Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 8 Disc Di2 Review

Presentation

Since its launch in July 2014, the old Aeroad has offered an unmatched combination of aerodynamics, comfort, rigidity and lightness, all around aggressive geometry. In short, it was one of the most successful road bikes ever developed and was one of the most beloved bikes by amateurs and professionals alike.

This new Aeroad (which is now almost two years old!) Has been extensively revised in terms of its geometry but also its aerodynamics, extensively reworked with experts from the Swiss side. Canyon claims to have gained up to 7 watts of drag at 45 mph with this new Aeroad.

And yet, visually, this Aeroad does not change drastically with respect to the first version, the alterations are slight. The tubes are slightly larger, within the limits of what the UCI regulations allow. Of course, all have been optimized, be it the steering tube, the diagonal tube, the seat tube or the seat rods.

With these DT Swiss ARC 1400 62-spoke wheels at the rear and 50 mm at the front, the profile of this Aeroad CF SLX throws a punch and clearly shows the color, the bike is cut for performance.

If the front view is clearly reminiscent of a razor blade, the side view highlights large surfaces that should have the effect of a candle. This will inevitably have advantages (3/4 of wind back) and disadvantages (strong side winds).

This model is available in 3 colors. Matte black / glossy black, white / black and, as here, an original dark green / pale green.

In the horizontal tube, there are 3 fixing points, which allow you to fix the cage more or less high. It’s also a matter of aeronautics … as well as the pilot’s compliance with the size of the box. Some cyclists will probably find it difficult to grab the bottle easily in the lowest position.

The seatpost has been lightened by 10 grams, despite being wider than before, thanks to an L-shaped cut inside, on the side of the seat tube. A seatpost that has also suffered some setbacks with a pronounced wear, but now the problem has been solved thanks to the incorporation of a piece of plastic.

This L-shaped design also allows the seatpost to be a little more flexible, which should increase filtration and therefore comfort. The tightening is done at the back at the junction of the straps.

The geometry has been revised with a higher steering tube and a shorter range. At the same time, as this Aeroad was originally designed for disc brakes, the bases return to 410 mm (against 415 mm), with a free space that allows tires up to 28 mm in section. Canyon offers its bikes with an asymmetrical fit, 25 mm at the front for aeronautics, 28 mm at the back for comfort. Not surprisingly, the wiring is fully integrated.

This Aeroad CF SLX 8 Disc Di2 is tested here in size S (as a reminder, I am 1.78 m tall and have a seat height of 74.5 cm) and is equipped with the 12-speed Ultegra Di2 group and its light wheels, weighs 7.55 kg. That’s about 300 grams more than the CFR version.

A more than respectable weight for an aerodynamic bike whose priority is not lightness, although Canyon, like all manufacturers, of course tries to make an aerodynamic bike as light as possible. In particular, with wheels advertised at over 1750 grams per pair, these 7.55 kg are ultimately not prohibitive for a bike shown at € 6499.

Cabin CP0018

The Aeroad CF SLX includes the new and revolutionary Aerocockpit CP0018, adjustable in height in 15 mm without having to alter the length of the tube of direction of the fork. Therefore, the runner can go up or down his cabin according to the needs of the moment or the profile of the race.

In addition, the CP0018 is also adjustable in width, up to 20 mm compared to the original width. So on my S-size bike, the cab can be adjusted from 37 to 41 cm wide. All you need is an allen key to unscrew the two screws on each side.

This unique feature, in addition to the advantages in terms of position adjustments, offers another advantage: to store the bike for transport, the two ends of the cab can be folded simply without having to disassemble the handlebars. Only a 23 cm wide central section remains and the cables still remain connected. We gain about 20 cm in width for transport.

Equipment

Therefore, this model is equipped with the latest group of 12-speed Shimano Ultegra Di2, of which you can find the detailed test here. A group that works perfectly, just like its big brother Dura Ace.

On the other hand, the arrival of this new group also allows us to see the inflation of prices, since in my presentation of the Aeroad in 2020, this model was shown € 4999 when it rises to € 6499. An increase of 30%, which is not only due to transmission, but to an overall increase in all components as well as transportation costs.

However, it is fair to say that the bike here comes equipped with a 4iiii power meter that adds about € 400 to the bill.

But back to the equipment of this bike. In terms of development, Canyon has opted for 52/36 plates and an 11-30 cassette, an option consistent with the positioning of the bike but which will not prevent it from going up.

The wheels are DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut which are usually 62 mm high both front and rear. But my bike came with a 62mm rear wheel and a 50mm front version, both with an internal width of 20mm.

Wheels equipped with ultralight DICUT 240 hubs and their Ratchet EXP system for a direct and reliable hitch. They are advertised at 1750 grams per pair.

Canyon opted for a matching air support, with Continental GP 5000s TR 25mm front and 28mm rear. My only regret is that these tubes are equipped with a standard camera!

Not surprisingly, the discs are 160 mm in diameter at the front and 140 mm at the back. Finally, the seatpost is mounted with a Selle Italia SLR Boost Superflow S manganese seat.

To the road

By default, I put the handlebars in the narrowest … and in this way, the 37 cm wide is surprising at first, but in the end you get used to it quite quickly.

Let’s start by talking about comfort. Despite the fairly high wheels, this Aeroad is distinguished by excellent filtration. At the rear, no doubt, the seatpost and 28mm tire have that role to the fullest. At the front, it is not necessary to inflate the tire too much by 25 mm under pain of having dry lifts at the level of the cab. But limiting yourself to 6 bars works well, although you’ll notice that the handlebars are a bit flexible when you have your hands in a vacuum.

A surprising lack of rigidity for a carbon cabin, but that certainly comes from the possibility of expanding this hanger. Between the narrowness of the hanger and its flexibility, it takes a few miles to get used to it. I was afraid that this “removable” cabin with its long hoses would generate noise, but it’s total silence. Canyon has perfectly designed its system to avoid vibrations of the hoses inside the cabin.

The wheels show good fluidity in the bearings and the Continental GP5000s TR tires do not consume too much watts. On the other hand, like many branded, freewheeling wheels, these DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut do not go unnoticed.

From the first turns of the wheel, I notice that this Aeroad is not as dynamic as I thought, it doesn’t really sprout and it takes a while to pick up speed. Perhaps the CFR is more incisive at this point.

Not that it’s a clumsy bike, but it needs watts to accelerate. He prefers to go on the train, even if it is very fast, than to be pushed and reminded incessantly. For example, the criteria will not be your forte. It must be said that the 50 and 62 mm wheels do not help in this regard. You’ll see it a little further down, with lower wheels, this Aeroad is back on track.

The same observation, of course, to the blows. Up to 6%, we manage to keep a good pace, but if possible we must keep at least 250 watts INCIDENT 300. If the protrusion is short and not too steep, we manage to climb well. The Shimano Ultegra Di2 transmission even allows you to shoot at 52×27 or even 52×30 if the stroke is not too long to retain torque.

The rear derailleur cage may be horizontal, but no noise is heard, it’s pretty amazing for those who have known the old transmissions where, even at 9 speeds, you didn’t have to climb the last two sprockets with the big dashboard.

On the other hand, if the slope is accentuated, the Aeroad loses its superb, probably little helped by its 50 and 62 mm wheels that have difficulty functioning properly, unless it can send more than 300 watts to revive them, but for an average cyclist, it won’t last long. If we have to go to the small plate and stay between 200 and 250 watts, the bike is no longer in its optimum efficiency zone and the cyclist will have to patiently take on his problems. By changing the wheels for a lower model (36 mm), the bike regains some dynamism and ease for the most irregular rides.

Downhill, no surprises, the Aeroad CF SLX knows how to get down quickly with complete safety. Only if the wind is involved will you have to be more careful with the high wheels and the wide surface offered by the side tubes, this may surprise you in the bend of a bend or when leaving the forest for example.

What he likes most about this bike are the long, flat or even slightly descending stretches, with headwinds if possible. In this setting, it quickly picks up speed and you can maintain it for a long time, helping the inertia of the wheels. Be careful, though, if the wind is strong and you need to change direction. It happened to me two or three times on an exit with side gusts above 60 km / h, better to grab the handlebars well.

In sprints, you do well, but you have to start now, so as not to be penalized by the inertia of the wheels. Although the frame shows no signs of bending, the handlebars still show signs of slight bending. A feeling that is also noticeable in the passages in force in the small protrusions. But ultimately, this slight flexion of the hanger is more surprising than really annoying.

Balance sheet

Although my test of the previous Aeroad CF SLX dates back to 2017, it seems to me that this new generation is really stiffer. It is difficult to say whether the 14% figure is verifiable.

Additional rigidity that will make bikers happy, but makes this Aeroad a little less versatile in my opinion. Where the older generation could go almost anywhere with 62mm wheels, this 2022 version will probably require opting for more or less 40mm wheels to give a little dynamism to the long passes and make it less demanding.

But Canyon still manages to offer an aerodynamically capable and comfortable bike. The price remains, of 6499 €which in my opinion is still high for a bike equipped with Ultegra, although Canyon still offers better value for money than many of the big brands.

Photos: Céline and Guillaume for Matos Vélo – Sonam.cc

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