06/19/2018, Picking the right Gravity bike
Canyon Gravity: Darren Berrecloth's Take
Enduro, downhill and freeride: What's best for you? Claw helps us out!
Gravity mountain biking is in a nebulous place right now, because the concept of a “gravity” bike can mean any number of things. Some riders, laden down with a full-face helmet, goggles and tons of padding, are hacking turns and sending big jumps, then taking the lift ride back to the top to get in another epic run. Others among us are pinning on a number for an Enduro event, racing to the bottom—then pedaling back up the hill. In short, gravity pulls at us in different ways. How we get down the mountain becomes more varied—and more awesome—than ever.
That means your perfect gravity ride can vary. The bike flying across gaps at the bike park is very different than the one tearing across an enduro course.
Lucky for you, Canyon covers all the bases, with a bike for any gravity application you would want.
So which bike is right for you? We queried none other than downhill and freeride legend Darren Berrecloth. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, the Canadian has ridden it all, and has a keen sense of how each gravity bike in the Canyon range is special.
SENDER: Just Send It!!
Sender is Berrecloth’s bread and butter, a purpose-built vehicle for downhill, with 200 millimeters of plush front and rear travel. Just how you get down is up to you. For riders that like to pin up a number and bomb from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, Sender is a pure DH race machine.
But it’s also an ace bikepark ride, ready for chairlift runs, clearing features with ease.. Want more out of it? It's also a killer backcountry rig, begging to be flicked, whipped, carved and sent across gaps.. And that’s where Berrecloth put Sender to his prolific use. “It’s the best DH platform out there, able to hang in on the best big mountain terrain this planet has to offer,” Berrecloth says.
It’s an incredibly tunable ride as well, with Berrecloth setting up his Sender one way for big descents, and another for big jumps. “I’m always changing the way I can ride it," he says. "You can pull the rear end back, lengthen it out and keep up on long downhill runs. Then I’ll switch it and run the rear-end forward for more snap on jumps.”
TORQUE: The All-Everything Bikepark Ride
“Man, Torque is just a fun ride.”
It was a succinct, but very apt description Berrecloth had for a bike that does so much. Torque was brought back into the Canyon line after demand for a bikepark ride; a long-travel downhill rig capable of being pedaled back up the run. With 175mm of rear travel and 180mm up front, it has great big-hit capabilities and is confident handling at speed. Flick the rear shock’s compression lever, and it’s got plenty of support through the suspension, making it fully capable of climbing back up the hill.
For that reason, Berrecloth finds he’s on Torque a lot at home.
“It’s freeride and downhill oriented, but it’s completely capable of everything you need,” Berrecloth says. “You can build it lightweight and have a bike that almost rides like and enduro bike, or you can build it a bit heavier to be able to handle any descent making it a capable downhill machine… and it’s still not bad on weight, enough that you can pedal it back up the mountain. I love it. For serious all mountain, freeride or DH-type folks, it’s the sickest whip.”
STRIVE: Two Bikes in One
Our Strive is easy to pigeonhole as our enduro specialist, with 160mm of travel. And the results with our Canyon Factory Racing Team has proven it the best in category, with the team currently leading the Enduro World Series team points category. But it’s so much more.
“Strive is really two bikes in one,” Berrecloth says. “with the flick of a switch, you can have a bike that’s similar to the Torque, with tons of downhill capability."
That “flick-of-the-switch” statement refers to the Strive’s gamechanging signature feature, the Shapeshifter. Engage the Shapeshifter lever on the handlebar, and move from a slack-angled, plush downhill racer to a stiffer, more upright cross-country geometry. Climbing becomes more efficient, and thus you climb faster—with less effort. That means more energy and speed for the next segment.
“It’s so versatile,” Berrecloth says. “ you can almost go weight weenie on it and make it capable for cross-country racing. It’s just that good.”
In short, how you like to descend a mountain is up to you. Hack, send, race or climb, Berrecloth has it pegged: Canyon’s gravity range has you totally covered. But there's always one place to start: just point it down.