Bike brand of the year

We asked, you answered. When it came to announcing our bike brand of the year, triathletes from around the world couldn't decide between Canyon and Cervelo. Check out the results and our look at what makes Canyon such a big player in the world of triathlon.

| December 13, 2016 | GEAR

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon Awards 2016: Bike brand of the year













Author >Kevin Mackinnon

Swipe me

When you're bike is ridden to a new world record, another Ironman world championship and is also ridden by the man with the fastest bike split on the Big Island, it should come as no surprise that your brand would be voted number one in our Awards.

Canyon Bicycles has become, since it rolled out its first bike in 1996, a huge player in the bicycle market. Over the last two years its seen remarkable growth - it's doubled the number of employees in the company and has seen about 30% growth in sales each year, too.

What makes Canyon different to almost every other brand is that they sell their bikes directly from the internet. By taking out the "middle man" Canyon is able to offer pretty impressive products for less than their competition.

"Our main goal is to democratize performance," says Nis Sienknecht, Canyon's brand manager for road, triathlon and cyclocross. "We want to let everyone be on a good bike."

Sienknecht, who used to work as the editor in chief of Triathlon Magazine in Germany, admits the concept of someone ordering a high-end bike online seems a bit strange, but thanks to some innovative website tools, Canyon is able to make the process work.

"Our online fitting system works really well," he says. "We've put a lot of work into the Perfect Positioning System (PPS)."

Ultimately, though, Sienknecht feels that Canyon's success has been due to the company's attention to detail.

"The reason I was interested in Canyon was that they pay really close attention to the small details," he says. "The engineers are focused on developing the best product and they have a lot of freedom to innovate."

Which is no-doubt one of the reasons the company's star triathlete, Jan Frodeno, has chosen to work with Canyon. In finalizing the bike he used to set a new world record in Roth and defend his title in Kona, Frodeno and his contacts at Canyon traded over 500 emails and tested every aspect of his equipment in the wind tunnel - including his shoes, pedals and helmets. Frodeno's bike even had a specially designed water bottle to accommodate the bars he prefers (very narrow) - Canyon's engineers had to use a 3D printer to create the bottle and there are only three on the planet.

Frodeno is hardly the only star that has managed to bring lots of attention to the Canyon brand over the last few years. Canyon sponsors two world-tour cycling teams - Movistar and Katusha Alpecin. The sponsor the Canyon SRAM women's racing team, too. On the triathlon front, in addition to Frodeno, they sponsor German's Boris Stein, Patrick Lange, Nils Frommhold, Bas Diederen, Marchs Fachbach and Anne Hauk along with Portugal's Joao Pereira.

All of which no-doubt helps bring recognition to the brand, but what likely contributes to Canyon's status as our bike brand of the year is the fact that so many triathletes can enjoy virtually the same technology their heroes are using at a more attainable price.

It's also fitting that Canyon and Cervelo both tied at the top of the bike brand field. Cervelo got its start in the world of triathlon, as did Canyon. Roman Arnold, who started Radsport Arnold (the company that would become Canyon) in 1985, was one of Jurgen Zack's sponsors back in the day. Arnold also worked closely with Dan Empfield, the founder of Quintana Roo, another brand with triathlon roots.

Congratulations, Canyon.'s first award is well-deserved.