Gear Review – Canyon Inflite 9.0 S

My Current Stable

Up until buying my new Inflite, I had 3 bikes. 1 mountain bike that I recently bought on eBay classifieds for 100€ to use for commuting to work, cycling to swim training and occasionally riding a little loop between Hechtsheim and Bodenheim.

My 2nd bike is a triathlon bike. It’s a Canyon Speedmax Al 8.0. I bought it used from a guy on facebook for 750€ if I remember correctly.  I have upgraded the wheels and now the cockpit and it is a good solid bike. If I can find a good deal on a frame, I might replace it sometime soon, but there’s no rush.

My 3rd bike is a road bike. I bought it at the end of 2012, having snapped the hanger off my old road bike in a crash in Augsburg, and thinking that the frame was snapped.  My old bike was a Canyon Ultimate Al that I had bought on eBay, it was a 60cm frame, but I felt like it was a great fit and I loved riding it.  When I replaced it, I looked for another eBay deal, but could only find a 62cm frame, and a Roadlite Al 5.o, 1 model down from the Ultimate Al and even bigger!

The saddle wasn’t always so silly looking!

Even though it was too big on paper, I really loved that bike!  I rode it in La Marmotte, the Maratona, the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege this year along with draft legal triathlons and team sprints!  It cost me 430€ (recently sold it for 300€), so it did pretty well for me for 4.5 years!  Recently though I have been having the urge to get a new bike. One that is actually the right size and is a bit newer than my old bike.

A new bike needed

How I work is, I think of what I would like in a bike and make a list. In this case there were only 2 really big things that I wanted – disc brakes and plenty of clearance for wider tyres.  That sounds simple enough. I made a list of the Canyons and Roses that fit the bill and had about 7 bikes on the list. I want to be able to ride on the road most of the time, but have the option to get onto tracks when I fancy it.

In the end, to meet my wide tyres criteria, I needed to get a cyclocross/gravel bike, so the Canyon Inflite 9.0 S won out for me.  The road bikes all allow 28mm tyres, but nothing much above that.  Annoyingly, the Inflite medium frame comes with a 172.5mm crank. I have a crank based powermeter on a 175mm crank arm though!  That was the right size for my other 2 bikes, but would be wrong for my new one 🙁

Welcome to the family – Canyon Inflite 9.0 S

The Inflite has massive tyre clearance, some say enough for 38mm tyres, I can’t see how 45mm tyres wouldn’t fit though, the stock 28mm Conti GP4000sIIs look tiny in the forks! It has Ultegra Hydraulic disc brakes and Ultegra everything else really, with DT Swiss R24 Spine wheels. The bike is no lightweight at 8.7kg, but for what I want it for, that isn’t too important.

Two small issues

Two things that I don’t like much. The hydraulic cabling is external and is just kind of hanging there. It is hella ugly. It runs along the fork and the top tube, I reckon in next year’s model they will hide it in the frame/fork.  The other thing is that it has a quick release for the wheels.  Through Axles seem like they will be the ‘norm’ on disc wheels, I don’t know why Canyon haven’t adopted that here. They have on their road bikes.

First ride experiences

So my first ride was a ‘little’ 170km loop in the hills with the TCEC guys!  This probably isn’t to be recommended, but the bike was great straight out the box.  I usually ride an Adamo saddle, so was a little uncomfortable on the stock saddle, but it was still fine.  The ride was plush on the 28mm Contis at 6 bar. Braking was a bit different, but seemed to get better as the day went on, they should self adjust so maybe they were just a bit loose at the start.

The bike is a bit upright for a fast group ride, I will flip the stem, then decide if I want to send it back to Canyon to get a longer stem (edit: I tried, they said no). It didn’t feel bad yesterday, and I certainly could keep up, but a longer lower position would probably be better for me long term.

5 months later

I have had my Inflite for 4-5 months now. I still really like the bike. it is very comfy and goes off road pretty well, as well as making  riding rough cobbles and/or broken asphalt much easier than a normal road bike.  There’s only been 1 puncture at the front and 1 at the back, but that was after getting lost and riding through some very heavy grass with brambles in them.

I rode in the black forest too. 4000m+ of climbing in a day is a lot for me, but the bike took it well. The worst part was the decent down Kandel. The road was dreadful and I was on the brakes constantly.  I’d read that that can be bad for hydraulic brakes, but I had no issue.  I couldn’t really do a harder test for them than that. I think they’ll be fine.

So the Canyon Inflite 9.0 gets a big thumbs up from me. I guess that the 2018 model will have thru axles and will hide the cables better, but even if not, it’s a great all weather all season bike for the money (1500€ in a sale when I got mine).

The Road to Roth – Roth 2017

Warning – this is going to be a long post!

We got to Nürnberg on Friday and headed straight to the Messe to register for the race and get my numbers and stuff. I signed up for the shuttle bus at the 2nd attempt and was good to go!  On Saturday I went for a 15min dip in Rothsee, checked in the bike and went back to the Messe to hear the race information.  It was boiling hot, like 32°C and sunny so I think everyone was worried in advance about the run, I know I was.


Race Day

After kind of sleeping/dozing for 4h, I was up at 4am and ate lots!  6 pain aux chocolat and a banana later, I was on my way to the train station to catch the first train of the day with other athletes and drunks on the way home after a night out. I had noticed on Saturday that I had forgotten my trishorts, so I was going to have to swim/bike in my bibshorts, then carry my run shorts in my back pocket and do a full change in T2.  It was a bit of a nightmare situation, but I would have to make the best of it.


I made it to the shuttle bus on time and the traffic was crazy, but the bus driver just rode on the wrong side of the road the whole way, so got us there in no time! The journey only took 20 minutes, so I was at the start at 5:40am

My bike was wet from the dew, and my front wheel felt a bit soft. I am not a fan of high pressure tyres, but I decided that it was a bit soft, even for me. It’s a good thing too as it turns out I only had 3 bar in before then!  It was 6:15am when I dropped off my swim bag, then I went to the toilet, dropped of my ‘After Race’ bag and got my wetsuit on and waited for the start. It was all very surreal, getting into the water I almost felt numb, but the cannon went off and the race was underway.

I got smacked around, grabbed and pulled a lot in the first 400m, but then it spread out and I could start to swim properly.  The signs at the side were really useful so you always knew where you were.  It all went swimmingly, my arms didn’t really tire, so it was just a case of plugging away until the end.  I was curious as to how it was going, but didn’t check until the end when I got out and saw 1:08 on the clock, right in the middle of my guestimated time.

I had a slooow T1 as I had to mess around getting my running shorts ready in my pocket. I had also packed lots of stuff ‘just in case’ in my swim bag, which the helper emptied out, only to be told that I didn’t need them! After that was sorted I found my bike, turned on my Garmin and ran to the bike start line. I had a good long fiddle to get my shoes on properly, but then got moving.

The Bike

There were a few turns at the start, but then we hit the longer straighter roads.  The road surface was perfect, it was rarely flat, but the hills were easy and the downhills fast!  After 30km I checked my average speed and saw it was 35km/h, but my power was 240w, a bit high.  I was eating and drinking all the time, which is abnormal for me, but I knew that I had to to keep up my energy for later. After Greding, a climb that is half as difficult as people say it is, the wind seemed to be helpful, so I was flying and my average speed was increasing.

After 70km or so, I came to a hill. Music was playing and some people were at the side of the road, so I thought it must be Solarer Berg. It was ok, but but a bit of a let down. Then 2km later I came to what I realised was the actual Solarer Berg!  It was mental, people were everywhere and the atmosphere was amazing. My face hurt from smiling so much.

Fool me once – no drafting

I was really careful to avoid drafting after Worms Triathlon. I never got close to anyone, and when I drifted a bit close, I passed them straight away.  I only saw one small group riding together after 90km, but it was only about 5 guys.  The 2nd loop went much like the first, except that I tried to control my power a bit more. My speed was great for me, I was smiling to myself as I really hadn’t expected a 35er average.

After 120km I was eating a banana when my Garmin flew off. I had to stop and luckily someone was at the side of the road who gave it back to me, it only cost about 20 seconds, and it didn’t break either, so it actually worked out quite well considering.

After 140km or so, I was still feeling fine, but fellow TCECler Marcus Jores came past me, despite starting 10 minutes after me.  The 2nd time up Solarer Berg wasn’t quite the same as the first, not as many people were there and there were some very slow relay riders blocking the way, and overtaking with the crowd on either side was tough.

After 172km I was scared that I had missed the turn off to Roth, there seemed to be fewer riders around, so I worried that I was on lap 3!  I asked someone who said that the turn was in 1-2km, phew!  The last few km into Roth aren’t well signposted and lots of normal cyclists are on the road, I was never 100% sure that I was on the right route, until I saw T2…

The Run

After arriving in T2 and promptly taking the wrong bag for 5 seconds (number 1349 instead of 1439 – like Katja’s sign!), I did my full change into running shorts and set off. The start was downhill, but I went off stupidly fast. I saw 3:45/km on the watch, a suicidal pace. I was talking to myself, saying ‘slow down you idiot’ but my legs wanted to go, so I was at 4:15/km pace for a long time. I kept to my ‘walk the aid stations’ plan, so I didn’t blow out my legs. The stations are sometimes pretty close together, so I had a 30 second walk for the close together stations and a 45 second walk for the further apart ones.

I assumed I would need a poo stop, I mean I almost always do when I run, and I really needed to pee, so I held off on the pee so I could do both at one – efficient!  I didn’t need to crap somehow, so after 9km, I finally took my pee break.  Before then I had found Katja, she was at about 3km on the run course.  We had a ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ system so I could let her know how it was going. I gave 2 big thumbs up, I was feeling great!  After 5km I saw 22:30 on my watch, so fast, surely I couldn’t keep that up, but maybe I could…

Katja was at about 8km again, so I stopped for a kiss before heading off on the way back. There was a decent downhill (that I couldn’t remember climbing) on the way back to the middle of the run course, which is two laps of an 8 shaped loop.  After 12km the course goes past the Marktplatz where we had been on Friday night, I laughed to myself, I couldn’t believe that I had done 12km so quickly and so easily, I remembered the Macca quote ‘when does this start to get hard?’

The 2nd half of the run loop was tough, there is a nasty hill that starts off easy, then gets steeper, then continues on up for a while more.  My lungs weren’t happy at all on the steep part as my HR peaked, so I slowed a lot.  The turn around in Büchenbach is a loop of a small pond/lake, it was brilliant there, maybe even better than the Solarer Berg. It was so loud and so many people, again I smiled all the way around.  The downhill back to the end of the 1st loop was good too, nice easy running.

After 24km I saw Katja again, I still gave a thumbs up, though it was getting harder now.  My 1st half was in 1h38, so I had 2h01 left for the 2nd half to break 10 hours.  On the short canal part I saw Ralf and Karl-Heinz from TCEC. Ralf ran with me for a few metres and took a photos, before wishing me well and letting me run on.  After another short kiss stop, I was off on the way back down to the middle of the course.  I was worried about the hill coming up this time, I was starting to struggle now, but time was on my side.

I decided to add a walk break on the steepest part of the hill, a 45 second walk. I think it was a good idea, I didn’t need to push it too hard.  After reaching the top I felt like I had the hardest work behind me.  I also worked out that I could average 7mins/km and still break 10h. I looked at my watch and saw 4:50/km, granted on a downhill, but I felt pretty confident.

The last few kms were just basic maths and survival. 4km in 30mins is a fast walking pace, I had it in the bag.  I finally turned off the looped course and onto the finishing part.  After crossing the railway line I knew it was only a little further to go, then I was on the carpet. I was so happy, I had my hands in the air, I was pumping the fists and was just ecstatic. I had done it and with time to spare too!

Finish line

I got my medal and tried to calm down, my lungs were really tight, but I was fine, that just seems to happen to me sometimes after a hard session, and Roth was a hard session.  I walked off to the finish area and saw Bevan James Eyles from IM talk there. I said ‘Hey, Bevan! How’s it going?’ so he asked what my name was, I told him Richard ‘Stinger’ Rae, the nicknames are given out to patrons of the show. So he interviewed me, which was really cool, even if I probably just babbled rubbish! (starting at 73:15)

I got my instant finishers certificate, it showed my 9:49:02 finish time. I also knew from the run course that I was the fastest TCECler, so all goals were reached, and lets not bullshit, surpassed.

It was just such a great race for me. I have never done a real endurance race where it went really well. My marathons have been okay, but this was like a 2:45 marathon for me. The atmosphere was great, the best I have experienced in any race, the bike course is so fast, and the run was pretty good too, except for that nasty hill in the forest. I think I got lucky with the weather, it was probably more like 29°C and a bit cloudy than the predicted 32°C and sunshine, though I drank so much and threw so much water on myself that I think I would have been fine anyway.

The end of the Road to Roth

So, that is that. I will almost certainly have a bit of a come down from this high, but I am proud of what I have achieved. I set a goal, I worked hard and I achieved all aspects of it. I don’t even see how I could improve on it, I mean I could swim faster, I could maybe knock a few minutes off with better training over more time, but this was it, this was my race, and I’m not sure that I want to do another long distance, as it can’t really live up to the day that I just had.


The Road to Roth – Week 16 – The end of the Road

The road to Roth has been a long one, it has been tough, but I feel like I am coming out of the other side in the best shape of my life.  I just need to not mess things up in the taper, and on race day, and I should be good to have a successful race.


Cycled to swim training, I really pushed the pace as I was a bit late.  We only have 1 lane this week (school holidays) so only the Roth starters were allowed to train.  There were 5 of us total, the other 4 all do their own thing, so I had Chris – the coach – to myself.  I got a good few tips and swam in my wetsuit the whole time. 1:22/100m was ok, at a push, but 1:27/100m seemed like an easier pace to hold for a longer time.

I did 6x100m and 2x200m as the main set, and a few drills and water starts, and that was it. Only 45 mins, but it is my tapering week, so it’s ok.

Cycled home with a bit less power, but still a decent pace.


Just a little Brick today.  A 45min bike followed by a 15 min run was planned. I picked a crappy bike route and was worried about puncturing, but I didn’t so it was ok. I took my bike up to the flat, then set off on the run.  My pace was far too fast, but tried to slow down. I managed to go from 4:15/km to 4:40/km, but I felt like I was walking. On Sunday I will have to be more controlled.  After another bad decision of running a short and uneven trail (I almost turned my ankle) I got back home after just over 15mins.


The weather is heating up.  I had my last swim session before Roth today.  There were only 2 of us there, Dirk Kornau and me. Chris came too, which was good of him, as he knew I would be the only person there!

It was a short swim, I did a 6x100m at 1:27/100m like on Monday. The first one I had to go very slow to stay on pace. The 3rd and 4th were with flippers, but at the same pace. Swimming in slow motion my first 100m was actually too slow! I needed to go 2s faster, so I sped up and swam the next in 1:20… oops!  After 30 mins I was done and ready to cycle home.


Just a shortish run after work. I planned 45mins, but ran 9.1km in 42 mins, and didn’t fancy adding and extra 3 mins for no reason, so that was that.


My train to Nürnberg was at 1pm and I had to get some last things ready and do some jobs around the house, so I ran 1st thing before breakfast for 8km at a shockingly fast 4:36/km. My legs are feeling great at the moment.


Just to keep a bit of the feel for the water, I went for a dip in the Rothsee. I had picked up my bike from Stephan and was waiting for the team photo before the bike check-in so had 15 mins free. The water was nice, but there was lots of seaweed in the deeper water, which creeped me out a bit. I also kept thinking that I could see Jellyfish, but it was just the air from my swimming.  I was for 15mins and my gps says it was 750m.


The Road to Roth – Week 15 – Le Tour de France

Last week was a good one and I already feel much better than after my last long run and ride, but this week should be when my tapering really gets going, after all I did 15h last week!

I don’t have anything longer than 2h planned this week and that is an easy ride on Sunday. Otherwise I just want to swim 3 times and get some regular short runs in. Continue reading “The Road to Roth – Week 15 – Le Tour de France”