When mountain biking over rough terrain, a fair bit of effort goes into keeping the front wheel from being deflected to one side by roots, rocks or other obstacles. Canyon Bicycles has set out to make things easier, with its KIS self-centering steering system.
Standing for “Keep It Stable,” KIS was designed for Canyon by fellow German manufacturer Syntace. The technology is also being offered on bikes made by Syntace-owned company Liteville.
In a nutshell, the setup consists of two side-by-side springs located inside the top tube, which are joined via two polymer fiber bands to a cam ring that encircles the steerer tube. As the front wheel and handlebars turn to one side, the spring on the opposite side gently pulls them back towards a forward-facing home position – importantly, it doesn’t yank them, so riders can still steer with no problem.
Utilizing a mechanical slider control on top of the top tube, it’s possible to adjust spring tension based on factors such as the rider’s size, weight and riding style, along with the local terrain. The slider is locked and released by tightening and loosening an integrated hex bolt, so it can’t be moved accidentally.
And as an added bonus, a built-in rotation stop keeps the system from over-extending, as it doesn’t allow the front wheel to turn too far to either side.
According to Canyon, KIS is designed to assist riders in three ways. First of all, it helps them hold their line while going through rough sections, reducing both the likelihood of accidents and the effort required to hold the wheel straight. Secondly, it boosts confidence while riding at high speeds. And finally, it keeps the front wheel from flopping from side to side while climbing, allowing riders to concentrate more on pedaling and less on correcting their steering.
The whole system reportedly weighs just 110 grams (3.9 oz), and requires no maintenance. It’s debuting on Canyon’s Spectral CF 8 KIS trail bike, although other models should soon follow.
There’s more information in the following video.
CANYON SPECTRAL K.I.S | The next evolution in steering dynamics