In this day and age of refined build processes, informed design, material manipulation and everything else that goes into the making of a bike, it’s quite easy to be blasé about a £6.5k bike and just assume that it’s going to be excellent, especially when Canyon already has a version of the Speedmax that has proven itself at grand tour level. So, was the risk of bringing out a variation just for the triathlon market worth it?
Predictably, yes. To make the distinction, Canyon identifies this Speedmax as a triathlon specific bike from its other Speedmax due to the difference in the race position. The CF 9.0 LTD features a raised integrated stem, rather than the road counterpart where the cockpit is very much an extension of the top tube. This allows for a slightly more forgiving position, which is crucial for those looking at long course triathlons. This however doesn’t mean that the Speedmax is a slouch in the shorter distances. The efficiency at which the bike converts your energy into forward motion is grin-inducing - it would be as at home at a 10 mile TT as it would 100 miles, providing that near perfect balance in comfort and speed.
It handles superbly too when riding on the pads; the bike feels perfectly balanced when the riders weight is out front and encourages maximum output at all times. Thankfully, even when out the saddle on the horns there isn’t that unnerving twitchy feeling that some TT bikes have in corners and on the hills. The bike responds well when faced with a gradient; it would be wrong to say it felt spritely, but it was far from cumbersome.
It’s all top-draw spec on this bike too - the Zipp 808 Firecrest clincher wheels are truly impressive at cutting through the air and even when faced with the most ardent of side winds aren’t too much to handle. The 11 speed Di2 Dura Ace drivetrain is precise and reliable with shifters throughout the cockpit so that you’re never out of position to make gear changes. All cables are tucked away internally and batteries are hidden inside the bike meaning that aerodynamics is at a premium with drag being reduced to how small you can make yourself.
On the issue of drag, the raised stem allows for a gel pouch on the top tube without interrupting the lines of the bike too much, whilst all other bottle and bag combos we tried fitted neatly and didn’t ruin the look and ride too much
It got to the final ride to really think of a downside to this bike and it’s not really a downside, just more of exclusivity issue. Even when you break down what you’re getting, it’s still £6,500; that’s £6,500 you’re more than likely spending on a bike without a test ride too, seeing as you would be buying direct from Canyon. But if you are in the market for one of these and can afford it, then the chances are you know what you’re doing and take it seriously, so the expenditure and your knowledge are well placed and the bike you get, well, it’s worth it.