This year 8,400 mad-keen ENDURO readers threw in their predictions to take part in our EWS tipping game! Right from the get-go it was hotly contested, but the ultimate winner was the Michael Meister from Germany, whose 600 points clinched a decisive victory. Last Tuesday he graced our office with his presence, clamoring to get his hands on his brand new Canyon Strive CF 8.0.

Micha mit seinem neuen Canyon Strive CF 9.0
Micha with his new Canyon Strive CF 8.0

The buzzer goes at midday, and there’s Michael looking somewhat sheepish. He turns down my offer of a coffee, but the eagerness for his imminent prize is palpable. As Julian, Canyon’s marketing manager, hands Micha his new bike, he visibly glows. In the racing colourway of the Canyon Enduro Team, this carbon whip is clearly screaming at Micha to take him out of the trails! In size medium, this bike is a pure racing machine, ready for anything. And Micha? Is he a match for the whip? Only the Stuttgart trails can tell…

Micha schaut sich jedes Detail genau an.
He enjoys every Detail of the bike.

But first there’s time for the mandatory discussion about the bike over a cup of steaming coffee as the sun comes breaking through while Julian outlines the technical details of the Strive CF to Micha and our curious team. How does the ShapeShifter work? Setting up the suspension, adjusting the cockpit, checking the tyre pressure, optimising the saddle height: these are Julian’s areas of expertise and his fine-tuning tips are invaluable.

Bei der Einweisung im Sonnenschein steigt die Vorfreude!
Our anticipation grows as the sun comes out!
Julian erklärt Micha alle Details des Strive CF.
Julian explains all the details of the Strive CF.

Once the setup is complete, we head outside for a first ride, with the inevitable wheelies and bunny hops to check out how the bike feels. As we roll through the city park towards the trails, the long race-orientated geometry is on the receiving end of some very complimentary chat. And it quickly transpires that Micha isn’t just capable of guessing the EWS winners, but he’s also a damn quick rider, showing Julian up with his manuals and owning the trails around Leonberg.

Micha beweist, dass er ein würdiger Gewinner ist!
Micha proved, that he is a worthy winner!

If you’ve heard the name Michael Meister before, then it’s perhaps from one of the many races in central Europe that he has participated in. That his victory was not pure luck can be seen in the results of last years tipping game, where Micha managed to get a respectable 25th spot. “The women’s podium played a huge part in winning this year. The girls tended to be quite easy to place, which got me some decent points,” says Michael when questioned on his winning strategy.

Micha, Julian und Robin geben Gas!
Micha, Julian and Robin with full-gas!

At the third photo spot, ENDURO founder Max is the first to crumble and give in to those hunger pangs. But we don’t choose the direct way to our chosen lunch spot, but dip into yet another trail, pulling up dirty but satisfied at the restaurant. It might be winter but the sun’s glaring, and we’re stoked to cheers over our beers and fizzy elderflower juice. Most of us tuck into vegan noodles in honor of our vegan graphic designer from Berlin, while the rest devour some hearty roast potatoes with fried eggs.

Diese Pause haben wir uns verdient!
We worked hard for this break!

With the food heavy in our stomachs, we’re back in the woods and giving it some real gas to exploit every centimeter of the trails. The mud’s flying and we’re all gasping for breath. I call the guys back, wanting to take some more shots, as it’s turning to golden hour with the late afternoon sun reflecting in the valley’s light mist – the kind of light conditions that any photographer just can’t get enough of.

Im Licht der Abendsonne mache ich noch ein paar letzte Fotos.
We take some last photos in the beautiful golden hour…

The guys still aren’t satiated though, so they lug their bikes back up the final trail to shred it one final time. I wait patiently; it’s my chance to shoot some more snaps. We’re all grinning like Cheshire cats as we roll back to the office, swapping tech talk, know-how and stories from the trails. There’s more coffee put on, passed around as the final documents and servicing equipment for the Canyon Strive CF are handed over and discussed. As Micha and Julian go their separate ways, we’re fairly confident that the Strive has gone to a good home and is now in good hands.

The Canyon Strive left us impressed in our group test. Head over to the Review of the Canyon Strive CF Race 9.0.

Words & Photos: Noah Haxel

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