With such huge shoes to fill, the latest Canyon Spectral was never going to have it easy. Its predecessor was extremely popular, smugly claiming the top spot in several earlier group tests. Fortunately, the new-and-improved Spectral lives up to expectations with a series of well-thought-out revisions.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Good times guaranteed! 7 trail bikes under € 3,000 in Review

Canyon Spectral CF 8.0 | 150/140 mm (front/rear) | 13.57 kg | € 2,999

Canyon have done a fantastic job, not only giving the new Spectral a radically different look but essentially a whole new build. Let’s be honest: after more than four years on the shelves, it was about time! The shock has now been positioned horizontally instead of vertically, and at the same time, the kinematics have been significantly revised. Canyon proclaim that the new Spectral should respond more sensitively and be more stable in its travel, and you can really feel they’ve achieved this objective. Amongst the bikes of this group test, the Canyon is the only carbon-framed bike, which is bursting with smart details, such as the cable routing on the down tube, the Impact Protection Unit and the quick-release axle with a lever that is neatly tucked away when not in use. As expected, the spec on the Canyon Spectral CF 8.0 is top-notch. Canyon plumped for RockShox suspension with a 150 mm travel PIKE RC fork that is brilliant. The DT Swiss M1700 wheels are reliable, and the RockShox Reverb with the new lever is better than ever. The German brand opted for affordable SRAM Guide R brakes, which don’t have the Swing-Link technology in the lever but are easy to operate nonetheless. With a 200 mm rotor on the front, they are also sufficiently reliable on long descents.

the spec on the Canyon Spectral CF 8.0 is top-notch
Helmet Sweet Protection Bushwhacker | Jersey Fox Indicator Camo | Shorts Troy Lee Skyline Short | Hip Bag CamelBak Palos LR4

During the redevelopment of the Spectral, ride enjoyment was Canyon’s top priority. For this reason, the Koblenz-based company deliberately opted for 27.5″ wheels with 2.6″ wide tires instead of less agile 29″ wheels. Alongside the centralised riding position, they give the bike a very high degree of comfort and traction. Quick and efficient on climbs, the rear end remains very neutral even when the shock is left open. Some light pedal-bob occurred in testing, but only when you’re really stomping the pedals.

  Spot on! Canyon hit the mark with the Spectral!

Out of the gate, the bike accelerates with ease and handles very directly. It is quick and precise when changing direction, feeling very playful through tight and winding sections. Compared to its predecessor, it’s much more balanced and thanks to the low bottom bracket you feel like you’re sitting in the bike rather than on it, and the rear end works very sensitively while offering good support. The bike has a lot of pop, and it’ll have even the most sedate of riders constantly looking for ledges to hop off, roots to ping off or otherwise pulling manuals. As the terrain becomes more demanding and speeds increase, the Spectral remains stable and in command. The MAXXIS Rekon rear tire is the weakest link out on the trails, and quickly reaches its limits regarding grip and puncture protection.

Canyon Spectral CF 8.0 in detail

Fork RockShox Pike RC 150 mm
Rear shock RockShox Deluxe RT 140 mm
Brakes SRAM Guide R 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 150 mm
Stem Race Face Aeffect R
Handlebar Race Face Aeffect
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF / Maxxis Rekon+
Wheels DT Swiss M1700 Spline
Weight 13.57 kg
Price € 2,999

To increase the service life of the bearings, Canyon has sealed them from the outside as well. Nice! However, it would have been nice to have a threaded bottom bracket.
The look of the Canyon Spectral’s seat tube is a bit like marmite, but one thing is certain: the wide clamping system is very gentle to the seat post inside. Brilliant!
Smoothly does it
The RockShox PIKE is the top choice for trail bikes of up to € 3,000. It’s a killer fork that’s both responsive, offers great damping, and tuning it to personal preferences is made easy with tokens.
Extra protection
The Impact Protection Unit protects the top tube from the shifter. Unlike Trek’s restrictive Knock Block, you can still turn the bars a good 90°.
The Canyon Spectral has routed its cables through an external cover beneath the down tube. Besides cleaning up the frame by hiding the cables, the cover facilitates easy servicing and also adds protection: perfect!

Geometry of the Canyon Spectral CF 8.0

Size S M L XL
Top tube 579 mm 605 mm 633 mm 661 mm
Head tube 92 mm 116 mm 147 mm 170 mm
Head angle 66° 66° 66° 66°
Seat angle 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Chainstay 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB Drop 27 mm 22 mm 22 mm 22 mm
Wheelbase 1141 mm 1172 mm 1204 mm 1235 mm
Reach 419 mm 440 mm 460 mm 482 mm
Stack 588 mm 605 mm 634 mm 655 mm
The Canyon Spectral CF 8.0 is an all-round success

  Upgrade tip: Tausch den Maxxis Rekon+ HinterTires gegen einen Maxxis Minion DHF


Brilliant handling, brilliant suspension, brilliant spec, brilliant price! The Canyon Spectral CF 8.0 is an all-round success, which, despite its playful character, offers plenty of reserves for fast descents, and climbs just as easily. If you are currently looking for a trail bike, your search ends here. Best in Test!


+ quick acceleration and agile handling
+ climbs with ease
+ very quiet
+ frame full of clever details
+ best spec in the test field


– rear tire lacks grip and puncture protection


For more information head to: canyon.com

The test fleet

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Good times guaranteed! 7 trail bikes under € 3,000 in Review

All bikes in test: Ghost SLAMR X 5.9 AL | Giant Trance 1.5 LTD | ROSE ROOT MILLER 2 | Trek Fuel EX 8 29 XT | Whyte T-130 S | YT JEFFSY 29 AL Comp

This article is from ENDURO issue #033

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