2024 Canyon Strive:ON CFR review

Intended Use
AM, Enduro, trails
Bosch Performance CX 85 Nm
750 Wh (625 Wh available)
Fork Travel
170 mm
Rear Travel
160 mm
24.85 kg with Burgtec composite pedals
£6.699 / €6.999
There’s been much talk about the Canyon Strive:ON CFR that was launched in May this year. It ended up taking months for Canyon to ship a demo bike to Norway, so I was left wondering; what was so great about this bike? Watch the video or keep on reading below.

So many Canyon emtbs​

Did Canyon really need another emtb? There’s the Neuron:ON with a 140 mm fork, the Spectral:ON now has a 160 mm fork and the Torque:ON with 180 mm. Why would they squeeze a 170 mm travel bike into their line-up? The press release explained the Strive:ON was designed for racing. The rear suspension had better mid-stroke support for improved stability, and I assume improved pedaling efficiency. And it was available with the Bosch Performance CX Race motor.

2024 Canyon Strive:ON CFR

Three versions of the Canyon Strive:ON​

It’s the most expensive one, the Strive:ON CFR Ltd that gets the Bosch Race motor. The entry level Strive:ON Underdog gets the regular Performance CX. As does the CFR model that we’re testing. Even though I enjoyed riding the CX Race motor, and even though the specs and price of the Underdog looks good, the CFR model is the most appealing one.

Canyon Strive:ON CFR specs​

The CFR is well specc’ed and it leaves nothing to be desired for a humble guy like me!? The complete Shimano XT 12-speed groupset is great. Well, almost complete, the cassette is SLX. I like the feel of the XT shifter that allows for multiple upshifts and the four pot XT brakes are among my favorites.

2024 Canyon Strive:ON CFR specs
Canyon Strive:ON CFR

The suspension is even better. I’ve come to expect 38 forks in this category and the Fox 38 Performance Elite is just great. The Fox Float X2 Performance shock is nice too. These handle 170 mm travel up front and 160 mm rear. Combined with the stiff and reasonably light DT Swiss HX1700 wheels, this is a solid package. I’m even happy about the tyres. Up front it’s the Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5” with Maxxgrip EXO+ rubber while the rear tyre is the Minion DHR II 27.5x2.4” Maxxterra DD. Yeah, it’s a mullet bike.

The Canyon Strive:ON CFR with a 750 Wh battery has a price tag of €7.199 and weighs in at 24.85 kg including pedals and a bottle cage. Removing those should bring the weight down to about 24.4 kg. Not bad for a bike with a big detachable 750 Wh battery.

The Strive:ON demo bike came with a water bottle

Bosch motor system​

A motor such as the Shimano EP8 is so easy to control when riding slow techy stuff with maximum motor power. The Bosch Performance was jerkier and more of a handful. But that has changed with the Bosch Smart System update. Going with the Performance CX now gets you a motor that nearly as easy to handle going slow in the rough. And it gets you a motor that is tuned for higher cadence pedaling.

The Strive:ON CFR has no display, so there is no live feedback on remaining range, speed, distance covered etc. What you get is a minimalistic cockpit with few wires and cables. The Bosch Mini remote hasn’t even got a wire, it hooks up via Bluetooth. The panel on the top of the downtube has indicator LEDs that indicates battery charge and selected assistance mode.

Canyon Strive:ON and the Bosch Performance CX 85 Nm motor
There's no display on the bike, only a panel with a few indicator LEDs.

A detachable battery​

As mentioned, the Strive:ON has a detachable battery. A battery that slides out through the bottom of the frame. When switching to the big Bosch 750 Wh battery, many brands decided to make it non-detachable to save space. It’s difficult finding room in the downtube for such a long battery, especially for the smaller frame sizes. Canyon even managed to fit the battery in the size Small frame, and they did so without restricting the steering. These days we often see bikes with a knock-block headset that limits the steering. This allows for a longer downtube with more space for batteries.

But did this lead to other issues? You might have heard of issues with the battery latch that fastens the battery, causing the motor to cut mid ride. Is the cracking latch issue caused by poor battery implementation? Canyon attacehed the upper battery mount/connector directly to the frame rather than using the standard Bosch Rail that usually holds the upper connector. It seems to me the frame offers a more solid base for attaching the upper battery mount. But I guess it can more easily become misaligned. Bosch has approved of this design.

The Bosch battery latch opens easily

How widespread is this issue really? The Canyon Nordic agent says he ordered a bunch of latches after he heard about the issue. And as of October 2023, he had sent out none. The issue is real though, but it seems it’s not affecting every bike. Canyon is currently redesigning the latch that attaches the battery inside the frame.

The Strive ON can be had with a lighter and cheaper 625 Wh battery. But the demo bike came with the big 750 Wh battery. We have ridden it about 100 km, doing a bit of drops and smaller jumps, and the battery latch looks fine. The motor has never turned off while riding and the battery sits firmly in the frame with no play.

The Bosch battery latch, no cracks on our demo bike.


Looking at the Strive:ON, it looks like it’s two different bikes merged into one. The front end is long, tall and the 29er wheel adds to the impression of a big bike. The same cannot be said for the rear end. The seat stays are low and the chainstays at 445 mm are relatively short. The smaller 27.5” rear wheel with slightly narrower rubber makes the back end look small.

The test bike is a size M, and I find that perfect for me at 181 cm (5’11). Thanks to the slack 63.5* head angle and long front-center, the wheelbase is 1.274 mm, that’s long for a Medium frame.

Strive:ON geometry
Strive:ON CFR

Riding the bike​

I might be one of the last in the bike media to ride this bike. What was all the fuzz about? Why do so many people like it? It’s just a racing oriented emtb with a big front and a small rear end.


It didn’t take long for me to join the ranks of people enjoying the Canyon Strive:ON. It comes as no surprise the front end is tall. Fabien Barel designed this bike; he prefers a tall front that is easy to lift in steep descents. Combined with that short rear end, the Strive:ON is surprisingly playful.

Descending on the Canyon Strive:ON
The Strive:ON CFR

Despite the short chainstays, the wheelbase ends up being nice and long. This ensures great stability at speed. After weeks of rain the ground was soaked, and we were sliding sideways a lot. Still, the pace was good, and the bike was confidence inspiring.


The 445 mm rear end is short for a longer travel emtb, but it’s not extremely short. Sure, 10-15 mm longer chainstays allows you to do steeper climbs while seated. But it’s okay to lift your bum every once in a while. We went up some properly steep climbs and I never wished for more, I think the balance of this bike is a great compromise.

The Canyon Strive:ON will do steep climbs

Flatter trails​

Wasn’t this supposed to be a more pedal efficient racer? The suspension is so active in the top part of the travel. I initally set the air pressure of the shock to my usual starting point. But the shock needed more air, lots more. I ended up increasing the pressure by 25% and I don’t think I’ve ever needed to go that high before. The same can be said about the compression, I rarely use this much.

Now the sag was fine, but the suspension was still surprisingly active off the top. This wasn’t the pedaling-oriented race-bike I expected. But the rear wheel was tracking very well, and there was nice support deeper into the travel. So, it was pedaling well enough.

Not riding a canyon on a Canyon.

In most situations, the Strive:ON behaved much like any other 150/160 mm travel bike. It helps that it weighs under 24.5 kg. But riding slowly on rocky trails or doing U-turns, the slack head angle can be felt. I had to hold back the handlebars when doing very sharp turns. On many other bikes, the steering is limited by a knock-block headset, and one never reaches the point where the steering folds onto itself. This isn’t really an issue, just a reminder that this in-fact is a slack and burly bike.


After reading the press release, I thought I had this bike figured out. But I hadn’t. I’m sure it’s great for racing, but I was surprised by how fun it was. I expected “racing” and “fun” to be counterparts. The Canyon Strive:ON CFR blends nimbleness and stability in a great way. I was confident and often going faster than I realized. And the bike was always easy to handle, easier than what I’m used to from the 26 kg emtbs with longer rear ends. And it does of course help having a frame size that is perfect for me. I’m often in between sizes, but not on this slightly large size M.

Canyon Stive:ON at Vardåsen, Norway
About author
Started mountainbiking in the 90s. Moved to emtbs in 2014 and have been reviewing them since 2016. Contact me here https://emtb.no/contact/


Wish it was available in the USA. Since it's not, I'm about to pull the trigger on a Santa Cruz Bullit. It's lighter and has a better warranty.

Canyon is dropping the ball on a huge market.
feels very heavy on the front (comparing to Levo), I guess it's because the battery is quite bulky and it's higher and more forward.
bottom bracket clearance is poor (skid plate is low) - we have constant rock hits with it ....
Yeah, the Levo has a lighter front tyre, it's almost 1.200g on the Strive:ON CFR. The Levo is very likely to have a lighter front wheel and fork too. Especially if it's the gen2 Levo. But the balance of the StriveON still makes the front end feel surprisingly light. Just going with a regular Maxxis EXO+ (or similar) front tyre should make the steering noticeably quicker.
Wish it was available in the USA. Since it's not, I'm about to pull the trigger on a Santa Cruz Bullit. It's lighter and has a better warranty.

Canyon is dropping the ball on a huge market.
Canyon will be available in the US Feb 1 from what I was told by Canyon.
I'd like to see a comparison against the RM Altitude Powerplay. Despite the motor, they seem to line up close in geo and both have a removable battery, unlike the new Wild.
It's not impossible, just difficult.

The rim magnet design means that it's possible to design the motor to incorporate the wheel speed sensor within the motor casing. This hardware design in conjunction with very sophisticated software means that defeating the speed restrictions has proven very difficult.

How do i know? I've got one and am still trying :-/