Cyclocross season is in full swing and right on cue Canyon has launched its first ever dedicated cyclocross race bike. The Inflite CF SLX 8.0 Pro Race, which gets the unboxing treatment in the video above, is Canyon's first proper attempt at a pure cyclocross race bike. No mudguard mounts, no concession to versatility. This is no gravel bike hiding in plain sight, it's all about the lactic acid fuelled thrill of cyclocross racing.
The Inflite name is not new, it has (and still is) been used on a more versatile cyclocross inspired bike that could just as easily be adapted to winter training with fat slicks and mudguards as tackle a cyclocross race, but this a focused high-performance bike designed primarily for cyclocross racing, and its heart is a 940g carbon fibre frame with disc brakes, internal cable routing and every detail finessed and refined to provide every advantage the serious 'cross racer could need.
The bike caused quite a stir when it was first unveiled, mainly due to the distinctive top tube. Why the kink? It's intended to raise the top tube for easier shouldering as well as providing more exposed seatpost for additional comfort. We agree it's definitely a bit marmite. I unleashed it on my local floodlit evening cyclocross race series last night and the reaction was 50:50. Some hate the appearance, others love its radical look and the reasons behind the design. One thing is for sure, you can't fault Canyon's rationale behind the design. But what do you think? Do let us know in the comments below.
The model in this video is the most affordable of a three bike range, and costs £2,499 with a SRAM Rival 1 groupset and Quarq Prime crankset, DT Swiss wheels with Schwalbe X-One tyres and a one-piece carbon handlebar and stem. On the scales this size medium comes in at 8kg, helped by a 940g frame. The wheels and tyres are tubeless-ready, so the bike comes from the factory with inner tubes, but Canyon UK kindly installed tubeless valves and sealant for us. How very kind of us. I'm a fan of tubeless and have raced tubeless 'cross tyres a lot with good results.
It has been affectionally nicknamed "Bumblebee" in the office by young Matt, a reference, I'm told, to the popular Transformers film. But what do you think?
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.