New 2023 Canyon Strive CFR
Canyon released the previous Strive in 2019. At that time the Strive was the only long travel 29er in Canyon's lineup, so it had to be a pedal-focused trail bike as well as the enduro race bike. Since then Canyon has added a number of bikes to the line, leaving the design team with the freedom to build the new Strive CFR as a focused enduro race bike.
Canyon Strive CFR Highlights:
- Shred mode travel increases to 160 mm.
- 29 inch wheels only.
- Longer front centers, slacker head angle, and steeper seat tube than the previous Strive.
- 435 mm chainstay on all sizes.
- Bar mounted "Shape Shifter" remote adjusts the travel and geometry between Pedal and Shred Mode.
- +/- 5 mm of reach adjustment.
- 2,700 grams (5.95 lbs) for a fully built frame without shock.
Canyon leveraged Fabien Barel and the enduro team heavily in the design of the new Strive, which is only available as a CFR (Canyon Factory Racing) model. This denotes Canyon's top tier construction, because the new Strive is intended to be Canyon's dedicated enduro race bike. The head angles have got slacker, the front centres have got longer, and the seat tube angles have got steeper to compensate. Canyon has used a 435 mm chainstay length on all the sizes, explaining that team riders tested different length stays, and that everyone on the different sizes liked the 435 mm chainstays. The thinking was the longer front center made the bike more stable, but the shorter rear center allowed the bike to change directions more easily, and kept the bike feeling more agile. With all the sizes having generous front centers, this seems like a strange choice on the larger frames, but I'm looking forward to trying it out.
The Strive's Shape Shifter system is an air cylinder that changes the position of the upper eyelet of the shock with the push of a button on the handlebar. It operates sort of like a very short dropper post. As the eyelet moves from "Shred Mode" to "Pedal Mode" the bottom bracket lifts by 15 mm, the head angle steepens by 1.5°, the shock feels firmer, and the suspension travel is reduced from 160 mm to 140 mm. Canyon say this isn't only to be used for climbing, but also to be used on race stages or trails where you may want a more efficient and agile bike in a section.
The Strive CFR retains the rocker actuated, Horst Link, rear end of the old bike. While the architecture hasn't changed, Canyon has moved the pivot points around to update the kinematics with a focus to extract more benefit from the Shape Shifter system. The travel in the "Shred Mode" is increased to 160 mm from the old Strive's 150 mm. In the "Pedal Mode" travel is now 140 mm, up from the old bike's 127 mm travel. Canyon claims the leverage curve was picked to give the Strive some suppleness around sag, but with some ramp to prevent severe bottom outs.
The new Strive has more anti-squat at sag in the Pedal Mode, which should make it pedal more firmly than the old bike. The anti-squat falls off more than the old bike to reduce the pedal feedback deeper in travel.
Canyon says the new frame weights in at a respectable 2,700 grams with all hardware, but without a shock. Canyon claims they made the front triangle 25% stiffer than the previous Strive to improve the feel and precision of the bike, but kept some compliance and flex in the rear triangle. They also tell us this should make the bike more forgiving, and help generate more traction. Durability wise the Strive CFR is tested to Canyon's Category 4 "EWS Proof" standards, which is one step down from the standards they test the downhill bike to. Large bearings are used on all pivots, and are all filled with a special solid lubricant to increase bearing life.
There are two builds available; the Underdog for $6,599 CDN and the CFR for $8,249 CDN. Both versions are available in Canada right away. The Underdog won't be available in the US until late 2022 / early 2023, while the CFR should be available in a few months.
Canyon appears to have put a lot of thought into small details. The Strive comes with frame protection in the usual spots on the downtube and chainstay. The cable routing is internal on the Strive, but isn't guided on the Strive CFR to keep the weight down and uses a universal mech hangar so finding replacement parts at a race should be easier. There are two has two sets of bottle mounts so you can run a full size water bottle, and a tube/tool/bag setup on the other mounts.
The new Strive CFR looks like a more race-focused Enduro weapon than the previous version. I'm excited to try is because, on paper at least, all the changes should make it more fun to ride on the types of trails I like most. I'll be getting a CFR to test here in the next few days, and will report back later with a full review.
Age - 39
Height - 183 cm / 6'
Weight - 86 kg / 192 lbs
Ape Index - 1.055 / +10 cm
Inseam - 81 cm / 32"
Race Enduro and Downhill
Bar Width - 800 mm
Preferred Reach - 500 - 520 cm (but this is stack and head angle dependent)