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Tour de France Bikes 2015: Alex Dowsett's Canyon Speedmax

We jump aboard the Movistar truck to take a closer look at Alex Dowsett's Canyon Speedmax time trial bike

This is the Canyon Speedmax that’s ridden by the British time trial champion and former world hour record holder Alex Dowsett.

It’s one of the most striking time trial bikes in the peloton. Sharp lines, integrated brakes and a cockpit with no exposed cables. The Speedmax was first introduced back in 2011 as a concept, the production bike followed a year later. The tube profiles were generated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with validation in a wind tunnel, with the Trident tube shape the result of this development. It's used for all the main tubes of the frame.

The centre-pull brakes, Canyon’s own design, are concealed inside the fork and frame. The idea, of course, is to reduce drag although Canyon says that they’re also about 60g lighter than a standard rim brake.

The front brake is actually hidden inside a compartment in the back of the fork. It’s the same with the rear brake - turn the bike over and you’ll only see the brake blocks poking out from under the specially designed cover. Brakes are easily adjusted with access ports on either side of the fork to adjust pad position and clearance.

Both the brake cables and the shift wires head inside through the stem and remain internal throughout, helping to reduce drag. The front brake cable goes through the centre of both of the headset bearings to avoid any sharp bends that would affect the braking performance.

Here you can see the cables from the shifters on the extensions popping out at the box and routing almost immediately into the stem. The top of the stem pops off and all the wiring is hidden away. 

The Speedmax provides a lot of handlebar position adjustment. Dowsett combines a flat base bar with a high stack of spacers and a J-bend extensions, to put him in quite a high position at the front. The base bar, extensions and stems can be interchanged; we spotted many different combinations of the various parts in the back of the Movistar truck.

As is the case with many TT bikes these days, the seatpost clamp is a wedge system that’s integrated within the top tube. There are no external features to disrupt the airflow in this area.

Those two little holes in the bar are for a Garmin computer mount. Here’s one in place on another team bike. Dowsett though is using a RaceWare 3D printed Garmin mount attached to the extension bar.

Movistar use Campagnolo groupsets. Dowsett’s bike is set up with EPS electronic shifting with buttons on both the aero extensions and the base bar. This allows him to change gear whether he’s seated or riding out of the saddle.

The battery for the EPS drivetrain is tucked away inside the seat tube. The giveaway clue here is the special Campagnolo rubber band which houses a magnet and is used to switch the groupset on and off.

The Campagnolo theme continues with the wheels, a Bora Ultra TWO 50mm deep section front wheel paired with a Bora Ultra TT disc rear wheel. His tyres are a Continental Podium TT in a 22mm width on the back, with a very smooth tread pattern, and a Continental Competition ProLtd 22mm tyre, with a file tread pattern, up front.


Movistar is sponsored by the Power2Max power meter company so that is what is fitted to Dowsett’s bike. Fitted to the spider are Campagnolo chainrings in a 56-44t pairing.

Rather than use a dedicated time trial saddle, Dowsett's bike is fitted with a Fizik Antares Versus saddle. The Speedmax’s seatpost design provides a vast range of adjustment for fore and aft, and Dowsett will undoubtedly have his saddle as far forward as the UCI rules permit.

Dowsett’s handlebars and extensions are fitted with Lizard Skins DSP bar tape, and it’s clearly grippy enough for him. Some, like Alejandro Valverde's bike pictured above, feature extra grippy material added to the bars.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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