Verdict: Comfortable, very well-appointed endurance machine with market-leading componentry
Pros: Low weight, the best kit you’ll find at the price and a quality wheel and tyre pairing
Cons: Straight steerer, external cabling and slightly unexciting looks
This is the lightest bike we’ve tested recently at around £1,000, and while a low gram count isn’t the be-all-and-end-all, picking up a new bike to check its weight is one of the first things we all do – well, I do anyway, even with a time-trial bike where weight’s barely even an issue. And Canyon’s Endurace AL is a noticeable lightweight at this price.
Okay, in the days of six- and seven-kilogram bikes, 8.26kg isn’t actually breaking records, but go old-school imperial and this translates to a mere 18.2lb and less than a top-level race bike weighed just a generation ago. It’s light enough to impress your cycling friends and to absolutely wow any non-riding buddies.
Canyon achieves this by pairing its aluminium frame with a full-carbon fork, a complete raft of Shimano 105, something that can only be achieved by direct retailers, and Mavic Aksium wheels, the market-leading hoops at this price. The 7000 series Shimano 105 offers about the best rim braking around these days, powerful and controlled.
One area where modern bikes are vastly superior to their predecessors is in the gearing – hey, some of us grew up with 52/42 chainsets and near-straight-through cassettes. Canyon pairs a ‘pro-compact’ 52/36 chainset, giving a monster 125in top gear and a 28in bottom gear that should get you up pretty much any incline you come across.
Shifting, like the braking, is impeccable, the action smooth, light and accurate. The R7000’s lever ergonomics have been inherited from Ultegra, the smaller size acting as a comfortable handhold, the newly chamfered surface helping with wet-weather grip too.
The wheel-and-tyre combo is also very much at the upper end of what you’ll find at this price. They’re not that light but we have found them durable, with one set of Mavic Aksiums still running smoothly after years of rough urban roads. The tyres too are a notch – or more – above what you usually find at this price.
The 25mm Continental Grand Prix tyres are like a junior version of Conti’s Grand Prix 4000 rubber. They’re still made in Germany and have a three-ply, 180tpi (threads per inch) construction. This is much higher than most tyres on £1,000 road bikes, which will increase its suppleness and reduce its rolling resistance, while their PolyX Breaker layer is designed to reduce punctures.
The ‘Endurace’ name shows this bike’s ambitions, with Canyon saying ‘it’s made for Gran Fondos and long weekend adventures – the definition of the modern do-it-all bike’.
So, is the German online retailer right? Well, yes, the geometry isn’t that extreme and sits at the racier end of the endurance spectrum, my medium model coming in with a sub-metre wheelbase and frame angles not far off of 73 degrees. For any given top-tube length the Canyon’s head tube is around 10-12mm taller than the otherwise similar Rose Pro SL 105.
This gives it a race bike-like turn of speed; it’s quick off the blocks, holding its speed superbly and the handling pin-sharp. I was surprised to find that the Endurace still has a straight steerer. Such was the front-end stiffness and the precision of the handling I didn’t even notice this until I was checking the specs.
It climbs as nimbly as anything at this price, both spinning in the saddle and cranking it up out of the seat. This allows you to unleash your inner Alberto Contador.
But where this bike really excels is if you want to sit and tap out mile after mile. You get all the typical efficiency you’d expect from an aluminium frame, but there’s plenty of comfort too.
I got on with the Selle Italia X3 saddle, which sits atop a 27.2mm carbon fibre seatpost – again something of a rarity at this price. The Canyon H17 bar is slightly flattened along the tops and is paired with excellent gel-backed bar tape, which also brings a little colour to an otherwise mainly muted monochrome machine.
It’s very hard to criticise Canyon’s Endurace AL 7.0. It’s light, comfortable, superbly specced for the cash. Even the welds were smooth on the Mavic Aksium wheels, so there was none of that unwelcome clicking I’ve sometimes experienced.
The straight steerer is unusual but didn’t hamper handling, and the external cabling is also unusual to see these days – though it makes servicing easier even if it doesn’t aid the Endurace’s aesthetics. It’s a slightly unexciting look generally though for the Canyon, lacking the boldness of the Rose Pro SL and Specialized’s striking multicoloured Allez. But those are minor asides.
Do make sure you get the sizing right, though. According to Canyon’s website, at 176cm tall I should be riding a small, but I know from experience that the medium suits me better. So check the comprehensive geometry table before hitting that return button and you’ll be getting yourself an absolutely belting bargain of a bike.
Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 specifications
- Sizes (*tested): XS, S, M*, L, XL, XXL, XXXL
- Weight: 8.26kg
- Frame: Canyon Endurace AL
- Fork: Canyon 118 SL full carbon
- Chainset: Shimano 105, 52/36
- Bottom bracket: BSA
- Derailleurs: Shimano 105
- Shifters: Shimano 105
- Wheelset: Mavic Aksium
- Tyres: 25mm Continental Grand Prix
- Stem: Canyon V15
- Bar: Canyon H17 Ergo
- Saddle: Selle Italia X3
- Seatpost: Canyon SP43 VCLS
- Brakes: Shimano 105
Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 geometry
- Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
- Head angle: 72.5 degrees
- Chainstay: 41.5cm
- Seat tube: 53.7cm
- Top tube: 54.7cm
- Head tube: 17.5cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 7cm
- Wheelbase: 989mm
- Stack: 58.1cm
- Reach: 37.5cm
- Price: £999