By Chris Carmichael,
Founder and Head Coach of CTS
If you want to get a sense for the quality, durability, and versatility of a bicycle, you need to get feedback from cyclists with a range of body sizes, experience levels, and riding styles. I can tell you I love a certain bike, but that’s the perspective of a 61-year-old cyclist who doesn’t race on the road anymore and is more interested in comfort than bottom bracket stiffness – particularly this year as I deal with pain from my arthritic hip and deteriorating knee. To get a more complete view of the Canyon Endurace CF SL 8 Disc, I’ve compiled feedback from several CTS Coaches who – like me – have ridden the bike for past year.
I rode about 8,000 miles in 2021, most of them on a Canyon Endurace CF SLX Disc equipped with SRAM Red AXS and DT Swiss ERC 1100 wheels. After riding Shimano Di2-equipped bikes for several years, this was my first experience with SRAM’s wireless electronic component group. As someone who travels a lot and frequently forgets to charge batteries, the fact AXS batteries are interchangeable between the front and rear derailleurs came in handy a few times. Electronic shifting – whether wired or wireless – makes packing, unpacking, and rebuilding bikes easier than bikes with mechanical shifting, too. With a SRAM Powerlink and AXS, you can simply disconnect the chain and remove the rear derailleur if you’re concerned about the drivetrain getting damaged when shipping the bike.
As for the Canyon-specific components and frame, I was impressed by the balance the bike achieves in terms of comfort, quickness, and steadiness. Some bikes with “endurance geometry” stray too far from the characteristics that make bikes fun and responsive on the road, but the Endurace doesn’t feel like a gravel bike masquerading as a road frame. It’s a fast road bike with some added versatility. And as the oldest coach on the CTS Coaching Staff, the slight suspension provided by VCLS seatpost was a welcome feature for smoothing out rough roads, expansion gaps, and potholes.
You might wonder why I point out steadiness as a notable feature of the Canyon Endurace. It’s something I notice about bikes when I’m in a coaching environment. I’m supremely confident in my handling skills but while teaching those skills I have, at times, needed to focus significant attention on keeping my own bike headed in the right direction. Not so with the Endurace; it is so solid, steady, and predictable that I can focus on coaching and not my own bike.
Feedback from CTS Coaches
As noted earlier, my preferences and responses to a bicycle might be different from yours and different from the other coaches on my staff. In this case, there was also a difference in components, too. The coaches below rode Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc bikes equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and DT Swiss E 1800 Spline wheels. The SL and SLX frame geometries are the same. CTS and Canyon have a partnership that provides CTS Coaches with bicycles.
John is a strong all-around rider, having raced road, MTB, gravel, and track in 2021. A former football player, John has learned to embrace and leverage his size and used his muscular frame to power to five National Championships on the velodrome this year.
“Being a professional cyclist and CTS coach, I have ridden many bikes in my career and the Canyon Endurace is one of the quickest fitting frames I have had the chance to ride. I felt comfortable on the bike almost instantly. As a bigger rider I love Canyon’s proprietary seat post that flexes more than most, providing a smooth ride over bumpy terrain without compromising speed. On top of that, when I’m in my most relaxed cycling position (on the hoods) I can still put myself in a proper position to fly down the descents without compromising the handling or scrubbing speed in the corners.”
Maddison is one of the younger coaches on our staff and he has unfortunately endured more severe injuries than most of us. He broke his back and suffered several other injuries a few years ago when a driver struck him with a car. Although he’s made a remarkable recovery, long miles and rough terrain can still be uncomfortable.
“The Canyon Endurace’s rider-focused geometry has kept me comfortable for long hours in the saddle at CTS camps, while still providing a snappy race feel when I need to put the power down out of the saddle. In my experience, it lives up to its hybrid namesake. While riding the Canyon Endurace at our CTS Tucson Training Camp I was impressed with how it handled the ever changing and often rough roads, reducing road chatter and fatigue over the course of a five-hour effort.”
Tristan is one of the fastest mountain bike racers we’ve ever had on the CTS Coaching Staff, and he also excels in road, gravel, and cyclocross events. For instance, he represented the US in the Elite field at the 2018 Cyclocross World Championships.
“Before throwing a leg over the Endurace for the first time, I thought the handling might be slow and unresponsive for carving tight descents around Brevard, North Carolina. I was happy and pleasantly surprised to be wrong. The Endurace feels like a pure race bike going downhill and solid and efficient going up. In the Blue Ridge Mountains, some of the best loops include both paved and gravel roads, so the fact the Endurace has the capacity to run light gravel tires is a big bonus. The suspension seat post and generous tire clearance encouraged quick excursions on dirt.”
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Jason is one of the most dependable workhorses during long rides at CTS Camps. When conditions get bad and everyone else is getting tired, I know I can rely on him to hold a strong and steady pace at the front of the group. He’s also a great road, gravel, and mountain bike racer, and coaches NBA Hall of Fame basketball player and CTS Contributing Editor, Reggie Miller.
“The Canyon Endurace is a do-everything bike. I rode it on paved and dirt roads all over California in the spring, and then decided to really put its versatility to the test by racing the 103-mile Blue Course at SBT GRVL in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on it. With the VCLS seat post, 35mm tires, endurance-oriented geometry, and less weight than burlier gravel bikes, I rode it to a top-20 finish.”
Jim was the first coach I hired when I founded CTS and he’s been with me through all 21 years. He is also one of the most accomplished cycling and para-cycling coaches in the United States, and he was awarded the Order of Ikkos medal for his role in coaching a US Paralympic medalist.
“My first experience with the Canyon Endurace bike was at a training camp in February. We had just received the bikes and had to unbox and build them right before the camp. I set mine up based on my measurements, installed my pedals, pumped up the tires and away we went. That week we rode 500km in six days and I never thought about the bike once. That is an amazing quality and perhaps the best compliment I can give it. Normally I expect it to take a few rides to settle into a bike, but the Endurace just fit. I felt comfortable climbing and descending Mt Lemmon, cruising along the flat roads and sprinting out of corners. It was remarkable to be able to set up a bike and just ride with no worries or concerns.”
Tracey lives in Asheville, North Carolina and has the enviable opportunity to climb and descend on narrow, twisty country roads in the area. She is also one of our top road skills coaches, helping new or timid cyclists ride safely, confidently, and quickly through corners and down steep descents.
“From the first ride, Canyon Endurace has been a sturdy, yet nimble, bike. The Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifting is precise and with the semi-compact drivetrain (52/36 chainrings and 11×34 cassette) it is a comfortably smooth and responsive climber. Whether sustained climbs or short, pitchy efforts requiring acceleration, the Endurace delivers. One of the best features for me is the way Endurace allows the rider to descend with total confidence. The endurance-oriented geometry inspires confidence, and the Shimano Ultegra brakes perform flawlessly on tight descents in the Appalachians and on extended downhill straight-a-ways like Mt. Lemmon.”
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