In all the fuss however, Canyon seems to have overlooked some suspension basics...

Product Overview

Canyon Spectral CF 9


  • • Progressive geometry that's 29in and MX compatible
  • • Extended size range + internal frame storage
  • • Innovative KIS technology at no extra cost
  • • Loads of suspension support for pedalling
  • • Improved heel clearance with slender stays


  • • Rear suspension bottoms too easily
  • • With 136mm travel, things gets rowdy on rough trails
  • • Internal frame storage has limited capacity
  • • Complete build is heavier than the old bike


Canyon pulls out all the stops on the new 2024 Spectral CF 9 trail bike with less travel, more sizes, internal storage and steering stabilisation as standard


Price as reviewed:


Canyon clearly isn’t afraid to innovate. Because after just one year and a trial on just one model, it is back with a brand new range of Spectral CFs, all sporting KIS, its Keep It Stable steering technology. Not to be confused with a steering damper, KIS has springs that attach to a cam on the fork steerer that help recenter the front wheel after a deflection. And based on rider feedback the latest version has been tweaked to feel less intrusive. Best of all, there’s no longer an additional upcharge associated with the cutting edge tech. Packed with mod-cons, Canyon is plainly serious about building one of the best full-suspension trail bikes on the market.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

For 2024, Canyon has added internal frame storage to the Spectral CF platform, without messing up its devilish good looks

Canyon Spectral CF 9 need to know

  • Updated Spectral CF is an out-and-out trail bike
  • Rear travel is capped at 140mm
  • Five sizes, reach on M is now 475mm, L grows to 500mm
  • Geometry designed around a 150mm fork
  • Internal frame storage first seen on the Grail gravel bike
  • Wheel size flip-chip on the chainstays
  • Chainstay length shortens from 437mm to 429mm in 27.5in setting
  • New frame is only 20g heavier than the old one.
  • Geometry flip-chip in shock eyelet gives high/low settings
  • Detuned KIS steering stabiliser comes standard
  • Four models, all with the same frame and all with KIS
  • Prices start at £3,299 for the Spectral CF 7 – to find out more about the new Canyon Spectral range, read our news story and range overview

One look and the new Spectral CF chassis and it’s clear that Canyon also isn’t afraid to imitate. Specialized pioneered internal frame storage with SWAT and given that we predicted that the new Spectral would have the same internal storage as the recently launched Canyon Grail gravel bike, its addition should come as no surprise.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

Can’t decide on 29in or MX? There’s no need to as Canyon now gives you the choice on the Spectral CF range

But that’s not the only technology the Canyon has borrowed from Specialized when reimagining the latest Spectral CF range. Take a closer look at the carbon rear dropouts on the new Spectral CF and you’ll notice the asymmetric Horst link pivots first used on the Gen 2 Specialized Levo SL to accommodate 27.5in or 29in rear wheels without messing up the geometry. Canyon is even referring to them as wheel size flip-chips, and just like on the Specialized Levo SL they keep the geometry identical, bar the 8mm shorter chainstay length when swapping from a 29in rear wheel to 27.5in. It’s a great feature and having measured the geometry of the Canyon in both settings, with both wheel sizes, both shod with same tyre treads and widths, it does exactly as claimed.  You simply choose your preferred wheel size at checkout and the bike ships in the corresponding geometry setting. 

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

SRAM’s GX AXS adds smooth, secure shifting, but it also adds weight and cost

What’s interesting is that Canyon has claimed that the new frame with KIS and internal storage is only 20g heavier than the old one and retains its Category 4 rating. And I don’t doubt that for a second, but when I looked up my notes on the 2021 Spectral 29 CF 8 that I tested, that bike weighed 14.38kg with a bottle cage. The new Spectral CF 9 weighs 15kg, the increased weight probably due to the electronic SRAM AXS T-Type drivetrain. For a rundown on the full range of new Canyon Spectral CF models including specs and prices, everything is in our news story.

Frame and geometry

So what else is new on the latest Spectral CF frame? Probably the biggest difference is that the new bike now comes in five frame sizes rather than four, the range spanning from XS to XL. The addition of an XS size, which will only be offered with a 27.5in rear wheel, means that the jumps between frame sizes have been evened out too. The reach measurements have also increased, the size M now boasts a 475mm reach, while the size L grows by 19mm to a very generous 500mm. I was super comfortable on the old Spectral CF 29 size L, so I downsized to a size M on the new bike to maintain a similar fit and overall feel.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

BB height is terrain dependant, so Canyon keeps the Hi/Lo geometry option

Canyon has retained the high/low flip-chip in the shock eyelet and the rest of the geometry is very similar to before, bar the shorter seat tubes designed to accommodate seat posts with more drop. Some of the other frame dimensions have changed though, albeit subtly. The rear stays are more slender than before which offers more heel clearance, and they also help balance the tip to toe stiffness of the frame. One final tweak is that the seat post diameter has increased from 30.9mm to 34.9mm, which should make those longer dropper posts more sturdy and reliable.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

You can now stuff the Spectral CF frame with puncture repair essentials, but not much else

Adding internal frame storage is never easy, as you’re essentially cutting a big hole in the backbone of the frame. Or, in the case of the Spectral, a relatively small hole, as the actual opening in the frame is fractionally smaller than on the recently launched YT Jeffsy and a whopping 37.5% smaller than on the current Specialized Stumpy Evo.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

Everything you need in one place: Tube, Water, Air and Tools… TWAT?

Still, you can easily stuff an inner tube, CO2 canister and a set of tyre levers into the waterproof pouch that’s sold separately, and it all goes in or out of the frame relatively easily. Also the latch on the cover that supports the 600ml water bottle feels really secure, and it’s easy to use even with gloves.


For the suspension on the new Spectral CF it’s subtle changes again. Rear travel on the latest Spectral has been clipped at 140mm and the frame is now paired with a 150mm fork. I measured the rear wheel travel at 136mm in the 29in setting, and 139mm in the 27.5in setting. So it’s pretty close to claimed. But this also got me rubbing my beard, as I would have expected the 29in setting, with the 8mm longer chainstays, to generate more travel, not less. The reason is straightforward, though, because the flip chip in the chainstay pivots also change the leverage rate, making the 27.5in setting more progressive and slightly longer travel.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

Great geometry and sizing means the Canyon Spectral CF 9 is still a shredder

Canyon has also toned down the anti-squat, which in theory should make the rear suspension feel more reactive especially when you unweight the bike. And even after one ride, it’s clear that it hasn’t lost any of its pedalling prowess. So something else has got to be going on with the shock.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

This is where the shock O-ring on the Canyon Spectral CF 9 loves to hang out

I set the sag on the RockShox Super Deluxe shock to 27%, and was surprised how easy the rear suspension was to bottom, especially given how much support there is in the suspension when pedalling or pumping the terrain to generate drive. So one of the first changes I would make is to add a volume spacer to the air can. I’ll have to source one though, as they don’t come supplied with the bike, so maybe Canyon should adopt the approach that Pivot has taken on the Switchblade that I tested recently; speccing the shock with more volume spacers than needed to ensure that the rider actually gets them?


On the Spectral CF 9, Canyon has left nothing wanting. Well, nothing other than a softer set of grips, maybe. The new G5 stem looks cool and Canyon will release an open source file so riders can print their own tool mount that attaches to the underside of the stem. If you don’t have a 3D printer, don’t panic, as there’s also a tool mount under the top tube.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

The new Canyon G5 stem with 3D printed tool mount. The open source file is online

Now, given that the Spectral has a 63.5º head angle, low 333mm BB height and KIS, I think it’s appropriate that the bike comes with big 200mm rotors front and rear. And transfering that extra braking power straight to the trail are 2.4in Wide Trail Maxxis Minion DHR II tyres. Both tyres use the mid-compound Maxx Terra rubber, but Canyon has played with the casings to save a little weight – opting for the lighter EXO up front and the reinforced EXO+ on the rear.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

The older SRAM AXS shifter pod looks and feels more like a regular mechanical shifter

The SRAM GX T-type transmission gives you the latest electronic shifting at your fingertips, and Canyon has gone with the older AXS shifter pod as it more closely matches the ergonomics of a traditional shifter. I don’t have a preference when it comes to AXS shifter pods and can comfortably use ether, and I suspect there was some cost saving involved in this speccing decision.


I really liked the old Spectral CF 29, because it pedalled well, but had enough travel at its disposal to feel comfortable on pretty rowdy terrain. Yes, it blurred the line between trail and enduro, so I can see why Canyon is now trying to reposition it more as a trail bike, to help distinguish it more clearly from the Strive. That’s just a numbers game though, because the geometry on the new Spectral is really similar to the old one, so it still has an enduro attitude just without all the travel. Something I discovered as my feet got blown off the pedals on a fast, rough section of enduro trail.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

Running flats, there were times when I found it difficult to keep my feet ton the pedals


With the relatively steep 76.9º seat tube angle, 437mm chainstays (29er setting), and plenty of mid-stroke support in the rear suspension I never felt the need to pull myself forward on the saddle to keep the front end under control, even when winching up steeper climbs. And this is where KIS can also be beneficial, as it allows you to relax your grip on the reins a little as you don’t need to wrestle with the steering as much.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

Even with KIS set to maximum, it does not stand the bike up mid-turn or feel weird

And given that I had no problem getting full travel from the shock on the descents, I thought it strange that I never felt the need to use the climb switch on the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock when climbing, even when running all of the compression damping wide open.


I’ve already mentioned that the new Spectral CF has retained its enduro geometry and lost none of its enduro attitude. But with only 136mm rear travel, that’s too easy to bottom, you seem to reach the limits of the new Spectral faster than the old one. Sure the new bike feels amazing on pumpy flowing trails, where you can slingshot out of berms, manual through rollers and double up gaps that would seem out of reach on similar travel trail bikes.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

Pop a small drop and the Canyon Spectral CF 9 rips through its rear travel

And therein lies the rub. Everything about the new Spectral screams speed, until you get it on a rougher descent, where all of that mid-stroke support that feels so good everywhere else, just makes it harder for the rear suspension to isolate the rider from bigger impacts.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

More volume spacers in the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock please

I’ve not spent enough time on the new Spectral CF 9 yet, but I’m not convinced that it’s the reduction in rear travel that’s to blame here. I think Canyon has possibly gone too firm on the shock tune, as the leverage rate for the 29in setup is very similar to the old bike which was progressive. Yes, this help emphasise the snappy pedalling response with the lower anti-squat but that makes the rear suspension feels harsher on bigger, fast hits, and then it bottom too easily on small drops.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

Playful and agile, the 2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9 is fun and engaging, even when the trail is not


The last time Canyon updated the Spectral platform it was a complete sea change. This time round it is small ripples, but Canyon is still making waves. With its Keep It Stable steering tech Canyon is giving riders more confidence to ride harder, while the wheel size flip chip gives riders more choice. Factor in the increased size range, internal frame storage and longer dropper posts and Canyon has ticked all of the must have boxes with the latest Spectral CF range. It still pedals like stink, but on rougher trails the latest Spectral CF seems to have lost some of its out and out enduro potential. An intentional move on Canyon’s part as the old version probably had too much overlap with the EWS winning Strive? Possibly, but I think there’s still untapped potential in the new Spectral CF that some suspension turning could easily unlock. 


Frame       :CF carbon
Frame travel :140mm (136mm measured)
Shock :RockShox Super Deluxe
Fork :RockShox Lyrik Ultimate
Fork travel :150mm (44mm offset)
Hubs :DT Swiss 350 110/148mm
Rims :DT Swiss XM1700
Front tyre :Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO 29x2.4in
Rear tyre :Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO+ 29x2.4in
Chainset :SRAM GX 32t, 170mm, 
Shifter :SRAM AXS 12-speed
Derailleur :SRAM GX AXS T-Type
Cassette :SRAM GX 10-52t
Brakes :SRAM Code RSC
Rotor sizes :200/200mm
Handlebar :Canyon G5 780mm 
Stem :Canyon G5 40mm
Seat post :Canyon G5 200mm
Saddle :Ergon Enduro
Weight :15kg (33.07lb)
Sizes :XS (MX only), S, M, L, XL
Geometry :Low/29in
Size ridden :M
Rider height :182cm
Head angle :63.5º
Seat angle :69.4º
Effective SA :76.9º
BB height :333mm
Chainstay :437mm
Front centre  :815mm
Wheelbase :1,252mm
Down tube :742mm
Seat tube :420mm
Top tube :610mm
Reach :470mm