CANYON SPECTRAL 29 CF 8 REVIEW
Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Dusten Ryen
Since coming to North America just a few years ago after developing a die-hard following in Europe, it seems the German bike brand is quickly spreading their roots as we see more and more Canyon bikes out on the trails. This consumer-direct brand is known for having beautifully crafted bikes with a unique aesthetic, delivering a great spec value for the price, and having a wide offering of bikes for just about any discipline of riding. We received our Canyon Spectral CF for review many months ago and really wanted to put it through a lengthy review process before reporting back. Let us check out some of the features and specs before we give too much away.
Canyon’s new Spectral 29 features an updated Triple Phase Suspension design, which has increased anti-squat at full sag but is tuned at full travel to limit chain drive forces. The progressivity curve has been ramped up to maximize every bit of usable travel out of the 150mm rear end. In our experience, some of Canyon’s shorter travel bikes can be a bit stiffer or firm off the top when tackling chop at speed but open up nicely and perform great into the deeper parts of the travel. Some tuning can help greatly, and we also notice that riders over about 180lbs do not have as much of this feedback as lighter riders do. A rather minor note for some however we did not notice very much feedback on this 150mm Spectral 29.
Canyon integrates a flip chip into the rear shock mount to give both a high and low setting, which gives a head tube angle and seat tube angle adjustment of 0.5 degrees either way and brings the bottom bracket up in high mode, for those looking to climb more technical terrain. Due to availability issues Canyon only had an XL Spectral CF29, which is bigger than we would like but gave us a good opportunity to test what a really long bike would feel like for our 5’11” – 6’1” testers. In the low mode the XL Spectral 29 has a reach of 510mm, 76.5-degree seat tube, 64.5-degree head tube angle and a chainstay length of 437mm and a stack height of 638mm. We had some fun on the long bike and see how some riders could enjoy the stability and confident feel but would much rather have a large as it would be a lot more playful and fun on tighter trails.
Our Canyon Spectral 29 CF8 build features a 160mm Fox 36 Elite Grip 2 fork and a Fox DPX2 Performance Elite rear shock. The drivetrain is a full Shimano XT 12-speed kit with 170mm cranks. Braking duties are handled by 203/180mm Shimano XT 4-piston Trail brakes. Canyon specs of DT Swiss wheels in the form of XM1700 rims wrapped in Maxxis rubber; a Minion DHR2 2.4 rear and DHF 2.5 front. The cockpit is all in-house canyon components, which are some of the nicer-looking OEM parts we have seen. The G5 stem is 40mm long and the G5 bar has a 30mm rise and is 780mm wide. The dropper post length has been matched to each frame size, our XL and L both come with 170mm travel, which is great.
Canyon has longevity in mind when looking at the fine details on the Spectral frame. All threaded mounting points have been made replaceable with this iteration of the bike. A threaded bottom bracket keeps creaking to a minimum and a standard dropper clamp is a nice change from their previous frame. Cable management is very user friendly with internally routed tubing for easy install. The rear thru-axle has a tool-less folding handle that makes it both easy to remove and install and minimizes contact points for branches and rocks on the trail. The integrated chain and downtube protection are both expertly molded to the frame and replaceable. As we have grown to expect from Canyon Mountain bikes, the finished appearance and industrial design are top notch.