canyon ultimate cfr
The fifth generation Canyon Ultimate CFR; (photo/Canyon)

Canyon Ultimate Road Bike: Faster, Lighter, Stiffer, but Still Classic

Canyon targeted a highly balanced, classic carbon road race bike when it started work on the newest generation of the Ultimate 3 years ago. Today, it’s here.

Ergonomic updates, reduced drag thanks to the help of aero engineers Swiss Side, and low weight — even with reinforcement in high-stress areas — grace the Canyon Ultimate.

The decorated road build looks as svelte as ever in its fifth generation, more than a decade out from its first Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Championship under Cadel Evans in 2009. Now, geometry updates allow for 32mm tires, and aerodynamic updates save riders a claimed 10 watts of energy on the frameset alone.

Weight savings result in a claimed 6.3 kg (13.89 pounds) for the CFR Di2. That trades punches with the likes of the Trek Emonda and the Specialized S-Works Aethos.

canyon road bike
Canyon Ultimate CFR; (photo/Canyon)

“By reducing things to the essentials and by applying formal principles logically and consistently,” Canyon Senior Industrial Designer Lars Wagner said, the group developed what he called a “coherent” design. The brand also said it’s not “strictly” a climber’s rig — but from the looks of things, we sure wouldn’t mind spinning up a few hills on it.

Aero Updates and Weight Savings

Aero updates exist on a minute, sculpted scale. Where the seat stays meet the seat tube, they’re angled a tiny bit more aggressively than the Ultimate Gen 4. They’re also minutely thicker, reflecting Canyon’s attention to reinforcement and stiffness. Canyon says the head tube is considerably stiffer — a claimed 15% — to improve climbing response.

canyon ultimate cfr head tube

The updates came after analysis at Swiss Side, where it put its Formula 1 experience and supercomputer resources to work on the Ultimate. Finally, Canyon verified the results at the Immenstadt wind tunnel.

Canyon also spread out the areas and components it targeted for weight savings in an effort to minimize weak points. Changes to all the parts it developed are on board — the cockpit, seat post, and seat post clamp, plus the frame. That’s despite an extra 30 g in carbon layup at critical points — in this case, the aforementioned seat stays and the bottom bracket.

canyon ultimate cfr

The CFR Di2 is the featherweight in the three-unit stable, and the CF SLX meets the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) minimum 6.8kg (15-pound) weight requirement.

Rider Comfort, Accessories, and MSRP

Comfort adjustments focus on the seat post, the central connection between the rider and the road. You can lower your tire pressure, sure, but it matters less if you still have to bounce up and down on a pogo stick the whole way.

For that reason, Canyon built the Ultimate’s D-shaped aero post with an internal clamp that mounts low to increase its bending length. Situating it inside the frame triangle, Canyon kept it from interrupting the bike’s clean profile.

canyon road bike

Meanwhile, the Ultimate Gen 5 also gets the first proportionally scaled chainstays in the lineup’s history. In sizes L, XL, and 2XL, the bike’s chainstays are slightly longer (by scale) than their counterparts in the two smaller sizes. Target: better stability on twisty downhills for bigger riders.

canyon ultimate cfr

Every part and component gets optimized, down to the carbon bottle cage and 3D-printed, one-piece computer mount with lightweight titanium screws.

Overkill? Hard to say without getting on it, but the fifth generation of the Canyon Ultimate looks like it befits the beastly line. To do so, we’ll have to save up: the unisex lineup ranges from $2,673 (€2,699) MSRP to $10,891 for a full build. Alternatively, you can buy an Ultimate CFR frame and brake kit (everything but wheels, a chainset, and a saddle) for $4,950 MSRP.

canyon Ultimate road bike

The bikes had not yet gone live on Canyon’s website as of this writing. Find spec sheets for the Ultimate CFR line below.

canyon road bike specs
canyon road bike geometry
Canyon Ultimate CFR Disc
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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.