We reported a while ago the rumour that Canyon would be sponsoring the Spanish professional cycling team Movistar in 2014, and now it has been made official, the German bike manufacturer will partner with the number one ranked team this season.
Canyon are no strangers to the WorldTour, having first partnered with a pro team back in 2007, and most recently linking up with the Russian Katusha squad. The new Movistar deal means Canyon joins Specialized in sponsoring more than one team, and replacing Movistar's previous sponsor Pinarello. The move will undoubtedly raise the company’s profile if the team continue their fine run of form, which culminated in former Movistar rider Rui Costa winning the World Championships Florence last September.
The team, including the likes of Alejandro Valverde, Beñat Intxausti, Nairo Quintana Rojas, Alex Dowsett and Jose Herrada, will have the choice of three bikes, the Ultimate CF SLX 9.0, Aeroad CF 9.0 Team for the road, and the Speedmax CF 9.0 Team for time trials. It’s increasingly common for manufacturers to have such a quiver of road models for climbing and regular road stages, an aero bike and a cutting edge time trial bike, and Movistar is well supplied with suitable bikes. Let's take a closer look at the bikes.
The go-to bike for most of the team will be the Ultimate CF SLX 9.0, the company’s latest and lightest carbon fibre road bike. The frame is a radical step forward compared to the previous model. A newly shaped carbon fibre frame, with a distinctive flat sided head tube and down tube, has made it lighter, now a claimed 790g for a large. They also claim it's 8% stiffer, but not at the expense of comfort.
To save some weight Canyon incorporated full carbon fibre dropouts in the frame and fork, and moved to a press fit bottom bracket to remove weighty metal inserts. Naturally, cables are all routed internally, as is the way with all top-end race-ready frames. As well as saving weight, the frame is claimed to be much stiffer than the old model, but they have worked hard on adding some compliance, the seat tube is their third generation Maximus design, and s slimmer than the previous version with a reduced the cross-section in the lower half to allow a small degree of flex.
Not only has the frame been redesigned, the fork is all-new. The key change is the use of carbon dropouts, like on the frame, which reduces weight. Viewed from front on the fork legs now sit further away from the wheel, in line with the latest thinking on aerodynamics. The tapered headset (1.25” to 1.5”) uses high-grade thin bearings which are lighter, and their slimness allows for thinner walls in the head tube
We reviewed a SRAM RED-equipped model last year, which aside from the obvious component differn, is near enough identical to the bike Movistar will race this season. Ours was a UCI weight limit busting weight of 6kg, so we expect the Movistar mechanics will have to add some sort of ballast. Devices like SRM PowerTap cranks will be a standard issue fit for most of the team, it's an easy way to bump the weight up a bit.
Also available to the team is the Aeroad CF 9.0 Team. This is the company’s aero road bike, first introduced in 2011. Which, by our reckoning, means it must be ready for a redesign this year or next. With aerodynamics a rapidly advancing field of bicycle design, we expect Canyon must be working on a replacement that draws on sum of the design ideas used for the striking Speedmax time trial bike.
Some riders really like aero road bikes (like Cavendish with his Specialized Venge) so for any sprinters or breakaway specialists in the squad, this will be the bike they’ll pick. Some riders might also pick it for certain stages of races, especially any likely to be especially windy.
Alex Dowsett will be licking his lips at the prospect of swinging a leg over the stunning Speedmax CF 9.0 Team time trial bike. Launched at the beginning of 2013, it was the result of a 10-person team and a radical redesign over the previous incarnation. The design utilises what they like to call Trident tube profiles, typified by a curved leading edge that then morphs into an angular, chopped-off tail, to minimise drag at low speeds. Canyon use this shape on the fork legs, down tube, seat tube, seat post and seat stays – so most of the framesets vertical elements.
There is a lot of integration, to really help minimise drag. The fork and stem blur almost seamlessly into the head tube, and their own aero base bar extends from what is left of the stem. Cables and wires are routed cleaning into the top of the fork and flow away into the frame. Campagnolo’s new internal EPS battery will be used to keep the lines clean.
The brakes, Canyon’s own centre-pull design, sits flush in the rear of the fork and down below the chainstays, the front with a neat little cover, all to help reduce drag. There’s an aero seatpost and the clamp is concealed inside the top tube.
To build the bikes, Movistar will continue their partnership with Campagnolo, so will equip all bikes with Record and Super Record EPS groupsets. They’ll also get access to Campagnolo’s range of wheels, with the Bora Ultra Two 50mm carbon tubular wheelset being a common choice on flat road stages. Continental will continue as tyre supplier.
It looks like finishing kit will be supplied mostly by Canyon, with the company’s own design carbon seatpost fitted to each of the three models, along with matching stems and what looks like a new one-piece handlebar and stem on the bike in the photos we’ve been sent. Fizik will supply saddles.
That's a pretty smart paint job as well, don't you think?
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.