A Canyon Wide Divide

Missing the link between rider and bike

Posted by Philip Cavell

27th July 2016


Canyon Perfect Position System - or a leap into the unknown?

A Canyon-Wide Difference.
I don’t normally comment on other brands because I think it is generally bad manners. Now I am going to contradict myself. First off I don’t think Canyon are bad bikes per se; actually they are pretty good. A bit generic for my personal taste, but that is hardly a criticism in itself because not much comes up to my implausibly high aesthetic standards. I do take issue, however, with Canyon’s service and in particular their bike-sizing/fitting offering.

Is It Only A Piece Of The Logo Missing?
The Canyon truncated logo says it all to me, in the sense that there is a bit missing off the bottom of the logo because there is a bit missing from their service. Their business model is to turn the pure joy of researching, choosing and owning your new bicycle to a transactional digit click - even when one click can represent almost £7,000. Understandably some people get a jittery finger at the last minute and book into see us to make sure the fit/sizing/geometry are worthy of their not inconsiderable investment.

Jimmy Laura

Understanding a rider's physiology and psychology is crucial for a good bikefit

Case Study
Recently a client came in on a Saturday afternoon, and I personally sat with him for over an hour after the Cyclefit, overlaying drafts and converting X/Y’s to Stack and Reach to ensure he could order the correct model and size and moreover set it up to his perfect position. But surely this is Canyon’s job to offer a service level commensurate with the price-tag of the product being offered and purchased, I asked the client? He mentioned that he had gone through their PPS(Canyon Perfect Position System) online fitting application but didn’t feel ‘reassured’ enough. I should think not. Despite the snappy acronym, the collection of static morphological data to predict bike position, is at least twenty years out of date and everything that Cyclefit’s DNA has been fighting against for 15 years.

“Most of the data points that are captured by Canyon are so irrelevant to scientific, modern, dynamic fitting that we simply don’t bother to collect them”

Jules works with Fabian Cancellara utilising Trek Precision Fit methodology and equipment -  Belgium 2014 - View Clip

Static v's Dynamic Sizing/Fitting
Most of the data points that are captured by Canyon are so irrelevant to scientific, modern, dynamic fitting that we simply don’t bother to collect them - torso-length, arm-length, body-height, for example. None of these will tell you anything about a rider’s limitations in achieving a posture - hamstring length, sacrum angle, hip-flexion range, injury history, current pain etc are all much more important. Morphological data stands for nothing if the rider can’t actually sustain a position on the drops on their new bike once it arrives. How an individual rider functions dynamically will inevitably influence both their perfect geometry, size and eventual baseline position. 
Interestingly in most cases where we become the back-stop to an outbreak of internet-purchase cold-feet, the rider generally ends up with a different size to the one they thought they wanted.

Intellectual v’s The Expedient
I really thought we had won this intellectual argument around 14 years ago. Either we didn’t really or this static model or PPS is expedient to the model of online transactional selling of very expensive bicycles?

Katusha and Movistar?

I guess the ultimate litmus test has to be what fitting system these two Pro Tour teams to fit their riders to their bikes? Do Movistar and Katusha they use their sponsor's PPS or some other protocol? And if the answer is no, why not? We like manufacturers who are making the effort to replicate for their customers, the rarefied experience that their professional riders get - Trek (Trek Precision Fit) and Specialized (Body Geometry / Retul) for example. See picture and clip above of Jules using TPF (Trek Precision Fit) with Fabian Cancellara in Belgium 2014, just before his Tour of Flanders win. 


Our mission and new tagline is “Making Cycling Better” (see top image). It reflects our long history of pioneering research, education and status as industry leaders. So whilst it was my first instinct to no longer allow ourselves to become the missing piece of Canyon’s service jigsaw, I also don’t want people to be unhappy on unsuitable or ill-fitting bikes. Having folk ride around in pain or injured is wholly negative for the entire bike industry. But I would implore everyone to ask themselves as they spend north of £7000 if the experience they are having could feel a little more special? From the cappuccino they are not sipping, through to the relationship they are not forming with a skilled technician who won't be able to hold their interests close to their heart over many years?

Right to Reply
We would like to give Canyon or any other company that only sells bikes online the right to reply. Any reply we will publish in full on this page.
We are also willing to take part in an Industry Podcast discussion on the subject if Canyon and Wiggle would like to contribute?

About the Author

Philip Cavell

Co-founder, bike fitter and bike designer. Phil rides a Seven titanium disc bike. He likes dogs and fine wine. - Cyclefit Store