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Mathieu van der Poel’s World’s-winning Canyon Inflite CF SLX cyclocross bike

Van der Poel rode through the wind, mud, sand and errr…sea to take his fourth CX world title. Here’s his bike

Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert rode away from the rest of the race within the first half lap of Sunday’s Cyclocross World Championships. The two rivals were on another level on the sandy coastal course in Belgium but despite crashing rather spectacularly in a muddy rut, Van der Poel would ride to victory after taking a gap over Van Aert as the Belgian suffered a front puncture.

Van der Poel’s bike is a familiar one to cyclocross fans. The Canyon Inflite CF SLX has won plenty of races since it was released thanks not only to Van der Poel, but also to Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, his teammate and until yesterday, fellow World Champion.

> Read the race report here
Matthieu van der Poel Canyon Inflite Worlds 5-2

The Inflite CF SLX frame comes in, Canyon claims, at just 940g which is certainly impressive for a disc-brake cyclocross frame. But it is the top tube design that will catch your eye and Canyon says that the ‘bump’ was used to maintain space within the frame for easier shouldering while also allowing more seat post to be exposed for extra compliance in the rear end.

> Review: Canyon Inflite CF SL 8 2021

At the front of the bike, Van der Poel opts for Canyon’s H31 Ergocockpit, an integrated carbon bar/stem that we can confirm is very stiff and ideal for maximal cyclocross efforts. One detail to note here is that Van der Poel chooses to have the Di2 Junction A box mounted in the bar end instead of under the stem. This is a safer place to have it as you don’t run the risk of having a Di2 wire unplugged when shouldering the bike.

Matthieu van der Poel Canyon Inflite Worlds 2-2

Speaking of Di2, Van der Poel is sponsored by Shimano so it’s a full Dura-Ace Di2 Disc groupset. At the rear what looks like an 11-30T cassette is paired with the classic cyclocross 2X 46/39T chainrings. These are mounted on a Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P power meter chainset.

Matthieu van der Poel Canyon Inflite Worlds-2

Shimano Dura-Ace hydraulic brakes take care of the stopping power and Van der Poel was an early adopter of these. 140mm rotors provide sufficient power for Van der Poel.

> Beginner's guide to cyclocross - get muddy, get fit (and get a new bike)

The pedals are also Shimano, this time in the form of their XTR mountain bike dual-sided pedals. The one difference from the pedals that you or I would buy in the shops is that the centre part of the pedal body is milled down slightly for maximal mud clearance.

Matthieu van der Poel Canyon Inflite Worlds 6-2

The best way to ruin bearings? Ride your bike through the North Sea.

For those unfamiliar with the demands of cyclocross, the amount of running and discounting of the bike means that riders will use those mountain bike pedals and the matching shoes. Van der Poel has the as-yet-unreleased update to the Shimano XC901 shoes. These shoes have been in the pipeline since the middle of 2019 and Van der Poel gets a shiny white pair. White for cyclocross, not the smartest choice, unless someone else is doing the cleaning.

> 12 of the best cyclocross bikes — drop-bar dirt bikes for racing and playing in the mud
Matthieu van der Poel Canyon Inflite Worlds 3-2

Lastly, but probably the most important part for cyclocross, Van der Poel, along with the majority of the riders yesterday, chose the Dugast Typhoon tubular tyre in a 33mm width. The combination of the sand and fast stretches with some very greasy corners meant that this intermediate tyre was an easy choice. The tyres were mounted on Dura-Ace C40 tubular wheels.

All of that said, the bike is slightly irrelevant when you can hop between sandy lines at will. Skills.

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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