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Giant Defy vs Canyon Endurace vs Lauf Uthald: Which of these endurance road bikes is the fastest in the real world?

Which will win the battle of the ultimate bikes designed for mere mortals? It's time for some hardcore head-to-head-to-head riding

The Giant Defy, the Canyon Endurace and the Lauf Uthald are three bikes designed for speed. We do hear that a lot... but unlike most bikes designed for speed, that might fall into the aero road bike category, these steeds are for you and me rather than uber-flexible professionals. They're designed to be fast on your average weekend road ride, rather than the World Tour. So which of these tarmac muchers would we have if it was our money? 

2023 Endurance bikes comparison Canyon Endurace vs Giant defy vs Lauf Uthald

> Best endurance road bikes

Giant says that its new Defy Advanced SL is "the perfect companion for an all-day sportive, an ambitious gran fondo, or an epic solo day on challenging roads.” Canyon says that its top-of-the-range Endurace CFR is the “fastest endurance bike ever”, and Lauf boasts: “while others have been focusing on making road bikes that feel fast (or look fast), [we] designed the Úthald to be fast!"

Fighting talk… well, from Canyon and Lauf anyway.

So, which was the fastest for me, and is speed even the be-all and end-all for an endurance bike? Well, we managed to get all three in the same place in an attempt to get some answers. Which one would you have? Well, give this a read and then let us know in the comments section below as always... 

Why these bikes?

2023 canyon endurace cfr vs giant defy vs lauf uthald endurance bikes2

For the Chinese, 2023 is the year of the rabbit - but here on planet bike, our tech writers would argue that it’s been the year of the endurance bike, with most of the major players unveiling something new in this category. In fact, these three bikes barely scratch the surface, so in a few weeks we’re going to do this all over again and compare our favourite with the Pinarello Dogma X and Specialized Roubaix SL8 (make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for that, if you're not already).

An endurance bike is designed for long rides, and will almost always have more relaxed geometry than a full-on race bike. If you watched our Canyon Endurace first look video, then you’ll know that we think endurance bikes are a very good idea. For most of us, they're far better suited to the riding we do instead of being designed for a bunch of uber-flexible pros. Like many people, I can’t even touch my toes…

2023 Canyon Endurace CFR and Lauf Uthald endurance bikes

> Should you buy a race bike or an endurance bike?

Endurance bikes typically have wider tyre clearances, a slacker front end and more compliance than a race bike. It’s probably thanks to these characteristics that some of the early versions earned a bit of a rep for feeling a bit lacklustre, less refined and indeed slow, something that’s rather unfairly stuck with these bikes long since it stopped being true.

This latest breed underlines that change, with lower weights, refined geometry and top-tier components, if the manufacturer's claims are to be believed then these are the definitive machines for amateur cyclists. 

Tyre clearance

2023 Endurance bikes comparison Canyon Endurace vs Giant defy vs Lauf Uthald front tyre clearance

Let’s kick off with tyre clearance, because these days when all the lines between bike genres are very much blurred, it’s usually this that tells us the most about a bike's intended purpose. 

The Lauf Uthald isn’t actually billed as a pure endurance bike, rather a rethink of what a road bike should be. In our minds, making us mere mortals faster and more comfortable on the road has endurance bike written all over it. Given the geometry and space for 35mm tyres, we thought the Uthald was well worthy of including in this mini test.

The Endurace CFR from Canyon has an identical 35mm of clearance - although, with the help of a trusty stick as a visual aid, we can confirm that it’s slightly more generous than on the Lauf.

2023 Lauf Uthald tyre clearance test

> What is an all-road bike? 

The Giant Defy is the most spacious of the three with clearance for up to 38mm rubber. Whether you want to fit that wide is up to you, but we're getting into serious all-road and gravel territory at this point. 35mm is more than enough for me on my road rides. 

That said, the Defy is the only bike equipped with mudguard mounts, which does allow you to make use of those additional few millimetres.

Geometry

2023 Lauf Uthald seat tube design

You could argue that fitting super-sized tyres to road bikes will compromise their geometry, as the problem with wider tyres is that everything simply has to be a bit bigger to accommodate them.

Take the chainstays, for example. They measure 420mm on the Giant Defy, whereas they’re 5mm shorter on the Canyon. The Lauf, meanwhile, absolutely knocks this one out of the park, with 405mm chainstays thanks to its rather unconventional seat tube (all bikes in this test are a size large). 

Short chainstays are by no means the be-all and end-all, but they do help a bike feel lively out on the road. 

2023 lauf Uthald vs canyon Endurace vs Giant Defy geometry comparison

> How to read a bike geometry table

The main point of geometry, other than to bore you with tables, is to tell you what type of rider a bike is for and how you can expect it to handle. My favourite number to pull from this jumble of units is the stack/reach ratio, as this pretty reliably tells you how aggressive a bike is. The lower the number, the more aggressive a bike is and the more your back may hurt.

On the size large Giant Defy this number is 1.52, considerably lower than previous Defy models. In fact, prior to 2023 Giant had a figure much more in line with the 1.58 that you’ll find on the Canyon Endurace. Given that Lauf doesn’t market the Uthald as an endurance bike, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that this figure is lower at 1.48. It is worth noting that this is still far less aggressive than most of the race bikes you’ll find in the World Tour. For example, my Tarmac SL7 has a stack-over-reach figure of 1.38. No wonder my back hurts!

Right, that’s enough of geometry. It ain’t half boring...

Weight

2023 Lauf Uthald bike weight scales

We have a few more numbers for you before some riding impressions. 

The Giant not only feels the lightest, but is also lightest on our brand new scales of truth as well: 7.13kg to be precise. The Endurace CFR was only a little heavier at 7.32kg once I remembered to remove the tools from its top tube.

Finally we have the Uthald which is a fair bit heavier at a smidge under 8kg (7.92kg). That’s hardly surprising given that even though this is the most expensive Uthald model that Lauf sells, it’s less than half the price of the other two and only gets Sram Force which immediately adds around 350g.

> Lightweight v aero: which is best?

As we often say, it’s not worth getting mega-hung up on bike weight, especially on bikes like these where smoothness and comfort are paramount.

Quirks, things we like and things we don't like

2023 Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 hero

Before we get on to what any of these might actually set you back, let’s take a look at some of the USPs, the quirks and the things that make them different, for better or for worse.

You might have noticed that this top-of-the-range Defy comes equipped with Cadex wheels. Look even closer and you’ll notice that they've got no ordinary spokes. They are in fact made of carbon fibre, as we’ve seen on a few top-end wheelsets lately. Now you might be expecting me to say that that’s great, but I actually think the bike would be even better without them. 

2023 Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 cadex carbon spoke wheel

> How much slower is a gravel bike on the road? 

Firstly, carbon spokes are expensive and it has no doubt been a factor in dragging the price of bikes up. My main issue with them though is that I just don’t think they have any place on an endurance bike, even one designed to be high-performance.

Yes, they’re a little bit lighter, but I also think they make wheels stiffer and harsher. You don't notice it as much on this bike thanks to the compliance areas and wide tyres but personally, I’d rather see carbon spokes reserved for all-out race bikes, and preferably only on very smooth roads!

2023 Canyon Endurace CFR top tube storage

The Canyon Endurace is certainly not short of a few quirks. The paintjob is kind of textured on the forks, and the handlebar has wings that are removable to change their size or pack it in a box. The most controversial feature, however, is the top-tube storage.

Purchase, all the bits to go inside it (not included in the £8,599 bill) and you’ve got just about everything you need to get you through most on-ride issues. That’s great, it means there’s more space in your pockets or saddlebag for important snacks and clothing - however, the flap is a bit TV remote controller-esque and doesn’t quite live up to the same premium feel of the rest of the bike. Also, what was ever wrong with putting the storage box in the downtube? It's surely a more sensible place!

2023 Lauf Uthald bottom bracket

> Bottom brackets - get the insider info on your bike's beefiest bearing

Without wanting to start a whole press fit vs threaded bottom bracket debate, I can tell you that the Canyon and the Giant both have the former, whereas the Lauf has a threaded BSA bottom bracket. Make of that what you will!

2023 Lauf Uthald external cable routing front end

You’ll have also noticed that the Lauf is the only one of the three to be showing any hoses. The Icelandic company says that hiding the hoses would save you less than a watt at 45kph, and so is done more as an aesthetics thing. By leaving them external, Lauf says the Uthald is easier and cheaper to work on, and allows you to change your position easier. If those aesthetics aren’t working for you, then luckily we’ve got lots of other choices of integrated bikes.

Compliance/ride impressions

2024 Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 - riding 5.jpg

Out on the road, the tech team have been putting in countless miles on the three bikes as well as back-to-back rides. All three have impressed and we'd happily take any of them over most other bikes on a 100-mile sportive.

There's plenty of suspicion and false promises surrounding the word 'compliance', but these three bikes exemplify the meaning of the word and its importance in road riding. Just a decade ago carbon bikes were quite a bit stiffer, even if they felt bloody fast. Most people are now in agreement that taming the bone-jarring and soaking up road imperfections is indeed not only more comfortable, but also faster.

2023 Canyon Endurace CFR jamie road.cc kit

> A-Z of cycling jargon: Find out what over 150 strange terms really mean

Going faster isn't everyone's goal of course, and I do believe that on an endurance bike, it should be a secondary consideration. The good news is that all three bikes have found speed without compromising in comfort. 

It's the Lauf that has seemingly taken this evolution the furthest, and in the saddle it feels the most compliant at the rear end. The Giant is a close second, and it's this bike that feels the most lively, especially on the climbs.

2024 Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 - riding 4.jpg

> Review: Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 2024

This liveliness is likely down to a few factors, the low weight, the high wheel stiffness and the steeper head tube angle it also doesn't necessarily mean it is outright faster but the feeling and morale that brings don't count for nothing!

At the front end, it's once again the Giant and Lauf that feel the most forgiving likely due to the handlebars. The Lauf Smoothie bars have glass fibres and the Giant bars are specifically designed for this latest Defy with a notable amount of verticle flex when you lean on them.

2023 Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 head tube and bars

The Endurace feels just like the Canyon Ultimate but with less aggressive geometry, that's not necessarily a bad thing but it does result in the Defy and Uthald feeling like the more natural mile munchers.

Costs and builds

2023 Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 logo downtube

Despite being built to satisfy the same purpose: speed and comfort, the builds that we have here do vary significantly in price:

Canyon Endurace CFR Dura-Ace Di2: £8,599

Giant Defy Advanced SL 0: £11,499

Lauf Uthald Race Wireless: £3,885

In all three cases, we’ve been sent in the range-topping models but the sensible money is probably spent further down the range, let’s take a look at those builds:

Lauf Uthald builds

2024 Lauf Uthald road bike obsidian black

> 6 of the best value bike upgrades — here's what we’d spend our money on to get the best bike bang for our buck

The Lauf is currently available in just two builds and let’s hope you’re a fan of Sram!

The first model is the one that we’ve been riding, the Race Wireless and it gets Zipp 303s wheels a Sram Force AXS groupset and carbon seatpost and bars. It’s a tidy build, especially for the sub £4k price tag.

Below that you have the Uthald Weekend Warrior Wireless, it forgoes the carbon deeps and gets a Sram Rival AXS groupset instead of Force. The two bikes get exactly the same carbon frame and fork, saddle, seat post and cockpit components but the cheaper of the two comes in around 800g heavier but cuts the price tag to around £2,788.

It is worth noting that for any colour other than black you have to pay a premium for and Lauf tells us that an even higher-spec Uthald is coming next summer.

Giant Defy builds

2023 Giant Defy Pro 1 Shimano 105 Di2 endurance bike

The Defy range is significantly broader and therefore a little harder to get your head around, this one we have here is the Advanced SL 0 however it is possible to get the same frame layup for less with the Advanced SL 1. That’s £3,000 cheaper at £8,499 and gets Ultegra Di2 instead, a Giant power meter and lower spec carbon wheels.

Thankfully there are cheaper ways to get a Defy in your possession (without committing a crime), in fact, the latest 2023 models start from a more friendly £2,299 albeit you don’t get the fancy advanced SL carbon layup.

There’s no fewer than 9 models covering most price points in between the uber-fancy and basic Defy and our pick of the bunch would probably be something like the £4,599 Advanced Pro 1 shown above with 105 Di2, carbon wheels and despite the Pro models getting the lower tier carbon frame, they do get the higher spec Advanced SL carbon fork off the top range Defy’s.

Canyon Endurace builds

2023 Canyon Endurace CF SLX - 1.jpeg

Canyon also offers several carbon layups on their Endurace range AND an aluminium option as well. It’s the CFR and SLX ranges though that have recently been updated and the bikes below that do start to differ in their design. The CFR sits at the top of the pile and will set you back £8,599 whether you want it equipped with Sram Red AXS, Shimano Dura-Ace or the latest Campagnolo Super Record WRL, the first two including a power meter.

The SLX frame looks identical but is made of a lower grade of carbon which results in a frame weight increase of around 100 grams. The SLX is offered in an impressive 8 frame sizes and starts from £3,849.

2023 Canyon Endurace top tube storage - 1.jpeg

> Review: Canyon Endurace CFR Di2 2023

So, on the whole, all three brands offer levels to suit broad price ranges but you definitely get more choice with the larger brands Giant and Canyon. The Lauf does stand out as good value, especially amongst the three builds we have here but the truth is the Defy, the Endurace and the Uthald are all actually pretty good value compared to much of their competition, for example, the Specialized Roubaix SL8 and Pinarello Dogma X that are en route have eyewatering price tags of £12,000+.

The Verdict

2023 Endurance bikes comparison Canyon Endurace vs Giant defy vs Lauf Uthald logos

The Giant Defy Advanced SL 0 and Canyon Endurace CFR certainly aren’t the best value bikes that you can buy (they’re also far from the worst) but I am confident that they will make 90% of the population faster than most race bikes. Despite the astronomical prices, I think it’s great that bike companies are finally listening and making bikes for the people who actually buy them rather than designing entire ranges around eight men in France. 

Which one would I have? If money was no object then this latest Giant Defy is very very good, and it’s no wonder that Mat gave it a 9/10 review. The Canyon is by no means a bad bike, it just feels a bit clinical and less fun to ride. When the prices are considered, it just gets pipped by the other two bikes here, and we’ve given it a 7/10 review score.

2023 Lauf Uthald lauf logo

However, if it was my own money that I was spending then I'd seriously have to consider the Lauf. It blows the competition out of the water when it comes to value for money. The geometry certainly might take some getting used to, and you will have to remind yourself that just because it doesn't feel as fast as a typical race bike, it doesn't mean it's any slower. That leaves just the looks, and we'll leave you to make your own verdict on that one!

You can read our full reviews of both the Giant Defy and Canyon Endurace right now and the full Uthald review will be coming soon...

Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...

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4 comments

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D-Squared | 3 months ago
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When is the Pinarello/Specialized comparison coming? It's been more than a few weeks!

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Surreyrider | 6 months ago
1 like

Disappointingly superficial feature. Could have been really quite interesting.

By the way, that Lauf seat tube is so ugly.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Surreyrider | 6 months ago
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Surreyrider wrote:

By the way, that Lauf seat tube is so ugly.

I apologise, I saw your comment below another article and thought seriously, we're dismissing bikes because we don't like the seat tube aesthetics now? Then I opened the article and looked at it, you're absolutely right, fugly as sin! That really would be enough to put me off purchasing. The ridiculously thick headtube and the seemingly afterthought, whoops better get a name on it somewhere graphics don't do it any favours either. Which is a shame because with wheels and groupset together coming to around £3k retail £3885 is pretty good value.

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a1white replied to Surreyrider | 6 months ago
0 likes

they're 'aving a lauf!

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