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Mathieu van der Poel’s World Champs winning Canyon Inflite CF SLX

The fastest cyclocross race bike in the world

Here’s a look at the bike Mathieu van der Poel rode to victory in the cyclocross world championships at the weekend.

The Dutch sensation led from start to finish, with an utterly dominating performance to defend his rainbow jersey and clinch his third world title in the discipline.

Mathieu van der Poel continues to be sponsored by Canyon so it was the top-end Inflite CF SLX which he has been riding since he switched from Stevens in 2018. He even won his first race on that bike, as we reported at the time. 

He’s also supported by Shimano so it’s a full Dura-Ace groupset with electronic gears and hydraulic disc brakes. Long gone are the days when commenters argued that pros would never race disc brakes…

 Mathieu van der Poel’s World Champs winning Canyon Inflite CF SLX5

While the choice of disc brakes is less divisive than it used to be, his bike is interesting in that he opts for a 2x drivetrain, not a 1x setup that is increasingly common in cyclo-cross at all levels of the sport. His gearing is the same as always, a 46/39t chainset and that’s paired with an 11-25t cassette.

Shimano also supply the wheels by way of Dura-Ace C40 carbon tubular wheels, which have a claimed weight of just 1,372g. They’re fitted with FMB 30mm wide tyres.

 Mathieu van der Poel’s World Champs winning Canyon Inflite CF SLX2

Contact points fall to a Selle Italia Flite saddle and he swaps from the H31 Ergocockpit one-piece carbon handlebar and stem that is specced as standard on the Inflite CF SLX to the H11 Aerocockpit from the Aeroad.

The current Inflite CF SLX was launched in 2016 and represented a serious intent to offer a high-performance cyclo-cross race bike with none of the common concessions to versatility. The hunchback top tube produced a bigger front triangle for easier shoulder, mud clearance was focused on in all the critical areas where it can usually clog and add weight during a race, and it was disc brakes only.

 Mathieu van der Poel’s World Champs winning Canyon Inflite CF SLX3

I was very impressed when I eventually tested the bike in a £2,499 build. It was evidently fast with precise handling and revelled on the tight corners of a cyclocross course. It was also lightweight so easy to get up to speed, and felt nimble at high speed. I was also surprised by the comfort from the seatpost that has been designed to flex a little under big impacts.

Thanks to Alpecin-Fenix for the photos. 


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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