The first rim brake Aeroad from Canyon (whose Speedmax tri bike was again ridden to Kona glory by Jan Frodeno in October) appeared over four years ago, with the disc model arriving some time later. Its sleek looks, integration and specification marked it out as a racy contender for class-leading honours. Some of the latest road aero machines have arguably surpassed the Aeroad’s styling, and offer even greater levels of integration, but few can match its relative value.
The Aeroad CF SL Disc 8.0 Di2 has a specification list as long as its name and, although just the cheapest bike here by a British pound, it offers Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifting, as well as hydraulic disc brakes. And the 62mm DT Swiss wheelset, and Canyon’s integrated carbon stem and bar couldn’t shout aerodynamics any louder (although the flat shape of the latter makes its unsuitable for clip-on tri bars). Weighing in at an impressive 7.64kg for our medium, the Aeroad is just grams heavier than the Specialized we tested.
Although the Aeroad prioritises aerodynamics, it’s still a versatile bike. The frame’s 146mm head tube allows for the most aggressive positions, and is so short that the near horizontal top tube still leaves a decent amount of exposed seatpost for seated comfort.
Two things are immediately apparent when setting out on the Aeroad. First is its obvious stiffness with an extremely direct sensation of acceleration from every pedal stroke; second is the deep carbon rim whoosh, as the bike leans from side to side. The feeling of lateral stiffness starts from the unyielding carbon cockpit, continues along the large truncated airfoil profile down tube, and through the beefy chainstays via a sizeable bottom bracket shell.
The space between the seat tube and rear wheel is filled in and dropped seatstays keep the rear triangle compact. Deep, wide carbon rims further increase lateral stiffness, and pouring hundreds of watts through the drivetrain just arrows the bike forwards ever faster. For real world shifting performance, Ultegra Di2 is hard to beat. It’s so quick and accurate and has superb ergonomic hoods that, for most, the expense of Dura-Ace is unnecessary. The 52/36 and 11-28 ratios gear this bike for performance, but it’ll still romp up most climbs.
Continental’s tyres – 25mm wide at the rear and 23mm front – play their part in the Aeroad’s whoosh and are intended to improve aerodynamics. In these days of larger volume tyres, the concept of giving away potential front-end grip and comfort seems alien, but their saving grace is the ARC1400 wheelset. Its generously wide, tubeless-ready rims expand the Contis to 28mm and 26mm.
Uncompromisingly quick, the Aeroad’s performance-enhancing stiffness isn’t equally matched by comforting compliance, which is something to consider if you’re racing long-course tri. It’s far from the sort of cast-iron boneshaker that existed before carbon design and layups improved, but against some plush competitors it’s showing its age. Running the tyres at lower pressure helps the handling to feel precise, railing fast, technical corners and carrying speed efficiently. Its 73.3° head angle makes for an active front end, but control is never in question. The overriding sensation is just one of pure speed.
Verdict: Canyon’s Aeroad Disc is one of the lightest bikes at this price range, plus it has an amazing groupset and wheel specification. If you crave looks and undeniable speed on mainly flat or rolling terrain, the Aeroad is a tough act to follow. 83%
More to spend?
The frame of the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc 9.0 Di2 (£5,799) is stiffer and lighter, and is equipped with a Dura-Ace Di2 Disc groupset, plus the rapid DT Swiss ARC 1100 62mm deep wheelset.
Less to spend?
The rim-brake version of this month’s test model, the Aeroad CF SL 8.0 Di2 (£3,439), still has Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 shifting, and a DT Swiss ARC 1400 62mm deep wheelset, but only weighs 7.3kg.
Buy from www.canyon.com