The new Canyon Endurace CF SLX is a surprisingly agile endurance bike with heaps of comfort and plenty of control through its hydraulic disc brakes.
Canyon took me out to visit their HQ and new factory in Koblenz last week and I got about 2:30hrs on the new bike over mostly rolling asphalt. We also took in one fairly big climb and some gravelly surfaces. That’s not enough ride time for a full review but here are my initial impressions.
The first thing I noticed about the Endurace CF SLX, even before climbing aboard, is that it looks pretty sporty for an endurance bike. As I mentioned in my other article, the stack height (the vertical distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) divided by the reach (the horizontal distance between those two points) for the size medium is 1.51. The equivalent figure for the Ultimate CF SLX race bike is 1.45 while it is 1.39 for the Aeroad aero road bike.
In other words, the Endurace CF SLX is quite an upright bike, but it doesn’t really look that way. That’s partly because Canyon has added some of the front-end height through the fork rather than the head tube. Plus, the lines of the H31 Ergocockpit integrated handlebar/stem add to the race styling. You can make your own mind up, of course, but I think the Endurace CF SLX has an athletic appearance.
Once I actually got in the saddle and hit the pedals, I was surprised at how lively the steering felt. Endurance bikes can often lack manoeuvrability but that’s really not the case with the Endurace CF SLX.
This bike has fairly long chainstays (415mm) and that increases the wheelbase, leading to greater stability. In order to make the steering more agile again, Canyon has upped the fork rake on this bike by 2.5mm and that decreases the trail (the distance from the centre of the contact point of the front wheel with the road to point where the steering axis intersects the road surface). All other things being equal, less trail adds to the responsiveness of the steering.
If that’s a load of gobbledygook to you, the bottom line is that Canyon has purposely made the steering quite lively to add to the Endurace CF SLX’s manoeuvrability and sporty feel, and that’s a quality you can’t miss here.
Frame stiffness adds to that impression. The Endurace CF SLX is surprisingly rigid when you stand up on the pedals and get all aggressive, especially for an endurance bike, especially for an aero bike (many aero bikes really aren’t all that rigid), and especially for one with a frame weight of 820g (claimed). If you want to put a figure on it – and, being German, Canyon does (sorry, lazy stereotype, I know) – the bottom bracket stiffness is a claimed 62 N/mm. Some full-on race bikes are considerably stiffer but fling this bike around and it feels impressively solid, and the lack of weight (the complete frameset is a claimed 1,200g) means it kicks forward immediately when you up the power.
The head tube stiffness is very high, Canyon claiming 103 N m/°, if you speak that kind of language, and that inspires confidence when heading downhill at speed. Add in the hydraulic disc brakes and you have a bike you feel you can trust on the descents. We avoided the rain but logic says that the wet weather performance will be similar.
The other big, big feature of the Endurace CF SLX’s ride is its comfort. Of course, every brand says that its endurance bikes are super-comfy, but this one really is very smooth. I talked through a few of its comfort features in the other article: the fork and the VCLS 2.0 seatpost that are designed to flex up/down, the integrated seat clamp that increases the seatpost’s effective bending length, the H31 Ergocockpit, the 28mm width tyres that you can swap for anything up to 33mm…
It’s hard to work out on a short ride how much each of these is contributing to the overall ride quality but the net result is a bike with a distinct lack of buzz from the road. I don’t want to overstate this – there’s no sorcery going on here – but things feel pretty mellow aboard the Endurace CF SLX. I particularly like the shape of the handlebar – both the tops and the drops – and the Fizik Aliante saddle is a popular choice.
The one aspect of the bike I rode that I couldn’t get along with was the height of the front end. The handlebar was too high for me, particularly when I got out of the saddle for the steepest climbs, but that's not surprising seeing it was jacked up with a whole bunch of headset spacers. You might be far more comfortable with a tall front end but I’d like to have found out what the Endurace CF SLX felt like with those spacers remove. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time for mid-ride adjustments. We’ll try to get the bike in for a proper review soon so that we can comment on that properly.
In the meantime, you can find out more about the Canyon Endurace CF SLX at www.canyon.com.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.