When released, the Canyon Spectral:ON CF managed to shave 1kg off the frame weight compared to the alloy version. That, however, was just the beginning...
The carbon Canyon Spectral:ON was always destined for bigger and better things. Namely, a 630Wh battery and the new 85Nm torque Shimano EP8 motor. The layout of the frame hasn’t changed though, so the Spectral:ON is still a 150mm travel mullet configuration with a carbon front end and alloy rear. That’s not to say you could upgrade the older model with all the latest e-bike tech, though. Granted, the new Shimano EP8 motor shares the same frame mounts as the E7000/8000 units, so in theory you could bold one on, but we wouldn’t advise cutting a bigger hole in the undersized of the carbon downtube to squeeze in that 630Wh battery!
Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8.0 e-bike review
The weight difference between the old 504Wh battery and the new 630Wh unit is 715g. So, given that the EP8 motor is 300g lighter than the E8000 unit, all in it’s 415g weight increase. Which is still a win, as it’s the lightest bike in test with the bigger capacity. As for the extra power, it’s negligible between Shimano’s E8000 and EP8, and not even close to the Bosch Performance Line CX unit on a Radon Render 10 even though both boast 85Nm torque. The true cost of the upgrades then? The price of the bike has shot up by £600.
When it comes to suspension, most brands overpromise and underdeliver. Not Canyon. We measured the vertical rear wheel travel of the Spectral:ON at 151mm, so a hair over the 150mm claimed. And thanks to Canyon’s progressive linkage, there’s plenty of support from the Fox DPX2 shock. It’s not quite perfect though, as once again we ran the rebound adjuster fully open and would have liked the option to go faster still. In fact, it’s noticeably slower than the RockShox Deluxe Select R equipped 2020 Spectral:ON CF 7.0 that we rode, so that’s the model we’d recommend for lighter riders. You also get a regular bar and stem, which we’ll get to in just a second.
Last year, Canyon’s one-piece carbon 780mm bar/stem combo was only available on the top-end CF 9.0. Now it makes an appearance on the CF 8.0. Canyon calls it the Cockpit, and it hides the wires from the remote inside the bar while also eliminating the clamp for the Shimano display. It’s ultra clean and lightweight, but the one-piece design also locks the handlebar in a fixed position, one with a lot of upsweep. Canyon claims it’s equivalent to a regular 50mm stem, but when we measured our actual hand position relative to the fork steerer, it was almost 20mm further in front of where we’d normally have our hands. Granted, we like to roll our handlebars back a bit, and therein lies the problem, you can’t. It’s one saving grace? The more forward rising position helps offset the short chainstays and keep the front end down on really steep climbs.
With what’s effectively a 70mm stem and a relatively slack effective seat tube, the Canyon feels like a really roomy ride, something that’s reflected in the 630mm top tube measurement on the size L. This puts you in a very comfortable position for big day’s in the saddle, the actual Canyon :On saddle is a blessing here too. The low BB and supple suspension mean you can push your limits, not just your heart rate, but the effective stem length and steeper head angle does make the steering feel a little floppy in places. Not enough to hold you back, but enough for you to quickly realise that the Canyon Spectral:ON would be even better with a regular bar and stem. The bike would be cheaper too.
With the increased range of the 630Wh battery, the latest Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8.0 can take on new challenges that were previously out of reach. And while the one-piece bar/stem combo that comes on the two top-tier bikes looks cool, it locks you into a fixed handlebar position, which is far from ideal, especially for the more performance oriented rider. It’s still an amazing package though, the frame geometry, finish and the rest of the build kit is first rate. The battery is a doddle to remove and by downgrading the Cockpit, you could easily unlock its true potential.