Sports The most technologically advanced bike at the Tour de France is made by a German company that's coming to America and sells direct online only — and it could give veterans Trek and Specialized a run for their money

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The most technologically advanced bike at the Tour de France is Alexander Kristoff's Canyon Aeroad CF SLX with disc brakes, SRAM eTap, and ZIPP 454 NSW wheels.

The Aeroad of Alexander Kristoff of Katusha, one of two WorldTour teams that Canyon sponsors at the Tour de France. play

The Aeroad of Alexander Kristoff of Katusha, one of two WorldTour teams that Canyon sponsors at the Tour de France.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)
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BELFORT, France — The most technologically advanced bike at the Tour de France, the world's biggest cycling race, is Alexander Kristoff's Canyon Aeroad CF SLX with disc brakes, SRAM eTap, and ZIPP 454 NSW wheels.

Canyon is a German consumer-direct brand that manufactures a variety of bicycles and is well known in the sport for its high-end road bikes. It sells online directly to customers and is coming to the US later this year, according to the trade publication Bicycle Retailer.

Several industry insiders Business Insider spoke with at the Tour said they expected Canyon to make a considerable impact on the high-end road-bike market in the US and give the big veterans Trek, Specialized, and Giant a run for their money.

Canyon USA had 20 employees as June, and it's hired several people from rival Specialized, including Keith Hnatiuk as its director of operations and Frank Aldorf as its chief brand officer.

Canyon has good exposure in the sport as it sponsors one of the most successful teams, Movistar, led by Colombian star Nairo Quintana. Trek owns a WorldTour team outright, and Specialized sponsors two teams in the Tour, those of sprint ace Marcel Kittel and double world champion Peter Sagan. Meanwhile at the Tour, Trek rolled out its new lightweight Émonda SLR 9 and Specialized its newly redesigned Tarmac.

"The demand for Canyon bikes in the U.S. is already very high. But we also want to deliver an exceptional Canyon customer experience, on par with the quality of our products," Roman Arnold, founder and CEO of Canyon, said last year, according to Bicycle Retailer. It also reported that Canyon had seen revenue grow 30% year-over-year for the past six years. Canyon said it had generated revenues of 160 million euros in 2015.

Trek is already a $1 billion company while Specialized is one of the leading race brands.

Canyon says US customers who order online can expect delivery of a nearly fully assembled bike to their home in two to six weeks. Customers who buy a Trek online must pick up their bikes at an authorized Trek retailer, which handles final assembly. Specialized does not sell bikes online at all; customers have to buy bikes in a shop.

Business Insider got a close-up look at Kristoff's machine during the Tour's first week. See the photos below, and check back for a test-ride review of the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX.

SRAM Red eTap HRD is one of three standout features on Kristoff's bike. The electronic-shifting system is different from rivals Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS in that it has no wires. Instead, the shifters wirelessly transmit a signal to the derailleurs. Tapping the right lever, seen here, makes it harder to pedal (upshifting), and tapping the left lever makes it easier (downshifting). Tapping both levers shifts the front derailleur.

SRAM Red eTap HRD is one of three standout features on Kristoff's bike. The electronic-shifting system is different from rivals Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS in that it has no wires. Instead, the shifters wirelessly transmit a signal to the derailleurs. Tapping the right lever, seen here, makes it harder to pedal (upshifting), and tapping the left lever makes it easier (downshifting). Tapping both levers shifts the front derailleur. play

SRAM Red eTap HRD is one of three standout features on Kristoff's bike. The electronic-shifting system is different from rivals Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS in that it has no wires. Instead, the shifters wirelessly transmit a signal to the derailleurs. Tapping the right lever, seen here, makes it harder to pedal (upshifting), and tapping the left lever makes it easier (downshifting). Tapping both levers shifts the front derailleur.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Another standout feature are the disc brakes. Discs on high-end road bikes are becoming more popular, and we saw a handful of bikes at the Tour equipped with them. They allow for shorter stopping distances and perform better in wet conditions than rim brakes. The downside: They add up to a pound to a bike.

Another standout feature are the disc brakes. Discs on high-end road bikes are becoming more popular, and we saw a handful of bikes at the Tour equipped with them. They allow for shorter stopping distances and perform better in wet conditions than rim brakes. The downside: They add up to a pound to a bike. play

Another standout feature are the disc brakes. Discs on high-end road bikes are becoming more popular, and we saw a handful of bikes at the Tour equipped with them. They allow for shorter stopping distances and perform better in wet conditions than rim brakes. The downside: They add up to a pound to a bike.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Another high-tech spec is the ZIPP 454 NSW wheelset, which Team Katusha is riding at the Tour. SRAM says the unique rim shapes, which resemble fins, reduce aero drag as well as side forces. (Kristoff opts for Continental Competition Pro Ltd ALX tires.)

Another high-tech spec is the ZIPP 454 NSW wheelset, which Team Katusha is riding at the Tour. SRAM says the unique rim shapes, which resemble fins, reduce aero drag as well as side forces. (Kristoff opts for Continental Competition Pro Ltd ALX tires.) play

Another high-tech spec is the ZIPP 454 NSW wheelset, which Team Katusha is riding at the Tour. SRAM says the unique rim shapes, which resemble fins, reduce aero drag as well as side forces. (Kristoff opts for Continental Competition Pro Ltd ALX tires.)

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Last but not least is the carbon-fiber aero frame. It's stiff and has numerous aero shapes that the company claims make it one of the fastest frames in the peloton.

Last but not least is the carbon-fiber aero frame. It's stiff and has numerous aero shapes that the company claims make it one of the fastest frames in the peloton. play

Last but not least is the carbon-fiber aero frame. It's stiff and has numerous aero shapes that the company claims make it one of the fastest frames in the peloton.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


The view from the disc side.

The view from the disc side. play

The view from the disc side.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


It's a fairly tight fit in back between the tire and aero frame.

It's a fairly tight fit in back between the tire and aero frame. play

It's a fairly tight fit in back between the tire and aero frame.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Brake cables run internally through the frame. There's no need to run gear cables or wires because eTap uses wireless technology.

Brake cables run internally through the frame. There's no need to run gear cables or wires because eTap uses wireless technology. play

Brake cables run internally through the frame. There's no need to run gear cables or wires because eTap uses wireless technology.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Because there are no rim brakes, there's ample clearance to run up to 28mm-wide tires. (Kristoff rode 25's.)

Because there are no rim brakes, there's ample clearance to run up to 28mm-wide tires. (Kristoff rode 25's.) play

Because there are no rim brakes, there's ample clearance to run up to 28mm-wide tires. (Kristoff rode 25's.)

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Elsewhere around the bike, the cockpit is aero too with its flattish top bar.

Elsewhere around the bike, the cockpit is aero too with its flattish top bar. play

Elsewhere around the bike, the cockpit is aero too with its flattish top bar.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


The cockpit is neat, and there's an extender for Kristoff's computer/power meter.

The cockpit is neat, and there's an extender for Kristoff's computer/power meter. play

The cockpit is neat, and there's an extender for Kristoff's computer/power meter.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Kristoff is one of the sport's top riders, having won two stages in the Tour de France and the cycling monuments Milan-Sanremo and Tour of Flanders.

Kristoff is one of the sport's top riders, having won two stages in the Tour de France and the cycling monuments Milan-Sanremo and Tour of Flanders. play

Kristoff is one of the sport's top riders, having won two stages in the Tour de France and the cycling monuments Milan-Sanremo and Tour of Flanders.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Lots of sleek aero shapes in this frame.

Lots of sleek aero shapes in this frame. play

Lots of sleek aero shapes in this frame.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


The oversized stiff bottom bracket is said to improve power transfer.

The oversized stiff bottom bracket is said to improve power transfer. play

The oversized stiff bottom bracket is said to improve power transfer.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Those in favor of discs say they are safer and perform better, especially in wet conditions. Critics say they're not necessary and add too much weight.

Those in favor of discs say they are safer and perform better, especially in wet conditions. Critics say they're not necessary and add too much weight. play

Those in favor of discs say they are safer and perform better, especially in wet conditions. Critics say they're not necessary and add too much weight.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


The big Norwegian sprinter had a 53-39 chainring set-up the day we shot his bike.

The big Norwegian sprinter had a 53-39 chainring set-up the day we shot his bike. play

The big Norwegian sprinter had a 53-39 chainring set-up the day we shot his bike.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


In back he had a huge cassette with lots of gearing options.

In back he had a huge cassette with lots of gearing options. play

In back he had a huge cassette with lots of gearing options.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Kristoff rides LOOK Keo2Max clipless pedals.

Kristoff rides LOOK Keo2Max clipless pedals. play

Kristoff rides LOOK Keo2Max clipless pedals.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


Here's a closer look.

Here's a closer look. play

Here's a closer look.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


And he rides a team-issue Selle Italia SLR saddle.

And he rides a team-issue Selle Italia SLR saddle. play

And he rides a team-issue Selle Italia SLR saddle.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


The compact rear triangle is said to improve the frame's stiffness.

The compact rear triangle is said to improve the frame's stiffness. play

The compact rear triangle is said to improve the frame's stiffness.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


We estimate Kristoff's bike would cost about $11,500 retail. The wheelset is $4,000; the power meter $1,100; eTap HRD $2,335; about $3,000 for the frameset; and then add for the chain, cassette, tires, etc.

We estimate Kristoff's bike would cost about $11,500 retail. The wheelset is $4,000; the power meter $1,100; eTap HRD $2,335; about $3,000 for the frameset; and then add for the chain, cassette, tires, etc. play

We estimate Kristoff's bike would cost about $11,500 retail. The wheelset is $4,000; the power meter $1,100; eTap HRD $2,335; about $3,000 for the frameset; and then add for the chain, cassette, tires, etc.

(Daniel McMahon/Business Insidee)


Canyon bikes have not been available for purchase in US, but the company plans to start selling there later this year.

A screenshot from the current webpage at Canyon USA. play

A screenshot from the current webpage at Canyon USA.

(Canyon Bicycles USA)


Overall we really liked the look of Kristoff's Canyon. It has all of the state-of-the-art technology, and it's the highest-tech bike at the Tour de France. We look forward to riding the Canyon, disc brakes, eTap, and ZIPP wheels. Check back for a full review.

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(Daniel McMahon/Business Insider)


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(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)