The Fifth Generation Canyon Ultimate Road Bike Is Here – Bicycling

Updates to the long running road racing platform include more stiffness, more aero, and more integration.
Canyon’s Ultimate road race platform has been around since 2004. It has won World Championships, Grand Tours, and a few single-day monuments, plus countless other races at all levels of the sport. However, it has not seen a refresh since 2015. I have spent a lot of time on the fourth version of the Ultimate. It’s a testament to how good that bike is that even riding it as recently as a few weeks ago, it did not feel like a bike that’s been around for seven years.
No matter how good a bike is, the inevitable march of progress continues, and the fifth generation Canyon Ultimate is here. Canyon’s mantra for this bike is “perfect balance,” meaning that the design team’s aim, according to Canyon’s marketing material, was to “strike the perfect balance between weight, stiffness, aerodynamics, comfort, and durability.”
At a glance, the new Ultimate is strikingly similar to the outgoing model. A few sculpted edges here, some smoothing out there, but overall the visual balance of the bike remains unchanged. Which is a good thing because the Ultimate has always struck a svelte silhouette that screamed “lightweight race bike” to me. And I appreciate Canyon sticking with that look.
The most obvious visual difference, and probably the most controversial one, is the new fully integrated cockpit. Canyon carried over its (

slightly controversial) three-piece CP0018 cockpit also used on its Aeroad model. The somewhat unusual design features a handlebar that essentially folds. There are a set of two screws on either side of the handlebar that riders can remove to adjust the width of the bar or to fold it for transport. There are some marked advantages to riders in using this setup. The integrated structure saves a handful of watts at 28mph, but more practically, it creates an integrated cockpit setup that is very easy to pack in a bike case for travel. The setup also allows riders to easily experiment with handlebar width and, to a limited extent, bar height.
The main downside of this new cockpit is the loss of easy stem length adjustability. You’re locked into the options Canyon has chosen to provide with your frame size. So if you’re like me and need to go to a longer or shorter stem length than what is stock on the bike, you’ll need to order a different length CP0018 cockpit from Canyon. Performing the swap can also be a time-consuming process since you’ll need to disconnect and then reconnect hydraulic brake lines (and costly if you are not able to do this work on your own).
Predictably the new Ultimate is stiffer, with Canyon claiming a 15% increase of stiffness at the headtube. It also gets a boost in aerodynamic efficiency. Canyon partnered with aero experts at Swiss Side to eke out as much aero efficiency as possible without adding weight. The new bike, plus a rider, is said to save 5 watts at 28mph compared to the fourth generation version.
One of the things I loved about the previous generation Ultimate was how much ahead of its time it was with tire clearance. Canyon has upped the clearance from a very conservative 30mm on the 4th generation Ultimate to 32mm on the newest model. Based on my experience with the older model (and a bit of playing around with the new Ultimate), I would say that the 32mm number is very conservative. I was able to fit the new bike with cyclocross tires that measured 36mm in width and still had clearance for knobs. Obviously, the latest Ultimate is not a cyclocross or gravel bike, but you could easily fit a 34-36mm measured tire into the new Ultimate. The improvement in tire clearance is great news for riders that want an ultra-stiff and responsive feeling bike but want to skip the chattery ride that often comes with the territory.
Another boost in comfort comes from a new D-shaped seat post, which replaces the previous generation’s 27.2mm round seat post. Canyon, again, has traded broad compatibility in favor of a more finely tuned product. But riders that want a zero offset seat post will only be able to get it on certain models, while a seat post with 20mm of offset is only offered on some others. For the foreseeable future, there won’t be an option to specify a seat post offset at the time of purchase. But Canyon does insist that this option is coming. For those counting grams, the zero offset post is a wild 40g lighter than the 20mm offset version.
There are three tiers of frames in the new Ultimate line-up, as well as two different forks. The top-end Ultimate CFR now weighs 762g in a size medium (including paint and hardware). The matching fork is 321g. The weight is an 87g increase from the previous generation Ultimate, although complete bikes are still incredibly light ranging from 13.89 to 14.7 lbs depending on the model.
The Ultimate CF SLX is the mid-tier frame option, and it comes in within a few grams of its previous version at 846g. Finally, there is the Ultimate CF SL which is 1,062g. The CF SLX and CF SL use the same fork, which weighs 351g.
Canyon offers the Ultimate CF SLX and SL models in eight sizes, from 3XS to 2XL. The two smallest sizes of the Ultimate SL use 650b wheels, while just the smallest of the CF SLX does so. The top-tier CFR is only available with 700c wheels in seven sizes from 2XS to 2XL.
Canyon has fine-tuned its road bike geometry over the eighteen years the Ultimate has been around. The newest version gets slightly longer (with reach growing by a few millimeters across size), and the stack is also slightly taller. The geometry updates make the Ultimate’s fit identical to Canyon’s aero road bike, the Aeroad.
Seven distinct models of the new Ultimate will be available in the US. They range in price from $11,000 for the Ultimate CFR Shimano Di2 and SRAM eTap bikes to $3,000 for the Ultimate CF SL 7 model with mechanical Shimano 105 components.
Pricing has always been a big part of the Canyon’s appeal to riders. With a direct-to-consumer business model, prospective customers can expect to pay roughly $1,500 to $2,000 less for an Ultimate compared to a bike with a similar groupset and wheels from a brand like Trek or Specialized. For instance, the top-of-the-line Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 built with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 has a retail price of $14,250. A wild $3,250 more than the Ultimate CFR Di2. If you are shopping for a mid-tier model, a Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert with Ultegra Di2 retails for $8,300, and an Ultimate with similar parts sells for $1,300 less.
The trade-off for riders comes in the form of no on-the-ground dealer support network. Granted, most bike shops will have no issue working on Canyon bikes, and Canyon support in the US has generally been pretty easy to deal with. Still, it’s something worth considering, as some shops won’t mind doing the work but will leave it up to you to source any proprietary replacement parts from Canyon.
Ultimate CFR Di2 – $11,000 (13.89lb) – Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with Shimano dual-sided power meter and DT Swiss PRC 1100 Mon Chasseral carbon wheels.

Ultimate CFR eTap – $11,000 (14.68lb) – SRAM Red eTap AXS with Quarq power meter and Zipp 353 NSW carbon wheels.
Ultimate CF SLX 9 Di2 – $9,000 (14.70lb) – Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and 50mm deep DT Swiss ARC 1100 carbon wheels.
Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2 – $7,000 (15.65lb) – Shimano Ultegra Di2 with 4iiii power meter and 50mm deep DT Swiss ARC 1400 carbon wheels.
Ultimate CF SL 7 eTap – $4,700 (17.02lb) – SRAM Rival eTap AXS with Quarq power meter and DT Swiss P1800 aluminum wheels.
Ultimate CF SL 8 – $4,000 (17.64lb) – Shimano 11-speed mechanical Ultegra with DT Swiss Performance LN aluminum wheels.
Ultimate CF SL 7 – $3,000 (18.12lb) – Shimano 11-speed mechanical 105 with DT Swiss Perfomrnce LN aluminum wheels.
Canyon has sent us an Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2 to test. Unfortunately, the stock stem length and seat post offset don’t quite work for my fit. So perhaps, like many Canyon customers, I’m currently waiting on the right parts to become available before I can give this bike a proper evaluation. Based on my positive experience with the outgoing Ultimate and Canyon’s excellent value proposition for buyers, I have high expectations for the new bike.

Test Editor Dan Chabanov got his start in cycling as a New York City bike messenger but quickly found his way into road and cyclocross racing, competing in professional cyclocross races from 2009 to 2019 and winning a Master’s National Championship title in 2018. Prior to joining Bicycling in 2021, Dan worked as part of the race organization for the Red Hook Crit, as a coach with EnduranceWERX, as well as a freelance writer and photographer. 

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