My new ride – The Canyon Ultimate Al with Ultegra Di2

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This is my new bike. I’ve had it a couple of weeks now and felt it was about time to talk about it.  There have been many reviews of the Ultimate Al online ( such as here) but I wanted to write about the bike from an amateur’s perspective.

Canyon only sell online, unless you go to their showroom in Koblenz. Most people won’t be able to do that so the chances are, you’re sitting at home, like I was, thinking, do I buy online? What’s the bike actually like?

The frames are a standard sizing and design. There are no squiggly lines or unproven technology as there are with certain Italian bike manufacturers. If you follow the Canyon size calculator, I would personally say that you’re not taking much risk in buying online. I’m 6ft2 and I bought the XL. It fits me perfectly.

I bought mine from their Outlet.  The Canyon Outlet sells bikes that have had minimal use, such as for a test ride. After placing my order, I did momentarily think, Oh God, have I done the right thing here? What if it turns up and the frame is scratched badly? I needn’t have worried. Canyon place photographs on their website of the minimal damage to the bike so you can see in advance what you’re buying.

The bike is delivered by courier. No messing around with your useless national postal service.  My bike was packed immaculately. You immediately get the impression that Canyon know a lot about how to send out bikes.

The bike is easy to assemble but if you’re not confident about doing it yourself, it probably wouldn’t cost much to get an expert to assemble it for you.  After assembling it, I started trying to search for the small scratches on the bike. The only one I could find was a 1mm scratch on the crankset. For £350 off the total cost of the bike, I’m more than happy. Let’s face it. I’ve bought new bikes from bike shops with some small scratches on them and never been offered even a tenner off. Heck, I haven’t even been offered a free water bottle.

The spec of the bike for the money is phenomenal. The total cost of my bike was around £1,650.  I’ve seen online that some retailers will charge you somewhere very close to that for just the groupset. Canyon throw in the frame, Mavic Equipe wheels and top notch Ritchey handlebars and stem, Selle Italia saddle (admittedly a “Special Edition” but it’s still pretty comfortable), Carbon/basalt seatpost and Continental 4000 tyres. You will never find a bike specced like that anywhere for the money.

If you do choose Di2 , one of the advantages when you set it up is, if like me you’re not a bike mechanic expert, the front derailleur and rear adjust themselves automatically. Goodbye chain rub. I won’t miss you.

The bike is very comfortable to ride. I had heard that Canyon bikes have a true race set-up and may not be suitable for those doing Sportive type riding. Personally, I find the positioning very comfortable. Step on the pedals and the bike leaps forward.  Comfortable at speed, comfortable for a gentle spin. The Continental tyres are extremely grippy even in the wet.

I’ve never driven a Porsche but I would compare it to driving something similarly well-engineered. The only noise from the bike when you ride it is the spinning of the wheels and the Di2 motors as you change gear.

A standard road bike will cost you around £1,500 in the UK. If you want something better for your money and are prepared to buy it without seeing your actual frame in advance, I cannot recommend more strongly that you get a Canyon.  I am already looking at purchasing another.

Available at


Norman the dog rides a bike

I guess we’ll have to let him off for using stabilisers….

Some further info here

London’s cycling tribes


Nice article in the Evening Standard magazine on cycling tribes. Are those Mavic road shoes he’s wearing?

World Naked Bike Ride London 2012 Preview

If you’re searching for pictures from the June 2012 ride, click here and here.

The London World Naked Bike Ride 2012 will take place at 3pm on 9th June 2012. As usual, the start is at Hyde Park in the south eastern corner and the finish will be at Admiralty Arch. The ride is usually around 2 hours long and will be a gentle meander around the West End area. I do not know the route yet myself but will publish it here if and when it becomes available. I understand that it will be very similar to last year and a run through Covent Garden is included.

For pictures of last year’s ride and a video of the start HERE

The Facebook invite is HERE

The official wiki site is HERE

Any questions? Leave a comment.

UPDATE: Here is the route

From the WNBR Facebook page

“And here we are! The Route for London 2012.

This route is more or less finalised, although with last-minute reconnaissance, some late changes *might* be made due to roadworks or other blockages.

You’ll note from the map that we’ve included some markers for ‘Pause Points’; this is to allow the ride to regroup after traffic lights or before major junctions, and to allow for photographs. We might only stay paused for a few minutes at these points, so bear with us! We want to remain as close a ‘Critical Mass’ as possible.

We’ve hosted this map on BikeMap as it’s very popular and allows you to download the GPS files from the site, which work with GPS, iPhone and various Android applications. (The BikeMap application is free for both formats)

In the next few days we’ll be adding approximate timings to the Route Map so stay tuned.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter too – @WNBRLondon for announcements in the days leading up to the ride and on the day itself.”

Route map HERE

Cycling in London

Anyone who has ever cycled in London will recognise many of these incidents.

St Pauls Protest/Occupy LSX

I spent an hour or so amongst the demonstrators at St Pauls yesterday and took numerous pictures. I thought that people who haven’t been able to visit the demo or who may not live in London would be interested to see the pictures which perhaps give a better understanding of what the people camped there are protesting about. They seemed well-organised and it was a very interesting event to witness. I hope you enjoy looking at my pictures.