Canyon has been gaining popularity the world over, and over the last few years we’ve seen the German bike manufacturer elevated to “elite bike” status. I remember their stand at the Challenge Roth Event back in 2011 – they already had some of the top German Uber Bikers riding their machines. Four years later and Canyon - now a household name on some of the world’s biggest stages like the TDF and Kona - are set to explode as they enter new market places, chasing a bigger slice of the bike industry cake.
What makes Canyon totally unique from all the other bike industry big players is the fact that you buy direct from them. They don’t supply the retail bike shop industry but prefer to deal with the customer directly and cut out the middle man. You need to be on point if this is how you operate, but Canyon delivers every time with that famed German precision.
The Start of the Journey
Canyon graciously obliged when I asked them for a bike to test. Julian was my first port of call and he asked a few simple questions and required some measurements from my existing time trial bike. After that was done, the deal was sealed. They would send me a SPEEDMAX CF 9.0 as per specification to test ride, race and review in my publication Triathlon Plus SA. I was chomping at the bit and could not wait to get my hands on this German-made piece of machinery.
The box finally arrived at our offices. Like all enthusiasts, I opened the box in a minute flat, itching to see what was inside. A well packed, sturdy box - this looked like an expensive bike and before I had even taken it out, I knew that “quality” was about to be unleashed.
The bike comes 95% assembled already. All I needed to do was put on the front wheel, connect the TT bars up and I was basically ready to ride. There was a little reading to be done, along with a thorough inspection of the neatly packed bike manuals that come alongside the bike itself. I have never operated Shimano DI gearing before so I needed a quick crash course before I hopped on. I also needed to figure out the head-set spacers which would allow me to raise or drop the bars in preference to my ideal racing position
After about 90 minutes of tinkering with the bike, bolts and nuts, I was ready to ride the bike on the road and get a quick feel for the product I was about to thoroughly put through its paces.
Let’s start with the electronic gears, which is reminiscent of driving a manual car and then switching to a good automatic. The ride was smooth and the gear change precise. You’re likely to feel a little apprehensive when first using these gears but they grow on you extremely fast. The bike was responsive, well put together and there was not a single clink of any nuts or bolts. You can see the Germans make bicycles like they make cars. Only the best will do - and when you roll it out of the garage and onto the open roads, pure performance is guaranteed.
The Speedmax CF90 comes equipped with a pair Reynolds Strike Full carbon clinchers. This is a great aero wheel that certainly added to the speed of this bike. The 11-speed Ulterga group-set was a welcome part-build that ensures this bike sits comfortably within the higher echelons of bike specs and builds.
The Tri-Bars were extremely comfortable and you physically feel faster on this steed in the aero tucked position. Straight roads were incredibly fast and there were no issues at all with holding out at accelerated speed.
For a tri-bike, the speedmax climbed extremely well. The tri-bar design and height of the tri-bars (where you place your hands to start the climbing position) are very important when one is looking to climb a hill on a time trial bike. The comfort was evident from the very start of each climb and there were no issues with backache or sore hands. All things considered, wth the gear shifting available on the drop bars, climbing was easy and pain free!
This bike is definitely well suited to the longer events like 70.3 and Ironman. Once you get tucked into the aero position, you can comfortably hold it for quite some time - which makes a change from some of the TT bike set-ups.
The CANYON gets a 9/10 from us! We could find no faults from the time we opened the box, until the time we finished our first rides and races. Canyon is a winner!