It may well sit at the lower price point of Canyon's endurance bike range, but the Endurace AL Disc 7.0 shouldn't be considered a stepping stone to the carbon models because it's a great bike in its own right. Its aluminium alloy frame is tight and with the buzzy feedback of a sorted metal frame it's fun to ride, whether you are chasing PBs or just enjoying the scenery. It's a great a package for the money too.
- Pros: Comfortable ride, excellent finishing kit, decent value for money
- Cons: Shapeless and overly firm saddle
We've had various versions of the Endurace models through the doors here at road.cc over the years, from the original rim-braked CF 9.0 SL back in 2014 through to the latest women-specific, hydraulic braking WMN CF SL Disc 8.0 via the bling-laden CF SLX 9.0 SL that cost a cool £5,099 when it was tested in 2016.
What they all have in common is a carbon fibre frame and an exceptional ride quality, so how does their aluminium sibling fare?
It's different. No worse, no better, just different – in a very good way, for me at least.
Back in 2015 I tested the Endurace CF 8.0 and came under some criticism for being slightly underwhelmed by the whole feel of the bike.
It wasn't that I didn't like it – I actually thought it was great! – but I found the carbon frame took a little bit too much away from the ride experience for me personally. It was almost too good at removing road buzz and feedback.
This aluminium version gives back that involvement while still offering the stable handling and great geometry for those longer rides where performance might be secondary to comfort.
The frame is stiff and feels tight, and it's fun to ride. It's engaging in a way that you really feel part of the bike if you want to get a move on.
That buzziness you get from an alloy frame is often criticised, but as long as it is controlled – damped to leave just enough via tube diameters and wall thicknesses – can create a machine that really speaks to the rider: every ripple in the road, what the tyres are doing, the slightest slip or slide as the rubber brakes traction, it's all there.
That doesn't mean the Endurace AL is a noisy bike, by which I mean there isn't loads of chatter or an abundance of feedback coming through the bike the whole time. It's subtle enough that you can ignore the majority of it if you wish, but, if you're like me and like to really feel everything that is going on, this frame has it.
The aluminium Endurace still offers a comfortable ride, helped by the carbon fibre fork up front and the amount of carbon seatpost exposed thanks to the compact, sloping top tube frame design.
Being an endurance bike, the geometry is a little slacker than that of Canyon's Aeroad race bike, with the most noticeable change being the height of the head tube, 167mm in length on this medium with a similar sized Aeroad measuring just 146mm.
It doesn't feel like an upright position, though. I left a 10mm spacer underneath the stem and I could easily make use of the drops and get into a decent enough tuck for descending or battling the wind.
When it comes to flying down hills the Endurace AL is a very competent bike. The head angle of 73 degrees is only a few tenths slacker than that of the Aeroad, so you still have quite a direct front end.
The disc brake-equipped Endurace has just a 5mm-longer wheelbase than a rim-braked Aeroad, too, so while there is a little bit of extra stability it's minimal and never feels ponderous through tight turns. The slightly higher stack from the taller head tube lifts your centre of gravity, though, and this is the only thing I'd say that just takes the sharpness off the steering when entering really fast, technical sections.
Admittedly, this is an endurance bike, so it's not a criticism, I'm just letting you know where we are at in relation to an equivalent bike in race geometry. The Endurace is one of the quicker handling, more direct endurance bikes out there.
The taller front end and slightly shorter top tube make for a comfortable position to spend a lot of time in. Most bikes in this size would have a 110mm stem length but Canyon specs a 100mm one and it works, allowing you to sit a little more upright without affecting the steering speed.
You can easily climb in the saddle too, as you aren't stretched out on the bike, though the frame's stiffness also lets you get out of the saddle and really stamp on the pedals for those short, sharp efforts on undulating terrain.
On the whole the whole bike is a very nice place to spend an hour or two, or four, five, six...
Frame and fork
Canyon claims a 1,350g weight for this medium frame and 400g for the fork, which for a disc brake model is pretty good.
The frame follows a similar theme to how most carbon frames have developed: larger sections used at the bottom half of the frame and at the front, head tube, start of the top tube, that type of thing, with everything narrowing down towards the seat tube and seatstays to promote flex.
Interestingly, Canyon hasn't gone for a tapered front end. The fork steerer is 1 1/8in from top to bottom, which is quite rare these days; going larger at the bottom does bring a slight increase in stiffness to steering and under braking loads from discs, but Canyon obviously hasn't felt the need to increase the diameter here. I certainly didn't notice a lack of stiffness when I was riding it and I only realised the lack of taper when I had the bike in front of me while writing the review.
The down tube is a beefy looking affair, being a large box section rather than round, and while there are many arguments over which profile is best for resisting the various forces, the flat side sections do provide plenty of space for internal cable routing.
All of the cables and rear brake hose exit just in front of the bottom bracket, which does leave things a little open to the elements.
For increased stiffness, the seat tube changes from a round tube at the top to a more oval shape at the bottom bracket, biased towards the non-drive side so as not to affect the front mech positioning.
Purists will be happy to see a threaded bottom bracket too.
At the rear, Canyon has gone for a 12mm thru-axle for wheel retention and flat mount for the disc calliper mountings, which brings it fully in line with the latest fashion in the road bike world.
Overall it's a well-made frame; the welding isn't the most aesthetically pleasing in terms of smoothness but it does the job and I'd say is acceptable for a frame of this price.
The fork also has internal hose routing for a clean look and employs the same 12mm thru-axle retention system as the frame.
You can buy a frameset package for £599 which includes the frame, fork, stem, seatpost, stem and headset. It's available in a range of sizes from 2XS to 2XL in a choice of three colours.
This bike is available in either Stealth – that's black to you and me – or this Airwave Blue, which I really like.
Shimano's 105 makes up the bulk of the finishing kit, and while this 5800 setup is about to be replaced by the R7000, it's still a very good groupset. Well, most of it.
I'm not a massive fan of the ST-RS505 shifters that come with a 105 groupset; I find them ungainly and not the most comfortable to spend a lot of time on mostly because of their hood shape and the reach from there to the brake lever.
They work reasonably well when it comes to braking, but lack the refinement and control that you find with Shimano's RS685 levers, which were found on earlier Ultegra systems before the new R8000 groupset got its own specific models.
The gear shifting doesn't have the precise feel of the mechanical 5800 shifters either, though the range is good: the Canyon gets a 50/34 chainset paired to an 11-32t cassette, which gives a decent spread of gears for the type of riding the Endurace is intended for.
Wheels and tyres
A lot of brands cut corners when it comes to wheels to save a few quid, but Canyon has specced a decent set of DT Swiss E1800s, which I first rode on the Vitus Venon CR Disc 105.
They're solid performers. With an rrp of £350 they aren't just a 'make do' set of hoops ripe for an upgrade at a later date. Their 1,663g claimed weight means they don't hamper acceleration or climbing, and from previous experience they will take a fair old amount of abuse too.
Wrapped around them are Continental's Grand Prix SL tyres in a 28mm width; looking at the clearance of the frame and fork you could probably go a little fatter.
They are a beautiful set of tyres, with loads of grip thanks to their tacky compound. They're really confidence-inspiring when cornering and probably make you push the Endurace much harder into the bends than you normally would. You can't beat a good set of tyres to gain a bit of a performance edge.
It's been one hell of a dry spell so puncture proofing has been difficult to gauge, but they still look pristine after a month of riding.
The cockpit is Canyon's own, both the stem and handlebar alloy offerings. It's nothing flash but does the job, especially with the shallow-drop bar being very accessible for anyone to use regardless of flexibility.
The seatpost is carbon fibre with an alloy head and, like the front end, it does a decent job. It's easy to adjust with no slippage issues at all.
One thing I didn't get on with is the Selle Italia X3 Canyon Edition saddle. It's a pretty flat profile with minimal padding and I found it harsh. Saddles are very personal, though, so you might get on with it, but for big mile rides I'd be looking for something with a little more shape such as Fizik's Aliante range.
Bang for buck is something that Canyon has always done well, thanks to its direct to the consumer sales model, but others are snapping at its heels.
For example, there is the Vitus Zenium SL Disc, which has an alloy frame, carbon fork and similar finishing kit for its £1,299 price tag, £50 up on the excellent scoring 2017 model we tested here.
And Cube has its Attain SL Disc endurance bike, which comes with a very similar setup for just £1,295. It gets the same 105 groupset and hydraulic braking but with Cube's own wheelset.
The Canyon still represents decent value for money but it isn't the ultimate bargain it once was. It's still a very decent option, though, and if you want a quick bike without the racing geometry then it's definitely worth considering, especially as it's currently discounted to just £1,169.
For a bike that is designed to cover the miles and provide a position that is less extreme than a race bike, the Endurace AL still has that performance edge. It's fun to ride no matter what your goals.
A well-specced endurance-based bike with the excitement and performance of a race machine
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Canyon Endurace AL Disc 7.0
Size tested: Medium
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
FRAME CANYON ENDURACE AL DISC
FORK CANYON ONE ONE EIGHT SL DISC
HEADSET TANGE IS22AE-SCT INTEGRATED
REAR DERAILLEUR SHIMANO 105, 11S
DERAILLEUR HANGER DERAILLEUR HANGER FOR ROAD DISCBRAKE MODELS/INFLITE CF SLX
FRONT DERAILLEUR SHIMANO 105, 11S
BRAKE/SHIFT LEVERS SHIMANO 105 DISC, 11S
BRAKES SHIMANO 105 DISC
CASSETTE SHIMANO 105, 11S
WHEELSET DT SWISS E 1800 SPLINE DB
TYRES CONTINENTAL GRAND PRIX SL
CRANKS SHIMANO 105, 11S
CHAINRINGS 50 | 34
CHAIN SHIMANO CN-HG600-11
BOTTOM BRACKET SHIMANO SH SM-BBR60
STEM CANYON V15
HANDLEBAR CANYON H17 ERGO AL
HANDLEBAR TAPE CANYON ERGOSPEED GEL
SADDLE SELLE ITALIA X3 CANYON EDITION
SEAT POST CANYON S23 VCLS CF (25 MM SETBACK)
SADDLE CLAMP CANYON CLAMP SL
PEDALS NONE INCLUDED
FRAME SIZES 2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL
COLOUR STEALTH | AIRWAVE BLUE
Tell us what the bike is for
Canyon says, "If feeling like you've made a clever purchase is half of the pleasure you get when buying things, then ordering the Endurace AL DISC 7.0 will measure high on your enjoyment scale. We've built a reputation on providing great bikes with fantastic specs at unbelievable prices, and the Endurace AL DISC 7.0 could well act as the poster child for that campaign. Where else can you find a bike with Shimano 105 and hydraulic disc brakes selling for less than most racing bike frames? The 1350g lightweight aluminium frame has the same Sport Geometry that the Endurace carbon frames have, but this is a bike where comfort is key. the AL DISC 7.0 also comes with the full Shimano 105 components as well as the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes; this high quality spec with a low price tag makes this the best priced, most versatile bike for the modern rider, especially if you are planning on slipping in some hard pack dirt roads on your adventures. Comfortable, within budget road bikes with disc brakes don't come any more desirable than the Endurace AL Disc 7.0."
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
A solidly built frame that'll take plenty of knocks, although I have seen smoother welding for this money.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Canyon keeps its aluminium specification pretty close to its chest, but looking at the tubing I'd say it is hydroformed to create the shapes and double or triple butted to create the feel.
The fork is full carbon fibre.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Compared to the Aeroad race model, the Endurace has a higher stack height and a shorter reach to create a less extreme position.
Full details here - https://www.canyon.com/en-gb/road/endurace/2018/endurace-al-disc-7-0.html
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
This size Endurace has a stack to reach ratio of 1.53 which is well in the endurance camp.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes, it's got the alloy buzz but it's in no way harsh or uncomfortable to ride.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Yes. It responds very well to hard efforts in or out of the saddle.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
The whole bike is a good, efficient package with a stiff frame, relatively light wheels and decent finishing kit.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so
Yes, not really an issue unless you try to pedal while turning at less than walking speed.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively Just on the quick side of neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Very planted through the bends and a solid, stable bike to ride in all conditions.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I'd change the saddle straight away but other than that it's a good package.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The alloy front end is stiff enough for out of the saddle efforts.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The tyres offer loads of grip which means you can really push hard through the bends without braking.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The Shimano 105 groupset works well on the whole and you get a good spread of gears, but I'm not a massive fan of the hydraulic shifters' shape.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so
Solid performers at a decent weight.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so
A lovely set of tyres that really inspire confidence in the bends thanks to their grip.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
A decent selection of kit for the money. Basic alloy components at the front which offer plenty of positions for the rider, while the carbon seatpost adds a bit of comfort.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Canyon has nailed an excellent balance between a fast handling machine that still puts the rider in a comfortable position with this bike. The frame is light and well specced for the money too.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!