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Canyon Bikes: Behind the website

What happens to your bike after you click 'BUY' on Canyon's website? Stu Kerton makes a behind the scenes visit to Canyon's new state of the art bike assembly plant...

Canyon are something of a phenomenon in the bike world. The German company's combination of direct internet sales linked to cutting edge design and technology, usually at a much more affordable price than its competitors, has proved a winning formula.  Growth has been rapid and with it there have been growing pains. The implementation of a new software system as their new assembly line came on stream last year lead to frustrations all round.

On the back of that Canyon invited us over to Germany to see exactly what they were trying to achieve and how they were working to clear the backlog of orders. last visited Canyon Bikes back in August of 2013 and a lot has changed since then, most notably the opening in October of their brand new warehouse and production facility which houses a state of the art assembly line and enough room to store 14,000 bikes. We popped over to Koblenz to take a guided tour.


Due to the rapid growth of Canyon expansion was necessary so just a few kilometres drive from Canyon Home (that’s what they call the HQ building) you’ll find their new factory looking pretty imposing with its matt black slab-sided walls and fifty thousand square meter footprint.

This building is arguably one of the most advanced facilities in the cycle industry and is primarily used for building bikes. Canyon have their frames, forks and components manufactured in the Far East but final assembly of each model is done here in Germany.

At full capacity three hundred and seventy-five bikes a day (eight hour shift) will come off of the assembly line though it hasn't been without its problems. The new setup had teething troubles right from the beginning which had a huge knock on affect to customer delivery times, especially in the UK. It was a hard time for Canyon with- as we reported at the time - many customers taking to social media to vent their frustrations. 

Some days the line was only running for 60% of the shift and with each stop and restart needing a twenty minute reboot it was quick to see why they fell behind schedule so quickly.

Due to the backlog Canyon have had to continue assembling at their previous factory too where they have a maximum capacity of one hundred and eighty bikes in an eight-hour shift. The new facility is currently alternating between a week of nine-hour shifts and running all day on a Saturday.

Canyon believe they’ve now resolved the transition issues and the delivery date you see on the website is the one you’ll be unwrapping your new bike.

Restricted Entry

Security is tight and once you've passed through the ID card activated turnstiles and two electronically locked doors you find the inside is typically Canyon, clean, organised and uncluttered with large expanses of glass everywhere to let plenty of light in. The two hundred odd staff (it’s not only production here, you’ll find IT, Purchasing and Finance departments too) get a large locker room with showers and drying facilities which considering most of them cycle to work is very well used. There is also a large canteen with its own chef, vending machines and of course – table football.


From the canteen, full height glass panels give you your first glimpse of the assembly line - this is it.

Canyon’s Head of Logistics is an ex-BMW employee and you can see his influence as soon as you set foot on the shop floor as it is basically a miniature version of an automotive factory.

The line comprises of twenty-three stations, each with a team member who has a specific job to do as the frames continuously pass by before coming off of the end a completed bike. The first operations being frame preparation like facing of the bottom bracket shell, headsets, that kind of thing before cockpit, groupsets and the rest get added.




The line travels at a speed to balance efficiency and precision, after all it's no point building hundreds of bikes that then need to be re-assembled or fettled all over again.

You certainly don’t want operatives pulling the ‘red ball’ (an emergency stop cord above each station) either for a rushed fudged part installation due to that twenty minute reboot time.

With time will come refinement which will see efficiency rise to hit that full capacity although there is still a little way to go as on the day we arrived the output was two hundred and twenty bikes, the operatives had hit the daily target though.



Once completed each bike gets a test ride on the indoor track, a simple marked lane up the side of the facility where brakes and gears are tested to make sure everything is spot on before it reaches the customer.

If everything is good it gets passed over to the Dispatch area where the bike will be placed into one of Canyon’s bespoke bike boxes. If you’ve not seen one before it’s an oversized bike box which allows the bike to placed inside practically fully assembled, all you’ll have to do is add the handlebars, seatpost and front wheel. The Ultimate CF SLX we’re currently testing arrived in one and assembly took all of fifteen minutes.

On a full production day Dispatch can be boxing and packing up to six hundred bikes a day into the backs of lorries which, when you include components and accessories orders can see two thousand parcels per day leaving the factory within fourteen hours of you clicking 'buy' with your mouse if it's on the shelves.


Three of the four goods in/goods out bays were being used for deliveries the day we were there though thanks to lorry loads of SRAM boxes turning up.

It truly is amazing how many components are delivered and stored within the facility which is why Canyon needed the twenty-eight thousand square meters of warehousing containing rows and rows of racking reaching thirty meters high. Every product on the shelving is scanned and traced too from the moment it enters the building to the moment it leaves.

Teams of pickers on forklifts or electric pallet trucks whizz around the factory moving parts to where they need to go guided by the details downloaded to their wrist worn tablet devices. The factory runs three different computer systems to keep track of everything.

Each range of bikes are built in batches which is dependent on customer orders and component deliveries as well, suppliers like Shimano also manufacture in batches too you see. This is what creates the bike's delivery date on the Canyon website.



To make sure the assembly line is running smoothly a picker will have a full list of components for each bike so these will be scanned and delivered to each work station, boxes of bottom bracket cups, bolts, cables and the like all neatly aligned in easy reach for the assembly operative.     

Selling components and kit is also part of the business, that’s how Canyon started off after all so there are also rows and rows of helmets, shoes and accessories taking up space in the warehouse.

So there you have it, a pretty impressive facility don’t you think.

Although with sales of bikes expecting to hit 100,000 a year within the foreseeable future don't expect this to be the final Canyon factory to be built, they've already earmarked the land either side for expansion.


Canyon Home

Canyon shop display.JPG

Canyon’s HQ is located on the outskirts of the city and it’s the main hub of everything that is going on within the company. You’ve got the shop which is open to the public selling the bikes, clothing, accessories and components from a range of manufacturers with one of the coolest interiors you’ll see. TV’s playing demo videos and an in-store cafe.

Canyon Speedmax CF SLX.JPG

There is a service hub too, a small room where you drop your bike off for repair and servicing before it’s taken into the main workshop for a fettle by one of the twenty or so mechanics, each at a fully stocked work station.

In here you’ll also find the frankly amazing demo fleet, virtually every model in a variation of builds and sizes are available for prospective customers to take a test ride.

It's like your local bike shop on steroids.

Canyon test fleet 2.JPG


Behind closed doors

Canyon may outsource their production to Asia but the design, development and testing is done right here behind the locked doors of their own Secret Squirrel section. Dave Arthur took you around this area in his previous piece so I won’t dwell too much, there have been a few additions though.

Remember this X-ray machine?

Canyon x_ray machine 2.JPG

A device that cost Canyon a cool half a million Euro’s but it’s something they wouldn’t be without. So much so that some of their frame suppliers now have them too by Canyon's request – especially those who are manufacturing the top end Ultimate’s or Aeroad's for example with their lightweight, thin walled tubes.

Every frame is checked before it leaves the factory plus Canyon HQ then rechecks 5% of each batch at random before assembly. The same goes for carbon components like forks and the H36 Aerocockpit one-piece handlebar and stem – 100% of them are X-rayed in Koblenz with the computer software not only storing the image against the components serial number but also a 3D model created from the scan. This gives Canyon full traceability of each component from manufacture to customer.

Canyon fork 3D model.JPG


Destructive testing also takes place at the HQ with the likes of this machine and jig for testing fork leg fatigue.

A load of 620N is applied in both a forwards and backwards direction for 100,000 cycles to make sure it passes.

Canyon fork deflection testing.JPG


For production of small prototype parts Canyon have also invested in their own five axis CNC milling machine. Another huge outlay but working alongside 3D printers they can produce new components and brackets in tiny batches before going to full production.

The R&D department works closely with their pro teams too with both Movistar and Katusha being assigned their own Canyon engineers who work with them at every single race passing back feedback from the riders to the development team.


What’s next?

Canyon are still growing at an outstanding pace with, as I said earlier, the expectance of selling 100,000 bikes per year pretty soon. Once the new production facility is up to full speed they are expecting to be shipping 750 bikes a day plus be able to offer fully customisable bike builds – various bar tape, tyre and saddle colours for example.

What about discs I hear you ask? Well we know they’re coming – after all we saw Kristoff's Tweet the other day didn’t we but Canyon aren’t in any rush to release something they aren’t 100% confident with giving the impression they are watching the whole disc thing to see where standards and the like are going.


As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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CanAmSteve | 8 years ago

23 stations and 220 bikes. So call that ten bikes/station (one worker each, I assume).

No doubt that can improve a bit further and no doubt stations can be added. Which causes be to think - where do they intend to sell all these bikes?

There's something missing in this article, which is the specifics of the hold-ups. It's not just component availability - there are always options there - most likely it was a combination of factors.

But with that volume, look for a new line of Canyon e-bikes - I mean consumer models, not the TdeF specials  1 E-bikes are really the only growth area in the EU cycling market, and this plant is designed for growth. Very interesting and I wish them well.


Milkfloat | 8 years ago
1 like

I see the Canyon media machine is still the best part of the company.  If only they spent as much time and effort trying to placate the customers they totally pissed off last year.  Even during the time they had such problems the media side of things were still peddling their lies.

hsam | 8 years ago
1 like

I ordered an Inflite last Autumn, it arrived on time and has provided miles and miles of enjoyment over the winter. Their customer service guys were always helpful and the bike was super easy to set up. Give them a break...they make really nice bikes for far less than alot of other manufacturers.

jmmccann | 8 years ago

I ordered my Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2 in January and it arrived early in March well ahead of the scheduled delivery date.

It is a wonderful machine and is a pleasure to ride.

A club colleague of mine purchased the same model recently. He ordered his only a few weeks ago and has already recevied it. He is also very happy.

The Canyon problems were well aired but it seems to me that they are now well on top of things. They appear to be under promising and over delivering which is a good way to operate when you have had these sort of problems which now seem to be in the past.

Could not be happier - great bike, great price, great delivery.

olic replied to jmmccann | 8 years ago
1 like

Don't suppose you saw some 400m bars and a 110mm stem? Been waiting over 2 months.

jmmccann wrote:

I ordered my Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2 in January and it arrived early in March well ahead of the scheduled delivery date.

It is a wonderful machine and is a pleasure to ride.

A club colleague of mine purchased the same model recently. He ordered his only a few weeks ago and has already recevied it. He is also very happy.

The Canyon problems were well aired but it seems to me that they are now well on top of things. They appear to be under promising and over delivering which is a good way to operate when you have had these sort of problems which now seem to be in the past.

Could not be happier - great bike, great price, great delivery.

It's OK now when you just want a bike to that exact spec. If you want to get a different bar/stem length combo then good luck.

phil72 | 8 years ago

What happens to your Canyon bike when you click "Buy"

Are you having a fucking laugh?

pruaga | 8 years ago

My Ultimate was ordered in January, knowing it would be a March delivery.  It arrived about 2 weeks later than the original shipping date.

The only negative thing I have to say about the ordering process is that they reduced the prices on the website between ordering and shipping.  When I contacted them they agreed to honour the lower price and gave me free shipping and box.  I doubt they would have done anything if I hadn't noticed and contacted them.

The bike is great, but one negative thing is that the polished protective bit on the side of the headtube to prevent cable rub is in the wrong place!  It's just way too high up, even with my stack of spacers still in.  This doesn't like an assembly problem, I think it was just designed wrong.

nickbd | 8 years ago

Received my Ultimate last week (ordered in January). Was actually a week earlier than Canyon UK told me, but I think that's down to them saying UPS would take at least a week, when it actually turned up two days after leaving Canyon.

V. impressed and the bike's near-perfect - only thing I think is missing is a little plug for the seat post hole, but I may have missed it in all the boxes etc...

Main problem now with the bike is me wanting to spend more time admiring it than riding it.

thereandbackagain | 8 years ago

All looks very shiny and efficient. Hopefully they can improve on the last two Canyon's brought to me by customers where on one:

  • the Di2 cabling at the shifters was incorrect installed, meaning the plugs kept pulling out
  • and the other where a mech hanger bolt was stripped out of the box, so the bike wouldn't shift correctly.  Shouldn't ever have left the factory like that.

Now, I know this is anecdote, and I can totally understand the business model they're in makes sense. But to make it really work their aftersales support needs to be impeccable, and I don't think it's there yet.

Still, looking like they are getting on top of things, wheras last year I'm pretty sure this how things were going in the logistics team.


Eomera | 8 years ago

What happens to your bike after you click 'BUY' on Canyon's website?

You wait 6 months to get the bike, that's what happens

bendertherobot | 8 years ago

What happens when you click buy........cue comments. Can you probe them a little more on their belief and whether that is actual fact.

stenmeister | 8 years ago

Excellent feature. This is at it's best.laugh

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