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Canyon’s Ultimate is about to be updated and here’s what you can expect

Will Canyon trickle over features from the Aeroad? Will rim brakes remain an option? How about a non-slammed geometry option for those who simply want to ease their way up the climbs?

The Ultimate is Canyon’s all-round lightweight road bike that’s about to be revamped, so what updates can we expect and hope for?

Canyon's website has a 'coming soon' page that now features the Ultimate so there's not much doubt that a new one is on the way, it's just a question of exactly when. Plus, we know that the Ultimate is due a refresh; the Ultimate CFR was introduced in 2020 but other versions are older than that. 

The UCI's List of Approved Models of Framesets often confirms that new bikes exist, and also that they can be raced. The Ultimate hasn't yet appeared on there yet, but that doesn't make much difference to the likelihood of the bike showing up soon. Sometimes they are approved and kept off the list until after the official launch. 

With a frame that weighs just 675g, a fork that's 285g, and a complete bike weight of 6.2kg, the Ultimate CFR is well below the UCI's 6.8kg minimum weight limit for racing. But it’s not the lightest disc brake road bike out there, with Specialized dropping even more weight with its Specialized S-Works Aethos just a few months later, and coming in at 5.9kg… 

Canyon has plenty of experience when it comes to challenging the scales, creating a prototype bike weighing a mere 3.7kg way back in 2004. We're obviously not expecting anything like that for the Ultimate but perhaps weight is an area there’ll be hoping to reign supreme in again.

> Review: Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0 Movistar 

More aero

The adding of aero features to lightweight models is something that we’ve seen a lot lately – with Merida’s Scultura and Specialized’s Tarmac, for example – brands figuring that they almost might as well if they can still get bikes down to 6.8kg.

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0 Movistar - riding 3.jpg

To reduce drag, Canyon could drop the seatstays more and tuck the cables in by internally routing them through the handlebars and inside the head tube. Fully-internal cable routing has become a feature of nearly all high-end road bikes over the past few years. There are exceptions – Giant's TCR, for example – but we'd be hugely surprised if Canyon didn't go down the internal cable routing, er, route.

Canyon may well trickle over specific features from the Aeroad. The brand designed a new way of adjusting your stem position that doesn’t involve cutting down your fork steerer. You get 15mm of height adjustment via 10mm and 5mm aluminium spac­ers, and so that could be a useful inclusion for the Ultimate.

We expect Canyon to steer clear of a seatpost design with engineered flex that's in any way similar to that of the Aeroad, though, given the issues with excessive wear on at the point where the post meets the seat tube.

More comfort

The disc brake models can take up to 30mm tyres. Perhaps Canyon will increase that to 32mm so that wider tyres with lower pressures can be run for higher levels of comfort. 

Canyon could be designing in more flex to make the Ultimate a more comfortable ride. With aero bikes becoming more ubiquitous, climbing bikes are also doubling as more comfortable bikes - especially as there’s only so much compliance you can engineer into massively boxy aero tubing.

Will there be rim brakes?

In the current Ultimate lineup, the £1,699 Ultimate CF SL 7 and £2,249 Ultimate CF SL 8 both have rim brakes, but will these be staying?

2021 Canyon Ultimate CF SL 7

In its updated Endurace range, Canyon has kept rim brakes on the two lowest spec aluminium models, the £1,299 7 RB and the £1,099 6 RB, and so could do the same for the Ultimate. 

On lower spec bikes, the weight savings from a lightweight rim brake set up and the feel of rim brakes over basic mechanical disc brakes can be nicer,  at least in the dry.

Things we’d like to see…

Aside from the obvious moves to drop even more weight, reduce drag (as mentioned above) and focus on comfort, here’s some other more interesting directions Canyon could take with its lightweight climber's bike…

Two geometries 

Another avenue Canyon could go down is opening up its lightweight option to those who want to enjoy pacing it up climbs but don’t want to be stuck in a slammed position. 

While the Ultimate is great for those who can shift and hold themselves in an aggressive position, not everyone who wants a really light bike is race-orientated. Specialized realised this and launched the ultralightweight Aethos with complete bikes weighing in at 5.9kg which is below the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg and so couldn’t be used in competition as built. At the launch, Specialized said that the Aethos is aimed at riders who prioritise handling and ride quality above aerodynamics, and who want the ultimate high-performance road bike unrestricted by competition rules.

That said, Fairlight is currently quite unusual in offering its bikes in differing geometries, giving you a near-customised frame build without the expense. Each size available in a regular (R) or tall (T) fit. 

> Review: Fairlight Strael 3.0 2021

To offer your lightest bike in a non-racey geometry would be a bold move that’s very similar to Specialized’s Aethos idea, but one that could certainly appeal to lots, and offering two geometries is not something that’s completely unheard of. 

The return of a race-focused aluminium model 

Modern alloy race bikes often have similar looks and handling to carbon bikes but at a much lower price point. Hydroforming, in which aluminium tubes are shaped by liquid under immense pressure, has really helped increase strength and cut weight.

> 14 best aluminium road bikes — explore this popular material

Canyon certainly hasn’t been neglecting its aluminium models. The brand’s most recent update was to its Endurace range and its AL was given attention with a new “stiffer, more precise fork” and Canyon says it aims to meet the demand of newcomers discovering cycling by “raising the bar for quality at more affordable price points”. 

The stack/reach on the Ultimate CF SLX is 1.45 which is a much more aggressive position compared to the Endurace CF which is 1.56, and so there is definitely space for a more race-focused alloy option from the brand. 

> Review: Canyon Ultimate AL 9.0 Di2
2018 Canyon Ultimate Al SLX 8 c1024.jpg

With an aluminium frame option, Canyon has managed to start its Endurace range as low as £1,399. It’d be great to see the Ultimate range come down to a slightly more accessible price point. 

There are also few race-focused performance alloy bikes around currently. Trek’s Emonda ALR disc-brake bike is one option - it’s built to Trek's H2 geometry, which is a little less low and stretched than the H1.5 setup found on the carbon Emondas but the H2 is still focused on speed. Bowman Cycles was the British brand that was all about producing performance alloy racing machines, but unfortunately the company liquidated earlier this year following continued supply chain issues. 

What updates would you like to see to Canyon’s Ultimate range?

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Kwinten | 2 years ago

I would love for you to be right but have to debunk your opening statement. Canyon Ultimate being in Canyon's "Coming soon" page was for the two new versions  (Etap LTD I and  LTD II), which are just the same old bike with a different paint finish. 

Since the release of these two new models, Ultimate is no longer featured on the "Coming soon" page.

I'm eagerly awaiting the release of a new model with integrated cockpit & cables. Would love to get the Ultimate but paying over 5k for a bike with exposed cables in 2022 just doesn't seem right.


sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
1 like

I will also add that I think the current Ultimate is one of the best looking bikes available. The geometry makes it one of the pure racing bikes that a glassback like myself can ride without the need for 100mm of spacers under the stem.

I really do hope they do a good job on this as the Ultimate has always been on my "must own at some point".

themuffle replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago

sparrowlegs wrote:

I will also add that I think the current Ultimate is one of the best looking bikes available. 

I really do hope they do a good job on this as the Ultimate has always been on my "must own at some point".

I agree, while aero bikes may be faster they tend to look a bit of a dogs dinner. Does the average joe really need those extra few watts saved?

I personally would rather have better 'regular' looking bike. I do like concealed cables though (if only for the looks). 

... looking forward to seeing what they have come up with. 


check12 | 2 years ago

10% stiffer, 17.6% more compliant, 2%lighter, 30% available, 20% more expensive

Awavey | 2 years ago

maybe keep an eye on what bikes the Canyon SRAM generation riders use in their races this season then,theyre the development conti team for Canyon SRAM, as they are using the Ultimate CF SLX disc, not the Aeroad the Canyon SRAM riders have.

Steve K | 2 years ago
1 like

Surely, by definition, you can't update the 'Ultimate'.

matthewn5 replied to Steve K | 2 years ago

Steve K wrote:

Surely, by definition, you can't update the 'Ultimate'.

Maybe they should have always called it the 'Penultimate'  1

sparrowlegs | 2 years ago

Ooh, I can't wait to see what the Canyon designers come up with for this. 

Something like an all-one-piece bars/stem/forks that require the frame to be built around them first?

Maybe a novel saddle height adjustment system that uses an adjustment wheel in the seat tube to raise the saddle up/down?

Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be designed (badly) around posting the bike, not properly tested and craply manufactured.

I can see prices of secondhand ultimates going through the roof!

EddyBerckx | 2 years ago

Re. The 2 geometries - the relaxed geo is already in the range and called the Endurace isn't it? Not sure they need to change this on the ultimate.

it's already more comfortable than the few endurancy  bikes I've ridden, so can't help thinking it will have minor improvements everywhere but especially on the aero front. But we'll see soon enough

mpdouglas replied to EddyBerckx | 2 years ago

As an 55 year old Ultimate owner, I completely agree with you. It's perfectly comfortable and has never felt overly slammed. I actually hope they don't mess with it too much. With the existing VCLS split seat post, it's already a light, comfortable, good looking bike. As for fully internal cable routing, just make sure that the headset bearings can be replaced without needing to cut the hydraulic lines (as is the case with my Giant Propel - once the hydraulic nut and olive are compressed onto the brake hose, it will no longer pass through the holes in the cockpit, so cutting the hose is the only option to remove the bearings. Due to the fully internal routing, there is no slack in the hose to allow for the piece that has been cut off, so it's a replacement hose as well as the bearings, plus a couple of hours of work - hardly what I'd call progress!)

Motivated replied to EddyBerckx | 2 years ago

As a 52 year old Ultimate owner, I also agree.  For endurance geometry, they offer the excellent Endurace.  I had an Endurace and it's just as fast as an Ultimate ... it exactly is an Ultimate with endurance geometry.  So, I hope they don't relax the geometry of the Ultimate.  In fact, I think it could be made slightly more aggressive in the larger sizes.  The 2XL has a ridiculously large headtube length.  I ride the XL and have the stem slammed plus 120mm stem.  Obviously, it's a moot point, but 10 - 20mm longer Reach for each size would be perfect.  I'd rather have a longer frame and shorter stem.  Canyon is perhaps the only company offering legit TdF bikes with a Reach of 415mm and even longer.  For me, I either have to go custom or go Canyon.  

If Canyon simply makes the bike a bit more aero and a bit more comfortable at the front, I will buy the new one:  Overall latest carbon sophistication, new fork, shelter the rear wheel, aero-optimize the headtube and downtube shape = done.  Please do not use the quill stem or proprietary seatpost.  These things limit aftermarket choice to dial in the fit and maximize a low weight build. 

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