Canyon has unveiled the fifth edition of the Ultimate, its ground-breaking and most popular ever road bike. Originally launched way back in 2004, the racing bike has been ridden by some of the best and has picked up a raft of awards over the years. It’s widely regarded as one of the finest carbon racing bikes money can buy.
Now though, Canyon has revealed a number of variations on the theme, which are aimed to appeal to a range of rider levels and, more importantly at the moment, budgets.
I’ve recently spent some time with the fifth-gen Ultimate and also the folks who’ve helped to develop it and, after seeing it in the wild for the first time, can confirm it’s an incredible machine. Canyon claims they’ve spent three years of work developing the most balanced road race bike on the market. Looking at a row of them in the grounds of the Goodwood estate in West Sussex it appears to be a claim that’s hard to dispute.
Canyon Ultimate: the highlights
Although the Canyon Ultimate is aimed at cyclist’s who demand top performance, the bike has also been designed to boost comfort levels. Ergonomics have been tweaked and there’s better tyre clearance, which means there’s now room for up to 32mm tyres.
You’ll get where you’re going that little bit easier too, thanks to improved aerodynamics. The Canyon boffins worked long and hard at shaving off drag, calling in aerodynamic specialists Swiss Side to work on the frameset in particular. The end result was a reduction of up to 10watts on that component of the bike alone.
On top of that, the Canyon Ultimate now boasts integrated cabling and lines, which not only helps reduce drag but makes the overall look cleaner and classier. And, if you think this looks like a light bike thanks to the minimalist design and build, it is.
A medium Ultimate CFR Di2 model, for example, weighs in at just 6.3kg without pedals and accessories, despite an extra 30 grams of carbon fibre being used in the frame to beef up areas of high stress, such as the seat tube junctions and bottom bracket. I was super impressed at how light it feels
Canyon Ultimate: universal appeal
The Canyon Ultimate will be of interest to an array of riders too. While Canyon has adopted the sensible ‘if it ain’t broke, don't fix it’ thinking that makes lots of great product formulas keep on working, the bike builder has tweaked the format a little.
This latest Ultimate is the first ever to employ scaling chainstay lengths for bike sizes L, XL and 2XL, meaning they're longer proportionately than on the comparable smaller frames. What's more, the Canyon Ultimate will be suitable for a range of riders, whatever their shape or size.
Canyon Ultimate: sizing spectrum
The new Canyon Ultimate line-up covers a wealth of frame sizes, with no less than 8 options in all from 3XS through to 2XL for the SL and SLX bikes. The brand new 3XS opens up the bike to much smaller riders, which might have been forced to bypass this model in the past.
SL frame sizes in 3XS and 2XS have 650B wheels, while SLX frames come equipped with 650B in the 3XS size. CFR models, aimed at pro-sport riders, come with 700C wheels that fit the 2XS to 2XL bikes. SL and SLX bikes are fitted with a light carbon seatpost, with 20mm setback. Meanwhile, CFR cycles feature a carbon seatpost with 0mm setback.
Canyon Ultimate: gear and extras
There are some practical considerations on offer with the Canyon Ultimate too. Bikes come with a 3D printed computer mount, which weighs just 17 grams and features titanium mounting screws. It’ll work with Garmin and Wahoo units and has already been proven to be super durable, having been put through its paces on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix.
You also get the option of fitting a Canyon Flash rear light, which can actually be used on all Canyon seatposts. It weighs 24 grams and can be charged with an included USB-C cable. You get multiple light modes and has also been built to meet the IPX6 waterproofing standard.
In addition, Canyon, has a lightweight carbon bottlecage so you can stay hydrated without adding too much weight because it’s just 15 grams. The look is great too, especially when fitted to the CFR or SLX combos and their fizzy new colour schemes.
Canyon Ultimate: personal appeal
Choosing which of the Canyon Ultimate models to buy is giving me a bit of a dilemma. I could plump for one of the cheaper editions, which will be fine for my needs. However, the bike does inspire you to get out on those roads more than ever, so perhaps I can justify splashing out for the Ultimate CF SLX or Ultimate CFR platform models.
Alongside the sublime carbon frame construction, these bikes feature full system integration and electronic shifting, while the latter cycle level offers up pro-level groupsets and wheels. So, for the extra outlay I'll be getting much more performance potential.
Canyon Ultimate: pricing and availability
The Canyon Ultimate is available from the 8th September and features a line-up that is comprised of 11 models across three platforms. Pricing starts with the Ultimate CF SL 7, which costs £2,699/$2,599 and AUD $4,899. At the top end of the product range is the Canyon Ultimate Ultimate CFR Di2, which costs £10,399/$10,049 or AUD $15,349.
Or, there's the Ultimate CFR ETAP, with a price tag of £10,899/$10,549 or AUD $16,099. You'll also find lots of models sandwiched in-between, making the Canyon Ultimate a bike that can be ridden by just about anyone, including me.C