Bike Check: Mathieu Van Der Poel's Canyon Lux - Nove Mesto XC World Cup 2021

May 15, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  

Although the first time he rode his new Canyon Lux was last week in Albstadt, Mathieu van der Poel got along with it right away. It took him to an XCC win in Albstadt, then a seventh place in the XCO. Next, he outsprinted Tom Pidcock to take the Nove Mesto XCC victory by just a hair, even though he said his legs weren't working as well as he wanted them to.

Van der Poel's mechanic says it doesn't take much before he's comfortable on a bike, and once it's dialed in, he likes to keep his setup essentially the same. He's not too finicky about settings and doesn't often adjust his suspension, keeping all his compression and rebound settings in the middle of the range. He'll typically run about 75psi in his fork and 110psi in his shock.

While he almost always chooses to ride a full suspension bike, even when his competitors are racing hardtails, he never uses a dropper post. He did try one for a bit, but just couldn't get along with it, and he is clearly doing just fine with his rigid post.

Mathieu Van Der Poel s return to World Cups will be a challenge after two years away.
Mathieu van der Poel
Age: 26
Home: Kapellen, Belgium
Height: 188 cm / 6'2"
Weight: 75 kg
Instagram: @mathieuvanderpoel

Van der Poel received a new Canyon Lux for the start of the World Cup season.

Model Name Details
Frame: Canyon Lux
Shock: Fox Float DPS
Fork: Fox 34 SC
Wheels: Unspecified rims on Shimano hubs
Tires: Maxxis Aspen One70 29x2.4
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR
Brakes: Shimano XTR
Cockpit: Canyon CP0008 integrated cockpit, 720mm bars, 115mm stem, -22 degree stem angle
Size: Large
More info: Canyon Bikes

It's unlikely that van der Poel will keep the #33 plate for long.

He does not run a dropper post. He tried one for a while, but didn't like it.

Shimano hubs get the job done, laced to carbon rims.

To increase stiffness, the spoke crossings are reinforced with wire. Van der Poel's mechanic says this helps him while sprinting and in technical sections.

The devil's in the details.

While many riders opted to ride hardtails last week in Albstadt, Mathieu van der Poel almost always prefers to ride his full suspension.

An XTR drivetrain keeps him cruising forward...

...and XTR brakes provide plenty of control.

Canyon's integrated cockpit is a streamlined solution for many racers.

Aspen tires front and rear worked for van der Poel today in the short track, and he'll keep his setup more or less the same for the XCO Sunday, though he may run a different chainring.

Congratulations on the win today, Mathieu. We look forward to watching another exciting race this Sunday.


  • 78 1
 How can he win with that Shimano wandering bite point?
  • 23 0
 Brakes just slow you down!
  • 17 1
 That’s probably why he runs the levers so far from the bar!
  • 18 0
 He uses canabis oil for consitant bite points obv.
  • 5 0
 @NotNamed: everytime I use cannabis oil the the whole pl
  • 10 7
 Cons : Shimano brakes
  • 3 1
 has a good mechanic...
  • 4 2

He probably uses a lot more than canabis oil...
  • 2 1
 Whenever I read 'wandering bite point' I think of Lee Marvin singing "I was born under a wand'rin' star!"
  • 1 0
 @DutchmanPhotos: No way mtbing is a clean Sport! ;-)
  • 42 0
 Isn't that a SC 34 on the front...?
  • 2 0
 's what it looks like
  • 9 6
 I'm pretty sure Fox discontinued the 32 SC when they released the new 34 SC
  • 7 0
 @horse-with-no-name: no according to fox's website they still provide the 32 sc
  • 12 0
 @ltharris: My bad, thank you for the correction.
  • 66 0
 I think you guys are just getting mixed up, here ya go:

To = preposition
Too = also, as well
Two = 4
  • 57 0
 Oh wait, I was getting mixed up, here:

For = preposition
Fore = front
Four = 2
  • 37 2
 Love pro write ups, but this one’s a bit of a dud.
wrong fork, no rims listed, no bike size much less saddle height. Maybe I’m the only one who likes dorking our, but what’s the cassette size that he’s running? Prefer a bailout for bad days/spinning, or prefers closer ratios?

Still happy to have something, and a regular racing season in Europe!
  • 1 0
 Looks like 10-51
  • 41 0
 @arcatern I hope this helps!

• Fox 34 Step-Cast with 100m travel.
• DUKE carbon rims.
• 10-51 cassette.
• Limited edition frame with his logo (1000 pieces).
• The weight of the whole bike in size L is 10.5 kg including pedals.

Let The Legs Do The Talking
  • 19 2
 @dolores: love it.
Please don’t win everything again. Sharing is nice
  • 5 0
 @dolores: plus a 40t chainring. Monstrous considering the me officially is limited to 38t
  • 1 0
 Looks like mechanical shifting... so if you removed the SRM. It looks like you could probably replicate this bike for around $5k USD?
  • 1 0
 Wasn't riding those tyres in the XCC either. Was on Ikons. Looks like he ran those Aspens last week for the first time, has previously always been on Ikons no matter what the conditions
  • 1 0
 @thewisefool: 40T is for the XCC. For the XCO he will run a 38T chainring or a 36T if its still muddy
  • 2 0
 @Killerclam: Shimano doesn't have a 12speed Di2 system yet
  • 1 0
 For comparison, Nino weighs 67 kg and is 173 cm tall. The weight of his bike is 10.14 kg with pedals.
  • 1 0
 @Killerclam: 6199eur to be exact. But with "normal" frame not MvDP color and logo.
  • 1 0
 Those rims are probably light bicycles Smile
  • 1 0
 @dolores: what do you think the internal width is on those rims since hes running aspen 2.4s? 30mm or 28mm or a combination?
  • 28 1
 Pinkbike should do a breakdown of which riders are riding 32SC/SID SLs vs 34SC/SIDs and why they chose what they're riding.
  • 18 0
 Nobody is going to mention his 40t front ring that would give him a top speed of 31mph at 90rpm? For sprinting at 120 rpm he could do 41mph.
  • 2 0
 They keep chirping about that on during the race and I was like "srsly??¿?" Jfc that is INSANE
  • 1 0
 Holy WFT, a 41MPH sprint on a MTB!! I couldn't hit that on my road bike. Dude is BAD ASS!
  • 17 0
 but but you cant ride with a 69 deg HA and 115mm stem your bike will explode if you do that. especially if your bars are narrower than 750. thats outdated bc pinkbike said so.
  • 9 0
 Suprising... DUKE rims, lightweight XC model ---

"DUKE Lucky Jack SLS3 Ultra"

Sold here:

Price = 336,13 € / $408.26 USD

That's less than half the price of similar ENVE rims? Wink
  • 4 0
 Can confirm that the Alpecin-Fenix riders run these rims. I know a rider personally and I've seen these rims (with branding) on their bike.
  • 3 0
 Enve is shyte, expensive shyte
  • 1 0
 270gr mtb rims?

That’s pretty nutty.
  • 1 0
 I think Pauline is running the same rims
  • 1 9
flag BmanInBigD (May 15, 2021 at 19:58) (Below Threshold)
 @golefty: your comment is shyte.,ENVE rims (the newer ones) are damn nice. Get with the program, you are clearly mistaking the older stuff with the newer.
  • 13 1
 That stem looks like a month-old Enduro banana.
  • 13 6
 How can you not like a dropper?
  • 41 0
 Ask Mathias Flückiger!
  • 6 0
 race weight
  • 3 2
 Hahaha Who doesn't use the dropper lol
  • 7 8
 Guys with excellent upper body strength need them less.
  • 2 2
 Even with his dropper mechanicals, Mathias likes dropper posts
  • 4 24
flag Freakyjon (May 15, 2021 at 0:27) (Below Threshold)
 Personally I don't. Being tall I just run my saddle slightly lower and still have room to get over the back where needed, never slowed me down. If I'm riding purely bike parks or dirt jumps etc I can just set it lower if needed. Droppers are just annoying and unreliable, tried a few and they're all the same.
  • 4 4
 Came here to say the same thing. What’s not to like about one?
  • 3 1
 Many racers consider them not reliable enough for XC racing. Also it's quite a significant weight advantage if you can save 0.5 kg on a single item that doesn't even help that much on most race courses.
  • 3 1
 I know right?

I thought they were so stupid, then i tried one. Bought one immediately. That was 7 years ago.

To each their own, i guess. After all, if "better" was always more fun, no one would ride hardtails. Of course droppers and better and more fun and probably faster too
  • 11 0
 Please allow me to explain. 1. MVP spends 90% of is time training and racing on a road bike (and cyclocross) which doesn't have a dropper or suspension. He has to for the wattage he puts out. The other 10% is spent racing his mtb. His feel for the bike is that 90% which is fully ridged and his brain isn't trained to use a dropper. 2. A WC XC racer uses a dropper in short track approximately one time per lap = 7-8 times per race. in an WC XC race, they use the dropper about 2-3 times per lap. In a six lap race, that might be 18 times over an hour and a half. Adding over a pound to a bike for a usage of 18 times plus a risk of a mechanical becomes a tough decision. 3. Most the riders just like MVP use suspension lockout which is another lever to think about at max heart rate. Having a dropper lever, lockout lever, shifting lever, and brake controls to think about at max heart rate creates thought overload and mistakes are made. Therefore in the setup process the dropper is sacrificed. The time they might lose for not having it is minimal compared to the inefficiency of not having a lockout. 4. These guys have mad skills and are able to ride gnarly terrain while high posting. It's not fun, but they can.
  • 4 0
 @2wls4ever: Agreed on 1, 3, 4. But your math is way off on nr. 2... They use dropper way more than you'd expect (and way more than I expected actually). They often drop the saddle just for a single feature or only a few meters. For example during Albstadt short-track, many riders dropped their saddle for the main downhill, for the wall ride and for the "pumptrack" section. And on NMNM course, I can see at least 8 sections per lap, where droppers will be used
  • 4 2
 IMO If you don’t like droppers, you aren’t doing it right... MvdP may be exempt from this however as he is clearly doing something right
  • 3 1
 @2wls4ever: these guys don’t think about their controls, they are a learned response and muscle memory at that level. And you don’t just use a dropper post on the downhills, they use it when cornering to or even the berm on the flat close to the finish at Albstad.

Nino changes his suspension at the bars something like 200 times a race, Linda Indergand still dropped her seat every lap for that last berm even after it was failing, knowing she would have to pull it up by hand...
  • 2 0
 @2wls4ever: I use a 80mm BikeYoke Divine SL dropper post which weighs just under 400g (with cable and lever and all hardware), compared to my lightweight carbon post which weighs 200g... That's only a difference of 200g, so half a pound more or less.

You'll also find that most XC dropper posts only drop between 30mm and 80mm, which is really all you need for a XC course... the other advantage to a small drop is that if the post fails and it's stuck in the down position tou can still use it to pedal, sort of, compared to if a 150mm post was stuck in the down position.
  • 6 1
 @SonofBovril: if you ride XC bikes on XC trails a lot then you would know they aren't that big of a deal. Nice, but pretty low on the list of must haves.
  • 1 0
 @Jango997: Correct depending on the course
  • 1 0
 @SonofBovril: We can agree to disagree on the controls. Correct on dropping the post for corning.
  • 3 0
 The spoke crossing wire wrap is not something I have seen before. Would think it might be better to go to a thicker spoke or stiffer rim (he is already on 32 and I think a lot of other riders are 28 or even 24).
  • 10 2
 It's an old wheelbuilding trick. It adds stiffness and strength to the wheel without adding too much weight or decreasing the vertical compliance like switching to thicker spokes would do. I think that's how it works, but I'm not an enginerd. If you look up photos of old box section tubular wheels that were run at Paris Roubaix you'll see similar techniques employed.
  • 8 0
 its called Tied and Soldered, much more common before carbon rims took off. Not seen as much anymore
  • 1 0
 Old moto technique.
  • 18 3
 Its an old wheel building trick that was proven in testing to do absolutley nothing. Most modern wheel builders would chuckle at seeing this and it would certainly date the mechanic who did this.
  • 9 2
 @OnTheRivet: it’s effective for torque loading/braking stiffness. It does nothing for lateral stiffness.
  • 22 0
 Jobst Brandt knows a thing or two about wheel building.

Subject: Tied and Soldered Wheels
From: Jobst Brandt
Date: December 16, 1996

While writing The Bicycle Wheel, to conclusively determine what effect tying and soldering of spoke crossings in a wheel had, I asked Wheelsmith to lend me an untied pair of standard 36-spoke rear wheels, on Campagnolo low and high flange hubs. I had an inner body of a freewheel machined with flats so that a wheel could be clamped into the vise of a Bridgeport milling machine while the left end of its axle was held in the quill.

With the hub rigidly secured, with its axle vertical, dial gauges were mounted at four equally spaced locations on the machine bed to measure rim deflections as a 35lb weight was sequentially hung on the wheel at these positions. The deflections were recorded for each location and averaged for each wheel before and after tying and soldering spokes.

The wheels were also measured for torsional rigidity in the same fixture, by a wire anchored in the valve hole and wrapped around the rim so that a 35-lb force could be applied tangential to the rim. Dial gauges located at two places 90 degrees apart in the quadrant away from the applied load were used to measure relative rotation between the wheel and hub.

Upon repeating the measurements after tying and soldering the spokes, no perceptible change, other than random measurement noise of a few thousandths of an inch, was detected. The spokes were tied and soldered by Wheelsmith, which did this as a regular service. The data were collected by an engineer who did not know what I expected to find. I set up the experiment and delivered the wheels.
  • 9 1
 It's an old mechanic's trick that has zero performance advantages.
  • 4 0
 @OnTheRivet: I saw this a lot back in the day, never made any engineering sense at all. It does absolutely nothing. All spoke stresses are purely tension. It doesn't even help with bridging flex.
  • 5 0
 Only benefit is that it keeps a broken spoke from jamming somewhere in the wheel, but you don't need to solder them for that.
  • 2 0
 @ORTOGONAL555: I was about to post exactly the same thing. If you get a broken spoke in the race, the flapping about is just annoying, but if it causes a flat by holing the rim tape, it's race over. The added weight for that insurance is probably worth it. Perhaps the rider, team or wheel builder has been caught out by it before?
  • 4 1
 @JohanG: it does make the wheel feel more responsive when cranking 1500W through them for 20sec
  • 3 0
 @OnTheRivet: The way of testing is a little different from the 1500watt MvdP hammers down on those wheels in a sprint isn't it?
  • 3 3
 @11ants: I love how people say things don't work based on tests that have little external validity lol
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: Most high-end tubeless wheels don't use rim tape, they're fully sealed rims (UST) to begin with.
  • 2 0
 Besides not doing anything, this one in particular is terribly executed. The wire should be tight, somewhere around seven turns, and the solder should just coat the wire. You should still see the silhouette of the wire under the solder. This is gross.
  • 2 0
 @billreilly: if these are the Dukes mentioned further up, they use rim tape. As do the new Reserve and the super light Rovals that PB compared them to. And my Mavic UST wheels use rim tape, actually
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: If they need rim tape then they're tubeless-ready, not UST... UST rims are fully sealed with no nipple holes.
  • 1 0
 @billreilly: that's not accurate. Even Mavic made UST wheels that took a specially molded rim strip. I don't remember the model but it was their cheapest tubeless wheel at the time.
To qualify as UST, a rim must pass certain tests for ease of inflation, tire mounting and dismounting, retention at low pressures.
  • 1 0
 @atestisthis: yeah, it seems Mavic came up with the UST standard which is pretty tough in terms of tolerances etc. So nobody else joined their party. But then Mavic made UST tubeless ready with rim strips. Equally there are other companies making undrilled rims which aren't UST, which is what I think @billreilly is referring to. Must be a right pig to build those wheels, threading nipples in from the spoke hole!
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: I'm talking about UST rims which have no rim strips (rims that use rim strips are not UST, they are tubeless-ready) which are made by many companies... I use Shimano XTR wheels which are certified UST rims.
  • 2 0
 @billreilly: a UST rim does NOT have to have an undrilled inner wall. Mavic's own Open Pro UST rim has a drilled inner wall. No, it's not because it's road. There were others, by several brands.
  • 1 0
 @atestisthis: correct UST is the shape of the rim hook. "Universal System Tubeless
UST or Universal System Tubeless is a US patent 6257676 rim designed by Mavic with hooked edges designed to seal with specially designed tires. Several companies such as Michelin and Hutchinson make tires compatible with UST rims. UST was the first tubeless system for bicycles.
  • 4 2
 Xtr hub, soldered spokes... This guys wheel builder is old school master. I dont care if it makes a difference or not, if your wheel builder solders, the guy is top shelf. Probably running oil rather than greese in the hubs for that small track bike style improvement. No dropper? Freakin gorilla mashing out watts on that thing. A++++
  • 6 0
 Definitely a SC34...
  • 1 0
 2022 Fox 34SC set to 100mm of travel. Bog std FiT damper too.
  • 7 3
 Good to see there are still folks out there tying and soldering their spokes
  • 12 5
 Yes, just like homeopathic healing it works wonders for those who choose feelings over actual knowlege...but then again I am just a jaded technocrat probably missing out on lots of ignorant spiritual social insane activities leeding to joy and happiness for fools and gullible. I am still technically right though.
  • 6 2
 Im switching to a solid steel plate for a wheel. It'll be heavy, but stiff as sh!t. Also think of the aerodynamics. I could call it a "disc", become a triathlete, move to Boulder, get a third job doing customer service for Orbea so I can afford a tiny home (all the kids are doing it these days) and then volunteer with a hiking group to remove all MTB access across the country
  • 4 0
 Someone who still ties and solders spokes! That must be a genetic vestige from Poulidor!! So cool!
  • 12 0
 I'm guessing there are like three people here who know who his granddaddy was.
  • 2 0
 @LeDuke: at least nine based on up votes
  • 1 0
 @taprider: Better than I thought! RIP, M. Poulidor.
  • 5 0
 The chainring is so massive that makes the antisquat value negative
  • 4 0
 I'm surprised there is no mention of what size bike he was riding?
  • 3 1
 Well, it says Large in the gray model detail box. Maybe it was added after your comment though
  • 1 0
 @JesperA: I think so. I couldn't find it anywhere.
  • 3 1
 ESI Grips out of Chino Valley AZ.
Looks like the "Chunky" or "Extra Chunky" model.
Too thick for "Racer's Edge".

Great Grips.
  • 3 0
 1st in short track; last in PB shootout!
  • 2 0
 LOL that PB shootout was pure comedy
  • 1 0
 I’m amazed anyone got through on Aspens in that mud. Wonder what pressures he was running. With the addition of the rock garden, I bet they could go too low.
  • 2 0
 Nah he was on Ikons, look at the photo epic.
  • 1 0
 Signature MvdP Selle Italia Flite Boost carbon saddle. Size L3, weight 162g.
  • 1 0
 Interesting that rear XTR brake caliper is fitted with flatmount to postmount adapter
  • 1 0
 Yup canyon runs flat mount on their xc bikes. I know Shimano makes a flat mount xtr caliper but maybe it’s not as powerful
  • 1 0
 @Raikzz @ols532704: Rumor Has It: his bike was initially built with a Dura-Ace caliper at the rear, and he has yet to receive an XTR Flat Mount caliper (but don't quote me on this). Furthermore, the maximum size is a 140mm disc brake rotor for flat mount caliper.
  • 1 0
 @dolores: His hardtail had a dura-ace as seen in this build video : , and xtr flatmount is currently in-stock on all online shops If the 140mm maximum size is true, then that's probably why he's not using flatmount.
  • 1 0
 @dolores: You can run up to 180mm with Flat mounts. Seen it on Gravel bikes. Also, Shimano only has two different flat mount calipers, Dura-Ace and XTR are the same caliper and Ultegra, 105, XT, SLX and GRX are all the same caliper.
  • 2 0
 @OnTheRivet: I took the info from the Shimano website: "For rear only.. 140 mm disc brake rotor direct mount" (do not blame me). Probably if you use a 160mm rotor you will need an adapter so it is best to use a 'standard' caliper with a flat-mount to post-mount adapter tup
  • 2 0
 that looks like a silver solder on the spokes....MAD!
  • 2 0
 110 psi for shock seems low
  • 1 0
 Were reaching engineering convergence on FS cross country bikes, they all look the same.
  • 1 0
 I'm genuinely wondering why none of the pro bikes this week with Shimano brakes are running Ice Tech finned pads.
  • 2 0
 Ice tech is great for heat dissipation. This guys do not brake for a long time.
  • 2 0
 What cranck lengh does he use ?
  • 1 0
 He should really convert his bikes to hardtails. Maybe use the new brakes frame tech
  • 1 0
 what is the front ring def not XTR
  • 4 0
 SRM. It goes with the power meter.
  • 2 0
 @hllclmbr: ya mon.... missed that
  • 1 0
 Anyone know what make the unbranded carbon rim is?
  • 1 0
 Sort of looks like an enve m5 or even the gravel G23 rim based on what seems to be the funny flare at the bead.
  • 2 0
 See Dolores' post above. They're DUKE Rims.
  • 2 0
 Believe it’s from Duke
  • 5 0
 Lucky Jack SLS3 by Duke Racing Wheels. All the Alpecin-Fenix riders run these rims.
  • 2 0
 Sub 11kg?
  • 1 0
 Doesn't look like Aspens when checking the photos from short track race.
  • 2 0
 you're right, looks more like an Ikon (at least on the front).
  • 1 1
 "Wheels: Unspecified rims on Shimano hubs" #proofwheels
  • 1 1
 What does it f*ckin weigh? Basic knowledge please....
  • 2 0
 Such knowledge would indeed be splendid
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Yeti...
  • 7 8
 CON: Shimano brakes
  • 16 2
 Pro: Shimano brakes
  • 5 0
 You can't get any better than XTR brakes!
  • 2 0
 @billreilly: Oh yeah! I love that instant engagement.
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