In Australia this Ultegra Di2 disc brake bike retails for $6,999. How does it come together in the workshop… after it’s stripped back?
Okay, there’s ‘The Build Report’ and there’s a Canyon build report. The former is what you’ll see more of below, but the latter goes like this (and it’s a quote from the editor who insists he’s no mechanic): “It was easy. Box to bike, all done in 14 minutes 55 seconds. And that includes chatting to camera to document it all.”
Even for a mechanic like me it’s rare to find a bike that comes together in such a short amount of time.
Canyon has done a great job to ensure the consumer overcomes a potentially major hurdle and they’ve pulled it off in style. Believe the claims that you will be able to put the bike together quickly straight from the box. It’s true.
Preparation is first-class; if this was sold in a bike shop the staff mechanic would be pretty happy about opening a Canyon box… the job is already done.
Build it up, strip it down…
This was my first experience of pulling a Canyon bike apart and I was intrigued and also keen to see how the frames are constructed. Considering the price, it would be easy for the brand to cut costs on the frame, but the priority is quality and it appears they are meeting that quest.
The internals are pretty amazing!
All the carbon is laid down perfectly and all moulded holes in the frame are finished flawlessly.
Even the inside of the steerer tube was of a quality I have only seen before on a Look frame; the resin is pressed perfectly and it presents with a sheen showing no imperfections. It’s clear the workmanship is top shelf.
Most of the technical elements of the build are taken care of in the factory. When shipped to the customer the cables are cut to a suitable length, the battery is charged and in position (wrapped in foam to minimise the risk of noise). Fasten a few bolts and you’re ready to ride.
Constructed with the customer in mind
Canyon’s ‘Aerocockpit”, as they call it, has an integrated look without the hassles inherent with some other brands. The handlebars use small plastic covers that hold the cables neatly underneath. This is great to keep things in order but it does so without the bother of threading cables through small holes.
The arrangement on this Di2 equipped bike is the same as used on mechanical shifting models.
With the hydraulic lines it was a bit fiddly putting the covers over the cables but it is a better arrangement than an internal cable.
The holes for the hydraulic lines could be a little larger; if they did this with the use of a plastic grommet it would mean you could remove the cables without chopping off the barb and olive to remove the fixing screw for the brakes.
The Di2 junction box sits neatly underneath the stem; it looks great but it could potentially be awkward when it’s time to charge the battery, but I definitely prefer this design over something attached to a stem with a piece of rubber.
Cable routing on the frame works well; the Di2 battery has a small cradle that is held at the base of the down tube. This touch isn’t a necessity but it does allow a mechanic to get to the battery easily without dismantling the seatpost.
For the end user it’s the same: if you are taking out a post for travel there isn’t any chance of losing the Di2 cable.
The lower junction box sits next to the battery and it is prone to rattling but on the Canyon it is wrapped in foam to protect it from making noise inside the frame. I have done this to lots of bikes in the workshop but have never seen a bike supplier offer this straight from the factory. Canyon assured me that this build is the same as any bike delivered to customers. Such attention to detail is amazing.
Seatpost fastening is achieved with a tidy little allen bolt at the rear of the frame. Once tightened, hide this bolt with a supplied rubber cover… and ride away.
Attaching the brakes to the frame
The bike receives the latest flat-mount disc brake calipers from Shimano; a neat, simple mounting system at the rear. The bolts go straight through to the stays and are almost hidden. (Note: these are a lot easier to install with the wheel off to get your hexkeys into.)
The front mount design does have a bit of double up in bolts… This would be the same for most flat mounts but it’s the first time I have seen them used.
The bolts mount onto the caliper and the unit bolts into the fork.
Again, I am confident other bikes use this but it does defeat the purpose of the flat-mount somewhat as, essentially, the front caliper is mounted the same as the mount it has superseded.
Ultegra Di2 disc brakes on a bike that weighs in at 7,658g…
Bottom bracket without adapters
The Ultimate has a press-fit bottom bracket and, in the BB386 shell, uses a Shimano bottom bracket to eliminate extra parts with a step down system. Canyon has used the correct solution of a press-fit unit. There are a lot less issues with creaking on the step down adapters.
The BB was installed at the factory with a lot of grease, another tick in favour of the company’s assembly process.
The headset is an integrated design so replacing bearings is easy. Canyon does, however, do things a little differently up front: it has a 1 and 1/4 inch headtube instead of the traditional one inch (or tapered).
This is becoming popular, with brands like Giant using the same, but it does limit your stem choice if you were to ever want to replace the stem. The brands (that I am aware of) offering solutions for this are Giant, Zipp or Fouriers. The design does, however, offer great stiffness and a lighter weight.
Canyon has gone all out with inclusions. For the first time in a decade I’ve seen an owner’s manual that actually answers every question about putting a bike together.
They also include a torque wrench; although it is basic, at least everything is included in the box for assembling – no need to run off to the bike shop or hardware store for tools.
Black bikes are much of a muchness but something about the finish of this Canyon just makes it look great! The aesthetic screams ‘cool’. I think it comes down to the dark grey accents on the top tube which work really well with the Mavic wheels. Matched with smooth, flowing lines of the tubing, integrated bar/stem and seatpost clamp, and you have a bike that looks clean and is functional. All this is no easy feat with disc brakes as they can be cluttered with cables – but Canyon has done it well.
I have to applaud Canyon on the build. To be able to get a bike out of the box and, within 15 minutes, be on the road is something rare in the industry.