Luxury Bikes

(Review) New Canyon Spectral CF

Canyon introduces the new Spectral, one of the most versatile bikes on the market. Since the Previous model When it was introduced in 2021, I used it diligently: long rides in the Alps, bike park days, weekends in Finale Ligure with shuttle service and much more Day trips on the hot trails. The Canyon Spectral 2024 hasn’t been overhauled, partly because it wasn’t necessary, but it has undergone some interesting changes and is a little heavier, but let’s go in order.

The model presented today is the CF, i.e. the carbon model. So in terms of weight it’s not quite comparable to the Spectal CFR that I used until recently (there was a 300 gram difference between the CF and CFR in the frame alone), but this new model in size L and mullet format has it End set The needle on our scale is 14.8 kg without pedals, compared to 14.3 on the CF 29/29 that I tested Here. The fact that it has gained weight can be seen with the naked eye, as the front triangle is much more massive than before, and this is mainly due to 2 factors:

  1. Storage compartment in the down tube with corresponding reinforcement of the frame.
  2. The KIS system is present on all Spectral CFs (Details about what it is and how it works Here ).

To make it fit, Canyon had to widen both the top and down tubes. On a design level the new Spectral is a beauty, especially the LTD “Anti Matter” model you see here, but has anything changed on a practical level? Find out in the video (in Italian) or read the text below.


At first glance, the Canyon Spectral hasn’t changed geometrically: same head angle, same seat angle. However, note that this definitely changes the reach for each size, so much so that the L version I use was changed from a 485mm reach to a 500mm reach. I thought it would be too big for me, but instead I felt comfortable with it as the saddle position remains compact. I still recommend sticking to the size chart: if I could, I would probably take a size M. I am 179 cm tall and have a distance between saddle and bottom bracket of 74 cm.

The mullet-sized chainstay is 429mm long and becomes 437mm long when you rotate the flip chip to fit the 29″ wheel. This makes the new Canyon Spectral appear more chameleon-like than the old one.

Canyon Spectral CF on the trail

The kinematics remained similar, but not the same: Canyon slightly reduced the anti-squat, which ensures that uphill drivability remains excellent even with the shock absorber open, but increases the sensitivity to small bumps and the linearity of the suspension. It remains well supported mid-stroke and progressive at end-stroke, and it’s worth noting that travel has dropped to 140mm at the rear and 150mm at the front, down from 150/160 on the previous model.

For me, the 27.5-inch wheel on the rear should have made a big difference: I was expecting less traction and more difficulty keeping the front wheel on the ground on steep climbs, but that wasn’t the case, so much so 29″ no regrets. I’ll try it in the future, but for now I’m happy, also because it’s easier to pump the bike over obstacles.

While you can feel the extra weight going uphill, the Spectral has become even better going downhill, not just because of the suspension, but especially because of the KIS. I was initially very skeptical about this system and the benefits it brings. By setting it to maximum tension, I noticed that the steering became significantly more stable when needed, i.e. in rocky sections and in fast corners. This is what I noticed when I switched from a bike with KIS to one without KIS on the same routes: in the second case I needed more strength in my arms to control the bike and overall the bike felt more twitchy.

Clamping the KIS is very simple: simply move the plastic plate located on the top tube forward or backward, unscrew it and tighten it with a 4 mm Allen key. This is also possible on the trail using the multi-tool located under the top tube itself.

This brings us to the second point, the storage compartment. It has a very functional and easy to use locking system: just lift the left side of the plastic hull to open it.

Because the down tube is nice and big, the compartment is very roomy, big enough to fit a jacket (Canyon has developed a special “Spectral” jacket). However, the hole is short and a pump with a decent volume does not fit into it (see video). For this reason, the included housing has pockets for CO2 cartridges. The pump can also possibly be attached under the top tube, as there are two holes there for a possible bag.

Back to the riding experience: Canyon says the rear chainstays have been reduced in size to make them less stiff. I have some doubts about this statement as I never felt that the old Spectral had too stiff a rear end. Rather, I believe that the aim was to save weight in order to compensate for the increasing thickening of the front frame triangle. The fact is that the rear triangle of the new Spectral also has exactly the right amount of stiffness and that there is 3 mm more heel clearance.

Thanks to a guided internal cable routing and a very generous chain guard on the lower right chainstay, the new Spectral is very quiet. It is also worth mentioning that the new SRAM AXS T-Type The drive train keeps the chain very tensioned, reducing its rattling. With the Spectral CF LTD we find the XX version with a carbon crankset. Excellent in operation under load and very stable thanks to the lack of a rear dropout.

The cockpit is tidy, which is partly due to the wireless transmission, and above all we find no cable routing in the headset. In the photo above you can see that you can pass them through the frame and still maintain an attractive look and, most importantly, do without the plastic parts on the headset and maintenance complications. Bravo to Canyon!

The brakes are SRAM Code SRCs, thankfully HS2 discs. At 2mm thick and a completely different design to the lousy Centerlines, they ensure the Code brakes are decent, albeit a far cry from the performance of a 4-piston Shimano system.

One of the flaws I found with the old Spectral was the cable routing holes from the front triangle to the rear triangle: they were exposed, allowing dirt and mud to get into the frame and squash the bottom bracket, requiring frequent maintenance. I found a solution by attaching a thick protective film as a guard. For the new model, Canyon has developed two protectors to solve this problem.

We also find the flip chip on the new Spectral, which lowers or raises the bottom bracket by a few millimeters. I’ve always left it in the low position with no problem of the pedals touching the floor.

Canyon probably read my tests where I complained that several competing products created a puddle over the seat tube when washing the bike. To avoid this inconvenience, the new Spectral is asymmetrical at this point, allowing water to drain to the left side.

In short: Is it worth switching from the old to the new Spectral? If I hadn’t tried the new one I would say no, because the old one is still a modern and very versatile bike. However, the downhill performance of the new one is significantly better, both due to the changed kinematics and the KIS system, which completely convinced me after an initial phase of skepticism. Some improved details and extremely competitive prices make the choice easier.

Prices and structure of the Canyon Spectral CF

Canyon Spectral CF LTD: €6,999
Canyon Spectral CF9: €4,999
Canyon Spectral CF8: €3,999
Canyon Spectral CF7: €3,399


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