Ask any cyclist. It is a well known fact that Canyon make some amazing bikes. However, the exceptionally long waiting times for these magnificent bikes are equally as notorious. After some research and pondering, I placed an order for a Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2 back in September 2015. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has ordered with Canyon in the latter half of 2015/early 2016, that my bike was subjected to a myriad of delays. Originally due to ship in November, then December, then January and finally March. After liaising directly with Canyon, expressing my frustration of waiting for so long, my bike was finally delivered on the 18th of February 2016; over 5 months (23 weeks!) after placing my order.
Before I continue much further with this review, I will list the specifications of the bike, taken from Canyon’s website.
I must confess, this was one of the most exciting deliveries I have ever had the good fortune of receiving. The feeling of seeing a huge box with the bold words CANYON staring back at you can bring a smile (or joyous tear?) to the face of many cyclists. It truly felt reminiscent of a childhood Christmas morning. I suspect that the incredibly long wait had something to do with this anticipation! There are not many unboxing videos of Canyon bikes at all, so I decided to share this special moment and made my own video. Hopefully it will give a slight glimpse of what to expect when you order (receive) a Canyon.
Setting up the bike was a fairly straight forward process. Anyone with a basic understanding of bikes can easily undertake the minor amount of assembly required. The bike ships in a ‘bike guard’ (Canyon terminology for a simple bike shipping box). The front wheel is taken off, and the handle bar pivoted at an angle. So all you really have to do is attach the front wheel (quick release/lock), align the handle bar and secure it with the included torque-wrench, as well as insert and secure the seat post. This was all a very quick procedure, and took me around 20 minutes from opening the box to having the bike fully assembled.
In anticipation of my bike’s delivery, I had already purchased a number of accessories. This included pedals, bottle cages, a Di2 Fly unit, Garmin Edge mount, Varia rear radar light and an ass guard. I also got a Canyon bike stand for those occasional periods when I am not riding! For now I am just going to be using an Exposure front light, as I am holding out for the Cycliq Fly12.
The first thing that struck me about this bike was the weight. This is my first carbon fibre bike, and weighs 7kg. I could easily lift the bike with one hand, and use the other to turn the crank and hear how awesome the DT swiss wheels sounded. The attention to detail on the bike is also first class. You know you have purchased a premium product just by looking at some of the finer details. Here are a few pictures to show you what I mean.
I have only tested the Canyon with my Wahoo KickR. It is a little difficult to explain in words just how much of a difference there is coming from a mechanical Shimano 105 to an Ultegra Di2 groupset. Shifting is incredibly smooth. Changing gears required only a slight tap on the shifters, and although this felt a little odd at first. If you press and hold the shifter, there will be a smooth change through multiple gears. A simple tap is all that is needed for a single gear change. As I am used to mechanical gears, this may take some getting used to. I did press and hold for too long a few times, resulting in 2 gear changes, but the Di2 system is intuitive, and went down 2 gears, and then back on up, resulting in a net change of a single gear.
I’m also really excited at the prospect of the lower maintenance of the front and rear derailleur, as there are no cables for them with Di2. I have also attached the D-Fly unit to the rear derailleur, which will allow me to see the the Di2’s battery status. I know the battery is where electronic shifting gets some scepticism, however, just like your bike lights (an essential safety device!) and mobile phone, proactively ensuring that your Di2 battery has sufficient charge before a ride is not at all an issue, particularly when you consider that it can last for up to 1000 miles. I don’t think I could go back exclusively to a mechanical group-set now. Electronic shifting is the future!
PROS AND CONS OF A CANYON: SHOULD YOU BUY ONE?
So, would I recommend buying a Canyon? I cannot answer that with a yes or no, despite their bikes being (probably) some the best on the planet. Canyon bikes are incredibly priced for what they offer, have a premium feel and ride like a dream. Aesthetically they are also very pleasing to the eye, and still quite rare to spot here in the UK. The only downside, and it is a big one, is the waiting time. You may order one that has a shorter waiting time, but definitely be prepared to wait! Over the past few months, I had been slightly tempted to cancel my order and find an alternative ride from some where else. Notably, I looked at ROSE bikes and Planet X. And that is exactly what it would have been. An ‘alternative’. Quite simply, none of the bikes offered elsewhere gave me that same satisfaction, and my heart was truly set upon the Endurace CF.
For this reason, I would probably not recommend a Canyon if you desperately need a bike by a certain date. Buying from them at the present time seems to be a gamble as they are currently implementing new software for their bike ordering system. However, if you have some patience and are in no immediate need for your new ride (and presumably already have a bike), then a new Canyon is a very worthwhile investment. Another downside is that you cannot customise your bike, as with other online only retailers like ROSE. This is not going to be too much of an issue, as Canyon do have a lot of bikes on offer. I would have like to be able to customise my Endurace with some Aero wheels, but this is not too much of an issue for me at the present time.
I was a little hesitant regarding the sizing, as I could not test-ride the bike before purchase. But let’s be entirely honest. You are not going to get much of a feel from a bike by simply riding outside your local bike shop for a few minutes. I did this with my first road bike purchase last year, and only after a few proper rides do you know how a bike feels. Canyon do offer a 30 day return period, so that is some comfort with regards to sizing issues, etc.
All-in-all, I am going to leave the negativity on the side and conclude with my opinion purely about the Endurace alone. In short, it rides very well and the geometry is accurate by Canyon’s description of being a comfortable ride designed for sportives. If you’re looking for an all-round bike that is both comfortable and speedy, the Endurace model is definitely one to consider. I will be updating this brief review with more thoughts as I spend more time with the Endurace on the road. Until then, ride on!