Author Josh Kirchhoff
|Weight||17.9 lbs, 8.12 kg|
|Groupset||SRAM Force AXS|
|Drivetrain||2 × 12 Electronic|
|Wheels||650c / 700c Carbon|
Highs Relaxed geometry and vibration dampening seatpost make for an extremely comfortable ride; Claimed clearance of up to 35mm tires, but may fit even wider; Inexpensive given the spec (SRAM Force AXS, Quarq power meter, carbon wheels)
Lows In-frame storage is too small to be useful; Not compatible with a traditional stem
The Canyon Endurace CF SLX 8, with its matte black paint, stealth cable routing, and aero-inspired lines, is just about as far removed from the “dad bike” stereotype as an endurance bike can get. Over the past couple months I’ve gotten to spend a fair bit of time on the Endurace, and for the most part have been very impressed by its performance. In this article I’ll mostly be sticking to my experience on the bike; how it rides, how Canyon's proprietary bits have held up, and how it compares against its competitors. If you want to learn more about Canyon’s full Endurace line with geometry, pricing, and spec info on each of the new Endurace models check out this comparison.
One of the best ways to understand the intent of a bike is to look at the frame, and it’s here that the mixed personality of the Endurace first starts to show. This latest model has a taller stack, shorter reach, and longer wheelbase than the previous model, making for a more upright and relaxed riding position. But the new frame also features big updates in the aero department, with slimmer and deeper tubing across the bike, and of course those super sleek bars that we’ll be talking more about later. This combination of comfort and speed is a trend that Canyon carries throughout the bike, making it an exceptional quiver killer for a rider looking to do it all.
But how does the Endurace actually feel on the road? Well to be honest, I’m not nearly fast or sensitive enough to speak to Canyon’s claimed efficiency increase of 7 watts at 45 kph or 28 mph. But what I can tell you is that this bike is a pleasure to ride! The riding position is upright, but not to the point of lulling you into a lethargic pace. The long wheelbase felt stable at speed, but still agile in the corners, and I’m sure, helped dampen vibration from the road.
All in all, I’m a huge fan of the riding characteristics of the Endurace frame. But sadly, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. All of the new Endurace SLX and CFR models have forgone the top tube mounting bolts found on previous Enduraces in exchange for an in-frame top tube storage system they call LOAD. As much as I commend Canyon for trying something new, I was not impressed. While many bikes, like the Trek Domane, have added integrated storage to their downtubes, I believe the Endurace is the first to add it to the toptube. And quite frankly, there’s just not enough room; I couldn’t even fit a pack of gummies without puncturing the bag to let the air out, let alone my Crank Brothers M19 multitool. Now Canyon does claim that you can fit their proprietary multitool, a CO2 cartridge, and some tire irons in their provided neoprene sleeve, but that’s it. All in all, I wish Canyon would have chosen to go with the tried and true downtube storage and kept the mounting bolts on the top of the frame for riders to pack just a bit more with them on their longer rides.
So with that slight gripe out of the way, let’s talk about some of the other interesting features on the Endurace. First up is one that’s at a bit of a juxtaposition with the aero improvements I talked about earlier, and that’s the generous tire clearance on the Endurace, which Canyon claims can fit up to 35mm tires. Wider tires allow for many things, the first being the ability to run lower pressures. This increases grip and comfort, both of which were noticeable on the Endurace. It also opens the door to a wider array of tire choices, and while I never rode the Endurace on anything other the 30mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR tires it was specced with, the frame and fork easily cleared some 35mm VeeTireCo G-Sport tires, and I’d borderline say you could fit 38s. Now, that’s not to say that either I or Canyon would recommend the Endurace as a dedicated gravel bike, but the impressive tire clearance does make the bike that much more versatile. And speaking of gravel, I did venture off the tarmac a few times on the Endurace. The 30mm tubeless Grand Prixs held up fine with no punctures, and while I wasn’t setting any speed records, I was surprised by the amount of traction they provided.
And speaking of surprises, I was shocked at just how comfortable the Endurace is on the ol’ Tush, both on gravel and paved roads alike. And this I’m sure is due almost entirely to the VCLS 2.0 Seatpost, which is a two piece carbon design. This was my first time on this post and the difference between it and a standard rigid one was night and day. Cracks and rough patches in the pavement all but disappeared, but somehow, without adding any noticeable flex or inefficiency when putting the power down. Another frame feature that is likely contributing to the Endurace’s buttery feel is the seatpost clamp, which is low in the frame, allowing for more compliance than a traditional setup would. And as silly as it sounds, the VCLS post might be the thing I’ll miss the most when it’s time to send the Endurace back, it’s just that good!
The next component I want to talk about is the CP0018 Aerocockpit, which Canyon has been speccing on its racier bikes for years, but this is the first time they’ve showed up on the Endurace. Obviously, the SRAM Force brake lines are routed fully internally through the bars, increasing aerodynamics and aesthetics. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because while this may look like a one-piece bar stem combo, it’s actually three! The detachable cockpit wings allow for up to 40mm of width adjustment and the quill style stem can adjust the cockpit height by 5, 10, or 15mm without needing to cut your steerer tube. I rode my bars in the highest and widest settings, and I’m happy to report that the adjustment process was a breeze; there was even enough of the stock bar tape to cover the additional 20mms of width on either side. While this setup worked fine for me, it’s important to note that CP0018 cannot be swapped for a conventional bar/stem setup, as the fork’s steerer tube is not compatible. I think the biggest issue this could present is regarding stem length, as that’s the only metric that cannot be adjusted on the CP0018 cockpit. Adding to the complication is the fact that Canyon is a direct to consumer manufacturer, meaning it will likely be challenging to test the fit of the Endurace before buying. That said, if you’re within Canyon’s recommended frame sizing and have a relatively proportional body shape, I don’t think you’ll have an issue.
The last component I want to talk about is the drivetrain. This was my first time riding the SRAM FORCE eTap and I have to say, I was very impressed. The shifts were smooth and consistent, and while it did take a couple rides to get used to the unconventional lever action, it now feels quite natural. Equally impressive to the shifting quality was the battery life, which SRAM claims to be 60 riding hours between charges. Lastly, the Endurace CF SLX 8 comes specced with SRAM’s Quarq power meter. This is once again an interesting and relatively unique addition for an endurance bike at this price point, but will be a welcome addition for riders planning to race, or at least seriously train, on the Endurace.
So now that you’ve heard a bit more about my experience on the bike, I want to talk a bit about how the Endurace CF SLX 8 compares with other similarly specced endurance bikes on the market; more specifically the Trek Domane SL 7 and the Vitus Venon EVO–RS. Price wise, the Canyon lies in the middle, costing $5,499, with the Vitus coming in at $4,699 and the Trek at $7,499. Each of these well rounded endurance bikes feature the same SRAM Force AXS drivetrain, and the Trek And Canyon both have carbon aero wheels and cockpit, whereas the vitus opts for alloy wheels and a conventional bar/stem combo. The Vitus is also the only bike that does not come specced with a power meter. And while the Domane may have what I consider to be a far superior in-frame storage solution, the Canyon’s spec and feature to price ratio still far out performs both its competitors. Moving on then to the geometry, and all three of these bikes share relatively similar modern endurance numbers, but the canyon does have the highest stack to reach ratio, giving it a more upright riding position than the others. Interestingly, it also has the shortest wheelbase, with shortest chainstays and steepest head tube angle of the three.
|Weight||17.3 lbs||17.0 lbs||18.7 lbs|
|Wheel Size||650c / 700c||700c||700c|
|Groupset||Force eTap||Force eTap||Force eTap|
|Drivetrain||2 × 12 Electronic||2 × 12 Electronic||2 × 12 Electronic|
|Power Meter||Force AXS||None||Force AXS|
|Where to Buy|
All in all, each of these endurance bikes bring something unique and special to the table, but in this case I am going to have to give the win to the Canyon. Its ability to blend speed and comfort matched with a pretty untouchable price point given the spec is impressive. Like I said at the start of the video, this all makes it an ideal option for riders looking for a bike to use for everything from epic gran fondos to cobblestoned crit races, assuming you can find a good fit with the aerocockpit and look past the inefficient frame storage.