Before this Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review, I had minimal exposure to carbon TT bikes. I’d ridden plenty of road bikes before, but riding the Speedmax, a full-fledged triathlon bike, I experienced a whole new level of fast. If you take triathlon or long distance road racing seriously, you will find what you are looking for in this brilliant bike.
The Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 is incredibly light – the size medium setup is only 8.5 kg – and aerodynamic, with all components chosen to make the Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 as agile as possible. I had the pleasure to try the bike both indoors using the Wahoo Kickr Snap Bike Trainer and the Zwift and Sufferfest apps and outdoors, commuting from Bristol to Bath too.
All the goodness included in the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 means the price is not cheap enough to make it an impulse buy. However, you more than get your money’s worth; Canyon always provides great value-for-money setups, and this is no exception.
Prices range from as low as £2,099 for the entry level Speedmax, all the way up to £9,199 for the fully tricked-out, limited edition Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 LTD. The model I rode is £4,299.
In my preliminary review I mentioned that the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 has some surprisingly casual features and as much as I still stand by that statement, I must admit that the rigid carbon frame and the narrow cockpit design won’t make this bike a go-to choice for commuters. Not like that is an issue for people who will consider buying this beauty.
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Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review: overview and components
There are quite few varieties of the Canyon Speedmax – 18 to be precise – and what I get to test was the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 model that comes equipped with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset. We are talking about full-Ultegra setup here: ultra-precise electronic shifting, smooth derailleur and snappy brakes. Not your Average Joe mountain bike, the one you bought at B&Q for £200.
The Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 has a full-carbon Canyon frame and fork, both contributing to the overall lightness and stiffness of this aero bike. Carbon TT frames like the Speedmax CF tend to be more rigid than the steel/aluminium variety which might take some getting used to, especially if all you rode before were dutch-style commuter bikes.
Even taking into account all the goodness listed above, if you are anything like me, what you’ll appreciate the most are the DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut wheels. These wheels not only look amazing, but they slice through the air like a knife as you ride. They are also the best example what makes the Speedmax such a great value for money: just the wheels alone would set you back over a £1,000, should you decide to buy them separately.
The Fizik Mistica saddle has been chosen for maximum comfort over longer distances; in theory, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2’s saddle should be comfortable enough to be ridden on for the full Ironman distance (112 miles). In practice, they are still pretty firm, especially if you are in racing position, although the stubby nose of the saddle helps in not feeling too much pressure in the crotch area.
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Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review: ergonomics
As mentioned earlier, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 is an aero bike and was designed to go fast – but only if you are in aero position, leaning onto the aero bars. There are drop bars, of course, but if you’re after speed, you’d better get used to getting into a more aggressive riding position.
Riding in said position is not the most comfortable thing in the world but the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 will make it as painless as possible. Almost everything can be adjusted on the bike: seat-height, the angle and position of the saddle, the angle of the handlebar, the length of the aero bars, you name it. Racing position will never be truly comfortable but on the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2, it will at least be bearable.
The Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset provides silky-smooth electric shifting which can be operated with the buttons on the aero bars (left hand – front, right hand – rear). But that is not all: the rear derailleur can also be adjusted with the buttons on the drop bar. This makes the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 a good choice even for commuting; not necessarily for urban commuting but for going the distance and commute between cities on the road.
This model comes with rim brakes which works okay but considering the sheer power of the bike, I would recommend adding disc brakes to the setup. Disc brakes are widely used nowadays in professional cycling and as much as they are not needed everywhere, they will make you feel slightly more in control of your trusty steed.
There is a little storage box at the front of the frame for small snacks and tools but you will need to source the bottle holders yourself (there are slots for two on the frame) as well as any additional storage units, should you require more.
The rigidness of the frame also means that you will feel every bump on the road and the shock from the ground will be transferred over to your bones, especially your upper arm, as you cycle on uneven road. There is no way around it, if you want to harness the power of the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2, you will need to lean into the aero bars and pedal in racing position for the best possible impact force reduction.
Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review: other Speedmax models
I found the Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 setup the absolute Goldilocks-zone version of the bike (especially if you add those disc brakes), but Canyon offers more than just one Speedmax setup. The Speedmax models are grouped into two categories: the CF line consisting of 11 bikes and the higher specced CF SLX line of seven different models. None of the models feel “dumbed-down”, however, and even the cheapest models on the list will have plenty of mouth-watering features.
For example, the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 is £1,600 cheaper than the CF 8.0 Di2 and only weighs 100 grams more than the CF 8.0 Di2. The CF 8.0 also has a carbon frame and fork but lacks the electric shifting: it uses a Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset instead, which is still more than capable. The Mavic Comete Pro Carbon Exalith wheels are just icing on the cake really.
Have more money to burn? Get the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 LTD, sporting a Canyon Speedmax CF SLX frame, a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic drivetrain and Zipp’s 858 NSW wheelset. Given the hefty price tag – a whopping £9,199 – this bike comes with premium service included: after Canyon received your order, “experts will reach out and work together with you to personalise your bike, so you get your Speedmax exactly the way you want it out of the box.” Amen.
Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 review: verdict
The Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 is a versatile triathlon bike; definitely more versatile than your average road bike. Thanks to the shifters on the drop bars and the fully adjustable seat/handlebars, you can make sure the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 is comfortable enough, even for longer rides.
If you can withstand the racing position for longer than five seconds, you can take full advantage of the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2’s speed and acceleration. The stiff Canyon Speedmax CF carbon frame – combined with the Canyon H30 Basebar Flat CF handlebar and the gorgeous DT Swiss ARC 1400 Dicut wheels – will slice through the air and create way less resistance than most of the competition out there.
It’s highly unlikely anyone apart from people with keen interest in triathlon racing will consider buying the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2, but that’s okay. If you are planning on buying a triathlon bike for racing and/or training, move the Speedmax CF 8.0 Di2 to the top of candidate list: it is a worthy investment.