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New bike advice: Canyon Ultimate SL vs. SLX

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New bike advice: Canyon Ultimate SL vs. SLX

Old 07-29-20, 11:26 AM
  #1  
tsmith41094
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New bike advice: Canyon Ultimate SL vs. SLX

Hi all,

Looking into getting a Canyon Ultimate but am torn on what direction to go with the model.

I'm bouncing between 2 options right now:

1. Ultimate SLX on their "Outlet" section (new bike, but year-old model): $3,400
  • Ultegra mechanical
  • Rim brakes
  • Mavic Cosmic Pro Exalith carbon wheels
  • Slightly lighter/more complex carbon layup
2. New Ultimate SL: $2,999
  • Ultegra mechanical
  • Disc brakes
  • DT Swiss P 1800 spline aluminum rims
Key component difference is the brakes and wheels.

Do you think the slightly-lighter frame + better wheels on the SLX outweighs the Disc brakes, "brand new bike", and slightly-lower price elements of the SL?

Not sure how noticeable the difference in the frames/wheels really is to a typical rider. Weight diff. is supposedly only 100g or so. But do think there is quite a difference in braking performance between rim and disc (know I'm opening up a can of worms here).

Any perspective would be much appreciated, thanks!
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Old 07-29-20, 02:25 PM
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IMHO, if you are cool with rim brakes go with the better frame and wheels, those are some of the most expensive bits to upgrade, if you gotta have disc brakes, do a lot of downhill or wet riding then you could pivot the other way.
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Old 07-29-20, 04:47 PM
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As you say, you might not even notice the difference between the two frames. The weight difference is quarter filled water bottle. So if you take that out of the equation you are really asking is the wheel upgrade worth $500? Carbon rims and caliper brakes are not known for the stellar braking ability so keep that in mind.

If it was me, I would go for the less expensive bike. No one that I know has ever said that they hated disk brakes after they tried them.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by taco2ewsday View Post
IMHO, if you are cool with rim brakes go with the better frame and wheels, those are some of the most expensive bits to upgrade, if you gotta have disc brakes, do a lot of downhill or wet riding then you could pivot the other way.
I would easily lean toward the better frame and wheels here because the difference between rim and disk isn't enough to convince me to forego a better frame and wheels at the price difference.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:14 PM
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Appreciate the replies. Can see the argument on both sides.

The other factor I'm trying to consider is that this will be somewhat of a backup bike to my primary bike for now. For that reason, I'd like to be able to take it out in crappier conditions without having to worry (and also use it on the trainer quite a bit).

I think that's where I keep getting hung up on the disc brake piece of it. My current bike is disc and I can't even remember what tit feels like to ride rim brakes.

At the same time though, my current bike is a nicer frame with nice carbon wheels so I don't know if I've been too spoiled to go back the other direction in those areas.
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Old 07-30-20, 08:27 AM
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If there's only 100g difference in total bike weight between the two, this seems like a no brainer. The only way I'd consider a carbon wheel/rim brake bike is if I was seeking something specifically ultra-lightweight.

It might go without saying, but a carbon wheel/rim brake bike is not a good choice for wet roads.

Also, having two disc bikes allows you the option of swapping wheels between them if needed.
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Old 07-30-20, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
If there's only 100g difference in total bike weight between the two, this seems like a no brainer. The only way I'd consider a carbon wheel/rim brake bike is if I was seeking something specifically ultra-lightweight.

It might go without saying, but a carbon wheel/rim brake bike is not a good choice for wet roads.

Also, having two disc bikes allows you the option of swapping wheels between them if needed.
Good point on the wheels. Hadn't really considered that. Probably makes sense to have fewer different systems.

I guess in theory too you can always upgrade the wheels, but you can't really upgrade rim brakes to disc brakes.
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Old 08-03-20, 10:01 AM
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OK, sorry to drag this thread on but I'm starting to think about another potential option.

Currently leaning towards going with the slightly less expensive disc brake version.

But I saw another model on their side with the same build but with Di2 for $1,000 more.

Trying to figure out if getting Di2 is worth that premium. I wonder if it will pay off in terms of less maintenance/hassle. I've had Di2 on my other bike for the last 3-4 year and have yet to have a single issue with it whatsoever. Don't know if that would be the case if I went with mechanical.
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Old 08-04-20, 08:44 AM
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My biggest regret after I purchased my Domane is that I didn't go Di2. At the time the cost was the main factor. I had the money, I just didn't want to spend it. Fast forward eight months and I am currently upgrading my bike to Di2. The bright side is I have an extra Ultegra 8000 group to use at my whim.
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Old 08-04-20, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
My biggest regret after I purchased my Domane is that I didn't go Di2. At the time the cost was the main factor. I had the money, I just didn't want to spend it. Fast forward eight months and I am currently upgrading my bike to Di2. The bright side is I have an extra Ultegra 8000 group to use at my whim.
Thanks for the reply, very helpful.

What made you pull the trigger on the upgrade? Were you having issues with the 8000?
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Old 08-04-20, 10:27 AM
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Be aware that the outlet bikes are non-returnable. If you get the new bike and hate it, you can return it. Rim brakes and mavic wheels would be a negative for me too.
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Old 08-04-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Rim brakes and mavic wheels would be a negative for me too.
Is that a Mavic-specific comment or a general carbon rims/rim brake comment? Not super familiar with the brand/reputation.
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Old 08-04-20, 10:50 AM
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Mavic has been around for ever but they tend to use proprietary parts (spokes) and they were acquired by an equity company last year, so who knows what the future holds for them. Cosmic Pro are generally good wheels though.

Since Canyon doesn't have a dealer network, they advertise their "30 day test ride" so you can check out the bikes yourself but that doesn't apply to outlet bikes, and that would be the biggest negative for me.
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Old 08-04-20, 10:57 AM
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In the year 2020, I can't imagine any Mavic wheel part being more than 2 days away. Do people really worry about this?
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Old 08-04-20, 01:17 PM
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I recently bought a Canyon Ultimate SL w/ hydraulic discs, Shimano Ultegra 8000 mechanical series, and the DT Swiss 1800 wheels. I was looking for something with a more relaxed geometry than my BMC Teammachine SLR01 and the ability to go to lower gearing (the 11-32 cassette works fine with the short cage rear derailleur) than the Campy Record EPS V3 drive train on the BMC) I seriously doubt anyone can tell the difference the SL and the SLX layup and the half a water bottle weight difference is inconsequential to me. The disc brakes were just an added perk as far as I am concerned.

I am very, very happy with my choice. The bike is everything I want and $400 cheaper than the SLX. That said, I'm not crazy about the wheel set, but since I roll my own, putting together a suitable wheel set using DT 350 hubs, Sapin spokes, brass nipples and Hed C2 Belgium tubular rims will be a nice winter time project. That'll give me an even smoother ride and shed those extra ounces as well.

My BMC has rim brakes and it's wheel set uses the same alloy HED tubular rim I'd use on any wheels I build for the Canyon. So braking on the BMC is more than adequate for my needs. Granted the discs on the Canyon are incrementally more authoritative and easier to modulate, but that alone wouldn't have made my choice.

Either way, I think you'll enjoy whichever Canyon you chose. I'm very happy with mine.
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