Review: The 2022 Canyon Strive is Longer, Slacker, & Still Has a Shapeshifter

Apr 19, 2022 at 7:58
by Seb Stott  

Today Canyon are going public with a brand new Strive, their enduro race bike. That should come as no surprise given the outgoing Strive was released way back in 2019, but on the other hand, that bike has absolutely nothing to prove. Jack Moir won the 2021 Enduro World Series on his, with Canyon's Jose Borges and Dimitri Tordo finishing 5th and 6th, respectively. And let's not forget Florian Nicolai coming very close to the overall title in 2019 on the bike's first year out.

But the 2019 Strive was a compromise from the start. When Canyon designed it, they didn't have a trail bike in their range, so they tried to make the Strive work for everything from EWS racing to typical trail riding. It had 150 mm of rear-wheel travel and a 66-degree head angle, numbers that already looked out of place on an enduro bike back then.

2022 Canyon Strive Details

• Intended use: enduro racing
• Suspension travel: 160mm or 140 mm (r) / 170 mm (f)
• Wheel size: 29'' only
• CFR full-carbon frame (no alloy option)
• Shapeshifter geo/suspension adjuster
• 63° head angle, 505 mm reach (size Large)
• +/- 5mm reach-adjust headset
• 15.9 Kg / 35 lbs (actual, size large)
• 2,700 g / 5.95 lbs claimed frame weight, w/o shock
• S to XL frame sizes
• Two build options: CFR and CFR underdog
• MSRP: $7,299 USD (CFR, tested)
Besides, those bikes ridden by Jack Moir et al. last year weren't exactly stock. They ran longer shocks to increase the rear travel to 160 mm, along with 180 or 190mm forks plus a 15mm headset spacer to slacken the head angle (and the seat angle with it) by about 1.5-degrees. Dimitri Tordo, meanwhile, chose to ride the shorter-travel Spectral last year

Despite its predecessor's racing success, Canyon has been working on a replacement (the new Strive) since the end of 2019.

Now that Canyon has the Spectral and Torque covering trail and park duties, the new fourth-generation Strive was designed to be a no-compromise enduro racer from the start. It's got 160mm of rear-wheel travel, a 63-degree head angle with a 170 mm fork, and a steeper seat angle too. And despite Jack Moir (6'1") famously sizing down to a size large on the old bike, the reach numbers have grown. A lot.

bigquotesWhile the Strive feels at its best on steep, technical terrain, it's no slouch on flatter flow trails and trail centre descents. The suspension feels balanced and supportive when pumping through rollers or berms, and you can always use the Shapeshifter if you want a firmer platform to push against. Despite its race-ready intentions, slack head angle and planted feel on downhill tracks, it's surprisingly versatile and enjoyable when the trail mellows out. Seb Stott

Geometry & Sizing

Let's dive into the geometry details first because that's the big story.

At 190 cm (6'3"), I usually ride an XL (or XXL) without needing much thought. But when Canyon sent me the above geometry chart, I had to think really hard. The XL has a 520-530 mm reach (the reach is adjustable via headset cups). I've ridden bikes that long before and they're manageable, but I definitely don't need that much room to feel comfortable. Besides, the 435 mm chainstay is on the shorter side, so I opted for the size large, reasoning that it would feel more balanced with more pressure on the front tire. Canyon's sizing chart puts me slap bang in between sizes, and I'm sure I could ride either, but due to the short back end, I opted for the Large. I'm hoping to get an XL too for some back-to-back testing, so keep an eye out for that.

Canyon wanted the median-height rider who bought the old Strive (red line) to be able to choose between the medium and large. At 190 cm, I'm on the borderline of large and Xl.

Canyon chose to stick with the same chainstay length for all frame sizes, apparently because the race team members all preferred the shorter back end as it made it easier to pick up and place the rear wheel on tight EWS racecourses. If you're interested, Jack Moir has apparently been trying the medium and large but is leaning towards the medium with the +5mm reach adjust headset cup. Fabien Barel is apparently riding a medium too, and Dimitri Tordo is on the small. The race team were also apparently behind the decision to go full 29er, as even the shorter team riders felt they would make up more time with the rollover of a bigger back wheel than from the ability to ride more dynamically on steep tech, which is more of an advantage in downhill than enduro.

As soon as I got hold of the bike, I broke out the tape measure to check Canyon's numbers. This is something I always do, and usually, it just confirms what I already knew. But this time it revealed some important differences. The chainstay on my bike measures 442 mm, and the wheelbase measures 1,312 mm in the neutral headset position - both longer than claimed. For me, that's great news as it should offer a bit more stability and front-wheel grip. Incidentally, that wheelbase is near-identical to a size large Pole Evolink from 2017, which I thoroughly enjoyed at the time despite everyone telling me it was too long to ever work. I suppose it shows how far we have (or haven't) progressed that, five years on, you can get the same overall wheelbase from Canyon. A size large Canyon Strive of the time had a wheelbase over 100mm shorter.

In the low setting, I measure the head angle at 62.5-degrees and the effective seat angle at my pedalling height at 75.7-degrees, with a bottom bracket 335mm from the floor. By my measurements, the Shapeshifter raises the BB height by 10mm and the frame angles by 0.7-degrees. Canyon quotes the change at 15mm and 1.5-degrees, but (a little cheekily in my view) this refers to the change in dynamic geometry, as the bike runs significantly less sag in the climbing mode.

Frame Details

As already alluded to, the new Strive has an adjustable headset, which offers +/-5mm of reach adjustment from the neutral position. The bike ships with the neutral cups and the +/- 5mm cups are included in the box. Swapping them over is a quick and easy process. Unfortunately, the alternate cups were missing from my test bike so I only rode it in the neutral setting. Nevertheless, I think this is a great feature, especially for those who are in between sizes. But remember a 5mm change in reach is very subtle - we're talking about a 1% difference here.

For now, there is only one frame material available and it's Canyon's CFR carbon, their top-tier stuff. The whole frame is carbon fiber, including the back end and rocker link. All the major frame members are brand new, but the rocker link, Shapeshifter components and the pivot hardware are the same as the previous bike, which should make it easier to find spares. For similar reasons, Canyon has swapped to SRAM's universal derailleur hanger.

The internal cable routing uses foam tubes rather than in-built carbon or plastic tunnels to help guide the cables from the head tube to the ports just above the bottom bracket. That might make cable swaps a bit trickier than some bikes, but Canyon say this solution is lighter.

Canyon's home town of Koblenz is said to have a similar climate to the UK, so mud protection is something they want to emphasise. They use a special bearing grease which is sent from Germany to their bearing supplier for use in the bearings, which they say improves bearing lifespan.

The frame is category 4 rated. According to Canyon, that basically means "the frame is not approved for regular use on those features which set aside DH riding or freeride from enduro (huge jumps, cliff drops, gnarly gas to flats). So if the frame fails here, then this is excluded from the warranty." If you need a category 5 bike for regular bike park riding, Canyon has the Torque for that.

Thanks to beefier tube profiles, Canyon claim to have increased the stiffness of the front triangle by 25% compared to the previous Strive but chose to keep the back-end stiffness about the same. That longer, stiffer front end and those adjustable headset cups mean the new frame is about 300 g heavier than its predecessor, with a 2,700 g claimed weight including hardware but no shock. That's not exactly heavy, though. Canyon say the Shapeshifter system makes up about 200 g of that weight.

"Eeny, meeny, miny, moe..."

Shapeshifter Explained

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If you're not already familiar, Canyon's Shapeshifter allows the rider to change between a low, slack and supple "shred" mode and a higher, steeper and firmer "pedal" mode, all without taking their hand off the grip.

It's easy to think of the Shapeshifter as an overengineered flip-chip, but it's much more than that. It changes the static angles by about 0.7 degrees and the BB height by 10mm (similar to many flip chips), but the larger change is to the suspension. By moving the upper shock mount further from the pivot on the rocker link in the pedal mode, it reduces the leverage ratio acting between the axle and the shock, and so drops the travel from 160 mm to 140mm.

But the effect is not the same as going from a 160mm bike at 30% sag to a 140mm bike at 30 % sag. The percentage sag changes too. This is because, with a lower leverage ratio, you have to push the shock further (so it generates more force) and with less mechanical advantage, so the force required to reach the same travel at the rear axle is much higher. So if you're running 30% sag (48 mm) in the shred mode, you'll have about 37 mm (26% of 140 mm) sag in pedal mode. This means the wheel rate (the suspension stiffness at the wheel) is about 30% higher in the pedal mode. The same is more or less true of the damping; the damping forces (both compression and rebound) are about 30% higher in the pedal mode.

The combined effect is that the bike not only sits higher when unloaded, but the stiffer suspension means it sits even higher at sag, with more support and a firmer feel when pedalling or pumping. Plus, with the new Strive, you get more anti-squat in the pedal mode too, which further helps it to stay high in its travel and resist bobbing when pedalling. It's a far more comprehensive change of attitude than you get from a flip, chip, lockout or even Scott's Twinlock.

To change into the pedal mode you need to press the lever above the dropper, then unweight the rear wheel by shifting your weight forwards; to return to shred mode you push the other lever and bounce on the suspension slightly. It's not always obvious if you've given it enough oomph to change between modes (there is a window on the rocker to show you which mode the system is in, but this is hard to see while riding), but if you just ride over a few lumps and bumps it will change, and once it has, it will stay in that mode.

The gas spring tucked under the rocker needs to provide a large enough force to move the shock forwards and down when the bike is unloaded, but a small enough force that it can be compressed back into the shred mode when the rider bounces on the saddle.

As a result, the pressure in the spring needs to suit the rider to an extent. Canyon recommends the same pressure as you'd run in the Fox X2 shock, which is about the same number as the rider weight in pounds. You may want to experiment to make sure it compresses and extends without too much fuss (too much pressure and it can be hard to engage shred mode), but it's not something that needs to be finely tuned.

Suspension Design

Canyon use a Horst link layout with a vertical shock, much like the previous Strive, but with a longer shock to deliver 160 mm of travel. The pivot locations have been tweaked too; there's a new back end with a lower chainstay pivot. Canyon say they wanted to reduce pedal kickback so they designed the anti-squat levels (which are closely related to kickback) to drop off more quickly as the bike moves through its travel. The anti-squat at sag is similar to the old bike (about 100%) but the downside of the new design is that any changes to the dynamic ride height (which can happen when sprinting, climbing, carrying a heavy rucksack, or just running too much sag) will affect the anti-squat and therefore the pedalling efficiency.

This graph plots the suspension forces against travel (assuming a linear shock) for the 2019 Strive (blue) and 2022 Strive (yellow), in their shred and pedal modes. Ignore the shaded area, the curves for the pedal and shred modes are at the edges of this area. Notice that in the pedal mode, the suspension generates more force with less travel, resulting in stiffer suspension and less sag.
The anti-squat curves for the new Strive are shown in yellow. Compared with the old bike, anti-squat is similar at sag (around 100%) but drops away faster to minimise pedal kickback. With the new design, anti-squat levels are much higher in the pedal mode.

The leverage curve is very much on the progressive side, starting at 3.15 and ending at 2.1. That's a 33% change. The rate of progression (the gradient of the slope) is highest at the start of the travel and tapers off towards the end (where an air shock is most progressive). In the pedal mode, the leverage ratio goes from 2.7 to 2.0 - a 35% change.
Anti-rise levels stay relatively consistent, at around 76-68% throughout most of the travel in the shred mode.

Anti-rise - that's the amount the braking force is used to resist the suspension's tendency to extend (or rise up) while braking - is higher than most Horst-link bikes. The levels remain very consistent at between 76% and 78% throughout the relevant part of the travel (the first two thirds). This is higher than most Horst-link bikes (which are more often in the 40-50% region), which means the suspension won't rise up as much under braking. Many single-pivot and VPP bikes have similar anti-rise levels, but most have anti-rise curves that drop off through the travel, which may increase the suspension's stiffness under braking because the further the bike moves into the travel, the less the braking force helps to compress it. The Strive's more consistent anti rise levels might make the suspension less stiff when braking compared to VPP.

I was initially concerned that the upper bushing, which sees a lot of rotation, would dull sensitivity compared to a bearing mount. But when I removed the lower shock bolt, the friction at the upper one is tiny, similar to a bearing - the shock readily swings under its own weight.

I measured the Strive's vertical travel at 160 mm, exactly as claimed, which isn't always the case.

The Strive CFR (right) and CFR Underdog (left)


There are only two build options for now, both of which use the same CFR carbon frame. I have the CFR model, which uses top-tier parts with a smattering of Canyon's in-house G5 brand, all of which I have little to complain about. The "Underdog" build is a more sensible spec with Shimano XT/SLX instead of XTR, cheaper DT hubs and no Kashima. I doubt if there's any real performance difference on the trail, except perhaps for the lack of high-speed adjustment on the shock.

Full pricing for both models.
The spec sheet above says 165 mm cranks and 780 mm bars, but that's a mistake. All bikes will come with 170 mm cranks, the Small and Medium get 780 mm bars while the Large and Xl have 800 mm. My bike came with a 170 mm dropper post but the Large and Xl bikes should get a 200 mm version.

Canyon's own G5 dropper has a simple mechanism to reduce the travel by up to 25 mm from the maximum of 170mm (S and M) or 200mm (L or XL).
Strange spacers, but at least there are no cables running through them. The one at the bottom has a grub screw to hold the headset in place while you change your bar height - pretty handy.

Test Bike Setup

Canyon don't yet have a setup guide for the shock but they say this is something they will have for customers soon.

I experimented with shock pressure and landed on 190 psi, which corresponds to 29% sag and removed one of the three pre-installed volume spacers as I wasn't using all the travel. I could afford to remove another for maximum comfort, but I like to have a few mm in reserve for big landings. My final damping settings (from closed) were: HSC: 8, LSC: 8, LSR: 12, and HSR: 3. This is a pretty open and fast-rebonding setup, which reflects my general preferences but also reflects the bike's inherent stability, which allows for more active suspension.

Setting up the 38 fork is a well-trodden path for me now. I've stuck with 98 psi, two volume spacers and compression settings depending on terrain but generally quite open; low-speed rebound 12-14 from closed and high-speed rebound 6 from closed.

Seb Stott
Location: Tweed Valley, Scotland
Age: 29
Height: 6'3" / 191cm
Inseam: 37" / 93cm
Weight: 189 lbs / 86 kg, kitted
Industry affiliations / sponsors: Unpaid Tunnock's ambassador
Instagram: Seb Stott On Bikes

This is a punchy climb with a gradient well over 20%, but you can see the shock stays high in its travel.


If you leave the Strive in the shred mode, it's an average climber among enduro bikes. There is a little pedal bob but nothing dramatic, while the seat angle would have been considered steep until recently and feels comfortable enough for flatter climbs (assuming the saddle is slammed forwards). But switching to the pedal mode takes it to the next level. I noticed this most when switching from the pedal mode back to the shred mode in the middle of a steep climb, where the sagging and squatting at the rear made the climb feel steeper and put more strain on my back and hamstrings.

At 76.5-degrees, the effective seat angle isn't the steepest even in the pedal mode, but because the bike rides so much higher its travel with the firmer suspension and higher anti-squat, it's steep enough to feel comfortable and purposeful even on those bottom-gear climbs. I think it could be steeper still, especially for taller riders - I chose to slam the saddle all the way forwards. Set up like this it's a near-perfect position for me, but it would be nice to have this position with the saddle in the middle of the rails so there's room to adjust.

In the pedal mode, the stability and efficiency of the suspension is superb even by the standards of a 140 mm travel system. But unlike a lockout switch, the suspension still does its thing on bumpy terrain. For technical climbs, it's superb because you not only have better climbing geometry, but firmer damping which is needed to stop the bike oscillating when riding seated over low-frequency bumps, and a higher bottom bracket which makes pedal strikes uncommon. On a trail ride, you could leave it in pedal mode all day, and I used it for jump lines and rolling terrain as well as climbs. I tried riding up a set of stairs alternating between the pedal and shred modes, and in the longer-travel setting it was noticeably smoother and easier to reach the top, so there may be times where the extra squish is useful when climbing. But unlike with a lockout, you don't have to worry about a few bumps when climbing and I soon got into the habit of using it for every steep incline.

When it comes to a sudden climb in the middle of a descent, the need to actively unweight the rear wheel to engage pedal mode can be a little taxing, especially with your heart rate in the red; in these situations, a simple remote lockout would be slightly better (remember when Fabien Barel raced with a remote lockout and Shapeshifter?). But generally, using the system is easy. Sure, I pressed the dropper by mistake or set off down a descent in the wrong mode a few times on the first ride, but by the second or third time out, I had the knack of the controls.

Does the Shapeshifter make the Strive two bikes in one as Canyon claim? It definitely makes it more versatile, and with faster tires, it could be a stand-in trail bike. It's certainly one of the better climbing enduro bikes in the high setting. Is it necessary? With a steeper seat angle and maybe a remote lockout you could achieve some of the Shapeshifter's benefits with less complexity, but not all of them.


Hit the other button and the Strive relaxes and hunkers down at the rear. The suspension is very supple at the start of the stroke, offering a reassuring ground-hugging feel when pattering over matted roots and small stones. Yet when plopping into a catch berm or hole, the suspension never wallows or squats too much; it always gives you something to push against and drive forwards, maintaining its angles as you push around a turn.

With two volume spacers, it's pretty hard to bottom out, but it doesn't feel like there's a sudden ramp near the end, more of a continuous, smooth ramp of support. When rattling through really chunky sections, it's not the most plow-like, but I could afford to remove another spacer or increase sag to unlock more compliance, so that's a setup choice, not a limitation.

How much of this supple-yet-supprtive goodness is down to the Fox X2 shock vs the linkage design is hard to say, but I'm sure I haven't got the best out of the shock yet. Most of my suspension setup work has been spent playing around with spring pressure front and rear, and I've only tried a handful of the 30,000 or so combinations of clickers so far. Having two four-way adjustable dampers is arguably overbearing for a bike that arrives in a box, so it will be interesting to see how accurate and informative Canyon's setup guide is.

It's when braking that the suspension impresses most. It doesn't rise up and pitch forwards as much as many Horst link bikes, so the bike feels stable and settled even when during short, sharp braking periods. But at the same time, the suspension feels very supple even when on the brakes over rooty and rocky surfaces. I think Canyon has got the balance about right with the braking response.

My anxieties about "sizing down" melted away from run one as the proportions of the size large were very easy to get used to, and I was feeling confident and centered on the bike from the off. The bike never felt too small, unstable or prone to tripping, which should be no surprise given its real-world wheelbase with the neutral headset is within a centimetre of an XXL Nukeproof Giga. I'd like the bar height to come up by 10 mm or so - with a longer reach, you need a longer stack height, and despite the 20mm of spacers and 30mm rise handlebar, it was just a fraction too low for me. A higher-rise bar would solve this but given the rest of the bike is well-proportioned for my height it would be nice to be able to get the cockpit in the right range from the off and have room to adjust it up and down.

While the 442 mm rear-centre is longer than advertised, it's still a bit shorter than some of the bikes that go this long in the front centre. Does this mean the front-wheel understeers in every turn? Not really. A 10mm increase in chainstay length (which would make it one of the longest on the market) would only increase the pressure on the front wheel by 1.5%. In order to get a significant increase in front-wheel traction, you need a much more extreme change in the rear centre than what's offered by most bikes with size-specific chainstays.

Only Forbidden seems to be doing that right now (the Dreadnought's rear-centre changes by 42mm across the sizes and the XL has a 480mm rear-centre at sag, which has downsides as well as advantages). In my view, front-wheel grip is much more about rider confidence, suspension and stability than a few millimetres of rear-centre length, and the Stive delivers that in abundance. The slack head angle lets you really lean on the front with no worries about it tucking or being deflected; the rear suspension offers support to stop the bike squatting back in a turn, and the stable braking behaviour means you don't have to lean back when getting on the brakes, only to find your weight too far back when you get off them again. The Fox suspension offers class-leading small bump sensitivity too, helping the tires find consistent grip through choppy sections. All this makes it easier to stay centred on the bike, commit to turns and rip into the corner.

While the Strive feels at its best on steep, technical terrain, it's no slouch on flatter flow trails and trail centre descents. The suspension feels balanced and supportive when pumping through rollers or berms, and you can always use the Shapeshifter if you want a firmer platform to push against. Despite its race-ready intentions, slack head angle and planted feel on downhill tracks, it's surprisingly versatile and enjoyable when the trail mellows out.

Every bike is more than the sum of its parts. How the suspension, geometry, stiffness, weight distribution, componentry and more all come together on the trail isn't something you can extrapolate from the numbers alone. In the case of the Strive, its balance between stability and manoeuvrability, suppleness and support made it easy for me to ride fast, aggressively and confidently from the first ride and every ride since. That overall feeling is obviously subjective, and someone else may not have the same view. So for a second opinion, I recruited one of my riding mates, who happens to be about the same height and weight as me, to ride the Strive for a day. I made sure not to tell him what I thought of it before he finished. He too found it easy to get on with and ride fast almost from the off. Interestingly, he commented unprompted that it brakes very well. That made me a bit more confident in my view that this is a particularly easy bike to ride fast.

Issues / Room for Improvement

The complexity of the Shapeshifter is a concern and something which would make me think twice about wanting to own this bike. Don't get me wrong, it does what it's meant to do, worked perfectly throughout testing and is a useful feature, but I think you could get most of the benefits (though definitely not all) with a steeper seat angle and a simple remote lockout. I also think that Canyon might as well have given it a more extreme seat angle if you can always slacken things out for flat pedalling sections, which is the only time when an 80-degree effective angle really feels too steep. In 2022, I shouldn't have to slam the saddle forwards to feel comfortable, especially on a bike that has a dedicated climb mode.

On the other hand, the Shapeshifter is basically a simplified shock and linkage, but one that you use a few times per ride instead of a few thousand times. Canyon suggest getting it serviced at an authorised dealer every 200-hours of riding or so, but I doubt if it will need it that often. Trawling the forums, it looks like a few people had problems with the first-generation system, but version 2, which is shared with the 2019 iteration of the Strive, seems to be more reliable. Bike Yoke make a purely mechanical version for 90 Euros, which could be a good option to keep you riding if you do have any problems or while the gas spring is being serviced.

Another gripe is that the upper shock mounting hardware is shared with the Shapeshifter linkage, which means removing the shock requires you to push out a hollow pin that spans the shock eyelet and the link its mounted to (Canyon will sell you a tool to do this for £27.95). This makes removing the shock or swapping volume spacers a bit more involved than with other bikes.

It's easy to read too much into the customer service horror stories (which you can find online relating to almost any brand) but the combination of the Shapeshifter's added complexity and Canyon's direct sales model isn't the most appealing from a long-term ownership standpoint. When I asked about this, Canyon had this to say: "Some readers may remember the very first Shapeshifter, introduced in 2014. Unfortunately, this suffered with some reliability issues... With this Fox produced component [introduced on the 2019 Strive], the reliability has been solid for our customers and racers for the past 3 years - and this new Strive uses exactly the same unit. If something goes wrong with your Shapeshifter, a Fox service centre should be able to get it up and running within standard servicing turnaround times."

Two things Canyon could implement immediately to improve the user experience are:

• Supply the bike with the shock removal tool, or at least put all the volume spacers at the bottom of the air can; that way they can be removed without taking the shock off.
• Leave the steerer tube longer, especially on the bigger sizes. You can always cut it down.

Canyon Strive
Privateer 161
Privateer 161

How Does it Compare?

With a full-carbon frame and a dedicated climb mode, you might imagine the Canyon leaves the Privateer for dust on the climbs. But even in pedal mode, the Canyon's seat angle is a bit slacker than the Privateer's and the suspension is a bit more active too. That means for winching up the steepest climbs around, the Privateer is a bit more comfortable, at least from my perspective. The Canyon's slacker seat angle, and the option to go slacker still with the lower setting, make it feel a bit more relaxed when pedalling along bumpy traverses, though.

On the descents, I slightly prefer the Canyon. It stays more level in its travel when braking, while the Privateer rises up a bit more at the rear (the Privateer has around 45% anti-rise at sag). This makes the Canyon more predictable and easier to stay centred, especially when braking hard into a corner before getting off the brakes as you enter the turn. The Canyon never felt harsher as a result of its higher level of mechanical intervention under braking. Quite the opposite, in fact; the Strive's rear suspension remains suppler in most situations, especially under braking. This could be to do with the combination of leverage and shock, which makes its suspension less stiff at the start of the travel (where it's more likely to be when braking) when compared to the Privateer. At the same time, the Canyon feels like it offers more to push against when pumping into a compression. I haven't tried the 161 with the new Fox Float X2 shock, but the Canyon's much more progressive leverage curve (33% vs. 17%) probably helps.

Geometry-wise, the Canyon is 20mm shorter but 1.5-degrees slacker. Overall, I think the Strive is a touch easier to hustle around tight corners or loft the front wheel, but I should stress that neither bike is a barge if you ride it proactively.

Shimano XTR brakes
Tool-free thru-axles

Technical Report

Shimano XTR brakes: My bike turned up with right-hand-front brakes (customer bikes sent to the UK will have UK/moto style brakes from the off) so I had to swap the hoses before riding. This means I can't entirely blame the initial wandering bite point on Shimano, as some oil can escape during this process. However, after I had bled them with the wheels installed in order to deliberately over-fill the reservoir, the brakes were phenomenal. Sharp, powerful and consistent. From experience, I'm confident that as the pads wear out the lever feel will go back to normal, but for now, these are by far the best performing Shimano brakes I've used; they're noticeably more powerful and crisp than the SRAM Codes I have on other test bikes.

Tool-free thru-axles: Canyon could have saved a few more grams by going for Allen key axles like most bikes these days, but I'm glad they didn't. A quick-release is far handier for storing, repairing or transporting bikes, especially if you're one of the 0.1% of UK mountain bikers who don't own a Transporter or Sprinter van. The rear axle is a particularly neat solution, offering a nice big lever that slots away inside the axle. But make sure you follow the instructions from Fox when first installing the semi-floating fork axle to get the maximum fork performance.

New Maxxis EXO+ tires: I think the old EXO+ is a bit fragile for an enduro race bike, but I get that DoubleDown is arguably overkill for how most people ride these bikes in the real world. However, the new, beefier EXO+ with its 60 TPI, butyl-reinforced casing feels more secure at low pressures and is perhaps a better compromise than the old version. You could always stick an insert or two inside for racing or rocky terrain. Weirdly, my bike came with the new EXO+ at the back, but the older version (given away by its 120 TPI hot patch) on the front, but I imagine the tougher new version will filter through on production bikes. The combo of a MaxxGrip Assegai on the front with the MaxxTerra DHR2 offers excellent traction in most conditions without feeling too draggy on mellow terrain.


+ Stable yet supple suspension makes for a confident ride
+ Geometry is designed to go fast but isn't a barge in the tight stuff
+ Adjustable reach
+ Spec leaves nothing to be desired
+ Climbs well with the Shapeshifter in pedal mode
+ More versatile and fun on mellow trails than you might think


- Even in the pedal mode, the seat tube could be steeper
- Shapeshifter is a potential reliability concern in the long term

bigquotesWhile the Shapeshifter brings tangible benefits which aren't offered by other systems, it also adds complexity and scope for things to go wrong, which is a shame because the Strive doesn't climb nearly so well without it. But purely in terms of how the Strive rides, it is in my opinion the best enduro bike I've tested so far.

It's a good climber (as long as you're willing to push the seat forwards and use the Shapeshifter), but it's an even better descender. The suspension is very supple and ground-hugging, but supportive enough to remain stable and dynamic on rolling terrain. The Shapeshifter takes this further, as it can be used to improve responsiveness on mellow descents too. That makes the Strive surprisingly versatile for an enduro race bike. It's on steep and technical descents where it really shines, with bags of grip, stability and composure, but without being too tricky to manhandle through the tight stuff. It's a thoroughbred racer you could ride every day.
Seb Stott


  • 296 1
 Jack moir on a medium is the marketing departments worst nightmare
  • 4 0
  • 40 0
 That's exactly why the medium is secretly a large Wink
  • 19 0
 Nah, he'll go for a Small
  • 30 4
 Jack is 183cm and not 190cm (as often quoted in articles). Literally from the horses mouth when I asked him when trying to work out sizing on a Spectral.
  • 16 1
 Exactly. I’ve just downsized the reach on my latest bike. At 5’10 I would now be on a small
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: I reckon yes...
  • 25 0
 It makes sense though. As a pro racer, he is skilled enough not to have to rely on the stabilizing effects of an increased wheelbase. In one of his videos on sizing he said that he'd rather take advantage of the increased maneuverability of a shorter reach.
  • 10 1
 Should have just called them one size smaller to roughly match all other manufs... 500-510mm reach is an XL...
  • 5 1
 @Muscovir: exactly this, plus those guys will be in the gym 5 days a week and better able to control a less stable bike over a 6 minute run than most of us.
  • 16 0
Yup. Gee Atherton, 6’1, who can custom make any size frame he wants, rides 480mm reach
  • 2 0
 @bashhard: You jest, but let's wait and see. Might be a small, with a "large" sticker on it?
  • 4 0
 .. And he is on the short reach setting in size medium!
  • 4 2
 @GrandMasterOrge: still strugling to find out a dramatic difference in stability between 1230 and 1330 wb bikes
  • 8 0
 @74NZ: I’m the same height and just did the same. 455-460 reach works best for me. Reach has gotten crazy long these days.
  • 4 6
 ඞඞඞඞ sus
  • 6 0
 @rich-2000: yes, but dh bikes have more stack height, generally are slacker, and have longer forks. It's a lot more complex than just a single number
  • 10 0
 @chakaping: Looking at the geo, the small is big. Too big for me. Looks like a medium in all the important fit numbers.
  • 4 38
flag joshslewis1 (Apr 20, 2022 at 7:00) (Below Threshold)
 @tacklingdummy: SUSඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ
  • 39 2
 WTF is this, a bike for Peasants?

Way too cheap for me. Call me when you hit Santa Cruz pricepoints, Canyon.


  • 1 0
 @Ruked: nah mate, he's 6'7" for sure.
  • 16 0
 @GrandMasterOrge: I used to think this was the case, but I'm not so sure.

I have been finding that it's actually longer bikes that require more athleticism, flexibility, and strength to operate "properly".
At 5'11"/180cm I had a few bikes in a row at around 475mm reach and found I needed really tall bars/stem stack and 32-35mm stem to feel like I had decent range of motion.

Getting the bikes to fit was always a challenge compared to me hardtail which had 455 reach and a 50mm stem. I'm feeling things back on reach and it's way better.

I think if you're a VERY static rider then longer the better, where you're just a hunk of meat sitting between the tires not trying to go OTB, maybe if you're a VERY active rider where you have a ton of hip/back/hamstring mobility and just just throw yourself wherever you need to be, but in general I'm feeling less convinced about the more reach is better approach...
  • 5 10
flag donthaveadropper (Apr 20, 2022 at 9:32) (Below Threshold)
 looks like a session
  • 13 0
 @KennyWatson: so this.
"where you're just a hunk of meat sitting between the tires not trying to go OTB"
Sounds like most people I know riding these massive bikes with 63 degree head angles.
  • 23 0
 HOLY SHI... someone actually broke out a tapemeasure in a bike review and checked the test bike VS the geometry chart and reported back. I'm blown away... thank you.
  • 3 0
 @Ruked: odd, im official 183cm and hes taller than me lol
  • 3 3

First you say:
I have been finding that it's actually longer bikes that require more athleticism, flexibility, and strength to operate "properly".

Then you say:
I think if you're a VERY static rider then longer the better, where you're just a hunk of meat sitting between the tires not trying to go OTB

Extremely consistent! Congratulations..
  • 2 0
 @endoguru: yup. 5’10”. 460-465mm. I have an L and an M and an S3 all in this range. Traditional sizing basically means nothing now.
  • 6 1
 @pakleni: Nothing inconsistent about it.

The point is that these very long bikes only seem to apply to the very extreme ends of the spectrum, as far as riding style goes.

You can make it work if you're either very athletic and strong and able to move the bike around, or if you're a total sloth and don't care about moving the bike around. The two ends of the bell curve.

For the majority of people, not so good.
  • 3 0
 @pakleni: I don't think inactively plowing through everything falls under the scare-quoted "properly"
  • 1 0
 I'm very happy with 470. I could easily see going 480.
  • 1 0
 @endoguru: same here
  • 1 0
 @Uchwmdr: over 100kmh is where that magic happens
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: Ya maybe your right if you stood next to him etc... I will see if I can find the message back from him and cross check maybe he said 185, but anyways he is not 190cm ha ha!
  • 1 0
 @Ruked: yeah hes def taller than me, he told me he is 6"1. which is 185ish. - just the long limbs make him look like a giraffe
  • 2 0
 @74NZ: Same. 2nd bike in 2 days where at 5'9" I'd like the small.
How on earth do small people find bikes now?!
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: Yep, I'm 5'8 and the small is way longer than I like, where's the hope for people even shorter? 455 reach on a small is insane
  • 1 1
 @chazmann: I'm 5ft 8in and my new bike has a 485mm reach. Horses for courses, eh?
  • 2 0
 @2d-cutout @chazmann shhh shhh shhh, let us tree grazers (6’4” here) have our moment getting to pick between sizes

Definitely interesting that bike sizes are getting so large though, I’d say on average mountain biking is not a tall sport
  • 2 0
 @chazmann: lol dang, that's about the reach of my large Marin San Quentin that I bought two years ago...
  • 2 0
 @txcx166: yep. Built up an S4 Enduro and it was just too big. Just finished building an S3 Stumpy Evo and it is a much more engaging bike to ride and I’m getting up techs, ledgy climbs I was really struggling with on the longer reach.
  • 1 0
 @loosegoat: Having got a friend who's 6'7", I'm really happy for big bikes to exist, but why are 'small' bikes now big too? We need both ends of the scale.
  • 2 0
 Just wanted to say that I was right with my assumption he'd go for a size small:
Minute 4:12
He wanted to make it feel like the old bike.
And in the Tweed Valley he runs the old bike instead of the new one due to not enough testing yet.
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: Yes !..Im gonna build up again my unrideables 445mm reach canfield balance or my 420mm reach darkside for bikepark season , decisions..
  • 128 10
 He sure complained a lot about the shapeshifter given that it worked perfectly throughout the test and is currently in its third generation.
  • 16 5
 Right, noticed that too. I also wouldn't want the increased complexity and possible points of failure. IMO, if you want to implement a geometry adjustment system, make a shock with multiple air chambers. Like Scott does with their TwinLoc. This way, all the proprietary bits are contained within the shock and if the customer doesn't like the system, they can just take it off and replace it with any regular metric shock.
  • 11 3
 It says in the review the shapeshifter hasn't changed, this is the 2nd gen
  • 46 12
 I mean it’s no more complex than a dropper post let alone a rear shock. I also bet that if it did fail, you would essentially be stuck in descend mode, which doesn’t sound like a terrible place to be.

If this bike was sold by yeti, Santa Cruz, Pivot, Transition et al, shapeshifter would be lauded and nobody would question it’s reliability.

I’ve bought five Canyons and the only issue I’ve had with a Canyon designed part of the bike was a minor paint defect on one main triangle. They replaced the whole frame and shock (for some reason?), they also threw in bearing kits for two other bikes, a spare mech hangar for one of them, and a hat.

I’m not married to the brand, in fact my next bike will probably be a Trek, Giant, or Propain. However I do find their engineering to be impeccable, and would have no hesitation buying a strive if I was in the market for that sort of bike. If they sold it with smaller wheels, I would probably be finding a way to justify owning one.
  • 29 5
 @Afterschoolsports: Having the frame as complex as a dropper post sounds really scary when you put it that way.
  • 5 3
 @jeremy3220: hahaha that would be a very valid fear if it was new, but shapeshifter feels like its been around forever. I doubt there are any gremlins in the system. That said I have had a one up fail on me in the last few years, so I do get it. Haha.
  • 10 2
 @Afterschoolsports: It's another potential point of failure though. Question is, if the added complexity is worth the advantage. Review makes it sound like it isn't worth it.
  • 12 3
 @Muscovir: That remote and cable alone aren't worth it. I'd much rather reach down and flick a lockout style remote than have more stuff cluttering my bars during a crash...
  • 17 11
 @Afterschoolsports: yeti make the super unreliable switch system
  • 9 3
 @chrismac70: I gave you an upvote Because anyone with a Friend with a Yeti knows how often those f*cking things need new bearings.
  • 13 1
 @Afterschoolsports: My dropper post (Reverb) has been the most unreliable bike part I've ever owned.....
  • 4 1
 Anything proprietary is off-putting IMO. What if it fails? you are stuck with going to the manufacturer, and if the part is no longer produced or out of stock then you are screwed. Imagine if dropper posts were built into the bike, and you couldn't change it, and if it is unreliable you are stuck with having to fix it all the time.
  • 5 0
 @m47h13u: We should bring back the Kona Magic Link! It did the same thing but automagically, more effectively, and gave the rear suspension dynamic rearward axle path too. I had two of them, and since they were Konas I cracked both frames, but the Magic Link itself proved to be very reliable.

The inventor made a completely new version on his Tantrum Bikes; I wonder how it rides.
  • 6 1
 @chrismac70: They aren't actually that unreliable. Just need regular maintenance as every other main link does. I've been riding all their Enduro rigs for several years now, racing and recreationally, with no issues, yet I'm a suspension/linkage servicing type of person. Main bearings only turn like 1/10 of the rotation, and is an easy fix to recover them when they get a bit sluggish. I've been running the same SI link for 2 years now with no long as I grease it and service the bearings.
The Switch Infinity link really works. Fukin amazing bike the 150 is.
  • 4 0
 I feel it though. The ShapeShifter idea is amazing and I found myself wanting it the more I read. But most people are going to look at added complexity and think "is it really worth it?" Valid to bring it up.
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: three weeks ago I cracked the seatpost on my 2020 canyon endurace road bike and emailed and called their customer service— So far they haven’t responded and they are quoting 15 days just to look at the request. So far, I’m not impressed with their customer service.
  • 5 0
 @Afterschoolsports: please ignore my prior comment. I found their support response in my spam folder. They did respond in email last week and opened up the case and are working on it.
  • 2 0
 @Muscovir: literally weeks after the first shapeshifter launched there was an aftermarket developed fixed linkage available, that you could set to either position with bolts. $100 AUD is much cheaper than a new shock!
I had a V1 shapeshifter Strive and while I never had any issues with reliability I found I never used the high position as it didnt make a huge difference to me how the bike pedalled, so got the linkage. Saved about 200 grams and tidied up the bars. Still miss that bike!
The version on this bike seems to make a bigger difference however.
  • 1 0
 @m47h13u: That's another good point. But to be fair, the integration into the dropper post lever seems be done in a pretty clean way.
  • 110 0
 Such a detailed article! Thanks Seb. Great Job!
  • 22 0
 Agreed. This is the type of technical/nerd review I really appreciate. Well done.
  • 12 0
 Yep. One of the most thorough, informative, and helpful reviews I've read in a long time.
  • 68 6
 Sizing is ridiculous. Small reach is 455? Surely this is going to far.
  • 20 2
 Looking at yesterday's Megatower release I was thinking reach numbers were starting to stabilize a bit; this has thrown that thought away
  • 15 0
 This is a stretch to far
  • 13 1
 Yeah, I like lenghty reach, but 505mm for a size large seems too long.
  • 10 1
 Must be why that saddle is hanging off the edge of the seatpost
  • 10 0
 They are preparing the market for the negative reach stem from sea otter
  • 10 0
 I’d just run the small because it has the reach I prefer.

Only issue is the lack of an XS for folks under 5’9” (175cm) or so.
  • 16 2
 Yeah, how is anybody below 5ft 10in even supposed to buy a bike anymore?!
  • 6 13
flag MarkSedman (Apr 20, 2022 at 7:56) (Below Threshold)
 @sheplivingston: This bike is an Enduro race bike, so it is supposed to be longer, slacker and more stable. Sizing and Geo really comes down to your terrain. If your terrain doesn't suit a bike like this don't buy it. My evil offering is a 490 ish (6ft Rider) reach and it can feel short on some very fast rough and straight tracks. My Specialized S4 enduro felt perfect and even after a while I felt I could of used a little more reach.

Its really what you get used to, longer wheelbase and longer reach has advantages in one place and draw backs in another.

Stack height and stem length can adjust your reach so its all adjustable.
  • 7 0
 Reasonable reach or price? Pick one.
  • 2 0
 To me the issue is not so much the reach than the not-steep-enough seat angle.
I don't know about the S size for this Strive but the 490mm reach of my Honzo ESD, which goes up to around 505mm when the fork sags, seems ok for me (182cm, riding L).
But with such long reach I think the seat tube should be steeper, close to 80° so that the top tube doesn't get too long and you don't end up over-stretching your arms with too much wieght on your arms.
The honzo effective seat tube is 77.5°, 78.65° at sag, and I feel it should be just a bit more, around 80°, I still had to slide my saddle forward.

The theory to me is that with old geometries, the hips angle was more closed, so your upper body weight was supported mostly by your bum on the saddle and it was ok to have your arms stretched in front cuz' there wasn't much weight on them.
But with a long reach, the hips angle opens up, your legs are more under you than in front of you so the upper body weight wants to lean forward and is therefore more spread out between saddle and bars, and therefore can weight too much on the hands.
So to counter this, the seat angle must be steeper, so that upper body CoG remains more in line with lower body CoG, and your upper body weight remains over hips/lower body instead of weighting the hands too much.
All of this for flat/climb of course. On the downs everything gets much more dynamic.
  • 4 0
 @MarkSedman: how you can find your L offering short i really don't understand being 5.10 on a M (V2) i couldn't immagine riding that Schoolbus of a Large frame
  • 6 1
 Funny that a brand that has seemed very reluctant to embrace modern geo now has people saying they've gone too far... Smile Smile Smile
  • 3 0
 @wyorider: Haha XS below 175. Germans must have grown during corona times.
  • 1 0
 @NicolaZesty314: maybe because some of the trails I ride a super fast, super rough and need a big bike. I was on a 21 Enduro before my offering so when I made the switch for the trails I ride it felt less stable.

Im also 6ft and 215 so im not exactly a small dude.

Again like I mentioned, the trails you ride should dictate the bike geo.
  • 2 0
 LOL my Trance from a few years ago was about that same reach and I rode a large
  • 38 0
 We need top specs ALU models! Smile
  • 5 0
 We really do. Not full bling but at least on CF8 level
  • 5 2
 There is no alloy frame planned for the Strive.
  • 6 0
 I thought that too until I saw what the carbon bike weighs. How heavy would an aluminum version be, 40 pounds?
  • 3 5
 One with Automatic Lactating Udders? Agreed
  • 2 1
 @alex-young: you do you, friend.
  • 2 3
 @HankDamage: let the milk flow playa hater
  • 3 0
 given that the decent spec CF model already weighs 16 kg with regular exo+ tires, I fear an alloy version would be super heavy
  • 32 0
 Fantastic read, a proper review and deep dive, get the feeling you really did ride the bike unlike a lot of ‘reviews’ these days.

Proper journalism
  • 31 1
 Based on the tone of the comments and all of the complaining about a bike no one has sat on yet, I wonder if people here skipped Seb's summary and the following sentence: "But purely in terms of how the Strive rides, it is in my opinion the best enduro bike I've tested so far."
  • 2 0
 Yes, then let's do timed testing.))))
  • 9 1
 ... and the most obvious THE CHEAPEST. So top notch and reasonable cheap? No one commenting? The new megatower doubles and I think Canyon is better...
  • 2 0
 I feel like Canyon has gotten some slack for past snappers. Think it was like the last gen spectral, also heard their road bike had some issue. And some countries getting less than ideal warranty support. The added complexity of the SS system is something to think about too. But this review really made me want one. It sounds like they've nailed it and love the idea overall. Now if only they had aluminum..
  • 35 6
 I'm 6ft 2 and 495 reach is pretty long for me. Why is the large 505 hahah. STOP MAKING BIKES SO LONG!!!
  • 17 1
 At 6’ I’m between the medium and the small. This bike is excessively long.
  • 9 0
 180cm here and I'd definitely buy the small. lol.
  • 3 0
 @Jordmackay: I sat on a large Trek Slash. And it felt odd being as long as it is. I think it’s the same length the Strive. Anyway I’m as tall as you are and I couldn’t get good pressure on that front wheel becauseI was so far back. I can’t see myself on bikes with this long reach. But maybe I just haven’t found the right fit yet.
  • 5 0
 I’m 6’5” and find 490 to be the longest I want a bike to be for me to still feel comfortable on it. 495 at least I don’t have to worry about losing reach if I want to run lots of spacers or even an angled stem, but 505 for a Large is just crazy to me.
  • 4 1
 @Afterschoolsports: I’ve ridden a bike with around 500 reach with a 35mm stem and it wasn’t fun. I felt like I was a passenger on the bike and couldn’t really ride it.
  • 2 0
 @drjohn: Large Trek Slash is 486mm reach (low), so shorter than the Strive
  • 3 4
 I'm 5'11" and ride 515mm reach. Have tried 535mm reach with a longer stem and also got used to it pretty quickly.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: I would absolutely love to try a long bike for a while to see if I like it!
  • 1 1
 @Afterschoolsports: I'm your height and I can't imagine running a bike with a 490 reach. That's way too small for me. To each their own, but I have two bikes with long reaches and they're so much better than the shorter bikes I owned in the past.
  • 3 0
 It just depends what you ride (trail wise). I've gone from a shorter nimble bike (Mojo HD3) to a loooong bike (Geometron). Both are great in their own ways - hd3 was fun to hustle on tight tracks whilst geometron you feel so low and centred on the bike meaning speed is easy. If I rode trail centres all the time the former is better. If you ride step off piste stuff all the time, the G1 is imperious. It's good that more long options are coming out as I personally feel that the g1 fits me (significantly) better than the hd3, and that bikes like this may be a good fit for other tall people. Obviously people can size down, and standover heights are less, so hopefully there's still enough choice out there for everyone?
Ps. I'm 188cm tall, and other people's personal preferences may differ! ;-)
  • 6 0
 At 6', i find 470mm reach to be the sweet spot. I had to go one size smaller than recommended on my Slash. If I'd gone for a large as recommended I would definitely not be comfortable. I sat on one in the shop and it felt like a barge.
  • 3 1
 I disagree. Depends on your preference. I'm 5'10 and am on an XL bike with a 495 reach.
  • 3 6
 Also I'd like to remind that calculating reach without understanding its relationship to your seat tube angle, and dropper post length is almost irrelevant. A long stroke dropper and steep STA makes a "long" reach very reasonable in reality, regardless of what the paper 'reach' says.
  • 2 0
 @its-joe: yea when I sat on large slash, I wanted a longer stem on a m/l size frame. But all that’s just in theory as I only sat on a large and had all the weight over the rear wheel.
  • 2 2
 @ratedgg13: that’s effective too tube and it only matters when you’re sitting.
  • 1 1
 @ratedgg13: Ride a 515mm reach size L, can confirm
  • 2 2
 @TheSlayer99: Partially correct. Not all brands measure ETT/reach the same. Reach is impacted by your %sag, which then changes based on STA (what points you measure to/from change). Furthermore, this is then changed by body positioning on the bike - which in turn changes based on terrain. This is why as noted in the article above, Canyon is starting to measure things based on dynamic geometry.
  • 3 2
 @ratedgg13: partially correct. reach is the horizontal distance between the center of the bb to the center of the head tube. This number does not change based on seattube angle or seat height at all. Ett is measured from a designated point on the seat tube/seatpost to the middle of the head tube. Therefore this number will change with seattube angle and seat height, so yes not every band measures it the same. While technically yes, reach will change with sag and body position, on a full suspension bike the change won’t be very significant like it would be on a hardtail, so with a balanced suspension setup dynamically it will stay pretty consistent. I couldn’t find in the article where it mentioned canyon measuring dynamic geo, but I can’t imagine they would given dynamic geo is relative to every individual rider for a given bike, and only hardtails are measured at sag. I know Seb Scott likes to talk about dynamic geo a lot, which is why he is my favorite person to see bike reviews from.
  • 4 4
 @TheSlayer99: Okay, but the point is that reach is a mostly irrelevant metric for deciding how big a bike is. Saying that a bike is 'too big' because of the reach measurement, is a useless statement, as it doesn't account for any of the important factors discussed.
  • 7 2
 @ratedgg13: reach is one of the the primary measurements for descending characteristics and feeling when descending. To say that reach is an irrelevant metric for bike sizing is objectively incorrect
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: ditto, 490 plenty long
  • 3 3
 @TheSlayer99: Yes, but you have to take stack and head tube length into account. Some bike manufacturers (not this one) have it figured out. You give the bike a big reach (even a reach this big) and as long as you build the frames with a short enough head tube... you can be everything to everyone. Lets people customize their reach with spacers and/or handlebar rise.

Like a long reach and low stack... slam your stem (no spacers) and keep the normal rise bars. Want a shorter reach and like a more normal stack... throw 30mm of spacers under the stem (which shortens the reach considerably) and use a normal rise bar. Want a longer reach but a higher stack... use minimal spacers and use a higher rise bar (which doesn't shorten the reach).

If Canyon had made the same bike with a shorter head tube, these would have been options

You can customize even further with stem length. My bike comes stock with a 491 reach (size large), but the Head Tube is only 100mm tall. It also comes stock with a 50mm stem. I enjoy the feel and handling of a shorter stem and I like my reach around 480, so I put a 42mm stem on it and put 15mm of spacers under the stem along with a regular 20mm rise handlebar = perfect setup for me.

There's a couple good online geo calculators that will show you how these changes affect your geo.

Point is, it's definitely not all about one number and a lot of people have it very wrong. Most people don't even realize how much raising their stem affects their reach. Unless you ride with your stem slammed, you're not riding the stated reach. Which again is another important point... people pick a reach, be a dick about it and then throw 30mm of spacers under their stem and think it feels the same... in reality the difference between a 500 reach and 480 reach is 2 centimeters... put your hands out in front of you right now... now move them 2 centimeters further away... you barely moved them.
  • 4 3
 @islandforlife: head tube length yes, stack no. You only lose 3mm of reach per 10mm of spacers average for an enduro bike. I personally don’t like stack because it’s the distance from the ground to the bars, which can change drastically depending on fork travel and tire choice. Stack also doesn’t take into account the vertical distance from feet to hands, which can change a lot based on bb drop. Stem length changes the weight distribution, cockpit and steering feel but not the overall handling of the bike like reach does. And while yes, 20mm isn’t a lot, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t able to tell the difference in 2 sizes of the same bike.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: I agree - I'm 5 10 as well - I don't know how you ride but I bought the 22 Spectral Medium with a 460 reach and sold it immediately because it was too big for the type of riding I like to do (Lots of manuals, bunnnyhops and jumps). If Canyon had left the steerer longer, as suggested in the article, I would have been able to get the reach back to 435mm by running a 60mm spacer.
  • 4 0
 Adding stem spacers doesn't make a bike fit a smaller person and it's not really how you should solve sizing issues. Adding spacers increases the distance between bb and bar, making the fit larger when you're standing. It also adds rear bias, which may or may not be what you're looking for. A person who bought a bike with too much reach so raises the bars to fix it is going to have a very hard time getting weight on the front wheel.
  • 1 1
 @TheSlayer99: For most enduro bike is more like 5 mm per 10mm... stack is stack... but what I'm referring to is getting to your preferred stack. A short head tube allows for 20mm or more of spcers which shortens reach by 10mm, so all of a sudden your bike's reach is now 490 vs 500 add another 10 and it's 485. Usually you're not starting at 500 though. Again, as I said, want to keep that reach, but need that higher stack, just use a high rise handlbar.

Yes, lost of numbers contribute to overall stack but it's all fairly simple to figure out. My point is, reach is customizable as long as you have a short enough head tube. And again, most don't realizer that they're shortened their reach by 10mm by adding 20mm of spacers. All simple math and numbers.
  • 2 1
 @islandforlife: you’re talking in circles and not really saying anything that hasn’t already been said by other people. You are also using cockpit size and feel and reach synonymously when they are fairly independent of each other.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: There are three contact points. Seat, pedals, bars. Only two of them are used all the time. So feet/hands relationship is the more important than where the seat is. Reach is half the feet/bars calculation, the other being stack (which should include spacers/stem/bar rise/sweep).

At very long reach, higher stack will keep the body more centred, but also lengthens distance between feet/hands, reducing mobility.
  • 1 0
 @AgrAde: not if the headtube is short, that distance is already smaller. And like I said, if you want to keep the reach but want a bigger stack, you use a high rise handlebar.

This isn’t magic. All the numbers are there. You’re not going to over increase anything as long as you keep an eye on the actual numbers.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: for sure, a lower stack reduces hand/feet distance. Typically more aggressive riding benefits from a higher stack. The progression from Cross Country > Trail > Enduro > DH is pretty well established. Which is also when a longer reach matters. So then you're back to having reduced mobility.
  • 2 0

Yes, if the stack is lower for a given reach then it just means the bike is both shorter and lower.

But you can't just "keep" the reach by using a high rise bar. With a high rise bar, it's either rolled back so that the rise is in line with the steering axis, in which case it's exactly the same as adding spacers under your stem, or it is rolled forward, in which case it's exactly the same as using a longer stem (and raising it with spacers). I've had idiots talk shit on my 50mm stem and how it must handle bad and that their 40mm is sooo much better, while they've got big riser bars that are putting their grips further out in front of the steering axis than my bike. Now that I've got 40mm risers on my bike, I've moved to a shorter stem to keep the steering consistent. So "keeping the reach" is a stupid thing to try to do.

Having a low stack adds some flexibility in bar height if you want your bars low, but the guy above was talking about adding 60mm of spacers under the stem. But forks have a max amount of spacers they recommend. I think Fox is 30mm. So too low stack and you're limiting setup too.

The above frame still has short head tube lengths in the small sizes. There's only so much you can do to reduce stack on a long travel 29er.
  • 24 0
 Only concern I’d have with this bike is the strength rating. Some enduro tracks (Angelfire comes to mind) have brutal sections that per Canyon’s specs could lead to a broken frame.

If it’s a true enduro race bike, it should be DH rated.
  • 5 0
 Can't believe I had to scroll down so far to find this comment. Sounds sketchy. Would hate to own a bike where I look at features and think about my bike's limited warranty...
  • 3 0
 @krustykarlos: Tell em you were JRA...
  • 1 4
 Specially when few Enduro bikes have proven can be the fastest down a DH track...
  • 3 0
 Rather unfortunately, racing usually voids the warranty on bikes. Back in like 2015-2016 commencal on their website explicitly said in their warranty policy that if you raced the meta am, it would void the warranty. I don’t know if many companies say it outright but that’s how it is.
  • 5 1
 Came here to say the same thing.
A race bike needs to be able to take a beating, period. And with those geometry numbers it´s meant to be mercilessly hammered down a hill. What´s the point in making this thing a pure race bike when the riding reality of most folks out there doesn´t consist of only enduro race tracks? Is this really supposed to be for race weekends only and anyone who buys this needs to also purchase a dh bike for park days and a freeride bike for hucking the local hill? Seems kinda off the mark, especially when other manufacturers do not have that limitation and Canyon´s bike isn´t even exceptionally light.
As it stands, to me this is a niche item with questionable manufacturer backing.
I really overall like the bike, but that limitation is a major turnoff.
  • 22 0
 Look at that saddle slammed all the way forward on rails haha, cmon it's 2022 ...
  • 17 7
 Just by looking at the saddle, tells me everything I need to know about this bike
  • 3 0
 True, if t needs to be like that - something ain't right.
  • 4 2
 @laars: maybe riding more bikes instead of looking at them Wink ? They're still a sum of it's parts, geo etc.
  • 2 1
 @LDG: Geo most certainly isnt right if the seat needs to be slammed past the ”max” markings on the rails
  • 3 2
 @laars: did you read the review? he sat in a perfect position. Isn't that enough even if the saddle is forward? Wink
  • 1 2
 @LDG: No, I didnt read any of it, like I said, picture was enough Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Looks like a fine seatpost angle. Can't ride at that 80 degree nonsense. Hurts my legs so much.
  • 35 17
 16kg is a new normal for Enduro bike? That is heavy.
  • 16 1
 People might downvote you, but there's a valid point here when the top end carbon model weighs the same as a lot of budget alu bikes - why bother with it? I certainly don't.
  • 6 0
 Trek Slash 8 2022 size M/L with magura mt5 203mm rotors f/r and pedals weights 16.2 KG and its AL frame
  • 21 3
 Normal for people who actually use enduro bikes for their intended use.
  • 4 1
 nuke giga with fox-es, 16.5 kgs
  • 9 3
 My old alloy Giant with a coil spring, saint brakes and double down tyres only weighs 14.5kg, dont know where the extra weight on that bike comes from
  • 2 3
 @ctd07: This is exactly what I was thinking.
  • 4 2
 @TheSlayer99: 16kg is DH bike weight category.
  • 3 6
 heavier than my 2015 medium alu patrol with a coil shock and pedals. no fancy carbon parts (well one up bar) heavy tyres.
  • 29 4
 But they're more reliable than ever. I'd take my modern heavy bike over my old, light bike every time. We want bigger wheels, longer dropper posts, more suspension, wider bars, fewer punctures, wider rims, bigger cassettes. Where in those improvements are manufacturers supposed to save weight.
  • 4 8
flag mtb-scotland (Apr 20, 2022 at 4:02) (Below Threshold)
 @DC1988: I've never changed the bearings no my patrol. I don't want bigger wheels, I have 170mm mezzer forks, ex471 rims a heavy cassette, tyre inserts so the build isn't built on lightness.
  • 2 1
 @Matinsky: large full bling slash(previous model) 14.5kg for comparison and thats heavy and still want sub 30lb
  • 2 0
 2018 Capra 29 with SD Coil and DD, 16.4kgs with pedals.
  • 2 0
 @ctd07: probably from it being twice as long...
  • 2 1
 @putin-you-ugly-mother-f*cker: and racers are building their enduro bikes like dh bikes
  • 6 1
 @stubestrong: if you want sub 30 on an enduro bike you probably don’t need an enduro bike. Unless you’re dangerholm and have money to spend to have a realistic enduro race build at under 30lbs
  • 1 0
 @TheSlayer99: I think a lot of us are down with having a 35lb enduro bike, just why pay 7000 when you could pay half that for something very similar?
  • 9 1
 Carbon fiber has no weight advantage for gravity bikes. Because of its poor impact resistance are more layers required than strength-wise necessary. Even Specialized seemed to realize this and builds the demo only in aluminium.
  • 2 0
 @chakaping: guerrilla gravity and the stumpjumper evo are the only bikes that come close to having as much frame adjustability as this. The alloy stumpjumper evo with a cascade link is probably the only bike I’d potentially want to have over this bike though.
  • 5 0
 Yes, let's have 12kg carbon bikes that break when you breathe on them... And please, please let them cost €15000...
  • 6 0
 @putin-you-ugly-mother-f*cker: Many Enduro bikes had DD or DH tires,tire inserts&sealant,dropper post and big 52-10 speed cassette,same brakes,etc. Even some got coil shocks so the heaviest bikes out there are probably enduro bikes.
  • 3 1
 @TheSlayer99: not really. If this was an alloy frame, it’d be reasonable. The fact that my bike weighs 1kg less as an XL with the same travel is pretty absurd.
  • 6 0
 Pros have set up their bikes heavier for years.

DH tires with inserts, burly rims and bars, and big travel suspension will do that.

If you want a slack, capable bike that weighs less, that’s a trail bike.
  • 3 0
 That’s what happens with length = leverage = stress which means more strength required, plus the safety testing these days i way more stringent than days of old, and some people are doing crazy shit on modern bikes.

I actually rode what I’d call enduro (all mountain) back in 2013, now an enduro bike is too much ‘bike’ for me, so I ride a trail bike.
  • 1 0
 In all fairness Canyon lists it's weights for the L size bikes. They're actually realistic compared to most other brands.
  • 2 0
 @nickfranko: go look at any bike check of an EWS racer and tell me when you find one on a carbon bike that weighs less than this one. I’ll wait
  • 1 0
 yeah especially with the claimed frame weight (sans shock) of 2700g. That's actually on the lighter side for an Enduro frame. Of course they didn't mention what size frame that weight came from.
  • 18 1
 505 mm reach in L is brutal
  • 5 0
 Hectic hey, I thought it was a typo.
  • 12 0
 How is no one talking about the fact that the chainstays were way longer than specified in the geo chart? People buy these bikes sight unseen based solely on the geo charts and now they're unreliable and no wants to talk about that?? So you buy the bike on spec and it shows up with totally different numbers.
  • 13 2
 So everything they learn on DH Bikes like balancing the long front end with longer chainstyas and they stick a 435 chainstay on a 1270 wheelbase bike for a medium sized person? They are going to sell out of size smalls, I dont understand why Canyon has such dialed DH bikes and then give us stuff like this for an enduro bike.
  • 10 0
 "Canyon chose to stick with the same chainstay length for all frame sizes, apparently because the race team members all preferred the shorter back end as it made it easier to pick up and place the rear wheel on tight EWS racecourses."

"The race team were also apparently behind the decision to go full 29er, as even the shorter team riders felt they would make up more time with the rollover of a bigger back wheel than from the ability to ride more dynamically on steep tech, which is more of an advantage in downhill than enduro."

Sounds like they designed this bike for Enduro riding/racing vs HD racing with significant input from their EWS team... makes sense as it's an enduro bike and not a DH bike.
  • 13 1
 435mm chainstays on a 530mm reach bike?
Do they put the saddle on the stem to get enough front end traction or what?
  • 2 0
 Do not worry! The chainstays being manufactured 7mm longer than intended is a voluntary mistake to remedy that haha
  • 16 3
 I'm out...i'm all about Rockshox
  • 11 1
 Same here. I'd rather see one of the build kits come with a ZEB and a SuperDeluxe.
  • 8 1
 It's personal preference....can't get on with fox
  • 13 2
 I only ride rockshox as they can be fully serviced with a handful of specific (and available) tools and home mechanic skills. FOX suspension on the other hand is too much trouble to deal with at home.
  • 6 0
 @IMeasureStuff: yup, rockshox stuff is so easy to work with...Canyon factory Collective team is on Rockshox...
  • 5 0
 Same here. I have built up a supply of tools, liquids, spares and experience during a decade. Have ridden FOX and they feel just as good, but I cant bother building up the knowledge and supplys to service them.
  • 4 0
 @mikaeljc: Meh, lower leg service is fairly similar labor wise.

The cost of Fox service parts is silly though. Given a choice I'd take Rockshox for that reason.
  • 14 1
 What a review, beatifully made! Props to Seb Stott
  • 10 1
 "The frame is category 4 rated. According to Canyon, that basically means "the frame is not approved for regular use on those features which set aside DH riding or freeride from enduro (huge jumps, cliff drops, gnarly gas to flats). So if the frame fails here, then this is excluded from the warranty." If you need a category 5 bike for regular bike park riding, Canyon has the Torque for that."

The fact that they mention this in the article makes me believe they're prefacing to deny many many warranty claims in the future based on this.
  • 6 0
 Interesting for their Enduro team. Those guys are going to hit 'normal' features during a race far harder than the average rider hits bike park freeride features.
  • 5 0
 Think they rather mean that if you smash laps in a lift assisted bikepark everyday you'd rather get a Cat5 bike that should last you with bearings pivots etc....and if you ride like 50% self pedalled climbs and 50% lift assist Cat4 does the job, too.....
  • 1 0
 The previous Strives were cat 4 too, Canyon UK warrantied my (4 year old) 650b strive that cracked no questions, and it’d been used extensively for DH/park riding. I think they just don’t want you hucking to flat on a trail bike and complaining when it breaks.
  • 1 0
 @lewisa10: Agreed.. but given their online repuation here it makes me wonder if they'll try and pull a "look at the fine print" type warranty rejection as others have stated here before.
  • 1 0
 @jayacheess: EWS pros bikes are checked over by a mechanic after every race, if there is a defect they will be replaced immediately. And they get replaced after a season anyway.

Not comparable with the average park rat who is casing jumps on the same bike for year after year without ever checking for damage.
  • 9 1
 Extended and regular use in bike parks and tackling “North Shore” sections should be avoided. Due to increased stresses, these bikes should be checked for damage after every ride. Full suspension bikes with mid-level travel are typical in this category. lol its a 170mm enduro race bike
  • 2 0
 EWS pros bikes are checked over by a mechanic after every race, if there is a defect they will be replaced immediately. And they get replaced after a season anyway. No reason to build them the way you would overbuild a park bike.
  • 3 0
This is a consumer item though.
Not really reassuring to know my race bike has a limited warranty backing from the manufacturer. All that tells me is they don´t trust their product. And let´s be real, racing a bike often times takes a bigger toll on a bike than clean hucks at the bikepark. I know i´ve sent more hucks to flat or into the face of a jump during race practice than while casually cruising at the park and the resulting forces were a lot higher than any big but clean jump at the park.
This whole "for racing only" (FRO) thing has hugely backfired for Intense already in the past and pretty much made it a meme, when people were folding those bikes left right and center.
Most people will use this for what it appears to be on the surface, a pedalable bike that´s meant to be hammered down a hill. Few will even realize they´re supposed to buy an aditional dh or freeride bike for park days.
I see fun times ahead in the Canyon warranty department and can already picture all the angry forum threads about how the new Strive is a tin can.
  • 1 0
 @Loki87: Anyone who looks at the Canyon website before/while ordering their Strife will immediately see that there is the Torque for freeride + park duties.
  • 8 0
 "As soon as I got hold of the bike, I broke out the tape measure to check...numbers. This is something I always do"

This is so appreciated. One of the biggest items I'm looking for in a review and as far as I know you're the only way bothering to do it. Nice work Mr. Stott! Beer
  • 11 1
 Why is it only a category 4 pretty much every bike like this is used as a mini dh rig and canyon stop that why
  • 3 2
 If you want a trail bike that can pull double duty as a dh bike, you want a Torque anyways. That one is rated for Category 5 and for dual crown forks.
  • 2 1
 So it didn’t weight 18kg to need the frame up for riding it’s not intended for
  • 5 2
 Ya honestly kind of confused why both this bike and the Torque exist.

"The frame is category 4 rated. According to Canyon, that basically means "the frame is not approved for regular use on those features which set aside DH riding or freeride from enduro (huge jumps, cliff drops, gnarly gas to flats). So if the frame fails here, then this is excluded from the warranty." If you need a category 5 bike for regular bike park riding, Canyon has the Torque for that."

So a beefy 35lbs bike with160mm(r), 170mm(f) travel, 63* HA, etc is "not approved for regular use" on big jumps, drops, etc. But a 35lbs. bike with 175mm(r), 170mm(f), 63.5* HA is. They're practically the same bike! No one is, or should be, using the Strive for anything less imo.
  • 9 2
 @yoimaninja: let's be real, they built an ews bike with trail bike warranty, pure bullshit
  • 11 2
 You can be sure geometry is f...d when seat rail is set like this...Big Grin
  • 5 0
 Seb's reviews should be chapter one in the textbook of "how to review a mountain bike". The level of technical information provided without going too deep, over the average rider's (me) head, is superb. The willingness to say it is the best enduro bike he's ridden is a rare bonus.
  • 5 0
 I have to disagree with the front - rear center point made in this article. Yes a 5 or 10mm bump in chainstay length may not make a massive difference. But that doesn’t paint an accurate picture of how vastly different the size small vs the size XL will ride for with respect to proportionally to it’s rider.

Based on the geo chart and no Seb’s measurements:
The size small front - rear center ratio is 1.85 which is about as far as I would like to.

The size XL is 2.06 meaning the front center of the bike is literally 2x’s longer than the rear. That’s drastic.
  • 5 1
 It’s always the shorter people arguing this point that is most frustrating. Riding XLs and XXLs, I agree with you 100%

It’s horrible how unbalanced the big bikes are
  • 11 4
 I'm 6'5" with long arms and legs and even I'd be looking at the medium with those numbers.
  • 6 0
 Same. 6'3". I have an enduro at 487mm which seems perfect. Id be a medium.
  • 5 0
 @rockyflowtbay: Same & Same; I tried out a 500mm reach frame and it felt like I was riding a Tron bike.
  • 1 0
 @rockyflowtbay: then you may or not be able to find the correct size of dropper, taking into account short ST and minimum insertions etc.
At 6'3" I aim for 470mm ST and 480mm reach. It went from too long ST to too short... And one of the reasons the new Torque wasn't an option
  • 4 0
 Next R on this build are prone to break. Went through 2 sets where they both broke at the spindle insert. Finally the sent me a set of 6C cranks, no issue since. I'll never go carbon cranks again.
  • 1 0
 SixC are just as bad if not worse
  • 11 8
 we need the industry to explain us why on earth we should buy bikes as long as boats and how this would contribute to our experience in mountain biking?? The sport used to be for fun and having a good time (non professional level) and now it is all about buying new bikes because the last year model you have is "too short" and "outdated" according to some manufacturer's size chart. This is getting toxic
  • 11 0
 What? Now with short seat tubes you can pick the reach you want, this toxic trend is just giving consumers more choice… want fun and flickable, size down, you want neutral get the recommended size, you want stable, size up.

I reckon it’s awesome!
  • 4 5
 @Rabbuit: not really. Anybody under 5ft 10in is out of luck when it comes to reach.
  • 1 1
 @sheplivingston: You will find plenty of bikes in the classifieds. From the Geometry dark ages(tm) you will find short tall and inherently unstable bikes from all brands. They are also cheap.
  • 4 0
 What percentage of mountain bikers actually need a 35lb 160mm/170mm enduro sled with a Fox 38? I would argue very few... And yet, this segment seems to account for the majority of bikes reviewed and discussed...
  • 2 1
 Idk. I have an Enduro and live in a pretty flat area. I love it. I have a shorter travel bike, but find myself riding the Enduro more.
  • 6 0
 Sweet bike, geo, spec, prices, but that " category 4 " on a ews race bike is pure bullshit
  • 4 0
 I love how bike journalist criticize Shimano brakes then have to admit they are awesome at stopping a bike. How about just say the brakes work rather than quoting the floating bite point rant?
  • 1 0
 A proper bleed fixes the floating bite point in my experience so far. This technique works really well for me.
  • 1 0
 @Darwin66: I've never experienced it. I think it is just something journalist like to whine about/exaggerate.
  • 4 1
 To me the best feature of the shapeshifter is the fact that is built in the frame, allowing you to swap shock without losing the travel management. It's a unique feature which set it apart from Cannondale's DYAD or Scott's Nude. You can use a coil shock (which blends well with its high progression) and still have 2 travel modes. IMHO is fantastic, is like everyone can get the benefits of a Push Elevensix for much less. Maybe Enduro racers don't care but for the hard core alpine riders is really really good.
  • 2 0
 As others have said, I think they have taken the geometry a bit too far in terms on reach. My Medium (P2) Privateer 161 has a 470mm reach, and I don't think I would want to go much longer, and it really only works as the seat tube is so steep, so the seated position is nice and compact. On the Strive as the seat tube isn't super steep the top tube length is pretty long for the sizes too.
  • 2 0
 Owned a 2018 model Strive for almost 4 years. Never had an issue with the shapeshifter, didn't even service it the entire time. Still worked as needed.

Hopefully EXO+ tires can survive for most people! My bike came with EXO that lasted maybe 6 months before it was shredded by baby head rocks.
  • 3 0
 Why does everyone hate on Scott for having a full size keyboard on the bara, but Canyon gets away with 3 levers on the left? Why not integrate more so that dropper down = shred and dropper up = pedal with just 1 button...
  • 2 0
 Is this bike for tall guys only? Lol half their size range is for the taller end. No hate for that maybe they wanted to make a good bike for the larger fellows out there. But as a 5’10” individual I would usually be on the some brands larges and most mediums. I ride a large transition sentinel right now, but in this bike I would most definitely have to opt for the small which is just crazy to me. My guess for why maybe they don’t make and extra small size is that they couldn’t fit the whole shapeshifter deal with the size stroke shock and the geo they wanted. But then again how was the previous generation bike so small? Either way though this bike is definitely the biggest bike average across the sizes I’ve seen from a non geometron or pole alike bike
  • 6 5
 36mm BB drop and insanely long wheelbase makes this bike unusable for me everywhere but bikepark fast trails

It is really strange considering their fastest EWS rider manages to win everything on a bike with ~450 reach and 20mm BB drop. Even more considering he is 190 cm tall....
  • 6 0
 Also it often seems that the shortest bikes are the fastest ones...
  • 3 0
 @lurkeris: agree. im 6'3 and stick to a large frame with 470 reach , 50 mm stem and 1240 wb. I've tried much longer bikes, but they only seem to be a touch more calm on straight high speed lines which represent t less than 20% of the my total riding. A shorter bike feels much much nimbler, easy to control and yet with properly setup suspension and tires I never felt it wasn't stable enough.
  • 6 0
 Jack is 183cm and not 190cm (as often quoted in articles). Literally from the horses mouth when I asked him when trying to work out sizing on a Spectral.
  • 1 5
flag Muscovir (Apr 20, 2022 at 3:14) (Below Threshold)
 @lurkeris: That's down to the skill-level of the rider more than anything else. A pro racers will be faster on a slightly shorter bike because of the increased maneuverability and because he doesn't have to rely on the stabilizing effect of a longer wheelbase. But a normal rider like you and I would definitley benefit from the increased stability of a longer wheelbase - within reason.
  • 1 0
 @lurkeris: the pinkbike time probably had more to do with the fact that the two more firm bikes were faster, terrain wasn't chunky. But you have a point a most good riders seem to be faster on the shorter bike!
  • 6 4
 sizing finally right!
with 186 it always felt weird to buy XL frames, since 186 isn't XL! i finally could buy a L and be happy about the +/-500 reach!
would definately consider buying a strive!
  • 1 0
 This would be the blueprint bike I would buy if I needed it - it would be a perfect fit for my 6'7". Wheelbase and head angle are perfect, even the chainstays are ok for me! Details and spec are ok. I am used to this saddle position.
But with shapeshifter - no. Canyon - never again.
  • 1 0
 What Canyon really has here in terms of size with their reaches are Medium, Large, X-Large and XX-Large. Which is great--they just need to add a small frame option in the 420-430mm. This is ridiculous they're saying a small is 455. What we really need to get away with is the SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE BS. The bike industry needs to sell frames in the S1-S6 format to take away from the bias towards "I ride a LARGE", etc.
  • 1 0
 I feel like reach is getting out of hand, I know it means less without stack but at 6' tall I find 490mm to be the longest I am comfortable with and 480mm better as I need a slightly shorter stem on the 490mm bike and it doesn't quite weight the front wheel as much as I want unless I lose the rear wheel weight a bit. I also find anything under 470mm noticeably too little and feel cramped.
  • 2 1
 "The chainstay on my bike measures 442 mm, and the wheelbase measures 1,312 mm in the neutral headset position - both longer than claimed"

What ? The chainstay is 7mm longer than the chart says, and the WB is 12mm longer ?
That's unacceptable to me.
  • 1 0
 Sooo many comments about reach… I like the colours, but a nice pastel yellow would have been refreshing and uplifting.
Regarding the sizing I always thought it odd that I mostly fit a medium for clothing but have to run a large for mtb frame, so in that sense I’d say these sizes align more to clothing sizes.
It doesn’t all have to be apples for apples.
  • 1 0
 This Long bike thing is just another way for Pinkbike to drive the market getting people to sell perfectly good bikes for the latest, the Industry loves them for this. 100% this shit will correct and go back to few years ago. Just like stupid long bars and all the other "more" is better lunacy.
  • 1 0
 hey @seb-stott , did you ever get an XL size of this bike to test the sizing on? I'm 6'4", and usually prefer bikes in the 510mm/515mm reach (I ride a privateer 141). But am wondering if the reach numbers on this bike would call for even me to size down to a large.
  • 4 0
 This is... this is not a bike for ants.
  • 3 0
 The removal tool is not included? How are you supposed to get your shock serviced then?
  • 3 0
 Modern shocks with climb switches make that shapeshifter completely pointless. Just another thing to go wrong.
  • 4 0
 Someone made a mistake: there are only 4 digits in that MSRP.
  • 1 0
 The frame has some of the same features of the LUX seen at World Cup (e.g. the shape of the head tube). Hopefully we will soon see a new version of the LUX and LUX trail, with updated geometry.
  • 3 0
 Was really looking forward to this bike coming out. Was really looking forward to it not having the ShapeShifter.
  • 3 2
 How long until they get mass reports of frames cracking and we get mass reports of God awful customer service XD I give it 3 months...
  • 4 4
 The poor planet. Carbon should be banned. landfill bikes.
  • 4 3
 @700-pirate: Pretty easy and relatively cheap to get repaired though, and the repair lasts.

Not sure how to repair aluminum...?
  • 3 0
 What is the enduro race is at a bike park?
  • 3 1
 If Seb hadn’t sized down he would have got the longer head tube and higher bars he was looking for.
  • 3 0
 The Grim Donut was ahead of it's time.
  • 3 0
 Fantastic review, a proper deep dive. Thanks Seb!
  • 3 0
 JTFC the size L is longer than the new Capra in XXL
  • 2 3
 "numbers that already looked out of place on an enduro bike back then"

Except it is an enduro _winning_ bike, the champ and half of the top 6, as stated by you. Isn't that the definition of an enduro bike, the one that wins the Enduro World Series? Shouldn't other bike's numbers be compared to that?
  • 2 0
 Wow, a lot less expensive than the Megatower. Like an extra bike or two's worth less expensive.
  • 2 0
 Overfilling Shimano brakes is not a good idea, the bladders in the res just pop. and its not a replaceable part!
  • 2 0
 Another positive is that it doesn’t have a stupid Acros headset with holes in the top/front, etc for cables.
  • 1 0
 Thought I'd be fine with an M at last... bollocks, much too long whelbase, considering the 1270mm wheelbase need adding 12-13mm more in DH mode.
  • 1 0
 The internet is so funny. Two years ago the reach in every bike needed to be 15mm longer across all sizes. Now everybody complains that they’re all too long. JFC guys.
  • 2 0
 Same same but different... but still same!
  • 6 5
 ok.. so long in development but, why it has to be so ugly still.

*laughed out loud at the geometry chart*
  • 2 0
 Finally that make it FULL ENDURO
  • 3 2
 So after years of complaining that bikes are too short the PB team are now sizing down because they are too long!!!
  • 2 0
 Fantastic Review. The bar has been set. Thank you, Seb!
  • 2 0
 A adjustable stem with Reach Reducer tokens is the next thing....
  • 2 1
 Aeonomaly has a similar product to the "shapeshifter" called the Switch Grade. Luckily. it fits any bike.
  • 2 0
 Any comments from Canyon on the discrepancy of the chain stay lengths?
  • 2 0
 Maybe they define it horizontal and Seb measured axle to axle?
  • 2 0
 The short stays on a xl sounds sketchy!
  • 1 0
 Underdog is a solid build spec, only thing i would replace is maybe cockpit and shock down the road.
  • 1 0
 @pinkbike you spelled the word strive wrong towards the end of the descending portion of your article.
  • 2 0
 What is the past tense of Strive? Canyon is stuck there with ShapeShifter.
  • 1 0
 With the new megatower and now this, my 2021 enduro is not looking too slack anymore.
  • 14 17
 As a photographer I would refuse to take a picture of that bike until the saddle was mounted in a proper position…. Come on guys, it looks retarded….!!

EDIT: Aaaah… It’s so far forward because of the ridiculous reach numbers! Test riders couldn’t grab the bars very well haha!!
  • 9 0
 It's forward because he finds the seat tube angle too slack
  • 4 3
 Mullets are stupid for bikes but not hair
  • 2 0
 That's a gorgeous bike.
  • 2 1
 Lost me at that seat angle.......
  • 1 0
 Shapeshifter is called: Clikedi clakedi pshhh pshuut!
  • 1 0
 I had forgotten how much I wanted a strive!
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott you spelled strive wrong at the end of your descending section.
  • 1 0
 No real performance difference. Have you ridden 370 hubs ? Ew
  • 1 0
 Would not be surprised if Jack chooses to ride a Small.
  • 1 0
 Sized down with the seat slammed forward.
  • 1 0
 In just a few more years I’ll be on a small the way geo is going.
  • 1 0
 Wow this would actually fit me and isn't the wrong size. 6'3"..
  • 3 6
 I really wish they would update it based on Moir input to make this bike a little more tuned in terms of geo, steeper STA, a little slacker HTA and a little more reach. But it seems that trend-following is real.
  • 3 0
 As a matter of fact, I know that they did. They adjusted the bike according to the input of their pro riders and this is what they arrived at. For example they made the decision not to offer this bike as a mullet on their EWS racers feedback as none of them found a mullet setup to be beneficial.
  • 2 0
 You can blame their pros for this current bike haha
  • 1 1
 Moir will run a medium (normal large for all other brands) with head angle in the steeper setting. I'm assuming 63.5deg was the absolute slackest he would run the bike, which is why they set it at 63 as the base head angle +/-5mm as the other riders probably wanted it slacker.
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir: I was talking only about Moir, go check his videos on previous generation frame to find out what the guy really liked and wanted
  • 1 0
 Still flexible stays
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