There’s this strange twilight zone between excitement and feeling a bit bummed when a new version of your favorite piece of gear comes out. That’s what I felt when I heard that Canyon was bringing out a whole new Spectral. It’s Canyon’s answer to the challenge of making a complete trail bike and a bike we reviewed in 2016. That review was quite positive, and so much so that when I knew I had to give the Spectral 8.0 AL EX back to Canyon, I looked at the contents of my bank account, then looked at my wife (who smiled back 😉) and bought the bike.

Videoreview Canyon Spectral 8.0 AL EX

Spectral CF 9 LTD

So my own sweet bike has been thoroughly upgraded. The frame lines have been changed a bit, the positioning of the back suspension has changed, and obviously, the drive train specs have been updated. Before we dive into a few of those specs, just the FYI that the Spectral is being offered in an aluminium frame, a version with carbon front frame and aluminium rear, and a full carbon frame.

The travel on the suspension has not changed though, with 150 front and 140 rear it’s still a bike that can take quite some thumping around on the trail. With 27,5 inch wheels and the possibility for 2,4 and 2,6” tires, the choice for trail agility combined with grip is obvious. Canyon has wanted “ To create a simple and robust bike that begs to be thrown through corners and fly down the trail, while also being easy to service so mountain bikers can set, forget and just go ride.” Although I have not ridden the new Spectral, if it is anything like the old one, I am guessing it will be simple and robust.

Geometry

Spectral AL 6.0

What I liked about the last Spectral was the geometry with a bit more top tube length and a wider wheelbase then you would get with some other brands, giving you this low and stable feeling on the bike. The top tube length on a size Large frame is 633 mm, 5 mm more than mine, the wheelbase 1204 mm and the head tube angle a slack 66 degrees which haven’t changed. So the bike should feel pretty much the same. I will miss the elegant bend in the top tube. The lines on the bike are all straight, and the rear shock has been positioned in a straight line with the rear frame.

Suspension

Spectral CF 9 Pro

My Spectral sported the DBinline can Creek suspension, at the time one of the most tunable shocks on the market with the possibility to tune sag, high speed high en low-speed compression, high en low-speed rebound and more. The new spectral has the well known and reliable Fox Float rear shocks on some of the models and RockShox on others.

Specs

The various models of the Spectral have been set up with a variety of derailleurs, from Shimano XT to SRAM XX1 and you can choose between 1×11 and 1×12. So no front derailleur to worry over. Shifters, brake sets, again, vary between Shimano and SRAM set-ups. Wheels for the most part DT Swiss, tires are from Maxxis on most.

The weight of the bike varies from the aluminium versions at 14,8 kilo (a bit heavier than my Spectral) on the heaviest till the lightest carbon bike weighing in at 12,4 kilo.

Price point

As for prices, these range from € 2199,- till € 2699,- for the Aluminium frames, and for the carbon offering you will be paying between € 2999,- and € 6999,-. So there is something for everything. You can get a really good bike on a bargain or blow the bank on choosing the best you can get, like the gorgeous XX1-Eagle gold coloured cassette where all but the massive 50 tooth cog has been CNC cut from a single piece of steel.

We hope to be able to ride the Spectral soon and will be sure to share our experience with you when we do. In the meantime, we are excited!

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Mark Stokmans
Since I can remember I have been very active in many different sports: started with baseball, tennis and riding later hockey, football, running and aikido. In addition, since twelve years old I've been into actionports: at first windsurfing, later climbing, inline skating, snowboarding, mountain biking. With the first action cams coming onto the market I've been making action sports videos. Furthermore, I've worked in the sports industry since 1990, sports marketing, media and live TV and until the end of 2016 at the Dutch Olympic Committee. Besides being partner in GearLimits I work as a digital freelancer. Based in the Netherlands, Married with Children (11 and 13 years old)

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