Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX - Reviewed

Jan 6, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  

Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX 2014 Lead shot

Canyon Bicycle hails from Germany, where the brand has earned a solid reputation for its range of mountain bikes among rank and file riders, and also in World Cup competition. The Spectral AL 9.0 EX is Canyon’s top all-mountain/enduro offering and its welded-aluminum chassis sports a 140-millimeter four-bar suspension design and 27.5-inch wheels. The Spectral AL is outfitted with a SRAM X01 eleven-speed drivetrain, powered by an aluminum X1 crankset. Shock and fork are RockShox items with a reservoir-type Monarch Plus damper and a 150-millimeter-stroke Revelation slider up front. The cockpit is equally impressive, with a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost and a Renthal handlebar/stem combination. Down below, AM-width, SRAM Roam 50 wheels are mounted to chubby, 2.4-inch Continental tires. All in all, Canyon’s 2014 Spectral AL 9.0 EX has the makings of a capable trail shredder. Our medium-sized test bike weighed a very respectable, 12.28kg (27 pounds) and its MSRP is listed as 3099 Euros. Sizes are X-small, small, medium (tested), and large. Canyon sells direct to its customers and ships to most countries throughout the world. (Soon to be available in the USA, Australia and New Zealand.)



(Top) The rocker link is forged in two halves.
A rubber seal guards the dropper cable entrance.
Lack of ISCG mounts was a concern among test
riders. A look at Canyon's sturdy dropout and
post-type caliper mounts.



Details:
• Purpose: All-mountain/enduro
• Wheel format: 27.5-inch
• Frame: welded aluminum, Horst-Link type four-bar rear suspension, 140-mm travel,
• Fork: RockShox Revelation RCT3, 150mm stroke
• Shock: Monarch Plus RC3
• RockShox 120mm Reverb Stealth dropper post
• SRAM X01 one-by-eleven drivetrain
• Brakes: Avid Elixir 7 levers, four-piston Trail calipers – 200mm F and 180mm R rotors.
• Weight: 27 pounds (12.28kg) Med. size tested.
• MSRP: 3099 Euro
Contact: Canyon Bicycle




Construction

Canyon’s Spectral AL chassis follows classic lines and employs a time-proven Horst-Link type four-bar rear suspension. Its welded aluminum frame is butted and hydroformed at key areas to eliminate complicated forgings and gussets. The result is a very clean looking and lightweight chassis. The standout example of this technology can be viewed at the seat tube, where the tube is bent into an S-profile and then bulged significantly to form a stiff box-section for the suspension’s main rocker pivot.

The shift cable housing is routed internally, while the hydraulic brake and dropper seatpost hoses are routed externally on the upper face of the down tube. The bottom bracket area is a forged aluminum part that houses a press-fit bearing arrangement for the crank axle and doubles as the main swingarm pivot location. The swingarm is asymmetrical, and terminates at forged Horst-Link dropouts that house a taper-fit 12-millimeter through-axle assembly.

Canyon integrates post-type caliper mounts to the left dropout and a sturdy derailleur hanger to the right one. The head tube is the now-standard tapered type and, while the Spectral Al is billed as an all-mountain/enduro machine, there is no ISCG-type chainguide mount on the bottom bracket shell. Curiously, in the Canyon literature, a top-mount demi-guide is shown, which is screwed to two derailleur bosses fixed to the swingarm. While the Spectral AL is spec’ed with a SRAM X01 narrow-wide chainring, enduro riders may prefer the extra security of the guide.


Suspension

Canyon refers to the Spectral AL’s rear suspension as an ‘anti-squat’ configuration. By observation, the rocker-link driven shock has an initial falling leverage rate that reverses to a rising rate as the suspension approaches full compression. This is a method used successfully by contemporary designers to achieve a firm pedaling feel during the first half of the suspension’s stroke without sacrificing the suppleness of the ride through the remainder of the travel.

The swingarm’s forward pivot is low in relation to the bottom bracket. That, in conjunction with its seat stay-mounted dropout pivot, should keep the suspension moving freely over bumps and chatter while pedaling and also under braking.

RockShox suspends both ends of the Canyon, with a Monarch Plus RC3 reservoir shock at the rear and a 150-millimeter-stroke Revelation RCT3 fork. Both are proven performers and in the case of the Spectral, suited to the role of an aggressively-ridden trailbike. That said, the Revelation fork, with its 32-millimeter stanchion tubes, is a bit light for the hardest charging all-mountain riders.

Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX 2014 Suspension
  Canyon's choice of a 150-millimeter-stroke RockShox Revelation fork was well matched by the Spectral AL's smooth riding 140-millimeter-travel Horst-Link type rear suspension.


bigquotesThe Spectral AL 9.0 is a conservative design that blends a proven four-bar suspension and the handling traits that most riders attribute to the mid-travel 26-inch trailbikes we grew up on...


Key Numbers

Conservative by contemporary all-mountain standards, the Spectral’s 67-degree head angle will perform more like 66-degrees on an equivalent 26-inch wheel bike. Canyon’s choice of 27.5-inch wheels also boosts the Spectral’s handling with a 17-millimeter bottom bracket drop. With the crank axle well below the wheel axles, the Canyon should corner with greater stability and roll more smoothly over rough ground.

Less outstanding, but worth mention are the Canyon’s average-length, 16.9-inch (430mm) chainstays and its slightly steep, 74.5 seat tube angle. For a medium-sized all-mountain frame, the Spectral AL’s 22.87-inch top tube is about a half-inch (13mm) shorter than we would expect. This could be a concern for taller riders who expect a top tube in the neighborhood of 23 to 23.5 inches (584 to 596mm) for a medium-sized bike.

Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX 2014 Geometry


Standout Components

Canyon achieves a good balance of components for the Spectral AL 9.0, in the sense that everything chosen compliments the role of a lightweight AM/trailbike. The core of the Spectral is its SRAM X01 drivetrain, which is downgraded with an aluminum X1 crankset, presumably to reduce the cost of the bike. The 34-tooth chainring is a bit tall for riders who face steep, extended climbs every day, but within the realm of reality. We applaud the choice of a Renthal bar and stem, but question the narrow feeling 740 millimeter handlebar width.

Canyon’s shopping list left little to want for potential Spectral Al 9.0 customers. SRAM is everywhere on the Spectral and that is a good thing. Its RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post is still the industry leader and we have been fans of SRAM’s Roam wheelset since their launch. We have not spent much time on Avid’s Elixir 7 Trail brakes, but we anticipate that the more affordable versions will put in as good a performance as the top-drawer X0 models.

Review full component specifications here

Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX 2014 Components
  Some of the Spectral AL 9.0's highlight components: (clockwise) SRAM's one by eleven X01 drivetrain with the lower-priced aluminum X1 crankset. RockShox's Monarch Plus RC3 reservoir shock. Renthal 50-millimeter Duo stem and Cane Creek headset. Avid Elixir 7 four-piston Trail brake. SRAM Roam 50 rear hub.



Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX review 2014
bigquotesThe bike's compact feel meant that we could lift the front wheel up and over almost anything in a pinch, and unweight the rear end with equal ease.

Those expecting a foreign feeling from the Spectral AL’s 27.5-inch wheels may be pleasantly surprised that it is a seamless transition from a sharp-handling 26-inch trailbike. The Spectral’s ride is so familiar that any good bike-handler could jump on board and shred from the trail head. It has a firm-feeling suspension that pedals easily and its compact wheelbase gives the bike an energetic feel.

Setup: Getting the Spectral’s suspension dialed in was simple as it gets. With 25-percent sag on both ends, the spring pressure was balanced for descending with the suspension opened up. With the platform lever at the half-way point, all but the most aggressive pedaling and climbing efforts were met with sufficient firmness. Flipping the lever to the third, near-lockout position was only done on rare occasions. Tire pressure seemed more important to get right than dialing in the suspension, as the big, 2.4-inch Continental knobbies would deflect off of slippery surfaces when the ground was wet if the pressure was set too high and would roll sluggishly on hard surfaces if the pressure was set five psi too low. We settled on 30psi for the rear and 27psi for the front.

Pedaling and climbing: As long as there was dirt or rock beneath the tires, the Canyon pedaled efficiently and got out of the corners quickly. Its frame felt noticeably rigid under power – a common comment among test riders. On hardpack fireroads and paved sections, it was noticeably slowed by its tires and to a much lesser degree, by its steep seat angle and slightly dull suspension feel. Climbing was enhanced, however, by two of the aforementioned negatives – the Spectral AL’s active rear suspension kept the bike rolling up the many shelves and rocky climbs that characterize the Sedona trail system, and its monster tires could find traction almost anywhere. In technical climbing situations, though, the bike’s short-coupled cockpit and XC-length wheelbase would sometimes make the front end light and less controllable.

Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX 2014 Climbing
bigquotes74.5-degree seat angle was a plus when climbing technical steeps because it kept the rider naturally forward.

Mid-sized wheels: After spending time aboard the Spectral on trails that the test team had experienced with 26-inch-wheel models, we can clearly state that 27.5-inch wheels provide an advantage when pedaling and climbing over technical surfaces. Their benefits are unmistakable, though, while descending steeply over irregular rock, and when rolling out at the bottom of near-vertical drops.

Cornering: When pressed at fast singletrack speeds, the Spectral AL 9.0 was a shining example of how a good trailbike should corner. It feels quick, responsive and can get from a fully committed left bank to a right-hand turn in a heartbeat. Push the pace to that of a full throttle DH type trail – where one would expect a bike that is designated for enduro racing to thrive - and it runs out of confidence quickly. The Spectral’s short-feeling chassis gets bouncy when speed and intensity exceed the realm of a trailbike and the rider is then forced to make up for the bike’s lack of stability.

Technical performance: Most test riders enjoyed the Spectral AL when the trails required equal measures of courage and skill. It was trustworthy. There was always traction on tap, and its Avid Elixir 7 Trail brakes were both powerful and easy to modulate. The bike’s compact feel meant that we could lift the front wheel up and over almost anything in a pinch, and unweight the rear end with equal ease. Those attributes, combined with the Canyon’s active rear suspension made for an easy ride on the expert-level routes we often picked for testing. The 74.5-degree seat angle was a plus when climbing technical steeps because it kept the rider naturally forward. The narrow handlebar, however had us wishing for a bit more leverage when banging our way down chunky chutes or rutted trails.


Component Report

Renthal bar and stem: Good – Duo stem was the perfect length and component choice for an AM/trailbike which is billed as an enduro racer. Bad - Fat Bar Lite handlebar was a brilliant bend and the correct rise, but its narrow 740mm width seemed out of place on an AM/enduro bike.

SRAM X01 drivetrain: Good – one-by drivetrains should appear on every bike in this class. Shifting is crisp and sure. The ratios are perfect for fast-break speed and elevation changes, and we didn’t mind the downgrade from carbon to an aluminum crank because it is more bash-worthy in the rocks. Bad – for riders using this bike for its true purpose, a smaller, 32-tooth chainring may be a better choice, as it would assist technical climbing.

RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost: Good – still the best in class. It is pricey, but the fact that the Reverb was chosen means that the people who designed the bike also know how to ride.

RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 shock: Good – a long-stroke, fully adjustable reservoir shock belongs on every true AM/trailbike, and this one put in a good performance throughout testing. Bad – the three-way pedal platform lever fell off and was lost early on – and this was not the first time we’ve lost a Monarch lever.

Continental Trail King and Mountain King tires: Good – a huge casing, an aggressive tread and a nylon mesh protection layer make a worthy tire for technical riding. Bad - the stiff casing tends to make the tire run rough and it requires a narrow range of pressure to optimize its performance.

Canyon Spectral AL 9.0 EX reviewed 2014
  While the Spectral AL could be a handful at mach speeds, its nimble handling and quick reflexes were a plus for riding technical singletrack.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesCanyon made sure that its first 27.5-inch entry into the all-mountain realm would be successful by avoiding the pretense that sensationalism sells. Instead of inventing an elaborate suspension and using crowd-approved components, the Spectral AL 9.0 is a conservative design that blends a proven four-bar suspension and the handling traits that most riders attribute to the mid-travel 26-inch trailbikes we grew up on, with modern geometry and next-gen, 27.5-inch wheels. Experienced bike-handlers who want to retain the lithe feel associated with their old 26ers and incorporate the advantages in handling and efficiency that larger wheels bring to the table, could do well with Canyon's Spectral AL 9.0. As a pure enduro racer, Canyon's top-range Spectral ticks most of the boxes, but it falls a little short when it comes to high-speed, big-hit performance. As an all-mountain/trailbike, however, it's a hit. - RC




171 Comments

  • + 74
 The snobbish $9,000 bike killer. We need more reviews like this from Canyon, YT and Radon. Real bikes for real riders at a real price.
  • + 9
 Exactly! Not to mention the pleasure and freedom that comes from riding a bike, that you can actually afford to use as hard as intended (and possibly break).
Absolutely LOVE my YT Industries!
  • + 3
 I love reviews of bikes which do not cost a fortune. But are YT Bikes available in the US or Canada?
  • + 3
 Probably - if you write them and ask nicely: www.yt-industries.com/en/service/terms-of-shipping

Anyway.. PB cater to bike enthusiasts all over the world, so ignoring the manufactures outside Canada/USA would be a huge mistake, even if the reviewed bike/part isn't available over there. Brands like YT, Canyon, Radon and Bergamont has made a HUGE impact on the whole European bike scene.
  • - 16
flag IllestT (Jan 9, 2014 at 6:52) (Below Threshold)
 Internet-only bike brands are bad news for everyone. End of
  • + 44
 Ordered one! At that price and spec how could I say no??? All of the negatives are actually positives for me personally... i want some thing that rides my local NL XC trails and then will do for weekend trips to the Alps...with a little moderation on the uber steep stuff...... it will do that perfectly! if i wanted more bike I'd get a 160mm Canyon Strive.... Fabian may have the talent to send a 140mm bike down at full speed.... i on the other hand have a "few clicks" less talent.
and a 740mm bar not wide enough!??
  • + 9
 Was just about to say that, the enduro bike for normal people would be Strive and it's a 26" which should please PB'rs Wink
  • + 46
 740mm... maybe on the narrow side for some people but I'd hardly mark the bike down because of it.
  • - 6
flag neiltheweak (Jan 6, 2014 at 1:12) (Below Threshold)
 Or if you want a more stable bike, just buy a size up?
  • + 8
 Sweet ride!

If I was in charge at Trek/Spec/Giant/etc. or a bike shop owner, I'd be seriously concerned at how much more expensive they are (at RRP) for similar specs, compared to Canyon/YT/etc. There was a point when they were not so attractive, what with hydroforming, but since Canyon/YT caught up, this bike looks freaking awesome!

If I was in the market, they'd get my money. Hope it rides, as good as it looks 'SillyTorque', not many hills in The Netherlands, are there any DH-type tracks?
  • + 2
 Well Trek/Spec/Giant are pretty safe in Australia as Canyon unfortunately aren't available down here. Nice looking bike though!
  • + 8
 2 reasons I didn't consider buying that model:
- 32mm Revelation: I've had a Fox 32 on my Enduro - but not for long! Those 32mm forks don't provide the confidence and rigidness needed - at least for me. A Pike would have easily been worth the extra gramms.
- SRAM Roam 50 wheels: these are superlight 1530g 650b XC/Trail wheels with 24 spokes front/rear and a 25mm rim. Depending on one's riding style I doubt that they'll last. They should have gone for the equally-priced 1750g SRAM Rail 50 wheels, that are actually intended to be used in All-Mountain/Enduro.

Other that that, the bike's damn hot!
  • + 6
 Don't forget: Fabien's riding it with a 160 Float.
  • + 14
 If it rides like a 26 why don't we all just buy a 26
  • + 2
 @ mikecawsey: mainly a lot of xc type tracks with zero height difference Frown A few that i would call technical trails that have some hills that are maybe 30 m high - short and punchy descents and climbs - actually fun with some step-downs, rock gardens and berms strewn in. If you want more you have to go near Maastricht/Aachen for trails and bike parks with maybe 100m height difference. Not enough yet then Belgium/Germany 2-4 hour trips by car - proper bike parks with dh tracks.
  • + 4
 Lol You run two forks on your bike? What do you use for dinner?
  • + 3
 Canyon and YT Industries build decent looking bikes. I'd like to see what percentage of PB users aren't able to get their hands on one. I'd like to better understand what the reasons are for not supplying certain countries with their products. Taxes/ tariffs, copyright/ patent issues on the suspension design, logistics of product delivery, warranty support infrastructure....?
  • + 1
 Sweet! When BikeRadar reviewed the Strive they said that unless they made the fork and shock really hard, there was no progression at all, it would just dive to the bottom. And when they were pumped up, the smooth bump control was lost. It got 1 or 3 stars if I remember correctly. So...you made a good choice here! I hope you enjoy it and it is everything you want it to be!

I would love to get my hands on a YT Noton (higher spec model) and a Canyon Torque EX. Those bikes look sweet, and apperantly the torque climbs sprisingly well.
  • + 3
 @Rockin-itis. If you ever want to make an insurance agent sweat, tell them your business plans to sell to the North American continent and that you'll be needing liability cover, a whole bunch of Euro brands don't sell to the US because of it and the likelihood of getting a nice legal letter from some health insurance company.
  • - 6
flag deeeight (Jan 6, 2014 at 20:55) (Below Threshold)
 The main reason canyon and YT don't ship to north america is its GOD DAMNED EXPENSIVE... who's going to buy one of their catalog bikes when they'll pay $400 for shipping it across the ocean and they can just order a catalog bike like a motobecane from florida.
  • + 2
 I'm pretty sure it's actually down to patent laws, however some of the patents run out soon so they can start shipping.
  • + 0
 Nope. The horst link patent expired six months ago.
  • + 1
 Looks like they may be coming to Australia. Sweet!
  • + 14
 740 mm too narrow? IMO, after that the risks of snagging branches outweigh the benefits... Lovely bike but also not available here.
  • + 9
 I did chuckle when I read "The narrow 740mm bar"
That's quite wide by my standards... Through the tight trees in my neck of the woods it quickly becomes a liability to have monster bars hanging out there!
  • + 2
 I already have a few spots on the local trails where 711mm is tight. If I rode 780mm bars, I'd need hand guards.
  • + 1
 length as an isolated measurement isn't exceedingly relevant, either: I'm riding a 780mm bar on my 6" bike right now, but that's because it's got a 9 degree sweep. Renthals aren't that sharp (7 degree IIRC?) and I wouldn't want a full 780mm in them. doubly true for riders on the short end of "Medium."
  • + 9
 There's a few spots where I live that a bar over 700mm will get you in trouble... I think they complain about bar width on literally every single bike review on PB.
  • + 1
 Also, how tall is RC? I am looking forward to trying a 740 and deciding how I feel about it.
  • + 1
 Per comment below:
"Riders varied from (sorry about the inches) 5'7" to 5'11" Size was Medium." So somewhere in that range.
  • + 2
 Was sceptical too, riding an Easton Haven at 711mm. Then a descent over babyhead chunder made me think again, it was quite difficult to hold the bike on line and correct with feeling. The baby heads were yanking the bar left and right. Got an atlas at 785 thinking i might cut it down to 760ish but now i am loving it and do not think i am going to cut it. You gotta try before you bash it. Much more control. Better support in attack position and it allows me to keep a bike straight when it drifts over peanut butter mud. Also by mistake i got a 40mm stem in place of 50 and was worried- no reason at all- way fine.
  • + 1
 Im about 6' and rode a 760 on my yeti 575, and ride a 725 on my hardtail and both bars feel well matched with out being too tight. I can't imagine wanting anything wider (or narrower than the 725) for climbing. On the decents i can see how on a bigger bike the bigger may be better but if you're climbing i can't see why people complain about anything under 725-760 on a trail/AM bike...
  • + 7
 A great looking bike, but I'm a bit confused on the ride report. You claim that the short wheelbase is a hinderance on rough straight sections of trail, but the huge ass 27.5 Conti tires make it nimble side to side? 1172mm wheelbase for a large is the same wheelbase as a XL Nomad wheelbase (arguably one of the most stable AM bike out there). Maybe the jitteriness is the suspension tune, fork, or just the fact that it's a short reAch?

Super light for an aluminum frame though!
  • + 29
 Just checked a few other 650B Wheelbase + Chainstay measurements; Most of these would be considered "hard Hitters" in Trail/Am/Enduro
All for Large frame size;
Canyon Spectral 1172mm Chainstay 430mm
Trek Remedy 1196mm Chainstay 435mm
Norco Sight 1161mm Chainstay 431mm
Santa Cruz Bronson 1164mm Chainstay 439mm
Specialized Enduro 1184mm Chainstay 419mm

So yeah Richard Cunningham...please expand on your thoughts about the short "XC" wheelbase. Is there something else that contributed to a lack of perceived stability or shortness?
Also I'm amazed on how much attention reviewers give the tires supplied on bikes.....Who really cares....they are only consumables. Filling an article? ( ~ 136 words in this article) First thing I do is fit the tires I've found best for my local riding to a bike..... (I have 3 different tire sets to choose depending on where I'm riding/time of year) I cant be alone in this???

Come to think of it... to do a review constructively and remove variables a control tire should be used.........
  • + 13
 I think the fact that it doesn't cost $6k+ is that lack of precieved stability.
  • + 13
 Richard Cunningham literally chats bollocks all day long, this is just another fine example.
  • + 3
 Not to mention it seems too critical to fault the Conti's for ride quality. I run a Mountain King 2 right now on the front of my bike and love it.
  • + 6
 To include tyres in a review is stupid, they're personal preference, as are seat, grips and pedals.First thing I'd do if I bought a new bike is chuck the tyres and pedals and fit whatever I'm using at the time.
  • + 7
 I'd say the same about handlebars. First off, 740mm is wider than a lot of bikes I've seen at the LBS. If it's too narrow than maybe you should just buy another bar... whats another $80 when you're spending $3k on the bike?
  • + 12
 740 is plenty wide for most trail bikes. Unless you are racing "Enduro" where you are mostly descending on wide cut trails I see no "issue" here. I feel like they really struggled to find faults with this bike.
  • + 3
 67° and RS Rev. compared to a lot of other enduro rides around 66° and RS Pike maybe? Hence its more of an AM rig then an enduro race rig.
  • + 3
 Correct, which is why the bar spec in on the money imo
  • + 1
 I still think they should have gone with a wider bar, if you're a tall bugger like me then wide bars are good, even for XC. Surely it's always best to go wide and allow people to cut them down, rather than have them too narrow to start with?
  • + 3
 The review is of the complete bike sold by the manufacturer, as is, including all components. Ignoring "replaceable" components in a review effectively reduces the review to the frame only (even shocks and forks can be replaced wit a few turns of a wrench). Such a review would be impossible to do and worthless to any reader who is looking to buy a stock bike.
  • + 5
 Yes, but one must apply their common sense to things such as these, something a lot of people on here seem to lack...
  • + 6
 The medium sized bike we tested may have equivalent numbers to some in its class, but the combination of steep seat angle and short top tube bunches the rider to the front of the chassis. This, and other effects of the Canyon's geometry caused the Spectral to feel like it was short compared to the 12 other bikes we tested in the same category. All those who rode it agreed. If you planned on purchasing the bike, it would be good to know that a size larger may be right for some, eh? As for the components; I test the bike the way you would receive it. A heads up on the parts could be helpful if you wanted to negotiate an upgrade - or wanted to calculate the cost of such when you are comparing it to another brand or model.
  • + 1
 Looks like no one has actually answered this properly yet. Pinkbike tested the M size model which comes in very short on the wheelbase at 1138mm, the size L is 1172mm i.e. nearly 3.5cm longer. The jump in size between the M and L is huge. Arguably, (i.e. going by current trends and reviews) the L model has good geometry for a ~6ft rider: short chainstays and long reach. It is just a shame that they miss-sized the M model, it should be at least 1cm, even 1.5cm longer out the front... Note however that the wheelbase on the L is long due to the very long steering tube (145mm), not because of an extreme reach value. These bikes will size VERY small!
  • + 6
 I was considering a strive until:
Dear Canyon customer in North America & Australia / New Zealand:

Thank you for your interest in Canyon Bicycles. You may have recently noticed that Canyon has suspended our sales to North America & Australia / New Zealand. Currently we are re-evaluating our customer service and support in these markets. As you know, Canyon uses a direct sales model where we don't just deliver your bike; we develop it and build it as well so we can provide your new Canyon with unbeatable performance & proce. We also strive to provide excellent customer service and after sales support in each market.

Currently we are re-evaluating our approach to Canyon sales, customer service and after sales support in the North America & Australia / New Zealand so we have placed sales to North America & Australia / New Zealand on hiatus until such time as we can provide the kind of service and support our Canyon customer in North America & Australia / New Zealand deserves. We hope to make an announcement later in 2010 as to further availability of Canyon Bicycles in North America & Australia / New Zealand.

Thanks in advance for your understanding
The Canyon Team
  • + 7
 Ugh, I can believe I find myself checking to see if it fits a water bottle cage... What has happened to me? My age is showing.
  • + 8
 Pinkbike reviewed a Canyon! Hopefully they will do the Strive next, unless they have......and I've missed it =S
  • + 7
 They definitely need to do more Canyon reviews! I like the look of the Torque EX personally.
  • + 5
 and yt!
  • + 2
 I read the YT one, first Ive ever seen. They look pretty decent as well. I've been trying to decide between a Specialized Enduro, the Canyon Torque and the Canyon Strive for months to replace my rough as boots Carerra. I finally decided on the Strive and its now out of stock in both the models I was looking at. FML!!
  • - 3
 The strive has a less than stellar rear suspension. In truth canyon bikes are pretty mediocre, you just get blingy components. The frame quality might even be good and stiff but they did not have anyone to inspire their engineer to do right geometry and suspension until Fab came along. He is not touching a strive.
  • + 2
 Fabien Barel mostly raced the Strive last year while Barnes was on the Spectral prototype.
  • + 2
 Yeah I've seen a few youtube vids with Fabien Barel making the thing fly. But then he does have more talent in his little toe than I do in my entire body =S
  • + 2
 Got a Strive 8.0 last July (2013), gets thrashed twice a week in the Lake District and it is perfect for big hit gnarly descents and it climbs pretty well for a long travel bike. Issues I've had include; snapping the rear axle on the Sun Ringle wheel (replaced by Canyon) oil leak on Reverb Droper Post (fixed by SRAM via Canyon) E-13 Chain Guide installed incorrectly (fixed by me) stiff gear cables, contemplating drilling out the frame to run a continuous gear cable to the rear mech, present configuration has it exiting the frame at the bottom where all the mud and water can get in. Had to get volume spacer for the Fox CTD Shock to stop it blowing through its travel (running 200 psi for my fat 175lb ass) and added 15ml of oil to the fork air chamber to keep it high in its travel for the descents but able to run 65psi to soak up the big drops. Rear wheel dents for fun and spokes come loose on every ride, but that's riding on gnarly rocks for you I guess. Love the Maxxis Ardent / Minion combination and it feels very light and sprightly in the corners. Best bike I've ever ridden, would recommend one if you ride big mountains with lots of rocks and want a mini DH bike that goes up as well as down!
  • + 5
 I think editors just got used to really long top tubes and wide bars. I'd say this is an average length TT and spot on width handlebar for a trail bike. Even a bit wide for woodsy singletrack.
  • + 6
 Designers, please look at kona for proper top tube sizing moving forward! Otherwise, great bike and price! 150 pike and done.
  • + 4
 "Mid-sized wheels: After spending time aboard the Spectral on trails that the test team had experienced with 26-inch-wheel models, we can clearly state that 27.5-inch wheels provide an advantage when pedaling and climbing over technical surfaces. Their benefits are unmistakable, though, while descending steeply over irregular rock, and when rolling out at the bottom of near-vertical drops."

This statement may cause half the Pinkbike readers to have a seizure...
  • + 3
 that has to be the ugliest damn helmet ever. Big Grin
since when is 740 handlebar narrow for a trailbike? xD
price is amazing, components are amazing, if i were buying something else rather than riding my Pitch i'd be looking to Canyon and YT.
When I was buying my Pitch in 2011 i got it for 1900euros and I needed two years to get that kind of money so thank you for all the brands that at least try too keep the prices down for most people Smile
  • + 2
 I would never buy off Canyon. I TRIED so hard to buy a Strive 7 last year. It was 2-3 weeks late. I tried to contact the company about 30 times in the space of a week to find out what was going on but never got through. I ended up driving to the factory ( was living 1.5 hour drive away at the time) for them to tell me it was on its way, they still couldn't tell me when though. So I waited some more, the bike arrived to my address, for some reason the delivery "failed", bike went back to the factory, someone there thought it was a "refused delivery", bike went into stock and sold to someone else. So I never got my bike, even though it was just outside my door. Great bikes but the worlds worst customer service. Trust me, everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Bought a Trek Slash 7 instead.
  • + 2
 "...the Revelation fork, with its 32-millimeter stanchion tubes, is a bit light for the hardest charging all-mountain riders."
Another undersprung bike that otherwise would get a lot more love from me. To paraphrase portlandia "Put a pike on it!"
  • + 2
 Nice review - as a conti tyre user and an afficanado of the MtnKing (maybe Im sentimental, the original incarnation 2.4s were the stock tyres on my first 'proper' mtb) Id be interested to hear what the narrow range of optimal pressures was? Ivee always been happy with (psi) 30r 28f on a hardtail - anyone else got anything different?
  • + 1
 Yeah I would like clarification on this as well.
  • + 1
 I've been running Conti's for 4 years now. For the last 9 months I've been riding the Trailking/ RubberQueen in 2.4 on the front and the Baron 2.3 on the rear. They don't mention if it was a tubeless setup or not, I'm guessing not because I run lower pressures than that on my tubeless setup.
My trails are a mix of fine marbles over hardpack, rocky jasper and quartz ridges, rooted riverine forests and rich clay that can either be smooth hard pack in the dry or hero dirt to sludge in the rainy season.
On the dry marbley stuff I run the front as low 0.8bar, sure it rolls slower, but the traction in them is phenomenal, I've had to retrain my brain to the limits of front wheel drift I can achieve angles of lean possible, the transition on the RubberQueen from straight to left or right is seemless without a hint of loss of traction while going onto the rails, lovely tire. I run the Baron about 0.2bar higher than the front and it feels balance front and rear in terms of traction, the Baron is just a great, aggressive and completely controlled tyre, best rear end tyre I've ever had.
When it's damp and the trail is cover in hero dirt, I lift the pressure to 1.4bar on the front and 1.6bar on the rear and it digs into the dirt for grip like something I've never experienced before.
The new Conti range is much better than the previous incarnations (although the old Gravity in 2.3 on the rear was a great tyre) but they work best IMO as a truely tubeless tyre and you should by the Apex cartridge versions for the strengthened side wall, super easy to set up tubeless on my Outlaw rims.
In short the old Conti's made me a fan, the new ones mean I won't look at another brand again. Worth their money.
  • + 1
 I actually agree with their assessment. I use a Trail King 2.4 UST up front and the casing is much more stiff than my 2.2 Mountain King Protection in the rear. The tire pressure is essential but I find the MK slipping all the time in the Northwest. They both grip great but I would take the TK over the MK. Considering a UST TK 2.2 for the rear. The Protection casing seems squishy even at 30-32psi. I can run down to 18-20psi on the front TK and don't have issues.
  • + 1
 @ phdotd- 0.8 bar?? Is that a typo? That's 12 psi! I know we're not talkin motos' here, so I've gotta ask... Are you a midget?
  • + 1
 I'm a lightweight and fully kitted come to around 66kg's.
the Outlaw rims have nice wide 22.7 internal rim diameters which help give the tyre a very squared off profile, if you have the Apex cartridge, go tubeless with them, running tubes in them doesn't even give you 70% of what they're capable of, great tyres.
  • + 1
 Huh, interesting. Thanks for the reply man. Happy trails!
  • + 2
 It reminds me the Mondraker All Mountain and Enduro bikes. That is a compliment for a Canyon, as many other riders noted out, it seems to have the forward geometry. Never the less, I would still go for the Mondraker Foxy or Duno for just $100 more. Its personal preference tho.
  • + 2
 @ Richard Cunningham (>about head tube angle)

67° can't be correct for the 9.0 EX. The geometry table is the one which applies to the other 27,5" Spectral with 140mm fork. The 9.0 EX features a longer (150mm) fork, so around 66.5° - The 26" Canyon Strive Enduro has 66.5°...
  • + 1
 Actually, acording to the spec sheet from Canyon, the 150mm Rev has the same installation height as the 140mm Talas. So head angle stays the same (actually it gets a bit steeper when you reach the end of the 150mm travel).
  • + 1
 The problem with buying direct (other than pulling business from your LBS) is what happens if you have a warranty issue? You have ship your bike back to Germany, while this would be a pain in the arse for me here in Ireland, imagine what it'd be it'd be like to ship it from the US or NZ. Cant argue with the build kit and 3k is seriously competitive, but I hope Canyon have world class customer support or they could be in trouble down the line. That said I'd definitely consider this for my next bike. Lovely looking machine.
  • + 4
 I've had a strive for exactly 12 months now and 3 of them have been spent waiting on the bike to come back from canyon on warranty. Twice it's gone back!
  • + 1
 Yeah, they currently aren't selling to North America or NZ/Austrailia because they want to improve their business model. I'll be interested to see what they come up with. Too bad it will likely be too late for me this time around since I intend to buy in the spring.
  • + 1
 I believe some comments must be mentioned to be personal preferences and pinkbike should not over-generalize . For example, I dont see how a 740mm bar is narrow,in my case I cannot ride (dh or enduro) with a 780mm wide bar and 740mm hits the spot for me. Also I dont consider the reverb to be the best dropper, after some testing, I have to say that the KS Lev is the best out there, is just it is so expensive no brand will stock it, and that´s why the Reverb seems to be the holy grail, but honestly I think it isn´t.
  • + 1
 The sizing is way off on this bike, the large version is 40mm shorter in the cockpit than my large alpine 160! Kona currently leads the way in trail/enduro bike sizing.
If you're looking at these types of bikes, YT's are much better proportioned bikes than canyons - my mates 26 inch wicked 160 is a top bike with a great spec for the money. And his medium is longer than the large canyon!
  • - 2
 Knobber
  • + 6
 LOL, dude, if you called Nike a pioneer shoe sizer I don't think you'd be doing them any favors. Same story here. Woot Kona has the best sizes!

Also, in bikes people want different dimensions. I had a long low bike and I decided to get something shorter, easier to fling around. This is one case in which what your girlfriend told you was true: It's not the size, it's how you use it.
  • + 1
 Yeah but if a frame has a longer frame relative to the height you've got the option to go a size smaller if you want it more flickable and generally still have enough seatpost to climb on it if you need to. If I was gonna get one of the new konas I'd buy a large for stability at speed and comfort but I could ride the medium without any issues. With the canyon you havnt got that option cos they're all so short....you may not agree but there's plenty who do, including the people who reviewed the spectral for pinkbike.....
  • + 1
 Does the price of this sub 13kg ali bike (and YT bike prices) illustrate how overpriced other brands are? The spec sheet is brilliant for the money - 1x11, 200mm front rotor and 4 piston calipers etc etc. Makes most US brand bikes look like a rip off.
  • + 1
 Im glad this review came up as I've been pondering over one of these. For me though the review has made me decide against it due to it not being like a dh trail bike, now wandering which way to go? Trance SX or kona process?
  • + 4
 Check out that price!.. even with a derogatory toned review. No getting away from what seems an awesome performance bike.
  • + 1
 ive got one on order I didn't go for the ex just the 6.0 and I cant wait you cant fault the spec and prices of canyon bikes. I am glad to see peoples views on the sizing as I ordered a large being 6ft but ive ridden the orange 5 pro 650b in a medium and felt really comfortable on it as I was a bit worried it might of been to big. When it comes to customer service and having to send the bike back to Germany in the uk you don't have to worry about that now as they have a uk service centre in Kingston upon thames as I this is what swayed me to go for the canyon
  • + 1
 I am 184 cm and went for the large. Canyon's PPS system first recommended me size M (I have a relatively short inseam measure), but after being a bit sceptical about this, I contacted Canyon's customer service, who said that size L would actually fit me better. They also pointed out, however, that if one favours really aggressive riding style, M would have been ok as well.
  • + 1
 Pretty nice bike, but stiff competition from the 2014 Giant trance and Spec' Stump jumper fsr evo - couldn't decide which to go for myself, maybe the Stumpjumper as it doesn't have that stupid overdrive head tube the giant has which makes it hard to get a new stem...
  • + 1
 From the description of the ride I'd say the Dixon RS is a good competitor. Low cost, good climber, mixed reviews on the descent. And that bike has a pike and a super wide bar.
  • + 1
 the problem with the evo is the super low bottom bracket, you'll be hitting everything, the dixon does not come on 27.5 that i know of
  • + 2
 Is it no longer apples to apples when they change wheel size?
  • + 2
 hehe, the wheel size argument, my comment was a bit selfish i think, for the trails that i ride and the type of riding I do 27.5 seems like a good fit, so that's what i've looking at.
  • + 1
 The new Devinci Troy is 650b and also has 140mm travel.
  • + 4
 If only I was in the market for an 'all-mountain' bike, this thing is freaking awesome!
  • + 1
 I've had a Spectral 9.0 EX on order since the 5th Feb and other than finding out from the UK site that the sizing chart was telling me to get the wrong size (it said M when I'm well over 6'2" and I got put to the back of the queue as it was a new order), the bike has now dropped back an entire month on an already long delivery date. Apparently the frames have not been delivered to the factory. The UK team are great coming back to ticketed email questions but speaking to two of the guys there by phone to get answers isn't always easy. Three times now they have forgotten to call me back with updates.

So Feb 5th order and hoping for a June delivery unless more goes wrong. That's half a season riding missed out on and had to go back to my old Trek Fuel for now.

Luckily Canyon have offered me a free scarf so all is ok from their side.

I don't get the model. Great bikes no doubt but not a premium price so there's no benefit from creating demand by under supplying. Demand is already massive for these so why not get more people onboard and build more. I imagine it's related to fixed ordering of parts stock at the start of a season but still, hundreds of riders on these forums wanting a bike they can't get. Same with the YT Capra's.

I wait in hope that it will be worth it.
  • + 2
 I would gladly read review of a Canyon Strive 8.0 race, because I have ordered one in November :-) but spectral has similar specs, so thx that you did at least test of this spectral
  • + 1
 Well the only down side I can see with Canyon is the delivery turnaround. I ordered an AL 9.0 EX two weeks ago and it won't be delivered until week 18 which is May. By this point there's only 5 months left of the 2014 sales season and the main stream manufacturers are discounting their bikes. When I ordered mine I was going for black which was in stock. I left it an extra day and the bike sold out. Getting Red now. They go fast and once they are gone they're gone. You can't buy this spec outside of Canyon or YT without breaking the bank. The downside is that as it is a relatively small outfit, things take time. Just hoping it meets expectations.
  • + 3
 2008 Specialized enduro with a single crown and dropper post. How revolutionary.
  • + 3
 What happened, their customer service can't keep up with warranty claims in North America?
  • + 0
 Beautiful!! German made, high quality components and doesn't carry an unrealistic price tag like some bike makers think their bikes are worth. And thank you for not making it in 29er form! Seems everyone is switching to the 27.5 format. Sorry 29ers, your days are numbered. Soon those big goofy wheeled bikes will be nothing more than a footnote in cycling history.
  • + 0
 No worries. It's also available as a 29er. Watch here: www.canyon.com/mountainbikes/bike.html?b=3258
  • + 1
 @rocky Urban,
Canyon bikes are not really German made...

The frames are from China and assembled in Germany.

This is how they can sell a Xo1 bike for $4,200 USD.
  • + 5
 Hey Rocky, a 29'er just won bike of the year. So 29ers have at least 364 days left. Maybe next year they'll die. Probably not.
  • + 2
 One year passes by surprisingly fast.
  • + 2
 Since when has 740mm been regarded as narrow ffs??? Also best to assume Avid brakes are wank, don't believe reviewers on that one lol
  • + 0
 "Best to assume Avid are wank" I wouldn't assume that. My elixirs, on both my bikes are exceptional. For 3 years I've owned elixirs, and for 3 years i've noticed commentors bash Avid, and when challenged they always reply "uh, i had a friend whose 2004 Avids sucked" or "Avid Codes..." BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Because of these comments I pay attention to all the squeelers on the trail and its almost always shimano. I think its best to assume that some wankers just assume to much.
  • + 1
 Agree with the 740mm comment, love my Fatbar Lites, perfect AM width for me. Ref Avids, my Juicy carbons are stilling rocking but I could be the exception Wink !
  • + 0
 can someone from pinkbike please finish this important statement!

"Their benefits are unmistakable, though, while descending steeply over irregular rock, and when rolling out at the bottom of near-vertical drops."

While what???
  • + 0
 i thought i was lost in translation, i didnt undrestand that either
  • + 2
 while descending and while rolling out.
  • + 1
 Seems a tad expensive?? I picked up my Giant Trance advanced SX for the same price. Carbon frame, elixer 9s, 34 fork. Very nice bike otherwise.
  • + 1
 Direct price that can be found is less.
  • + 2
 Sooo...I guess this is the variety we'll see in the US, without a Horst-link patent to block them. Sweet.
  • + 1
 Please review Canyons DH bikes! I'm thinking of buying either a Canyon or a YT gravity and can't decide! Any thoughts from anyone here?
  • + 1
 And size was M? And riders height? You should mention it in reviews, please. And thanks btw, you want belive, but I googled for review today. Smile
  • + 3
 Riders varied from (sorry about the inches) 5'7" to 5'11" Size was Medium.
  • + 2
 that is ok, I know height in inches. That is what I hope for exactly, if size M on 27,5 wheels suits to 5'10". Thank you
  • + 1
 and M size was good to 5'11''?
  • + 0
 This bike has some inconsistencies:

The bigger wheels have unmistakable advantages when going down steep rocky terrain, but then it becomes unstable when riding down steep terrain at speed.

A and ~A?
  • + 1
 They explain that the instability is due to the short frame. My Spesh Enduro is about 15mm longer in the top tube than the equivalent large Canyon.
  • + 2
 What I want is the medium's seat tube and the large's toptube... Oh and paint it black, then I'd consider it!!
  • + 1
 ^ Saw a red Canyon and wanted it painted black.
  • + 2
 It's available in black but differently equipped. www.canyon.com/mountainbikes/bike.html?b=3252
  • + 1
 Wow that is a really short cockpit for a large. Only 440mm reach? That thing must feel really cramped for anyone over 5'10"
  • + 3
 hey look a norco sight
  • - 2
 Or a trek slash
  • + 1
 Why are these not available anywhere in the US? This bike is a great value. I would buy one now if I could get it.
  • + 1
 And you would pay the shipping surcharge?
  • + 3
 Too much red.
  • + 2
 Anyone else notice an American in this thread use the word "wanker"
  • + 1
 That's globalisation for you.
  • + 1
 Looks like a bit of a bargain - anyone know when they're coming to Australia?
  • + 3
 Dear Canyon customer in North America & Australia / New Zealand:

Thank you for your interest in Canyon Bicycles. You may have recently noticed that Canyon has suspended our sales to North America & Australia / New Zealand. Currently we are re-evaluating our customer service and support in these markets. As you know, Canyon uses a direct sales model where we don't just deliver your bike; we develop it and build it as well so we can provide your new Canyon with unbeatable performance & proce. We also strive to provide excellent customer service and after sales support in each market.

Currently we are re-evaluating our approach to Canyon sales, customer service and after sales support in the North America & Australia / New Zealand so we have placed sales to North America & Australia / New Zealand on hiatus until such time as we can provide the kind of service and support our Canyon customer in North America & Australia / New Zealand deserves. We hope to make an announcement later in 2010 as to further availability of Canyon Bicycles in North America & Australia / New Zealand.

Thanks in advance for your understanding
The Canyon Team
  • + 3
 "Later in 2010"?
  • + 1
 Good call. How'd i miss that? I pulled that off their site this morning. Looks like thet can't get in to these markets for some reason. Is it possible it has to do with the diamondback knuckle box patent? That would hurt the strive, i'd think.
  • + 1
 Bike patents suck. Had to order my Horst link bikes directly (hate Specialized). Now that it is expired, "knuckle box"? Seriously?
  • + 1
 I liked my Diamondback and all, but DB belongs to raleigh america, and if they have a patent I am sure they would defend it. And they do sell knuckle box bikes in North America and down under.
  • + 1
 Ordered a Spectral a few weeks ago, 5"11 and ordered a L - sorts out the stability issues straight away!
  • + 1
 Had my 8.0 ordered since the week they went up. Can't wait for it! Less than two months to wait now.
  • + 1
 I loved the section in this review talking about the suspension design and kinematics.
  • + 1
 Medium looks small but should be ok for 1.8m?
  • + 2
 Fabien Barel is 181 cm and rides a large Spectral.
  • + 1
 I don't understand why they didn't put a Pike on it. Any ideas?
  • + 1
 Anyone else getting crazy JPEG compression on their iphone?
  • + 2
 BRING IT TO AMERICA
  • + 2
 I am sorry they wont ship to merica either...
  • + 1
 This is ridiculous that they do not sell it to America. Who made that idiotic decision? ...the corporate think tank of investors? LOL! We don't care about any of those politics involved, we just want to ride. If anyone wants to buy it from anywhere in the planet then they should be able to ship one anywhere. UPS and Fedex are global. This is just ridiculously short sighted. They certainly have English speaking service reps already if they ship to GB!
  • + 1
 They have English speaking service and you can easily call them, i`m sure they can send bike to America, but you`ll be paying the shipping and although they can to that, they don't have support and service in America so they just don't want to offer less quality .
  • + 2
 that is a real price
  • + 1
 Waiting for the same good review with a YT Industries Wicked Pro
  • - 1
 Pikey
  • + 1
 How did the fork behave - for trail riding and for enduro?
  • + 1
 "...the Revelation fork, with its 32-millimeter stanchion tubes, is a bit light for the hardest charging all-mountain riders."
  • - 2
 the fork as the same damping system than the pike which is the best trial fork on the market. It is just a lighter, slightly less rigid version.
Most riders would never see the difference or ride in a manner that bring the Reveletion to a point where they would have been better off with a Pike.
Unless you weight 150kg and like taking on 20ft+ drops that is
  • + 1
 I just know at 190lbs I feel flex in the my wife's 32mm reba which is the same stanchion set up. I am not that hard of a rider, and I don't push her xc bike that hard. I don't hit bigger than 3ft drops on her bike, and it is more in the rock gardens I feel the fork flexing and bucking.
  • + 1
 Yes rock gardens and nasty series of brake bumps.
  • + 1
 look like specialized stumpjumper fsr 2008
  • + 1
 the color combo is just incredible
  • + 1
 Looks alot like a Trek Remedy
  • + 1
 It has the forward geometry appearance.
  • + 1
 Yeah, it does have kind of a similiar top tube appearnce to Mondraker.. But no 0mm stem
  • + 1
 "Enduro"? With Revelation?

It is a regular trail bike.
  • + 1
 Another rad looking enduro cycle!
  • + 1
 Light and cheep :-O
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