The Canyon Aeroad loses none of its thrill from the addition of disc brakes
Canyon have blown us away in recent years with the value offered by their direct-to-consumer sales model. Bikes that rival competitors’ models that cost a grand more have come to define Canyon in our eyes, and even with the launch of the German firm’s latest disc-equipped super-hyper-bikes, the core of the business model is centred around passing great value without losing quality. That’s something you get in spades from the Aeroad CF SLX Disc.
The Aeroad has been one of our favourite aero bikes since its launch ahead of the Tour de France three years ago, and the tweaks made to turn it into an aero disc monster have done nothing to change that. Canyon claim the slightly wider stays and forks, coupled with the installation of flat-mount brakes, have only cost the bike 0.8 watts in the wind tunnel – a seriously impressive claim.
At launch, Canyon claimed that “all models have been re-engineered from the ground up and thoroughly tested by our pro riders and engineers so that they offer the same ride and handling performance Canyon road bikes are known for”. That means you can expect a sharp and stiff race bike ready to lap up punishment – and our time on the Aeroad Disc has borne that out. Visibly, this means both ends have gained thru-axles (no surprise there) and that slightly wider profile.
The geometry remains as race-bred as the rim brake Aeroad, which Canyon refer to as ‘Pro’, and features a Trident profiled downtube, which errs on the deep side, yet features a truncated back edge in order to retain an element of calm when crosswinds strike. The 994mm wheelbase length in a medium keeps things nimble. It’s nimbleness that’s compounded by the light 980g frame weight, which is still inside the 1kg industry standard for lightweight bikes, let alone aero ones. That low frame weight plays a bike part in the Aeroad’s all-round rideability.
In short, the Aeroad CF SLX Disc is one hell of a bike to ride. The original was seriously, seriously quick and the addition of disc brakes has done nothing to slow it down. In fact, it just encourages you to push further and find the bike’s limits. The Pro geometry results in super-quick handling but it has enough stability about it to ensure the Aeroad is a well-mannered companion, though we think the Ultimate CF SLX has the edge as an all-day partner (we haven’t had a chance to ride the disc version yet).
There are tidy features on the Aeroad Disc frame too, including an integrated seatpost clamp and integrated cable routing. While many brands opt to include ‘future-proof’ routing that can adapt to mechanical, electronic or even hydraulic systems, Canyon stick resolutely to creating their frames for either mechanical or electronic systems. Some may criticise this, but the upside is a frame designed specifically for purpose, and if you’ve opted for a Di2 equipped frame then logic argues against you ‘downgrading’ to mechanical again.
Let’s leave the benefits of either system there for now, because there’s more to say about the Aeroad Disc. In this guise, as is the case across the Canyon ranges, quality rolling stock has been included in the form of Reynolds Strike DB carbon clincher wheels, fitted with 25c Continental Grand Prix II tyres.
The fork now sits a little wider and house an internal hydraulic hose for the disc brake, yet it retains the arrow-straight form for direct and sharp steering inputs. As we’ve already mention, it’s a bike that continues to thrill, and begs to be ridden hard from the moment you take it out of your (delete as appropriate) shed, garage, living room, bedroom…
Of course, no aero bike worth its salt is complete without an aero bar-stem setup, and the Aeroad is no exception, benefiting from Canyon’s own H11 carbon Aerocockpit which is able to house Di2 junction boxes out of the wind. We first saw this a couple of years ago, but it’s still one of the tidiest setups in the industry, and one of the most comfortable to use thanks to an aero-yet-ergonomic profile under the palms.
With the front end contact points taken care of, the rear also receives componentry designed to cut a smooth line in the wind, with the S27 Aero VCLS seatpost working in tandem with a Fizik Arione saddle.
It’s worth spending a bit more time talking about the seatpost, because anything with ‘VCLS’ in the title is worth shouting about. It’s a carbon post, and of course benefits from the Trident profiling seen on the rest of the frame, but the VCLS tag stands for Vertical Compliance Lateral Stiffness, perfectly encapsulating its main job. You’ll feel the road beneath you, but the seatpost eliminates enough road buzz that you’ll be appreciating after a long day in the saddle.
All this means that while the Aeroad CF SLX Disc now features all the benefits of disc brakes, it’s still practically all the aero monster it ever was – and that makes it a winner in our eyes.
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