Canyon's new pocket rocket sits alongside the Spectral's existing 29, 27.5 and mullet versions and aims to offer an unfiltered connection with the trail
Short-travel trail bikes are all the rage. And while it’s lightweight down-country bikes that seem to be getting all of the attention, Canyon has adopted a different approach with the new Spectral 125 trail bike in its quest to build the best mountain bike.
Need to know
- 29er trail bike with 125mm travel
- Carbon and alloy versions available, carbon from weights 2,500g
- All models use 140mm travel forks with a 64º head angle in slack/low setting
- The carbon frame is 100g lighter than the 150mm Spectral CF
- Double sealed bearing on all pivots
- 2.4in Maxxis Minion DHR II/Dissector tyres on all models
- Tube-in-tube internal cable routing, carbon models
- G5 dropper post can be adjusted internally in 5mm increments – with a 25mm adjustment range
- Alloy models don’t have geometry adjustment
As the name suggests, Canyon’s latest 29er trail bike has 125mm of rear travel – 25mm less than the standard Spectral. But make no mistake, Canyon hasn’t simply added a shorter stroke shock to the regular bike and rebranded it. Instead, it’s gone about it the expensive way, opening a new carbon mould specifically for the Spectral 125. Not only has this allowed Canyon to keep the angles similar to the standard bike, albeit with a 140mm fork and lower BB height, it has also enabled Canyon to add extra anti-squat and make the rear suspension more progressive. Which is exactly what you want when you have the geometry and sizing of an aggressive trail bike, but only 125mm of travel.
The carbon frame also shares Canyon’s latest tech. Like the replaceable threaded inserts on all of the pivot hardware and the double-sealed bearings for reduced maintenance. Tube-in-tube internal cable routing makes replacing the gear outer or brake hose a doddle, and there’s also a flip chip on the shock mount that offers two geometry settings, the high position raising the BB height by 7mm while adding 0.5º to the 64º head angle.
Down-country, but not as we know it
As for its down-country credentials? Well, the full carbon frame is only 100g lighter than the standard Spectral, so it should be crystal clear that the Spectral 125 isn’t designed to go toe-to-toe with bikes like the Transition Spur or Specialized Epic Evo. And with the choice of Fox 36 or RockShox Pike/35 forks it should be crystal clear what the focus is here; stiffness and strength, not outright weight saving. It’s why the Spectral 125 frame can carry the same Category 4 Enduro safety rating as the Strive.
That’s not to say Canyon hasn’t made some concessions to saving weight, however. Take the EXO casing Maxxis tyres for example. With less of a suspension safety net for bad line choices, it’s not the first place we’d look to save grams on a bike that has the potential to be ridden every bit as hard as the standard Spectral. Still, upgrading the rear tyre to a tougher EXO+ casing is an easy, and relatively inexpensive fix. In fact, it’s the very first thing we’d do to the Spectral 125, so as not to punch a hole in the stock rear tyre and render it useless as a spare front.
Recreated in alloy
In addition to the three carbon models, Canyon is offering two alloy bikes. And there’s a lot of crossover between both versions. Canyon even appointed a dedicated engineer to the alloy project as the construction demands are quite different to working with carbon. And that’s not the only difference. The alloy bikes don’t have the flip chip geometry adjustment. Instead, Canyon has combined the steep seat angle from the high setting on the carbon bike with the slack head angle and BB height from the low setting on the carbon bike to give a best of both worlds approach. Cable routing on the alloy models is internal on the front end and external at the rear, where helicoils are used for the pivot hardware so you can’t hamfistedly strip the thread out on the frame. All in, the alloy Spectral 125 frame is only 500g heavier than the full carbon version, where both options are available in four frame sizes, S to XL.
So Canyon has produced a new range of short-travel shredders that have been designed for hard charging not winning at the weigh-in. The idea is that riders looking for a more engaging experience, but still want the geometry, sizing, stiffness and strength of a longer travel bike for ripping trails, will be able to have their cake and eat it. That’s the theory, at least. We’ve just received one for review, so keep your eyes peeled for a detailed First Ride coming soon.
Meet the Range:
Canyon Spectral 125 AL 5 £2,449
With a smooth running RockShox 35 Gold fork and Deluxe Select+ shock bolted to the sleek alloy frame, entry-level doesn’t mean basic on the Spectral 125 AL 5. And where the rubber meets the road, it even benefits from the same Maxxis Minion DHR II/Dissector tyre combo as the flagship carbon bike.
Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6 £2,949
The top-end bike in the alloy range is the Spectral 125 AL 7. It boasts a beefy Fox 36 Rhythm fork and the brand new Fox Float X shock. There’s also a 12sp Shimano SLX drivetrain and matching 4-piston brakes, so whether you’re accelerating or decelerating, controlling your speed on the AL 6 definitely won’t be an issue.
Canyon Spectral 125 CF 7 £3,399
The entry point to the carbon Spectral 125 range is the CF 7. It’s also the first bike in the line to come with Canyon’s new G5 dropper post that offers 25mm of internal adjustment in 5mm increments to guarantee a perfect fit. RockShox takes care of the hits with a Pike Select+ fork and Deluxe Select+ shock.
Canyon Spectral 125 CF 8 £4,399
With a Shimano XT drivetrain and the GRIP 2 equipped Fox 36 Performance Elite fork, the Spectral 125 CF 8 has everything you need for hard charging without splurging on too much bling. Available in Big Bamboo or Rollercoaster colourways, it’s an eye-catching bike that’s still got an eye on the bottom line.
Canyon Spectral 125 CF 9 £5,649
The flag-ship bike on the new Spectral 125 line is the CF 9. It shares the same full carbon frame with the CF 8 and CF 7 but boasts a jaw dropping spec that includes Fox Factory suspension, a wireless SRAM GX AXS drivetrain and lightweight DT Swiss XMC 1501 wheels. Short travel has never looked so appealing.