Can the new Canyon Endurace CFR replace an aero bike?

Conor Dunne tries switching from his beloved Aeroad to the new endurance model from Canyon

Clock09:00, Saturday 19th August 2023

GCN's very own Conor Dunne is stepping away from his aero race bike, in favour of an endurance bike. With the release of Canyon's new and updated Endurace, is an endurance bike what we should all be riding?

Canyon’s Endurace

Canyon announced the Endurace platform to the world in 2014 as an endurance road bike, built for the purpose of big rides with a more relaxed fit and more emphasis on comfort than out and out speed. The Endurace has been used by the pros in some of the toughest races such as Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, offering a more relaxed fit for those gruelling races where getting to the end in the best condition is what matters most.

This new model doesn’t deviate from the original ethos but rather builds on it and brings it bang up to date with what you would want from an endurance bike in 2023. The relaxed geometry remains relatively unchanged with a fit that is somewhere between the fit of an Aeroad and the Grail gravel bike.

An iconic design feature of the Endurace range was the VCLS split seat post that acted like a leaf spring offering compliance to the saddle. The new version two VCLS has a far lower clamping point in the frame, this allows for even more compliance, with Canyon claiming up to 20mm something that will make a massive difference on those long rides on rough roads.

One of the best features of this new version Endurace is its ability to accept larger volume tyres than the outgoing models. Canyon stock the Endurace with 32mm tyres however the frame and fork have been designed with enough clearance for up to a 35mm tyre. This really opens up what the Endurace is capable of, making it a true all road style adventure road bike that can handle light gravel with ease.

Canyon have also focused on making this new Endurace faster by refining the tube profiles. An all new fork with slender legs has been paired with a narrower head tube and new shape down tube that Canyon have claimed make this frame seven watts faster than the old frame at 45km/h.

Canyon’s Aeroad

The bike that Conor switched from is Canyon’s aero race bike offering the Aeroad CF SLX. This bike doesn’t need much of an introduction having just taken the world road race title under Mathieu Van Der Poel and four stage wins in the Tour de France under Jasper Phillipsen.

Canyon had one clear objective when creating the Aeroad: to make the fastest race bike possible. The bike has been designed to be incredibly stiff with every last watt going into driving the bike forward as well as having far narrower tyre clearances and most importantly a far more aggressive fit to allow riders to get into a really aerodynamic position whilst riding.

The chucky profiles of the frame make the bike very responsive but also more unforgiving than a bike built with the intention of riding all day on tarmac that might be in anything but perfect condition. This hasn’t stopped current world champion Mathieu Van Der Poel from riding a prototype Aeroad to victory at this year’s Paris Roubaix.

Canyon officially only certified the Aeroad to have a max tyre compatibility of 30mm although it is reported that Van Der Poel was using 32mm prototype Vittoria Corsa tyres at Roubaix. In the real world running a larger tyre than the manufacturer states could result in a warranty claim being denied.

Why change from Super bike to endurance bike?

There are a couple of factors at play that really make Canyon’s Endurace a real contender as the bike of choice. First and foremost, the Endurace is a bike that has been built for comfort on rough roads with tyre clearance for large volume tyres and a frame designed to soak up some of the harshness.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t get to ride around on perfectly smooth tarmac every ride, and the reality is that mega stiff bikes and rough roads can actually lead to not only discomfort but also early onset fatigue.

Additionally, the riding position is far more achievable for mere mortals. Like any pro developed thoroughbred race machine, the Aeroad is designed to put the rider in the most aerodynamic profile possible. This is achieved by having a very low front end so that your torso is in the silhouette of your shoulders.

It is undeniable that this position is incredibly efficient, but the more pressing question would be is it achievable? For a lot of us riding is a hobby that we do for the love of it, crunching up into an aggressive aero position isn't actually attainable for a lot of us and can very quickly ruin the enjoyment of a ride.

The fit the Endurace offers in comparison to the Aeroad is far more relaxed, it is by no means a mountain bike but it does allow for the rider to have the bars a little closer to them and have a little more stack height. These changes allow the rider to rotate on the saddle into a less strenuous position that will increase comfort and in some cases the power achievable.

With the new design Endurace accepting larger volume tyres, this also opens up what can be ridden. Sections of light gravel or bridleways can be included on rides with little consideration, with the bigger clearances and more relaxed geometry venturing off the roads is far more manageable than it would be on the Aeroad.

Canyon worked in collaboration with Swiss Side to optimise the Endurace’s profile, with a claimed saving of seven watts over the outgoing frame. This doesn’t mean it is as aero as the Aeroad but it does bring it in line with trends in the endurance bike market.


The Aeroad is a no holds barred, race bike built around speed and power transfer above all else. For racers this is a great choice to get all the free speed possible as well as allowing for a really aggressive aero position to be adopted.

For Conor much like many of us out there, the need or even ability to adopt an aggressive position just isn't there anymore. The discomfort from the strain in the lower back can make rides of any length uncomfortable and discouraging to push on further.

It is great to see the trend of endurance bikes moving in line with the growing demand for adventure riding. An endurance bike certainly isn’t the right tool for riders that want that feeling of pure speed, but if that doesn’t sound like you then an endurance bike shouldn't be overlooked.

With the ability to tackle light gravel mixed in to tarmac adventures the endurance bike could really be the do-it-all bike.

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