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Tokyo Olympics: Mathieu van der Poel's Manga-inspired Canyon Lux

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Mathieu van der Poel Olympic Manga Canyon Lux

Mathieu van der Poel's Tokyo 2020 Olympic XCO mountain bike (Image credit: Canyon Japan)
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Mathieu van der Poel Olympic Manga Canyon Lux

Canyon Lux frameset looking the part with its Manga-themed paint design (Image credit: Canyon Japan)
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Mathieu van der Poel Olympic Manga Canyon Lux

Van der Poel's bike was kitted out with Fox suspension (Image credit: Canyon Japan)
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Mathieu van der Poel Olympic Manga Canyon Lux

The Canyon Lux has 10mm of suspension front and rear and has a full Shimano XTR groupset (Image credit: Canyon Japan)
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Mathieu van der Poel Olympic Manga Canyon Lux

No dropper post could have made the difference in avoiding the huge over the bars (Image credit: Canyon Japan)

The bike many thought would win mountain biking gold in Tokyo, did not prevail. But at least, Mathieu van der Poel's bike looked very on-trend.

Van der Poel had a nightmare experience at the Olympics. The Dutch superstar was favored to win, but his entire race came undone, on lap one.

Van der Poel attempted to roll the rock drop and crashed heavily. After remaining on the ground for a minute, he valiantly tried to resume his race, but to no avail.

According to Canyon team rider, he thought the wooden bridge from practice would remain in place, for the race. It is a great pity, as there is no question that Van der Poel has the bike skills, to easily launch and land a drop, of that size.

Despite the disappointment of not finishing in Tokyo, the bike Van der Poel was on, certainly matched his event ambitions.

Using Canyon’s Lux frame, the Van der Poel Olympic bike build was a celebration of all things good about Shimano and Fox - built to the standards that underscore the best lightweight mountain bikes.

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Mathieu van der Poel of Team Netherlands suffers a fall ahead of Thomas Pidcock of Team Great Britain during the Men's Cross-country race on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Mountain Bike Course

A huge crash in the first lap put paid to van der Poel's Olympic race (Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Mathieu van der Poel of Team Netherlands suffers a fall ahead of Thomas Pidcock of Team Great Britain during the Men's Cross-country race on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Mountain Bike Course

Van der Poel was one of the pre-race favorites (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
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Mathieu van der Poel of Team Netherlands crosses a bridge on the circuit during the Men's Cross-country race on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Mountain Bike Course

Van der Poel rode his Canyon Lux in the Olympic XCO race (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Why no dropper?

Unlike many of his rivals, who use SRAM’s AXS wireless shifting, Van der Poel prefers the mechanical feel of Shimano’s latest XTR 1x11 drivetrain. This is matched with XTR brakes and the latest Ice-Tech rotors.

In Tokyo, the extremely dusty conditions, had Van der Poel selecting Maxxis Ikon tires.

Suspension color was as close to gold as this Canyon Lux bike got, with a Kashima-coated Fox Factory fork and shock. Despite being a large rider, van der Poel opted for the Fox 32 Stepcast fork, instead of a Fox 34.

Many will question the absence of a dropper seatpost on the Van der Poel bike. 

Could that potentially have saved him, from going over the bars? Many riders in Tokyo were running dropper seatposts and Fox released one of the lightest droppers you can get, only a few months ago. In terms of his saddle, Van der Poel uses a personalized Selle Italia Flite Boost MVDP Edition, a perch we featured on sister site Cyclingnews.

The standout feature of Van der Poel’s Tokyo Lux is inarguably its graphic design. Applying a Manga theme to the pearlescent white frame, created a bike that looked very at home, in Japan.

Tech Specs: Mathieu van der Poel's Manga-inspired Canyon Lux

  • Frame: Canyon Lux CF SLX
  • Fork: Fox 32 SC 100mm
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS 100mm
  • Groupset: Shimano XTR
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR
  • Wheelset: Unbranded carbon 28mm rims with Shimano XTR M8110 hubs
  • Handlebars / Stem: Canyon CP0008 integrated cockpit, 720mm bars, 115mm stem, -22 degree stem angle
  • Grips: ESI Grips chunky
  • Seatpost: Canyon
  • Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Boost MVDP Edition
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR
  • Tires: Maxxis Ikon
Lance Branquinho
Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born media professional who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his fascination with trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. Rides: Morewood Kwela Cotic Simple 26 Pyga 160mm aluminium prototype