Flip a switch on the 2019 Canyon Strive to go from cross-country to downhill. Shapeshifter technology makes the Strive a true quiver killer.
Every mountain bike manufacturer is trying to build a bike that pedals uphill as well as it rips downhill, without compromises on either end.
The full-carbon enduro-ready Strive 29er is Canyon’s latest release. Its claim to greatness is a switch that lets the rider fundamentally change the bike’s suspension and geometry with the press of a handlebar-mounted lever.
The Switch’s rear shock, called Shapeshifter and developed in conjunction with Fox, is where the innovation lies. It uses a gas spring the rider activates with a handlebar-mounted remote as well as a patented rear shock linkage.
Hit the remote to reposition the bike’s linkage and the kinematics of the rear end, turning the Strive 29 from a slacked-out 150mm suspension, lowered-bottom-bracket downhill machine to a 135mm XC/all-mountain speed demon. The change happens as soon as you compress the rear shock after you’ve hit the lever.
Unlike lockout systems used by Scott and other manufacturers, Canyon’s system actually lets the rider switch between geometries with different suspension curves and amounts of travel. When you’re in DH mode and want to switch to XC mode, hit the lever. The steering and seat angles increase by 1.5 degrees, which stiffens the suspension at the same time, resulting in less suspension movement without restricting the shock’s efficiency.
Shapeshifter: Switch Geometry on Canyon Strive
In DH mode, the rider has a lower center of gravity, a flatter steering angle, and the wheelbase is extended for stability on fast, steep trails. In XC mode, more of the rider’s power is directed into the cranks for more efficient climbing thanks to the 1.5-degree increase in steering (66-67.5 degrees) and seat angle (73.5-75 degrees). A steeper steering angle also enhances handling on slow climbs.
And again, the suspension is never turned off or partially locked. It is fully active all the time, so you’ll always have best-in-class traction on technical climbs.
Canyon released its first bike with Shapeshifter tech in 2015, also called the Strive. But this year’s model faces major updates, namely this Shapeshifter was designed and built by Fox Suspension.
The pistons were developed to reduce friction and are more robust. The internal cable routing is tougher, and the bearings of the gas springs are designed to keep dirt out. In essence, the new Shapeshifter is more durable and easier to switch modes.
Suspension Leader: Fox Innovates With Shapeshifter
Fox is at the forefront of making suspension bikes pedal better. Last fall, it introduced Fox Live Valve, which uses ultrafast-reacting sensors to consistently adjust the fork and rear suspension independently as the trail changes. The new system, developed with Canyon, aims for the same end result but achieves it differently.
Up front, the Strive comes with 160- to 170mm-travel, 36mm-stanchion forks — Fox or RockShox depending on the build you choose. A dropper post remote is integrated below the Shapeshifter remote. So you can still lower the saddle, and it’s still intuitive.
The 2019 Canyon Strive is available in four frame sizes, S to XL, for riders from 5’2” to 6’7”. Builds include the Strive CF 6.0 ($3,999), Strive CF 8.0 ($5,300), and Strive CFR 9.0 Team ($5,999). You can also purchase the frameset only. And all Canyon bikes are sold direct to consumers.