The Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 8.0 could be the best bike on the market under $3,000. Put another way, dollar for dollar, this could be the best bike period. What other package gives you a frame and fork with WorldTour-like road feel, a refined and robust Ultegra drivetrain with disc brakes, and an assortment of carbon components for $2,799. This is what a modern road bike should set you back.
The ride quality of the Ultimate is nearly as good as bikes that cost upwards of three times as much. That’s because it is, for all intents and purposes, the very same frame as Canyon’s best, save for a slightly different carbon weave. It adds a paltry 100 grams, they claim. The geometry remains the same as what Team Movistar rides in the WorldTour.
After all, this is a race bike, with a steep 73.3-degree head tube angle and a 148-millimeter head tube length (size M) that allows you to get low and aggressive. The bike’s front-end was stiff and responsive.
Accelerating up to speed or out of corners is swift. The rigid platform helps you launch forward with every pedal stroke. Input through body language is enough to steer the bike through high-speed sweepers, and when the corners get tighter, the Ultimate hugs the line you’ve set it upon. It makes for a confidence-inspiring ride.
If there’s room for improvement here, it may be in the selection of wheels. The DT Swiss PR 1600 Spline DB wheelset is tubeless-ready, with thru axles front and rear, but at a claimed 1,638 grams, they aren’t exactly featherweights. That said, because of their strength, they offer up versatility since you would have no reason to tread lightly over rougher surfaces, especially when paired with the 25-millimeter Continental Grand Prix 4000S II tires. And because of the disc brakes, the bike can accept much wider rubber for even more traction and comfort.
At the same time, the ride remains remarkably comfortable for a bike this stiff. The combination of razor-thin seat stays and the proprietary 27.2-millimeter VCLS seat post are, in large part, responsible for taking the edge out of road vibrations and rough surfaces.
For anyone who still believes that rim brakes are great, test a disc brake bike like this and you’ll quickly understand what you’ve been missing. The difference is stark. While today’s rim brakes are fine, there is simply no comparison to the power, modulation, versatility, and ability to accommodate larger tires that you get with disc brakes. One word: better.
That remarkable braking performance comes via Shimano’s new Ultegra R8000 group. Crisp, accurate shifting is paired with great ergonomics and braking lever feel, not to mention praise-worthy stopping power.
How does Canyon make such a capable bike at such an incredible price? Its direct-to-consumer model paired with engineering chops cuts considerable cost from the bottom line. That’s all in your favor. Out of the box, you’ll be on the road in less than an hour after finishing the build on your bike. The tools you’ll need are all included in the box.
We hope you enjoyed this online gear selection. For the complete VeloNews Buyer’s Guide, which is only available in the magazine, subscribe to VeloNews, visit your local newsstand, or buy the single issue.