The Canyon Strive went into this group test as the reigning champion but its competition has become a lot tougher. Can the former test winner stay at the top with its unique Shapeshifter and versatile handling?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020

Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD | 160/150 mm | 14.26 kg | € 6,999

It doesn’t get any fancier than this! The Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD is a dream come true for all component fetishists. After offering us the Team version for the last group test, this time Canyon went into the ring with the LTD model. The frame is the same, with 29″ wheels, 150 mm travel at the rear and the Shapeshifter hidden in the rocker link. With it, you can adjust the travel, the kinematics and the geometry of the bike at the push of a button for optimal performance on the climbs as well as descents. Unlike the Team version with 170 mm travel, the LTD version offers only 160 mm travel up front. This is controlled by a FOX 36 Factory fork with the FIT4 damper. We would have preferred the even more sensitive GRIP2 model here, which can be adjusted more precisely to your preferences and terrain while remaining easy to tune thanks to the availability of comprehensive setup guides.

The rest of the componentry is sure to make your palms sweaty. The ENVE M730 rims are a visual highlight and are built up on high-quality Chris King hubs – a combination that you don’t often see on a production bike. However, the rims are very stiff and direct.

While it took careful timing to switch modes on the old 27.5″ Strive, all it takes on the new generation Shapeshifter is a push of the lever. The Shapeshifter automatically adjusts itself to the desired position at the next opportunity.
False economy
The FIT4 damper in the FOX 36 Factory is meant to offer easier setup with fewer adjustment options. Unfortunately, it doesn’t perform quite as well as the GRIP2 damper. On a flagship bike like the Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD, we expect the best of the best.
Canyon’s in-house G5 cockpit suits the bike perfectly. The length of the stem is just right at 40 mm and the 780 mm handlebar is plenty wide. However, not everyone will appreciate the look of the stem.

Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD

€ 6,999


Fork FOX 36 Factory FIT4 160 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT DPX2 Factory 150 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Performance Elite 150 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM XX1 Eagle 32 - 10/50
Stem Canyon G5 45 mm
Handlebar Canyon G5 Carbon 780 mm
Wheelset ENVE M730 / Chris King 29

Technical Data

Size S, M, L, XL
Weight 14.26 kg

A dream come true
The rear end of the Strive CFR performs even more sensitively with the FOX DPX2 shock installed than it did with the RockShox Super Deluxe that we had on the previous test bike. It absorbs all bumps without sagging excessively or being too generous with its travel.
Too much
The ENVE M730 rims are very stiff and harsh on the rider. On longer descents, they rob you of energy and aren’t very forgiving if you make a mistake. The Chris King hubs, on the other hand, are what dreams are made of and offer the quickest engagement you’ll ever need.
Ease of service
The threaded BSA bottom bracket is easy to replace or service if needed.

Geometry and size of the Canyon

Thanks to the unique Shapeshifter, the geometry of the Canyon Strive can be adjusted on the fly via a remote on the handlebar, which enables Canyon to keep the bottom bracket nice and low. However, the remaining geometry specs of the Strive are anything but extreme – and for good reason. The bike’s balanced geometry is what makes it so versatile.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 400 mm 440 mm 455 mm 500 mm
Top tube 602 mm 629 mm 662 mm 697 mm
Head tube 95 mm 100 mm 110 mm 130 mm
Head angle 65.5-67° 65.5-67° 65.5-67° 65.5-67°
Seat angle 73.5-75° 73.5-75° 73.5-75° 73.5-75°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
BB Drop 32 mm 32 mm 32 mm 32 mm
Wheelbase 1,166 mm 1,193 mm 1,227 mm 1,266 mm
Reach 409 mm 434 mm 464 mm 494 mm
Stack 630 mm 635 mm 644 mm 663 mm
Helmet Giro Tyrant MIPS | Glasses Oakley Airbrake PRIZM Trail | Jersey Fox Drirelease Jersey | Shorts Fox Ranger Cargo Shorts | Knee pads Fox Enduro Pro

The Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD on the trail

In times of increasingly extreme geometries, the brand new Strive almost seems old-school when you first look at the numbers. The head angle of 65.5° is rather steep and the 464 mm reach (size L) isn’t particularly long. However, you’ll also notice the tall stack height of 644 mm, due in part to the low bottom bracket. The Shapeshifter mechanism allows you to adjust the geometry and kinematics either for climbing or descending via two levers on the bar. Once selected the linkage automatically adjusts at the next opportunity thanks to a one-way valve. In climbing mode, the bottom bracket is lifted and the rear travel is reduced to 135 mm, which also steepens the head and seat tube angles by 1.5° – unfortunately, this still isn’t steep enough. We recommend pushing the saddle forward to get your weight more centred on the bike. That done and the Strive climbs well. Thanks to 165 mm cranks, you’ll hardly ever clip your pedals no matter how technical the climb while the suspension remains active and delivers enough traction with its reduced travel. The bike also feels responsive when you accelerate.

Always in control – the handling of the Strive is very predictable.

On the descents, you feel nicely integrated with the Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD and your weight feels evenly distributed between the wheels. This makes easy work of open corners but its when the trails get steeper and more demanding that the Strive is really in its element. Despite the relatively short travel at the rear, the suspension always offers a lot of reserves and remains composed while feeling agile. If you’re riding through a rock garden and suddenly have to correct your line, or spontaneously decide to take the high line into a corner, the Canyon immediately responds to your input with precise and confident handling. The rear suspension performs excellently and absorbs even the biggest impacts with ease. The FOX DPX2 shock on the rear responds very sensitively while also offering a lot of mid-stroke support. The kinematics offer just the right amount of progression, making the 150 mm travel feel like noticeably more.

The bling-bling build spec of the LTD might be nice to look at, but there’s no noticeable improvement in performance on the trail.

How does the Canyon Strive CFR fare against the competition?

The Canyon Strive falls somewhere between more agile bikes like the Trek Slash or the CUBE Stereo and more capable bikes like the Nukeproof Mega C290 or the Rocky Mountain Slayer. It is one of the most versatile bikes in the test field, though ultimately struggles to keep up with some of the more capable bikes in rough terrain. If you regularly ride easier, more moderate trails, the Strive makes for an excellent all-rounder!

Tuning tip: push the saddle forward | go for the Team model instead of the LTD, giving you a more sensible build at a lower price.

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










The Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD still offers a brilliant complete package. It performs well on the descents, offering very balanced handling and lots of reserves while remaining agile and precise. It will instil you with confidence, it’s a lot of fun to ride and even makes for a capable climber. However, that’s not quite enough to defend the title, though the Strive remains an excellent choice for all-round fun.


  • balanced handling
  • equal measures of fun and composure
  • good value for money


  • seat tube angle could be steeper
  • FIT4 damper instead of the GRIP2 in the fork

You can find out more about the Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020

All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD | CUBE Stereo 170 SL 29 | Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 | Ibis Mojo HD5 | Norco Sight C1 29 | Nukeproof Mega 275C RS | Nukeproof Mega 290C Pro | Orbea Rallon M-LTD | Pole Stamina 180 LE | RAAW Madonna V2 FOX Factory Built | Rocky Mountain Slayer Carbon 90 29 | Santa Cruz Megatower CC X01 Reserve | SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned | Specialized S-Works Enduro 2020 | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Trek Slash 9.9 X01 AXS | Yeti SB150 T2 | YT CAPRA 29 CF Pro Race

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Words: Photos: Christoph Bayer / Finlay Anderson / Markus Frühmann