The rise of cycling has not restricted itself to the road. Cyclocross has found itself become a worldwide sport, no longer limiting itself to the lowland countries of Belgium and the Netherlands.
With this in mind, bike manufacturers are no longer solely focusing their resources on the development of road bikes. Cyclocross bikes are getting faster, lighter and stiffer, with manufacturers racing to develop bikes at the rate riders progress.
German bike producers Canyon have attempted to address this progression with their new Inflite CF SLX range. Their first ever fully carbon cross bike, Canyon claim that the Inflite CF SLX will ‘enable the rider to slash seconds off of every lap’.
A lightweight frameset, integrated cockpit and reimagined frame is Canyon’s answer to modern cyclocross.
This bike has been designed with racing in mind, focusing on developing a frame that allows bigger mud clearance, more stability with mountain bike inspired geometry and a unique carrying system for when you are off of the bike.
Casting your eye upon the Inflite, one aesthetic hits the eye faster than any other. The top tube slopes downwards before meeting the seat tube, creating a surface specifically for your shoulder to sit on whilst carrying the bike.
This causes the frame to look odd, when viewed side on. The dip in top tube prevents a clean finish to the frame, and will certainly prove a marmite addition. Whether the unique carrying design ticks the boxes it was created for will remain to be seen until ridden.
One addition that will be welcome is Canyon’s decision to produce a full carbon frame. This has made the Inflite one of the lightest disc frames on the market topping the scales at only 940g (size medium).
Although lightweight, Canyon promise to have also created ‘a structure strong enough to meet the punishing demands of modern cross’ meaning ‘snappy accelerations out of switchbacks and lasting durability’ should be guaranteed.
In order to increase the race feel, Canyon have incorporated the H31 Ergocockpit CF. The intergrated stem and bars have been introduced to give a solid platform for sprinting yet have been adapted to suit the handling need of cross.
The reduced layout for added mud clearance and mountain bike geometry will be a welcomed addition, hopefully helping the Inflite be comfortable for longer rides whilst also suited to racing.
The manual clearing of mud from the bike can be an off-putting thought, and a burden when not racing. Therefore, this added mud clearance will music to the ears of those looking to tour or even commute on the frame.
The aspect that pleases me most about the Inflite is its decision to offer a vast range in sizes. Creating a 3XS frame, riders from 152cm (4ft9 in old money) will be able to ride the Inflite.
This creates a range with a broader audience, allowing women and juniors to experience the same race feel just in a frame that fits. Compared to some competitors, Canyon will now be offering two additional frame sizes.
The Inflite will be released in a range of three with the option of buying the frameset individually also available.