The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX is a lightning fast aero bike that offers a fast ride, great specs and enough practicality for everyday road riding.
While I admire the engineering behind the best aero road bikes and like to have a quick session on one, I don’t want to have to live with that bike every day.
The usual compromises for unabashed aero are increased weight, less comfort due to frame torsional stiffness, and integrated cables that can make the bike complex to maintain and travel with.
Then there is the riding position, which is very low, long and uncompromising.
But with this Aeroad, Canyon has confronted those issues.
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX frameset and handlebars
The Aeroad SLX may be the second tier frameset (CFR is the highest range) but the deep oversized frame with aero tubes weighs a competitively light 990g with its fully integrated design.
At 8.32kg complete (in a size large), it is lighter than both the Trek Émonda SL 6 eTap and Vielo R+1 Alto that I tested it with.
The frame features the usual aero shapes we’ve come to expect, with deep tube profiles, bladed seatstays and a seat tube cutout.
Frames aside, Canyon’s take on the integrated cockpit is particularly interesting.
Integrated one-piece cockpits can be a pain to break down to fit in a bike bag, but Aeroad’s SP0016 one-piece bar is actually a three-piece.
The bar is a new iteration of the CP0018 aero cockpit and Canyon has redesigned the bar’s construction with newly reinforced carbon fiber walls to improve stiffness and durability.
The shaft and bar are made from a single piece of carbon, but the width of the bar and the drops are separate pieces that go into place and are secured with four T25 bolts.
Undo these sections and the bars fold down, making the bike slimmer and easier to pack.
I loved the SP0016 rod for another reason. On a full-size bike, the stem is 110mm, but the bar has three bolt-in positions, allowing you to adjust the width from 390mm up to 430mm.
The trend is to run super narrow bars, but that doesn’t work for me. Here, however, you can adjust things.
So if you want to keep things slim, like the pros, you can. If your position on the bike requires a wider bar, that is also an option.
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX geometry
The Aeroad has adopted Canyon’s updated Pro geometry (the new Canyon Ultimate now also uses a very similar geometry), meaning my large test bike has a 580mm stack height and 401mm reach.
It’s quite low and quite long, but not excessively so: the previous 2018 model had a reach of 16mm longer.
It’s also combined with a short 1,006mm wheelbase and reasonably quick 73.25-degree head and 73.5-degree seat angles. I found that I was happy to ride as long as my legs could take me.
In short, it’s a cool but well-balanced position, with the caveat, as always, that it has to work for your demands and flexibility as a rider.
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX performance
On the road, the Aeroad is simply amazing.
It’s devastatingly quick over rolling terrain, feels responsive to pedal input, and the frame and fork do a fantastic job of reducing fatiguing vibrations from poor road surfaces.
Once up to speed, it tenaciously holds on.
During the same 4.5-hour test route as the brilliant Trek Émonda, my average speed increased by more than a mile per hour for the same effect.
There are of course other factors that come into play, but the bottom line is that the Aeroad is a really efficient ride.
Out of the saddle, the frame feels taut and responsive, making it a very capable climber, although it did make the occasional annoying swooshing scrape of the front disc rotor when I was out of the saddle.
After thoroughly cleaning the bike, rotors and pads and adjusting the brake, I had no recurrence of the scraping during the test period, so I can chalk it up to a setup issue.
Chafing disc brakes are pretty common, but since Canyon is a direct-to-consumer brand with no immediate shop support, setups like this are something to keep in mind when buying a bike online.
While the Aeroad could never be described as an endurance bike, it is leagues above its hard-riding predecessor.
My colleague, Simon von Bromley, noted in his Canyon Aeroad CFR review that the front end suffered from some harshness, but that’s not something I experienced here.
The CF SLX is made from a more modest carbon than the CFR, which may help (Cannondale’s top-of-the-range Hi-Mod frames are noticeably stiffer than the “standard” carbon models, for example), while the DT Swiss ARC 1600 wheels specified on this model have a 20 mm inner rim width (compared to 17 mm on Simon’s bike).
Canyon continues to specify a 25mm Continental GP5000 S tubeless tire up front and a 28mm tire in the rear, so the front area is narrow and aero, but the rear has a bit more volume to smooth the road. Both tires inflate when inflated to give their best ride quality.
Also, thanks to Canyon for spec’ing one of the best road bike tires on the market. It’s an area where many brands cut corners.
On that note, the Aeroad SLX’s component list is impressive from top to bottom.
It gets the full SRAM Rival AXS groupset complete with power meter, those 50mm deep carbon tubeless DT Swiss ARC 1600 aero wheels (which retail for just £1,699), a Selle Italia SLR Boost saddle, carbon bars and a seat post in carbon fiber.
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX results
Overall, the Aeroad has almost changed my perception of the aero road bike.
The carefully considered, holistic design makes it light enough, easy to drive and relatively comfortable for long, fast-paced rides.
Maybe, just maybe, the next bike on my wish list will be an aero bike.
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