Enric Mas’ Vuelta a España climbing bike: Canyon Ultimate

Spanish rider and his Movistar team choose between Canyon’s aero Aeroad bike or the climbing-focused Ultimate

Clock13:00, Sunday 10th September 2023
Enric Mas' Canyon Ultimate at the Vuelta a España


Enric Mas' Canyon Ultimate at the Vuelta a España

It’s hard to find a more consistent rider at the Vuelta a España than Movistar’s Enric Mas. The Spaniard is an ever-present at the top of the general classification standings at his home Grand Tour, finishing second in three of the last five editions, in 2018, 2021 and 2022. In 2019 he was absent from the race, prioritising the Tour de France, while in 2020 he finished fifth, low by his high standards, but still an impressive result.

Once again the 28-year-old is back on home soil for the 2023 edition of the race, hoping to keep his strong general classification record going - at the time of writing, he's sitting fifth overall. If he’s to match previous successes come Madrid, he’ll have to overcome the strongest line-up in the race’s history.

Read more: The strongest Vuelta a España line-up in history

Mas’ hopes of another high finish rest in the mountains where the Spaniard usually excels, and where he’ll team up with Canyon’s Ultimate climbing bike.

Canyon’s lightweight climbing bike

The German brand’s lightweight climbing bike, Canyon officially released the fifth generation of the Ultimate in September of 2022. By that point it was cycling’s worst kept secret, having been used for a lot of the season by Canyon-sponsored teams including Movistar and Alpecin-Deceuninck.

It sits alongside the aero-focused Canyon Aeroad, with riders and teams getting to choose between the two bikes depending on the stage. Usually riders would use the Aeroad for flatter days when aerodynamics is the biggest factor, then the Ultimate for those days packed with climbing.

Mas seems to have bucked this trend. We encountered the Ultimate ahead of stage 4 which was a flat day by Vuelta standards, and he was the only member of his team not riding the Aeroad.

Like most modern bikes, Canyon did take a more aerodynamic route with the latest Ultimate, claiming that it saves 10 watts through drag reduction over its predecessor.

According to Canyon, builds for the bike can weigh as little as 6.3kg, although that clocks in far below the UCI’s legal weight limit of 6.8kg, so isn’t possible for Mas.

2x SRAM groupset

Alongside Canyon, Movistar is also partnered with SRAM which provides the team with its groupsets. One of the tech themes of 2023, many of the SRAM-sponsored teams, mainly Lidl-Trek and Jumbo-Visma, have started turning to 1x set-ups for certain races and stages.

Read more: Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič go 1x at Vuelta a España

This is only currently possible for teams using SRAM as Shimano and Campagnolo don’t offer 1x groupsets within their road ranges. Teams could circumvent this by swapping in non-sponsored chainrings, but that could get them in hot water with their sponsors, so most have been unwilling to do so.

That’s not a problem for Movistar, but the team has so far steered clear of the 1x party, and Mas’ bike had the SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset with a 2x, 52/39 set-up.

Read more: Our complete guide to road bike groupsets

Zipp’s lightest tubeless wheelset

Completing the climber-friendly build, the bike had the Zipp 353 NSW tubeless wheelset - the brand’s lightest ever tubeless wheels. These are 45mm deep, a mid-range depth, but more importantly are incredibly lightweight at just over 1.3kg, according to SRAM which owns the wheel brand.

Those wheels are paired with 28mm Continental 5000 GP TR tyres.

Finishing components include Look KEO pedals, Elite bottle cages and a Fizik Argo saddle.

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