I have had my 9 SL a few weeks now and I'd say the points MBUK have raised about the frame and the way it rides, are spot on. The bike is fantastic spec for the money but like has been said above, the rear is very linear and blows though it's travel with ease, due to a combination of the frame design and the large can CTD shock. At 16st I had to fit the largest volume reducer supplied in the Fox kit which has made the rear a lot more progressive from the mid stroke and cured the blowing through problem, at the expense of some small bump sensitivity, but not much.
The forks are also very linear and it is well known the 2013 34 CTD TALAS suffers from this, diving under braking is very noticeable. Fox have changed the internals design of this fork for 2014 and is apparently much improved. I've read on PB that a relatively inexpensive mod kit will be available to bring the 2013 fork up to 2014 spec but I've yet to confirm this with Mojo.
The bars are maybe a touch narrow for this type of bike, at 725mm, but I think this is down to personal preference. I have 685mm bars on my Giant Anthem so when I climb on the Strive, it feels like the bars are wide to me anyway. With the massive value for money spec the Strive offers, a change of bars isn't going to be a financial killer.
For a 31lb bike, it climbs really well. I drop the fork travel on steep climbs especially if there are tight switchbacks and the bike handles beautifully. Downhill is limited by my lack of skill/ability, but I can say, the bike has given me much more confidence going down than I ever had before I bought it.
Knowing Canyon are about to start supplying the 2014 Strive with Float X rear shocks and the 2014 TALAS forks, I would say the OP should wait until seeing what the new spec and pricing is before taking the plunge. One thing is guaranteed though, you'll be buying a lot of bike for your cash.
So far, I've had no tech issues with the linkages but having read on the web that some parts of the linkage had been known to loosen, I torqued everything up to spec before using the bike. Nothing was loose except the rear mech sheer bolt, which if I hadn't checked could in time have cost me an XTR mech plus any other damage had it become mangled.