Table Of Contents

  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
  • Downhill Ability 80% 80%
  • Overall Fun 80% 80%

Travel: 150mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 66 – 67.5

Seat Tube Angle: 73.5 – 75

Reach: 470mm (large frame))

Weight: Starting at 31.2 lbs

Price: $8,499

What We Like: The Shapeshifter

What We Don’t: Also The Shapeshifter

Canyon has created something very innovative with the Shapeshifter and for that, it’s pretty awesome. However, it seems that if they had originally adjusted some of the geometry, the Strive could be a one-quiver ride without the bells and whistles that in a way also hinder it. Definitely worth a look for a rider who doesn’t like the modern geo all that much but is looking for a do-it-all bike. The all-around nature of the Strive is present, it just feels like you need to do too much while riding to get the best out of the bike.

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See Our The Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes of 2021

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  • Climbing Ability 90% 90%
  • Downhill Ability 90% 90%
  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

Pros

All-around Ability in a Variety of Terrain

Cons

Weight of Some of the Build Options

Travel: 145mm rear/ 150mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 65.2

Seat Tube Angle: 76.3

Reach: 470mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 29 lbs

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Cons

Could Use Some Better Brakes

Travel: 146mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 64.6

Seat Tube Angle: 76.4

Reach: 488mm (large frame)

Weight: Varies With Frame Material

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Cons

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Travel: 150mm rear/ 170mm fork

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Seat Tube Angle: 76.9

Reach: 480mm (large frame)

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Cons

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Travel: 170mm rear and fork

Head Tube Angle: 63.9/ 64.3

Seat Tube Angle: 76

Reach: 487mm (S4 frame)

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Cons

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Seat Tube Angle: 76

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
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Pros

The Shapeshifter

Cons

Also The Shapeshifter

Travel: 150mm rear/ 160mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 66 - 67.5

Seat Tube Angle: 73.5 - 75

Reach: 470mm (large frame))

Weight: Starting at 31.2 lbs

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Pros

Amazing Climber, Custom Paint Job Option

Cons

Short Reach and Cost

Travel: 160mm rear/ 170mm fork

Head Tube Angle: 65

Seat Tube Angle: 75.5/ 76

Reach: 455mm (large frame)

Weight: Starting at 30.95 lbs

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Cons

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  • Climbing Ability 80% 80%
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  • Overall Fun 70% 70%

Pros

Made For The Downhills

Cons

TWINLOC System Needs Some Work

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Head Tube Angle: 64.5

Seat Tube Angle: 75

Reach: 466.5mm (large frame)

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  • Overall Fun 90% 90%

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Cons

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Seat Tube Angle: 78

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The magician of the bikes in this review is the Canyon Strive. Fit with Canyon’s Shapeshifter technology, the Strive can feel like two bikes in one. Similar to technologies by Cannondale and Scott bikes, the Shapeshifter is nothing brand new, but it is interesting to watch bike companies remain innovative.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Canyon Strive - Gear Hacker

The Bike

With the Canyon Strive, the Shapeshifter technology puts the bike into two modes, Uphill and Downhill. There is a gas can that controls the position of the shock mount which is what is making all of the changes in the geo and the travel while switching between modes. With the shock mount gas can, it allows for Canyon to still use a standard rear shock and not have to create a specific shock for this bike. The Shapeshifter is activated with a trigger on the handlebar. Once it has been triggered because the rider wants to go into Uphill Mode, the rider will need to “pop” up and allow the bike to snap up into Uphill Mode. In Downhill Mode once the trigger has been hit, it will only take the first bump on the downhill to drop the bike into Downhill Mode, and you can shred on your merry way.

In Uphill Mode, the rear travel is reduced to 135mm, and the head and seat tube angles are steepened by 1.5-degrees (67.5 and 75 degrees, respectively). The anti-squat is also increased by 10% in Uphill mode in order to improve pedaling power and efficiency. In Downhill Mode, the travel is returned to its original 150mm, and the anti-squat is reduceThese are fairly conservative numbers across the board, considering the technology and what this bike’s terrain is supposed to be.
Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Canyon Strive - Gear Hacker

Climbing

In Uphill Mode as mentioned earlier, the bike has a steeper all-around geometry with reduced travel and increased anti-squat. These are all good things for making the bike more efficient on the uphills. Though it doesn’t feel that intuitive to pop the bike into Uphill mode, once there, it is a confident climber.
Unfortunately, the geometry still doesn’t feel as modern or progressive as it could be. Even in Uphill Mode, the angles aren’t steep enough to produce a serious climbing machine. It also doesn’t place the rider in the most central with lots of riders pushing the seat all the way to the front. What it does produce is a highly versatile and maneuverable climber, so there’s that.
Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Canyon Strive - Gear Hacker

Downhill

With the Shapeshifter, you enter into bike number two when the bike drops back into Downhill Mode, increases its travel, and slackens its geo. The amount of travel offered by the Strive does help it to be a very capable shredder. The geo places the rider in a central and controlled position to be able to adapt to corners well and handle the bumpier rock gardens. The DPX2 shock in the rear has excellent mid-stroke support and offers a steady amount of progression so that it feels like you have more travel than what’s there.

With the more conservative numbers, the high-speed stability isn’t as all there as you would probably want from a bike like this. The flip side of that is that at lower speeds in quick-hitting turns and areas where you want to skip to a new line, the Strive is really nimble underfoot and will happily pop around.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Canyon Strive - Gear Hacker

Build Options

For the frame only, it costs a reasonable $3,000, and at the time of writing, it was on sale for $2,699. From there, there are four build options, starting with the Strive CF 7.0 at $3,699 where you can get the full build-out for under $4,000, which is pretty legit in this bike range. There are two mid-range options at $4,699 and $5,699, which offer improved components but are still quite reasonable. The cream of the crop build-out is the Strive CFR LTD, complete with SRAM’s XX1 Eagle AXS wireless drivetrain, carbon wheels, and some Code RSC brakes—all for a kind of reasonable $9,500. Again at the time of writing, the CFR LTD was on sale for $8,499, which is one of the most cost-effective bikes to get your hands on that has the wireless derailleur by SRAM.

Best Long Travel Mountain Bikes: Canyon Strive - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

Canyon has made a cool bike. The Canyon Strive is innovative while being a bit stuck in its ways. The geometry could be more modern to really improve the climbing and downhill dynamics. The Shapeshifter does help in the geometry department but if Canyon had just gone with a more modern geometry set up, the Shapeshifter might have found itself without a purpose.
What they have created is really nimble, and it handles quickly without a fuss. Sure, it is not as buttoned-up as some of the other bikes on the list but it does make for an excellent all arounder for a variety of trails and riding styles. At the prices that it is available at as well, it can get into rider’s hands quickly and get them onto the trail fast!

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!