An enduro wizard that punches way above its weight

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Canyon Strive CF 9.0 Race

Pros:

  • Truly versatile, exceptionally capable, brilliant value with a faultless spec

Cons:

  • No XL size for 6ft plus riders

Product:

Canyon Strive CF 9.0 Race (2015) review (VIDEO)

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£3,699.00

 

 

Developed with the help of multiple downhill world champion, and obsessive tweaker, Fabien Barel, Canyon’s Strive CF 9.0 Race takes a completely fresh approach to travel and geometry adjustment.

A small piston, wedged between the shock and the seat tube, changes the shock position relative to the linkage, altering the geometry, the travel and the suspension progression. It’s compact and unobtrusive and, at a cursory glance, you probably wouldn’t even notice it.

To switch between the two modes, you must press the discreet remote lever while shifting your bodyweight. Lean back and kick your heels forward to go from XC to DH mode, and rise out of the saddle throwing your weight over the front wheel to get into the XC mode.

Canyon Strive riding

 

There’s a knack to it, but finding the right technique doesn’t take long, and by increasing the air pressure in the Shapeshifter piston, you can make it easier to get into XC mode, and vice versa.

>>> Learn more about movement on the bike here

A window on the linkage displays which mode you’re in — green for XC, black for DH — but it’s the size of a grain of rice and difficult to spot.

Canyon’s full carbon Strive frame is a stunner, with crisp lines that extend right through the frame to give a really cohesive design. All the parts and cables for the Shapeshifter are integrated superbly into the frame, leaving a clean, seamless silhouette.

Canyon Strive bash guard

Suspension

Fitted with a RockShox Pike RCT3 up front, and a Monarch Plus RC3 shock with DebonAir can at the back, the suspension on the Strive CF didn’t disappoint.

The Pike was easy to set up; we ran two Bottomless Tokens to ramp up the spring curve, and a slightly lower air pressure than recommended to give a more supple feel.This gave us superb grip, plenty of support and the confidence to really open up the taps at BikePark Wales.

The Pike was more than complemented by the super progressive rear suspension and sensitive Monarch Plus shock. With so much support, we could pump and pop the Strive to gain speed like no other bike here.

Canyon Strive Linkage

On the ragged edge, we’d say that a Scott Genius LT 710 feels slightly more composed — it does have an extra 10mm of travel — but we consistently went faster on the Canyon, and it was more fun to ride at 80 per cent, too.

Components

Canyon has nailed the spec on the Strive CF 9.0. From the superb Maxxis High Roller II/Minion DHR II tyre combo, to the SRAM XO1 single-ring drivetrain and RockShox Reverb Stealth seatpost, it’s ready to race right out of its bespoke box.

There’s even a trick Renthal Carbon Fatbar and Apex stem, and being tubeless-ready means the SRAM Rail 50 wheels give you the chance of an easy half a pound or so saving off the already impressive 29lb weight.

Performance

Canyon’s Shapeshifter technology differs from the other adjustable geometry bikes, in that it changes the static, as well as the dynamic, geometry. Canyon claims a 1.5° shift in angles and a 19mm difference in bottom bracket height.

Canyon Strive Shapeshift

 

Around half of the transformation is down to the piston moving the position of the front triangle relative to the stays — reflected in the two sets of geometry figures we’ve printed below. The rest is down to the change in sag caused by the different travel and kinematics.

While it doesn’t sound like such a dramatic metamorphosis, the Strive CF well and truly let us have our cake and eat it too. Thanks to its low weight and rampy suspension it fairly rocketed up the climbs.

>>> Click here for the best enduro mountain bikes

In DH mode there was no holding it back; quick up to speed with minimal effort, the active suspension provided plenty of grip and the handling struck just the right balance between rewardingly agile and unflinchingly composed.

It was not nearly as stiff as other bikes in this price bracket, but what this actually meant was that we could release the reins a little and let the bike find the path of least resistance.

For more information click here

Watch us ride the Canyon Strive CF 9.0 at the Enduro World Series here:

Canyon-Strive-Packshot-e1435155262733

 

Verdict

Ruthless as an enduro race bike, rewarding to ride on an uplift day at the bike park, and clothed in an almost faultless selection of parts, we came away seriously impressed with the Strive CF. It’s genuinely a bike that can do it all. Efficient and rapid on climbs and trail centre singletrack, it would also make an extremely capable companion to take on a riding holiday to the Alps. In fact, at £200 less than the Scott and £300 less than the Cannondale, return flights to Geneva are as good as included for free.

Details

Frame:Carbon-fibre, 163/139mm travel
Shock:RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir
Fork:RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air, 160mm travel
Wheels:SRAM Rail 50, Maxxis High Roller II/Minion DHR II 27.5x2.3in tyres
Drivetrain:SRAM XO1 chainset, XO1 r-mech and shifter
Brakes:SRAM Guide RSC 200/180mm
Components:Renthal Fatbar Carbon 780mm, Renthal Apex stem 50mm, RockShox Reverb Stealth seatpost
Sizes:S, M, L
Size tested:L
Weight:13.4kg (29.5lb)
Contact:canyon.com
Head angle:66.6/67.s°
Seat angle:67.9/68.6°
BB Height:337/344mm
Chainstay:423mm
Front centre:785mm
Wheelbase:1,208mm
  • Sehoon Jang

    I ‘m really upset .
    STRIVE SHAPESHIFTER is headache.
    It is not durable
    1 months three times malfunctioned.
    repair malfunction repair malfunction repair malfunction
    So the majority of our club and world wide… Canyon is not no answer .

    Do not ignore the consumers
    It takes longer to build a reputation.
    However, it is the moment to be broken.

  • Trea Huggs

    Danny, another size question. I like my bikes feeling quick and nimble under me. I am 6’2″ and ride an XL Cannondale SCALPEL 29 and it feels to big. I also ride a Trek Ticket Stub MED and It feel fine (albeit a bit small). Would I be fine on a Large Race or should I go for an XL 9.0 SL?

  • Tony Baeza

    That helps a lot thank you. I’ll go for the medium race and try the new geometry.
    Thank you!

  • Danny Milner

    Hi Tony,
    Originally canyon set me up on a medium race, but after a quick spin around the car park, I knew I could ride a large race. And I never looked back. Other riders of similar height rode, and liked, the medium race, so it is personal preference, but I was really happy with the reach while seated and climbing, and out of the saddle descending.
    Hope this helps.

  • Tony Baeza

    Hi Danny,
    What is your experience with the size. Did you rode the “race M” or the “race L”. I am 174cm and I am not sure about “race M” as I see it is as big or even more than some L from other brands (maybe I should get the “S race”. Yes, I know short stem but anyway… what is your experience. Right now I ride the old STRIVE model in M, and fits me OK. But tendencies change, and maybe I have to change as the bikes do.

  • Danny Milner

    Hi Konstantino,

    I rode the Strive and i’m 5’10” (178cm). I think you may be on the borderline for a size large or wait for Canyon to produce an XL frame, which may be on the cards.

  • KonstantinosK

    How tall was the tester to have found the large race size “a bit of a squeeze”?
    I’m over 6ft. (1.87m to be precise) and seriously consider this bike and sizing is my only concern