That the new Aeroad is faster than its predecessor is a given. An aero bike update can improve in every imaginable way possible, but if it doesn’t turn over a new stone in the never ending quest to save a few more watts, all people are going to remember is that it is a new aero bike that isn’t faster. Luckily, up to a claimed 7.4 watts faster than its predecessor, the new Aeroad brings some significant aero savings. But the new Aeroad is more than just a fast new bike. Under the hood, this is one of the most innovative aero bike designs we’ve seen.
Faster (Of Course)
For the latest generation Aeroad, Canyon brought on aerodynamics experts Swiss Side for CFD development. Swiss Side’s expanded CFD capacity allowed for significantly more testing—seven times more than the previous generation Aeroad—and specifically more testing of each individual tube in the frame. Through wind tunnel testing, Canyon then determined a fastest frame shape which had aero tubes at the limit of the UCI rules. To save weight and preserve ride quality, Canyon then dialed some of the tube shapes back a bit, but the end result is a bike whose tube profiles are much deeper than the previous Aeroad. On its own, the bike is 7.4 watts faster. But in a more realistic setting with a test dummy and two bottles (someone has to ride the bike after all), it is still 5.4 watts faster than the last generation.
Stiffer and Lighter
Canyon wanted its pro riders to be able to ride the Aeroad with as little weight penalty as possible, so making a light bike that could be built up close to the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg was a big goal. Pushing the down tube width to the limit where aerodynamic gains begin to fall off helped with all the goals of the new frame. Higher volume shapes are stiffer and require less material. When made with the same top of the line high modulus and high-tensile fibers as used in the Ultimate CFR, the Aeroad CFR is 14 percent stiffer 168 grams lighter than the Aeroad CF SLX (when accounting for savings in the frame, fork and other parts).
Weight savings were achieved in other parts of the bike as well. The new CP0018 cockpit, no longer needing a recess for the Di2 junction box, which has moved to the bar end, now has a completely closed stem which needs thinner walls for the same structural stability. The end result is a significant 37 grams saved. A new seatpost clamping system and cockpit configuration saved an additional 10 grams. And a new seatpost saved 6 grams.
Adjust Your Stem Height—Without Breaking Out a Saw
Since moving away from quill stems years ago, adjusting stem height has meant either running a bunch of spacers above or below your stem, or cutting your fork steerer to length and never being able to raise your stem again. Canyon changes that on the new Aeroad CFR and SLX models by modernizing the old quill stem system. The fork shaft has two parts, a 1-1/8” bottom part attached to a fork and a 1-1/4” part attached to the stem. A clamping screw secures the two parts together, and the system includes 15mm of adjustment, in 5mm increments, without exposing the steerer tube or needing to cut it.
Innovative Cockpit Brings Adjustability and Comfort
To make the bike easier to pack up for travel without having to mess with the integrated cabling, Canyon developed a new CP0018 Aerocockpit which allows the bars to detach at the tops to fold in. But the secondary benefit is the ability to adjust handlebar width. Each bar has three possible lengths with 40mm of total adjustability. Sizes 2XS to S have 370mm/390mm/410mm options, M to XL have 390mm-430mm and 2XL has 410mm-450mm. All bikes come set to the middle size—changing the width just requires re-taping the bars.
Also, where many aero cockpits favor deep airfoil profiles on the tops that are uncomfortable, the Aeroad cockpit makes a compromise with shallower tops that are more rounded. They’re probably not the fastest option, but they are the most comfortable aero handlebars we have tried.
New Seatpost—Looks Can Be Deceiving
Though the new seatpost is deeper than its predecessor, it manages to shave weight through a pretty clever design. Inside the seat tube, the seat post has only half the depth that you see outside of the seat tube. Only the front half of the seat post is supporting the weight of the rider; the back half you see above the seat tube is just a shroud for aerodynamics. This design ends up saving 6 grams, but it has an additional benefit to ride quality. The seat post bolt clamps the post lower inside the seat tube, allowing for a longer post length that mitigates road vibrations better than other aero posts.
New Slightly More Relaxed Geometry
Canyon found that the aggressive geometry on the previous Aeroad was too much for many riders, even including some pros who would opt for the Ultimate solely for its fit. So the new Aeroad adopts a similar geometry to the Ultimate, with a 9mm higher stack and a 5mm shorter reach in a size M. The new Aeroad, which is disc only, also reverts back to the 410mm chainstays found on the old rim brake version, doing away with the 415mm chainstays on the previous disc version which made the bike less snappy. The bike also clears 30mm tires, but ships with a combo of a 25mm front tire for aerodynamics and a 28mm rear tire for comfort—the bike was optimized for this combo, with the bottom bracket adjusted to compensate for the added height in the rear.
First Ride Impressions
Many aero bike reviews come with a familiar refrain. It’s pretty comfortable/handles well/(fill in the blank for anything not related to pure straight-line speed)….for an aero bike. With the Aeroad CFR Disc Di2, Canyon has made an aero bike that hardly needs that refrain. It’s expectedly fast. It’s comfortable. It handles well. It descends well. There’s of course the caveat that pure climbing and non-aero bikes do many of these things better, but the new Aeroad reaches a point where we’re not noticing any obvious shortcomings as we ride it. At just under 16 pounds for our size small build, without pedals or cages, it feels pretty great going uphill, too. It’s an impressive overall package with some new innovations that we’re interested to see get incorporated into more Canyon builds.
Specs as Tested
Aeroad CFR Disc Di2
15.99lbs (7.27kg) size small without pedals or cages
Dura-Ace Di2 (52/36T crankset with power meter; 11-28T cassette); DT Swiss ARC1100 Dicut DB 62 wheels; Contintental GP 5000 tires (28c rear, 25c front); Canyon CP0018 Aerocockpit; Canyon seatpost; Selle Italia SLR saddle
U.S. Builds and Pricing
Aeroad CF SL 7 Disc $3,999.00 Shimano 105, Reynolds AR 58/62 DB
Aeroad CF SL 8 Disc $4,399.00 Shimano Ultegra, Reynolds AR 58/62 DB
Aeroad CF SLX 8 Disc Di2 $5,999.00 Shimano Ultegra Di2, DT Swiss ARC1400 Dicut DB 62
Aeroad CF SLX 8 Disc AXS $5,999.00 SRAM Force eTap AXS, DT Swiss ARC1400 Dicut DB 62
Aeroad CFR Disc Di2 $9,000.00 Shimano Dura Ace Di2 including Power Meter, DT SWISS ARC1100 Dicut DB 62
Aeroad CFR Disc AXS $9,000.00 SRAM RED eTap AXS including Power Meter, DT SWISS ARC1100 Dicut DB 62