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The Canyon Inflite AL was unveiled at Eurobike 2013 as the German company’s first cyclo-cross bike but, in reality, it’s the latest addition to a growing market of road-’cross hybrids.
Canyon are the first brand we can think of to offer a road-specific
model as part of a wider cyclo-cross range. Three bikes make up the Inflite AL collection: two with knobbly tyres (the Inflite AL 8.0 and Inflite AL 9.0) and the third, the Inflite AL 8.0 S we have on test, with 28mm road rubber.
An aluminium frame is at the heart of the Inflite AL. Canyon have forged a reputation for producing high quality, performance-focused aluminium frames, and the Koblenz-based firm say they’ve used that knowledge and experience to develop the Inflite AL.
All three bikes in the Inflite AL range use the same frame, with a lean claimed weight of 1,480g, and concealed mudguard mounts front and rear. The slim Maximus seattube, said to improve comfort, is a similar design to that found on RoadCyclingUK’s 2013 Bike of the Year, the carbon fibre Canyon Ultimate CF SLX, and up front Canyon’s One One Four SL Disc Fork slots into a tapered headtube.
As you’d expect, there’s plenty of mud clearance around the tyres, fork and chainstays, cables are touted along the top of the toptube, as is customary on ‘cross bikes to keep them out of harms way. The PressFit bottom bracket promises plenty of stiffness.
Canyon offer the Inflite AL in six sizes. The geometry is a little more relaxed than their road bikes, with a 72 degree headtube angle and 73.5 degree seattube angle on our size medium test bike, which also has a 553mm toptube, 545mm seattube and 145mm headtube. The lengthy 425mm chainstays and 1,014mm wheelbase should make for a stable ride.
The 8.0 S is dressed in Shimano’s mid-range, 10-speed 105 groupset, with a compact 50-34t chainset and 11-28t cassette to provide a wide spread of gears. Shimano 105 is
a long-time favourite thanks to its superb balance of performance and value.
Disc-specific Mavic CrossOne Disc wheels are wrapped in Continental’s Grand Prix 4-Season tyres, a popular choice for UK riders who want a one-tyre-fits-all solution. They’re well-suited to winter, not least in the plush 28mm width here. The combination of disc brakes and fat tyres has seen the the Inflite AL 8.0 S shrug off the filthy country lanes.
Canyon’s provide the own-brand carbon fibre VCLS seatpost, which is infused with basalt as its fibres are said to offer more elasticity and, therefore, comfort, while Ritchey supply the aluminium Curve Comp handlebar and WCS stem. A Selle Italia XI saddle completes the spec sheet and all that makes for sub-9kg build.
It’s necessary to point out that Canyon say the Inflite AL’s concealed mudguard mounts are only compatible with the SKS-manufactured guards sold through the Canyon website. Also, the 8.0 S isn’t initially specced with ‘guards and you have to purchase them as an optional extra when buying the bike.
The Canyon Inflite AL 8.0 looks every inch the winter bike with a tough-as-nails aluminium frame and a sensible build which makes good value for money at £1,149.