Bikes & Tech
Photo: Courtesy Canyon/Tino Pohlmann

First Ride: 13.1-pound Canyon Ultimate CF Evo Disc 10.0 LTD

Canyon releases a new road disc superbike, built with the lightest in carbon layups and components in mind.

Is there anything more mesmerizing than a really light bike? You pick it up, dip it a few times, and still you just can’t believe it. For someone who likes to climb, or anyone who likes to marvel at how far we’ve come in material technology and featherweight componentry, then a gram-shaving superbike is the epitome of cool.

Canyon’s latest superbike, the Ultimate CF Evo Disc 10.0 LTD, is all about shaving gram after gram, and doing it on a disc-brake version of its flagship model. At a hair under six kilograms (13.11 pounds) without pedals, it falls within the realm of the lightest production disc-brake road bikes ever built.

The Ultimate Evo Disc is built around a 641-gram frame and a 285-gram fork. (These figures come from Canyon; we did not disassemble our test bike to get our own measurements.)

Minimal graphics help shave every gram from the frame. Photo: Courtesy Canyon/Tino Pohlmann

Canyon claims it was able to achieve such low weights by using new ultra-high modulus carbon layups (weighing 90 grams per square meter), working in conjunction with its Asian suppliers. That improves upon the 100 gram per square meter for the Ultimate Evo rim brake bike. As such, it also increases the stiffness-to-weight ration of the frame.Canyon’s pursuit of lightness even led them to save weight from the front derailleur mount. It is now integrated into the carbon construction of the frame. The savings versus the Ultimate CF SLX Disc, with its aluminum mount screwed into the seat tube? A whole 7 grams! Titanium screws and inserts on the seatpost clamp shave another 3.5 grams.

Obsessive or silly? Some of both. One last touch: In keeping with the overall tone of the Evo Disc project — i.e. “reducing to the max” — the raw carbon frame is only highlighted with the most minimal graphic treatment. More weight saved, upwards of 100 grams, according to Julian Biefang, the brand’s U.S. product manager..

Beyond the frame and fork, nearly every component choice for the Evo is about saving weight. And several of those choices offer legitimate, substantial weight savings. The one-piece cockpit, which also features the new carbon layup, comes in at 270 grams. The wheelset is a limited edition 25th Anniversary DT  Swiss PRC 1100 Dicut db 24, featuring ceramic bearings, a 24-millimeter rim depth, and weighs in at 1,283 grams for the pair. Canyon opted to forego its stock seatpost for the Schmolke 1K. The 120-gram post is as minimal as they come. (You can also opt for Canyon’s VCLS post if you want to add about 100 grams to the build, and a bit more comfort.) What better to mate to that stark post than the equally svelte Selle Italia C59, which looks like it has yet to be finished. It might look dangerous to sit on; in fact, it is more comfortable than you might imagine.

The Selle Italia C-59 saddle is as minimalist as they come, and not nearly as uncomfortable as it looks. The Schmolke seatpost shaves about 100 grams from the stock Canyon post. Photo: Courtesy Canyon/Tino Pohlmann
The DT Swiss wheelset weighs 1,283 grams and it tubeless-ready. Photo: Courtesy Canyon/Tino Pohlmann

Surely Canyon could have done other exotic things to trim even more weight, right?

“Of course, there are a few options to make such a bike even more lightweight, but for us it’s really important to use trustworthy and reliable products which pass our internal tests, which are usually much higher than the norm,” said brand manager Biefang. “For us, safety and reliability are the most important, and this is why we specifically chose these parts. It wasn’t about the price of other products, it was more about the right balance.”

Despite it’s extremely light weight, the frame has no rider weight limit. However, there is a weight restriction on the Selle Italia C59 saddle at 90kg (198.5 pounds); the DT Swiss wheels are limited to riders under 110kg (242.5 pounds).

Katusha-Alpecin riders Ilnur Zakarin and Rik Zabel will ride the Evo Disc during the Tour de France’s hillier stages. Canyon-SRAM riders Alena Almiusak and Kasia Niewiadoma will race the bikes throughout the Giro Rosa.

The bike is available now on Canyon’s website for $11,500.

First ride

Like the Ultimate CF SLX bikes that we’ve reviewed in the past, the Ultimate CF Evo Disc rides beautifully. (The geometry has not changed from the 2019 model.) The handling instantly feels familiar: It’s aggressive and ultra-responsive. This is a purpose-driven racer, with a steep 73.25-degree head tube angle and a 148-millimeter head tube (size M) that allows you to get low and aggressive. The 996-centimeter wheelbase makes for nimble handling. Quick steering and maneuverability are always at the ready. It is a blast to rip through switchbacks with such deftness.

And climbing? Well, this is what the bike is made for, after all. It is almost guaranteed that someone you pass while prancing up a climb will make a joke about the “e-bike” you’re riding. It’s that fast. The pedaling response is instantaneous, as you would expect. The balance is spot on. We find the ovalized tops of the handlebars to be extremely comfortable while holding a rhythm on long climbs. For KOM hunters, this is your dream bike.

The bike is equipped with SRAM’s Red eTap AXS 12-speed wireless groupset (2,518 grams) because its weight is the lowest among the top-end groupsets. You can read our review of that component system here.

Overall, if you fancy yourself a climber, if you fancy yourself someone who needs every advantage you can get to become a better climber, or if you just love the lightest, stealthiest bikes money can buy, the Canyon Ultimate Evo Disc may fit the bill.

Speaking of bills — dollar bills, to be exact — for a brand with a reputation of beating the competition on price, the Evo Disc is not cheap in any way. You might say it is exorbitantly priced. But it’s a superbike, and when you’re throwing down that amount of cash for a bike, it’s not about the last few hundred dollars. You’d be buying this bike for the performance and for the exclusivity. Not because you’re economical.

A brief history

This isn’t the first time Canyon has set its sights on weight savings. Way back in 2004, the brand showcased a concept bike to explore those boundaries. On its Projekt 3.7 bike, the individual components were extensively modified by hand to achieve a total weight of just 3.7 kilograms (8.16 pounds).

Two years later Canyon unveiled a second concept bike, which featured fully-functioning hydraulic disc brakes. It weighed in at 6.8 kilograms (14.99 pounds), right at the UCI weight limit.

Now, with the Evo Disc, the company has taken many things it learned in those previous projects to build a production model that falls in between those two marks.

The Projekt 3.7 concept bike. Photo: Courtesy Canyon/Tino Pohlmann
The Projekt 6.8 concept bike had fully functioning disc brakes long before they were commercially available. Photo: Courtesy Canyon/Tino Pohlmann