it comes to top-end - this is TT course dependent of course.
The cockpit comprises an in-house-developed Canyon HB0053 Tri basebar and Canyon V21 stem, with an Aeria Ultimate 2 aerobar system from Profile Design rounding off the assembly. The setup is pretty neat and works seamlessly together with the Shimano Dura-Ace R9160 remote TT shifters and Dura-Ace R9180 brake levers. What makes the cockpit all the more impressive is the level of adjustability on offer - the extensions can move up, down, back and forth, allowing you to alter the stack height by using the supplied fitting kit, too.
At 9.11kg (actual) the Speedmax CF 8 Disc is neither particularly light nor lardy. In fact, compared with my own personal Cannondale SuperSlice Disc TT bike the CF 8 is almost a kilogram lighter, and it's 800g lighter than the Cervelo P-Series Ultegra TT bike that we also reviewed recently. When pedaling, it gets up to speed fairly quickly and maintains momentum with ease - the entire experience is centred around comfort. Once you've dialled in your time-trial position, confidence will follow and that's because the front end is not as aggressively configured as some of its rivals, the SuperSlice included. This means the front end can - at times - feel a little unweighted but that's more a case of the high-riding stem and headtube configuration. Despite the many similarities between the bikes, the headtube of the CF 8 is very different from its CF SLX and CFR siblings which both feature a step-down recess so the aerobar-stem arrangement sits flush with the top tube for maximum integration and performance.
The CF range, however, is all about the user experience and comfort. The longer headtube offers more compliance at the front while the chunky seat tube profiles also help absorb road imperfections. The DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut wheels, configured in a 62/80mm front/rear arrangement and wrapped in Continental Grand Prix 5000 25c are fast and communicative. I used this setup for several weeks before swapping them out for various options from the best triathlon wheels. First up was the Vel 6085 RSL Disc wheelset, and then a set of Parcours wheels (a 77mm Chrono front and solid disc rear). The differences were minimal but the bike was faster with the Parcours wheel combo over 10 miles.
In terms of behaviour, the CF 8 is predictable and easy to control. While I didn't experience too much in the way of crosswinds, when the wind did blow everything remained pretty controlled, even with a solid rear disc wheel fitted. The hydraulic Shimano Dura-Ace disc brake system is one of the bike's best attributes, supplying great control and modulation when the need to scrub off momentum arises. With many of the time trial courses around Surrey all featuring out-and-back layouts complete with roundabouts, being able to confidently dab the front brake to place more traction/weight on the front wheel (not to mention selecting the right gear mid-corner thanks to the single-button syncro-shifters on brake lever system) really helped with confidence. In fact, the CF 8's handling dynamics are impressive for a time trial bike and I often felt I was making up time in the roundabouts what with the granular communication levels coming through all of the touchpoints.
Speaking of touchpoints, the stubby, noseless tri-specific Fizik Mistica saddle did a good job in terms of support, regardless of the position - something which surprised me given my sit bone structure is better suited to narrow, longer saddles.
Anything else worth noting? Well, this is more a bugbear than foible and pertains to the bar ends. Particularly the right-side plug that kept coming loose and falling out during the test period. This eventually resulted in me having to order a new one.
The Canyon Speedmax CF 8 Disc is fast, no question and it's easy to see why it's rated by so many as one of the best time trial bikes in the segment. It's also supremely compliant and easy to get to grips with - particularly when it comes to setup and adjustability but, for this writer, the medium felt a little too big and the front end a bit too raised for me to get my position fully dialled in. For those looking to achieve the best possible time trial position, it's probably wise to drill down into the geometry numbers before making a decision as to which Speedmax will best suit your requirements.
At £6,299 / €5,799 Canyon Speedmax CF 8 Disc is not exactly an affordable purchase - it's worse for UK customers - but it's also not the most expensive Speedmax in the range - that's reserved for the CF SLX and CFR model lines. There are cheaper models within the CF range but these come without electronic shifting and a power meter - none of which will have an impact on performance and straight-line speed but may detract somewhat from the experience.
If you can afford it, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8 Disc is a no-brainer. It's also worth noting that if you're on a budget but still want the same levels of adjustability, comfort and speed, the £3,999 / €3,699 CF 7 Disc is just as capable, save for a few bells and whistles.
The Speedmax CF 8 Disc is available directly from Canyon and the £6,299 sticker price includes DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) - so there's no shock follow-up bill once it arrives.
- Time: 4 months
- Mileage: 266km
- Punctures: 0
- Ride types: 10-mile, 25-mile time trials
Tech Specs: Canyon Speedmax CF 8 Disc Di2 TT bike
- Price: £6,299 / €5,799
- Frame: Canyon Speedmax CF Disc
- Size: 54cm, medium
- Weight: 9.11kg, actual without pedals
- Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050 Di2
- Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9160 Remote TT
- Crankset: Shimano Ultegra 170mm | 52/36T | 4iiii LS power meter
- Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-30T
- Wheels: DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut 62/80mm front/rear
- Brakes: Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc
- Cockpit: Canyon HB0053 Triathlon basebar with Profile Design 35A aerobar
- Stem: Canyon V21
- Seatpost: Canyon SP0048 TT CF
- Saddle: Fizik Mistica
- Tyres: Continental Grand Prix 5000, 25 mm
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