All the gear of a performance road bike, but with the idea of staying fit while not getting down on the drops.
If you like to speed along on your bike without needing to be on the drops the Canyon Roadlite WMN CF 8.0 could be an option. It has the geometry, slick finish, and low weight of a performance bike, but with straight handlebars. With a cool design and a cool colour scheme, you can still hold your own with others on the training rides and in cyclosportives.
Personally, I had never considered riding this sort of bike, thinking that straight handlebars are associated with mountain bikers, or hybrid riders looking for a leisurely, functional ride, rather than any serious cycling.
However, when I was presented with the Roadlite its sporty look made me tempted to give it a spin.
Ignoring the handlebars and focusing on the rest of the bike this model is cut from the same cloth as the Canyon Endurace range, with sporting geometry to allow comfort and control over long distances.
You benefit from disc brakes, a 34/50 double chain ring with 11-speed cassette, a Shimano Ultegra groupset, while rolling along on DT Swiss E 1800 Spline DB wheels, and sturdy Schwalbe tyres.
The sloping top tube is good for those of us with short torsos combined with longish legs, and the higher headset puts you in a more upright position than if you were road racing.
I rode the Roadlite WMN CF 8.0 mainly on training rides through the Yorkshire Wolds and the Surrey Hills. Being 5ft 6 (1m 65) in height I tested size XS. To be honest, I was initially a little daunted by the bars as they seemed narrow compared with the extra width and handlebar room I am used to when changing the position of my hands during a long bike ride.
In fact, the bars were easy enough to become accustomed to, and quite soon into my ride I realised I could function without using dropped handlebars.
My longest rides were 80km and all the rides were very comfortable, including when finding an optimal position on the unrelenting climbs and descents around the Wolds.
“If drops aren’t your thing but you still want to pick up some serious pace then this bike is the ticket”
Being all carbon fibre you feel the exceptional lightness, making the Roadlite a responsive bike when pushing off, and a comfortable ride even when going over bumps.
Talking of comfort the Iridium WMN fitness saddle moulded well enough to my feminine derriere and I felt happy with it during my rides!
When going around corners on fast descents the bike still felt sufficiently rigid that it held the road firmly and I felt confident when riding down Millington Dale in the Yorkshire Wolds. If you find yourself on rugged or rough terrain the Roadlite tolerates it thanks to the 30mm tyres, though the Grail and the Pathlite bikes would be better suited for extensive off-road rides.
The Roadlite WMN CF 8.0 also doubles well as a steed for pootling along your local routes. Mind you, at almost £1800 you may not necessarily want to use it for running errands!
This bike would be best suited for those looking to ride seriously, but without needing to adopt a racing position on the bike. If drops aren’t your thing but you still want to pick up some serious pace then this bike is the ticket. Committed mountain bikers, who are naturally partial to straight handlebars, will probably like the ride too.
Overall, I enjoyed riding the Canyon Roadlite WMN CF 8.0, but the gripe that I did have was around the different points of adjustment. The Roadlite has a slick design, and I love the charcoal and red colour scheme, plus the internally routed cabling. However, you can get a bit too slick, almost at the expense of practicality, making a couple of the adjustment points not as straightforward as on other bikes.
“If the Roadlite WMN CF 8.0 is a little out of your budget the aluminium and Shimano 105 models of this bike are easier on the purse strings”
Adjusting the headset or turning the handlebars inwards (which you may need to do when transporting the bike on a plane or train, for instance) requires that you remove a cap first in order to reach the screws; the screw for adjusting the saddle height is in a slightly unusual place; removing the front wheel requires the use of an Allen key. These are not deal breakers, and can be overcome once you are aware of what to do, and have the tools.
On balance, the day-to-day business of riding the Canyon Roadlite WMN CF 8.0 is nevertheless a pleasurable and stylish experience.
If the Roadlite WMN CF 8.0 is a little out of your budget the aluminium and Shimano 105 models of this bike are easier on the purse strings and will still give you the fitness experience you are looking for.
Canyon Roadlite WMN CF 8.0
Sizes: XS, S, M
Colours: Meteor Grey-Red; Grey-Black
Canyon Roadlite WMN CF 7.0 – £1,349
Canyon Roadlite WMN AL SL 8.0 – £1,299
Canyon Roadlite WMN AL SL 7.0 – £999
Canyon Roadlite WMN AL 6.0 – £899
Canyon Roadlite WMN AL 5.0 – £699