First Ride: Canyon's New Strive:On

May 8, 2023 at 14:07
by Dario DiGiulio  



Canyon's direct-to-consumer lineup has always included a healthy stock of race-focused bikes for the performance-minded consumer and those who truly do want to push it between the tape. But one category was missing its race machine: the eMTB.

That loose end has been nicely tied up with the release of the all-new Strive:On, a decidedly race-focused e-bike. With many of the traits that were evolved for the regular Strive, the Strive:On has been designed to better suit the heavier chassis and motor power.

Strive:On Details

• Mixed wheels
• 160mm travel, 170mm fork
• Carbon frame
• Bosch CX or CX Race Motor, 85 Nm torque, 600 W power
• 625 or 750 Wh battery
• Weight: 53.6 lb / 24.3 kg (size L, CFR Model)
• MSRP: €5999 - 9699 EUR
canyon.com

Like many of the flagship long-travel e-bikes on the market, the Strive:On is a dedicated mixed-wheel machine, featuring aggressive geometry and a descent-focused parts spec. Developed with the help of enduro legend Fabien Barel, the Strive has a penchant for racing that matches the man himself. The new bike is unabashedly full-powered, with 85Nm of torque, and a maximum 600W power output delivered by a Bosch motor. The highest end model can be equipped with Bosch's CX Race motor, which is 150g lighter and provides extra overrun in Race mode for additional climbing boost.

The Strive:On comes in three different spec options, with all pricing in Euro for the time being. On the low end, you have the CFR Underdog model with a solid mix of budget-minded performance parts, retailing for €5999. We spent time on the CFR model, with a Shimano-centric parts package and Fox Performance Elite suspension - that'll cost you €7199. On the high end, you have what is essentially the Fabien Barel pro model, the CFR LTD. For €9699, you get SRAM's XO Transmission, RockShox Ultimate-level suspension, and an eye-catching paint job.

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Frame Details

The Strive:On closely follows the non-motorized precedent of the already proven Strive, with some extra provisions thrown in to manage the motor and battery. Kinematically they're quite similar, as the Strive:On was modeled to perform like the regular Strive in DH mode, with the added benefits of extra system weight and reduced pedal kickback.

Despite the through-headset cable routing, the other frame details are quite well sorted, with a fairly simple layout and easily accessed pivots and service areas. The battery can be quickly exchanged for a fresh charge, or swapped for a larger capacity, should you want it.

There's plenty of room for a full-size water bottle, and there is a secondary pair of accessory mounts on the underside of the top tube. The design team at Canyon also put a lot of work into the motor packaging, including a nicely designed skid plate that should protect the Bosch unit from any hard hits or sharp kick-ups.

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The Strive:On's display is simple and effective.
photo
As is the wireless remote.

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An unfortunate detail.
photo
In an otherwise very clean package.

The Bosch controls are the same as existing models, with the easy to live with Bluetooth remote controlling the fairly simple head unit. You can toggle between all four modes easily, using either the two-button remote or the single button on the head unit.

The bikes use Bosch's own Powertube batteries, but Canyon has redesigned the mounting system to better cater to the shape and function of the specific bike. By doing so, they shaved 300 grams from the chassis, and allows for quicker battery swaps in the field.

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Geometry

The geometry of the Strive:On isn't too far off from its non-electric counterpart, but with the notable omission of the Strive's adjustability. There is no Shapeshifter, and no reach adjust at the headset, simply just a bike meant to go downhill fast. Starting from the Strive's DH position, the Strive:On gets longer chainstays and a steeper seat tube angle to better navigate tech climbing, plus a default shorter reach to try to keep the bike maneuverable.

With four size options, and a reach range from 450 to 525mm, the fit of the Strive:On is definitely biased towards bigger riders. Canyon's reach numbers are generally pretty aggressive in how long they are per size, but riders looking to size down for more agility might hit the low-end of the range pretty quickly.

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Ride Impressions

Though my time aboard the Strive:On has been pretty limited thus far, it didn't take much for the bike to show just how well-suited it is to covering ground fast. Being that this is a powered bike, it makes sense to start with the motor. I was impressed by how natural the Bosch system felt, despite delivering gobs of power at the rear wheel. We spent a fair bit of time sessioning some absurd tech climbs with the bike, and the motor felt intuitive and controllable, even in weird janky sections. For race applications, there is definitely a benefit to the CX Race's overrun power surge, where the motor continues to push for a couple meters after you've laid off the pedals. For most e-bike riding, however, I don't think you'd miss that feature all that much.

Looking at the Strive:On as a standard enduro bike, it's simply a well-sorted machine, with great geometry and handling characteristics. Where the head angle and reach might seem a bit extreme relative to current high-level pedal bikes, the extra system weight makes that long reach and slack front end a bit easier to wrangle. Instead of focusing on weighting the front end, you can instead aim for the right lines and features, knowing the grip will be there. This is generally a bonus to the extra weight of e-bikes in general, but Canyon tuned things quite well on the Strive, enhancing those perks.

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Despite the 54 lb weight, you can still move the Strive:On around in tight spots.

One standout trait of the Strive:On - apparent even when setting up in the parking lot - is just how active the rear end of the bike is. Just hopping the bike around can use almost all of the available travel, but the Canyon team ensured us that would be no issue when on trail. They proved to be correct, as despite some pretty massive g-outs and square hits, the bike never had a noticeable bottom-out. What it did have was excellent grip, and a fairly predictable rear end feel. There seemed to be an issue with the rebound tune on our test bikes, as they were essentially full-fast regardless of where the adjuster sat, but that never felt too sketchy on trail - plus, this should be sorted with production models, as Fox will have a chance to fix things on their end.

Other component notes are all the common spec challenges with e-bikes: tires, brakes, and drivetrain. With an EXO+ front and DoubleDown rear spec, the Strive can feel a bit like going for a run in slippers - it works great until something goes quite wrong. I didn't have any issues over the brief testing period, though I'd opt to run beefier tires for my daily riding. The Shimano XT brakes had solid bite and were fairly consistent on long runs, but something with a bit more stopping power wouldn't hurt when you're pushing on steep terrain. Our test bikes were equipped with Shimano XT drivetrains, and over a very full day of riding two derailleurs fell prey to the extra power of the Bosch motor. You have to be quite careful shifting under power on an e-bike, and some folks found that out the hard way. SRAM's Transmission or Shimano's more robust Linkglide single-click drivetrains would make more sense for a bike like this.

All told, the Strive:On proved to be an excellent bike for tackling some impressively gnarly terrain. There are a few tweaks to the spec that I'd make on my personal bike, but as a stock machine it's quite impressive. The Strive is eager to remind you that you're on an e-bike on the climbs, but there were plenty of moments on the descents where the extra heft and complication faded away, making for some truly excellent runs.

I'm looking forward to spending more time on the Strive:On as the summer approaches, so stay tuned for more thoughts.





Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
191 articles

104 Comments
  • 57 1
 Ahh cable tourism.
You could be looking at a (nicely machined) aluminium stem, headset cover, stem cap and some neatly arranged cables. But instead one has to look at a set of cheap looking molded plastic covers for the whole duration of the ride.
  • 10 1
 stupid cable tourism lovers will say that you should look ahead, but i do agree with you in every single word!
  • 3 0
 Cable Tourism with a Teutonic Flare!
  • 24 2
 Dear Canyon, This bike was at the top of my shortlist for my next purchase, but it has been removed due to the cable tourism. Fck y Sincerely, A dentist that rides six days a week and works on his own bikes.
  • 3 1
 You should be looking ahead, down the trail Wink Razz
  • 4 7
 If you’re looking at your cables “for the whole duration of the ride”, you’re doing it wrong.
Don’t like it? Don’t buy it.
  • 5 0
 @BermJunky:

I think that is what they are doing.

Instead of sales numbers telling Canyon, the prospective buyers are telling them directly why they aren't buying the thing.

If these two ebikes are an indicator of what is to come from Canyon (both with cable tourism), I will also no longer be considering a Canyon bike moving forward.

No idea if publicly stating this will help. But, alternatively, if I said nothing, maybe they'd think that I/many others actually LIKE cable tourism. So I'm hoping that by telling them, it is more likely to affect change (assuming I'm not alone on this at least).
  • 6 8
 @ocnlogan: most of those complaining wouldn’t be buying the bike, regardless.
Canyon will sell everyone they build. I do thank you for engaging in an adult fashion, however. Cheers!
  • 3 0
 @BermJunky: "Don’t like it? Don’t buy it"--of course, great advice.

The issue comes when maintenance or component upgrade starts. Who likes to fight through headset cables to service headset, or install a fork upgrade?
  • 9 2
 @BermJunky: Don't like the comment, "DoNt CoMMenT"
  • 2 8
flag BermJunky (May 9, 2023 at 12:20) (Below Threshold)
 @djjazzynick: ya cuz that’s the same argument. Lol
  • 2 0
 @Straight6Rocks: what imaginary problem does headset cable routing cause with fork installation? If you’re going to complain about something, try understanding it first.
  • 6 1
 @BermJunky: If you're unable to handle what people think of the bike, what would you like people to comment?
  • 1 7
flag BermJunky (May 10, 2023 at 8:37) (Below Threshold)
 @redrook: good grief. Any original thoughts of your own?
  • 6 1
 @BermJunky: Are you asking me or saying you want people to comment their original thoughts? Either way, are you in a position to gatekeep people's thoughts?
  • 6 1
 @BermJunky: "Don’t like it? Don’t buy it."

Doesn't sound like they will buy it. But if your point is that people should act (or in this case not act) rather than comment, what would you say the purpose of the comment section is?
  • 5 1
 @BermJunky: Lol did you invent headset cable routing? Because you need some cream for your butthurt Big Grin
  • 1 5
flag BermJunky (May 10, 2023 at 9:02) (Below Threshold)
 @Jumby69: it was a fairly benign comment and yet you guys are all in a rage. Maybe you’re “butthurt@?
Keep the rage coming guys, super entertaining haha.
  • 1 5
flag BermJunky (May 10, 2023 at 9:03) (Below Threshold)
 @redrook: taking it a little seriously, there man. Lighten up.
  • 1 5
flag BermJunky (May 10, 2023 at 9:04) (Below Threshold)
 @redrook: have I hurt your feelings?
  • 4 0
 @BermJunky: Not at all, assume you're not answering my questions?
  • 4 1
 @BermJunky: Ah the old "I know you are but what am I" line of defence, not at all a sign of insecurity lol

The only rage I see in the comments is yours, but if you want to pretend you're an amazing troll you cling to that Wink
  • 2 1
 @rbeach: You can literally predict what people like him are going to say, he just can't handle it haha
  • 3 1
 @BermJunky: Is the rage in the room with us now buddy?

I'm seeing someone laughing at you and you think they're raging? Either you're a bit dim or you're gaslighting.
  • 1 0
 Don't care as long as it works and I don't remember looking at the headset while riding.
  • 28 1
 I'll never understand why those builds with superlight groupsets exist. Absolute nonsense IMO. Lowering the weight by a few grams on a tank for a few thousand dollars.
  • 9 0
 because "hey look at my technology!"
  • 4 0
 Its so their marketing material can say "look, its only 53.6lbs!"

*with the smallest battery, XX1 build, without pedals, etc

(you'd hope thats not with EXO tires, and other funny business).
  • 3 1
 I also don't understand why a 6000 Euro bike has Shimano Deore specced on it.
  • 2 0
 @tdbh: still better than a 7000 with axsomething
  • 2 0
 @tdbh: I'll take that over all the ~$6k+ santa cruzs with nx. Or the other brands that even as the price jumps up for several specs they upgrade just the derailer but still give you a 1 or 2 level down shifter/chain/cassette etc
  • 1 0
 @tdbh: maybe because it has a motor and battery?
  • 25 3
 Awesome, fazua motor, aluminium, external cable routing, sub 20kg, ticks all boxes…oh wait…
  • 2 0
 What bike would that be?
  • 1 0
 @TeaPunk: transition relay maybe
  • 19 1
 Why does it look like an obese torque:on?
  • 20 3
 Looks like it’s expecting twins.
  • 13 0
 The frame already cracked at the motor mount
  • 15 0
 Warranty denied, because you got the tires dirty. That’s not the intended use of the bike.
  • 5 0
 Canyon used to have that clever downtube protector where one could tuck the cables and hoses. Did they drop that in the new generation of bikes or was it just not compatible with the battery mount?
  • 3 0
 Can someone please explain how "extra overrun" isn't the same as "does not need pedalling input for the motor to provide forward propulsion"? I realise there needs to be smoothing of the power delivery beyond the binary of pedalling / not pedalling, but this feels like the top of a slippery slope.

Presumably the UCI (and legislators) are all over it, but it seems as though the line could get awful blurry awful quickly if this is being marketed as a feature, which the next iteration will no doubt "improve upon" further.

Or am I missing something?
  • 5 0
 They could have at least lined up the ‘Canyon’ stickers on the down tube. Rubbish.
  • 2 0
 On a serious note, I think Canyon have got this spot on. Decent Geo + Bosch. Best ebike Canyon have come up with. If they had skipped the headset cable routing I would be interested.
  • 1 0
 @rich-2000: I think the bike also has proprietary stem and stem spacers, so you pretty much can’t put aftermarket stems, which is a dealbreaker for me
  • 4 1
 its so ugly, and its 1 pound lighter than the Freeride version.

Speaking of the Torque:on, why does that have the weaker, lighter EP8 while this has the more powerful Bosch? Makes no sense.
  • 1 0
 Torque has EXO+, 2.6” rear tire and this has DD rear tire
  • 3 0
 Two people killed XT derailleurs in one day? Sure the link-glide drive train might be a better choice but if you are mincing derailleurs in a day that's a skill issue - not a bike issue!
  • 6 3
 53.6 lbs. Seems ebikes are getting heavier. I thought they were supposed to get lighter.
  • 4 1
 How you got downvoted, is odd...yes, 54 lbs is obscene for a 2024 model eMTB.
  • 1 0
 @yakimonti: I think it is called bigger batteries
  • 1 0
 @yakimonti: Yeah, they lighter bikes use less energy, so the batteries don't have to be as big. But the light bikes have less power. But personally I don't need the extra power. Just a little extra for some super steeps.
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio any idea when this is coming out in the US? Sounded like September. Timing must have changed, maybe with the new Powertrain coming out hey decided to hold off, who knows.
  • 3 0
 canyON - missed a trick there
  • 1 2
 Sign me up for that Underdog XL. I demo’d the previous gen Strive:ON CF in a size L and found it a ton of fun but too short for my 6’5” height. The Shimano kit and Maxxis tires are just icing on the cake of a well-thought out bike (save for the dreaded headset cable routing).
  • 1 0
 White makes things look fat. Darker shades make things look thinner. Funny that they made that fat battery white and the thin parts darker
  • 1 0
 This bike is not on the canyon site for USA maybe there selling the old stock here and the new geo and Bosh motor is for other regions?
  • 6 3
 Queue American hatred...
  • 6 1
 yes..yes..use your hate.
  • 3 4
 And paupers. Don't forget them.
  • 13 9
 Que braking bumps from out of shape middle aged emtbrs
  • 6 0
 * cue.
Use the hate :-)
  • 3 3
 At least use the right word. Now the funniest part is your ignorance.
  • 7 0
 @Bro-LanDog: spend more time enjoying your youth and less time bitching on the web. You will blink your eyes and be a middle aged out of shape emtb type or worse... priced out of the sport due to mortgage and wife.
  • 3 6
 @nickfranko: cue emtb nerds crying about a typo
  • 2 0
 *Q
  • 3 1
 @SoftSoilSampler: you can’t talk to him like that! He’s both a “bro” and a “dog”, so clearly very cool, and thus entitled to his superiority complex.
  • 2 2
 @BermJunky: nerd alert
  • 2 1
 @Bro-LanDog: you got me.
  • 4 2
 We should put a ban on that cable tourism
  • 6 4
 too heavy and expensive pass
  • 5 4
 I agree, mid 50's for weight is criminal. And that downtube? Douse it with gas and light it on fire. Design an ebike that looks like a regular bike, get's triple the range at half the cost. You may have peaked my interest then.
  • 2 0
 ouh, canyon pedals as well.... any news on this ?
  • 1 0
 june they are released.
  • 3 0
 Wow chunky looking
  • 2 0
 Shut up and take my money
  • 3 1
 That definitely hit allot of branches falling through the ugly tree
  • 3 1
 54lbs! good god...that is a non starter these days.
  • 2 0
 @Canyon-PureCycling when will this hit the USA market?
  • 2 2
 Good to see that Orange finally has some competition! Now there are two bike companies that also make filing cabinets!
  • 2 2
 OMG please Rock Shox and please Fox: Please come up with Forks with at least 50mm stanchions asap!
  • 1 0
 Gimme a 69mm Righty fork
  • 3 1
 OMFG SHES PREGNANT AF.
  • 1 0
 All frame sizes have the same chainstay lengths - not good
  • 3 3
 I would like to be able to buy this bike!
  • 3 2
 Why shuttle a ebike?
  • 1 0
 Thicc
  • 1 2
 nice commencal clash
  • 11 14
 Basically I love bicycles, not two-wheeled electric lawnmowers.
  • 5 2
 Lucky this is a bike then.
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