At times Canyon bikes can be a headache for reviewers, because the builds it offers seem to be almost unreasonably affordable.
Still, more kit for less money is always a good thing, right? To a point yes, and if strict value for money is your primary concern, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with a Canyon. But then, if everyone took that approach we’d all be riding the same bikes, and that would make life terribly dull, wouldn’t it?
The Endurace AL takes the entry-level mantle from Canyon’s outgoing Roadlite model, but borrows its geometry from the carbon Endurace CF. As the name suggests, this is not a bike aimed at racers (unlike the Ultimate series) but rather, it’s a straightforward sportive/fondo-style thing built around a simple alloy frame.
Said frame is refreshingly devoid of the ‘acronymn-Tourette’s’ that blights many modern machines, and in design terms it’s gloriously conventional. Granted, the gear cables run inside the down tube, but the bottom bracket is a threaded unit, the head-tube and the steerer are un-tapered and of standard dimensions, and overall there isn’t a gratuitous curve in sight.
Full Ultegra – minus chain – is great to see at this price
In fact, you could almost accuse the Endurace of being wilfully inoffensive to look at – a judgement not helped by the regulation grey-on-black paint job that’s interrupted by only the most innocuous of red highlights.
Despite the understatedness of the whole package from a visual point of view, it’s nonetheless a thoroughly competent one. Shimano’s Ultegra groupset is as boringly brilliant as ever, and it’s complete aside from the KMC chain, so we’ve no complaints there. The gearing is ample too, and Mavic’s Aksium One wheelset is a solidly trustworthy companion, particularly when it’s fitted with proper tyres like the Continental GP4000S IIs here.
Lively and engaging ride
The riding experience is as unsurprising as everything else and, as with most Canyons, it’s extremely pleasant. The Fizik Ardea VS saddle proved a hit, and it’s sat atop a carbon seatpost, again emphasising how Canyon hasn’t cut corners in speccing this bike.
With no component niggles to speak of, we might hope for some glaring flaw in the bike’s handling to provide some tasty review fodder, but none manifested itself. The Endurace isn’t quite the equal of its carbon-killing Ultimate AL sibling but it manages to marry more than a modicum of comfort to a lively and engaging ride.
The looks may be plain but the handling is sprightly
On 25mm rubber we were content to trundle over the odd small pothole and despite the absence of press-fit-this and oversized-that, the bike did everything we asked of it, leaving us satisfied and ready for more. Its slightly taller head tube (160mm on a size small) will suit those looking for a more relaxed position, but it would be unfair to pigeonhole this a comfort machine only.
The fact is, it’s a thoroughly good road bike that’s decently light and a pleasure to ride. In fact, it’s about as much bike as you could reasonably expect for the money. All we could really find to criticise is its lack of fittings for mudguards/fenders.