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SHAPESHIFTER VS MODEFIXXER
First, why would you need a Modefixxer and limit your bike’s capabilities? The Shapeshifter in the Canyon Strive has been the source of quite some issues with its introduction. The Shapeshifter has a small high pressure gas piston which had leaking issues in the 2015 model and personally I’m currently on my 3rd shapeshifter which is a 2016 model. While this is covered under warranty it does not inspire much confidence. You can now replace the Shapeshifter with the Modefixxer and create a simple, clean and maintenance free but fixed solution if that's what you are looking for.
The Modefixxer comes in two different types, the regular Modefixxer that locks the geometry in DH mode and the Modefixxer Pro which lets you set the bike in either TR(ail) of DH-mode. On the fly switching is not an option any more since generally the same procedure as replacing a Shapeshifter has to be followed. DH-mode is identical to DH-mode of the Shapeshifter but TR-mode is sits between DH and XC mode and is comparable to if the shapeshifter where to extend its piston halfway. Since this also changes the geometry, it means that compared to DH-mode your bottom bracket sits 10mm higher, and your bike’s head and seat tube angle are 0,75 degrees steeper.
Both types of the Modefixxer are made of CNC machined black anodized aluminum and in case of the Modefixxer Pro it also comes with 4 stainless steel bolts. The bushings are made of high wear resistant plastic with specifically high dirt resistance made by IGUS. The Modefixxer has a claimed weight of 55 grams and the Pro has a claimed weight of 95 grams. The Modefixxer Pro that I have here comes in at 91grams and you are shedding some weight compared to the Shapeshifter. The Shapeshifter, including cables and lever weigh 218gr, so you’re saving 127gr with the Modefixxer Pro.
The Modefixxer is priced at €67,77 and the Modefixxer Pro at €89,90. These prices include free shipping within the EU. This makes the Modefixxer Pro nearly as expensive as a new Shapeshifter which you can get for €79,95 excluding shipping. In my case the shipping costs are €7,90 (to The Netherlands) which makes the price difference about one euro.
Installation of the Modefixxer is really easy, especially if you already replaced the shapeshifter yourself before. The steps are identical and instead of installing the shapeshifter you now install the Modefixxer. The only thing that is worth noting is that you install only one arm of the Modefixxer Pro before pushing it on the axle. Since the Modefixxer has tighter tolerances you won’t be able to install it with both arms attached. But this is also explained in the short installation instructions. Additionally, you remove the cable and lever of the shapeshifter, resulting in a cleaner look. And that’s it, you don’t have to make any additional alterations to your bike.
Prior to taking your Canyon Strive out for a ride you have to determine what style of riding you are going to do, since you won’t be switching modes on the fly any more. Since the DH mode of the Modefixxer and Shapeshifter are identical I mainly focused on testing the Modefixxer Pro in Trail mode.
The way the bike handles in Trail mode is within the expectations, between XC and DH mode. The weight loss of 127gr wasn’t noticeable for me. For reference, I’m riding the Canyon Strive AL 6.0 Race which currently weighs about 14kg.
On windy narrow trails I found the Trail mode quite responsive. The bike still wants to change direction fast and feels more towards XC mode than DH mode. It’s not as soft as DH mode making it easier to switch direction faster and the slightly steeper head angle isn’t usually an issue due to a lack of extremely steep faces. The steeper head angle makes the wheelbase a tiny amount shorter making your turning circle smaller. XC mode tends to be somewhat stiff on the suspension side, and this is where trail mode finds a good balance on these trails.
As for climbing, DH isn’t mode isn’t suited for that. The change in geometry puts your weight more towards the rear of the bike and the softer suspension doesn’t help you climb up the hills. Trail mode however is a lot more manageable in the climbs. The suspension is a bit stiffer and the geometry puts your weight a bit more towards the front of the bike, however XC mode is still best for climbing.
Descending is where DH mode excels, by lowering your bottom bracket height, slackening the head angle, increasing the wheelbase and placing your weight more in the center of the bike while descending. Unless you’re doing some big jumps, very fast technical descents or bike parks in general you won’t really need DH mode. Trail mode covers most of it giving you a bit of that decreased head angle and decreased bottom bracket height over XC mode while not being that stiff on the suspension side.
I’ve ridden with the BikeYoke’s Modefixxer Pro for nearly 5 months without any issues, which I could hardly say about the 2015 model of the Shapeshifter. However, Canyon improved with the 2016 model making the real need of an alternative less. But where it more or less comes down to, is do you want to ditch XC mode and do you want the simplicity of one fixed mode. This all depends on the trails you ride and I can’t make that decision for you. What I can say is that Trail mode surprised me in a positive way and that I wouldn’t mind if that would be the only mode on bike since it’s very versatile. Setting it fixed in DH isn’t suited that for my local trails but I find it suitable for more downhill orientated tracks where you go to the top with an elevator. And I also don’t see the Modefixxer breaking down from a quality point of view. Something that I liked to have seen is a way to change the setting while the Modefixxer Pro is installed, thus not having to take your bike apart to change the mode.
I haven’t been calling the Modefixxer a backup to the Shapeshifter since it does not have the same functionality and for the same price you can just order a second Shapeshifter. I feel that the €89,90 is steep for a CNC’d piece of aluminum, but then again it’s made for a small market, there are no other alternatives and it’s a reliable product.
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