Canyon’s frame naming explained
Our test bike is the Endurace CF SLX 8.0. Yes, that’s a lot of letters, so I’ll explain the Canyon frame labelling. AL and CF are straightforward, they refer to aluminium and carbon fibre frames respectively. CF SL equates to Super Light carbon while CF SLX, being the top of the range frame, stands for Super Light Extreme carbon construction. Some road bikes also feature the Aero label which points to use of some aerodynamic components on the bike. In the case of our test bike, the Aero label might point to the deeper, more aerodynamic wheels.
The Endurace features a combination of frame geometry and components to create a comfortable ride. Firstly, the position the rider is slightly more upright than an aggressive race bike looking to get the body low and stretched for aerodynamic gains. The second is bump absorption with a carbon construction and component choice that assist in absorbing the bumps better than those you might find on a pure racer.
The angles and measurements of the Endurace frame differ from those of Canyon’s Ultimate race bike. As mentioned, the aim is to better position the rider for comfort over outright speed. Canyon label these different geometries Geo Sport (Endurace) and Geo Pro Sport (Ultimate).
So what are the important differences between the two bikes? I’ve used a medium sized frame for comparison. The Endurace is a slightly shorter bike with a more compact reach (382 vs 391) and wheelbase (990 vs 996) than the Ultimate. The chainstay lengths are identical at 415 mm while the Endurace is a smidgen steeper in the head tube and seat tube angles.
The stack height (the vertical measurement from the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) is significantly higher on the Endurace. A lower stack height places a rider in a deeper position (think aero position) while a taller stack height results in a more upright position. The handlebars on the Endurace are also slightly wider for certain sizes.
The Endurace frame has adopted a number of modern road bike standards. The frame is disc brake compatible using flat mount brakes. The fork and rear axle accept through axles with the rear spacing being 142mm. The seatpost clamp is integrated into the frame with the adjusting bolt found between the seatstays as they joining the seatpost. Canyon claim that a medium size CF SLX frame weighs 820 grams.
The components Canyon has selected for the Endurace go a long way to back up the bump absorption claims.
While road bike manufacturers tout the qualities of the compliance of frames and contact points, some even their micro suspension systems, tyre volume is probably the greatest defence against rough road conditions. The Endurace arrives with 28mm tyres which do an excellent job at soaking up the road chatter. The DT Swiss rims are tubeless ready, so you can really experiment with lower pressures without the fear of pinch flats (but do watch out for rim dings).
The Endurace is designed for up to 33mm tyres on a 700c wheel but I’ve heard whisperings that a 35mm tyre can be squeezed in (to be tested at your own risk). With these sort of tyre sizes, the Endurace could easily be called on for some lighter gravel road exploration.
Canyon also employs the services of their S15 VCLS 2.0 CF seatpost to make the Endruace better compliant. The seatpost features a leaf spring design offering up to 20mm of flex to absorb vibrations and shocks travelling through the seatpost to the rider. The seatpost head can be flipped to adjust the setback between two settings (+25 or +13 mm). It is a design that adds some meaningful dampening without packing on too much weight, with a claimed weight of 220 grams.
The build kit
The Endurace CF SLX 8.0 sports a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes. The chainring gearing is semi-compact with a 52/36 set while this specific model used a 11-30 range cassette. Many of the current Endurace models on offer used a wider cassette up to 34 tooth.
DT Swiss's aerodynamic ERC 1400 Spline wheels feature 47 millimetres deep rims to cut through the air and spin on 240s hubs with a supremely smooth feel and snappy engagement.
The Canyon H31 Ergocockpit CF is a single integrated handlebar and stem carbon piece. My test bike arrived with a 420mm handlebar width and the equivalent of a 110-millimetre stem length. This combination suited me well but I’m not the fussiest rider. But if you’re very specific about fit, you might find yourself having to compromise to enjoy Canyon’s all-in-one solution.
Since the release of the 2018 Endurace CF SLX 8.0, the Canyon store no longer lists the 8.0 specification level with the CF SLX frame. Instead only selling the higher specification 9.0 models with the option of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (US$ 6,549) or SRAM Red eTap AXS (US$ 6,349) groupsets. A similar 8.0 specification is available with the second-tier CF SL frame (US$ 4,249) with Mavic Ksyrium Pro carbon wheels.
- FrameCanyon Endurace CF SLX
- ForkCanyon One One Four SLX Disc
- WheelsDT Swiss ERC 1400 Spline
- TyresContinental GrandPrix 4000S II 28mm
- DrivetrainShimano Ultegra Di2 (Chainrings: 52-36T; Cassette 11-30T)
- BrakesShimano Ultegra Disc / Shimano 160mm rotor
- SeatpostS15 VCLS 2.0 CF
- Saddle Fizik Aliante R5
- HandlebarCanyon H31 Ergocockpit CF
- Bottle CagesTopeak
- Bike weight7.7 kg (Size Large)
- PriceThe model with this exact build kit is no longer listed on the Canyon website.
On the road
As endurance bikes go, the Endurace lies on the racier end of the spectrum. There are endurance bikes with more frame dampening design and even others with micro-suspension. It seems to be in the geometry where the Endurace frame choose to play its part in the overall comfort equation. This does mean that the Endurace is a bit harsher to ride than most other endurance bikes but still markedly smoother and compliant than it is racing counterparts.
The geometry places the rider is a slightly more upright position which is less stretched than a traditional race bike. I found the position to do the trick, causing less strain on my support muscles and arms. The Endurace manages to still keep the rider sufficiently posed to engage their racer’s core, crouch down and attack in a lower aerodynamic position. The Endurace’s ability to snap into race mode is a theme that runs through the bike.
Despite the relaxed geometry and comfort features, the Endurace is nimble and quick to react. A playful feel that you don't readily attribute to the Endurace bike category. At the same time, the bike remains stable at high speeds with the confidence of a smoother, more controlled ride. It is just as good swooping around bends as it is charging along the flats. The Endurance's climbing is particularly good for this type of bike, a feeling of efficiency urges you to keep pushing upward.
The tyres are a big contributor to the overall smoothness of the Endurace. The 28mm Continental tyres do an excellent job at flattening the road. I enjoyed the bike at lower pressures, to the detriment of the tubes on one occasion. Conveniently, the tyres and rims are tubeless compatible, so I would certainly go that route were it my own bike.
The DT Swiss wheels are a standout component. Despite the deepish rims, the wheels always felt light and ready to pounce when smashing on the pedals. The Cape Town Cycle Tour gave me the opportunity to test the wheels, and the rest of the bike, in a stiff wind. Thankfully, the wheels and the bike handled the head, cross, and tailwinds without much fuss.
The S15 VCLS 2.0 CF seatpost (not a great name to through into light conversation) surprised me. It’s obvious that it works as you can feel it flexing underneath you (not in a distracting or annoying way). For this reason, Canyon does recommend running the seatpost ever-so-slightly higher than you would ordinarily. It’s a pricey standalone item but something worth considering for any road bike should you be looking for some additional dampening.
A note on sizing
On hearing that I prefer shorter sized road bikes, the local Canyon guys recommended I try out the Large sized Endurace. According to Canyon’s online size chart, I should be riding an XL frame (I’m 192 cm long). But with my preference for a short bike, the sizing was to my liking. I did feel a little far forward when sprinting but if you subscribe to the Caleb Ewan way of doing it, this might be just the place you want to be. Jumping on the Extra Large bike for a quick car park test, Canyon's chart is probably accurate for most riders my height, especially if you are coming off a strung out traditional race geometry.
If sizing is worrying you, get in contact with the local Canyon representatives, they have a test fleet with a thorough size curve which you might be able to hop on before you buy.
If you’ve read this review to help you decide between Canyon’s Ultimate and the Endurace, then that hint of doubt should push you towards the Endurace. The Endurace offers confidence and comfort without losing anything meaningful in terms of speed or playfulness. That said, if you are looking for comfort over all else, there are a number of endurance bikes that offer more vibration dampening and compliance. Unless you're the most dedicated of racers, your enjoyment of road cycling can only improve with a bike like the Endurace. It certainly put a Cheshire Cat-sized grin on my face.
- Smooth ride
- Comfortable position
- Still fast!
- Single piece stem and handlebar means tricky customising