For the past few months my cycling has been moving up a level and I seemed to have evolved from the social rider to some what of a racer and for the first time in my life I am really starting to get competitive on my rides and I am loving it. Each week I am seeing small gains and every week I think “It cant get any better” but it does…..
For the past few months I have been giving Sue a hard time about a new bike, I wanted a tt bike or “Time Trial bike” to give its full title and for those of you who know me, you know there was always only 1 choice the glorious Canyon Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 SL which comes equipped with the Dura ace Di2 and Zipp 404/808 combo all of my favourites 🙂 how very fortunate…
So after looking around at a few on the second hand market I had resolved myself to go for an Aluminium speedmax model, similar bike but not Carbon Fibre nor the same spec but none the less a Canyon. At this point I spoke to my friend at Canyon who told me that he had found a 2015 model Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 SL and it was in my size and available. Of course I said a great big YES and a couple weeks later I was heading off to Canyon HQ to collect it and OMG its absolutely gorgeous.
Ok so, After all the hype, all the waiting, all the reviews, This Speedmax 9.0SL has to be a disappointment right?…….
I had to wait a little longer than expected to get Garth at Vankru Cycling to fit the bike for me because his lovely wife had just had a new baby (bloody kids) haha but on Monday 11th I was booked in and very excited to get my fit started. The fit went very well and Garth loved the bike too. I also have new shoes so had those fitted too, I chose Specialized S-Works Sub-6 Road Shoe and despite the fact that I am not a Spez fan these shoes come highly recommended and feel great and in black will look pretty cool with all 4 of my road bikes. After the fit I drove home to prep for a quick 10 miles on the new bike. I had this week pencilled in for a few test rides and nothing more. I am happy to sacrifice speed and distance for a week to enable me to get used to my Speedmax.
Ride #1 total 13.4 miles @20:6mph
We drove to Lyndhurst to avoid starting in traffic but OMG it was super windy, the forecast said 27mph winds and for me the very worst kind in the forest because it was mostly side winds, not the ideal time to ride my tt bike for the first time but I was committed mentally so off I went. I took it super steady practising getting in and out on the tt bars and the bike was very twitchy in the winds but very fast too. Sue’s last words were “don’t go mad, its not a race” but the first 5 miles I spent about 80% in the tt bars and my average was 23mph which is definitely above my average 🙂 I then went on to do another 8 miles but the side winds were horrendous so I spent about 70% not in the tt bars but kept dropping in and out just to get used to the transfer and also to drinking on the go, believe me its not so easy on the tt bike. I got back to Sue averaging about 21:7mph which although NOT fast it was definitely very fast at times and I know once I get used to the tt bars it will be rapid. I decided that this week I would spend riding the Speedmax so that I get used to the position and the riding style too.
So, twitchiness aside how did it feel? well it felt very fast and I felt involved and engaged from the very first pedal rotation. This certainly is a sleek racing machine and even feels faster and lighter than my Aeroad despite being more than a kg heavier and thats all down to very clever design and of course the geometry of the tt bike position. The downside of feeling so light is the ability or lack thereof to keep it in a straight line 🙂 I know today this was wind related and I know it will get better ad I get used to it too. Sleek, fast and very pretty and when I find the courage to let go, this think just cuts through the air at lighting speed.
Ride #2 total 18.4 miles @23.5mph
Today was all about a longer ride to find my comfort in the bars and not speed and like most of this month time and ultimately weather were not on my side but I intend to race in all conditions so its all about Rule#5. I set off about 11am and the wind was still there but to be fair not as bad as the first ride. I set off from home so lots of traffic but thats good for me, heading off up through chillworth I was instantly much more comfortable than my first ride and comfort ultimately means speed 🙂 After 5 miles I was almost averaging 25mph so although this ride was all about getting used to the bike it also turned out to be pretty quick too. I spent a good portion in the tt bars today definitely more in that out and for the most part I was quite happy and 100% much more stable than yesterday. Lots of traffic, a few climbs and I reached 46mph too 🙂
Ride #3 total 12 miles @ 23.4mph
Todays ride was a little different, firstly after getting my Speedmax out the day before I noticed a problem with changing gear and after a little investigation I noticed the Di2 cable from the battery had been pinched so before I could ride again I had to order a new cable, schoolboy error and easily sorted. WONT HAPPEN AGAIN…So I set off about 7:45pm for a 10 mile test ride, I started off steady but after a few gear changes I soon picked up the pace and the speedmax felt better than ever, I was in the tt bars for at least 11 of those 12 miles and mostly it was comfortable, my forearms still ache but getting better. The bike itself was super stable, I am very happy with the position and ride. I think I am ready for a few races now to really test myself.
So far I have ridden the Speedmax CF SLX 9 SL in wind and ran and can honestly say its pretty perfect as a tt bike goes, It feels wide but still very fast when I am in the climbing position but fast and sleek in the tt bars. I still need to tweak a few things but that will happen after a few races. The braking is much better than expected, looking at the flimsy “looking” Dura Ace levers I never expected much but great Canyon brakes combined with the Zipp 404’s make for a great combination.
So was it a disappointment? Of course not 🙂 When designers and builders get things right its so damned rewarding, Canyon got it right, again!