Inflite CF SLX by Canyon – Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2017

Inflite CF SLX by Canyon – Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2017

The Canyon Design Team stands for the integration of technology, design and quality like no other company in the bicycle industry. The shapes and the visual designs of Canyon cycles are not only simple and clear-cut, they also give you the feeling of a high degree of precision and power. This continuously ongoing high degree of design performance over the years has now been – quite rightly – rewarded with this honorary title.

Racing cycles made of carbon – one material, endless possibilities

How can cycles become as light as a feather? With carbon! Carbon is plastic reinforced with carbon fibre; a plastic that allows the compounding of the two materials. In order to achieve this, the carbon fibres are embedded in a matrix. This results in an endless number of design opportunities, which allow for the creation of a hard or soft, a flexible, elastic or plastic material property.

As early as 2004, Roman Arnold developed his first light-weight racing cycle, the “Canyon F10”, with a total weight of only 3.7 kg, by using this “wonder material”. One year later, the frame of this concept cycle was being produced in series as the “Carbon F10 Carbon Ultimate” and was awarded at the Red Dot Design Award. This was to be the beginning of a series of awards that followed in the subsequent years, at various design competitions. This was due to the fact that Canyon had redefined industrial design as a core area for itself.

Right from the beginning, Canyon has provided not only a great variety of the most different types of cycles, for on-road and off-road conditions, but also a promise of performance to its customers. This promise is with regard to its technologically highly developed quality. It unifies simplicity, precision and power with each other through the language of design. This can be attributed to the fact that Canyon has devoted itself to always develop the very best cycle and that can only be achieved with a great amount of motivation that continues to drive you ahead.

The continued growth of the Research and Development Department, the Testing Laboratory and the Quality Assurance Department has resulted in the fact that now, there are about 100 employees working in these departments, every day. They work to find the best solutions to fulfil the company’s development objectives. These always consist of a mix of requirements that mirror the customers’ wishes while keeping in mind the aerodynamics, the weight, the strength and comfort of the bike, these sometimes contradicting requirements are unified into a single whole by them.

Cycles on the test bench

Canyon’s cycles are stringently and extensively tested during their development at a very modern factory. The subject of safety plays a very important role at Canyon. Tests are conducted in a wind tunnel and give an insight into the statics and dynamics of the model. Each of the individual parts required for production are thoroughly inspected. The results have proved to be remarkably successful and have also brought forth new functionalities that were unknown earlier. Through these processes, the mountain bike “Strive CF”, which received a Red Dot in 2015, is actually two cycles in one. It looks like a classic mountain bike, but can be converted into two different geometries by pressing a button. Each of these is dependent on whether you are cycling uphill or downhill, which means that the bike can be adjusted to the terrain.

The interplay of quality, technology and design has been the focus of the company, which is based in Koblenz, right up to the present time. Canyon’s tailor-made customer service incorporating the three focal topics mentioned above is displayed to you in a very vivid way at Canyon’s showroom in its corporate office. Canyon’s website, which is now presented in 16 languages, presents the broad spectrum of its products online and also delivers them to its customers world-wide.

At Canyon, engineers and designers work hand in hand

Canyon’s success is certainly attributable, amongst other things, to the specific teamwork of the staff. Designers, engineers and product managers work closely together and form a small team of three persons, who sit together at a table right from the beginning of the development to discuss, exchange ideas and to learn from each other. The four key people of the company who can be mentioned in the same breath are the founder and Manging Director, Roman Arnold, Michael Kaiser, the engineer, Hans-Christian Smolik, the constructing engineer and Lutz Scheffer, the designer. They work closely as a team and have created an important milestone in the history of the company and in the cycle industry, as well. Teamwork is meant to function in this way!

An extraordinary number of awards

Generally, more than one of their cycle designs that have developed with great care, have received an award in each of the last six years. This has been at design competitions, all over. The Red Dot: Best of the Best for the year 2011 was presented to the racing cycle “Aeroad CF” and in 2012 to the triathlon cycle “Speedmax CF”. The latter was designed in cooperation with the design studio Artefakt based in Darmstadt. The subsequent models of this series, namely the “Aeroad CF SLX” (2014) and the “Speedmax CF SLX” (2015) continued with the tradition of receiving awards. In the meantime, the designer, Peter Kettenring and the constructing engineer, Vincenz Thoma, brought home trophies for their mountain bike models “Strive CF”, “Sender CF” and “Nerve AL”. They also received one for the “Commuter” urban bike.

It is therefore hardly surprising that the hard work of the in-house design team has paid off well once again and which has resulted in two further awards this year, namely, the Red Dot: Best of the Best. These were for the “Roadlite CF” designed by Fedja Delic and for the “Inflite CF SLX” designed by Alexander Forst and Lars Wagner.

The “Inflite CF SLX” for passionate cyclo-cross fans

Canyon conceived the “Inflite CF SLX” especially for the cyclo-cross type of cycling sport, which is becoming increasingly popular. In this type of sport, the objective is to “enter the red area” as many times as possible in the shortest period and then to accelerate away extremely fast. In modern cyclo-cross events, extremely difficult terrains are raced on that include many obstacles, diagonal and steep downhill slopes and which require the cyclist to be extremely fit. While overcoming the obstacles, it is often necessary that the rider gets off, shoulders his bike and carries it and must succeed in carrying all these out, effortlessly.

Due to all this, there are extremely stringent requirements with regard to an advanced, cross-specific geometry and also on the handling of the bike relative to its weight and strength. The objective here is not to forgo comfort while doing so. However, the durability of a cyclo-bike also plays a decisive role in its design. The design must also ensure performance while avoiding slush and mud adhering to the bikes.

What is special in the “Inflite CF SLX”?

A newly patented concept for carrying the bike was used, for the first time, while designing the “Inflite CF SLX”. This was to create more space in the triangular frame in order to make carrying the bike easier. Its striking design has its reasons, as the top tube now provides optimised balance while carrying and the bottom tube, which is located high up, provides more freedom for the arm and comfort while shouldering the bike. These were optimised keeping in mind the necessary function of carrying the bike in cyclo-cross. The bike now has clearly more space available at critical places without restricting the other functions. In addition, through the use of a characteristic seat knot, the saddle post extension can be raised so that the post can be bent to a greater extent.

The perfect balance between weight, strength and durability

The result of the new cross concept is the perfect balance between weight, strength and durability and this is on display in the “Inflite CF SLX”.

Canyon was able to achieve the optimisation of the total weight and that of the frame by the use of the carbon raw material. An intelligent combination of carbon fibre of type, High Tensile (HT), High Modulus (HM) and Intermediate Modulus (IM) allowed for an optimal construction of the frame. The in-house CT scanner played an important role in the development process. It provided valuable information with regard to the inner workings of the frame. On the one hand this was decisive in determining the optimal wall thickness to achieve the weight objectives and, on the other hand, to detect even the smallest traces of damage after the ruthless durability test. Due to the increased material stresses in cyclo-cross, the essential and safety-relevant components and assemblies must undergo more stringent tests than are normally required.

The “Inflite CF SLX” is considered to be one of the lightest bikes in the cross-scene with a frame weight of just 940 grams and less than 1,300 grams for the frame with the M size. In addition to that, the frame has been designed with a surface area that is 8.5% less and the surface available for adhesion has also been reduced so that only very little slush and mud can build up on the bike. Aside from these, the holes for the entry and exit of the cables and bolts have been sealed, so that essential components are protected and the locations for potential slush build-up could be reduced.

Inflite CF SLX

The result: The “Inflite CF SLX” is the perfect bike for all cross courses and for every competition-oriented rider.

In the manufacturer section you will find more excellent bicycles from the Canyon Biycles GmbH.

Posted on 29.08.2017

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