Two geometries, one frame: Canyon Strive CF features the Shapeshifter system


Canyon changed at least some of the rules of the full-suspension mountain bike game last week, on French soil, with a development that’s closer to a revolution, according to their own assessment, in the form of the Canyon Strive CF.


They didn’t reinvent the wheel, and didn’t even give birth to a new concept, variable geometry being an option explored by the likes of Kona or Cannondale already, but the Canyon engineers did bring a new touch in the way that their Shapeshifter system changes the frame’s geometry. Namely, there is an “on” and “off” position, separated by 15mm of travel, which influence the full travel of the shock, and the bike’s entire kinematics and geometry. The new system will be available for every shock, and it will feature on the Strive CF as a standard option for this 160mm, enduro bike.

When the shock is tilted backwards, its travel enters, let’s name it, “downhill mode”, having a generous 163mm to glide back and forth, and a lowered bottom bracket, for stability purposes. Pushing the Shapeshifter remote found on your handlebar makes the shock move forward by 15mm, reducing the travel to 139mm, the same motion being responsible for making the head- and seat tube angles steeper by about 1.5 degrees, and raising the bottom bracket by 19mm. Undoing this set-up and returning to downhill mode is only another push of the button away, and besides being simple, this entire system only adds 200 grams to the weight of the bike.


Complicated systems do make our rides that more fun, but servicing can turn into a headache. However, Canyon’s Vincent Thoma, head of the Strive project, mentions that maintenance of the Shapeshifter is no different than that of a dropper seat post.

The discreetly integrated Shapeshifter system may have stolen the show, but the Strive CF has another ace up its sleeve. Using rider feedback, the Koblenz-based brand developed a more performant version of the bike, dubbed the Strive CF Race Geometry, which has a longer top tube. Therefore, the 8.0 Race, 9.0 Race and 9.0 Team models will include the Race Geometry, all being available in S, M and L sizes, while the 8.0 and 9.0 SL models stick to the classic geometry, with an extra XL option regarding sizing.


A good thing about the Shapeshifter system is that, due to the fact that it relies on an air shock, you can choose how smooth actuation will be, the pressure of the small piece varying between 12 and 15 bars. Canyon didn’t neglect the rest of the specifications chart, and fitted the Strive CF Race with items such as a 40mm Renthal stem, Maxxis High Roller II/ Minion DHR tires, SRAM Guide brakes, Rockshox Pike RCT3 suspension fork, Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair rear shock, and a Reverb Stealth seat post.