Coming in at just 2,499 €, we could barely believe this was the actual price of what stood before us. Elegant, well-chosen components across the board and a stunning finish – even while still on the stand, the Canyon Spectral AL 7.0 EX screamed brilliance. But would it be a case of style over substance once we hit the trails?
The only colour worthy of top-end products is black, so it’s no surprise that Canyon pitted this bike in that very colour. But the fact that top-end doesn’t necessarily have to mean eye-poppingly expensive is proven with a quick look at the Spectral. All of the components are 100% in tune with the bike’s purpose, and they blend seamlessly into the image too.
From the reliable SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain, to the brilliant RockShox suspension with a high-quality PIKE fork and a Monarch RT DebonAir rear shock, right through to Canyon’s own cockpit, this lightweight 12.8 kg bike hooks you right from the get-go.
Given the central, comfy riding position, you can take long climbs willingly in your stride. But it isn’t just on the ups when the lightweight and agile Spectral comes into its own – on downhills the bike is easy to manoeuvre and follows your line with precision. The suspension delivers a ton of confident ground feedback while never feeling out of its depth, prompting the rider to adopt a more dynamic riding style. While not permanently glued to the ground, the rear didn’t once show any signs of twitchiness or inadequacy. The Spectral is one of those bikes that just begs to be ridden hard on berms or rollers, racking up the air time. Racers will love the E13 chain guide as much as they’ll go mad for the MAXXIS Minion SS semi-slick rear tyre, with its low centre profile. However, with its reduced braking traction, the tyre is perhaps the only component that a newer rider should consider swapping on the Canyon Spectral. That aside, the bike couldn’t have a better spec.
Details of the Canyon Spectral AL 7.0 EX
Consistent: Designed and made by Canyon, the cockpit is perfectly sized for an ergonomic ride: its 780 mm bar width teams perfectly with the 50 mm stem. The Reverb lever on the left side of the bars is ergonomically easy to use.
Tidy: Canyon have proved that cables don’t have to be internally routed to look good. Running along the downtube with very functional routing, the cables are easier and quicker to service, and never bang around.
A love for details: No matter where your eye falls, the entire spec is 100% consistent and well chosen. Regardless of whether a chainguide is wholly necessary for a 1×11 drivetrain, racers will love this spec.
Potent: Despite offering just 140 mm of rear travel, the Spectral is potent, urging the rider to push the limits with manoeuvres that would be unthinkable on any other bike with the same travel.
Specification: Canyon Spectral AL 7.0 EX
- Fork RockShox Pike RC Solo Air
- Damper: RockShox Monarch RT (140 mm in the back)
- Drivetrain: SRAM GX 1×11
- Brakes: SRAM GUIDE R
- Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
- Stem: Canyon V12
- Handlebar: Canyon H15
- Tires: MAXXIS Highroller II / Minion SSO
- Wheelsize: 27,5″
- Wheels: SRAM Roam 30
- Weight: 12,85 kg
- Price: € 2.499
Conclusion on the Canyon Spectral AL 7.0 EX
Home trail, Alpine epic, or an enduro race – whatever the situation, the Canyon Spectral AL 7.0 EX will have your back. With a brilliant spec and balanced riding characteristics, the Canyon has secured a decisive victory in this group test. With quality and performance this high, the Spectral is even capable of outperforming bikes costing up to and beyond 4,000 €. Chapeau!
- Top Handling
- Cohesive spec
- Cool image
- Rear tyre too low-profiled for newbies
Find more information on the Spectral AL 7.0 EX on the Canyon-Website.[/emaillocker]
This bike was part of our Group Test: Ten Trail & Enduro Bikes 2016 under €2599.
All bikes tested: Bergamont Trailster 6.0 |COMMENCAL Meta AM V4 | Focus SAM Ltd. | Ghost SL AMR 5 | GIANT Trance 2 Ltd | Propain Tyee Comp | Radon Slide 150 8.0 HD | Rose Uncle Jimbo 1 | Solid Magix Comp
Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer
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