Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Tech Talk; Canyon Ultimate CF SLX

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX

The Ultimate has been a mainstay of the Canyon range for over a decade, having been one of the first real-world evolutions of the Project 3.7, a fully roadworthy concept bike Canyon showcased in 2004. The brainchild of renowned German bike designer Hans-Christian Smolik, the Project 3.7 weighed a staggeringly light 3.784kg, thanks to an 818g F10 Ultimate carbon fibre frame and a series of fully custom parts made by Smolik, including 8g shift levers, a 823g wheelset and a 138g seat and saddle ensemble. Smolik passed away in 2010, but his ideas resonate in Canyon’s latest Ultimate, an elegantly engineered 6.66kg bike. The secret behind this weight is a 780g frame and a 295g fork, along with neat tweaks such as the 33g Acros headset and 350g one-piece Aerocockpit stem and bar ( 100mm stem, 410mm bars)

According to Sebastian Jadczak, Canyon’s road development director, the brief for the Ultimate was simple: preserve the stiffness-to-weight ratio of its predecessor while reducing drag by 10% and increasing compliance by 10%. Canyon’s done that and then some. ‘The Ultimate has 7.4% less drag as a frameset, 12.9% when combined with the Aerocockpit handlebars, and is 15% more comfortable than the previous Ultimate,’ claims Jadczak. ‘The stiffness to weight is maintained.’


As it turns out, the 2016 Ultimate is lighter than its predecessor – but only by 10g. Instead, Canyon have focused on improving the frame’s aerodynamic performance and comfort. This isn’t an all-out aero road bike – that status is reserved for the Aeroad, but Canyon have applied some of what they learned in the development of the Aeroad, and before that the Speedmax time trial bike, and applied it to the Ultimate in a series of truncated airfoil tube profiles. 

"D" Shape

This Ultimate sports a newly designed down tube profile – a box section with the bottom face being rounded to create a 'D' shape. Compared with the previous Ultimate, the profile is narrower with a rounder nose, which is designed to decrease flow separation by ensuring the air sticks to the tube. The chainstays are hugely asymmetric, the non-driveside one being almost as wide as it is deep, and the slim, widely spaced seatstays cross the seat tube, creating a large junction with the flat, wide top tube. Canyon claims The all-in-one H36 Aerocockpit CF handlebar/stem had advantage of around 5.5W at around 45kph over a standard handlebar and stem setup. Canyon has actually ditched the oversized tapered head tube on this new model for aerodynamic reasons, going for matching diameter bearings top and bottom.

Hidden seatclamp

As well as aerodynamic improvements, Canyon has really concentrated on comfort – especially at the seat tube junction. Changing the standard style seat clamp for an integrated version has left an amount of seatpost exposed from the frame, which will then flex under load. The adjustment bolt sits at the rear of the frame between the seatstays as they merge into the seat tube. Inside the seat tube is an aluminium shim covered by a soft seal which spreads the load of the bolt over a much larger surface area to protect the post and create a tight seal.

Swallow 28mm tyres

There’s also room for 28mm tyres within the frame. Wider tyres needn’t be the preserve of endurance bikes, particularly with a number of manufacturers beginning to offer 28mm race rubber, another boon for comfort but also potentially improving grip and reducing rolling resistance.

  • Aerocockpit
  • Hidden seatclamp and flexing seatpost
  • Swallow 28mm tyres


Headtube: The head tube is the part of a cycle's tubular frame within which the front fork steer tube is mounted.

Seatpost: A bicycle seatpost is a tube that extends upwards from the bicycle frame to the saddle. The amount that it extends out of the frame can usually be adjusted, and there is usually a mark that indicates the minimum insertion.

Seatstay: The tube connect the seattube with rear end

Seatclamp: Part to held seatpost in place by squeezing the top of the seat tube


Ride On!

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