Canyon Spectral:ON 2021 Review | One Of The Best-Handling e-MTBs We’ve Tested

howdy folks it's Wil here 
from Flow Mountain Bike and   welcome to this video review 
of the Canyon Spectral:ON  now the Spectral:ON is Canyon's do most of the 
things e-mountain bike it slots in between the   Neuron:On which is the 130mm travel trail bike 
and the Torque:On which is the 175mm travel park   bike the Spectral:ON splits the difference in 
terms of both wheel size and suspension travel   this bike has 150mm travel front and rear 
and it's built with a mullet wheel set up so we   have a 29 inch front wheel and a 27.5 inch rear 
wheel that allows Canyon to build the Spectral:ON  with a very short rear end the rear centre 
length on this bike is just 435mm   new for this year's bike is the move to the 
Shimano EP8 motor and we also have a larger   630Wh battery inside the down tube it's 
all built around a carbon mainframe with an alloy   rear and it's certainly a sleek looking bike 
with plenty of neat integration there's an   internal steering limiter which prevents the fork 
crown from smashing into the down tube there's an   internal wedge for clamping the seat post and down 
at the rear axle we have the really neat tool-free   Quixle thru-axle there's also a generous 
skid plate to protect the motor and help integrate   it nice and cleanly into this frame and also nice 
to see is the fact that the Spectral:ON will fit a   water bottle inside the mainframe for 2021 there 
are six models in the Canyon Spectral:ON lineup   all of those models are built around the same 
frame motor and battery the entry point into   the range is the Spectral:ON CF 6 and that has 
a list price of $8,599 AUD at the   other end of the range is the top end Spectral:ON 
CF 9 which has a price of $13,549 AUD   the bike we have here is one step down from that 
this is the Spectral:ON CF 8 and the sticker   price on this is $10,899 AUD for 
your money you're getting Performance Series   Fox suspension with a 36 fork and a Float DPX2 
shock we've got a Shimano XT 1×12 drivetrain   four piston brakes with 203mm rotors and a Maxxis 
Minion tyre combo with a 2.5in DHF on the front   and a 2.6in DHRII on the rear confirmed weight 
for our test bike here is 22.4 kilos and that's   weighed without pedals and with the tyres set up 
tubeless now with Canyon bikes being sold direct   to consumer our test bike was air freighted 
straight out of Germany it's worth noting here   that you do have to pay an extra shipping cost of 
$199 AUD Canyon will also charge you   30 bucks for the cardboard bike box that means 
the total price of this bike here is actually $11,128 AUD   including shipping and the bike box also worth 
pointing out is that in Australia the battery on   this bike is actually sent separately via road 
freight the idea is that the bike and the battery   arrive at the same time and all you need to do 
is install the protective plate onto the battery   before clipping it into the down tube and charging 
it up otherwise the bike is pretty straightforward   to build you will need to install the front wheel 
the handlebar the seat post and the saddle and   you'll also need to plug in the Di2 wire for the 
display unit the only bummer is that this bike   isn't supplied with tubeless valves or sealant so 
you'll have to BYO which seems a bit ridiculous on   a bike costing 11 grand at 175cm tall 
I've been riding a medium size in the Spectral:ON and the bike has fitted me well even with the 
150mm dropper post there's a little bit of room   to spare there which is more than i can say for 
some previous Canyons I've tested in the past   it's worth noting that if you do go up to 
the large frame size however the seat tube   gets longer by a whopping 40mm even 
though the reach only increases by 20mm now this is an important note for riders 
who are between 175 to 180cm tall   who might be tossing up between the medium or 
large size it's definitely worth looking at   Canyon's recommended minimum and maximum saddle 
heights for each frame size in the geometry chart   that being said i've not had any issues with fit 
on this bike and indeed the 445mm reach   measurement is right in the ballpark it does feel 
quite a bit longer than that though and there are   two reasons for this the first is the slack seat 
tube angle which Canyon lists at 74.5 degrees   however once it slammed the saddle all the 
way forward on the rails it actually measured   up closer to 76 degrees though it's still not 
quite as steep as some of the more contemporary   designs on the market the other reason is 
the one piece carbon fibre handlebar and stem   now according to Canyon the one-piece design 
is lighter and stronger than a traditional bar   and stem and it certainly looks slick with the 
internal wiring and that integrated display the   bars are 780mm wide and canyon says the 
virtual stem length is 50mm it actually   feels longer on the trail and indeed the grips 
do sit further forward than the steerer tube   almost as if the bars have been rolled forward and 
that means the effective stem length is probably   closer to 60mm giving a longer reach overall now 
I actually quite like this because it brought my   chest forward and encourage me to properly weight 
the front wheel suspension setup on this bike is   also relatively straightforward I ran the Fox 36 
with the recommended pressure and rebound settings   and out of the box it is very comfortable with 
excellent small bump sensitivity that said the   GRIP version of the 36 can be a little bit divey 
so i did end up adding a third volume spacer   inside the air spring just to give it a little 
bit more mid-stroke support and keep it riding   higher in its travel I set up the shock with 30% 
sag though I did need to run rebound damping on   the faster side just a couple of clicks off the 
fastest setting otherwise the back end would feel   a little bit too boggy once dialed in though the 
suspension on this bike is absolutely fantastic   the active 4 bar suspension design keeps things 
nice and neutral with minimal feedback through the   pedals there is less anti-squat here compared to 
the regular Spectral models and Canyon also hasn't   tuned the rear shock quite as aggressively with a 
smaller volume spacer inside the rear shock that   gives it a more linear and active feel which 
is noticeable when you're seated and pedaling   through choppy terrain but also deeper into the 
travel say when the rear wheel is copping repeat   impacts at speed the floaty suspension feel is 
complemented nicely by the supple Maxxis tyres   Canyon spec a lightweight EXO casing on 
the front and an EXO+ casing on the rear   set at 21 and 25 psi respectively they provide 
a nicely damped feel on the trail and plenty of   reliable traction on the dry and loose rocky 
conditions that we mostly tested this bike on   for an e-bike these are quite lightweight tyres 
though they both weigh in under a kilo each and   indeed i managed to pinch flat the rear tyre on 
several occasions to be fair i really should have   fitted a tyre insert into the rear wheel though 
for riders who are particularly hard on their gear   you might want to consider upgrading the tyres to 
something with tougher casings right off the bat   throughout testing we've been super impressed with 
this bike's handling and the way that it rides   lighter than it is for less experienced riders 
it's quite intuitive and easy to ride with a   really nimble and sporty feel on the trail the 
mullet setup and those short chain stays allow   you to really steer off the rear wheel and the 
low hanging bottom bracket keeps your center of   gravity nice and low to the ground the front end 
steering is quite light too and you don't need to   push that hard on the inside grip for the whole 
bike to lean over and initiate a turn it's very   flickable and for more experienced riders 
it really encourages quite a hard and sharp   cornering style it also loves getting both wheels 
off the ground and while the suspension is active   there's still enough support there for your 
feet and hands to push off of along with the   stout chassis and that tight back end this bike 
loves jumping and playing with the terrain those   same attributes can make it feel a little bit 
pingy on steeper and rougher enduro style trails   and it's not as planted at really high 
speeds compared to slacker and burlier bikes   like the Specialized Levo and the Merida e160 not 
helping things on steeper descending trails my arse  would occasionally contact the tail of the saddle 
which had me second guessing whether i'd actually   compress the dropper post all the way that e-bike 
specific saddle is great on the climbs though it   provides you with a load of support and helps 
to lock your sit bones in to give you a really   comfortable and supportive climbing position 
overall climbing performance is good thanks to   that perky EP8 motor though when things get really 
steep and technical that short rear end makes it   harder to get your weight over the front of the 
bike with the front wheel tending to lift and   wander compared to bikes that have longer back 
ends it's a different experience on smoother   purpose-built climbing trails though where the 
Spectral:ON makes short work of tight switchbacks   and the relatively lightweight tyres keep it 
rolling along with plenty of enthusiasm as for   the overall package we've been really impressed 
with the Spectral:ON CF 8 test bike thanks to its   excellent suspension powerful brakes and positive 
shifting I did clip the rear derailleur a few   times but it's managed to shrug off those impacts 
without drama and I did get to experience the   brilliance of the SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger 
which is designed to actually rotate backwards in   the dropout to help get the derailleur out of the 
way in the event of an impact while I did manage   to pinch flat the rear tyre on several occasions 
the dt swiss wheels haven't flinched at all   these are an e-MTB specific wheel 
set so they're quite heavy at 2,203 grams   but with heavier duty rims spokes hub shells 
and hub internals they've proved to be super   tough all throughout testing and that my friends 
brings us to the verdict of the Canyon Spectral:ON this is a great looking e-mountain bike with a 
high level of integration around the Shimano motor   and battery it isn't the slackest or burliest 
bike around and indeed if you prefer riding   really steep and really rough terrain chances are 
you'll be better served by the longer travel Torque:ON   in comparison the Spectral:ON is less of a 
ploough-mobile and more of a speedy technical trail   bike it offers incredible agility and loads of 
pep through twisty flow trails with that short   back end and low bottom bracket allow you to rip 
through corners with speed and precision indeed   this is the most agile e-mountain bike we've ever 
tested it's loads of fun and really engaging to   ride and it rarely failed to put a massive grin on 
our faces whenever we rode it now if you'd like to   learn more about our experience of testing the 
Canyon Spectral:ON the full review is now live   over at hit the link in the 
video description below and that will take you   through to the full review of this bike here if 
you've got any questions for us about the Spectral:ON  drop those into the comments below give us a 
thumbs up and if you haven't already subscribed   to our YouTube channel do that right now because 
we have plenty more videos coming your way soon   otherwise that's it from me guys i hope you 
enjoyed this video and we'll see you next time

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