An In-Depth Look at the Canyon GeoBend Concept with the Industrial Designer Marvin Henschel

Aug 31, 2021
by Matt Beer  
Canyon GeoBend Concept

I’m not sure what’s in the water in Germany, but it’s a hotbed for molding industrial designers. Marvin Henschel is yet another and he has dreamt up a creative plan to produce an enduro bike using a mix of materials with customizable geometry in an efficient, CO2-conscience manufacturing process. The idea behind the frame goes deeper than the visible high pivot suspension or gearbox drivetrain and is based heavily on an automated process where single fabricated pieces are cut and manipulated to the dimensions of any rider size.

Marvin Henschel, the brainchild behind GeoBend, is a 26 year-old, passionate mountain biker and industrial designer. He’s been riding mainly downhill and enduro bikes for well over a decade and studied industrial design at the University of Kassel, in Germany.

During his studies, Marvin put two and two together; his hobby of riding bikes and industrial design skills, and then applied for an internship at Canyon Bicycles, a company well known for an industrious look to its frames. The GeoBend project became a blend of Marvin’s work at Canyon and his thesis study.

bigquotesThe goal of my thesis was to combine highly automated alternative manufacturing technologies with the possibility of personalizing the bike's geometry, without losing the continuous straight lines Canyon design is known for.Marvin Henschel

Canyon GeoBend Concept
Believe it or not, the idea for GeoBend sparked in Marvin's head one day when he was rolling up a garden hose.
Canyon GeoBend Concept
Canyon GeoBend Concept
Canyon GeoBend Concept
Canyon GeoBend Concept
The three main components; head tube, rear triangle and subframe, and two tubes with curved ends.

Canyon GeoBend Concept
The geometry is totally customizable. The reach, stack, and head tube angle can be easily tuned independently and quickly. The single form tubes can be cut to any length for sized frames and the CNC'd head tube block catches the desired angles.

We’ve seen prototype or concept bikes use other methods of construction before, like Atherton Bikes’ carbon tubes and 3D printed, titanium lugged frame or Production Privee’s downhill frame, which is made from two halves CNC machined and then bonded together, however, GeoBend separates the selected frame manufacturing method in portions, according to complexity and cost.

Canyon wanted adaptable geometry and Marvin wanted to produce in the EU, so his proposal was to use local manufacturing firms, which would optimize time and limit emissions. The benefit of sourcing local manufacturing would cut Canyon’s CO2 impact. Keep in mind, this is all a concept at the moment.

The creation of this frame would involve three main manufacturing techniques. Marvin went on to explain, “The technology for the main body (shock basement and seat mast area) and rear triangle would be automated fibre placement, a process of feeding fibre reinforced tapes through a heated roller system under force. The tubes would be made from radial carbon braiding, which is basically strands of carbon rope woven around a mold, by Munich Composites. For the custom milled CNC headtube I was in contact with Evocut, which already does a lot of cool products for the bike industry.”

Canyon GeoBend Concept
Canyon GeoBend Concept

So, we have the three components of the frame and lowered emissions, but what does the word “bend” have to do with it?

The top and down tubes of the frame have individual radii or bends at one end, while the other end is straight. They can be cut at various angles on the curved surface. This allows the length of the frame to change using only two tubes in combination with the custom-cut head tube junction. The seat mast is also cut to the desired length and the head tube angle can also be adapted independently of the tube joints.

Marvin didn’t skimp on the aesthetics of the frame either. From the low, horizontal shock orientation to the clean line that runs from the seatstays all the way to the stem, proving his knowledge of quirky, mountain bike consumer requests and showcasing his keen eye for industrial design. There is even room for a water bottle inside the front triangle and a hidden, on board multi-tool.

Canyon GeoBend Concept
Canyon GeoBend Concept
Canyon GeoBend Concept
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Who doesn't love a good suspension animation?

Of course, there would be engineering roadblocks and constraints, but the GeoBend project bridges the gap between a napkin sketch and a rideable prototype.

The Pinion gearbox lends to a low center of gravity, lighter unsprung mass, and cleans up the image of the bike without a derailleur hanging off the back or a large cassette. There’s no reason why this idea couldn’t work with a conventional Horst Link suspension design or a standard derailleur drivetrain, but you may as well go all-in with a high pivot and gearbox with a custom geometry, concept bike, right?

I’m sure you’re all wondering when you can order one. For now, it’s just a concept, but this could be the next great leap in the custom geometry bike market. Marvin even built an app to guide a theoretical customer to the correct frame geometry based on inputs, such as, body dimensions, trail styles, and riding technique.

It seems plausible that GeoBend could become a super high-end branch of Canyon, possibly under a moniker like Specialized's, “S-Works”. We reached out to Canyon Bicycles for more information and will continue to monitor the project with keen ears.

Marvin has moved onto other projects since his internship at Canyon, but proudly displays a 3D printed mockup of the bike in his office that will live on, regardless of GeoBend’s future.

Canyon GeoBend Concept

Thanks to Alex at The European Bike Project who first brought GeoBend into the limelight and immediately got us excited to learn more.

Marvin would like to thank the gravity department at Canyon Bicycles for this great opportunity, as well as Pinion for the support during the process.






97 Comments

  • 178 2
 All this work so I can choose the wrong geometry and ruin my next bike! Thanks Marvin
  • 8 0
 Randy approves
  • 2 1
 @Lagr1980: Kevin too
  • 23 0
 Finally! We all know the bike companies have no idea what they're doing. My next bike will incorporate all the wisdom I've gleaned from the PB comments sections over the years.

Now how to get proper welds on a carbon frame?...
  • 12 0
 Man discovers tangency ,crowd goes wild
  • 81 0
 So they'd have multiple subframes which would be tied together by custom top and down tubes which would provide the reach and stack? That's genius. Could I add in a request to have multiple rear end lengths and a head tube that's at least 135mm for the big kids in the room?

Please let this go somewhere. There is a spectacular lack of customizable geometry in custom bikes. If companies aren't going to properly fit the entire range of people sizes then there is room for more than a couple fully custom options to thrive. TBH I'm surprised it's Canyon but this is an incredibly forward thinking idea.

Why isn't the rear end more completely triangulated? Wouldn't it be torsionally stiffer?
  • 31 1
 Because before this, it was ink on a napkin and now it is paper mache.
  • 6 0
 From what I understand, the headtube and subframe are standard. The top tubes are all standard, the downtubes are all standard. Both tubes have a constant radius curve at one end, the other end is straight. They can orient both tubes with respect to the subframe depending on where they cut the curved part. They can then cut the straight part to size so that it fits the headtube. So basically the custom part is cutting the two tubes to size and then assembling the front triangle. I think it is clever.

As for the rear end, a triangle would probably be stiffer and/or lighter. Maybe it started out like this with the idea to also offer custom chainstay lengths but it was too much work to finish the finer details at this point?
  • 8 1
 fully customised geometry? when it's shitty to ride it's all your fault ;0P
  • 3 0
 The non-triangular rear end would reduce chain slap I suppose. Though I’d guess it’s mainly an aesthetic choice; it highlights the lack of a bulky rear cluster and derailleur.

Definitely a cool looking bike, though as a taller fellow I’m with you in wanting variable CS and HT options. And if you do that you kinda lose a lot of the advantages of the modular build I’d think.
  • 5 0
 Companies like Geometron/Nicolai and GG address some of these customization issues now. GG Size 4 is 140mm HT. But I agree, this is a really awesome concept and it seems like Canyon would be silly not to pursue, even if just for their racers and prototyping. That rear end could 100% be a triangle, I think as the article points out, it's a concept, so why not go way out.
  • 5 1
 @vinay: The headtube junction does not work as shown above, the angles the top tube and down tube come into the headtube at will change when the geometry is altered so that piece will have to be made custom every time.

Cutting tubes to size and assembling is how any custom bike frame is built, this is just a concept to have a couple less cuts so it could be produced a little easier by large brands that don't typically do custom geometry.
  • 1 0
 @Drew-O: They could get around this by offering two different rear swingarms, say a 135 and a 145 and people just choose. Same with the head tube, they have, say, 3 options to choose from.
So you pick rear end, main subframe and head tube, then they customize the top and down tube to achieve your numbers. It's about as custom as a carbon bike can really be. I hope they move forward with this.
  • 2 0
 @MTBLegend92: Yeah I get what you're saying and I was thinking about it when I wrote my previous post. If the reach and stack increase, the tube junctions at the subframe stay the same and we consider the tubes straight as shown in the pictures then indeed the tubes will join the headtube at increasingly sharper angles. That's what you're getting at, right? Just read the article again and indeed the headtube is custom milled. Which must be a pain indeed. Not sure what is more expensive at this point. Machine that part or print it like the Athertons/Robotbike do. He'd have to move a way from his non-circular tubes though if he wants to join the tubes properly to metal lugs. The double shear lap joints that Robotbike/Atherton use are the only ones I've seen that properly avoid delamination due to free edges (of long fiber composites). Cut these tubes and only glue them on the inside OR the outside will eventually lead to delamination. But I doubt you can properly join a non-circular tube with such a double shear lap joint.

Back to how I thought it would work (with only standard parts so nothing custom) would probably only be possible if the tubes had a cleverly tuned S-shape. That might have canceled out the issue with the angles.

@alexin: I think Olsen probably has the most clever way of making custom reach and stack bikes, basically only having the front part of the mould interchangeable. Otherwise, we could consider Robotbike/Atherton half-carbon, can we? These are probably most custom, with also the lugs being custom designed to the loads they'll encounter.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: The headtube is fully custom CNC, the top and down tubes are standard but cut to length, and the rear subframe is standard.
  • 49 6
 Do you want to reduce environmental impact? Do you want to be carbon neutral?
The solution is quite easy:
Stop trying to convince the customer that he needs a bike like this to save the planet.
The main goal of this development is to reduce production costs so the company can increase the profits.
Greenwashing seems to be becoming an illness these days.
  • 6 0
 True, but Canyon is going to keep producing more bikes no matter what, so if someone is already planning on buying a bike, then at least they have the choice to go for a more environmentally friendly option.
  • 1 0
 A lot of the Money spent on any product goes into energy consumption. So cheaper means better for Environment if you look Into a subsystem without different labour cost and diff. taxes
  • 1 0
 @maxbatz: How much is a lot? Not trying to be an a.l., just interested.. I would have thought that labour, equipment and material would make up most of the production costs for bikes. Specially in countries (e.g. China) where energy is much cheaper than in Europe.
  • 43 1
 I think it looks awesome
  • 4 1
 Looking forward to the day when all bikes have suuuuper low standover height so we can all just step into our bikes and rip instead of performing the swinging a leg over the rear wheel maneuver we've all gotten so used to.
  • 7 0
 @blackthorne: well I always swing it over the handlebar like the cool kids
  • 1 0
 @blackthorne: you bike can lean over, even when you aren’t riding it
  • 32 0
 Gearbox+idler=Levy is going to break his computer screen
  • 7 1
 "Mr Levy, you have a massive erection"

"It's the pleats, it's actually an optical illusion"
  • 10 0
 haha tiny little world: seeing an ancient riding buddy after years in a Pinkbike article.... with a pretty damn good idea!

Gude Marvin, Grüße von den GP's!
  • 9 0
 "Believe it or not, the idea for GeoBend sparked in Marvin's head one day when he was rolling up".

Many a good idea has come while rolling up.

But in all seriousness, if you build it, I'll buy one.
  • 8 0
 "Canyon Bicycles, a company well known for an industrious look to its frames"

I don't think that word means what you think it means.
  • 6 0
 That is a good looking bike of the future. Normally the concepts look weird but this could actually be what mtbs look like in 2030. Props to the idea and to canyon for supporting!
  • 9 4
 seems pretty silly or chainstay length to stay the same, why should a 6 foot tall rider have a different front end rear end ratio than a 5'2 rider?
  • 3 0
 I'll take one!!! I don't even care about the customizable geo. It's all about the gearbox and high pivot combo on top of the fact that it is coming from a solid bike company. I'm sold!
Now... time to start a ridiculously difficult process of thinking about what geo I want... and then be a d!#% about it.
  • 4 0
 As an Industrial Designer, this is an amazing project a very inspiring and great idea, as a mountain biker, I can hear the creaking already
  • 6 1
 Ah James. Don't delete comments to hide your mistakes!
  • 9 0
 ah never mind. i just be proud of my first deleted pb comment
  • 19 1
 Streisand Effect strikes again...
  • 4 0
 This censorship shall not stand man!!
  • 2 0
 Good to see real designers trying to tackle real issues. So much garbage out there stealing KS backer money or gaining likes on the socials. Nice work Mr Henschel and solid form development too.
  • 1 0
 I give that seat mast/tower ~3 months of real world riding conditions before it cracks/snaps.

There's a reason why no other company has actually brought an unbraced seat tube arrangement like that to market (despite the cool swoopy look it gives the top tube)
  • 1 0
 Sure this is the way that bike manufacturer is heading, making the frame size to suit a riders individual anthropology should result in a better ride if done properly. Also being able to adjust it to an individual’s riding style can be thrown in too. Atherton’s bikes are doing this now for the full bike geometry as stated, I’m sure the rest will slowly start to follow.
  • 1 0
 A very clever idea for offering customizable geometry at a reduced cost. Only thing, am I correct in thinking head tube angle is entirely dependent on stack and reach, or is there a way to adjust it independently?

Loving the rear suspension as well, I'm a big fan of high pivots where the lower pivot drives the shock. Gearbox is icing on the cake.
  • 1 0
 Don´t know if somebody already realized it here, but with personalizatión level you´re going to die with this bike in the cellar of your house. who are you going to sell your unique personalize bike?
This doesn´t help global warming
  • 1 0
 DEFn: "Quirky" - characterized by wanting water and adequate tools when heading into the woods for long period of time; used in a sentence: "There is even room for a water bottle in the front triangle and a hidden multi-tool, proving his knowledge of quirky, mountain bike consumer requests"
  • 1 0
 The same people that complain about this amazing innovation are the same people who complain about innovation period. Just like when 29" wheels came out. There just weren't enough passifiers for them to suck on.
  • 9 7
 James will proudly display this article in his office as a prototype proofread.
  • 1 0
 About time Pinion became wireless and CO2 given a conscience. Industrial reportage
  • 2 0
 What a fantastic looking thing. It's got almost as much standover height as my trials bike!
  • 4 1
 Dat lower chain growth doe....
  • 3 1
 What's up with the integrated bar? No spacers needed I guess but those brakes...
  • 1 0
 Looks great, now make gearboxes WAY better Sram and Shimano and get those thermoplastics dialled in. Cheaper/better/longer lasting bikes!
  • 2 1
 That’s not how any of this works.
  • 3 0
 After 25 years the GT RTS is back!
  • 1 2
 It is not a very good idea to made a bike with no gaps in the frame/links/rear end. The Specialized Enduro has the rear end of the bike and the frame really close,I have 3 times little rocks stuck there in it sucks. It could brake a frame and it is really difficult to clean. So,very good looking but it could be a potential design error.
Love the ARBR bike vives of the rear end,for me a very beautiful bike. It looks really good.
  • 1 0
 Really cool looking bike... but the manufacturability improvements and ecofriendlyness statement is very bold. "engineering team, it's your turn, get it done!" ;-)
  • 1 2
 Ironic, given the mention of "Lower CO2 Emissions", is the increase in waste from a process like this. They'd need to work with something like Fusion Fiber to recycle the cut-away pieces to decrease their impact.
  • 3 0
 Brazzers
  • 1 0
 for a while, i have been wondering what bikes of the future will look like. i guess we know now
  • 2 0
 Geobend lol. any Class-A surfacing will do that out of the box.
  • 2 0
 Amen to that the might do g2 or c2 geobend next
  • 3 0
 No bamboo, I'm out.
  • 2 0
 At least it’s been designed without a motor and a battery……
  • 2 0
 First guy to hit a road gap with that gets a free entry into rampage.
  • 2 0
 Whoa, I can't wait to see one of these with pedals!
  • 1 0
 The ultimate meme machine...
  • 2 1
 The customer service, is going to move this bike !
  • 2 0
 new front tyre?
  • 1 0
 Looks like an unmarked Big Betty. But Dapréla and Myriam Nicole looked to be on a new front tire at World Champs.
  • 1 0
 Not a fan of Canyons bad customer service but this looks very promising!
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Norco Aurum HSP
  • 1 0
 One of those in aluminium please
  • 1 0
 Looks sexy but what happens when you bottom out in a rock garden
  • 2 1
 The stem looks a little odd but nice concept bike overall.
  • 1 0
 Why the linkage though, why not just make it a pull shock?
  • 1 0
 All 200 frames are sold out.
  • 1 0
 Electronic wireless brakes?
  • 1 0
 As soon as pinion gets adequate electronic shifting, I'm on board!!
  • 1 0
 Good luck mate.
  • 1 0
 Loving the standover!
  • 1 0
 Innovation
  • 1 1
 hyper expensive step thru lol
  • 1 0
 What a sick looking bike
  • 1 0
 I like it.
  • 1 0
 When I can have one?
  • 1 0
 Gorgeous!
  • 1 2
 As long as it stays well away...well and truly away from the Mullet Fad then I'm a fan!
  • 1 0
 Too much pedal kickback?
  • 1 0
 I don't know...
  • 1 0
 TAKE MY MONEY!
  • 1 0
 How does the seat clamp?
  • 1 1
 Awesome concept but, I can honestly say there's no way I'd trust it
  • 1 0
 Another high pivot copy
  • 1 1
 Build it and the $ will come
  • 1 1
 We need all the fire we have to kill it
  • 1 0
 looks like a session
  • 1 0
 yum
  • 4 5
 review coming tomorrow
  • 1 2
 Love not move
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