Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2: One of the best and lightest road bikes money can buy

Canyon has revitalised its top-selling road bike and managed to make it better than ever with models to suit all budgets

T3 Platinum Award
Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2
(Image credit: Canyon)
T3 Verdict

With its latest iteration of the Ultimate road bike, Canyon has tried to make everyone happy, especially when it comes to producing a model to suit all skill levels, sizes and budget. In that respect, the bewildering model range can be daunting to pick through. However, select the right model, like the Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2 you see here and you’ll be in for a treat. The lightweight design bristles with a dazzling array of top components and it’s a bike that can be pushed to its limits without fear of failure.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Very lightweight

  • +

    Superb components

  • +

    Models to suit most budgets

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Price rises as the spec does

  • -

    Almost too many models to choose from

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Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2 review in a sentence: A sublime and incredibly lightweight road bike that’s available in a range of model variants to suit all budgets.

Back in September I went along to the unveil of the fifth generation Canyon Ultimate, which is one of this bike brand’s best ever road cycles. It’s sold consistently well over the years, but the new version, which is available in a range of model variants and price points, is the best yet. 

It’s a brilliant machine, which is great to ride thanks to a collection of fantastic components and a lightweight frame that makes it amazingly agile in a variety of road conditions. Little wonder then it’ll get pride of place in our best road bike guide in due course.

I finally managed to get hold of the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2 model to try out in my own time and on my own terms, which is always the best way to familiarise yourself with a new two-wheeler. The great thing about spending some time on it away from other cyclists is that you can stop when you want and take in the great features to be found on this road bike. 

One of the most impressive things about the Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2 is its weight, or lack thereof as it is only 6.67kg. That’s a big part of the appeal, but the overall design and build is right up there too.

If you want to know more about T3's product reviews, take a read of our how we test page. Otherwise, read on for my thoughts about the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2. 

Canyon Ultimate

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2: price and availability

As I mentioned above, Canyon has opted to provide the cycling fraternity with a raft of different model variants of the Ultimate. That’s an impressive feat, especially given the ongoing supply chain issues hitting every manufacturing business. Equally, it also presents you with a challenge when buying one (opens in new tab), as the model range takes some time to peruse.

You’ll probably be working to a budget and there’s good news on that front, with the Ultimate CF SL 7 model starting at £2,699/$2,599 and AUD $4,899 and going right on up to the Canyon Ultimate Ultimate CFR Di2, which costs £10,399/$10,049 or AUD $15,349, which is the pick of the crop. Big spenders will also find the Ultimate CFR ETAP, with its price tag of £10,899/$10,549 or AUD $16,099 similarly appealing.

 

Canyon Ultimate

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2: design and build

There’s no doubt that anything in the current Canyon Ultimate range will look good, both when you’re on it and off it. However, Canyon has made the new model variants quite substantial and picking through the various options can be a little bit bewildering. This bike, the Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2 seems to straddle a decent middle ground area where you get all of the style, plus a collection of components that make it more than capable for serious cyclists.

Canyon Ultimate

(Image credit: Canyon)

The fit and finish of this bike is largely excellent, with the Iced Berry paint finish really adding a touch of pizazz to proceedings. And, going back to the components list, you should be more than content with the collection found on the Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2, with DT Swiss ARC 1400 50/50 rims, shod with Schwalbe Pro One Skin rubber. The Selle Italia SLR Boost Superflow saddle is a treat when you’re on it too, while the shifting comes from Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 groupset, and that as it turns out is one of the highlights here.

Canyon Ultimate

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2: the ride

If you’ve ridden older models of the Canyon Ultimate you’ll probably expect this bike to offer a similar riding experience. While it is as good as earlier incarnations, the whole experience has been revitalised thanks to some major tweaking during construction of the frame. It might be lighter, but the Canyon Ultimate comes across as more capable on a range of road surfaces thanks to its stiffer construction.

These subtle alterations to the frame design make the bike look great too, but the major benefit is the handling you get. This is a fast bike, make no mistake, with the lighter weight factor proving to be a major part of the package. Note, however, that you’ll need to part with increasingly higher levels of cash in order to enjoy the lightest bikes in the range. As I said, the Shimano gearing works a treat too, with slick changes allowing you to really get the best from the two-wheeler.

Canyon Ultimate

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2: verdict

The Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2 is an easy bike to ride, but it can also deliver formidable performance if you’re fit enough to push the two-wheeler to its limits. There’s a very decent level of comfort to be had from this bike too, even if you’re out for the day and really clocking up the miles. 

While the design and build, complete with hidden cables and neat style flourishes, suggest that the Canyon CF SLX 8 Di2 might not be as durable as you’d like, a good session on it soon reveals that it’s a bike that can last the course. In fact, it’s so nicely put together that I think it would probably be me that gives up the ghost, long before the bike itself. Impressive.

Canyon Ultimate

(Image credit: Canyon)

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.