Canyon Speedmax CF 7.0 Bike Review

Canyon Speedmax CF 7.0 bike

Right then, the elephant in the room… This bike is designed for triathlons. Wait! Don’t leave… Don’t worry that the tip of its saddle, which is pretty much directly above the bottom bracket, would exclude you from ‘official’ competition in time trials at a regional/national level, because the starter at the club TT won’t give two monkeys. We’ve selected this bike by virtue of its frame design and versatility.

First impression

You might as well be sitting on the bans, such is the seat angle of the Speedmax. While holding its carbon basebars, threading our way through traffic on the way out of town this does, however, give it a rapid rate of turn. And it bodes well for getting into a decent race tuck once we’ve reached the course.

On the road

The Canyon does give the impression, from the saddle, of being much shorter than its 994 mm wheelbase; it’s almost like the rear wheel is trailing way behind you… The main frame triangle feels every bit as compact as the Boardman’s, and actually more responsive.

Arriving at the start of the course (as with all good local TT courses, there’s a permanent spray-painted line at the side of the road; only those in the know have any idea what it’s for), a rolling start in the 52-tooth big chainring gives less initial bite than the ATT 9.4. We put this down to the Mavic Cosmic Elite wheel set the CF is saddled with.

They’re not racing hoops by any stretch of the imagination, but we do have to accept that, given this is a lower-end model in the firm’s range, and it is sub-$2,500, there are going to be compromises in the build. What doesn’t feel like a compromise is the Shimano groupset.

Although it can’t match Di2 for sheer slickness of cog-swapping, it does have a satisfying engagement with every fresh ratio you select; even pulling up on the left-hand bar-end shifter to select the big ring has a borderline-plush feel to it. We get as far down the block as the 11-tooth cog in the opening mile, slightly downhill and with fresh legs, but when the road rises again we’re firing smaller gears straight back into it. The shifters handle it perfectly, and each gear meshes with a reassuring solidity.

Once on the quicker sections of the course, and when negotiating the S-bends, the curved bar extensions do promote more of a crouch than the Boardman’s flat bars, which at least give the sensation of being more aero. It shares its Fizik saddle with the ATT, too; its rubbery fabric works just as well in this package.

Handling

It’s through those S-bends and into the more technical, humpback bridge section of the course, where the Speedmax actually betters the Boardman. With a wheelbase that’s 19 mm longer (the chainstays are 20mm longer than the ATT’s), the Speedmax feels that little bit more planted in corners, whether high-speed downhill sweepers or tighter turns on suspect tarmac.

While the wheels and Mavic Yksion tires are not what you’d call race-ready, the rubber at least shrugs off rougher surfaces and doesn’t impede rapid cornering or descents. The package does start to feel more sluggish once on the two-mile uphill drag in the second half of the course, however. We dare say a set of deep-sections would transform this bike from mid-pack club racer to rival-worrying club TT weapon.

The brakes on the Canyon are both traditional rim stoppers, and work as you’d expect, delivering reliable speed arrestment at the one-fingered pull of a lever. You could argue that losing momentum by braking could do some damage to your position on the timesheet come the end of the night, but when push comes to shove, we like to know we have the ability to stop quickly should we absolutely need to!

Where does this bike sit among the bikes we’ve tested? It’s marked down for its lower-end components, but it’s nigh-on untouchable for the stiffness of its frame and the confidence it gives you to corner hard and stamp on the cranks even harder.

Frameset

The Canyon’s frame design is similar in many ways to that of the Boardman, but in many areas is more pleasingly organic to pore over. The way in which the carbon area around the bottom bracket flows into the junction of the chainstays, for instance, is a delight. The toptube differs from the ATT by being absolutely flat along its top (the Boardman has curved edges), and the section of frame that wraps around the rear tire could almost be called a shroud; it’s like a fairing for the wheel.

The most obvious difference, of course, is the rubberized box bolted to the toptube. It’s there to carry triathlon essentials such as nutrition products, and also conceals the entry point of the Canyon’s cabling into the frame. This cabling solution is also much neater than the nest of vipers cluttering the Boardman’s cockpit. Both wheels are again fixed by 9 mm quick-release skewers, and there are mounting points for bottle cages on both the downtube and the seat tube.

Black and red Canyon Speedmax CF 7.0 bike

Groupset

You wouldn’t expect the lightest, flashiest groupset on a bike at this price, and you don’t get it. What you do get is the most dependable groupset ever made: Shimano 105. It’s used for the bar-end shifters, the 52/36 mid-compact chainset, 11-28 cassette, both the front and rear mechs, and the brakes. It’s impressibly unimpressive, which isn’t to damn it with faint praise; it just gets on with the job with efficiency. The brake levers are Dura-Ace, though, so, you know, there are a few logos to show off here and there…

Finishing kit

Canyon has thrown a fair bit of carbon-fiber at the contact points of the Speedmax. The own-brand base bar (featuring Shimano Dura-Ace TT brake levers) for one. The bars carry Profile Design’s alloy extensions, which are adjustable for reach and angle via a 4 mm bolt at either side. Canyon’s S31TRI carbon seat mast is an aero-profile component, adjusted (in the time- honored tradition) via a bolt in the toptube. The Fizik Mistica saddle is identical to the Boardman’s, and identically excellent.

Wheels

Mavic’s tubeless-ready Cosmic Elite wheelset is a workaday alloy set-up that’s just dandy for everyday riding and training. Despite their 30 mm rim profile, they’re not for racing, though, so these – as ever – are the first (and probably) only thing we’d replace. Look north of $3,700 in Canyon’s range and the Speedmax CF 8.0 SL is specced with DT Swiss Arc 1400 carbon wheels… but that’s what you get for that kind of money. The CF7’s corresponding 25c Mavic Yksion tires are confidence-inspiring when cornering, but not the quickest rubber on the blocks

Specs

Frame: Canyon Speedmax CF frame, F39 carbon forks

Groupset: Shimano 105

Brakes: Shimano 105

Chainset: FSA SL-K Light Carbon, 52/36

Cassette: Shimano 105, 11-28

Bars: Canyon H30 Basebar Flat, carbon, Profile Design Subsonic Race 35a extensions, alloy

Stem: Canyon V20, alloy

Saddle: Fizik Mistica

Seatpost: Canyon S31 TRI, carbon

Wheels: Mavic Cosmic Elite

Tires: Mavic Yksion Pro, 700 x 25

Geometry

Size tested: SChainstays (C): 420 mm
Weight: 8.76 kgHead angle (HA): 73°
Top tube (TT): 490 mmSeat angle (SA): 80.5°
Seat tube (ST): 520 mmWheelbase (WB): 994 mm
Stacks (S): 510 mmBB drop (BB): 70 mm
Reach (R): 405 mm 

Rating: 8.3/10


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