Michael Hanslip Coaching

If you want to go faster, you have to pedal harder

Canyon Sender CFR

For 2021, Canyon released an all-new Sender. All models and sizes get a 29" front wheel with the rear wheel size dictated by the frame size. Small and Medium get a "Mullet" with a 650B rear wheel, while Large and XL get two wheels the same size.

The shock linkage looks superficially the same as on the previous generation, but the shock now links to the downtube rather than the top tube - bringing the weight lower in the frame.

Frame dimensions went longer, lower and slacker. I chose the Sender as one of perhaps 3 DH bikes that had a 50+cm reach. The other two were the Commencal Supreme and the YT Tues.

The bike was offered in two specs - the more expensive version used Rock Shox suspension and the XO1 DH group. As I was really after an air sprung bike, and the Super Deluxe shock and Boxxer forks were exactly that, this was my bike.

Neither colour scheme inspired me. Either a red and white option I didn't care for, or boring black. I knew I'd do something to it from new - and adding the blue and white hibiscus pattern was the choice I made (thanks to Peter at Bunnyhop bike wraps for making a custom kit to suit my Sender).

I modified only a couple of components from the OEM spec. I added my used E*13 LG1+ DH pedals (with really grippy DMR pins), I swapped the front DHRII for an Assegai putting CushCore inside both tyres while I was at it (and Stan's sealant) and I added 220mm rotors to both wheels. I decided to run the rear wheel in the longer wheelbase position to better balance the long front centre and don't plan to try the shorter position anytime soon.

It wasn't 100% perfect out of the box. Canyon sent it to me without the stem bolts and the Australian office didn't seem willing to source the four bolts for me. The chain guide rubbed on the chain stay - unforgivable if you ask me. But these things were easily remedied.

Canyon designed the Sender to have an adjustable reach. The headset bearings fit in cups that fit into the frame. As shipped, it comes with cups that have the bearing seat centred in the cup. It also ships with an offset cup that moves the bearings either +8 or -8 mm from the standard position. What they don't tell you is that you may not use the shorter position with Boxxer forks. I would be so angry if I needed the shorter reach and purchased the bike only to find out I couldn't do that unless I had Fox forks.

It was a few years since I sold my 26" wheel DH bike. I didn't know what I'd think of the very long, big wheeled Sender. I shouldn't have been worried as it felt right from the first ride. In fact, the Sender feels the most right of any bike I've ever ridden. I can't put my finger on it - it isn't the longest reach bike nor the most extreme in any dimension. It simply goes where you want and does everything effortlessly while inducing a big grin and generating easy speed.

I pedalled it down the hill from my house to Mt Stromlo. Then I hit the little jumps line on Evolution. As expected, I could run the full trail without touching the brakes (which gave me the confidence to do the same thing on the trail bike). It jumps with confidence-inspiring stability and predictability. Going back up the hill to get the Sender home was less fun, but I didn't have to walk at any point so it was OK.

I feel like there is so much more speed and capability in the bike than I'm an extracting. But even at my pace it is big fun. I really love the Sender.

With the length, it won't fit in my Evoc bike bag. I'll have to buy a new one before I go on a plane with the bike. The Albek bag looks like a good copy of the Evoc, with some marked changes to accommodate modern long frames. Looks like it might be 2+ years old before I get a chance to go anywhere further than Thredbo with it.
I've had around 20 days at Thredbo over the last 2 seasons and around 16 days have been with the Sender. It is so much more comfortable on the chatter at Thredbo that I might not take the trail bike back there again. I can (only) just get up the little climb on the Upper All Mountain trail with the DH bike - it would actually be easy if the gearing was lower. XO1 DH has only 7 gearing choices and they are all pretty high options (it is meant for DH racing after all).
Thredbo bike carrying is decidedly NOT set up for bikes as long as this one. On the Gunbarrel chair, where you hang your bike on a hook on the outside of the chair and then sit down and self-retrieve at the top, someone (sometimes the lifty does it for me) has to walk the bike to the end of the concrete pad so it doesn't get caught (and damaged). On the Merritt's Gondola, it hangs so low that the rear wheel doesn't sit in between the sway control arms. Were it to sway, the arms would damage rear wheel spokes. We watched it get pushed by the gondola guidance system entering the middle and top stations, which isn't much of a deal if the bike is in the rear position, but one could imagine a problem occurring if it was in the front position. On the Kosciusko Chair, there are two bike carriers on the rear of each seat. These are easy to use, but once my bike was dumped from the carrier as it entered the summit station. After a long talk with the Lift Services Manager I learned that they can't move the bikes upwards very much at all before they start to interfere with operating clearances for that Doplmeyer Chair; that only a handful of bikes per season fall out; that they lost a lot of 29ers the first season 29ers started showing up (they had to change the tilt of the bike rack on each chair to remedy that) and that Gunbarrel will be getting a higher capacity option next summer. Tilting the bike to the outside of the chair gets the rear wheel away from the concrete pad at the summit station and is my new mode of operating for the ride up. I hope it never falls out of any lift ever again.