German consumer-direct brand, Canyon, just launched its U.S. website, marking a long-awaited arrival to the states. It wasn’t long after Specialized’s FSR patent expired back in 2014 that Canyon–whose bikes utilize a suspension platform that would’ve infringed on the big S’s–started teasing its intention to jump the pond. But, like the first time you sat above a big gap jump, dropping in took longer than anyone expected.
And just as one would do when learning to jump, Canyon is starting small, with just a few models available now. More will be trickling in soon, but at the time of this posting, Canyon has just a couple of its mountain bike models available to ship out of its California warehouse. The one we’re most excited about is the Strive, a multiple-personality machine that blew up the internet when it was released in Europe a few years ago. There’s also an XC hardtail called the Exceed available in the states right now.
We’ve been dreaming of throwing a leg over a Strive for a while, and the day finally came. The day also came with a celebratory heli-drop invite from Canyon to mark its first day of doing business in the good ol’ U S of A. Of course, this took place in Canada, where Canyons are still not available. But don’t be too upset if you’re Canadian. You still have a lot going for you, like British Columbia, socialized healthcare and a really good-looking prime minister.
Who wins? I guess that depends if Canyons are any good.
In a word, yes. At least the Strive is. It’s not for everyone, though, which is why we’re crossing our fingers that the Spectral, Canyon’s 140-mil 29er will be hitting the docks soon. The Strive isn’t for everyone precisely because it’s aimed to please everyone. Its Shapeshifter technology allows the bike to change travel and geometry with the flick of a handlebar-mounted button.
It’s a sleek, clever design that works very well. In trail mode, the bike has 130 millimeters of rear wheel travel, a 67.5-degree head angle and 75-degree seat angle, but if you push the button while preloading the bike, a little air-pressurized piston in the swing link compresses and the head and seat angle get 1.5 degrees slacker and you gain 30 millimeters of bottomless-feeling travel.
It does sort of feel like you’ve got two bikes in one. Pop it up into trail mode and it’s sprightly and pedal-deficient, and slam it to DH mode and it’ll fit right in with the other bikes on the heli’s rack. But, the problem with having two bikes in one is that you’ve got about as many cables on the one bike as two normal bikes have. When transitioning from a descent to a climb, there’s kind of a lot to do: Raise the dropper, shift into an easier gear and hit the magic bike-changy button. It takes some getting used to, for sure. However, if a Swiss Army knife bike is what you’re after, the Strive is will go toe-to-toe with Scott’s Genius and Cannondale’s Trigger. And you can get one delivered right to your front door.
Right now, Canyon is offering three carbon Strive models on its U.S. site, starting with the SRAM GX Eagle and RockShox-equipped Strive CF 7.0 for $4,000. Head over to Canyon’s site for more info, and if you’re feeling spunky you could have one of the first Canyons to hit U.S. shores.