Our Visit to Canyon HQ
Cue in memories of Eurobike 2008, Day 1. It was the first time we ever saw a Canyon bike. Their beauty was obvious, but what mystified us was the against-the-grain way they sold their bikes: Consumer direct. The technological sophistication of their frames was as subtle as a hammer blow; their aesthetic appeal was mammoth; and their corporate branding was crafty. After all, Eurobike has long been the world’s most important trade show. The first 3 days of the show is always restricted to industry-only, then the 4th day is open to consumers. Canyon’s booth was the size of the Reichstag — a total non-necessity since 3 days of the audience (the wholesale & retail hordes) were exactly who Canyon does not sell & market to. In the very largeness of their presence to this irrelevant audience they gave voice to the thought we’ve long had: Bike industry status quo, you are broken. It was love at first sight. One part of it was the bikes, the other part of it was the corporate disposition. Cycling-mad, racing-mad, but decidedly non-conformist within its professional space: In Canyon we’d found kindred spirits.
Next came the 2 days of distracted thinking. Canyon. Racing pulse. Canyon. Urge to write poetry. Canyon. Crushes are brutal in their debilitation and focus only returned in a conversation with the CEO of one of our favorite brands, Franc Arnold of Ergon . We’d been killing it with our Ergon grip and pack sales all year, and in a celebratory chit-chat at the Ergon booth we learned of a happy coincidence that would ultimately change the fate of Competitive Cyclist: Franc’s brother Roman is CEO and chief brainiac of Canyon. We’d stumbled upon the German Bike Mafia (we hadn’t known it existed), and the door cracked open for us. Our dizzy crush got bumped aside by a calculated plan.
Fast forward to 2011. Our recent European walkabout included a three day summit at Koblenz, Germany, home of Canyon. What can we divulge? For one thing, the smile still hasn’t left our faces. And their bikes? We’re hopeful they’ll be available in the US by the end of 2011, and we’re optimistic that Competitive Cyclist will have some degree of involvement once it occurs. There are many devilish details being worked out. But if you’re interested in Canyon, please provide us your name, phone number, and email address , and we’ll be certain to contact you as a first priority, since any availability in 2011 will be highly limited.
In the meantime, some photos of their amazing facility –