Once upon a time, Frenchman Fabien Barel was among the best downhillers in the world, capturing elite world titles in 2004 and 2005. But following the 2011 season, Barel decided it was time for a change. “I felt like I had done everything I could in downhill,” said the 32-year-old. “I needed some time off the bike and also some new challenges.”
Initially, that meant staying close to his birthplace and home in France’s Maritime Alps near Nice, spending time with friends and family, and jumping into the occasional motocross race. But biking is in Barel’s blood, and this year he’s making a headlong charge into to sport’s buzz-of-the-moment event, enduro racing.
Competing under the Canyon Bikes banner, Barel is planning to contest to brand new Enduro World Series, plus other select events in the discipline that records competitors times on a series of aggressive all-mountain downhill stages, testing both fitness and bike handling skills.
His bike of choice for this diverse challenge — the Canyon Strive, a 26-inch trail tamer with six inches of travel front and rear. The only problem – none of Canyon’s bikes are available in the U.S. yet, so for now this gallery is as close as you can get.