Welcome to Riding Nerdy, TNW’s fortnightly dive into bicycle-based tech, where we go into too much detail and geek out on all things related to pedal-powered gadgets.

Over the past few months I’ve been aboard the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX, a no-holds-barred race bike, as my daily training and road riding machine. I wrote my initial thoughts down after a joyous few weeks of riding the iridescent beauty, but now, I’ve put over 2,500 fun-filled miles (4,020 km) on the machine and it’s time to figure out how I really feel about riding a $5,000 race bike 5 days a week. 

By now, you should be sensing that I really quite like it.

If that wasn’t clear, though, I’ve found riding a top-end race bike — one that’s light, responsive, solid as a rock, looks great, and urges you on at every twist and turn in the road — to be a joyous experience. Given its price tag, I’d be concerned if it was anything other. 

Back in April, after a few hundred miles on it, I said that it was kind of expensive, but you get what you pay for. In hindsight, I feel that statement now sounds a little underwhelming. Even though the Canyon costs $5,000, you get a lot for your money, and it has never left me wanting more. In fact, it’s pretty good value for money. 

[Read: Review: The Charge XC is a well-rounded ebike that folds flat for storage]

I consider the Ultimate CF SLX one of the most feature-complete race bikes in its class, and it does so at a price that’s, nine times out of ten, more alluring than the competition. Similar bikes from competitors come out 5{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} to 10{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446} more expensive, or aren’t spec’d quite as highly as the Canyon.

The structural bits (frame, forks, handlebars, and seat post)

Besides putting the bike together and selling it, Canyon’s main responsibility is to manufacture the frame, forks, handlebars, and seat post. On this particular bike, Canyon has opted for Sram’s Force ETAP wireless gears and brakes — check out my thoughts on that here.

After living with the Ultimate for a few months, I applaud Canyon for making a bike with a pragmatic approach to frame design. The brake hoses are internally routed through the frame, but enter on the downtube. It’s becoming de rigeur to have no cables showing at all, which means they have to route through the handlebars, through the headset, into the downtube, and onward to the component they control.

canyon, bike, headset, cables
Credit: M Beedham