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Verdict: 
Fast, exciting and comfortable, an aero bike that easily justifies its price tag
Weight: 
7,310g
Contact: 
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 6.0
9 10

If you enjoy riding fast – and who doesn't? – then you won't find a more suitable bike for satisfying your desire to set the pace than Canyon's Aeroad CF SLX, which in this £2,699 base level 6.0 build, offers exceptional value for money.

Over two and a half grand isn't cheap, of course, but the package does include fancy Mavic wheels that would set you back £1,150, a full Shimano Ultegra groupset, and a state of the art aerodynamic, race proven, carbon frame.

> Buy this online here

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX.jpg

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX.jpg

Refined ride and stunning performance

Aero road bikes have traditionally been compromised. They are fast, yes, no doubt about that, but you have to sacrifice the low weight and comfort of a regular road bike. With the Aeroad, that's simply not the case: it's wonderfully compliant and forgiving over rough roads, and at 7.31kg, even in this cheapest build, it ascends like a mountain goat – you'll not be wishing for a lighter bike on steeper gradients, that's for sure.

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - riding 2.jpg

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - riding 2.jpg

But the impression that is most imprinted on your memory after a ride on the Aeroad is just how quick it feels, and how direct and engaging the handling is. The steering is fast and there's an urgency to the way the short wheelbase (998mm) and 73.25-degree head angle combine to let you really attack corners.

I can't give you any wind tunnel data to back up my real-world findings, but there's no doubting the Aeroad is fast when compared with conventionally designed road bikes. The string of Strava PBs I've clocked on it, even without really trying, and faster average speeds on familiar sections of road are testament to the aero advantage provided by this bike.

> The fastest aero road bikes

It just encourages you to ride fast. Everywhere. All of the time. You'll lose your riding mates unless you rein in its propensity to surge ahead at every opportunity. The aero-shaped frame and fork combined with the deep-section wheels clearly work in your favour. It gets up to speed quickly, too, the frame displaying a high level of stiffness that ensures it's very responsive when sprinting, ideal for covering attacks in a road race and winning the all-important town sign sprint at the end of a group ride. The firmness of the frame and fork provides excellent control and it remains composed even during your most powerful efforts.

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - head tube.jpg

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - head tube.jpg

There is no mistaking the fact that it's a race-focused bike, but despite being built to deliver outright speed, it's also a comfortable bike for longer, more sedate-pace rides. It's not so aggressive and jarring over a wide range of road surfaces that you can't be comfortable for rides in excess of six or seven hours, and it's very usable for non-racers as well as speed freaks. Granted, it's not the smoothest and most compliant ride on a mixture of rough roads, but it compares favourably to other aero road bikes and a whole host of conventional road bikes.

Civilised it may be at lower speeds and over long distances, but it's at higher speeds that the Aeroad's character is most appealing. It's an entertaining ride, with quick responses and a satisfying balance at higher speeds that all help it set a benchmark for aero road bike performance. That short wheelbase and compact geometry make the Aeroad feel nimble through the corners and on fast descents, really highlighting its handling prowess.

Equipment highlights

The benefit of Canyon's direct-sales business model is apparent in the full Shimano Ultegra groupset and fancy carbon wheels. Canyon has fitted this bike with £1,150 Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Exalith hoops. While they're not as light (1,625g) or stiff as an all-carbon aero wheel, the 52mm V-section profile rims and aero spokes still provide a serious injection of speed into the overall package.

> Check out our guide to Mavic wheels here

A benefit of these wheels over an all-carbon wheelset is the aluminium rim, with the French company's unique Exalith brake track surface treatment. They provide awesome braking performance in wet or dry conditions, albeit a bit noisy, though it quietens with time.

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - rim.jpg

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - rim.jpg

The only downside to the wheels is inferior crosswind stability compared with the latest generation of U-shaped profile rims, but that's a minor quibble really. You certainly won't be complaining when you get back from the first, and most likely blistering, ride aboard the Aeroad.

The 25mm Mavic Yksion Pro Griplink and Powerlink tyres provide plenty of grip, too, to let you exploit the high cornering speeds the Aeroad is capable of.

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - rear brake.jpg

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - rear brake.jpg

I suspect many Aeroad customers will opt for the more expensive Shimano Ultegra Di2 model, but if you're happy with mechanical shifting then this is a fine build. I like the 52/36 chainset, which provides a good setup for high-speed riding and racing, while working well on more leisurely and hilly terrain. I've not been the biggest fan of direct mount brakes, but the Shimano Ultegra versions work well enough, with quite a firm lever feel and easy adjustability.

Canyon reserves its fancy one-piece Aerocockpit handlebar and stem for more expensive Aeroad builds, and this bike instead makes use of a regular stem and handlebar. That's no bad thing in my book, as it means you can easily tailor the bike to fit and, critically, swap out the stem if you need to go shorter or longer.

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - bars.jpg

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - bars.jpg

The Canyon branded bar and stem are made from aluminium and have an understated appearance. The stem doesn't use the common 1 1/8in steerer tube clamp size, but a larger 1 1/4in, which does make sourcing aftermarket replacements a little tricky, but some companies, besides Canyon, offer them. The handlebar has a satisfying shape with a slightly deeper drop than a compact bend, which promotes a more aggressive position.

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - bar tape.jpg

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - bar tape.jpg

Canyon wraps the bar with its own handlebar tape, and it provides a small degree of cushioning with a nice tactile feel, giving enough grip to make riding without gloves just fine.

A Fizik Arione saddle is one of my favourites, and is extremely comfortable.

Sizing and geometry

There are seven sizes to choose from in the Aeroad range. Choosing the right size Canyon can be trickier than walking into your local bike shop, swinging a leg over a bike and pointing it at the car park. If you are buying the Aeroad to replace a current bike, the best way to get the right size is to use the stack and reach figures from your current bike (the vertical and horizontal measurements from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) and marry them up with the Aeroad figures.

To offer further help, the Canyon geometry chart indicates the frame size based on a height range. I'm 180cm and the chart suggested a medium, and it's spot on – I rode a medium and it suited me perfectly. The geometry is, as you'd expect, on the racy side, with the medium size sporting a 560mm top tube and 147mm head tube, 551mm stack and 379mm reach.

Rivals

The Aeroad range starts with this build at £2,699 and continues on up to £6,699. You can also buy a frame for £2,299 if you want to build your own bike.

If you've read this far and you're wondering about the well-publicised delivery delays over the past few months, it would appear the company is back on top of things, with a new facility providing massively expanded capacity. It's shipping an impressive 500 bikes a day around the world. Stu Kerton paid the new facility a visit recently and you can go behind the scenes of the assembly of a Canyon road bike in his feature here

Many manufacturers now list an aero road bike in their lineups, and one bike worth considering is the Giant Propel Advanced 0. It's cheaper at £2,499 and offers a carbon frame and fork with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, but the shallow section aluminium wheels can't compete with the Canyon's Mavics.

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - front dropout.jpg

Canyon Aeroad CF SLX - front dropout.jpg

Another option is the home-grown Boardman Elite Air 9.2, which for £2,799 offers a Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groupset with an FSA carbon fibre chainset. As with the Giant, there's a trade-off in the shape of shallow aero wheels, but if you already have your own deep-section carbon wheels, the Giant and Boardman might be interesting alternatives.

Overall

Canyon has been winning a lot of praise for its well engineered and attractively priced road bikes in recent years, and the Aeroad CF SLX is an entertaining and deeply enjoyable bike that won't disappoint if it's the thrill of speed that makes you smile most on a ride.

Verdict

Fast, exciting and comfortable, an aero bike that easily justifies its price tag

road.cc test report

Make and model: Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 6.0

Size tested: Medium

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

FRAME CANYON AEROAD CF SLX

FORK CANYON AEROBLADE SLX

HEADSET ACROS | CANYON

REAR DERAILLEUR SHIMANO ULTEGRA, 11S

DERAILLEUR HANGER DERAILLEUR HANGER NO.25

FRONT DERAILLEUR SHIMANO ULTEGRA, 11S

BRAKE/SHIFT LEVERS SHIMANO ULTEGRA, 11S

BRAKES SHIMANO ULTEGRA

CASSETTE SHIMANO ULTEGRA, 11S

WHEELSET MAVIC COSMIC PRO CARBON EXALITH WTS

TYRES MAVIC YKSION PRO GRIPLINK | MAVIC POWERLINK

CRANKS SHIMANO ULTEGRA, 11S

CHAINRINGS 52 | 36

BOTTOM BRACKET SHIMANO PRESSFIT

STEM CANYON V13

HANDLEBAR CANYON H16 AERO AL

HANDLEBAR TAPE CANYON ERGOSPEED GEL

SADDLE FIZIK ARIONE R5

SEAT POST CANYON S27 AERO VCLS CF

PEDALS NONE INCLUDED

FRAME SIZES 2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL

COLOUR STEALTH - ASPHALT GREY | METOR GREY - LIME

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Canyon says: "With multiple Tour de France stage wins and Monuments like the Tour of Flanders already under its belt, the second generation Aeroad CF SLX has taken the success of the original Aeroad CF to the next level. Our innovative Trident 2.0 tube profiles cut through the air to give a real world speed advantage, while the Pro Geometry provides a low and aggressive riding position for unrivalled aero efficiency. Stiff for the finish line sprint, light for climbing ease and compliant on rough roads, the Aeroad CF SLX is the most complete aero race bike out there. Get the competitive edge you're after."

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Excellent build quality and design.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Carbon fibre is used to construct the frame and fork.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

It's racy, as you'd expect from a bike designed for cheating the wind and for racing.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

With a longer stem, I found the fit perfect, and very conducive to riding fast.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

For an aero bike the Aeroad is surprisingly comfortable, it impressively smooths out rough roads. You can tackle a sportive or epic distance ride on the Aeroad comfortably.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

The oversized bottom bracket, tapered head tube and large down tube all ensure the bike is very firm and direct.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Sprints very well.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

None.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Fast.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Very good handling, quite fast steering when diving into corners, and it's stable and composed on higher speed descents.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The wheels inject a lot of pace and speed into the overall package, and the separate handlebar and stem setup makes it easy to refine the fit.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
9/10

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for value:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for value:
 
7/10

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
9/10

Use this box to explain your score

The Aeroad is a very easy bike to like, its speed is infectious and it's easy to live with on a daily basis and comfortable enough for longer rides. It's very good value for money - there's nothing you need to change on it.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

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.

11 comments

Avatar
TypeVertigo [348 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Regarding stem replacements - I seem to remember Giant and Ritchey offering suitable ones meant to clamp on a 1.25" steerer tube.

On the Giant side you'll want to look for their stems labeled "OverDrive2."

Avatar
unconstituted [2355 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

If you buy a lower end Aeroad, can you later upgrade to the posher aero cockpit? I can't see it for sale on their site.

Avatar
DrJDog [407 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
unconstituted wrote:

If you buy a lower end Aeroad, can you later upgrade to the posher aero cockpit? I can't see it for sale on their site.

 

I don't think you can through the Canyon site, but there seem to be plenty on eBay. I hope that doesn't mean they're not comfortable because I've just got one.

Avatar
unconstituted [2355 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
DrJDog wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

If you buy a lower end Aeroad, can you later upgrade to the posher aero cockpit? I can't see it for sale on their site.

 

I don't think you can through the Canyon site, but there seem to be plenty on eBay. I hope that doesn't mean they're not comfortable because I've just got one.

 

Nice congrats. I think it looks class with the aero bars. I couldn't spot any on eBay though.. maybe searching for the wrong thing. Try again in a bit!

Avatar
Nixster [358 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Reach on a medium is 397mm, not 379mm. 

Damnit! indecision

Avatar
Grinman77 [3 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Does anyone have one? Will it take 28mm tyres?

Avatar
JumboJuice [34 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Nixster wrote:

Reach on a medium is 397mm, not 379mm. 

Damnit! indecision

You either sort your flexibility or just install many stem spacers like the reviewer did (which is ugly I'd say).

This bike is not for everyone... fitting-wise speaking.

Avatar
Ungulate [20 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

A guy in my club has one, it's lush - BUT I need a 13cm stem & Canyon force you to have a 100mm on the medium :¬(

Avatar
calleking [1 post] 1 year ago
1 like
Grinman77 wrote:

Does anyone have one? Will it take 28mm tyres?

 

Yes, Katusha and Movistar ran 28mm tyres during Paris-Roubaix. The frame has clearance for it so usually it's the brakes that make the limit. All depends on your wheels internal/external width. I run 25mm Conti GP4000 SII but I'll be switching to Schwalbe Pro One soon.

I have had my Aeroad CF SLX 8.0 DI2 half a year now. I've done loads of training and some racing on it. I upgraded it with a 53/39 DA 9000 crankset (11-28) as I felt I needed it for sprints. Initially i planned on upgrading the bike with SRAM eTap and Bora One 50mm wheels but the more I ride the bike the more I felt that there was no need for it. UI2 works wonders and Reynolds Strike SLG work really good in all weathers. No need to get alu-rims for rainy days. Crosswinds are also not an issue since rim profile isn't sensitive to gusts.

I was a bit worried ordering the bike online but my first ride was an experience. I previously rode a Litespeed C1R which was fast but not even close to the Aeroad in any area.

Every ride is a joy really.  Bike climbs close to a friends Ultimate CF SLX (Purito used it for a couple of GT's), descends superbly and holding speed at +25 mph is just a bit easier. Bike feels very stiff and comfortable and you get the feeling that the bike is always asking for a bit more. Next iteration of this frame will be very hard to resist buying. 

Extremely happy with the purchase and the customer service I've recieved from Canyon Sweden. They've sent saddle clamps and derailleur hangers for next to nothing and answered questions I had usually within a few hours.

I'm not biased or a fan of Canyon in any way and I know that there's been delivery and warranty issues for other people. Just typing out my experience. Just be aware that if you do get issues with frame it will be more of an effort to get it sorted. 

Avatar
Nixster [358 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
JumboJuice wrote:
Nixster wrote:

Reach on a medium is 397mm, not 379mm. 

Damnit! indecision

You either sort your flexibility or just install many stem spacers like the reviewer did (which is ugly I'd say).

This bike is not for everyone... fitting-wise speaking.

Flexibility is pretty good thanks - knees striking my chest is the limit on my current set up.  But even so on the XS which is my size I'd be running 40mm of spacers (although I get the impression that the headset is 16mm of that?).

There's more to fitting bikes than flexibility but you're right, the geo of this one is not for me because I have relatively long legs/short torso for my height.  Which is a shame because having seen one in the flesh they're stunning looking things.

Avatar
Grinman77 [3 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
calleking wrote:
Grinman77 wrote:

Does anyone have one? Will it take 28mm tyres?

 

Yes, Katusha and Movistar ran 28mm tyres during Paris-Roubaix. The frame has clearance for it so usually it's the brakes that make the limit. All depends on your wheels internal/external width. I run 25mm Conti GP4000 SII but I'll be switching to Schwalbe Pro One soon.

I have had my Aeroad CF SLX 8.0 DI2 half a year now. I've done loads of training and some racing on it. I upgraded it with a 53/39 DA 9000 crankset (11-28) as I felt I needed it for sprints. Initially i planned on upgrading the bike with SRAM eTap and Bora One 50mm wheels but the more I ride the bike the more I felt that there was no need for it. UI2 works wonders and Reynolds Strike SLG work really good in all weathers. No need to get alu-rims for rainy days. Crosswinds are also not an issue since rim profile isn't sensitive to gusts.

I was a bit worried ordering the bike online but my first ride was an experience. I previously rode a Litespeed C1R which was fast but not even close to the Aeroad in any area.

Every ride is a joy really.  Bike climbs close to a friends Ultimate CF SLX (Purito used it for a couple of GT's), descends superbly and holding speed at +25 mph is just a bit easier. Bike feels very stiff and comfortable and you get the feeling that the bike is always asking for a bit more. Next iteration of this frame will be very hard to resist buying. 

Extremely happy with the purchase and the customer service I've recieved from Canyon Sweden. They've sent saddle clamps and derailleur hangers for next to nothing and answered questions I had usually within a few hours.

I'm not biased or a fan of Canyon in any way and I know that there's been delivery and warranty issues for other people. Just typing out my experience. Just be aware that if you do get issues with frame it will be more of an effort to get it sorted. 

 

Fantastic information. Thanks a million.