“Maximum comfort meets performance” is the strapline for Canyon’s brand new Endurace, the German brand's all-new endurance road model that enters a fast-growing sector of the cycling market.
Up until recently the direct-to-consumer company’s bikes had all been a bit race focused, but with the introduction of the new Endurace range they’re finally, some might say, meeting market demand for a comfort-orientated bike.
Canyon offer the new Endurace in four builds, all using the same carbon frame and fork, priced from £1,399 to £2,599. We’ve got the most expensive model on test here, and it’s fully decked out with a mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace 11-speed groupset, Ritchey parts, DT Spline wheels and 25mm Continental tyres.
These ‘endurance’ bikes, and there are plenty to choose from, are all about offering more comfort. That’s comfort through a geometry that provides a shorter and higher reach, so less strain on your back, and increased compliance in the frame and equipment to smooth out rough roads.
Canyon developed the new Endurace using similar carbon fibre technology to that used in their flagship race bike, the Ultimate CF SLX. There’s even an aesthetic similarity in the shape and proportion of the tube profiles.
The key difference is in the geometry. In essence, they’ve made the reach shorter, and the bars higher courtesy of a taller head tube and fork crown. Canyon now categorise the geometry they use for all their bikes into three groups; Pro, Sport Pro and Sport. The Endurace uses the latter.
To put that into context, here are a few numbers for you: a size large (58cm) has a stack of 590mm and reach of 380mm, an 555mm effective top tube, 565mm seat tube and 175mm head tube, though with a 6mm taller crown height the front-end is effectively higher. That’s a size comparable to a typical 56cm frame.
Compared to a same size Ultimate CF, the new bike has an 11mm taller stack and 15mm shorter reach, with a 5mm taller head tube. To clarify, stack is the vertical distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube. Reach is the horizontal measurement from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre top of the head tube.
The Endurace also has a shorter wheelbase than the Ultimate, but there’s more length in the chainstays to counteract the short front centre. Still, it’s shorter than most of the other bikes in this category. The size large Endurace has a 989mm wheelbase, while the Bianchi Infinito CV is 1002mm and the Cannondale Synapse is 1000m. There’s not a lot in it admittedly, but shows Canyon have been keen to retain some of the lively handling of their race bikes.
Those changes take care of providing a comfortable position on the bike. The other area that a endurance bike differs from a race bike is in its ability to iron out all the niggly imperfections in the road surface that can lead to a choppy and jarring ride quality.
Every company has a different approach - Specialized have their Zertz, Trek their Isospeed Decoupler, Giant go for a tuned carbon frame with skinny stays and integrated seatmast, and Bianchi uses a viscoelastic material in the carbon layup.
Canyon have VCLS. Standing for Vertical Comfort Lateral Stiffness, VCLS features optimised carbon fibre layup in the seat tube, top tube and seat stay junction. Canyon call this section of the frame the ‘VCLS Module’ and it’s the task of these frame elements to provide compliance, chiefly by deflecting under load.
The most striking part of the Endurace is the novel VCLS 2.0 seatpost fitted to every bike in the range. We’ve reviewed this clever post previously on road.cc. Essentially the seatpost is split into two halves and works like a leaf-spring to provide a large range of fore-and-aft flex.
The new One-One-Four SL fork, developed specifically for the Endurace, has a 6mm higher crown. This allows them to get the higher front-end without putting all the extra height in the head tube. Plus, they claim it allows a bit more flex. They’ve also changed the taper of the steerer tube, placing it lower down than the Ultimate’s One-One-Four fork, which they claim offers a smoother front-end.
Canyon claim a 1,040g frame weight (size medium) with a 340g fork which is right on the money for this sort of bike, and is in the same ballpark as the other main bikes in this category.
So there’s all that, and there’s the DT Swiss R23 Spline wheels and Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 25mm tyres they’ve fitted to the entire range. Tyres have the most impact on the ride comfort of any bike - simply letting some air out of your tyres, even as little as 10psi, will make a huge difference to the smoothness of any bike.
These new DT Swiss R23 Spline wheels though have a wider profile. They measure 18mm across internally, and 23mm externally. A regular rim will have something like a 15mm internal width.
This wider rim spreads out the tyre beads and in effect gives you a wider tyre with a bigger air volume, without the weight increase of actually fitting a bigger tyre. These 25mm tyres look much closer to a 27mm tyre to our eyes (we’ll dig out the digital calipers later) so you’re getting a wider tyre without the extra weight of a wider tyre. That’s rather appealing.
The frame and fork will take up to 28mm tyres if you do want to go wider. We’ll be trying some wider tyres in the frame for certain.
Add the 11-speed Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groupset and Ritchey WCS 4-Axis stem, Ritchey WCS Evo Curve handlebar and plush Fizik Aliante VS addle, and you’ve got a bike weighing 6.95kg (15.32lb). That’s for a size large. That’s an impressive weight for this sort of bike, let alone when you factor in the cost.
The new Canyon Endurace offers unbeatable value for money, but will it offer unbeatable ride performance? That’s something I aim to find out in the following weeks, it’s up against some stiff competition from established rivals.
More details and a full look at the range here https://www.canyon.com/_en/roadbikes/series/endurace-cf.html
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.