Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): fiercely fast triathlon bike with a few surprisingly casual features

Don't let the hardcore looks deceive you, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 isn't only for triathlons and TT races

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict)
(Image credit: Canyon)

I had been riding the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 triathlon bike for a couple of months now and what I have realised is that although it is one of the best triathlon bikes you can find, with all the features you'd expect from a TT bike, it also has features that are handy for any cyclist. Although, for sure, a triathlon is where the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 really shines. It is incredibly light – the size medium setup is only 8.5 kg – and aerodynamic, with all components chosen to make the Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 as agile as possible.

• Buy the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 directly from Canyon

I'm yet to test the bike in an actual race but I have been able to ride the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 both outdoors on the road and indoors using the Wahoo Kickr Snap Bike Trainer and the Zwift app.

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Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): front unit of the bike

Light and sleek

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): overview

There are quite few varieties of the Canyon Speedmax – 18 to be precise – and what I get to test was the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 model that comes equipped with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and the beautiful DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut wheels. We are talking about ultra-precise electronic shifting here as well as components made out of high-quality materials, not your Average Joe mountain bike you bought for £100.

The Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 has a full-carbon frame and fork, both contributing to the overall lightness and stiffness of this aero bike. Carbon TT frames like the Speedmax CF tend to be more rigid than the steel/aluminium variety which might take some getting used to, especially if all you rode before were dutch-style bikes.

For me, they are the best part of the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 are the full-carbon DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut wheels. I do like me a deep rimmed wheel and the ones on the Speedmax CF 8.0 are just plain beautiful.

The Fizik Mistica saddle has been chosen for maximum comfort over longer distances; in theory, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2's saddle should be comfortable enough to be ridden on for the full Ironman distance (112 miles).

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Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): front view of the handlebars

Ultimate adjustability

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): ergonomics

As mentioned earlier, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 is an aero bike and was designed to go fast – but only if you are in aero position, using the aero handles. There are drop bars, of course, but if you're after speed, you'd better get used to getting into a more aggressive riding position.

Riding in said position is not the most comfortable thing in the world but the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 will make it as painless as possible. Almost everything can be adjusted on the bike: seat-height, the angle and position of the saddle, the angle of the handlebar, the length of the aero bars, you name it. Racing position will never be truly comfortable but on the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2, it will at least be bearable.

The Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset provides silky-smooth electric shifting which can be operated with the buttons on the aero bars (left hand – front, right hand – rear). But that is not all: the rear derailleur can also be adjuted with the buttons on the drop bar. This makes the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 perfect even for commuting; not necessarily for urban commuting but for going the distance and commute between cities on the road.

This model comes with a rim brake setup which works perfectly. Some might say that disc brakes are snappier but I found the Shimano Ultegra R8010 brakes absolutely spot on and well-calibrated (kudos to the mechanics at Canyon for setting it up so well).

There is a little storage box at the front of the frame for small snacks and tools but you will need to source the bottle holders (there are slots for two on the frame) as well as any additional storage units, should you require more.

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): side view of the Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 LTD

Canyon Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 LTD – for ultra-serious triathletes

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): other Speedmax models

I found the Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 setup the absolute Goldilocks-zone version of the bike, but Canyon offers more than just one Speedmax setup. The Speedmax models are grouped into two categories: the CF line consisting of 11 bikes and the higher specced CF SLX line of seven different models. None of the models feel "dumbed-down", however, and even the cheapest models on the list will have plenty of mouth-watering features.

For example, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 is £1,600 cheaper than the CF 8.0 Di2 and only weighs 100 grams more than the CF 8.0 Di2. The CF 8.0 also has a carbon frame and fork but lacks the electric shifting: it uses a Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset instead, which is still more than capable. The Mavic Comete Pro Carbon Exalith wheels are just icing on the cake really.

Have more money to burn? Get the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 LTD, sporting a Canyon Speedmax CF SLX frame, a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic drivetrain and Zipp's 858 NSW wheelset. Given the hefty price tag – a whopping £9,199 – this bike comes with premium service included: after Canyon received your order, "experts will reach out and work together with you to personalise your bike, so you get your Speedmax exactly the way you want it out of the box." Amen.

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): a view of the top of the bike

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): availability and price

The Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 is available through Canyon bikes for £4,299. You can buy it here.

The CF models can be purchased here, prices from £2,099.

The high-end SF SLX models can be purchased here, prices from £4,999.

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): side view of the Cervelo P3

The Cervelo P3 has a similar price tag but different setup

(Image credit: Cervelo)

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): alternatives

To be fair, once you tried the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 you probably won't want to get another triathlon bike but just in case you're interested, here are a few alternatives.

  • Cervelo P3: Cervelo is the most popular cycling brand among Ironman athletes and the Cervelo P3 is a good example why. This bike is stiff, has multiple storage units (two anyway) and features a Shimano Ultegra groupset as well as DT Swiss P1800 Spline wheels. Saying that, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 offers more advanced components for more or less the same price.
  • Trek Speed Concept: this beast of a full-carbon triathlon bike features many Bontrager elements and hidden cable management for better aerodynamic performance. Precise shifting is provided by the Shimano Dura-Ace shifters and the Shimano Ultegra R8000 derailleurs. The Trek Speed Concept is a touch heavier than the Speedmax CF 8.0, coming in at 8.96 kg.
  • Felt IA Advanced Ultegra 2020: featuring a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain and disc brakes, the Felt IA Advanced Ultegra 2020 was built on the foundation of a six time Ironman World Champion winning bike concept. The Devox 30A Disc wheels are tubeless ready although not the most impressive looking components in the world. This bike is also almost 10 kg (9.93 kg, to be precise), not heavy but not as light as the Canyon.

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review (early verdict): side view of the bike

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review: early verdict

The Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 is a versatile road racing bike; more versatile than your average road bike anyway. Thanks to the the shifters on the drop bars and the fully adjustable seat/handlebars, you can make sure the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 is comfortable enough, even for longer rides.

If you can withstand the racing position for longer than five seconds, you can take full advantage of the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2's aero nature. The stiff Canyon Speedmax CF carbon frame – combined with the Canyon H30 Basebar Flat CF handlebar and the gorgeous DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut wheels – will slice through the air and create way less resistance than your average road bike.

• Buy the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 directly from Canyon

It's highly unlikely anyone apart from people with keen interest in triathlon racing will consider buying the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2, but that's okay. If you are planning on buying a triathlon bike for racing and/or training, move the Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 to the top of candidate list: it is a worthy investment.