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  • slowK

    As a very short (160cm/ 5’3″) guy, these new 650b bikes are very exciting. Quite a few people have talked about the compromises in making 700c bikes for short riders (Emma Pooley’s bikes profiled here recently was an example). Toe overlap especially is annoying.

    Would seriously consider either the Ultimate or Endurance in a 2xs for my next bike, but haven’t seen any specific reviews of how these smaller wheels handle. Would Canyon care to send me one to review?

    One concern will be the availability of road-specific (not gravel or MTB) 650b spares – will more manufacturers get on board, or will the size of the market prove to be too… err… small?

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      Canyon mentioned that Schwalbe and other brands are working on 650b road tires. While I didn’t get to test a 650B bike myself, I did talk to Canyon-SRAM rider Trixi Worrack, who throughout her 16-year professional career has always struggled with a proper bike fit. The 160cm tall rider mentioned that the difference in cornering and snappiness was palpable from the moment she test-rode the bike. She mentioned that she’s got a 650b bike at home and cannot wait for the UCI to approve this new wheel size.

      • slowK

        Thank you for that. Improved cornering confidence/performance would great.

        I (and probably many other shorter males) have no qualms about being a women’s bike, if the fit is better. The saddle is probably the most gender-specific part, and I have my own saddle preference anyway. The Team Canyon-SRAM colour scheme looks fantastic too.

      • Hurtin’ Albertan

        Aren’t 650b already legal?


        Wheels of the bicycle may vary in diameter between 70 cm maximum and 55 cm minimum, including the tyre.

  • Karthik

    As a man with a low sitting height ratio (long legs), I’m tempted to buy one of the women’s frames for myself! If they followed suit with an update to the Aeroad’s geometry, I’d buy one in a heartbeat. Who am I kidding – I’m going to buy an Aeroad the moment it becomes available in the US

  • George Darroch

    Firstly, congratulations to Canyon on actually building a decent bike for half the world’s population. What a novel business idea…

    Why not the road-appropriate 650c? I don’t understand the industry’s aversion to this standard.

    • Rodrigo Diaz

      The problem is that it’s not really a standard. So you get manufacturers guessing which size is going to be the winner – and for bicycles with discs and increased clearance, a lot of them are betting on the 650b size.

      Don’t get me started on things like bottom bracket “standards”.

  • Larry Theobald

    Canyon Ultimate size medium (unisex/women’s)

    Top tube length: 556mm/555mm
    Head tube length: 148mm/154mm
    Seat tube angle: 73.5 degrees/73.8 degrees
    Head tube angle: 73.25 degrees/72.25 degrees
    Wheelbase: 996mm/999mm
    Stack: 567mm/573mm
    Reach: 391mm/389mm

    More marketing genius at work here it would seem. Top tube length changed by 1 whole millimeter? Stack by 6 mm? Wheelbase by 3 mm? Reach by 2 mm? Seat tube angle by .3 degrees? I’m not a pro bike fitter, but it’s hard to believe an experienced pro could not set a rider up on the unisex bike in the exact same position fairly easily?

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      Of course, a good fitter can get you comfortable on just about any bike. But in my experience, the argument in favour of women’s specific geometries truly comes down to how many parts a rider would have to adjust once she has bought the bike to make it fit. It starts with swapping out the main touch points –saddle and handlebars. To adjust the reach, you’re then looking at having to change stem, seatpost and crankarms. However, there’s only a small percentage of riders who will go to those lengths. What Canyon and all brands who make gender-specific bikes try to do is to eliminate or minimize the need to make all those changes. The bike should fit as is, or come very close, at least.

      • Larry Theobald

        Of course you are correct. A perfect fit is essential. That’s why these bikes come in t-shirt sizes or as I like to point out, “Too small, too big and close enough”.

      • DaveRides

        The same geometry changes could be achieved by Canyon fitting women-specific set of components (narrower handlebars, stem, saddle, WMN sticker, etc) to the same series of frames, rather than developing a new series of frames.

        For an Average Joanne who’ll be happy with whatever standard size is reasonably close, they get the same outcome as if the WMN was a different frame. For a racer who will be taking it to get it properly fitted to her precise dimensions, she will get the full version of the frame rather than the less stiff version.

        I agree with Larry, it waddles like a marketing stunt and quacks like a marketing stunt. And a rather cynical one at that, not even Specialized is going to those lengths to push women to ride only disc brake road bikes.

      • winkybiker

        That’s a pretty poor argument, Ann Marije. The two bikes indicated above are so close that no-one could possibly say that one would require more “fitting” than the other. All bikes need to be fitted properly. No, I agree with Larry, this whole “women’s bike” thing just smacks of marketing. Small is small, regardless of gender.

    • Don Cafferty

      1. The better comparison is with other brands that have women’s specific design. It is what “small” women may do. The women’s Canyon Ultimate will likely compare to other WSD as being lower and longer. 2. Missing from the unisex comparison is weight. The women’s frame is lighter. 3. Most Canyon women do not ride size medium. Size medium is the largest women’s size. Size XSmall may be more typical for the Canyon women. Medium and large are the typical men’s sizes. Instead of taking a fairly large mens frame and making it proportionately smaller for women, Canyon employed the reverse strategy and designed from the smaller size up. It is about time that someone has done that! A small-sized bike that is actually designed for a small-sized person! 4. Missing from the comparison is trail. Small-sized unisex bikes tend to have larger trail than the medium/large unisex geometries. Canyon designed the smaller sized women’s frame to have better trail and to be comparable with the trail of larger unisex frames. Small-sized cyclists have long been denied the performance advantage that frames for larger cyclists have. 5. Congratulations to Canyon. It is not about marketing but about design. A lot of thought went into making the women’s frame. And for small-sized men, the women’s frame may be the better option. For me, my choice is the size XSmall Canyon Ultimate. I would change the saddle and the stem length and that is it! For some other bikes, I am changing the saddle, stem length, handlebar width, crank length, rear derailleur and cassette.

      • winkybiker

        The right trail and handling are surely unisex requirements. How is it that a woman would want different handling to a man of the same size (for the same application)? If there is an argument that women are less powerful than men for a given size (I don’t know?), and that the ideal woman’s frame can therefore be lighter, why don’t we have age-specific frames? Why do I have to have the same stiffness and weight in my frame as Peter Sagan does, just because we are the same size? We (sadly) don’t push the same watts. Actually, I’ll bet many pro bikes are actually laid up with extra material for the power guys – even though they look like ours. A better context might be to compare my puny power and frame needs to a 25 year-old Cat 2 racer of the same size.

        Having said that, designing bikes to work best in each size, rather than “dumb” scaling of the medium design is great. I just don’t get why it has to split by gender as well.

  • sabazel

    Interesting take! I’ve wondered what the Canyon women specific versions would be like. Still not sure about disc brakes on a race bike, though, especially for women riders who don’t need as much stopping power. In the rain or on an adventure bike I can see them making more sense. But that’s just me making comments.

  • d;

    they have greater pelvic flexibility

    I don’t get this – doesn’t this mean that women spec frame should then have less stack since they are more flexibility and can cope with a lower front? Oh pls don’t tell me that reach hasn’t been shortened correspondingly (compared to unisex) for their have shorter arms/torso.

  • DaveRides

    A question for AMR: were you able to *verify* that the pros were racing on the WMN frames before writing that in the article?

    It’s worth asking, because we know that most of the female pro riders do produce enough power that they prefer the stiffer frames. A couple of the most notable examples are Anna van der Breggen winning her gold medal last year on a normal Giant covered in Liv stickers and the legions of Specialized riders (probably including AvdB this year) using a Tarmac stickered up as an Amira.

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      I was at TOC and saw Alexis and Alena on what looked like the WMN Ultimate CF SL disc. It certainly had discs but no, I did not measure the tube diameter.


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