Our visit only left us with enough time to explore the Canyon head office which doubles as their European public showroom. While current and soon-to-be Canyon customers perused the models on display, we took a peek behind some typically closed doors within the building where the development and testing takes place.
Where it all began
Although the first Canyon branded bike arrived in 1996, the company’s roots date back much further. Roman Arnold, Canyon Founder and CEO, began his cycling career racing as a Junior on the road. His father, looking to make better use of his time waiting on the road side while Arnold raced, began importing bike parts from Italy to sell to the public from a trailer.
In the years that followed this became a garage-based business run by Arnold and his brother, later expanding to include mail-order complete bikes under the ‘Radical’ label. Deciding the name wasn’t a fit for all tastes or markets ‘Canyon’ was born and began in earnest in the early 2000’s. Since then the brand has proliferated all corners of the cycling market through their innovative designs and direct-to-consumer model.
In the same building, tucked away from public eyes, the test lab is where Canyon products are put through their paces. A range of nondestructive tests will ensure stiffness and comfort is up to scratch while a set of more destructive test rigs are able to put a bike through a lifetime’s worth of use in as little as one week. This testing will be done on both development bikes and production models.
All forks and cockpits take a trip through this in-house CT scanner to ensure they are defect free before making their way to the hands of a consumer. Five of the same machines are on hand at the Canyon manufacturing facilities in the East to conduct similar checks.
The results of a scan will allow engineers to check for possible issues with wall thicknesses, de-lamination or wrinkles in the carbon which may cause weakness and lead to failure.
Over the years Canyon have upped their game when it comes to quality through improvements in the manufacturing and testing processes. Although for any brand it's near impossible to have a zero failure or return rate, Canyon have dramatically reduced return rates from low double digits to a mere 0.3-0.5% range.
The in-house prototype shop is where the team can whip up anything from custom rockers or mounts for Canyon athletes, custom test rig adaptors, to new components for development and testing.
A few kilometers outside of Koblenz, the Canyon Factory is where bikes are assembled and tested on the indoor test track, before being boxed ready to ship to your door. Unfortunately a tight time schedule meant we weren't able to squeeze in a visit to what sounds like an impressive facility. The folks at Canyon did supply us with a few pics to tide us over until our next visit....