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For years, these four letters have stood for providing the utmost in rider comfort and uncompromising lateral stiffness at the same time. Although it may sound contradictory, it’s actually fairly straightforward to explain. The effect is achieved through optimising carbon fibre layups, fine-tuning tube dimensions and developing our very own components. Read on to find out more about Canyon technologies and experience VCLS for yourself.
When stripped back to the very basics, comfort while riding is simply defined by the absence of any sudden vertical movements, such as when riding over bumps in the road. While some bikes use suspension to overcome these effects, bikes without any suspension parts (such as road and triathlon bikes) can apply elastic properties to certain key components, like the forks and seatpost. The more elasticity these components possess, the more they will flex vertically upon impact, making them more comfortable.
Lateral stiffness defines the extent to which a part is able to move from side to side when pressure is applied. The more laterally stiff a structure is, the less it will flex when put under pressure. Stiffness is opposite to flexibility, and therefore comfort in this respect. Lateral forces are a constant factor while riding, for example, each time you turn a corner at speed and the tyres grip into the surface. Huge pressure is therefore transferred up through the bike, which can cause unwanted flex in the frame. As a result, headtube and bottom bracket stiffness are absolutely key to avoid deformation. More stiffness results in better power transfer and stability while riding. Frames that are laterally stiff not only accelerate quicker, but also handle far better due to more precise and responsive steering.
For several years, Canyon has been a pioneering force in integrating more comfort into road and mountain bikes. We work in close partnership with a number of technical institutions in Germany to ensure we are at the cutting edge of material and composite design and further improve the damping characteristics of our frames. Our research has even been carried out together with and commissioned by German federal government ministries. In cooperation with these partners, we have made vast gains in improving the comfort of our bikes. We develop our own testing methods to gauge the effect of vibrations and assess comfort, for example, by building specific bikes with complex measuring instruments, which we then take out to ride and test on the road. Our findings give us clear targets for the further development of our frames and components, the results of which benefit all Canyon riders.
This diagram shows that shocks have significantly less impact on frames with Canyon VCLS technology (orange line) in comparison to conventional frames without VCLS technology (white line). Through our optimised frame construction, ever-evolving Maximus Seat Tube, slender seatstays and specific VCLS components, such as seatpost and forks, vibrations through the bike are drastically reduced. At the same time, no compromises are made in terms of lateral stiffness, meaning every last watt of power coming from the rider results in forward movement. The effect of vibrations transferred through the seatpost is reduced by up to 50%, minimising pressure on the rider’s muscles so that they stay fresher for longer.
From the seatstays to the forks, Canyon VCLS technology completely redefines riding comfort and ergonomics.
The forks play a vital role in the structure of a bike. Just as the seatpost provides the contact point between rider and frame, the forks are what connects the frame to the wheels. Our high-modulus carbon forks guarantee the best possible compromise between stiffness and comfort, whilst ensuring absolute steering precision and control. The VCLS Blades on Canyon forks are laterally very stiff, yet flex vertically to reduce the impact of small bumps and vibrations. These characteristics are achieved through the cross-sectional profile of the forks together with the types of fibres used and the way these are applied, known as the layup. Using different layups and profiles allows us to adapt the stiffness of a structure in targeted areas, which in turn results in the ideal combination of comfort and lateral stiffness.
The most sensitive contact point between rider and bike is the saddle together with the seatpost, which carry approximately 70% of the rider’s total weight. In addition to the effort of pedalling, vibrations and shocks from the road surface are one of the biggest contributing factors to muscle fatigue whilst riding. Muscles in the back and legs are put under huge pressure in order to compensate for these impacts, which in turn has a detrimental effect on the rider’s pedalling power.
Canyon VCLS Seatposts employ a mix of specific carbon as well as other fibres to soften the effect of shocks and vibrations by up to 50%, all while maintaining absolute lateral stiffness. This significant improvement in comfort all serves to enhance rider performance, allowing their muscles to stay fresher for longer so more power can be put into the pedals instead of taking the sting out of bumps in the road.
VCLS Seatposts are equipped on all Canyon road bikes.
This is the link at the heart of the frame. The VCLS Module acts as the “Comfort Control Centre” through specific profiling at the junction of the top tube, seat tube and seatstays, in addition to an optimised layup on our carbon models. These features not only soften the ride to provide more comfort, but are also an integral factor to the lateral stiffness characteristic of Canyon bikes. The Module combines perfectly with other VCLS elements, for example, by enhancing the vertical flex of the VCLS Post. Another key role performed by the VCLS Module is to spread rider weight evenly across the whole frame for improved handling.
Slender and lightweight, these sophisticated seatstays significantly improve the comfort of our frames without compromising lateral stiffness. The sleek and distinctive tube profile on both our aluminium and carbon models allow the stays to vertically flex subtly upon impact to take the edge off shocks and vibrations.
Ever since 2005, the Maximus Seat Tube has stood at the very core of our frame development and is constantly undergoing new stages of evolution and improvement. Such high levels of bottom bracket stiffness are achieved through our patented broad design and oversized seatstays, which are wide-set thanks to the use of a PressFit bottom bracket. The asymmetrical form of the seat tube, with its flattened tube design, tapers to form a perfect cylinder where it meets the seatpost, helping to keep weight down and improve overall comfort.
In its latest form, the bottom section of Maximus Seat Tube is subtly scalloped, which serves to further contribute to rider comfort and also enhance initial power transfer around the bottom bracket. The revamped tube shape works in combination with VCLS seatposts to provide even more vertical flex and soften the effect of vibrations and shocks. Working in harmony with the VCLS Module, VCLS Stays and VCLS Post, the Maximus Seat Tube brings together all these elements at the heart of Canyon frames.