Next-Gen Canyon Sender CFR Prototype DH Bike Gets Higher Pivot, Adds KIS Stabilizer

Prototype Canyon Sender CFR carbon DH race bike Tahnee Seagrave racing Bielsko Biala Szczryk


There's a lot going on with the next-generation Canyon Sender CFR prototype DH bike that we saw Tahnee Seagrave and a few of her Canyon CLLCTV colleagues race at the Bielsko-Biała World Cup over the weekend. First, the carbon downhill bike features a new high-end single-pivot suspension design with a passive pulley that should control chain tension. There is a complex set of contacts installed in the nest to drive either the air shock or the coil. And there are at least a few points to adjust the geometry or character of the suspension. Also, there is a Canyon/Syntace KIS steering stabilizer system hidden inside the toptube.

Let's take a closer look…

Unreleased Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon DH bike

(All photos/Cory Benson)

This new carbon Canyon CFR DH bike prototype is entirely based on the existing four-bar layout of the current Sender CFR.

In simple terms, it looks like this prototype shipper is Canyon's new high-end single-pivot design. From the rear axle, concentric with the rear pivot, that upper swingarm mounts directly to the frame on the main pivot just above the idler pulley. No, that's not just a place to stay.

There the rear end becomes more complicated when we look at what is on the left / non-driveside.

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill DH bike, non-driveside rear triangle detailsCanyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill DH bike, non-driveside rear triangle details

Here we can see that the lower swingarm is connected to a series of nested links that go around the bottom bracket. I won't lose too much sleep over trying this, and await a full explanation from Canyon when the new bike launches.

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing DH bike, rear suspension detailsCanyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing DH bike, rear suspension details

But the way it looks to me, is the following. The lower swingarm connects to a small control link that controls everything else. The rotation of that small control link revolves around the two short links that rotate in the bottom bracket to move the single end link that drives the shock. The shock link appears to be attached to the frame in front of the BB, to the control link visible in the window above the BB, and then to the 90° extension of the shock above that.

All the complex seems to be able to control how the movement of the rear wheels is translated to shock stroke.

But why the high pivot?

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill DH bike, Seagrave starts sprint at full powerCanyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill DH bike, Seagrave starts the sprint with full power

The single-pivot top design means a completely different rear axle mechanism, which first bounces off anything it hits, then moves up. The result is often said to feel like a smooth ride, that goes over square obstacles, and helps runners maintain their momentum in the rough parts of the race.

It also means the bike's chainstay length (the distance from the BB to the rear axle) increases during compression. That helps as the front center gets shorter when the telescoping fork compresses, so the stretchy rear end helps compensate, as the rider shifts their weight back to the maximum compression. And at the same time keeping the handling of the bike consistent, even more stable as you encounter big hits.

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing DH bike, close upCanyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing DH bike, close up

Disadvantages of the extended rear are usually chain growth and pedal kickback. But the idler pulley negates that. It is possible that this bike will not experience pedal kickback. Perhaps one of the main reasons Canyon went with this design for their DH race bike.

The passive structure creates a parallelogram with the rear derailleur to eliminate chain growth with fixed compression. You end up with a thin chain wrapped around the chainring, so chainguides are very important. That's why this bike gets an upper guide in front of the idler and a lower guide for the chainring. Essentially, just behind the BB spindle.

Also, an extra guide strapped to that low stay can't hurt a Seagrave. As we can see at the beginning of his sprint (above, from the non-driveside side), when he puts down a lot of power on the pedals on the tightest/smallest cog, the frame isn't too tight and his derailleur struggles to keep the chain tight.

Maintenance and other setup details

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill DH bike, details availableCanyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill DH bike, details available

Beyond the seemingly complex configuration of the frame structure to run the shock, we can also see more bike tuning between Seagrave and his CLLCTV team setup.

It appears (but I'm not 100%) sure that all three riders of this Canyon Sender example have a mullet set up bike with a 27.5″ rear wheel. But there seems to be enough room between the wheel and swingarm bridges to fit a 29″ rear tire in there, too. We suspect, somewhere in all these frame connections that a flip-chip will do or the size of the rear tire will be available.

The frame is truly adjustable to deliver different spring rates, with an adjustable top shock mount. Tahnee Seagrave rode a black mount that was turned up to match her Fox Float X2 Factory air shock. These guys both have lowered silver forks and are paired with an example RockShox BlackBox Vivid Coil (?) shock with automatic Flight Attendant controls.

The prototype Sender CFR also includes a headset for accessibility – almost angle adjustment, too. We know that Seagrave's race is up to 8mm, because here the mechanics wrote it on the side of his head tube. Just like they use pink paint to mark that the bolts throughout the bike are tight (and not moving.)

What about the KIS steering stabilizer?

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing DH bike, Tahnee Seagrave RacingCanyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing DH bike, Tahnee Seagrave Racing

As we can clearly see in those pictures (two above) showing why you should choose a high pivot, Tahnee Seagrave doesn't actually use the KIS system. But his bike apparently has a blank filler plate that Canyon offers to buyers who decide to remove the factory-installed steering wheel.

I have ridden the Syntace & Canyon KIS stabilizer system for several different bikes and ebikes over the past two years. And it's very interesting. But not everyone. Once you get used to them, it can really change the way you ride. It especially gives more confidence in loose turns and when going down rough tracks at high speed. But you have to relearn how to handle the bike at low speeds, too.

It seems that Seagrave is not seeing the benefit of his ride, at least not yet.

The guys at Canyon CLLCTV are racing the new Sender prototype with KIS

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill bike DH, Troy Brosnan layup C from April 2024Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill bike DH, Troy Brosnan layup C from April 2024

But, both Troy Brosnan and Luca Shaw raced the KIS spring lineup on their own versions of the Canyon Sender CFR downhill bike. Canyon had told me that the CLLCTV crew was scouting KIS. And now we can see that they are also running in the World Cup.

These two guys raced the X01 DH vs. Seagrave's Saint. Interestingly, Troy Brosnan uses the latest Maven Ultimate brakes which are described by SRAM as 'the most powerful ever'. But Luca Shaw clearly loves his long-reliable Code brakes.

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing DH bike, Luca Shaw rear fenderCanyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing DH bike, Luca Shaw rear fender

And both use an unreleased gravity tuner for RockShox's Flight Attendant suspension control system. As with World Champ Vali Höll's Tues, both use the Quarq AXS drive-side transmitter to send data on the ride. And without the DUB powermeter in the bottom row bracket. And both have a left AXS shift to override the default modes, if needed.

We could see two bolts on the swingarm bridge to install the fender. And here, Luca Shaw's bike has a small fender installed to protect the complex linkage structure from mud blasts.

Another curious suspension tweak, like Höll, Luca Shaw has the Flight Attendant control module on his RockShox BlackBoxxer fork 90° out of the way. But Troy Brosnan has his own control module that's a little more advanced (see the complete bike at work, above). Maybe, that's so he can see the bright light more clearly to make sure he's in the mode he chooses? Or even hide the disturbing light without looking under the bar?

You're ready for the race, but what about consumer readiness?

Canyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing bike DH, Luca Shaw racing with KIS steeringCanyon Sender CFR prototype carbon high single-pivot downhill racing bike DH, Luca Shaw racing with KIS steering

This is another gravity prototype that looks nicely finished in carbon. So, it should come quickly to the market, right? Maybe not so fast.

Brosnan's M-sized race bike has a hand-lettered “Layup C” on the side of the headtube with a date from last month, suggesting that even if the build was made, Canyon was still dialing in the final design. Both Shaw & Seagrave bikes also have lots of handwritten notes on them, too. My guess is that this Canyon Sender prototype will continue to be tested for the full 2024 DH race season. Before it gets into the hands of any consumer.

Finally, Canyon still lists the current CFR Sender as 'new' on their website, with new builds in stock, and no carbon bikes currently for sale. I think it's safe to say that this bike is the MY25 DH. So, we will try to wait patiently until then.

Canyon.com





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