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Canyon gives 2022 Strive freedom to focus on racing

CFR and Underdog models are longer, slacker enduro race machines

Canyon Strive 2022 Photo by: Boris Beyer / Canyon Bicycles

Canyon has enjoyed much success with the Strive platform including, most recently, winning the 2021 Enduro World Series. Now, the German brand is changing it up. Canyon overhauls the Strive for 2022 and added a new “underdog” version.

A history of Striving

It’s worth noting that this refresh isn’t out of the blue. The Strive was last updated back in 2019. Jack Moir’s EWS winning Strive was, to put it mildly, heavily modified.

This is more than an overdue update, though. When the last Strive was introduced, it was the only 29″ trail bike in Canyon’s line. Now, there are three. With the Spectral and Torque filling out the 29″ line, offering a trail and freeride/park bike, Canyon is freed up to make the Strive a purebred Enduro race machine.

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That brings the Strive back to its, and Canyon’s roots. The bike first rolled out of an EWS start gate in 2013. Fabian Barel raced a prototype with the Spaeshifter installed that year for Canyon Factory Racing, the brand’s first Factory-level mountain bike race team. Much has changed since then, including this shift to 29″ wheels. For 2022, there is all manner of updates.

Canyon Strive 2022 Photo: Boris Beyer

2022 Strive CFR

As hinted at, in refocusing on Enduro racing the new Strive frame incorporates many of the changes athletes like Moir were already making to the bike. There is more travel, reach is extended and HTAs are slackened. But now, designing these factors in from the start, the Strive gets there without compromises in BB height or other compensations.

Instead of just catching up, Canyon’s engineers actually took the bike further. The new Strive is a full three degrees slacker at the head tube, for instance. That is even, apparently, 1.5-degrees further than what the team riders were running on their heavily modified Strives by last season. There’s also 10 mm more rear-wheel travel, now up to 160 mm. Seat tubes are also steeper for a more comfortable seated position on the extended climbs typical of enduro race days.

Canyon also borrows the reach-adjust headset from its Sender downhill bike. This gives a range of +/- 5 mm of reach on each size of Strive. That means sizing is tighter, with a maximum gap of 15 mm in reach between sizes.

2022 Canyon Strive

New year, new tubes

The 2022 Strive is more than just more reach and more travel, though. Canyon’s completely redesigned the frame. Almost every tube on the Strive is re-shaped to achieve a stiffer front triangle and better standover height. The horst link is repositioned. And, significantly, a full 40 mm is whacked off the seat mast so riders can run longer dropper posts and more easily move between sizes.

Cayon opts for foam-lined internal routing, not fully guided cables. This is in part because it is lighter. The added complexity of the Shapeshifter also makes fully guided routing harder.

All this tube shaping and foam gets the frame’s weight down to 2,700 grams – including Shapeshifter and hardware but not the shock. That’s acutally heavier than the outgoing Strive frame, but with longer reach, reach adjust and a stiffer front triangle. The Spectral, which is already a light frame, is 2,600g, so it’s a pretty impressive feat on the Strive.

2022 Canyon Strive
CFR: Canyon Factory Racing. Photo: Boris Beyer

As a race-specific bike, the Strive is only available in carbon fibre, and only two models will be sold.

What doesn’t change is the short, 435mm chainstays. While more companies are starting to offer size-specific chainstays, all Strive sizes stay the same. Canyon says this design choice came from the athletes, not a production consideration. The thought is that stability comes from the increased reach while short chainstays let the riders change lines and get around tight switchbacks. It’s an interesting choice that goes against the current trends. But, with Moir standing 6″1′ and schooling the world’s best all last season, who are we to argue?

Shapeshifter shifts to a new purpose

Previously, the Shapeshifter’s “two bikes in one” tagline referred to a “descent” and “climb” mode. Now, Canyon says the Shapeshifter is more of an on-the-fly geo adjust, with a twist. Think of it as a “Shred” versus “Trail” mode.

The idea is to make the Shapeshifter match how riders are using it mid-stage, switching the bike between a steep and gnarly setting and one better for flowy and fast sections. The “trail” setting still improves the pedaling platform, by changing the leverage ratio and anti-squat as the pivot moves, but there’s also a lockout on the shock for extended smooth climbs. This shift in approach also lets Canyon make the Shred mode more supple for better traction in sketchy conditions.

Previous improvements to the Shapeshifter and its lever, first introduced in 2019 to improve ergonomics and durability, carry over to the new bike. The actual gas spring that operates the Shapeshifter is still produced by Fox for Canyon.

Strive CFR versus the Underdog: 2022 sizes and models

Canyon offers the Strive in four sizes, from Small to XL. Changes to size overlap (in part due to reach adjust) mean riders are freer to size up or down according to their preferences. There is now only a 15 mm gap in reach, at most, between sizes. The shorter seat masts, by a full 40 mm, also make sizing less limiting.

Two models only. Both are race-focused. The CFR is, as its Canyon Factory Racing moniker suggests, a top-end race build. The Underdog adds an option for aspiring racers on a tighter budget. The smart build brings Fox 38 Performance Elite, which carries over the Grip2 damper from Fox’s Factory line at a lower price.

Both bikes are available in Canada now directly from Canyon.

Canyon Strive 2022 Photo: Boris Beyer

The Strive Underdog starts at $6,599.00. It has a claimed weight of 16.04kg with Fox 36 Performance Elite fork and X2 Performance shock, Shimano XT drivetrain (SLX cassette) and XT trail brakes, DT Swiss EX511 alloy rims and 370LN hubs.

Canyon’s flagship Strive CFR is $8,249.00. Weight drops to 15.84kg with Fox Factory 38 forks (170mm) and XT Factory shock. Shimano XTR drivetrain (XT cassette) with Race Face Next R cranks and Shimano XTR Trail brakes and DT Swiss EX511 alloy rims laced to a 350 hub.

Both bikes get a range of Canyon’s G5, downhill-rated components including bar, stem and adjustable-travel dropper post topped by Ergon’s SM10 Enduro Comp saddle.