A crazy sleek, but deceptively complex and feature-rich bike with all of the tri bells and whistles done better than most other brands.
Clever and functional integrated hydration
An insanely clean—but easily adjustable—cockpit
Big aero savings over the previous model
Lots of moving (and proprietary) parts
Slightly twitchy ride
Not exactly cheap
20 lbs. 5 oz. (size M)
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Though there hasn’t been much racing this season, due to long lead times on bike production schedules, there have been a slew of really interesting tri bike releases in the last month: First, we had the Scott Plasma 6, followed by the new Orbea Ordu, and finally we get to see the new Canyon Speedmax Disc series. The Plasma 6 was notable because it was Scott’s first non-UCI-legal tri bike (among other things), the Ordu was Orbea’s first venture into a tri bike with disc brakes (among other things), and with the new Canyon Speedmax CF SLX Disc (and it’s racier big brother, the CFR) we get to see something that’s both UCI-illegal and a first step into disc brakes on a tri bike from the German, direct-to-consumer brand. There’s a lot to look at on this bike, so we’ve created an extended review for Active Pass members here.
Canyon Speedmax CF SLX Disc Review: The Basics
Right off the bat, Canyon did a few very notable (and obvious) things with their big update to the Speedmax line. First, they’ve added disc brakes not only to the super high end CFR Disc (that runs around $12,000), the midrange CF SLX Disc ($8,000), but also their more entry-level offerings in the CF Disc line ($3,800-$6,500). While we won’t get into the CF Disc line too much in this review, as we haven’t ridden it yet, it’s worth noting that Canyon says this bike is only 0.2 watts slower than the bikes that Patrick Lange and Jan Frodeno rode to world championship titles. But the big news is certainly the CFR Disc and the CF SLX Disc designs—as both boast a complete lack of cables, an exciting monopost aero riser and aerobar extensions, an integrated top tube bento box, an integrated tool box above the bottom bracket, and most strikingly a built-in hydration system that hides a HydroPak bladder in the downtube (600mL – 700mL depending on size). The big deal about this hydration system is that it is “fed” via a one-way bottle tip-shaped valve that barely rises above the top tube, so no need to open a cap or top while refilling on the fly.
Canyon Speedmax CF SLX Disc Review: The Good
Clearly a lot of thought has been put into this bike, and we love the fact that all of those ideas are geared towards triathletes and the real-world demands triathletes train and race with. The built-in toolbox (with included tools, by the way) is super sleek and actually useful/accessible from the trap door above the bottom bracket. The built-in rear hydration cage (and option for two more bottles in the inner triangle) shows that Canyon knows that the hydration bladder’s 700mL is not quite enough for most triathletes. The hydration bladder itself is pretty remarkable in how easy it is to remove, access, and use while moving quickly, and the bento box is by far the sleekest, integrated, and most solid-feeling design we’ve seen yet. The Speedmax CF SLX Disc has storage for days, but it’s so clean, it looks like a track bike at first glance. The ride itself is snappy and responsive, it handles surprisingly well in crosswinds, and the rear end of the bike absorbs a decent amount of road chatter. And in case you’re concerned about buying a mail-order bike with proprietary pieces, Canyon includes an EXHAUSTIVE fit kit that is super easy to use and modify.
Canyon Speedmax CF SLX Disc Review: The Ok
With so many proprietary details, it’s inevitable that one of these pieces might fail or break or get mangled in the course of tri abuse. In fact, we had an issue with a leaking hydration bladder, but there is no doubt in my mind that Canyon would replace that modular (and probably not expensive) part quickly and without any issues for any customer. Elsewhere, while the ride itself is pretty balanced, we did find that the front end picked up a little more “road” than we would have liked—likely due to the monstrous fork that shrouds the disc brake in the front. Similarly, the bike handles slightly twitchy when in the aerobars, but not necessarily unstable—though this seems to be a symptom of a few monopost aerobar setups we’ve tried when the bars are set fairly high. Finally—and this is a very small detail—the aerobar grips on the Speedmax CF SLX Disc are not only insanely narrow when they arrive (we widened ours immediately with the very easy-to-use included fit kit), but they’re also incredibly small. If you’re a triathlete who likes to move their grip position around during a ride/race, you’ll find pretty much no real-estate to roam.
Canyon Speedmax CF SLX Disc Review: The Conclusions
There is a lot to unpack on this bike, so be sure to check out the upcoming extended review to dig in further. However, this is a very important release for Canyon because it brings a lot of really high-end features to a bike that isn’t even remotely above $10,000 (like the similar Specialized Shiv Disc). Canyon stayed out of the disc game in their tri line for a long time and tried to keep their tri bikes at least mostly UCI legal, but this signals their commitment to tri and some very dedicated tri features like an integrated front end (with a unique cockpit), integrated food storage, and integrated hydration. The ride on this bike is balanced, much like other bikes in this category—responsive and tight handling, ideal for any level rider doing 70.3 and below, and great for an experienced rider at any distance. When all is said and done, the Speedmax CF SLX Disc is a ridiculously sleek and self-contained bike that not only looks like one of the most aero rides we’ve seen, but with a savings of 9-10 watts over the previous version, might be one of the fastest bikes we’ve ridden this year.