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Grouptest Trailbikes: Canyon Spectral AL 8.0

Canyon’s latest offering had to compete last year in some of the Enduro World Series races and the Trans Provence, where the Spectral was put through its paces by Fabien Barel and Joe Barnes.

Das Canyon Spectral AL 8.0 in Action.

The Canyon Spectral AL 8.0 in Action.

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The Spectral is by far the lightest bike in our test at 12.6kg, and this becomes clear as soon as you point it uphill. The bike sprints forward enthusiastically (provided you restrain the Fox shock a little with the CTD lever). The rider sits on the bike in a compact position due to the short 581mm top tube (size M). Even on steep climbs we didn’t need to lower the travel on the Fox 32 TALAS fork; the front wheel remained glued to the ground at all times.

Die Geometrie des Canyon Spectral AL 8.0.

The Geometry of the Canyon Spectral AL 8.0.

The Spectral’s potential for fun reveals itself on the descent: the lively, linear rear end smoothes out small and medium-sized bumps effectively and gives the rider constant feedback concerning the terrain below. However, the suspension lacks progression at the end of the travel and bottoms out when things get rough, although it quickly makes the travel available again. The playful and agile handling is a lot of fun on moderate trails: every ridge or bump in the trail begs to be surfed or jumped over. In turns the Spectral shines, and the Continental tires leave nothing to be desired, with lots of grip and low rolling resistance, once more underlining the liveliness of the bike.

The rest of the spec is typically Canyon: beyond reproach and unbeatable at this price. We especially liked the light DT Swiss Spline wheels, which contribute to the bike’s lively handling.

The new Fox 32 TALAS works much better than its 2013 predecessor. It responds more quickly and remains higher in its travel, which creates more traction and makes descending safer.

The new Fox 32 TALAS works much better than its 2013 predecessor. It responds more quickly and remains higher in its travel, which creates more traction and makes descending safer.

We would have liked to have a bit more progression in the last few centimeters of the Fox shock. For more relaxed rides, the set-up is fine.

We would have liked to have a bit more progression in the last few centimeters of the Fox shock. For more relaxed rides, the set-up is fine.

The internal cable routing creates a clean and tidy appearance.

The internal cable routing creates a clean and tidy appearance.

Other Versions: The Spectral AL 6.0 and the Spectral AL 9.0 EX

Other Versions: The Spectral AL 6.0 and the Spectral AL 9.0 EX

Conclusion:

The Spectral is light and is a delight to ride both up and downhill. The bike is perfect for those who want a playful and agile trail bike. In the rough stuff you have to drop back a gear, however. Be careful with the sizing: the M we tested is very compact!

Go back to the article:Grouptest Trailbikes: Eight Entry-level Trailbikes

You can read an in-depth feature about the group test and our conclusions in the actual ENDURO issue #009! As usual it’s free & only digital for iPad, Android-Tablets and Online-Viewer: Issue #009.

Text & Pictures: Christoph Bayer

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