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TECH NEWS

What’s the deal with the Canyon Aeroad right now?

New cockpit is undergoing ‘final testing’ in the Tour de France, fuelling hopes that solution to technical issue is close

You might have noticed that a few riders in the Tour de France, including Stage 2 winner Mathieu van der Poel and Arkea-Samsic’s Nairo Quintana, are riding the new Canyon Aeroad with internal cable routing again after several months with partially external cable routing, so what’s the state of play with this bike now?

Let’s start at the very beginning because, you know, it’s a very good place to start. Canyon officially revealed the updated Aeroad last October after it was used a few times in the shortened 2020 race season by Mathieu van der Poel.

Canyon claimed improved aerodynamics – of course – a reduced weight – equally predictable – and enhanced comfort – naturally.2021 Canyon Aeroad CFR Dura Ace Di2 - bar adjustment.jpg

One feature no-one expected was the width-adjustable handlebar/stem that folded down for easier travel. The cockpit provided up to 40mm of adjustment with a tube-inside-a-tube design, a little like a seatpost that you move up and down inside a seat tube.

We didn’t have the bike for a full test here at road.cc but we did get the opportunity for a few rides and early impressions were that it was an absolute peach!

However, by December Aeroad owners were complaining of excessive wear at the point where the seatpost met the seat tube. The suggestion was that taller and heavier riders who had a greater proportion of the seatpost exposed were most likely to be affected.

Reports suggested that where the carbon seatpost and the carbon seat tube walls touch, any dirt ingress or the use of carbon paste was causing excessive wear. Riding in wet conditions appeared to compound the problem.

Then in early March the aero cockpit snapped under Mathieu van der Poel while racing Le Samyn.

As a result, Canyon issued a ‘stop ride’ notice to owners of the 2021 Canyon Aeroad models that featured the CP15 and CP18 cockpits.

Canyon said:

As you know, our Alpecin-Fenix Cycling Team pro Mathieu van der Poel broke part of the handlebars of his Canyon Aeroad CFR during a bike race at the beginning of March. This did not show up in any of our industry-standard intensive testing procedures according to ISO4210-5, which we always carry out before launching new products. To ensure the safety of our customers, we will replace the drop bars on the cockpit with a reinforced version.

Therefore, we will equip all CFR and CF SLX bikes in the market with the new drop bars, which will be available from July. We have asked our customers not to use their Aeroads until then. To compensate them for the downtime of not being able to ride their Aeroad CFR and CF SLX and to thank them for their loyalty and patience, we will give them a credit.

Canyon also said that a solution to the seatpost issue was expected by autumn.

Gulp! A nightmare for anyone who had bought an Aeroad and couldn’t ride it, and also for Canyon, of course.

The other challenge was for the professional teams; Canyon provides bikes for the Movistar WorldTeam and for the Arkéa–Samsic and Alpecin–Fenix ProTeams.

Mathieu van der Poel Strade Bianche Canyon Aeroad (CORVOS/SWPix.com)

The solution here was to continue using the Aeroad but with an older handlebar with external cable routing. The new Aeroad frameset is designed for fully internal cable routing, the cables entering at the top of the head tube directly from the cockpit, so there are no ports for the cables to enter. That meant the framesets had to be drilled to get the cables inside. Still, it was a solution of sorts and it allowed the pros to race on the new bikes.

Canyon said, “The handlebars solution used [by our pro teams] is safe and complies with UCI regulations, but unfortunately, it is not suitable for series production. Our pro teams will also receive new drop bars and will be equipped with the same configuration as our customers in the future.”

2021 Mathieu van der Poel Canyon Aeroad yellow Tour de France - 1

Things have moved on another stage at the Tour de France with some of Canyon’s pro riders using a new bar that allows the cables to run internally again. When Mathieu van der Poel stormed to victory on Stage 2 there wasn’t a cable in sight. The yellow bike he rode on subsequent days as race leader also had fully internal cable routing.

2021 Tim Merlier Canyon Aeroad Tour de France - 1

On the other hand, when Van der Poel’s Alpecin–Fenix team-mate Tim Merlier rode to victory on Stage 3, he was on a Canyon Aeroad without the new cockpit.

2021 Tour de France Arkea Samsic Canyon Aeroad - 1

The black Arkea-Samsic Aeroads pictured above are fitted with the new cockpit while the white bikes have an older system with external cables.

“Mathieu van der Poel, along with a few other Canyon riders at the Tour, is supporting final testing of the re-worked handlebar,” said Canyon’s UK Market Manager Nick Allen. “In line with all previous customer communications, we hope to deliver the re-work to all affected customers as soon as possible after final testing is completed.”

So that’s where we’re at right now. Assuming that the new cockpit comes through final testing unscathed, it will be issued to customers waiting for a fix and will go on to the bikes of those who have an Aeroad on order.

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.

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