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