27 September 2014

Next Model -- The Canyon Shark

Living in Japan, I suffer from some disadvantages when it comes to procuring inexpensive cycling items.  No ebay.  A poor selection of wheelgoods.  Expensive importer/dealer margins on some items.

But then again, there are some areas where I get an advantage over folks back in the ole U.S. of A.  One is Canyon bikes.  Canyon is German, of course, the frames come from China, and I can get them via mail order in Japan.  They do not ship into the U.S.A.  I just got my next carbon frame, a beautiful year-end closeout of an Ultimate CF SL 2014 XL-sized frame, for 115,000 yen plus shipping.  This is a highly regarded, even a great carbon frame, for just a bit over $1000.  It feels sturdier (especially a slightly beefier fork), but just as light as or lighter than, my 2011 version.  Not bad.

Now I just needed a groupset.

I decided to get Ultegra 6800 here in Japan through Hiroshi at C Speed.  At current exchange rates the cost does not vary too much if I buy it here or mail order, and SRAM Force 22, my other option, was only available for significantly more money.  The Ultegra 6800 has gotten good reviews -- just like excellent Dura Ace 9000, but a wee bit heavier.  So far, so good.  The shifting is VERY good, taking minimal effort, and the braking is really excellent, better than before.   The ergonomics of the shifters also seem an improvement over the 6600/7800 Shimano generation that I have been tied to this past almost a decade.  The cable routing is similar to SRAM -- both brake AND shifter cables run along the bars under the bar tape.  Much nicer and perhaps less likely to break than the 6600/7800 cables/brifters.  Time will tell.

And the crankset takes both 34, 36, 39 tooth inner and 50, 52, 53 tooth outer chainrings.  I got 52-36.  With a mid-cage rear derailleur I can have maximum rear gear range of 11-32, so spin up hills at 36-32 and go for it in a sprint in 52-11 ... not that I am sprinting so much these days.

The color is called "shark silver / cyan".  The cyan is just the blue accents.  The main color really does look kind of shark like, so to me this will be my Canyon Shark.  After first build up:

The bike really deserves the look of some fast-looking carbon deep rim wheels ...
The bike handles incredibly well.  I love riding it through turns.  Also, the Canyon set-back VCLS basalt/carbon seatpost really is comfortable.  My 2011 Canyon Ultimate CF had almost no spare fork crown about the headtube -- just enough for the Acros headset top and the stem -- but this one has extra room.  The bars seemed too high on the first ride so I moved the stem below the top spacer ... may need to move them further ... even to cut the top of the fork crown ...

The only thing I would change about the frame so far is ... the internal cable routing.  I had no problem getting the inner cables through the small plastic tubes Canyon placed inside the frame and secured with masking tape (see top photo).  But I struggled to remove the tube from the rear derailleur inner cable -- which runs internally all the way to the back end of the chainstay.  I hope I do not need to change cables for many years, if ever!

Since the weather forecast is dry and temperature moderate this weekend I will try the bike out on its first long ride with the Chiba 300 Brevet.

Ready for the Chiba 300 km 2014/10/25 Brevet, with lights added.
But the Shark really does deserve some fast looking wheels to complete the package.  White decals to go with the white seat and bar tape.  Like this:*

*These wheels fit only a 10-speed rear sprocket ... so cannot actually be ridden with the current set up.

Update November 2014:  I just received a Japanese language marketing email from Canyon to the effect that they are launching a customer/technical support capability in Japan from Decembe 1, 2014.  They will hold a launch event, and will have the 2015 models on display on November 24, 2014 in Daikanyama.  "Purito" Joaquin Rodriguez, Katasha star, will be in attendance.  For those of you who already ride Canyon, there is a by invitation customer event on the evening of the 23rd.


World Frequency Films said...

Hi, how tall are you? I'm 6'(183cm). I'm trying to decide a Canyon Ultimate between size L or XL. Thanks.

David Litt said...

I am 187cm - 6-2 on a good day, but fairly long through the torso so take a 120mm stem with this xl frame.
A lot depends on your leg/torso and also riding position. Enjoy!

World Frequency Films said...

I have 35.5"(90cm) inseam. I run 80~90mm stems on my usual 56cm frame size(56.5 effective top tube). I tend to get one size smaller so I'm not stretched out on the frame. So I think size Large would work for me. Also, I'm thinking about getting the 2016 Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 Aero with integrated bar. Now this is tricky. I run 44cm(C-C) width bar with very short stem 80~90mm. Those canyon integrated bar/stem systems don't have any combinations remotely close to what I want. So what to do here? Maybe just get the frameset without the integrated bar/stem? Is that possible? Also, what's the difference between the ME and EL models?

Thanks for the quick reply. Happy holidays!


David Litt said...

Generally Canyon has zero or very limited flexibility _ their business model for selling good inexpensive product and still making money ...!and perhaps dare I say it, consistent with the stereotypical national characteristic? Their way or the highway. So if it were me I would avoid the integrated bar-stem. In fact when I bought a Canyon they would not even swap out a stem size without an extra charge. And they used a 1 1/4 inch instead of 1 1/8 inch steerer so there were very limited aftermarket road stem choices when I decided I wanted 120mm instead of 119mm.

David Litt said...

119 -> 110
.... Fat fingers on an iPhone

Manfred von Holstein said...

The idea is that by selling everything off the shelf, they can keep the cost and therefore the prices low. So without modification necessary, the value you get is high. Or perhaps I should say, was high? I am amazed that the Ultimate CF with Dura-Ace now costs 4400 Euro. Mine was almost half of this when I bought it in 2008. OK, some components may have become even better and overall the bike has become 200 grams lighter, but double in price?? So perhaps Canyon isn't quite what it once was, and is now exploiting their name value.

David Litt said...

I guess once they started sponsoring pro tour teams--investing in branding--they needed to boost the margins.

World Frequency Films said...

I think they're aggressively trying to position themselves as a premium bike brand. They started with a humble beginning. Now they want to move up on the status. I did notice the pricing starts to shifting away from a good bang for the buck mail order cycling source. This past Black Friday and X-mas discount offerings have been very very disappointing :( I was hoping to snatch a deal on an SLX 9.0 Aero. I think there's only that blue and green Movistar complete bike was discounted. However it was only available in 2XL!