They say: “Refined simplicity”
Need to Know
- New trail bike platform from the masters of direct sales
- Available with both 29in and 650b wheels
- 130mm travel in 29in / 140mm travel in 650b
- Bauhaus inspired, ‘form follows function’ styling
- Five models in 29in / 6 models in 650b
Buying a Canyon used to be a head over heart decision. Unbelievably good value, they have always wiped the floor with the competition on spec, but never quite measured up to the A-list brands in terms of geometry and aesthetics. The new Spectral trail bike – and indeed it’s redesigned brethren, the Nerve – bring the German brand bang up to date with a contemporary design language and intricate detailing.
We’ve decided to focus here on the Spectral AL 29, but Canyon also offers a 650b version of the bike. As you’d expect, travel and geometry vary between the two platforms, with the 650b bike being slacker and shorter but endowed with greater travel. But there is also a split in frame sizing, with the 29er models growing all the way to XL, and the 650b bikes shrinking to XS.
Canyon has dropped the top tube on the Spectral relative to its predecessor – the Nerve AL+. Almost 20mm extra clearance has been found whilst still retaining enough space within the frame to fit a water bottle, even with the Fox Float X remote reservoir shock.
Equipment levels are always remarkable on Canyon bikes, and the Spectral AL 9.9 Ex, shown here, is no exception. Kashima-coated Fox 34 Float CTD forks and Float X shock are complemented by a SRAM XO1/E13 1×11 drivetrain and RockShox Reverb Stealth seatpost. There’s even a Renthal Duo stem and Fatbar Lite to inject a bit of British punk into the Teutonic efficiency.