Pro triathlete and Team PH captain Brad Williams has reviewed The Canyon Speedmax CF SLX by taking a look at the fit, aerodynamics, handling and value of his bike of choice.
Back in March of 2018 I started riding the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX.
In terms of tri bikes, I'd previously ridden 3 different Cervelo’s (the Original P3, the “new” P3, and the P5-6), and for ~8 months in between the two P3’s and the P5-6, I rode a Falco beam bike.
The number one question I've gotten since switching to the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX is "How does it compare to the Cervelo P5-6?"
I wish it were as easy as being able to say one is better than the other, but honestly if I put a blindfold on you and had you ride 2 brand new bikes, I really doubt you'd know the difference.
That being said, there are some significant differences between the two bikes, so I took some time and highlighted those over on my personal blog “Cervelo P5 vs Canyon CF SLX”.
Below I'll highlight some of my favorite features of the Canyon and give some additional thoughts on purchasing a new bike.
First off, to be completely transparent here, I'm sponsored by Canyon USA. I did pay for my bike, but with a discount. So some may think this is a biased post and I get that. I like to think I'm pretty transparent in everything I do, and with every company I've partnered with, I have started off as a paying customer beforehand. So, hopefully you can look past that and let's dive in to the review...
The bike fit
No matter how much you love a bike, first and foremost you need to make sure the geometry will work for you and your fit coordinates. To get the SLX setup properly for me, I could have gone with either the Medium or Large, running max stack on the Medium, and then minimal stack on the Large.
I opted for the Medium so that if I wanted to go lower (which I have done for the last 4 months, but I'm now raising back up), I could do that. Here's the geometry/fit info for the Canyon Speedmax SLX if you're interested.
I tested the SLX in a wind tunnel but unfortunately I don't have the data to share. I tested the bike with me on it, with a bento box and bottle installed, and then removed those accessories, and it was faster with them installed.
So even if you do not plan to use them, still run them. Plus, the bike just doesn't look right with them removed ;)
You can read more about the tunnel testing I did on SlowTwitch.
Braking & Handling
I have ~6,000 miles on the SLX under my belt and the bike handles extremely well and the brakes are very good.
From an ease of maintenance and adjustability standpoint, the brakes are easy to work on, once you remove the covers, which are easily removable and really clean up the bike leaving no cables exposed.
How practical is the bike?
This is where I think the SLX sets itself apart from a lot of bikes...
The SLX comes with a bottle and bento that was designed specifically for the bike and is super clean on the bike. The bottle is easy to remove and clean, so no issues there.
The SLX also has a tool storage area built into the frame. I can fit a CO2, tire lever, tube, valve extender and multi tool in there quite easily.
This really comes down to your bar setup and what bike bag you have, or plan on getting. With the SLX, I originally planned on continuing to use my EVOC.
BUT, due to the amount of stack I run, it started to become a bit complicated. It just meant that I would have to remove the base bar (4 bolts), then remove the arm pads (4 bolts, so you can access the spacers/extensions), then remove the spacers (stack)/extensions (4 more bolts, super long threads). So it made the job of packing it a bit longer and - with the amount of travel I do - I was looking for something a bit easier.
I ended up getting the Premier Bike Box. Though it's quite pricey at $699, I'm really happy with it. It holds 3 wheels, doesn't require you to move the base bar, is a hard case and has room for other "stuff" as well.
Now I just remove the arm pads, spacers(stack)/extensions. With my extensions being quite long, I'm not able to just loosen and slide them back, but I know others that do that with their Scicon Bags (although I'm not a fan of these). It just depends how long yours are and what size frame you have.
Stock Specifications - Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 SL
At $10,000, you're getting a bike delivered straight to your front door, with amazing wheels and built-in integration. Having the bike spec’d with Zipp 858/454 combo is an amazing wheel set out of the box.
And with the gold standard Dura Ace components mounted onto the amazing frame, you can’t really ask for much more on a stock bike!
Canyon's Customer Service has been great, but getting spare parts hasn't been easy. That’s really the only area that I've been a bit frustrated with this bike.
This seems to be a global Canyon issue, and not just a North America thing at the moment. It seems things are getting much better as time goes on, but rear bottle cages are hard to come by in the US. Depending on what size and version of the bike you are looking for, inventory can be an issue as well.
Over the years of owning Cervelo’s they always seemed to hold their value really well on the used market. I believe Canyon will do the same, especially in the US since there are not many on the used market.
At the end of the day, most new bikes are going to feel amazing, but what sets Canyon apart is what you're getting right out of the box.
It comes with great specs and is built with the triathlete in mind, with the hydration system, bento box and tool storage area.
The bike is super adjustable as well, and ends up working for a majority of athletes when it comes to fit coordinates. There isn’t another bike on the market right now in this price range with the pedigree and accolades that this bike has.
Sure you can call me biased, but hard to argue when it has the past 4 Kona titles and 2 of the last 4 70.3 Worlds titles to it's name!
Can't afford the SLX or want an "easier" bike to travel with/work on?
Check out the Speedmax CF (price range $2,499 - $4,999).
If you do a few upgrades, you'd have a fast bike, clean setup and slightly less headache working on it/traveling with it.
I would recommend adding the Vision Metron TFA Aero Bar (email me to save some $), a Profile Designs Aeria bottle and a TriRig OmegaX Front Brake and for ~$1,200 MSRP you have something close to an SLX, minus the built in tool storage.
My Bike Setup
Frame 2018 Canyon Speedmax SLX
BB Ceramic Speed
Gruppo DA 9150 Di2 w/ Ceramic Speed Oversized Pulley Wheel System
Cranks DA9100 / 172.5 / 54/39
Powermeter Garmin Vector 3
Bike Computer GarminEdge 520
RaceWheels FLO Aluminum Clincher Disc & FLO 90 Aluminum Clincher
Tires & Tubes Continental Attack & Continental Force w/ Vitorria Latex Tubes & Orange Seal
Race Skewers View Speed Skewers
Training Wheels HED JET 5+ w/ Gatorskin Hardsheel Tires
Saddle ISM PN 3.0
Cockpit 51 Speedshop Extensions
Pedals Garmin Vector 3