Road bikes on a Mountain Bike website!! have we lost the plot?? Yes, it seems. As life moves on, circumstances change. When getting up at 4am to get your mountain biking fix still doesn’t leave you enough time to get back to your household zoo for witching hour, an ominous cloud of spandex creeps into view. A word of warning, this review is blended with plenty of notes of my experience as a road rookie. Hopefully helpful to anyone looking at giving it a go.
Today we have my first road bike purchase, the Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 Disc (previously the 6.0 when purchased). The selection process of which was quite drawn out, I’d borrowed a couple road bikes off some friends which helped me decide what I liked and wanted. A 2010 Giant TCR, an 2016 S-Works Tarmac and a brief stint on a Cannondale CAD. Each of these bikes were quite different, all rim brakes, carbon wheels on the TCR and Tarmac, alloy wheels on the Cannondale. I rode these bikes in all condition (bar snow). I had my first terrifying experience of carbon clinchers riding in the rain down the Toowoomba range. I also rode in a race/non-race (Ride the Range) down a hill known to destroy carbon wheelsets. Suffice to say, I like carbon wheels in the right conditions, but they weren’t for me.
To keep price down I decided to look at alloy frames, there are fewer and fewer models these days but you can find them. Most big brands still have decent specc’d bikes that’ll save you at least a couple hundred.
- Cheap – What can I say, I’m tight….
- Comfortable – Stiffness is good, but 80km deep into a ride I don’t want to be calling a chiropractor.
- Look good
- Weight – Needs to be reasonable, buying cheap has a big impact on this but it pays to keep it down.
After my experience with braking in the wet I thought I’d opt for disc brakes. It wasn’t essential as the alloy rim brakes are pretty good, but the price delta now is not what it used to be.
My shortlist came down to the Canyon, a Merida Scultura and a Trek Emonda. In the end the Canyon with it’s spec and colour scheme is what got it over the line.
I’m in two minds about the Canyon ordering process. I had both a good and not so good experience. The website has quite a lot of information on it. The sizing calculator is quite good, although it gave me a recommendation that I didn’t expect. I thought I’d be on a medium, but it recommended a small. I sent an enquiry through the website and a nice fellow from the Melbourne service centre called me up. Based on my measurements we both agreed that the calculator was right and that the small was for me. As it turns out I have shortish legs and a longer torso.
Once the order was placed, the wait started. The initial projection was about a one month wait. Not ideal, but not that bad. That month came and went quite quickly. Checking the website it moved back another month, then another and another. Compensation came in the form of a few little “gifts” that included a cycling satchel, a bike tool and a saddle bag. After 4 months of waiting I had pretty much decided that I was going to cancel the order I finally got the email to say it had been dispatched. It only took about 5 days to arrive from that point.
FRAME: CANYON ENDURACE AL DISC
FORK: CANYON ONE ONE EIGHT SL DISC
HEADSET: TANGE IS22AE-SCT INTEGRATED
REAR DERAILLEUR: SHIMANO 105, 11S
FRONT DERAILLEUR: SHIMANO 105, 11S
BRAKE/SHIFT LEVERS: SHIMANO 105 DISC, 11S
BRAKES: SHIMANO 105 DISC
CASSETTE: SHIMANO 105, 11S
WHEELSET: DT SWISS E 1800 SPLINE DB
TYRES: CONTINENTAL GRAND PRIX SL
CRANKS: SHIMANO 105, 11S
CHAINRINGS: 50 | 34
CHAIN: SHIMANO CN-HG600-11
BOTTOM BRACKET: SHIMANO SH SM-BBR60
STEM: CANYON V15
HANDLEBAR: CANYON H17 ERGO AL
HANDLEBAR TAPE: CANYON ERGOSPEED GEL
SADDLE: SELLE ITALIA X3 CANYON EDITION
SEAT POST: CANYON S23 VCLS CF (25 MM SETBACK)
SADDLE CLAMP: CANYON CLAMP SL
PEDALS: NONE INCLUDED
FRAME SIZES 2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL
COLOUR STEALTH | AIRWAVE BLUE
WEIGHT 8,6 KG (SIZE M )
INCLUDED IN DELIVERY
TOOLS: CANYON TORQUE WRENCH
FRAME: PROTECTION CANYON FRAME PROTECTION
HANDBOOK: CANYON MANUAL ROADBIKE
ACROS T6 TORX TOOL, CANYON ORGANZA BAG, CANYON TOOL CASE, CARBON ASSEMBLY PASTE, REFLECTOR SET
The box came in a pretty neat setup. Well packed and as you can see it came with all the accessories you need (minus pedals) to get running straight way. I opted to take the bike to my local bike shop to have the steerer tube shortened (carbon) and the brake sides reversed. Despite being Australian, I run my brakes the American style (right rear). No big deal, it was never asked as part of the ordering process so I think they assume I’d have it the normal Aussie way.
This is more of a personal thing, so unless interested you can skip this bit. The Tarmac which I borrowed had closest geometry to what I wanted so I took most of the measurements from it and transferred them to the setup of the Canyon. The main difference is that the Canyon has a shorter stem. Surprisingly the stack heights were about the same despite the tarmac looking slammed. To get a little more comfort I chose to add another 5mm spacer of height to bring the bars up. The Tarmac has quite a racy setup so dialling it back a bit was the idea. Racy, but liveable.
Just look at that colour! I originally wanted the Ultegra laden 7.0 disc (which is now the 8.0 disc) in bright red (slightly orange) but the $600 price premium was just a bit more than I could swallow. The blue however looks great in photos and even better in person. The most comments I get about the bike is about the colour.
DT disc wheels! Quite a nice bit of kit on a relatively cheap bike. They look very nice in all black. Not super light, but not bad. They’ve got a set of 28mm CONTINENTAL GRAND PRIX SL tires which are great. I’ve used a few different sets of tyres and like these the best. Previously running on 25 and 23mm tires these things look huge! Being a mountain biker running crazy high pressures are foreign to me so being able to run 80-90 psi instead of 110+ seems like a good thing.
This bike is one of the few that have come out with through axles. The rear uses a maxel but the front requires a 6mm allen key which is a bit of pain. The added stiffness is a plus.
The 105 running gear is nice as you’d expect. Does most of what the Ultegra and Dura Ace gear does at a fraction of the price. What’s new for this bike is the 105 disc setup. At first I thought the shifters/hoods were very ugly. In the four months that I had to ponder about the bike before it came I thought about getting them replaced straight way. When it finally came they weren’t so bad looking and felt really comfortable in my hands. The extra size actually allows you to hold onto the tops of them in a more aero way that I haven’t been able to do with any other hoods (the shifter/brakes for MTBers).
The frame itself is quite nice to look at. Canyon have put nice little protective clear stickers to protect from cable rub. Nice to see internal cable routing, looks really clean. Carbon fork and carbon seat post. The fork also has internal routing for the brake hose.
Jumping on the bike for the first time felt good. I’d got the geometry right, the ride was smooth and as expected everything had that nice and new feel about it. You can’t help but notice the huge 28mm tires rolling in front of you. The confidence of new grip levels on descents and roundabouts is awesome. Speed wise I could tell the package was slightly slower than the rather expensive tarmac I’d been riding beforehand. How much I’m not too sure, but it’s marginal. The package was also another 2kg heavier so that wouldn’t help.
4 Months on….
Strava tells me that I’ve now done 2500km on the Canyon. Mixing up rides between the mid week town loops, Saturday shop rides, the odd ride to work and charity event I feel I can say the Canyon is just as good as the day it arrived.
A mate of mine pitched the idea of doing the Brisbane to Goldcoast ride (100km), the catch being that we start at the GC and ride to Bris before the event for the start. I originally dismissed the idea but a cyclist colleague wore me down. We signed up for what turned out to be an absolute battle. We left Burleigh Heads (10kms south of the race finish) at midnight and made our way north to Brisbane for the 5:30am start. It was super windy (50+km winds) and very wet (like 50mm of rain wet). We made it to the start in the end completely drenched from the 5 hours to riding (would have been much less in better conditions). The ride back turned out to be worse. Despite at least having better light, the last 50 km was into a brutal head wind with rain hitting you in the eyes with such force that it felt like hail. In the end we finished the ride with 212km on the Garmin with myself in a slightly delirious state. Thankfully enough time has passed that I can say I’d probably do it next year.
The bike in these conditions were great, the disc brakes worked as they did in the dry, the big 28s gave good traction (and huge rooster tails of water spray for my slip steaming buddies). Gears shifted without issue and we even rode through an overflowed creek about 50cm deep without carrying the bike through. In hindsight it was a slightly silly idea but at the time I was 170km deep into the ride and didn’t care. Surging past all the guys with electronic setups carrying their bikes on their shoulders was rather satisfying. Even better I can report no issues what so ever! I expected maybe some water in wheel bearings or bottom bracket after that many kms in those conditions.
The only thing I have changed in this time is the seat, it wasn’t too bad but seats are a very personal preference. Just before the 200km ride I decided to try out a Fabric Scoop shallow. So glad I did as I find it fantastic! (review to follow).
The divide between being a mountain biker vs road biker is now blurred more than ever before. Especially now that there are many more riders looking to get fit for events, the cross training and accessibility makes it appealing. Get past the whole spandex thing and you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. Just like having an XC bike in the stable next to a downhill bike, there’s always more space in the garage for another bike especially if you employ the N + 1 system.
The Canyon. You won’t see it at the front of any road tours anytime soon, but what can you expect for a $2k bike. It fills an ever growing niche and does it perfectly. Coming from a mountain bike background it could be described as the mountain bikers road bike.
- Looks great - Also available in black (is there such a thing as too much black?)
- Great spec - Ultegra would have crept it's score higher but for the price you can't be too fussy.
- Modern - Through axles, disc brakes, disc specific wheels and internal routing.
- Comfortable - The Endurace line of Canyon bikes are aimed at (you guessed it) endurance riding. Tweaks here and there to make it bearable for longer go a long way.
- Price - At time of purchase there was a sale on so I picked it up for $1800 AUD. Include $200 shipping and it hit $2k AUD. Right now I see that it is now sold for $2100. Add in shipping and it's no longer as great a deal as it was
- The weight - 8.8kg isn't that great, but it isn't bad either. Plenty of carbon spec'd bikes weight the same or more.
- The wait - Communication wasn't bad with the delays, but constantly having the goal posts moved is rather frustrating. The "gifts" helped, but only slightly.
- It's not local - For the same price I could have supported my local bike store. They do it tough these days so I always take this into account for my purchases.