Canyon Spec­tral CF 9.0

Cycling Plus (Malaysia) - - BIKE OF THE YEAR 2018 -

Canyon have clearly worked hard on the frame of the new Spec­tral. Stiff and pre­cise, with crack­ing sus­pen­sion and some well-thought-out de­sign fea­tures, it’s one of the best trail bike plat­forms around.

The rear sus­pen­sion works well through­out its travel. It’s com­pli­ant in the mid stroke, soak­ing up trail chat­ter for a com­posed, con­trolled ride, but ramps up heav­ily at the end to cope with big­ger hits. This is matched up front by the Fox 34 fork – a sec­ond-tier ‘Per­for­mance Elite’ model, which feels smoother than the 2017 equiv­a­lent. It’s still not the stiffest fork out there, though, es­pe­cially in this 150mm-travel guise, and heav­ier or faster rid­ers will find them­selves push­ing the chas­sis to its lim­its rel­a­tively eas­ily. If that sounds like you, con­sider fork­ing out for the Rock­shox Pike-equipped Spec­tral CF 9.0 Pro in­stead.

As you’d ex­pect from a di­rect-sale brand, the rest of the com­po­nent pack­age is highly com­pet­i­tive. The DT Swiss wheels are a de­cent width, the driv­e­train and brakes are Shi­mano

XT, while the fin­ish­ing kit in­cludes a Race Face bar/stem combo and Rock­shox Re­verb drop­per. Canyon have cho­sen to fit 2.6in Maxxis tyres across the Spec­tral range (other than on one model, which comes with 2.4in Mav­ics), but we feel that 2.4in or 2.5in rub­ber would suit the bike bet­ter. The ca­pa­ble frame means you can push the bike hard down de­mand­ing tracks, where the wider tyres don’t of­fer quite the same pre­cise sta­bil­ity as Maxxis’s slightly nar­rower ‘Wide Trail’ op­tions.

While the ge­om­e­try is gen­er­ally well-bal­anced, with av­er­age reach and rear cen­tre mea­sure­ments and a low bot­tom bracket (BB), the front end is very tall. In fact, it’s the high­est on test). This will suit some rid­ers, but others may strug­gle to get the feel they’re af­ter. It doesn’t help when it comes to weight­ing the front wheel in flat­ter corners, but does boost con­fi­dence on steep ter­rain.

This year’s Spec­trals weigh more than the equiv­a­lent 2017 mod­els, but Canyon say they’ve upped the strength rat­ing of the frame so that it’s now fully en­duro-race ready. We don’t feel this weight in­crease com­pro­mises ride qual­ity.

The Spec­tral’s 140mm of travel is well con­trolled by the Fox Float DPS shock

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