IRONMAN. The sheer mention of it conjures up images of the greatest endurance athletes on the planet, a title given to those who complete a grueling 140+ mile race consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 bike ride and a 26.22 mile run. And it’s a title that can only be earned when you have absolute faith in the gear you’ve chosen to help you complete such an unparalleled endurance event.
Enter the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD. Canyon’s a brand that’s noted tremendous success at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, with Mercedes brand ambassador Jan Frodeno riding Canyon when he took home two championship titles in 2015 and 2016 followed by Patrick Lange’s victories aboard a Canyon in 2017 and 2018. That’s four IRONMAN World Championships the last four years, and Canyon’s Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD is the result of this race success, a mid-priced bike packed with technology and aerodynamic prowess at a price unrivaled in the industry.
Canyon’s business model is both simple and revolutionary: build insanely fast bikes, cut out the middlemen and sell/ship directly to riders.
Canyon’s business model is both simple and revolutionary: build insanely fast bikes, cut out the middlemen and sell/ship directly to riders. And it’s because of this streamlined model you can pick up the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD for $5,500, despite a feature set typically relegated to much higher priced triathlon/time trial bikes. I’ve owned numerous triathlon bikes over the years from every top bike maker, and I can tell you hands down there’s no better value than what Canyon is putting out right now. You pick your bike on Canyon.com and they ship it straight to your door. You assemble and you’re ready to ride.
I already know what you’re thinking – a tri bike shipped straight to your door? What about shipping damage? What about setup? What about the fit? I’m going to detail my experience with my personal Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD to not only give you a better idea of what to expect, but also to show you how well Canyon has revolutionized the bike buying process.
The number one question is “Why did I pick the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD?” And the answer is, I was looking for the fastest bike that offered me the most value for my money. With the Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD, you’re getting a bike based on the three-time Kona winning Canyon Speedmax CF SLX for $5,500. Built on a lightweight carbon fiber frame and Aeroblade Super Light (SL) fork, the technology stack is loaded. Some of the highlights include a Zipp 404 and 808 Firecrest wheelset, Shimano Ultegra DI2 front and rear derailleurs (11-speed), Shimano Ultegra DI2 brake levers, Shimano DI2 push button shifters, and Shimano Ultegra cranks. The bars and stem are both produced by Canyon with Profile 35A extensions, and the seat is a Fizik Mistica. Put it all together, and you’ve got a lightning quick IRONMAN-ready race rig for under $6,000.
For women, Canyon also makes a companion model dubbed the Canyon Speedmax CF WMN 8.0 LTD for the same price of $5,500. From a technology standpoint it’s packed with an almost identical feature set as the non-women’s version including Zipp 303 and 808 Firecrest wheels and a Shimano Ultra Di2 groupset, but with an altered geometry and fit that offers a second option if you’re a female rider looking to fine-tune your performance and comfort.
Question number two is “How’s the assembly? Is it overly difficult?” And the answer is that for anyone with basic mechanical skills, assembly is a breeze. With my Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD, it came shipped in Canyon’s superlative BikeGuard box, a reusable bike shipping box that keeps everything secure and protected during shipment. The rear end comes completely assembled, simply adjust seat height and tighten, while front setup is simply installing the front wheel and attaching the aero bars to the stem (along with a few other minor tweaks). That’s it – no wiring, nothing difficult – and it’s ready to ride. And the best part is that every tool you need for assembly is included, including a torque wrench, and the instructions are perfectly clear and easy to follow, making assembly as simple as possible.
And on the topic of bike assembly, if you’re new to an IRONMAN (or any triathlon for that matter), it’s vital you either have or acquire a basic level of mechanical skills when it comes to your ride. Get yourself a quality bike toolkit (we love bike tools from Pedro’s) and get familiar with your tri-bike so you can fine-tune it for yourself. Mechanical breakdowns have the potential to end a race you’ve spent six months training for, so it’s best to be as familiar with your bike as possible. The beauty of Canyon is that because you’re assembling the bike yourself, you’ll have a basic knowledge of how your bike is put together from day one, giving you a huge head start as to how to fix things if something goes wrong.
Question three you may have is “What about bike fit?” One of the things I love about the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD is how easy it is to fine-tune the fit to your needs. If you’re new to triathlons you’re going to hear over and over the importance of having your bike professionally fit. And there’s certainly merit to that sentiment, especially for anyone attempting to win their age group and all professional racers, where every single second matters. On the flip side, I completed my first IRONMAN without a professional fitting, so I can tell you that a professional fitting isn’t always required. The beauty of training for the IRONMAN is that riding for an extended period reveals any flaws in your system. When you’re on a three hour ride, it’s easy to feel if something hurts or isn’t comfortable and make your own adjustments. And while perfect aero position for the full ride is what everyone wishes for, as an amateur, you’re better being a little more comfortable in a slightly less aero position than being more aero in a position you can’t hold the full ride.
I tell you all of this for a simple reason – I’m riding my Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD, and will compete in an IRONMAN riding it – without a professional fit. That’s how confident I am in how well I have it dialed in – the fit is superb. As with any bike, the Canyon can be taken to a local tri-bike fitment specialist if you’re concerned about fit, but after a few five hour rides I’ve got my Canyon dialed in perfectly to where I need it to be, both comfort and pace-wise, no special fitment required, and I’m confident everyone can do the same.
“How well does it ride?” The answer is, phenomenally well.
And the final question is “How well does it ride?” And the answer is it rides phenomenally well. As with most things, speed usually comes at the expense of comfort. The fastest bikes aren’t the most comfortable, and the most comfortable bikes aren’t he fastest. The Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD straddles the edge of performance and comfort – offering an abundance of speed and superb power transfer but with enough comfort to keep you feeling good throughout your ride. This is paramount for me, because knowing I have a marathon to run at the end of my 112 mile ride, I need a bike that’s not only fast but also one that isn’t going to punish me by being overly stiff. And that’s exactly where the Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD sits – supremely fast with just the right amount of comfort. It’s agile when I need it to be, quick up the hills with no power loss if I have to stomp the pedals, and an all-around superb bike. I’m happier riding my Canyon Speedmax more than any bike I’ve ridden before, which is about the highest praise I can give it.
Can a tri-bike shipped straight to your door deliver? The answer is unequivocally yes. Canyon is disrupting the bike industry by cutting out the middlemen, and the benefit is a faster, better bike at a lower cost. If you’re on the fence as to what your next triathlon/time trial bike should be, I highly recommend putting Canyon at the top of your list.
You can check out the Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 LTD and the full range of Canyon bikes at the official Canyon.com website.