My Thoughts: P5 vs SLX
The number one question I have gotten since switching to the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX is "How does it compare to the Cervelo P5-6?" I wish it were that easy to just say one is better than the other, but honestly if I put a blindfold on you and had you ride 2 brand new bikes, I really doubt you would know the difference. That being said, there are some significant differences between the 2 bikes, so I will try to highlight those below. From here on the P5-6 will be referred to as the “P5” and the Canyon Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 SL will be referred to as the “SLX”.
First off, to be completely transparent here, I am "sponsored/partnered" with Canyon USA/North America. I did PAY for my bike, although with a discount. So some may think this is a biased post, and I get that. I have been transparent in everything I do, and with every company I have worked with/partnered with/been sponsored by, I have started off as a paying customer beforehand.
Fit/Geometry- No matter how much you love either bike, first and foremost you need to make sure the geometry will work for you and your fit coordinates. For me, I was riding the P5 in size 56. I had the base bar pretty much slammed, just one small spacer, but then used the "V bar" to achieve the correct amount of stack. The other option I could have chosen was to use all the spacers and then run the regular "flat setup". When it came time to get the SLX, I could have gone with either the Medium or Large, running max stack on the Medium, and then minimal stack on the Large. I opted for the Medium, so that if I wanted to go lower (which I have done for the last 4 months, but am raising back up), I could. You can find the geometry/fit info for the bikes below:
Aerodynamics- I went to the tunnel after I had already torn down my P5, so I wasn't able to compare the 2 bikes. Even so, it would have been hard to set them up identically because the bar systems were designed for each bike (though you can take the P5 bar and run it on other bikes). When in the tunnel we tested the SLX on its own, and unfortunately that is not my data to share as I was not paying for that part of the test. I did test the bike, with me on it, with the bento box and bottle installed, and then removed those accessories, and it was faster with them installed. So even if you do not plan to use them, still run them. Plus, the bike just doesn't look right with them removed.
Braking & Handling- I think the SLX brakes are much better, at least in terms of sleekness and how the cover is cleaner. The P5 brakes may be slightly easier to adjust the width in terms of "small adjustments". But if you need to make massive adjustments for some reason, that requires messing with the hydraulic system which I do not have experience with and I assume 99% of athletes do not either. The SLX is similar in the sense that it is easy to adjust for "small adjustments", but you have to remove the brake cover to do so, which I don't mind, as I mentioned above the brake area is much cleaner and sleeker on the SLX.
I have ~3,500 miles on the SLX & put over 15,000 miles on the P5. Both bikes handle extremely well and could not honestly tell any differences.
Storage/Hydration- This is where I think the SLX sets itself apart from the P5. The SLX comes with the bottle and bento that was designed specifically for the bike, and is super clean on the bike. The bottle is easy to remove and clean, so no issues there. The SLX also has the tool storage area, built into the frame and "hidden". With the P5, you can add any "aftermarket" products to it to get a similar setup, however you still will be missing a tool storage area. There still has not been a "storage box" brought to the market for the BB area of the P5, and even then we have yet to see data on how that affects the aerodynamics.
Product Support- Canyon Customer Service has been great, just unable to deliver on parts requests. This seems to be a global Canyon issue, and not just a North America thing at the moment. It seems things are getting much better as time goes on, but everyone is still awaiting the rear bottle cage (as of early August 2018), and they are out globally, not just in North America. Cervelo has always had great customer service as well, and probably has a bigger “small” parts inventory due to how long the P5 has been around.
Traveling- This really comes down to your bar setup and what bike bag you have, or plan on getting. With the P5, I was running the "v-bar" which was super easy to remove (4 bolts), and then would need to remove the base bar (3 bolts). That left the base bar "flat" and I would strap it to the frame, along with removing the front brake. I was then packing it into the EVOC Bike Travel Bag(Gen 1) w/ stand, which is a phenomenal case.
With the SLX, I originally planned on continuing to use my EVOC. BUT, due to the amount of stack I run, it started to become a bit complicated, but not impossible. It just meant that I would have to remove the base bar (4 bolts), then remove the arm pads (4 bolts, so you can access the spacers/extensions), then remove the spacers (stack)/extensions (4 more bolts, super long threads). So it made the job of packing it a bit longer and with the amount of travel I do, I was looking for something a bit easier.
I ended up getting the Premier Bike Box. Though it is quite pricey at $699, I am really happy with it. It holds 3 wheels, does not require you to move the base bar, is a hard case and has room for other "stuff" as well. Now I just remove the arm pads, spacers(stack)/extensions. With my extensions being quite long, I am not able to just loosen and slide them back, but I know others that do that with their Scicon Bags (although I am not a fan of these bags). It just depends how long yours are and what size frame you have.
Stock Specs for P5-6 ETAP vs. Speedmax CF SLX 9.0 SL
P5-6 (see stock specs here)- At $10,000 the one area the P5 is behind the SLX is with the wheels as it comes with HED6’s to the SLX having the Zipp NSW 858/454. Not that the HED JET6+ wheels are “bad”, just compared to the MSRP value they are $2,000 compared to the Zipps at $4,200.
The other noticeable difference is it comes with SRAM ETAP rather than DA, so up to you which is better there. (Of note, it appears that Cervelo recently dropped their pricing for “2019” to be in line with Canyon, and maybe other brands? It was previously $11,000 for the Dura Ace version.**After speaking with someone else this may have happened in late 2017, but not positive, first time I noticed it was when doing research for this post.**)
SLX (see stock specs here)- At $10,000, you are getting a bike delivered straight to your front door, with better wheels and built-in integration. Previously it would have been $1,000 cheaper but with Cervelo’s recent price drop, seems now the difference is the wheels and preference of ETAP or Dura Ace.
Other Stock Specs- New to “2019” it appears Cervelo is now offering an Ultegra build for the P5, which in the past was just a ETAP or Dura Ace build. At $7,500 that is not a bad option, however Canyon is coming in with the Speedmax CF SLX 8.0SL at $6,500 w/ Ultegra. So then the decision becomes primarily between DTSwiss wheels or the JET6+ Black. So if looking at the “lower end” options of the CF SLX / P5, then you are looking at saving $1,000 going with the SLX. (**After speaking with someone else the P5 having an Ultegra option may have happened in late 2017, but not positive, first time I noticed it was when doing research for this post.**)
Resale Value- Over the years of owning Cervelo’s they always seemed to hold their value really well on the used market. I believe Canyon will do the same, especially in the US since there are not many on the used market. The one thing that could make a P5 hard to sell would be if you have cut the fork/steer tube, making it pretty restrictive for someone to hit their fit coordinates, unless you find the right person. Whereas the SLX's stack is adjusted via spacers, so long as the frame is the right size, anyone looking for that frame size could make it work.
Summary- At the end of the day, both of these bikes are amazing bikes, I can't deny that. I put over 15k miles on my P5, and am close to 3,500 on my SLX. I give the hat tip to the SLX due to the fact that it was built with the triathlete in mind, with the hydration system, bento box and tool storage area. You are also getting a better wheel set in my opinion, so if you are looking to sell the wheels odds are you will get more money out of the Zipps. I have sold brand new JET6+ wheels for ~$1,000 in the past, and sold the Zipp NSW 858/454 wheelset for $3,600 for reference.
Can't afford the SLX or want an "easier" bike to travel with/work on??
Check out the Speedmax CF (price range $2,499 - $4,999)-
The Speedmax CF is more in line with the Cervelo P3, but $600 cheaper (comparing the P3 Ultegra Di2 to the CF 8.0 Di2. The CF 8.0 Di2 also comes with race wheels where the Cervelo does not). And if you do a few upgrades, you would have a fast bike, clean setup and slightly less headache working on it/traveling with it. I would recommend adding the Vision Metron TFA Aero Bar (interested in getting one?? Email me to save some $$)+ Profile Designs Aeria bottle + TriRig OmegaX Front Brake and there you have it for ~$1,200 MSRP you have something close to an SLX, minus the built in tool storage.