2024 Canyon Spectral First Ride Review




Words & Photos by Cole Gregg & Eric Mickelson

Canyon is a direct-to-consumer German brand with a focus on delivering the best bikes possible at an affordable price. With the brand officially starting as “Canyon Bikes” in 2002 they have continued to follow the same principles into this new 2024 Spectral.

The Spectral is Canyons do it all, any day, any trail weapon. The Spectral has been in Canyons line up for well over a decade. This new model brings it back to its roots of a short travel ripper ready for anything. Canyon’s goal here was to make it ready to take on all types of terrain under many different levels of riders. While the previous generation sort of blended into the Enduro bike spectrum, the 2024 model has seen a reduction in travel to emphasize its all around trail bike persona.


• 140mm Triple Phase Suspension
• HTA 64º
• STA 78.5 (effective)
• REACH 485mm (Medium)
• 29” or 27.5” Rear Wheel

Frame: Canyon Spectral CF M179 | 140mm
Fork: RockShox Lyrik Ultimate | 150 mm
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate

Transmission: SRAM GX Eagle Transmission
Cranks: SRAM GX | 32t
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC | 200 / 200 mm

Wheelset: DT Swiss XM1700
Front Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4 Maxxterra, EXO
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4 Maxxterra, EXO+

Handlebar: Canyon G5 AL
Stem: Canyon G5 40 mm
K.I.S: Included
Saddle: Ergon Enduro Comp


  • Off the top suppleness

  • Overall build kit (CF 9)

  • Predictability and large margin for error

  • Great on many types of terrain


  • No HBO on the shock

  • Limited offering in the US

FRAME AND FEATURES | First and foremost, the Spectral now has 140mm of travel out back and a 150mm fork, this is 10mm drop from the former model both front and rear. Sizing variations have also been updated offering smaller jumps between sizes ranging from XS to XL (S – XL for the USA). Our size medium bike on test has a 475mm reach.

The Chainstays have been slimmed down, offering a bit more compliance out of the rear end while also increasing heel clearance by 2mm – 3mm depending on frame size. The overall stiffness in the front triangle has been increased by adding material in key areas. This is amplified by a new one-piece upper rocker link, the new link also archives lowered lateral loads to the rear shock.

Riders can choose to either run the Spectral as a full 29” bike or run a 27.5” wheel out back via a flip chip in the Chainstay that raises the bottom bracket 8mm and steepens the headtube angle by .5º. All our testing for this First Ride Review was done in the dual 29” setup. The Seat tube has been shortened while still retaining maximum insertion length, they also bumped up to a 34.9mm post diameter. I ran a 240mm dropper with room to go lower which is a huge win in my book!

2024 Canyon Spectral First Ride Review

For the first time, the Canyon Spectral now has integrated downtube storage. The door is secured by a knee-lever mechanism allowing for one handed removal and easy closure. Canyon includes a storage bag with dedicated slots for your tool, CO2 and plugs. There is also a strap to keep a spare tube nice and tidy. Later on this year Canyon will be dropping an ultralight weight waterproof jacket that will also fit in the downtube with the included tool bag.

The K.I.S. is now a standard offering on all models with some key updates to the technology. The spring strength for the system has been reduced allowing riders to opt for even less assistance while still having plenty of feedback when fully maxed out. Don’t fret, riders that are not interested in having this system on their bike can easily remove and install a backing plate to the top tube.

2024 Canyon Spectral First Ride Review

SUSPENSION | Canyons Triple Phase Suspension approach is retained on this new frame. Their goal was to achieve the same capabilities as the longer travel outgoing model with this refined new frame. The engineers went to work and changed the kinematics to offer more off the top suppleness without sacrificing Canyons linear ramp throughout the entire stroke. They also reduced the Anti-Squat to improve climbing and descending traction through the initial portion of the stroke. The Anti-Rise stays the same as the previous model.

GEOMETRY | The Spectral retains a 64º Headtube angle and 76.5º Seatube angle as the outgoing model with refinements to other dimensions. The sizing now has more consistency especially when it comes to Stack and Reach. At 6’ 1” I opted for a size medium which lands at a 475mm reach and a stack of 630mm. All sizes except the XS small have a Chainstay length of 437mm with the 29” wheel and 429mm with the smaller 27.5” option. Our medium test bike with the 29” wheel has a snappy 1,251mm Wheelbase. The 290mm max dropper insertion is large enough to accommodate all riders. All sizes have a 340mm Bottom Bracket height and our size Medium Standover lands at 747mm.

2024 Canyon Spectral First Ride Review

BUILD SPECS | The 2024 Spectral is offered in 4 models: CF LTD ( €6,999), CF 9 ( €4,999), CF 8 CLLCTV ($4,199) and CF 7 ($3,699). In the USA we will only see CF 8 and CF 7 builds as of right now.

The CF 9 Model on test comes decked out with a stellar build kit. The suspension being a Rockshox Lyrik Ultimate and Super Deluxe Ultimate. The Super Deluxe is the non-HBO version, the only thing I feel is missing from this build. Both the CF 9 and LTD receive a SRAM XX Transmission with the Cf 7 and CF 8 featuring Shimano SLX and XT derailleurs. All models come with a DT Swiss wheelset with our CF 9 having the XM1700. Additionally, all models have Canyons G5 cockpit and dropper post.

The new 2024 Canyon Spectral First Ride Review


Canyon had us media folk out to Bellingham for a day of shredding with the engineers and trying to keep up with Braydon Bringhurst. Conditions were ideal! We were expecting rain all day but really lucked out with only a few showers. The majority of my testing was done after, on my local trails at Beacon Hill in Spokane Washington. Beacon is an ideal zone to push this bike, trails span from smooth flow to some pretty serious rock features to big jumps.

SETUP | Since this was my first time setting up Rockshox’s new Ultimate level suspension, some fine tuning was needed, but overall it was quite easy. My first setup in Bellingham was pretty soft. I usually err on the side of soft on a first ride and slowly up pressures until I feel comfortable. At home I landed on 95.5 PSI in the Lyrik with 1 reducer, 3 clicks closed on HSC and right in the middle on LSC. For the shock I played with pressure trying to find the right balance of small bump and bottom out support. Even at 20% sag the bike was comfortable enough but ultimately my sweet spot was 28% with 210psi and 3 reducers, with HSC closed one click and LSC opened up 1 click.

2024 Canyon Spectral First Ride Review

CLIMBING | The Spectral proved to be a joy to climb, egging me on to spend more and more time in the saddle. The cockpit feel when climbing was spot on for my long arms in the stock stem configuration. When seated, the rear suspension was supple but not sagging. I never felt the need to reach down and flick the climb switch. When getting on the power through rock gardens the power transfer and traction was excellent. Combining the bikes weight and efficiency, I was able to stay in lower gears at a slower cadence ultimately netting me some PR’s on trails I have ridden up dozens of times. I was pushing hard, but am not yet in the peak season riding shape, so this felt impressive to me.

DESCENDING | The Spectral was ready for everything I threw at it. I found the frame to feel super refined with next to no extra noises coming from cables or the drivetrain. From the first ride I was able to feel at home, there was really no initial learning curve to charge hard on this bike. I found that when reaching the bike’s limit there was a soft threshold of it getting out of control. This let me push harder into trails even when riding blind. I actually hit a gap that I have looked at for about 6 years, I had no plans of doing this, it just happened.

2024 Canyon Spectral First Ride Review

The bike loves to be on its back wheel, the 437mm chainstays just beg you to manual, yet it doesn’t get upset when the trail speed increases. Committing to a line was straightforward and happened without a fight, and in contrast changing direction was easily done with little effort. The poppy feeling on flow trails was great with the bike also feeling planted when you needed it to.

Long flat corners were tackled with no fear of the front washing out, and in contrast super sharp 90º corners were shredded. The overall versatility was a delight. While it would not be my first choice to take on a tour of bike parks, if it was my only bike there would be very few trails I would back away from. Usually I can find some sort of negative with a bike not offering a given feeling I am looking for, but honestly with the Spectral nothing comes to mind. The only thing that I think would bring the bike one step further would be the addition of HBO on the rear shock.

FINISH AND VALUE | The frame feels very refined and the lines are clean. Canyon did a great job on the little things such as the counter rotating mud flap and fully captured internal cable routing. When you ride the bike there are no weird “I wish they did this” things that come to mind. For a carbon frame and killer build spec the CF 9 version on test leaves nearly nothing to be desired. This is a model I wish they chose to offer in the US. While long term durability is still something I am curious to find out, our nearly month long test period proved in the short term that it is a solid bike. The rear axle finally came loose on my last ride, more than likely caused by landing nearly sideways on a rather large jump!

The Wolf’s Last Word

At the end of the day, the new Canyon Spectral CF made me want to ride more, stay out longer, and skip out on my real-life responsibilities. It’s a bike that won’t limit you and one that will push you to try new things. Canyon was not bluffing when they said “Any Trail. Every Rider”. A beginner rider will find tons of freedom in exploring trails and growing with the bike, while advanced riders will be able to push harder on their favorite trails letting it all hang out for a big smile at the end of the day.

Price: €4,999 (CF9 Tested)
Website: Canyon.com


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