Canyon SpeedMax – First Impressions

Canyon SpeedMax CF 8 eTapMid April, I got my Canyon SpeedMax CF 8 Disc Sram Force eTap AXS and I’m writing this post to give you my impressions of it.

After the LBS put it together, I took it out for a first spin on April 15th.

I took some kit with me to make (minor) adjustments, as the bike was set to match the Sensa Dura Integra‘s position and I have experienced before that this never works out.

While those are adjustments I can do myself, I did experience a problem with the Force eTap AXS shifting.

The guy at the LBS had already told me he couldn’t quite figure out everything and it showed.

These shifting problems were not really preventing me from riding, as in my pancake flat, below sea level backyard, I do not need more than 3 gears anyway, but still.

So, after a couple of rides, I decided to make an appointment with the Canyon service center, which I probably should have done right away, so they would have assembled the bike…

As it turned out, there was a screw in both front and rear derailleur that was damaged and needed to be replaced.

Unfortunately, those screws were part of a kit and obviously, that was not in stock.

I eventually got the bike back more than a week later and on May 7th, I had my second “maiden voyage” with it.

With the shifting problems fixed, coupled with the experience of the previous 8 rides I had with it already, I was even more happy.

And impressed…

Speaking of impressed: I’ve been catching quite a few fellow cyclists turning their head or (trying to) ride alongside me to admire my SpeedMax CF 8 Disc.

Obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think it’s safe to say this bike is a beauty.

And surprisingly comfortable to ride (with) too…

There’s no doubt that riding a TT bike is an “acquired taste” and not for everyone.

You’re putting your joints and muscles in angles that are sub-optimal to produce power output, but at the same time your body is in a position that optimises aerodynamics.

Just holding that position also involves a whole lot of other muscles you wouldn’t use when riding upright, but the more/longer you train, the better you get at it.

Also, riding an “all out” time trial of > 30 kilometres, requires a high level of tolerance for pain and actually never is comfortable.

But as a Knight of Sufferlandria (in voluntary exile), I seem to have that tolerance in abundance, which probably is why I even manage to ride my stupid “Grand Tours” in the high mountains in the first place.

As I have little – as in “none” – training ground nearby and only occasionally travel to the hilly south of my country, my only way to prepare myself for those, is by riding as much “sweet spot” (S3/S4) as possible.

And while it doesn’t really matter how, or on which bike you do that, I have grown accustomed to riding my TT bikes. I quite often go (close to) a full Ironman distance on them…

As of writing this post, I’ve made 52 trips, covering 3,200 kilometers with it.

None of those trips have been much longer than 100 kilometers, and the average is actually about the distance I’ve ridden the most, while hunting for “Local Legends” on (the same track(s) on) Strava 😂

Anyway, as most returning users (should) know, I’m not really qualified to get into technical details, so I’ll leave that to others.

Simply put: the Canyon SpeedMax CF 8 Disc is a treat to ride, plain and simple.

As written in my previous post, I had no prior experience with Sram, let alone (wireless) electronic shifting, but boy, it is something I wish I would have had before.

The electronic shifting, that is – I’m certain the Shimano equivalent is not any less of a pleasure, albeit not wireless (yet).

It does require a little reading to get the hang of pairing it with the AXS app on your smartphone and I’ve “lost” the shifting altogether after not following the correct procedure on occasion, but I’m used to it now.

The lights on the rechargeable batteries will warn you ahead of time when they need charging – you can check that in the Sram AXS app too, btw.

Depending on your build, you may have some fiddling to do with the arm rests and/or tilting of the cockpit. I only had to adjust the arm rests.

To my surprise, the bike came with a (bonus) integrated Quark power meter.

As I have Favero Assioma pedals, I don’t really need(ed) that and I’ve only tested it a couple of times.

That is, after I figured out there was an onboard power meter and that the LBS guy had not pulled the plastic shielding from the battery compartment 😂

So, I couldn’t find it (apps, Garmin Edge head unit) at first, but once I discovered that, I recorded a few rides with it and it’s accurate within a few Watts.

At least compared to my Tacx Neo 2T, which I use as reference – the Assioma pedals are on par with that and so is the Quark.

While I have always had a little trouble tackling corners with my Sensa, I quickly found out that the SpeedMax “behaves” a lot better.

Exactly like my previous “climbing bike” (Sensa Trentino CX) was a lot more nervous than the Trek Domane I have now, so was the Dura Integra. The Canyon just feels more stable and “relaxed”.

However, other than the electronic shifting – which never misses – the biggest advantage and improvement over my Sensa Dura Integra, are the disc brakes.

This makes me more confident approaching corners, but even more so, the brake power under wet conditions is infinitely better.

Plus, the occasional – but more often than I would like – emergency brake, is resulting in a faster stop and fewer wheel blockages, which in turn spares the tires.

And where I’ve had a 3:5 ratio on my Sensa regarding flats, i.e. on average 3 flats in 5 rides, even if slightly exaggerated, the Canyon hasn’t given me one yet.

That may well have to do with the (rim of the) wheels. I like Sensa’s own wheels, but those Zipp Firecrest wheels probably are of better quality.

Plus, they look even more badass, although it is beyond me why there are no tubes with 100 mm valves yet. I might eventually go tubeless, as the wheels are ready for that.

My LBS guy told me that the rear wheel did not come with a quick release lever, so I’d have to take a hex key with me, but little did he know that the one in the front wheel can be taken out and moved to the rear wheel 🤦‍♂️

In conclusion, I haven’t find anything to criticise the SpeedMax CF 8 Disc.

And with that, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, you know what to do 😎

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