Canyon’s inspiring riders joined them in Koblenz at RIDE23 for a celebration of their success and plans were revealed to launch new products.
When Head of Sports Marketing, Stef Wyman, joined Canyon in mid-2022, he brought a vision to connect their athletes and ambassadors to Canyon. And that’s the premise of RIDE23 — to share stories, inspiration and goals with each other.
The Canyon showroom in Koblenz was the perfect setting to showcase an immense amount of talent. Stars from tarmac and dirt alike were invited to Canyon HQ for two days of action-packed activity. Where else can you see Tahnee Seagrave, Laura Philipp and Alejandro Valverde in the same room? But this wasn’t just an opportunity for their athletes to meet each other, this was very much a work day.
As part of his opening speech, Canyon CEO Nico de Ros Wallace drove home this message: “We’re going to be extremely open, we want your feedback, we want this to become a family and we want you to be a part of Canyon.”
Canyon’s founder and chairman Roman Arnold was emotional delivering a few words of gratitude. It’s clear that bringing together the world’s best meant so much to him. From selling bikes in his dad’s garage to seeing all his heroes in one room was quite overwhelming. The realisation of the world’s best riders choosing his bikes is an extraordinary achievement for Roman personally and the company as a whole.
Elite performance is at the heart of Canyon. They value the opportunity to supply the world’s most talented riders with their bikes. They also want these same people to know that their partnerships extend way beyond product.
Canyon wanted RIDE23 to be as interactive as possible. Riders weren’t there to just listen – they were invited by TV presenters Rob Hatch (Eurosport) and Vanessa Guerra (Red Bull) to contribute and share their thoughts throughout the day. And with the morning session focused on Canyon’s key pillars of growth, athletes were encouraged to talk about what the future holds for them.
Diversity and inclusion
Conversation was kick-started by Ronnie Lauke (CANYON//SRAM Team Manager), Tina Kalkschmidt (Diversity and Inclusion Specialist) and Stefan Wyman discussing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the sport of cycling. Ronnie was able to share the story and success of CANYON//SRAM Generation as the team wrapped up its first season. CANYON//SRAM Generation is a first in the professional cycling world with the goal to improve access to the sport to riders from underrepresented countries.
“Sometimes there’s resistance to diversity and inclusion because people already believe they’re doing a good job, so creating awareness over time was important. We held a ten-day training camp and each day the teams shared more and more,” said Tina referencing the joint training camp at the start of 2022. “We had to consider religion, language and culture when setting up the [Generation] team and Ricarda Bauernfeind played a big role in bridging the gap between cultures.”
The 22-year-old rider had an incredible season and has moved across to the Women’s WorldTour team for 2023 and beyond.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Yvonne Swoboda is Canyon’s Global Director of ESG working across all aspects of Canyon’s business. She showcased the process behind developing the so-called circular bike that was 3D printed by their in-house team of product developers. It was clear to see that innovation is central to overcoming the challenges our environment faces. And Canyon is proud to be leading on this.
Cutting edge secrets
The morning was wrapped up by revealing upcoming products that riders and the wider Canyon family can look forward to in 2023.
Stood in a vintage-style ‘Radsport Arnold’ responsibly-sourced woollen jumper, Global Director of Gear Stan Mavis took to the stage to unveil the latest kit developments and the results of his team’s hard work over recent years.
Laura Claus (Gear Marketing Manager) was met with rounds of applause as she spoke in detail of the trials and tribulations of these, as yet unreleased, products.
“We want to be as innovative in gear as we are for our bikes,” she said as she announced the new state-of-the-art items that will hit the shelves later in the year.
Evolution of the gravel revolution
Gravel riding has been a welcome breath of fresh, sun-kissed air for a few years now. And it was the turn of Matt Leake (Road Brand Manager) and Matthias Eurich (Road Product Manager) to shine a light on the future of Canyon’s world class gravel bikes. The biggest gravel races like Unbound generate the same amount of online attention as races like the Tour de France. The appetite for this discipline has never been bigger.
“It’s these events that inspire our designs and bike builds,” said Matt, hinting at what lies ahead for the range. “Our bikes are put through their paces by our athletes which leads to a trickle-down effect to everyday riders.”
Back to anything but basics
Elsewhere in the sport, and with fewer gears than any gravel rider would prefer, it was time to shine a light on the new track bike which debuted in Paris in October 2022.
Track cycling is often touted as the most organic form of cycling. With only one gear, the rider has nothing but their own engine to prove they’re worthy of the top step.
The engineers behind the new Canyon track bike discussed all the considerations that went in to designing a bike for the boards. And in doing so, revealed yet another key product development for Canyon soon to be available to the public.
“The US Cycling Federation endurance team rode this bike in the lead up to Track World Championships and we received really good feedback from them,” said Philipp Hardt, Road Product Manager.
Wolfi’s innovation lab
Wolfgang Kohl is Canyon’s dedicated road tech nerd. He loves nothing more than improving riders’ marginal gains. No better example of this was when Wolfi walked on stage with an armful of carbon prototypes. These were no ordinary accessories to success – they were fully customised using the latest 3D scanning technology and the lightest materials around. Summarising his motivation to the athletes in the room he said: “What drives Canyon’s innovation is your success.”
The changing face of cycling media
GCN presenter Simon Richardson, GMBN presenter Neil Donoghue and HookIt Director Peter Abels jumped on the sofa to chat about the ever-changing cycling media landscape.
At the forefront of this change has been Global Cycling Network (GCN), which launched in 2013. Not only have they been a driver of change but they’ve also had to adapt to the audience. As a multi-channel hub for cycling content, they’ve had to learn and understand how to create captivating content that keeps audiences engaged at every skill level.
As 2023 marks the first year that Eurosport and Discovery+ takes charge of the Mountain Bike World Cup broadcasting rights. Neil Donoghue is particularly excited to showcase the personalities within the sport and make mountain biking more accessible than ever before.
Canyon’s family of athletes and ambassadors listened intently as the team discussed everything from algorithms and social media to content formats and attention spans.
This Rider premiere
Throughout 2022, Canyon have been telling stories of their athletes and ambassadors. From Annemiek van Vleuten’s penultimate year in the peloton to Jenny Tough and Emily Chappell’s battles with body image, the series puts the spotlight on untold, heartfelt stories.
Everyone at RIDE23 was treated to the premiere of the story of Dante Young. The maverick Miami Blazers rider had a very different upbringing to his fellow athletes and this film exposed just how hard it can be to realise your potential.
After the film’s premiere, Dante joined Rob and Vanessa on stage for an exclusive interview that delved more into the themes in the film.
That’s a wrap
A long day of conversation was wrapped up with one final surprise. A short video message from Canyon ambassador Valtteri Bottas revealed the fun was only just beginning. Though he was unable to join them in Koblenz, the Formula 1 star wanted to ensure everyone else had a taste of his world.
The next day, a coach whisked the athletes off for an electric karting experience at Nürburgring. As could be predicted with a group of athletes, competitive pride kicked in, making for a true Canyon family feeling for everyone who made the trip to Germany.
Win a bike signed by over 30 Canyon pros!
While they were at RIDE23, Canyon athletes signed a one-of-a-kind Canyon Roadlite. To be in with a chance of winning it, head over to the Crowdfunder page. All donations go towards helping Bikes4Masai, a charity cofunded by Movistar and Carlos Verona.