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One thing that will always instill confidence in an online purchase, especially where bikes are concerned, is quality packaging. As I unboxed our test bike it became clear that Canyon makes every effort to deliver your new steed in A1 condition. The custom-built box is more than impressive, including an internal wooden and cardboard framework that practically bulletproofs it.
Its low mass (6.9kg in size 56cm including pedals) and unyielding, boxy construction unite with Mavic’s stalwart Ksyrium Elite S wheels to give you an endearing ‘shove in the back’ on the hills, such that I found myself actually looking forward to the next climb.
The seatstays flow around the seat tube and make a direct connection with the top tube. Aside from looking really neat, this aims to bring dual functional benefits – increasing the lateral rigidity of this tube juncture while also helping to better disperse the vibrations coming up through the rear triangle. When the seatpost is playing such an active role in your overall comfort it’s hard to say how much of an effect this is having on the latter, but as far as the lateral stiffness of the back end is concerned the Ultimate CF SLX frame will not leave you wanting.
When pulling aggressively on the bars, the front end held firm. There were times, particularly at slower speeds, when I felt the front was slightly twitchy but thankfully, once it was pointed downhill, those thoughts vanished and the Canyon felt very level-headed, stable and with a good amount of feedback.
Canyon’s engineers have done a good job of balancing the Ultimate CF SLX’s stiffness, by which I mean that its solid feeling is delivered consistently from front to back. All-round stiffness can often result in a harsh ride, but that’s not the case with the Canyon. My posterior remained agreeably unbruised on even the most potholed roads, and I credit most of the smoothness of the ride to the optional VCLS 2.0 seatpost.
I’m a big fan of attention to detail, and the fact that Canyon’s engineers have carefully positioned the cables not just for minimal friction but also such that the cable will never rub the frame is a welcome addition.
All in all, the Canyon is an impressive package, I’d expect to see the Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 showing a few of those boys a clean pair of heels in races this coming season.