20 years/20 questions - Canyon
We chat to some of cycling's revolutionaries
TO CELEBRATE THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF DIRT WE’RE SPEAKING TO THE BRANDS AND RIDERS THAT HAVE SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. WE’LL BE ASKING 20 QUESTIONS ON THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN THE KNOW. CHECK OUT OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOOK THAT’S AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER HERE.
20 years ago if you wanted to buy a bike you had to go to a brick and mortar shop and do it over the counter. Canyon is the brand that changed all that.
As the world's first direct sales brand they cut out the middle man and instead dealt straight with the customer. As simple as this sounds, it has shredded the traditional model to pieces and allows them to offer great value bikes that the established brands simply cannot compete with.
Daniel Oster, Canyon's product and brand manager, answered our 20 questions about mountain biking past, present and future.
20 questions - Canyon
What achievement of the company are you most proud of?
“Being the first bike brand to set up a successful direct sales model and at the same time coming up with innovative product concepts that put us at the forefront of the industry."
What has been you biggest product development?
“Our most ambitious development was definitely the Strive with Shapeshifter. For me personally though the Sender was also hugely significant, DH is after all still the daddy of all mountain bike disciplines."
What was the brand working on 20 years ago?
“20 years ago, our brand had only just been established and we were working with open mould frames to start with. We really put the foot on the gas with our own developments around 2004, so we’re still relatively young and have gone through a big learning curve."
What is the direction of the company setting up for the next 20 years?
“Becoming more international is important and will also be a big challenge for us over the coming years as we adapt to meet increasing demand. In terms of our products and communication, the roles of electronics and connectability will only become more significant."
What influence has Dirt had on your company?
“Getting into Dirt 100 and having someone like Steve Jones give your bikes the thumbs up have a hugely positive effect. Dirt was always the magazine I looked forward to reading the most."
What has been the biggest lesson the company has learnt in the industry?
“We have always been able to learn from setbacks and come out the other side of a bad situation stronger than before. Like when years ago we had to recall a load of carbon forks we ended up building an industry-leading test lab and became the first brand globally to install our own CT scanner."
What do you dislike about working in the bike industry?
“There isn’t much difference between work and play so you end up doing it the whole time. Actually, that’s not even that bad."
Give us a story from your wildest moment in mountain biking?
“On my first trip to Canada, someone told me that the black bears weren’t all that dangerous, you just had to avoid the grizzlies and cougars but you only find them away from the parks.
One day, we were riding outside of the park and then I heard a noise following me down the hill. I remembered what the guy told me and thought, “shit…" I rode that trail faster than ever only to get to the bottom and find that it was a twig in my derailleur causing all the noise. Like a cards in spokes on a kid’s bike…"
What has been your favourite moment of Dirt’s history?
“The first time Canyon was in the Dirt 100"
Your favourite or most memorable Dirt Cover?
“#108 – Atherton – Action, summer, heat – Just makes you want to go out and ride."
What would you like to see from Dirt over the next 20 years?
“Even though online and social are so important these days, I’d still like to see something in print with quality content. I don’t agree with people who say print is dead, it has always been one of Dirt’s strengths."
How were you first introduced to Dirt?
“By chance at a station kiosk in 1996. Getting hold of copies in Germany was always difficult, which made it even more exciting."
What would be the first question you would ask Dirt?
“When can I get a print copy again?"
Who have been your favourite riders of the past 20 years?
“Tomac. Vouilloz. Sam Hill."
What Rider has most pushed the boundaries over the past 20years?
“Vouilloz with his precision and Barel with his professionalism."
What has been your favourite or most memorable race?
“Sam Hill in Val di Sole 2008"
What does the next 20 years bring for Mountain biking?
“Electronics for propulsion, suspension, shifting, whatever. And lots more integration."
What’s your opinion on E-Bikes?
“I think e-bikes will change a lot and there are always pros and cons. But in general it will help to bring more people to the bike. There is a big potential for the sport to grow and this will also help the non ebiker cause the acceptance and possibilities of riding will become better as well".
What life lessons has Mountain biking taught you?
“It changes how you look at nature, it gives your life some flow and rhythm, and also increases your powers of perseverance."
What’s been the most questionable thing to come out of Mountain biking
“When people debate about 25 mm or 28 mm rims? With 60 mm or 65 mm tyres? You have to ask yourself sometimes, is this actually helping anyone or is it just something to keep a handful of nerds occupied? It’s still cool though…"
Who doesn’t get the credit they deserve in the industry?
“There’s a ton of people who progress the sport so much through what they do but never get much credit for it. It’s hard to even imagine how many people are involved in the whole process from an initial idea to the finished project, that point when someone has their bike sitting in their living room or a rider is stood on the podium."