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Canyon narrows the Strive’s focus to a full-bore enduro race bike

Canyon’s Strive enduro bike gets an uncompromising chassis to keep it on top of the Enduro World Series podium

Canyon Strive CFR line up

The Strive has long been Canyon’s enduro bike.

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Yet, until now, it’s needed an extra layer of versatility to satisfy the 29in wheel, long-travel crowd, who prefer trail riding or big mountain lines to racing because it was the only bike Canyon offered with big wheels and big travel.

Following the release of its new 2022 Spectral and 2022 Torque models to fill the trail and freeride gaps, Canyon decided to take the Strive back to its roots and make it a thoroughbred race bike.

The bike’s geometry gets an extensive overhaul. There’s more suspension travel, a stiffer frame and improved kinematics. Canyon has retained the Strive’s Shapeshifter geometry adjustment system, yet the changes to the bike make it more trail-oriented rather than just a climb switch.

With input from the Canyon CLLCTV Enduro race team and Canyon’s gravity department, the brand says its engineers set out to build a bike that could shave time off every trail, from hotly contested KOMs to EWS stages.

Canyon Strive CFR frame and suspension details

While there is a striking resemblance to the old Strive, the latest version features geometry, kinematics and chassis changes.
Boris Beyer

Purely from a speed perspective, Canyon has stuck to 29in wheels for the Strive CFR, thanks to their ability to maintain momentum and help improve grip.

The brand thinks the overall benefits of 29in wheels outweigh a mixed-wheel mullet bike design for enduro due to the variety of terrain and less consistently steep trails than in downhill mountain biking. The bike isn’t mullet-compatible.

The four frame sizes: small, medium, large and extra-large are made from carbon fibre and are only available in Canyon’s CFR flagship lay-up.

As it’s an uncompromising race bike, Canyon says the higher-spec carbon allowed the engineers to meet their new stiffness goals while keeping the weight to a minimum.

Through altering the cross-sections of nearly every tube on the frame and subtly adjusting pivot locations and carbon lay-ups, the front triangle is now 25 per cent stiffer for a 300g weight penalty.

Canyon claims the new frame is still only 100g heavier than the lightweight Spectral 29. The front-triangle stiffness was increased to keep the bike more stable and composed at speed, while the rear triangle keeps a similar stiffness to maintain tracking and grip.

There are bolt bosses under the top tube to attach bags or tool-storage solutions.
Boris Beyer

There isn’t any internal frame storage, but there are bosses under the top tube for attaching spares. The frame, from a size medium up, can also fit a 750ml water bottle inside the front triangle.

The internal cable routing uses foam lining to minimise noise. To add to this, the chainstay protection is hefty and should keep the chainstays free from chain slap.

There’s also a decent down-tube protector to help prevent rock strikes from causing any harm.

There’s tyre clearance for a maximum 2.5in (66mm) width. It also uses a threaded 73mm bottom bracket shell and Boost hub spacing.

Triple-phase suspension

The new Strive gets an additional 10mm of travel that takes it to 160mm. This extra travel has let Canyon tune the start of the suspension to be more sensitive to hunt grip, add composure and reduce fatigue.

The mid-stroke and end-stroke follow a similar suspension curve to the triple-phase design on the previous model. The suspension character is one of the key attributes Canyon wanted to carry over from the previous bike.

The rear suspension now delivers 160mm of travel. The extra 10mm makes the initial travel more supple to increase grip and reduce fatigue.
Boris Beyer

However, there are a few changes, especially to the bike’s anti-squat. Due to the extra suspension and increased sensitivity, Canyon upped the anti-squat at sag to help the Strive be a proficient climber.

Still, it’s managed to mitigate the pedal kickback potential by having the anti-squat drop rapidly to give the Strive a more chainless feel as you go through its travel.

Canyon says the frame is compatible with a coil and air shock and has been designed around a 170mm travel fork.

The new Strive (yellow lines) has a higher anti-squat at the sag point, but it drops off quickly through the travel to minimise chain interference with the suspension deeper in the travel.
Canyon Bikes

Canyon Strive CFR geometry

The newest Strive’s head tube and seat tube angles have been given a makeover compared to the outgoing model.

Head tube angles now sit at 63 degrees or 64.5 degrees, while seat tube angles are either 76.5 degrees or 78 degrees depending on the Shapeshifter’s setting (keep reading for more information on the Shapeshifter system).

However, the bike’s key angles aren’t the only thing to receive an extensive makeover. The reach numbers have had a growth spurt too. The small size now starts at 455mm, increasing to 480mm on the medium, 505mm on the large and 530mm on the extra-large.

Canyon has also managed to lower the standover heights and shorten the seat tube. These range from 400mm to 420mm, 440mm and 460mm from sizes S to XL.

The two items to remain consistent are the ground-hugging 36mm bottom bracket drop and snappy 435mm chainstays used across all sizes.

Some might suggest the short chainstays don’t pair well with the long reaches. However, Canyon CLLCTV mentor Fabien Barel says the expert riders and racers this bike is designed for should be able to actively weight the front wheel and carve the bike through turns to take advantage of both the front-centre stability and rear-centre agility.

Shapeshifting geometry

Canyon’s Shapeshifter in its ‘shred’ and ‘pedal’ (extended) modes. This piston changes the bike’s geometry and suspension kinematics on the fly.
Boris Beyer

The Strive’s Shapeshifter – a tool the race team specifically requested to improve the versatility of the bike – acts as an on-the-fly flip chip and gives the Strive two geometry settings. The neat air-powered piston developed by Fox changes the bike’s geometry and suspension kinematics by increasing anti-squat and reducing leverage.

Now the Strive is a dedicated enduro bike, Canyon has been able to extend the Shapeshifter’s range of adjustment.

The two settings are called ‘shred mode’ – that’s designed for descending or rowdier riding – and ‘pedal mode’ designed for less extreme riding or ascending.

The Shapshifter lever enables you to change the Strive between its ‘shred’ and ‘pedal’ modes from the handlebar.
Boris Beyer

In the ‘shred’ setting, Canyon has sliced off 2.2 degrees from the head tube angle to a slack 63 degrees. It has also steepened the effective seat tube significantly by 4.3 degrees to 76.5 degrees.

Changing the Shapeshifter to the pedal mode makes the Strive a sportier bike. It increases the head tube and effective seat tube angles by 1.5 degrees to 64.5 degrees and 78 degrees respectively. It also lifts the bottom bracket by 15mm and lessens the travel to 140mm while increasing progression.

Reach adjusting headset cups

Changeable headset cups enable you to increase or decrease the reach by 5mm from its standard setting.
Boris Beyer

Another new feature of the Strive is the reach-adjusting headset cup.

With 10mm of adjustment, you can lengthen or shorten the reach and front centre by plus or minus 5mm. This should give different-sized riders on the same-sized bike the option to find a more suitable setup. Plus, it allows riders to change their setting depending on course profiles to maximise performance.

Canyon says the new sizing structure with the reach-adjustable headset cups means the sizes cover a larger range of riders. You can easily choose between sizes, especially if you fall between the medium and large frames.

Canyon Strive CFR (shred position)
SizeSmall MediumLarge Extra-large
Seat tube length (mm)400420435460
Top tube length (mm)601627654683
Head tube length (mm)105110120140
Chainstay length (mm)435435435435
Bottom bracket offset (mm)36363636
Wheelbase (mm)1,2431,2701,3001,334
Head angle (degrees)63636363
Seat tube angle (degrees) 76.576.576.576.5
Stack (mm)627632641658
Reach (mm)455480505530
Canyon Strive CFR (pedal position)
SizeSmall MediumLarge Extra-large
Seat tube length (mm)400420435460
Top tube length (mm)601627654683
Head tube length (mm)105110120140
Chainstay length (mm)435435435435
Bottom bracket offset (mm)36363636
Wheelbase (mm)1,2431,2701,3001,334
Head angle (degrees)64.564.564.564.5
Seat tube angle (degrees) 78787878
Stack (mm)627632641658
Reach (mm)455480505530

Canyon Strive CFR spec, pricing and availability

There are two modes in the new Strive CFR range – the Strive CFR Underdog and the more expensive Strive CFR – with a third bike coming further down the line (we expect something SRAM-based).

Each is specced with Fox suspension, Shimano gearing and brakes, DT Swiss wheels and Maxxis tyres, and a Canyon G5 finishing kit. Both bikes come in carbon/silver and grey/orange colourways.

Prices start at £4,849 for the CFR Underdog, and the CFR comes in at £6,099. We’ll update with international pricing when we get it. Also, look out for availability online at Canyon’s website.

Canyon Strive CFR Underdog

Canyon Strive CFR Underdog.
Boris Beyer
  • Frame: Strive CFR carbon, 160mm travel, 29in wheels
  • Fork: Fox 38 Performance Elite GRIP2, 170mm travel
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Performance
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT (1×12), Shimano SLX cassette (10-51)
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XT, 203mm rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: DT Swiss EX511 rims, DT Swiss 370 LN hubs, / Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ 29×2.5in WT (f), Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ 29×2.4in WT
  • Bar/stem: Canyon G5 AL, 780 / Canyon G4, 40mm
  • Seatpost/saddle: Canyon G5 / Ergon SM10 Enduro Comp
  • Price: £4,849

Canyon Strive CFR

Canyon Strive CFR.
Boris Beyer
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  • Frame: Strive CFR carbon, 160mm travel, 29in wheels
  • Fork: Fox 38 Factory GRIP2, 170mm travel
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XTR (1×12), Shimano XT cassette (10-51), RaceFace Next R canks
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XTR, 203mm rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: DT Swiss EX511 rims, DT Swiss 350 hubs, / Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ 29×2.5in WT (f), Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ 29×2.4in WT
  • Bar/stem: Canyon G5 AL, 780 / Canyon G4, 40mm
  • Seatpost/saddle: Canyon G5 / Ergon SM10 Enduro Comp
  • Price: £6,099