What a race! Florian Nicolai took the lead in the last race of the Enduro World Series in Zermatt by a small margin – but last year’s overall winner, Sam Hill, overtook him on the final stage. We took a closer look at the second-placed Canyon Strive CFR.

Flo Nicolai’s race machine: Canyon Strive CFR in size L with 170/155 mm travel and 29″ wheels

Before we start with the bike check, here is a small review of the season

The Canyon Factory Racing Team achieved a masterpiece in their seventh EWS season in 2019: for the third time, they took the coveted first place in the team rankings. Of course, Flo played a key role in this success: last year, Flo placed third overall in the EWS championship. And his 2019 season got off to a very promising start. He finished second in the first race of the EWS season in Rotorua/New Zealand, thus underlining his title ambitions, which didn’t take long: in the following race in Derby/Australia Flo won his first EWS with more top 10 finishes following. Heading into the last race of the 2019 Enduro World Series in Zermatt, he was in the lead by 60 points. The race couldn’t have been more dramatic. It was not until the final stage that Sam Hill was able to claim the championship by winning the Queen Stage and thus securing vital extra points. Placing fifth at the TRAILLOVE Festival in Zermatt was enough to secure Florian second place in the overall standings – a huge achievement none the less!

Florian Nicolai’s Canyon Strive CFR in detail

For the 2019 EWS season, Canyon relied on the new Strive CFR, featuring 29″ wheels, revised geometry, and an improved Shapeshifter, which also won our high-end group test. The team bikes were specced differently from the stock models, as with almost all team bikes, but the componentry comes closest to that on the CFR 9.0 Team. With a height of 183 cm, the frame size of Florian’s Strive is an L.

The Canyon Factory Racing Team got new paint jobs at the third-to-last race of the Enduro World Series in Whistler – Hot!
Florian Nicolai | born 1993 | Nationality: Frenchman | Size 1.83 m | Weight 72 kg
Lars (“Larry”) Hartwich, team manager of the Canyon Factory Enduro Team and Florian’s personal mechanic, showed us all the details of Flo’s enduro race rig. On the day of the race, Flo got a black fork from RockShox with rainbow decals instead of the usual red.
The G5 Cockpit, Canyon’s house brand, features a 40 mm stem and a 780 mm handlebar with 20 mm rise. The grips and the saddle come from Ergon. The RockShox Reverb seat post can be dropped 170 mm.
The Shapeshifter, which changes the geometry and kinematics of the Strive at the push of a button, is at the heart of the Canyon Strive
The 155 mm travel is controlled by a RockShox Super Delux Air shock and keeps the rear wheel on the ground, ensuring constant traction. Larry is careful to keep the pressure at exactly 155 psi (10.7 bar).
A RockShox Ultimate Lyrik with 180 mm travel up front irons over any bumps. In Zermatt, Florian rode with an air pressure of 90 psi (6.2 bar). SRAM CODE RSC brakes paired with a 200 mm rotor at the front provide all the stopping power needed. To find out what the SRAM CODE RSC, our group test winner of 19 models is capable of, click here.
SRAM’s new Eagle AXS derailleur ensures lightning-fast shifting. We were convinced of the drivetrain as well and put together 13 good reasons why electronic bike components are the future.
The battery for the wireless derailleur gets clipped in place, which Larry additionally secures with tape
SRAM’s CODE RSC brakes are paired with a 200 mm rotor on the rear as well
The majority of riders simply use cable ties to attach their start number to the bike
Larry, on the other hand, loves paying attention to the details. Including the start number. His construction is rock solid and doesn’t rattle on the trails.
DIY chain guard! Larry is known for this massive chain guard made of very soft rubber, effectively preventing chain-slap. His credo: quiet bikes are fast bikes!
Fluid intake is essential on a long day of racing. Since Larry put grip-tape to the inside of the bottle cage, Flo hasn’t lost a single bottle on the world’s roughest trails.
What’s the battery for? “Better safe than sorry,” Larry says, never letting Flo ride the trails without a spare battery for the derailleur. He is less worried about the battery life, which should be about 20 hours, as he is about Flo losing it in a crash.
Flo uses a MAXXIS
ASSEGAI DH tire up front, pumped to 1.75 Bar. Only a select few racers rode the trails of Zermatt on a MAXXIS Test Pilot tire, which is said to be experimenting with the tire compound.

On the rear wheel, you’ve got a MAXXIS Minion DHR II mounted on a DT Swiss EX 1501 rim with an inner width of 30 mm. In Zermatt, Flo settled on a tire pressure of 1.9 Bar.
Larry also put grip-tape on the thumb lever of the wireless Eagle AXS shifter for a more defined feel
Florian was testing a prototype of the Ergon GE 1 Evo. The rubber feels very pleasant yet slightly sticky to the touch, inviting you to ride without gloves. For better grip, the brake levers of the SRAM CODE RSC also had grip-tape attached to them by Larry.
Flo pays special attention to his brake levers, which he likes very flat. Attached to the bottom of the handlebar, you’ve got the standard Shapeshifter and classic Reverb remote.
The E*thirteen LG1/RS chain guide reliably keeps the chain where it belongs
The Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals have recently been updated and are reminiscent of Crankbrothers’ Mallet E-Pedals, the test winners in our group test of 7 clipless pedals. The length of the SRAM X0 Eagle cranks is 165 mm, which reduces the likelihood of hitting them on obstacles.

Will Florian Nicolai be the overall winner of the 2020 EWS? After finishing third in 2018 and second in 2019, it’s certainly possible! We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the new season!

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Words & Photos: Manne Schmitt

About the author

Manne Schmitt

As the proud father of Robin and Max-Philip, Manne has been there from the start and is the wise elder of the editorial team. He won his first cycling race in elementary school at a school sports day. After less successful attempts at football, he found his passion for cycling via endurance racing in 1989! The world of racing still consumes him and no one in the team knows the EWS pros better than Manne. As a former head analyst of a state agency, he knows how to do proper research and finds exclusive news that no one else has. He supports his sons in day-to-day business dealings as the authorised signatory for 41 Publishing – viva la familia!