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Giro tech: Katusha’s new Canyon TT bike

New Canyon TT bike: completely redesigned with unique tube shapes, impressive integration, distinctive geometry choices.

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VERONA, Italy (VN) — Canyon’s completely redesigned Speedmax CF time trial bike has seen a bit of racing under select riders already this season, but the Giro d’Italia marks its official team-wide racing debut. The new Speedmax CF frame has been completely redesigned using unique tube shapes, impressive integration and some distinctive geometry choices.

The frame was designed in conjunction with Simon Smart, the aero guru behind Enve’s 3.4, 6.7 and 8.9 wheelsets, Scott’s Foil and Plasma frames, and a number of other high-profile aero projects.

The primary tube profile is a mix of mini-Kamm Tail and traditional NACA aero profiles, with a D-shaped front and angling in sharply towards a cut off tail. The shapes were designed with a focus on 0-9 degrees yaw, which Canyon engineers and Smart see as the most common wind angles encountered on TT bikes.

According to Canyon, the cut-off tail adds considerable crosswind stability and an increased stall angle with minimal effect to aerodynamics at low yaw. The angles placed mid-cross section are intended to improve stiffness. Canyon claims the new frame is 15% stiffer than the old Speedmax.

The fork uses a similar shape. Canyon tested multiple fork designs with a wide variety of front wheels, and picked the final version based on its low drag figures when paired with an 80mm rim.

The Speedmax CF comes in two versions, ostensibly for time trial versus triathlon use. The TT version, called the “Low Cockpit Concept” uses a fully-integrated stem that lies flush with the top tube, and a Selle-Italia Monolink seatpost that offers UCI-legal positioning. The triathlon “High Cockpit Concept” uses a slightly raised integrated stem and significantly forward-facing seatpost clamp. Both frame versions are UCI compliant, though the saddle position of the latter would likely break the 5cm rule.

Geometry of the two versions varies a bit as well. The triathlon seatpost offers up a 76.5-degree effective seat tube angle, while the TT version sticks with 73.5. Most interesting, though, are some geometry choices on both versions.

Canyon went with considerably longer-than-average chainstays and wheelbase, and a long top tube (a medium has a 594mm top tube), and paired them with relatively short stem. The concept is similar to that used on modern trail and all-mountain bikes – making the frame longer and the stem shorter provides high-speed stability and improved handling. Cornering may be a touch slower, but a steep 73.5 head tube and adjustable-rake fork should balance the system out. More importantly, the bike should be highly stable at race speeds.

Canyon says only 12cm of brake housing shows anywhere on the frame, a testament to the impressive integration they’ve managed. Both front and rear brakes are hidden away – the former behind the fork and the latter underneath the bottom bracket – and the frame is only available with Di2 so there are no shift cables to catch the wind.

All the brake cables have been routed internally, down through the stem and top headset bearing and into the frame. The front brake is a center-pull style brake similar to the one used on Trek’s Speed Concept.

The integrated stem is available in 70, 90 and 105mm lengths, and Canyon claims the bars can be set up in over 7,000 different configurations. The pads can be moved up and down relative to the base bar, which is fixed depending on the model chosen (high stem tri or low stem TT).

Canyon recognizes the importance of the placebo effect, and that a fast-looking bike will make a rider feel fast. To achieve the right look, designers insisted on a few parallel lines – fork and seat tube, top tube and chainstays, for example – and minimal graphics for a fast, understated look.

This is the big question mark for Canyon, which has been highly successful using a direct-to-consumer system in Europe but hasn’t yet tried to implement the same in the U.S. They insist they are working to bring the brand across the pond, though, in the near future.

Until then, if you simply must have one you have to fly to Germany, where Canyon will happily sell one to you starting in October for about $5,500.

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