Canyon just announced the patented Keep It Stable (K.I.S.) steering system which aims to improve rider control. Polymer fiber bands are attached to a cam ring around the fork steerer, and the bands are attached to an adjustable tension spring located inside the top tube. Canyon notes that vehicles like cars and boats also have systems for keeping steering centered. The brand goes on to describe the benefits of the system:
When it comes to bikes, the addition of a central reference point and counter force when steering offers clear benefits to almost every aspect of riding. From increasing stability at any speed and more predictable handling to filtering out front wheel deflections and reducing rider fatigue, K.I.S even helps to control drifts and minimize understeer. When the trail heads back uphill the system keeps on giving, making climbing more efficient by actively combating wheel flop, reducing the power surges required from the rider to maintain balance.
There’s a lot to unpack here. It seems reasonable that the system should help filter out some front wheel deflections by adding resistance to bumps that might otherwise throw the rider off line. And since riders naturally resist such deflections using muscle control, not having to do so (or at the very least, doing so less often or with less force) should reduce fatigue. Of course the flip side is when you do want to turn the bars there’s going to be some added resistance.
Reducing wheel flop on climbs is a promising benefit, and has the potential to allow head angles to go ever more slack. Wide bars also contribute to wandering wheels, so riders with the K.I.S. system might find they can go even wider.
At the very least it seems this system will take some getting used to, especially for experienced riders.
Mechanics and maintenance
Canyon says the K.I.S. system adds about 110g of weight, and should require zero maintenance since it is located inside the frame. One thing that is not clear is how the cam attaches to the fork steerer, and if this makes swapping the fork more involved.
A slider located on the top of the top tube is used to adjust the spring tension so riders can dial in the amount of stabilization they prefer. It’s not clear if this can be turned off completely for those who prefer traditional steering.
According to Canyon the system also features a rotation stop to keep the bars from impacting the top tube in a crash. This is similar to the headset stops Canyon has employed on the Spectral previously, and serves a similar purpose to Trek’s Knock Block.
The K.I.S. system is slated to be included on 2023 Spectral models staring in the summer. More info from Canyon.
We’ll update this post as we learn more about the Canyon steering stabilizer. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Jeff co-founded Singletracks.com with his wife Leah (mudhunny) in 1999. Today he works out of Singletracks World HQ in Decatur, GA as the Editor in Chief.