First Look: Canyon's New Spectral:ON CF eMTB

Mar 17, 2020
by Jukka Mäennenä  
Canon Presscamp Barcelona. Photo credit Canyon Markus Greber.

Canyon's New Spectral:ON eMTB, the electric sibling of the Spectral has received a hefty and well-deserved facelift to make it competitive in the constantly growing market of eMTB's.

Although the main figures - 150mm of travel on both ends and mixed wheel-sizing remain the same, that's where the similarities mostly end. Besides refreshed geometry, the frame material is changed from aluminum to carbon fiber. The CF abbreviation is a nod of the material used. Correspondingly, the aluminum models carry the letters AL in their name.

Altogether, there are four models with one women's-specific model. The flagship model is the CF 9.0 which is equipped with full XTR and Fox Factory goods with a retail price of 6 999 €.
Canyon Spectral:ON CF Details
• Intended use: Trail riding
• Wheel size: 29" front, 27,5" in the back
• Travel: 150mm front and rear
• Carbon fiber frame with aluminum chainstays
• 66.5° head angle
• 74.5° seat tube angle
• 504WH battery on all models
• Shimano Steps E8000 motor
• 4 models: CF 9.0, CF 8.0, CF 7.0 and women-specific CF 7.0 WMN
• Sizes: S-XL
• Weight (CF 9.0 model, claimed): 47.6 lb / 21.6 kg
• Price: 4599-6999 € (US pricing to be confirmed)

Next in line is the CF 8.0 which shares the same frame and suspension components but gets an XT drivetrain and anchors instead of top of the line offerings from Shimano. The CF 7.0 is the most affordable model with a price tag of 4599 €. Instead of Fox product, this model sports Lyrik Select fork and Super Deluxe shock. Shifting duties are handled by XT/SLX components while stopping power is provided by 4-pot Shimano MT520 brakes. The women's-specific 7.0 version shares the same components except for contact points and frame color.

Frame Details
Engineers behind the new Spectral:ON have taken the full advantage of the properties that carbon fiber brings to the table. First, the aesthetics are greatly improved from the previous aluminum version. Integrating the battery inside the downtube greatly helped with this and it's worth noting that the 2020 lineup is the first wave of mountain bikes from Canyon with this feature.

Canyon's team claim to have gone through multiple iterations before settling on the final design. Six samples of manufactured downtubes were on display during the press launch, all with varying cross-sections.

Besides hiding the battery inside the frame - which is almost a given in this era of eMTB, the frame had several nice features which combine looks and performance. The seat mast borrows the shape from the Sender frame with looks resembling a submarine tower. A wedge-style seat clamp is hidden inside the mast and is tightened from the front using a 4mm hex key.

Canon Presscamp Barcelona. Photo credit Canyon Markus Greber.
The frame includes lots of beautiful details, the seat mast being one of them.

No SWAT boxes or any other integrated storage can be found in the frame. However, there is a place for the ever-important waterbottle. If one wishes to carry tools on-bike without compromising hydration, integrated tools such as the EDC System from OneUP are the way to go. It is worth pointing out that Canyon's proprietary stem design may limit options when it comes to hiding hardware inside of the steerer tube - more on that below.

The stealthy theme continues in the rear triangle where the pivot is hidden inside the hollow structure of the seat stays. Although carbon fiber is the name of the game with Spectral, aluminum hasn't been completely disregarded. The rear end of the Spectral is built from carbon fiber seat stays and aluminum chainstays to use the best attributes of both materials, according to Canyon. The brake mount is designed around 203mm rotors, eliminating the need for adapters which is a very welcome feature.
Canon Presscamp Barcelona. Photo credit Canyon Markus Greber.

The previous model of the Spectral:ON wasn't exactly archaic, but certainly not the latest fashion either. With the new model, the numbers have changed to reflect the needs of modern riding without jumping to the deepest end of progressive geometry.

The head angle is slackened to 66.5 degrees while the seat angle is set to 74.5 degrees. The reach of a large-sized frame is 465mm and chainstays measure at 435mm. Some may consider figures like these to be almost conservative. However, when taken into account that the aim was to design a trail bike that is truly an "all-rounder" that suits the taste of most riders, the geometry seems reasonable.

The seat angle is still not the most progressive and the seated riding position could benefit if it would be 1-1.5 degrees steeper, but then that might mean increasing reach, which would change the front-center and wheelbase so it seems an appropriate compromise.

Suspension Design
The electric-sibling of the Spectral frame shares a similar structure with the rest of the lineup. Basically, it's a single pivot enhanced with a clevis-mount shock extension and rocker links – a design that is quite common nowadays.

The system is coined as triple phase suspension with the intention that the behavior of the suspension travel is divided into three parts: sensitive, stable and progressive. The bike is designed to be efficient in pedaling throughout this.

A schematic representation of the Spectral:ON CF's suspension.

Although the structure and working principles are the same, Spectral:ON has 16% less progressivity at the end of the travel compared to the 130mm travel Neuron:ON and solely pedal-driven Neuron: AL models. This also means that the bike is designed to be used only with air shocks which might be disappointing for the coil aficionados.

The Specs
The whole Spectral:ON CF line has a well-rounded component spec. Reynolds carbon TRe hoops complement the XTR-kit and Kashima-coated suspension on the 9.0 model. The 8.0 and 7.0 give an equally solid return on the investment, something that the direct sales operated German brand is well-known for.

Integration is a sign of progress or a curse, depending on the application and how one wants to see it. Nevertheless, there's plenty of that going on in the Spectral's cockpit. The CP0012 stem and handlebar are made of carbon fiber and employ a one-piece design. The goal of joining the two together was a small reduction in weight, but most importantly, making the installation easier. Since the combo eliminates adjustment for bar roll, it truly is a plug & play type of approach when it comes to mountain bike cockpit; tighten the headset and point the stem straight.

Canon Presscamp Barcelona. Photo credit Canyon Markus Greber
Canon Presscamp Barcelona. Photo credit Canyon Markus Greber
The integrated stem and handlebar combo isn't necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but the benefits can not be negated. The simplicity of setup, a direct mount for the display, weight reduction, and stealthy looks will appeal many with the exception of the most demanding fiddlers with a picky taste to the cockpit feel. Photos: Canyon/Marcus Greber.

The CP0012 is supplied only with the top-tier CF 9.0 model and has an option for two widths: 760 or 780mm. Both bars have the same shape with 8 degrees of back sweep and 5 degrees of up sweep. Stem length is set at 50mm.

E8000 - The Japanese Powerhouse
Besides one's legs, propulsion for the Spectral:ON is provided also by the new Shimano Steps E8000 motor. When comparing ride-feel amongst eMTB motors, the Steps system is on the milder side of the spectrum and provides a more natural assistance feel.

Canon Presscamp Barcelona. Photo credit Canyon Markus Greber.
The E8000 is a compact unit with natural feeling assistance. A chain guide is nearly a must-have addition in keeping the chain out of harm's way.

The drive unit itself is quite compact, weighing at 2.8kg The 504Wh battery does not shine with its capacity but should be enough to power at least for 1.5 hours even when riding with the least economic manners. The compact battery also helps to keep the weight down which is claimed to be around 21.6kg for the XTR-equipped CF 9.0 model.

Shimano also have one of the widest service networks in the business which was a heavy factor when deciding the drive unit, according to Canyon. It's in the manufacturers and rider's best interest to keep the bike running problem-free all times and the dense net of Shimano service points certainly should help to keep the wheels rolling.

Canon Presscamp Barcelona. Photo credit Canyon Markus Greber.

A nice addition to the Shimano drive system is the inclusion of USB-C port next to the power button, located just behind the head tube. This enables the charging of a phone or ride-computer if power turns out to be in short supply in either device.


  • 68 17's like they haven't read a single PB comment section.
  • 138 6
 PB commenters (generally) dislike ebikes, yet ebike sales are soaring... the PB comments section isn’t as relevant as we’d like to think. It’s just for keyboard warriors and ego maniacs Smile
  • 30 0
 @knobblytyres: he is talking about geometry im sure
  • 10 0
 @Noeserd: or battery time.
  • 3 15
flag promdi (Mar 17, 2020 at 5:54) (Below Threshold)
 Me: Stop! Or else you are Geometry!
Friend: You mean, History?!
Me: Dont change the subject!
Friend/Me: Hahahaha
  • 13 0
 As somebody from BC e-bikes seem very much on the periphery. However, having just returned from NZ (don't worry, I'm self isolating) they are everywhere. Europe seems to be the same so it's only a matter of time before they equal or exceed traditional MTBs here.
  • 3 13
flag endurocat (Mar 17, 2020 at 7:46) (Below Threshold)
 10 pounds heavier than the Levo SL.
  • 2 1
 @knobblytyres: yourself included, obviously...
  • 16 0
 2016 called and they want their geometry back
  • 3 0
 @knobblytyres: nail on the head. Get of your phone and on your bike everyone.
  • 1 0
 @knobblytyres: which one are you, I'm definitely the later of the two.
  • 1 0
 @mackg: where in NZ were you riding?
  • 26 2
 So, short travel eBikes, as opposed to long travel - explain to me why?
Becuase I simply don't understand why an eBike would ever be prefereable in a short travel package, when a longer travel, no extra cost option exists.

Just to be clear - this isn't eBike hate, I genuinely don't understand
  • 21 1
 I'm in the same boat as you. I always figured that a DH sled was the best platform for an eMTB.
  • 10 2
 There's an element of the suspension muting tamer trails, making them less fun, but that's it if you ask me. Mines 160 f+r and there's no issue of doing 30mile plus rides, though I have just ordered a second wheel set with slimmer/faster tyres (2.8 dhr2s are very draggy, and complete overkill for my longer rides, and are expensive to replace, the 2.5 dhf/aggressor set up should get an extra 5-10 miles out of the battery plus the pair was the same as one dhr2), and I know it will make a difference so perhaps that's where manufacturers should be looking to improve mileage, instead of dropping half a kg or so off the total weight. Mines 22.5kg and I don't feel a kg or 2 less would make any difference to how it rides, and I actually like the low down weight for stability.
  • 5 0
 In my opinion, it's just about the flavor. Anyone running 150 trail/enduro bike can ride the 180 enduro machine, but prefer the feel of the shorter travel bike because of many reasons, trails that you ride, preferences, deep pockets. The same reason that there are road e-bikes available.
  • 2 12
flag rickythunder (Mar 17, 2020 at 14:21) (Below Threshold)
  • 7 0
 @rickythunder: Hey ricky, you apparently thundered your caps lock button.

Side note: It does not make your statement more relevant.
  • 4 0
 Agreed. I think bikes like the Specialized Kenevo are more at the sweet spot-descending-focused bikes that allow you to “self-shuttle.” But I guess someone wants to hit some 50k epic ride on an ebike too.
  • 23 8
 I've lost track of the amount of times i've been riding and looking for a place to plug in my phone, ipad, hot plate, or portable generator....These types of "conveniences" are what further chip away at the soul of mtb"ing and outdoor activities in general.
  • 23 3
 @nyhc00 Said every old man about everything, ever.
  • 5 0
 @Chuckolicious: with age comes wisdom.
  • 2 0
 It wasn’t that long ago that people were saying the same about gears.
  • 1 0
 @DrPete: Gears and for arguments sake ebikes can allow a person to ride further, spend more time on the saddle rather than hiking, etc. Presented as the charging port was in this article, how does charging an electronic device enhance the experience? By various accounts and studies removal of such devices adds to ones overall happiness.
  • 1 0
 @nyhc00: it’s just a reality that some of us have phones and need to ride with them, and while it’s a minor thing it’s a nice little luxury to be able to charge up the GPS you forgot to plug in, the phone, etc. If bikes are going to have batteries it’s a nice little convenience and a nod to 21st century reality.
  • 1 0
 @nyhc00: Trump: hold my bronzer.
  • 2 0
 @nyhc00: I'm an old man, and I continue to hold the line.
  • 9 3
 Personally not having ridden an e-bike let alone an emtb, I'm wondering: how relevant are these weight savings using CFRP frame and components and mounting the XTR groupset. In my mind this kind of stuff was relevant for racers but outside that I thought XTR gives you little improvement over regular XT.

I realize this is PB so let me say up front that I'm not interested in comments like that these bikes are just for "show offs", "dentists" and "bling". Just people who've actually ridden these and can comment whether or not the weight saving is noticeable and whether it helps any. I'm aware carbon rims are mostly to change the character of the ride instead of saving weight so let's leave that out of the discussion
  • 9 1
 Most of it is not nesscary. Cost-benefit ratio at the top end is becoming hard to justify now with mtb. Maybe 5-6 years ago it made sense to build a bike with top end parts, but now I dont see a point. You can get a great bike with mid range parts aside from maybe suspension.
  • 7 0
 I’ve actually downgraded my preference from “I’ll only ride XT/ XTR” to mostly SLX and a lil bit of XT if the prices are right (mainly just the cassette, maybe cranks).
Sorry not the insight you were after but I agree with @zyoungson
  • 3 2
 the benefits of the weight savings is for the rider to have a better experience riding it, especially on the downhill part as moving a 20 something kg bike isn't fun the problem is the huge cost that comes with it, and even then they are not that light, or if they are, have low battery capacity
  • 4 0
 @zyoungson: plus, the midrange bikes and parts today are just as expensive as the top-end ones a couple of years ago.
  • 3 2
 Base model Levo is aluminum, only weighs 1.5 lbs more, and is less expensive.
  • 3 2
 Thanks all. Yeah it mainly curiosity as all of this is way out of my league. I understand it probably matters loads for people who've managed to get their bike weight below 10kg but for a bike like this going well over double that weight it got me wondering how much it still matters saving those tiny grams here and there.

Sometimes there still is an advantage of XT over SLX even though it isn't about weight. I ride with a Zee rear mech and an XT 11-36t cassette (ten speed). With XT the smallest (fastest wearing) are all individual sprockets which sell for 3 (at Rose) or 6 (at Bike24) euros a piece. So I don't ever replace my full cassette. When I put on a new chain, ride around dragging the rear brake heavily to find out which sprockets skip and only replace those. With SLX only the smallest two sprockets are separate so once you start wearing the bigger ones you still need to replace a bigger cluster (or replace that cluster with a set of individual XT sprockets and be fine afterwards). I realize that those running 12speed now buy and replace complete cassettes anyway so this advantage doesn't make sense anymore.

What I also noticed in the spec sheet is that other than the top spec version, all bikes here come with Shimano hub. Even though I don't mind servicing cup and cone bearings and this never got me trouble, it may put off some others. After all nowadays if people value high end wheels so replacing wheels from a complete bike adds quite a lot to the cost. And as this doesn't go through a physical dealer, you can't really negotiate a trade Wink .
  • 6 0
 @zyoungson: Brakes and suspension top-end else midway is good enough for the 95th percentile
  • 4 0
 @tiagomano: your obviously too young to remember the first generation of giant glory's mine was just over 22kg , ebikes ride pretty much like that did only with much better geometry and suspension.,
  • 1 1
 @b45her: i know and rode the 2008 model(if i remember correctly is the first generation of the glory), but i can't seem to understand what your point is.
You are comparing the weight of an old bike to one that is new, and the application is also different.
If you only riding downhill the weight isn't as big of a problem(but even then a normal dh bike weights from 15 to 18 kg), but for trail riding , 22 kg is a lot of weight, even with the motor, the weight transfer between the corners is worst, and you can move the bike as easily.
  • 2 1
 @Citrons: maybe a carbon bar
  • 4 1
 I own a commecal meta power, very similar to the canyon featured here. At the bike park I take out the battery which makes the bike feel really good even though realistically it still weighs 20kgs vs 23kg with the battery on. While it might not be the best looking bike, I suspect Nico Vouilloz's Lapierre race bike with the baterry mounted dead center underneath him probably rides better than almost any bike withing +- 3kgs. It is more about the balance than the overall weight. Since riding an e-bike, I now have no interest in lowering the weight of my regular bike (Capra sitting around 15.5kgs), although wheel and cassette weights are important.
  • 2 1
 @Noeserd: ditched carbon bars for alu rentals a while back, aside from 100grams of weight they are better in every way.
  • 3 1
 I can tell you I just did 32 miles and 5300' of elevation gain on my mid level aluminum Levo. My buddy was on his carbon Levo and we had the same battery remaining at the end of the ride. The marginal gains of losing 2 lbs becomes much smaller when the bike weighs 50 lbs vs 30. It is slightly noticeable when moving the bike around on the trail, but unless it is 5+ lbs/10% probably not a huge deal.
  • 6 2
 @zyoungson: why are you renting your bars?
  • 2 1
 XTR does have a 3 year warranty vs 2 on all other mtb components. That may alone be worth it for some folks.
  • 2 0
 @willygfresh: Warranty typically is for manufacturer defects so longer warranties only make sense for people who ride very little as it would take longer for a defect to reveal. Other than that, I don't see the point for longer warranty.
  • 6 0
 I totally agree with those speaking of mid grade parts and some extra added weight vs. Premium grade parts, carbon frame, and cost. I approach my Decoy purchase as a totally different sport. I actually prefer the feel and ride of traditional pedal bike but must admit my ebike days of fun are increasing when I actually don't compare the two as the same sport.
I would say the only advantage of the carbon frame is actually the feel of a carbon frame vs. the feel of Aluminum. We can debate this all day, but it's a preference, and should not be a weight savings factor vs. the cost of say the premium Levo's. If I were to start over again, would I take my money and buy the Levo SL, probably not... I don't to rid myself of the Yeti and the human power vs. 29 lbs. of joy. The sharp knife associated with 29lbs. is pure joy. Now on the other end, I love the Decoy for some serious drops into the Bay Area trails in which climbing out of a serious decent is simply not as much fun as being able to ride that same trail twice, improve on my skills, and do it again. I would venture to say the calorie output for both the pedal bike one lap and the ebike two laps is either the same or more with the ebike.
The sport will evolve quickly, so an entry Level Decoy, Orbea, Canyon, or similar (mid level components) will be great given it's going to look very different say 3 years from now. Do I want to say, sell the Yeti and buy the Levo SL for one bike, NOPE, not yet. Besides, I'm getting really tired of all the haters, and believe me, it's uncalled for.
So I'll stick with two completely different Sports of Mountain Biking, and Emtb Biking. Love them both, and would recommend keeping it on the lower end of the cost spectrum.
  • 8 1
 74.5 seat angle is unacceptable on an E-bike because part of the fun is doing super steep climbs you wouldn't normally do.
  • 3 0
 The geo chart shows HTA at 66.5 but article mentions 65.5 (hopefully the later). This new design with the integrated battery means Canyon have caught up on the aesthetics of the bike, but the quoted weight/battery life/cost seems average.
  • 6 0
 the geo chart is probably the right one.
  • 7 0
 Shimano launch the new engine already.
  • 6 0
 *Cough*... *cough* Syncros... *cough* ...Fraser *cough* Sorry. Corona... *cough cough*
  • 5 0
 IMO it doesn't look bad for an ebike at all. I sort of like it. There are some really ugly bikes out there. Im not a fan of the Shimano motor and small battery though.
  • 2 0
 What do you not like about the Shimano motor? I’m interested in them but have none locally to try myself.
  • 1 1
 @ryan77777: The power is not smooth and is sort of weak compared to the Brose and Bosch. The 504wh battery is too small too.
  • 1 1
 It's all the power and torque you could ever want. The SC Heckler is the best bike ever made at the moment
  • 1 0
 @JimmyWeir: Have you ridden the Brose or Bosch Gen 4?
  • 6 3
 Brand new and out of date already. Most e-bike buyers won't care though. For serious riders the Levo SL is a game changer if you're into e-bikes. I spent a good number of hours on one and was blown away by the feel. By that I mean it felt mostly like a regular enduro bike. If only I could afford one...
  • 5 1
 Funny, I find the Geo on the Levo SL is outdated already. L. 455 reach, HA 66, SA 74.6. What the heck, a premium bike , yesterday's news. Game changer as far as idea, not game changer for that money. Let's see how the market responds with a proper enduro bike with this theory of battery / motor.
  • 3 0
 idk “oldschool” geo has its perks too...keeping the wheelbase shorter can be great
  • 3 0
 Well I can charge my phone, thats good because 1.5 hours into my ride I can call for my spare bike from my Sherpa, and so on and so on till I finish my ride.

Or maybe I could turn the help on/off and get 2hrs into the bush then run out of juice, bet it doesn't even have wifi !!

Decisions decisions.
  • 8 2
 Attn bike co.s. just make E versions of your DH bikes.
  • 6 0
 Nah - I'll stick more to Enduro style bikes be them being electric assist or not. Capable on DH tracks but a bit more capable on the mellow and uphill (even with motor). It's about all round riding not just shuttle and bomb.
  • 5 0
 500wh, 74,5º st angle, stem+handlebar combo,e8000 (2017 motor)... wtf Canyon.
  • 5 0
 ebikes are spreading fast... like a virus you could almost say
  • 1 0
Regular bike = sailboat
Ebike= Motorboat

Which is more likely to appeal to a new comer , that wants everything fun and now.?
He is not putting down his ps2 to “enjoy” some slow unassisted climbing.
They want technology.
  • 3 0
 If I could ban recreational motorboats I would. They are loud, pollute the water, scare wildlife, are dangerous, and obnoxious. So... yeah I agree with the first part of your point. Down with motorboats!
  • 11 7
 How exciting, another overpriced boat anchor
  • 2 0
 Brand new model which looks good but with 3yr old motor technology which is the heart of the bike. Brose and Bosch ahead of the game here.
  • 1 0
 why emtb geometry 4 years behind the curve?
bikes are fun to ride, however same principles of body position applies to the pedaling up and shredding down, why not to use proven modern geometry?
  • 2 1
 Canyon design team - OK guys its ready but it's a bit well, errr ugly..what colour might disguise that?
Canyon design team - errr dunno cream and grey?
  • 3 1
 504wh is a deal breaker. You will be walking home if out with anyone on a Levo or bosch
  • 1 0
 Nice first picture, looks like a toy scale model - proportions, fat tubes and tires, the tonehbokeh. Next collab coming with Hot Wheels when?
  • 2 1
 i guarantee that i can beat anyone riding this bike, up the mountain on my Marin San Quentin
that is an absolute guarantee. 100% no exceptions.
  • 8 5
 Kill it with fire.
  • 2 1
 Definitely not a single pivot...kinda worried no one else caught that typo. Has everyone checked their temperature today?
  • 3 0
 Nope, saw it, and also thought that it was the strangest carbon seat stay.... Which are obviously welded to the axle/dropout area.
  • 2 0
 No-one commented this ebike holds a water bottle either...maybe temp is not ok...water....give me water....
  • 1 0
 Why the ugly power button on the top tube? Can we just turn it on from the display? The c usb can be there as well.
  • 1 0
 Would rather have a canyon spectral on and a canyon spectral in the garage then a Santa Cruz and no ebike.
  • 1 0
 Get with the times Canyon...
  • 4 2
  • 3 3
 The ebike design team at these bike companies must be most depressed bunch if bike riders in the world.
  • 4 2
  • 2 1
 Oh man, I can't wait to have battery assisted help to ride my bike. What an amazing innovation.
  • 1 0
 Give it to Fabio. let's see if he can make it look cooler
  • 1 0
 The thumbnail made it look like a toy bike.
  • 1 0
 This looks nice for an EBike
  • 1 0
 USB Phone charge, nice trick!
  • 1 0
 Anyone one know what pedals those are? They look really thin.
  • 1 0
 Looks great, well done and priced fairly????????
  • 1 0
 Straight up copy of the syncros hixon bar.
  • 3 4
 Whoa canyon putting 29er tyres on spectral. If only years too late, only one end and on an e bike
  • 1 0
 430mm ST on a small?
  • 7 0
 Geo on this bike is definitely outdated. Seat tubes longer than reach on all sizes other than medium (5mm difference). I didn't realize this was an XC bike from 2013.
  • 1 0
 Nope. Never. No How.
  • 1 0
 47lbs? lol
  • 5 5
 So ugly
  • 2 2
  • 1 1
 April fools
  • 1 1
 wots the grim donut up 2
  • 2 3
 Truly cracking frame!

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