Canyon Strive CF 9.0 – long–term MBUK test – video

Hard-hitting trail bike that's got more to it than meets the eye

At Mountain Biking UK magazine  – sister brand to BikeRadar – we ride our long-term test bikes hard for a year, constantly scrutinising their performance, to bring you the truth behind the marketing waffle. We also use them as test beds for the latest kit, chopping and changing parts to help you decide which upgrades are worth spending your money on. In this new video series we’ll be giving you a closer look at some of our rides. 


#1 Rob Weaver’s Canyon Strive CF 9.0 Race

Our Technical Editor in Chief, Rob Weaver, has three bikes on long-term test for 2015 but it’s the Canyon Strive that he’s using for all-rounder trail riding duties. Over to him…

I’ll admit it, it was the Shapeshifter technology that got the bike testing sceptic in me interested in the Strive in the first place. I wanted to know just how much of a difference this geometry and travel adjusting system would really make on the hill, and how well the compact little unit would hold up in some rather murky British weather. Should we really believe the hype? That and the fact that Canyon have made the wise move to offer a ‘Race’ geometry version of the bike, which has a dramatically stretched front centre compared to the standard option. Plenty to think about then! So, after a couple of months aboard the 9.0, here are my initial thoughts.



–   Activating the Shapeshifter takes a little bit of practice but the changes it makes to the bike (in XC mode) make the climbs less of a chore.

–   Take a closer look at the frame and you’ll be impressed by the attention to detail. Canyon seem to have found a solution to that irritating cable rattle some internally routed bikes are prone to. Using a male/female threaded connector where the cable enters the frame eliminates cable flap and gives the bike that all-important stealthy silence on the trail.

–   I’ve added two volume spacer rings to the RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir rear shock but the Strive was already pretty well balanced and has felt confident in every situation I’ve thrown it into.

–   The geometry feels sorted and balances high-speed stability well with handling and manoeuvrability in tighter, slower, more awkward trail situations.

–   The spec is pretty much dialled. I’m definitely a fan of the 1×11 SRAM transmission.


–   Grips are very much a personal thing, and for me, the Ergon GE1s supplied with the Strive just aren’t comfortable, especially on longer rides.

–   Though I like the Shapeshifter system, I’m still not convinced I can operate it fast enough to use it in a race situation.

What’s next?

With the spec as sorted as it is, I’m not planning on changing a thing on the Strive (with the exception of swapping the Ergon grips for a set of Hope lock-ons). Instead I’ll be seeing how it all holds up now the trails are getting faster and rougher. I’ll be paying particular attention to the Shapeshifter unit, so stay tuned for updates on its durability.

As for where I’ll be riding the Canyon, as well as hitting up all the fun stuff in the Forest of Dean I’ll be heading to some of the lesser known trails dotted all over South Wales. These trails are technical and properly demanding, making them a fantastic proving ground for any trail bike.

The lowdown

  • Model: Canyon Strive CF 9.0 Race
  • Price: £3,746.98 including boxing and shipping
  • From: Canyon,
Rob’s canyon strive cf 9.0 race:
Rob’s canyon strive cf 9.0 race:
Rob’s canyon strive cf 9.0 race:
Rob’s canyon strive cf 9.0 race:
Rob’s canyon strive cf 9.0 race:

MBUK’s 2015 long-term test bike fleet

For 2015 we’ve ordered in some of the coolest, most exciting and interesting bikes the industry has to offer so we can put them through their paces and let you guys know just how they hold up. We’ve got quite an assortment too, spanning a good mix of wheels sizes, disciplines and price brackets, from a steel fatbike to state-of-the-art carbon trail bikes. Look out for more long-termer videos on BikeRadar soon.

  • Rob’s Canyon Strive CF 9.0 Race
  • Rob’s Scott Spark 700 Ultimate Di2
  • Rob’s Pivot Phoenix
  • Guy’s Whyte T-130 SX
  • Guy’s GT Force Expert Carbon
  • Jake’s Merida One-Sixty 7.900
  • Jake’s Saracen Myst Pro
  • Olly’s Giant Reign 27.5 1
  • Olly’s NS Fuzz 1
  • JCW’s Intense Carbine 29 Expert
  • JCW’s Stanton Sherpa 853
  • Jimmer’s Marin Mount Vision C-XM8
  • Matt’s Surly Ice Cream Truck Ops
  • Ric’s Vitus Sommet VRX