This Canyon is emblematic of something pretty cool happening to road bikes right now. A new kind of bike is emerging that offers most of the speed of a race bike, with much more comfort, more sedate handling, and a more upright riding position - without taking it too far and watering down the fun.

With disc brakes and clearance for big tyres, these bikes deliver better braking, better traction and control, and handling that inspires more confidence on a wider range of surfaces. We think these bikes - the Endurace and similar models like the BMC Roadmachine and the latest version of the Specialized Roubaix - are a big win for most riders.

The name Endurace is a portmanteau of endurance and race. From the endurance category comes the clearance for up to 33mm-wide tyres (officially, though I found room for larger), frame geometry that leans toward stability (longer chain stays, lower bottom bracket, relaxed steering), and a greater emphasis on rider comfort - via both body position and compliance - than a pure road-racing bike. From the race genre, the carbon frame is stiff, light (820g with a 325g fork, claimed), and has some aerodynamic tweaks.

The bike has a one-piece, aerodynamic carbon bar and stem; a leaf-spring suspension seatpost; disc brakes; and gearing that is more race oriented - 36/52 chainrings and an 11-28 cassette - than a compact. Look at it and you think, race bike; ride it, and it’s clearly not, mainly because the position and handling are, respectively, more comfortable and serene. One tester, who likes the feel of race bikes even though she doesn’t race, thought the Endurace was too smooth and stable for her tastes - ”sleepy,” she called it. But for these same reasons, I think the Endurace is a great bike.

It is indeed stable, and the handling is swoopy, confidence-inspiring, and predictable: great on mixed surfaces, but just sharp enough that it’s also entertaining to pitch through tight corners on pavement - there is just a touch of initial resistance in the bar before the bike dips into a turn and locks into a line. You can chase PRs on paved climbs and it won’t feel like it’s holding you back. You can ride it all day on dirt roads and not feel like you’re on the wrong bike.

What You Need to Know

Canyon, a direct-to-consumer brand based in Germany, became available in Australia last summer. We get a reduced range to overseas markets, but their website will only show you what you can actually order. The Endurance CF is a light and stiff frame with versatile geometry, aero touches, and clearance for big tyres. The one-piece carbon bar and stem is offered in eight bar-width/stem-length combos. The carbon disc models are available in Australia ($7,149) – as are the frame sets in both mechanical ($2,919) or electronic ($3,219) versions depending on your choice of group set for your dream build.

It’s compliant without feeling soft or sluggish - the post is smooth, not bouncy. While other bikes with rear-only suspension systems - like the Pinarello K8-S and the original Trek Domane - have had a noticeable imbalance in front and rear compliance, the Endurace felt uniform throughout.

I like this bike because it’s just a bike for riding roads, paved or dirt. And it challenges the notion that an “endurance” model has to be sluggish or boring. It is a highly technical bike, but it makes riding so simple: You grab it, hop on, and see where it takes you. And you have a great time, no matter how you get there.