And boy is it different!

The 2018 Canyon Spectral, the German direct-to-market brand’s venerable mid-travel trail ripper has received a much-needed revamp.

It was the Sender, Canyon’s downhiller that kickstarted a tectonic shift in how the German company approached full suspension design. While that bike might have passed most of us by, it’s now it’s the turn of the Spectral, Canyon’s venerable mid-travel trail ripper to receive a much-needed injection of the new secret sauce.

canyon spectral 2018

In all its glory. We spent some time riding this particular Spectral CF 9.0 Pro model. Photo: Boris Beyer/Canyon

It’s obvious, looking at the lines and tubing profiles that the Spectral and Sender share familial DNA. But whereas the Sender is very much of Teutonic stock, interestingly the Spectral has more than a touch of Scottish about both its personality and purpose.

You see, Canyon sat down with Joe Barnes and the other Dudes of Hazzard (you might recognise this bunch of Fort William’s finest loam merchants from their enthralling Scottish-centric edits), to work out just what makes the perfect trail bike.

For the Spectral the personality traits that needed to shine through were a sense of playfulness, a simple and robust build and above all easy serviceability.

Read our review of the ‘old’ Spectral

The result is a re-imagining almost from the ground up. In fact the only resemblance to its predecessor are the 140mm of rear wheel travel and its 27.5” wheel size. Everything else is, well, different.

Need to Know:

  • 140mm rear wheel travel, designed around a 150mm suspension fork
  • Design cues and suspension kinematics from the Sender DH bike
  • 27.5″ BOOST wheel size, optimised for 2.4″ – 2.6″ rubber
  • Three frame options: full carbon CF SLX, carbon front/aluminium rear CF, aluminium AL models
  • Eight models
  • Prices from £1,999 for alloy Spectral AL
  • Prices from £2,699 for carbon fibre Spectral CF

This is the all singing, all dancing Spectral CF 9.0 LTD. Look at that spec! Photo: Boris Beyer/Canyon

All change!

Three years of development has seen a complete repositioning of the suspension to create the sort of kinematics that should improve the behaviour of the rear end.

One of the issues with the old system was the tendency to blow through the midstroke too quickly and suffer on square edged hits. But this new system promises the holy trinity of supple and compliant in the initial stroke, stable throughout the mid section and a hugely progressive last part that resists easy bottoming.

Watch the Dudes of Hazzard’s latest vid – ‘The Fellowship of the Party Rings’

The suspension is radically different to the old Spectral. In the words of Canyon, “Our new suspension is a big step from the rocker kinematic of the previous Spectral. Not only does it improve the stroke of the shock, it has allowed us to increase standover height and use a larger 150 mm dropper post for significant gains in rider mobility. Further still, the new linkage significantly decreases stress on the bearings at the pivot points improving longevity.” Photo: Boris Beyer/Canyon

Improved Geometry

Trying to keep up with the cool kids, Canyon has made the Spectral a tad longer, a smidge lower and a touch slacker. There’s nothing revolutionary in the figures but the extra space is much appreciated. Reach on the size large comes in at 460mm.

The front centre has been extended enough to allow Canyon to now spec a 40mm stem with confidence throughout the size range. The other notable change is a Boost rear end and a focus on semi-plus tyre size. With the exception of one model, the entire range now comes with 2.6” rubber strapped to both ends.

Here’s the geo chart for all you number geeks.

Slick trails and thick mud aside, the CF 9.0 SL model I rode performs almost better than expected. Yes, the headtube is still a touch too tall and the rear Maxxis Rekon tyre is a nightmare in the wet. But the new suspension feels incredibly capable; supple and practically bottomless. The bike certainly wasn’t the one dragging the anchors on the steep and techy Madeiran trails!

canyon spectral

Rapid, capable and inspiring. The bike, not the rider. Photo: Boris Beyer/Canyon

Canyon is keen however, to stress that it’s still very much a trail bike. And this is obvious from the lighter weight speccing of the range. The Fox 34 fork for example, whilst a very accomplished trail fork, can feel a little jittery when travelling at the sorts of speed the Spectral encourages.

UK Proof?

It’s the new approach to longevity that will have UK riders pricking up their ears in excitement though.

The Spectral has double sealed bearings at every pivot point, as well as neat bearing covers on the main pivots to keep the worst of the crud out. And even though it looks like the frame features internal routing, the keen eyed amongst you will see that all the cables actually run through a clever demountable sleeve along the underside of the downtube.

Result: easy cable and hose replacement that should encourage regular maintenance. If that wasn’t enough, the Sender inspired seat mast now features an internal clamping system and rubber seal to prevent water ingress.

Look carefully and you will see the cables actually run through a neat sleeve under the downtime. Photo: Boris Beyer/Canyon

canyon spectral

Double sealed bearings and neat bearing covers help reduce maintenance issues. Photo: Boris Beyer/Canyon

An integrated seatpost collar keeps things neat and tidy.The rubber cap helps seal out the weather and grime. Photo: Boris Beyer/Canyon

Alongside the launch of the Spectral Canyon his also releasing a range of accessories to complement the new frame design.

Look carefully at the frame tubing and you will spot multiple mounting points within the front triangle.

Canyon have a range of different water bottle cage configurations designed to cater for different needs. For the enduro market, let’s face it, this bike is going to be raced by a lot of people, Canyon have a super neat storage box that fits inside the frame above the shock.

This will easily fit the sort of spares most riders normally carry.

>>> How to ride without a pack

canyon spectral 2018

Canyon has developed a range of accessories to fit the Spectral, including this neat storage box and a variety of bottle options. Photo: Boris Beyer/Canyon

The range

The new Spectral will be available in three frame styles, full carbon, a carbon front/aluminium rear end and full aluminium. Making up a total of eight all new models. Even the entry level AL 5.0 comes with a Rockshox Pike fork, DT Swiss wheels and mixed Shimano SLX/XT groupset.

Canyon spectral al 6.0

The Spectral AL 6.0.
Full 6066 aluminium frame, Rockshox Pike RC fork, Deluxe RT shock, SRAM GX Eagle groupset, DT Swiss M1900 wheels. Retail should be less than £2,500.

canyon spectral cf 8.0

Spectral CF 8.0
Carbon front triangle/ 6066 aluminium rear, Rockshox Pike RC fork/Deluxe rear shock, SRAM GX Eagle 12s groupset, DT Swiss M1700 wheels. Approx. £2999

Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 LTD

Spectral CF 9.0 LTD
Full carbon frame, FOX Float 34 Factory fork/Float DPS Factory EVOL shock, SRAM XX1 Eagle groupset, ENVE M60 wheelset. Retail £6999 (approximately)

And the good news…. the Spectral is available to order direct from Canyon right now for January 2018 delivery.