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Gear

Canyon Strive AL 9.0 SL

Dark horse, that’s what struck me when the Canyon Strive rolled into the office a few weeks ago, all was black apart from the Mavic hoops and hints of Kashima gold…

rom Dirt Issue 139 – September 2013

Words by Dave Jaquin. Photos by Dave Jaquin.

First impressions are important, but they are not the whole story… these were good. Centre of gravity set low, head angle at 66.5º has a nod to the steep stuff and the logical looking suspension design made for a good first date.

Fabien Barel, albeit on the Canyon website, describes this bike as a ‘weapon for trail riding’, which is quite apt as the Strive will reintroduce this weapon to trail riding too. The Frenchman has spent a lot of time in recent years with another forward thinking brand but the recent move to Canyon for the 2013 season gives both them and us a solid foundation for some decent trail bikes.

Some clever hydroforming gives the bike its look and in the middle of it all hiding low and compact is the 270º Box suspension. Aimed at maintaining stiffness and that low centre of gravity the design deflects the shock at its namesake angle to impart suspension forces directly into the damper. Moving on from good looking form, Canyon are thinkers. They have gone over this bike with a fine–toothed comb to pick out some small features that all together are a sum greater than their parts. Neat cable routing, well placed frame protection and the rear Syntace axle is simple but effective.

Componentry on a bike that comes in at just under £3000 should be good and it is, Shimano XTR at your thumbs, carbon RaceFace cranks and the aforementioned Fox suspension equipment. The new 34 rides out front and is aimed at being a balance of 32 weight with 36 stiffness.

The cockpit is the only thing that may get tweaked, a 70mm stem on a bike like this is 20mm too long and the bars also came in a touch narrow for my preference. I’m also not sure how much employment I can offer the granny ring but we’ll see how it goes.

But who am I? Well being London based you might not think this is bike for me, but getting out with DirtTV’s Parkin brothers on the World Cup DH and Enduro World Series circuits has given me opportunities. I’m also a Yorkshireman who misses the odd tea and scone from Betty’s so I get back there a bit. Trips to Monmouth are pretty regular too so the Strive will get a good kicking around the local Dirt trails, that should be a pretty rounded travel plan for the Canyon.

Having spent the last few months aboard a mixture of a short travel fun bike, road bike and an all–carbon, stiff as you like, 4X race bike, the 160mm of travel offered by the Strive is going to be a fun change. The plan is pretty simple, take it all over the UK and hit the Alps to see how the bike performs on its intended and most likely terrain.

Price: £2967.12

www.canyon.com

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