Pro Bike: Fabien Barel’s Canyon Strive AL 9.0 Race


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.

Pro Bike: Fabien Barel’s Canyon Strive AL 9.0 Race Gallery

Barel and Bike

While Barel is a big fan of the current Strive, he’s working with engineers at the German-based bike manufacturer on a new model that is expected to debut at Eurobike later this year.


Mtbr caught up with Barel during the Mavic Notch MTB apparel line press launch. The Frenchman has a long-standing relationship with the French company, and acted as trail guide during the two-day camp.

Fabian Barel's Canyon Strive

According to Canyon, it takes 14 steps to produce the special hydro-formed aluminum tubes that make up the high-end Strive.

Barel and Bike Action

Enduro racing has trace elements of cross-country, but comfort at speed is the No. 1 prerequisite for success.

Head Tube

The tapered head tube has a 66.5-degree head tube angle

SRAM Trail Brakes

Avid Trail calipers are mated with 180mm rotors front and rear


Renthal’s beefy 50mm Duo stem assures no slippage – and it’s relatively light at just 143 grams


Renthal Fatbar is Barel’s steering wheel of choice


The Strive’s stock build come with a Fox 34 Float, but Barel opts for the 36

34 Crank

Barel has jumped on SRAM’s XX1 train, running a 34-tooth front chainring


SRAM’s much-hyped 10x42 11-speed cassette is spelling the doom of front derailleurs in the mountain biking world

Tire and Wheels

Mavic Crossmax ST wheels are paired with a 2.35-inch Michelin Wild Racer on the rear and a Wild Gripper up front


The Wild Racer is billed as an all-around tire that rolls fast and grips tight when cornering


Fox’s Float CTD has 160mm of travel

Bar Lever Grip

Ergon grips and Avid XO Trail brake levers fill out the cockpit

Ergon SM3-S Saddle

Ergon’s SM3-S Pro saddle provides a stable platform

Crank Bros Pedal

Well-worn Crank Bros. pedals

Clamp and Post

Rockshox Reverb adjustable seatpost is kept in pace by a beefy Canyon-branded seat clamp
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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  • Herzalot says:

    Hmmm… I respect Barel’s riding, and I know not to judge a book by its cover, but that Canyon does nothing for me. Strange single pivot design and reverse curves. No thanks.

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