Canyon Endurace CFR review: With improved aero credentials over its predecessor, there’s a welcome extra dash of free speed to be had in this latest version of Canyon’s comfort-meets-speed road bike.
I rode the Endurace for several weeks, clocking up well over 1,000km across all types of terrain and styles of ride. Everything from a several-hour 180km one-way ride from central London to Wiltshire - taking in country lanes and even some tracks - to social coffee rides around the Surrey Hills, to early morning KOM Strava segment hunting, and it never left me wanting - every single ride was a joy.
It sits at the mildest end of Canyon’s performance road bike models, the other two being thoroughbred world tour race bikes: the outright speed machine Aeroad and the super lightweight all-rounder Ultimate.
Endurace’s comfort is largely courtesy of a less aggressive geometry, a 32mm rear tyre (30mm on the front) - an inspired choice I thoroughly enjoyed - and a very nifty split seat post with 20mm of travel, perfect for those bigger potholes.
However, it is still impressively lightweight at 7.3kg, stiff (made from the same top-grade carbon as Canyon’s top-flight race models) and sufficiently aero thanks to 45mm deep section wheels.
Canyon Endurace CFR review
Canyon Endurace CFR review: price and availability
The Endurace range was first launched by the German brand in 2014. This newly updated model went on sale on 15 August 2023 and is available to buy now at Canyon UK, Canyon US and Canyon AU. It is priced at £8,999/ $8,999/ €8,999/ AU$ 14,349 for both the SRAM-equipped AXS and the Shimano Di2 versions, with the WRL (fitted with Campagnolo Super Record WRL) a little pricier at £9,499/ €9,999/ AU$ 15,099.
I tested the SRAM AXS version.
The CFR is the most expensive version, so if your pockets aren’t so deep, consider the Endurace CF SLX models, which start from £3,949, also overhauled in August. In January 2022, they launched updated versions of the entry-level carbon Endurace CF, aluminium Endurace AL, and rim brake-equipped Endurace RB.
The Endurace is available in eight frame sizes - 3XS, 2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL - so it will suit anyone from 152 cm to over 200 cm tall.
There’s the choice of just two colours - the Shimano and SRAM models come in either the Ultra Stealth (aka, matt black with green mottle gloss) or CFR Siler if you prefer something more eye-catching.
Canyon Endurace review: frame
The frame design has a welcome lack of complexity or gimmicky touches, just Canyon’s distinctive seat stays overlapping the seat tube. It’s a bike which permeates confidence and reliability.
Should you have any issues, however, here’s a six year guarantee on the frame, so you’ll get a new one should you have any issues, and there’s a two year warranty on third party manufactured parts such as the DT Swiss wheels (more details here).
This newly released version boasts aerodynamic improvements over its predecessor – now equipped with fully integrated aerocockpit, narrower head tube, sleeker forks, and a more slender downtube – together, Canyon claims these save some 7 watts over the previous generation at 45 km/h. Hard to prove, but it would seem to add up, and I never found it lacking in speed.
The bike’s look is more understated, certainly in the Ultra Stealth colour way we tested. Up close, the carbon fibre weave is visible, as the frame is finished with a clear matte lacquer coat, and this provides a good background for the gross green decals to pop a bit - the Canyon logo and some speckles on the forks, seat tube and stays.
Made from Canyon’s top grade, lightest and stiffest carbon (hence the CFR in the name, standing for Canyon Factory Racing), the overall bike weighs 7.38kg (frame and fork weigh 1,082g in a size medium). Albeit this isn’t the lightest - Canyon’s lightest race bike is the Ultimate weighing in at 6.84kg, the S-Works Tarmac SL8 weighs 6.62 kg - but unless you’re an out and out hill climber, it’s more than acceptable for most riders.
True to the model’s comfort mantra, frame geometry is also more forgiving. Canyon calls it ‘Sport Geometry’. Taking size medium as a reference, the Endurace has a 27 mm higher stack and 15 mm shorter reach compared to the Ultimate. These differences are not insignificant and they add up to an altogether less aggressive riding position, less race focused - more upright - making it one that is more sustainable without discomfort for longer periods.
The integrated CP0018 Aerocockpit is a real highlight - the sleekest of any bike I’ve ridden, it’s smooth, with cables entirely internal, and looks great. Featured on both the Aeroad and Ultimate as well, there’s 15 mm of height adjustment - by removing spacers - and 40mm of width adjustment, simply by folding back the bar tape and securing with hex keys, no cutting required, or ordering of different sizes. The narrowest bar setting on the large sized bike that we rode is 410mm.
The computer mount is nicely secured on the underside or the bar (there’s also a 3D printed version). It’s probably something more personal to me, but I did find the angle of the computer mount a little too high - rather than being perfectly horizontal which would be aero optimised and still offer a good enough view of the screen, it’s tilted towards the rider.
There is also the option to fit Knog lights to the underside of the mount, or like I did, you could electrical tape one there - I popped an Exposure Trace light there and it was perfect.
Another great feature is that the frame has clearance for 35mm tyres, so switch wheels and this bike could quite feasibly double up for light gravel use too, although there’s no option for mudguard mountings.
Canyon Endurace CFR review: seatpost, wheelsand other components
One of the standout features of the Endurace is the S15 VCLS 2.0 seatpost. It epitomises the bike, adding a good dose of extra compliance over rough ground, or if you’re taken unawares by a pothole - perfect for British roads! Its clever carbon leaf construction gives up to 20mm of travel - so this is no token gesture, it’s a ride changing amount that makes a difference. It’s made of two carbon blades which act as leaf springs, with a floating saddle clamp.
When this seatpost is paired with the Schwalbe Pro One TLE, which are set up tubeless, the ride comfort is second to none for a high performance road bike - the seatpost tackling the bigger bumps and the tyres ironing out much vibration from the tarmac. There’s a 32mm tyre on the rear, and 30mm on the front which seem inspired choices, I was really smitten with this noticeable additional comfort.
The DT Swiss ERC 1100 Dicut wheels are a great match for the bike. The pair would, themselves, retail for around £1,600. They have 45mm of depth (with 22mm internal width), so they offer good aero credentials whilst still being stable in cross winds, and at a very respectable 1,447g, they’re lightweight so shouldn’t hinder you too much on climbs either.
The bike comes fitted with a Quarq Spider Power Meter which is a nice touch, assuming that you don’t already have one, as this could have saved a few hundred pounds.
A really nice feature is the LOAD top tube storage compartment. It’s the first time Canyon has featured internal frame storage, and it works well. The neoprene Tool Sleeve houses the Canyon 3-in-1 Minitool (a brilliantly designed ratchet tool with eight bits), a CO2 cartridge and Canyon Slim Tyre Levers. It’s worth noting these don’t come with the bike - to buy all the components would cost around £70 or so.
It is a small opening, so there’s no scope to fit a spare inner tube or larger items like this, but you could always opt to stash a couple of gels in here or other items instead if you preferred - just remove the neoprene sleeve to stash other things in (but don’t let them get lost in there!).
Canyon Endurace CFR review: ride and performance
The bike is very compliant, and the less aggressive ride position is really welcome for longer rides. I did a 180km one-way ride from central London to Wiltshire, and it was perfect for this. However, even when riding full gas for KOM Strava segments on flat stretches of road, it still shifted and didn’t feel cumbersome.
The ride feel is slightly softer than more race focused bikes I’ve ridden - after all this comes with the extra compliance - however it still felt poised and well connected to the ground.
The seatpost performed brilliantly. Adjusting the angle of the saddle involved taking the seatpost out all together and then sliding one of the sides up and the other down (there’s markers showing degree for ease of placement). I could definitely feel the flex which is intentionally built into the saddle, as it tilted backwards after hitting a manhole cover or pothole. It probably helped with some of the bigger vibrations from the road too.
The Aerocockpit is a real joy to use - comfortable, no cables to be seen, and it looks very sleek.
The bottle cages are not the best - I’m told Canyon’s own ones are a tad wider than normal and they fit nice and snug, but regular bottles (eg Camelbak or Elite) are a loose and would fly straight out, so I added some wraps of electrical tape around the cage to make sure the stayed in place.
Canyon Endurace CFR review: verdict
I rode the bike for several weeks and, apart from a few minor things - like choosing the more eye-catching CFR Silver colorway over the Ultra Stealth, switching the useless bottle cages, and the computer mount angle being a smidgen too high - overall I loved it, and really enjoyed every ride.
The top end CFR model is a very well specced bike, and at this price point - which includes one of the best groupsets going, often the reserve of bikes over £10,000 - it’s a very compelling package.
As far as it is possible for a single road bike to nail that sweet spot between comfort and performance - and thanks to the extra features and upgrades with this latest release, it is probably the closest I’ve come. And if you’re not racing, rather riding with friends with coffee stops on regular real-world roads - with potholes and rough asphalt - for most of us, this bike would make a fantastic choice.
Canyon Endurace CFR review: also consider
The BMC Roadmachine 01 THREE (external link) is a similar endurance-oriented road bike. Priced at around £7,500, this particular version is slightly cheaper than the Canyon I tested, yet components are a notch down - for instance, the drivetrain is Shimano Ultegra Di2 12 speed. Having said that, this is still a great groupset, and the Swiss brand’s bikes are great looking well built with all the other top-end features you’d expect, such as an integrated cockpit.
Another option is the Pinarello X7 (external link), a new endurance-oriented release from the top-end Italian brand which also promises performance and comfort. Priced at £7,200, it’s a tad cheaper than the Endurace we tested - and like the BMC - features Ultegra Di2 12 speed. It’s eye-catching, for sure, with its rear triangle and trademark Onda front fork design.