The new Canyon Strive CFR 2022 wants to be race-ready straight out of the box. To achieve this, the last descendant of the Strive dynasty relies on a little more travel, the (still) unique Shapeshifter system, a beefy look, cool spec and very competitive price point. We’ve headed to Finale Ligure to test the new Strive on the trails of Europe’s enduro Mecca. Is it really a belter straight out of the box or do you have to get a few upgrades before you can take it racing?

Canyon Strive CFR 2022 | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 15.9 kg in size L | € 6,299 | manufacture website

The Canyon Strive is without doubt one of the most popular enduro bikes in the world. The first Strive models rolled off the production line back in 2010. In 2013, which is the year the-first EWS season took place, the bike played a decisive role in the making of Canyon’s first MTB Factory Team and only last year, Jack Moir claimed the Overall Elite Men Championship title onboard his Strive. Both the roots and orientation of the Strive are crystal clear and for the 2022 season, Canyon stuck to the same-old recipe. Nodding its elegant head tube to the sound of the “Race-ready out of the box” mantra, the new Strive rolls out of the factory and straight to your post-man with a performance-oriented spec, 29” wheels, robust components and Canyon’s proprietary Shapeshifter technology. This year, Canyon felt particularly generous, gifting their enduro racer an additional 10 mm travel at the rear. As a result, the 2022 Strive combines 160 mm travel at the rear with 170 mm at the front, thus filling the gap between the Torque and Spectral in Canyon’s portfolio. However, the latest Strive generation remains affordable and is available from now in two spec variants, which retail for € 4,999 and € 6,299, respectively. If you’re quick enough, you should get yours delivered within a few weeks.

There’s a list of people you don’t want to have behind you on the trail. Fabian Barel is one of them – and he’s even laughing…

The new Canyon Strive CFR 2022 in detail

The Strive’s new CFR carbon frame is claimed to be 25% stiffer than its predecessor and features a slightly different silhouette and striking new tube shape. The beefy look perfectly suits the bike’s area of application. Canyon’s engineers also changed the shape and consistency of the seat and chainstay protector which, together with the internal cable routing with port clamps, ensure a quiet ride on the trail. Moreover, protective frame tape on the swingarm prevents your shoes from rubbing away the paint while the extensive TPU plate on the down tube protects the frame against stray rocks and flying debris. The bottle cage takes a big water bottle and a tool mount on the top tube is compatible with Canyon’s Load frame bag (available for €34.95) as well as most conventional tool straps.

The protective film on the seat and chainstay prevents your shoes from rubbing off the paint.
The Canyon Load frame bag fits snug under the top tube. However, the tool mount is compatible with most conventional tool straps too.
All cables are neatly routed through the frame and securely clamped at the ports.
Canyon also updated the chainstay protector of the Strive, which ensures a quiet ride on the trail.

The spec of the new Canyon Strive CFR 2022

“Out of the box, straight to the podium” is what Canyon promise with the new Strive CFR, which retails for just € 6,299. What at first sounds like a lot of money, is a very fair price considering the high-quality spec, which makes the almost-mandatory tire upgrade a little less painful. Because if you want your Strive to survive the toughest EWS stages and epic shuttling sessions, you should replace the standard MAXXIS tires with puncture-prone EXO+ casing with more robust tires in a tougher casing. Alternatively, you can search youtube for Jack Moir’s trail-fix video, where the EWS champion mends the DT Swiss EX511 alloy rim of his Strive with a rock! Except for the flimsy casing, the choice of tires and rubber compound is excellent, with the Germans combining the 2.5” ASSEGAI in the soft MaxxGrip compound at the front and a 2.4” Minion DHR 2 with MaxxTerra compound at the rear. We wouldn’t change anything with the rest of the spec either.

The puncture-prone EXO+ casing doesn’t do justice to the race-oriented character of the Strive. A more robust tire casing allows you to run lower air pressures for more traction and support.
The DT Swiss EX511 alloy rims are a great choice for enduro riding and do an excellent job on the new Strive CFR.

The elegant FOX Factory suspension consisting of a 38 GRIP2 fork and X2 air shock is highly tuneable and delivers an impressive performance on the trail. Shimano supply the high-end 12-speed XTR drivetrain and matching XTR four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors, ensuring smooth shifting and reliable deceleration. Only for the cassette, Canyon rely on a 10-51 XT model, which is only 100 grams heavier than its high-end XTR counterpart. To make sure the bling drivetrain crosses the finish line in one piece, Canyon throw in a small chain guide with bash guard.

XTR four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors ensure powerful and reliable deceleration.
Shifting is taken care of by a high-end Shimano drivetrain. For the cassette, Canyon rely on Shimano’s more affordable XT series, which is only marginally heavier than its expensive counterpart.

For the rest of the spec, Canyon rely on their in-house components, including the G5 dropper post, which offers a whopping 200 mm travel (from frame size L). The travel can be reduced by up to 25 mm without tools, allowing you to adjust the dropper height to suit your anatomy. As the G5 acronym suggests, the 780 mm alloy handlebars and matching 40 mm stem were designed for the toughest riding conditions. Canyon also rely on a universal UDH mech hanger, which is quick to replace and easy to find in pretty much all bike shops around the world.

The travel of the dropper post can be reduced by up to 25 mm without tools, allowing you to adjust the dropper post to suit your anatomy.
Canyon’s own-brand G5 dropper post has 200 mm travel (from frame size L upwards) and can be inserted all the way into the frame.

Canyon Strive CFR 2022


Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX X2 Factory 160 mm
Seatpost Canyon G5 Dropper Post 200 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 1x12
Stem Canyon G5 40 mm
Handlebar Canyon G5 AL 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss EX511 29"
Tires MAXXIS Assegai MaxxGrip EXO+/Minion DHRll MaxxTerra EXO+ 2.5"/2.4"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL

Specific Features

Reach adjust

Canyon’s proprietary Shapeshifter system on the new 2022 Canyon Strive

Shapeshifter made its debut in 2013 and has been an integral part of the Strive ever since. While the system was revised from the ground up for MY 2022, its basic function remains the same, allowing you to adjust the geometry and kinematics of the bike either for climbing or descending at the push of a button. By using the two levers above the seat post, you’ll activate a gas piston that shifts the position of the shock mount on the rocker link. When the gas piston extends, Shapeshifter reduces the travel by 20 mm to 140 mm while increasing the progression of the rear-suspension and reducing anti-squat. In addition, the seat and head tube angles are 1.5° steeper and the bottom bracket rises by an impressive 15 mm. For a smoother transition, you should unweight the rear wheel after activating the Shapeshifter and prepare for a single hard hit, because in downhill mode, this will shift the mount.

A gas piston shifts the position of the shock mount on the rocker link, changing the geometry and kinematics of the Strive.
The gas piston can be adjusted to your weight with a shock pump.

Up until now, the two riding modes on the Shapeshifter were called “Uphill” and “Downhill”. For 2022, Canyon have changed the name of the modes to “Pedal” and “Shred”. Even on flat trail sections, it’s worth reaching for the Shapeshifter lever. However, the system takes some getting used to and at first, you may end up dropping the saddle instead of activating Shapeshifter. Once you’re confident with the system, you’ll be able to sprint ahead of your riding buddies, taking full advantage of the alterations made to the geometry and kinematics. If you ever have a problem with the gas piston, you can take it to your trusted FOX service center, because Shapeshifter was developed by Canyon in collaboration with the American suspension giant.

You can choose between PSHHH, Click and Clack. At first, this can be a little confusing and takes some getting used to.

Budget meets performance: The Canyon Strive CFR Underdog

The Canyon Strive CFR Underdog 2022 is the only other spec variant available at the moment and, as the name suggests, also employs the CFR carbon frame. Moreover, it shares the same alloy cockpit, in-house dropper post, DT Swiss wheels and tires as its flagship counterpart. For the suspension, Canyon rely on a FOX Performance setup. The 38 fork shares the same excellent GRIP2 damper as the Factory model, solely forgoing the bling Kashima coating and offering the same excellent performance as its high-end counterpart. The X2 Performance air shock, on the other hand, doesn’t offer externally adjustable low and high-speed compression damping. Once again, Shimano supply the drivetrain and brakes, only this time the slightly heavier XT version. However, the weight difference is marginal and doesn’t affect the shifting performance in any way. With its solid spec, the Underdog model is an excellent alternative to the flagship model, retailing at a very reasonable €4,999. Furthermore, at 16 kg it’s just 200 grams heavier than its high-end counterpart (manufacturer’s specifications).

Canyon Strive CFR Underdog 2022 | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 29” | 16.0 kg size M (manufacturer’s specifications) | € 4,999

The geometry of the new Canyon Strive 2022

The new Strive is available in four frame sizes, S to XL, offering a suitable option for riders between 163 cm and 200 cm tall. However, reach is super-long across all sizes and frame size M is comparable to a size L from other manufacturers, making it hard for short riders to downsize for more playful handling. Tall riders, on the other hand, are spoilt for choice. In addition, the new Canyon Strive comes standard with additional headset cups that allow you to adjust the reach by +/- 5 mm. Our test bike in frame size L has a humongous 505 mm reach, which can be changed to either 500 or 510 mm. The set tube is short across all sizes, measuring just 435 mm on our test bike in size L. Together with the dropper post, which can be inserted all the way into the frame, this ensures plenty of freedom of movement and lets you choose the frame size based on your preferences and riding style. On the other hand, chainstay length is 435 mm across all sizes, which is on the short side for a 29” enduro bike.

The reach of the new Strive can be adjusted by +/- 5 mm.
To do this, you just swap the headset cups, which are included in the price.

The geometry of the new Canyon Strive 2022

size S M L XL
Top tube 601 mm 627 mm 654 mm 683 mm
Seat tube 400 mm 420 mm 435 mm 460 mm
Head tube 105 mm 110 mm 120 mm 140 mm
Head tube angle 63/64.5° 63/64.5° 63/64.5° 63/64.5°
Seat tube angle 76.5/78° 76.5/78° 76.5/78° 76.5/78°
BB Drop 36/21 mm 36/21 mm 36/21 mm 36/21 mm
Chainstay 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
Wheelbase 1243 mm 1270 mm 1300 mm 1334 mm
Reach 455 mm 480 mm 505 mm 530 mm
Stack 627 mm 632 mm 641 mm 658 mm

The Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 Team on the trail

For this first ride review, we tested the new Strive on countless shuttle runs in Finale Ligure and piled up around 7000 vertical meters on our hometrails around Stuttgart and Freiburg. Except for two flat tires, our test bike survived all the abuse unscathed. On our way to the trailhead, we kept swapping between “Shred” and “Pedal” mode, because the drive-neutral suspension works efficiently even without Shapeshifter. However, on level ground, the pedalling position feels more comfortable in the “Shred” setting. Uphill, “Pedal” mode works a treat, keeping both wheels on the ground while ensuring a stiff yet efficient rear suspension. The X2 air shock doesn’t have an additional climb switch, but this would be superfluous with the Strive anyway.

With the Shapeshifter in “Pedal” mode, the Strive puts you in an upright pedalling position. The front remains planted on the trail and the added progression ensures a very efficient rear suspension.

Downhill, the potent suspension offers tons of support and reserves, inspiring huge amounts of confidence together with the high front. When the going gets fast, the extra-long Strive is extremely composed and yet easy to manoeuvre around tight corners and hairpin switchbacks. However, in order to generate sufficient traction on the front, you’ll have to weight the front wheel slightly. This will get you in a low and sporty riding position that perfectly suits the character and intended use of the Strive.

Increasing the reach by 5 mm will make for an even more aggressive riding position and improve the bike’s stability at high speeds. By playing around with the spacers under the stem, you can adjust the riding position and thus determine how radical your weight shifts have to be to generate enough traction over the front. Of course, the same goes for the different reach settings. On our test bike, we’ve added one spacer under the stem. Our recommendation: play around with all the different settings until you find the sweet spot! Because the optimal riding position depends heavily on your riding style and body dimensions. However, the Strive offers enough adjustment options to find a comfortable position.

Our conclusions on the new Canyon Strive CFR 2022

Canyon’s new 2022 Strive claims to go straight from the box to the race track – and boy, it delivers! While changing to more robust tires is pretty much mandatory, the spec to price ratio is so damn good that the upgrade doesn’t hurt at all. On the trail, the Strive conveys a true race feeling and inspires huge amounts of confidence, even when things get hairy! In addition, the Strive can be adjusted to suit your needs and preferences while Shapeshifter allows you to get to the trailhead in a relaxed fashion.


  • Excellent price for almost perfect spec
  • Inspires huge amounts of confidence downhill
  • Suspension offers great reserves support


  • puncture-prone EXO+ casing doesn't do justice to the bike's character and intended use
  • Shapeshifter needs some getting used to

For more info about the new Strive, please visit

Words: Peter Walker Photos: Boris Beyer, Peter Walker

About the author

Peter Walker

As deputy editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!