When we saw Mathieu van der Poel go two-for-two at the U.S. World Cups in 2017, he was riding a Stevens Super Prestige to his many victories. Fast forward a year and Van der Poel's rival Wout van Aert is on a Stevens, while the Dutch phenom and his team have a new bike.
At the start of 2018, Van der Poel and his Corendon - Circus team switched to the Canyon Inflite CF SLX and its hard-to-miss top tube. Even with the uniquely designed bike, Van der Poel continued winning nearly every race, with the notable exception of Worlds in Valkenburg.
Van der Poel opted out of the 2018 U.S. World Cups after a successful mountain bike season, so we did not get a chance to see his new bike in person earlier this year.
However, as part of our coverage of Superprestige Gavere, we got a close look at what has been the winningest bike in international cyclocross in 2018 for our latest bike profile.
Mathieu van der Poel's Canyon Inflite CF SLX
Starting in the 2018 calendar year, Van der Poel began using Canyon bikes in road, mountain and cyclocross events. For the latter, he uses the German direct-to-consumer brand’s radically designed Inflite CF SLX. Last year we profiled Lucie Chainel's yellow Inflite and earlier this year, we did an In Review Spotlight of the Inflite CF SLX 9.0.
Coming prepared, Van der Poel brought four bikes which are divided into two pairs, one in the red team livery of Corendon-Circus and a second pair in blue which highlights his past as European Champion. We photographed one of the latter, bike number three.
Launched in 2017, the carbon Inflite CF SLX has a distinctive seat cluster that is intended to provide both an extremely open main triangle for shouldering and a low mounted seatpost for comfort. Also unique to Canyon is the 1 ¼” straight steerer tube, which mostly locks riders into Canyon cockpit components.
Fortunately, there are several options available to allow riders to tune their fit. Van der Poel equipped his bike with an H11 Aerocockpit CF integrated bar and stem from Canyon. The Aerocockpit has a 110mm stem and 41cm wide bars, the latter of which is a bit different than the 40cm and 42cm models offered by many manufacturers.
Van der Poel also used a Canyon VCLS CF seat post, which measures 27.2mm and offers variable setback from 15mm to 35mm, atop which he mounted a Selle Italia Flite series saddle with carbon rails. He also utilized bar tape from the Italian brand, even though Canyon offers its own gel tape.
As a Shimano rider, it is unsurprising to find the top-end Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 groupset in use on all of Van der Poel’s bikes. Hydraulic dual control levers power both Dura-Ace flat mount calipers and Di2 derailleurs. Van der Poel used the RT900 CenterLock rotors with the Dura-Ace calipers.
He used Shimano Dura-Ace cassettes and chains as well as pro-only 46/39t chainrings mounted on his R9100 crankset with 172.5mm crank arms. His choice of a double is in line with what we saw many riders do—including Wout van Aert with his SRAM Red eTap setup—but different than Eli Iserbyt on his Ridley X-Night.
Another pro-only feature is the Shimano SPD pedals marked prototype, which are only available to some Shimano sponsored riders.
Also unsurprising is the sight of Dura-Ace R9170-C40-TU 40mm deep carbon tubular wheels, onto which Van der Poel mounted Dugast handmade tubular tires. For the conditions in Gavere he chose 700c x 33mm Rhino mud tires.
For a closer look at Van der Poel's bike, see the photo gallery and specs below.