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Bigger isn’t always better. In fact, if you’re a big rider, it can restrict your choice of bike. Many smaller brands (and several big ones) don’t build bikes large enough for really tall riders. If you’re 6ft, no problem. A little bit over should be fine. But anyone significantly taller will find not every bike is made in a size they can comfortably ride without a tower of spacers above the headtube or a stem like a boat’s tiller.
The Canyon is an out-and-out race bike. The Ultimate CF SL frame may be a smidge heavier than the 790g SLX model used on the Pro Tour, but with a claimed frame weight of 940g for a medium-sized frame it’s still a very light bike indeed. Even the complete 2XL test bike weighs just 7.34kg.
The bike may be light, but the rider can be beefy. Canyon quotes a weight limit of 120kg (264.5lb) for all its frames and forks, although the limit for a complete bike built with Mavic wheels drops to 100kg (220.4lb).
Even an owner nudging the top end of that weight scale should find the Canyon stiff enough in all the right places. The chunky down-tube flares out to meet the asymmetric chainstays at the bottom bracket to make a very rigid platform for big riders to lay down the power.
Really lean on the pedals and the Canyon shoots forward, helped by the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLE wheels. You could pay £1400 for this wheelset (with matching Mavic tyres) on its own, so the Carbones are a definite spec highlight on a £2399 bike.
Despite its race-bike credentials the Canyon is remarkably comfortable, with slender stays offering just enough ‘give’ to make the Ultimate CF SL well suited to sportives as well as racing.