Mathieu van der Poel won Strade Bianche riding the budget carbon fibre specification of Canyon’s Aeroad frame, the Aeroad CF SL, after his handlebar malfunction during Tuesday’s Le Samyn led Canyon to request that its teams use “alternative bikes.”
All of Canyon’s sponsored athletes have been forced to switch bikes after Van der Poel’s handlebar – the CP0018 – inexplicably snapped during the final stages of Le Samyn, leaving the Dutchman needing to throw away a portion of his bars, and complete the race with his shifter hanging by the cables.
Prior to the race, it was rumoured that Van der Poel and his teammates would switch to Canyon’s lightweight race bike, the Ultimate, which shares the same top-spec CFR carbon layup as his preferred Aeroad race bike.
However, tech-savvy viewers would have noticed the Dutchman was indeed riding an Aeroad.
Both the top-spec Aeroad CFR, and the second-tier Aeroad CF SLX are currently under a stop-ride investigation by Canyon, as they both use the same integrated cockpit with adjustable bars and quill-style stem that snapped at Le Samyn. However, the lowest-spec Aeroad CF SL uses the CP10 cockpit found on the previous-model Aeroad, giving Van der Poel a further option.
It could be that Alpecin-Fenix mechanics simply switched the fork from a CF SL into his CFR frameset, however, the frame he rode to victory at Strade Bianche had the now-externally-routed cables enter the frame at the non-drive side of the head tube.
The integrated design of the CFR means there are no cable entry ports on the frame, as proven by a close-up look at the same area of the CFR frame he rode at Le Samyn.
Assuming Canyon didn’t issue Van der Poel with an exclusive CFR-model with external cabling, the move goes a long way to shed light on the importance of aerodynamics versus weight for pro riders. The CF SL is said to share the exact same tube shapes as the CFR-model Aeroad so the aerodynamic performance of the lower-tier frame will share the same 7.4-watt improvement that Canyon claims the new Aeroad offers on its predecessor.
We’re not aware of any aero tests that directly compare the new Aeroad frame shape with that of the Ultimate, but the difference is likely to be significant.
The weight of the Aeroad CF SL frame is quoted by Canyon to be 1,020g, versus the 915g frame of the CFR, and the hyper-lightweight figure of 614g quoted for the Ultimate CFR.
The move also goes a long way to show the capability of today’s so-called ‘budget’ bikes.
The Aeroad CF SL is available at a starting price of £3699.00, shod with Shimano 105. Van Der Poel’s frame, of corse, was specced with the top-level componentry you’d expect to find in the WorldTour peloton, with Shimano Dura-Ace groupset and wheels.