£3,496.98 (shipped) Valuerich e-bike that loves the climbs

Mountain Biking UK - - FIRST RIDE - TOM MARVIN

For their first e-MTB, Canyon have taken their Spec­tral trail bike and added a Shi­mano mo­tor. As ever with the Ger­man di­rect-sale brand, it’s one of the most com­pet­i­tively-priced bikes in its sec­tor.

The frame

Canyon have stuck with alu­minium for the Spec­tral:ON chas­sis and opted for a semi-in­te­grated bat­tery, on the ba­sis that it’s eas­ier to re­move for charg­ing. This is po­si­tioned as low and cen­tral as pos­si­ble. The four-bar rear end de­liv­ers 150mm of travel, which is matched up front. Where things di er is with the wheels – un­usu­ally, the Spec­tral:ON uses a 29in front rim and a 650b+ at the back. Short chain­stays (430mm) are mated with a rea­son­able reach (465mm on the large). A geom­e­try flip-chip changes the head and seat an­gles by just shy of a de­gree – they sit at 66.8 and 73.8 de­grees, re­spec­tively, in the ‘low’ set­ting.

The kit

Rock­Shox take care of sus­pen­sion du­ties, with their sti Yari RC fork and a Deluxe R shock. The 250W mo­tor and wide-range 1x11 driv­e­train come cour­tesy of Shi­mano. Canyon’s Ger­man coun­ter­parts Magura sup­ply the MT Trail Sport brakes, while the wheels are from DT Swiss’s H 1900 fam­ily. These are shod with Sch­walbe rub­ber – a 29x2.35in Magic Mary EVO ADDIX Soft up front and a more ba­sic, Per­for­mance-level 27.5x2.6in Nobby Nic at the back. Canyon’s own sad­dle has an odd-look­ing shelf at the back for added sup­port on steep hills, and sits atop a KS drop­per post.

The ride

The Spec­tral:ON uses the same sus­pen­sion sys­tem as Canyon’s Torque and Spec­tral bikes, and it’s great – sup­ple where needed and sup­port­ive when things get row­dier, even with the added weight of the mo­tor and bat­tery. With quick and ag­ile han­dling, it’s a bike that’s well suited to twisty, flow­ing sin­gle­track, with the peppy Shi­mano mo­tor re­act­ing quickly to pedal in­puts be­tween cor­ners or up climbs. Even at its slack­est, the front wheel isn’t punted par­tic­u­larly far in front of the bike, so on the steep­est tracks it re­lies on its weight rather than its geom­e­try to give you con­fi­dence.

It’s climb­ing that’s the bike’s forte. Although the han­dle­bar isn’t su­per­low, so long as you drop your el­bows, the plus-size tyre out back just seems to grip for days, com­ple­ment­ing the con­sis­tent feel from the front end. The STePS mo­tor’s torquey feel, com­bined with the trac­tion from the rear tyre, lets you get up the sever­est of as­cents rel­a­tively eas­ily. While a longer back end would make things even eas­ier on steep pitches, it feels like Canyon have set­tled on a de­cent com­pro­mise be­tween this and the bike’s abil­ity to ne­go­ti­ate tighter, twistier tech­ni­cal sec­tions. Even the funky-look­ing sad­dle plays its part – you re­ally can feel that ex­tra seated sup­port when things get steep.

While the pric­ing is com­pet­i­tive, we’d rec­om­mend fac­tor­ing in the cost of a bet­ter rear tyre, be­cause the Per­for­mance rub­ber sim­ply isn’t up to the abuse it’ll get on an e-MTB. We un­der­stand that Canyon may be up­grad­ing this as stock soon. In the mean­time, we’d switch to a 2.6in Maxxis Min­ion with a de­cent car­cass (EXO or DD) as soon as pos­si­ble. The Magura brakes are also lack­lus­tre, even with 203mm ro­tors front and back, feel­ing un­der­pow­ered and wooden.

Im­pres­sive and well-priced trail e-bike that’ll ap­peal to those who want to crush the climbs

It may not look as sleek as an in­te­grated unit, but the 504Wh bat­tery is eas­ily recharged

De­spite its burly looks, it’s the climbs where the Spec­tral:ON ex­cels

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