Fabien Barel's Canyon Spectral

Nov 20, 2013 at 20:19
by Jordan Carr  


Fabien's Spectral

WORDS/PHOTOS Jordan Carr

Fabien Barel has proven that he can go fast and go fast consistently on a huge variety of terrain. As a three-time downhill World Champion, Barel recently switched over to the enduro scene, where his consistency and speed have held true. Partnering with his bike sponsor, Canyon, he has had a big part in the development of Canyon's enduro and all-mountain bikes. We recently caught up with him near his home in Nice, France, and checked out his 650B wheeled Canyon Spectral race bike.

bigquotesI spent a lot of time aboard different variations of this bike throughout the season and it is great to be aboard the final production model. - Barel
Barel's Spectral details:

• Rear wheel travel: 140mm
• Wheel size: 650B
• Frame material: aluminum
• Frame size: large
• FOX CTD RAD suspension
• Rockshox Reverb Stealth
• Sram XX1 drivetrain
• Renthal bar and stem
• Mavic Crossmax Enduro wheels
• Michelin Rock'R2 tires



Frame: The new Spectral utilizes a four-bar linkage system that is based around the same principles as the previous version, but should really be considered as a complete redesign. The bike has a sleek look to it, with the seat stays and top tube following the same line from front to back, and subtle graphics that aren't offensive to the eye. A stout but curvy rocker arm actuates a RAD-spec FOX Float X that employs custom internals that have been tuned to suit his riding style by FOX Europe, and he usually runs it somewhere between 160 - 175 PSI depending on the terrain.

Although the Enduro World Series sees most racers sporting 150 - 160mm of travel, Barel chooses to run the 140mm Spectral with a 160mm travel FOX Float up front for its balance of efficiency and capability on a variety of terrain, but he does admit that he spends a good amount of time swapping out specific components to better suit each of the courses that he races on. "Most races are filled with technical bits and pedalling bits, but for me the pedalling sections are where the time is made up," Barel explains. "140mm of travel is perfect for most of the enduro tracks out there, and I usually just make small adjustments to compensate for terrain, but there are some tracks that require more suspension for me." Pairing Barel's top notch technical ability with the light and agile Spectral seems to be a winning combination, and combining this aluminum race bike with the right mix of components is exactly what makes it Barel's steed.

combo

Barel runs a stock XX1 eleven speed drivetrain with a simple and lightweight e*thirteen chain guide, and he swaps between 34, 36, and 38 tooth X-Sync chain rings depending on the terrain.



Components: Barel has the ability to work with sponsors that he fully believes in after years of performing at the sharp end of the World Cup field, and he's chosen to run a full SRAM XX1 drivetrain to give him the most simplicity and a wide range of gears for the variety of terrain encountered on enduro courses around the world. Chain ring size varies between 34 and 38 teeth depending on how much climbing is required during the day, and he has also added an e*thirteen chain guide for a bit of extra insurance on those rough stages. A set of Mavic's new 1,660 gram Crossmax Enduro wheels are shod with Michelin's just released Rock'R 2 tires and pumped to between 26 and 29 PSI, rubber that the Frenchman has spent the last year developing.

barel

Michelin's New Rock'R 2 tire (left) has received a lot of development input from Barel. Ergon's SM30 seat (right) features an angle that we would have a hard time getting used to, although it seems to work great for Fabien.


A Rockshox Reverb Stealth provides quick and easy saddle adjustment when the terrain gets steep and rowdy, a feature Barel uses often, and the right hand Reverb remote is mounted upside down in place of a front shifter, a far more ergonomic setup than locating over the top. An Ergon SM30 Pro seat is perched atop the post at an downward angle that looks a bit drastic to us, although it seems to work great for Fabien. On the bars, he runs a pretty standard setup for easy one-finger braking and quick shifter actuation, while a set of Ergon's GA1 Evo grips offer a shape that he prefers. The Renthal Fatbars and Duo stem combo provide a stout cockpit for Barel to maneuver the rig with ease.

barel

A Renthal cockpit is complimented with Ergon grips and a set of powerful Avid Trail X0 four piston brakes.


Barel has spent enough time on two wheels to know what works with his riding style, and he sets his bikes up pretty consistently across the board in this regard. However, he does make minor changes to suspension, tire pressure, chain ring size, and stem and bar dimensions depending on the specific track. And while the bike pictured here is running production componentry, he does spend the majority of the season aboard different prototype frames and components to help with the development of new products.

Fabien Barel on Michelin tires

Barel spends many hours riding and helping develop products for his sponsors.


www.canyon.com
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135 Comments

  • + 101
 ... ,"And these are the grips i get paid to use. If you look over here youll see the wheels im paid to ride."
  • - 1
 Wish he had a different sponsor than Mavic. It is impossible to match any other component with that yellow color. Maybe his bike has an outstanding performance on trail but it definitely looks weird.

This would be the bike that I wanna ride so bad, if I was Barel: www.pinkbike.com/photo/10305293
  • + 32
 Look over performance?
  • + 2
 You have to agree it does look kinda awkward the way Barel has it set up. That said the one Apostt linked to looks pretty good.
  • + 20
 @fuglio whats your point? every pro is paid to ride/use their sponsors' products...
  • + 8
 Its a dig at the article more.then anything else. Id be.much more interested in seeing reviews of privetiers bikes. I love when pink bike does the bikes of whistler. Hell even most top tier pros arnt riding a two wheeled bill board. When i saw the ergon grips i wonderd what he would say about them why he choose them. But theres nothing to dig into not questions to ask no oponions to reveal. Just another thinly veiled advertisment poseing as an interesting article
  • + 12
 The yelow Crossmax wheels (same as Deemax) are not supposed to match anything, they are supposed to stand out and create contrast with the rest of the bike, so that everyone can recognise them from 20 metres.
  • + 32
 Actually they can be recognised from space....
  • + 4
 ....give a shit about the wheels "does it work?" as ManuD pointed out the priority is performance
  • - 10
flag orastreet1 (Nov 22, 2013 at 6:54) (Below Threshold)
 Looks to me like the wheels match the shoes just fine. Come on! What would you expect from a French company?
  • + 27
 I'm sure when the Americans can make a world class wheel we'll all be buying that star spangly shit to put on our bikes Wink
  • - 11
flag SORTAH (Nov 22, 2013 at 7:15) (Below Threshold)
 At least the wheel matches your french panties.
  • - 2
 Apostt: good call. That is a super sexy version. I like that it is AL.
  • + 11
 trust me, you dont wanna see the colour of my panties
  • - 3
 Its just a mondraker really
  • + 0
 It will look good, when it gets shuffled up the mountain Wink haha
  • - 7
flag t-turi-mullett (Nov 22, 2013 at 10:12) (Below Threshold)
 And that ugly renthal stem and ugly bars just make this bike look like a pile of vomit.
  • + 7
 i dont know about you guys but if i had to ride that, i wouldnt be one to complain...
  • + 6
 Funny but this bike looks amazingly mixed compared to other pro builds on the enduro circuit. SRAM and Fox on the same bike, Mavic wheels but not their tires... I think FB is far less of a sponsor whore than most pros.
  • + 1
 Yeah, Mavic wheels look good, perform well and are pretty light BUT break a nipple, just 1 nipple, and you're in for the fun ride to get it out of the rim Wink .
  • + 1
 Ya those are self locking nips and can get wedged in the hub body, specially if you break the actual nip. I've seen half ass mechanics hammering with screw driver on high end Mavic wheels in this situation. I usually just thread a spoke into it and try popping it out. Whenever you buy a Mavic wheel do yourself a favor and purchase extra spokes(come with nips) and an extra freehub body for your model. Dealing with Mavic customer service when you have an issue is like a joke. Better to do your own service and let the frenchies sleep all day on a bed of cheese. They use lightweight aluminum bodies that can wear out. The ITS4 drive is pretty good but King hubs still are far superior in instant engagement. If king would only make straight pull spoke hubs Mavic would be in real trouble.
  • - 1
 with the angle of the nose of the saddle, it must climb like a mountain goat and descend like your on a seatless trials bike, and yes I know that Fabian can fly downhill, it just look really out of place like something you would see in walmart.
  • + 1
 @Fuglio Ya, you do get the feeling that all they will say is the good stuff about their kit since those companies sponsor them. @pinkbike wouldn't it be cool to do a bike check with one of the top privateers on the Enduro circuit or DH circuit (there was one guy who was garnering attention from PB for how well he was doing despite not having a race team sponsor). The opinions that those guys would have about their kit would be much more interesting then the canned "all of my sponsored gear is amazing wink wink nudge nudge" responses.
  • + 1
 Nobody's mentioned that Barel chose to race the 160mm 26in Strive at just about every EWS round this year yet? For shame.
  • - 1
 Can't believe the negatives props I got for saying that the french like to match? Geez. I didn't know that was somehow an insult!
  • + 1
 Makes you wonder if a remote adjustable angle seat post will ever be developed…
  • + 0
 "I'm sure when the Americans can make a world class wheel we'll all be buying that star spangly shit to put on our bikes"

Lol. Try Enve, Renolds or Stans laced to Kings. You might have heard of of them, they're all American companies and almost all are stiffer, lighter and more reliable than this Mavic wheelset and they all have wide rims. Don't get me wrong, the Enduro wheelset is good. But it's not great. And to call it World Class like it's some sort of benchmark is laughable to anyone who's tried them all.

Someone will cleverly point out that some of the products I listed aren't made in the States - go check to see where the Mavics come from... Hint - It Ain't France. =)
  • + 2
 @JMHPB Thats it, Let the butt hurt flow through you.
  • + 0
 The butt hurt is strong with this one. Lol
  • + 42
 The first mid travel bike presented here that is not going to cost the 6k whine border, first simple one and it has next to no carbon on it. Yet there is more whining than ever...

Now it is official: There is no pleasing you!
  • + 6
 I like it! (the bike, not the whining).
  • + 2
 I kind of like the bike, it's nothing I'd write home about but I am happy that Canyon moved ahead because their frames were hideous in every aspect. I just hope they stay a bit lower profile and I feel a great value in those companies like Canyon Rose or YT, for setting pressure on big fat old lions to lower their prices a bit.

The point is that if I consistently moaned about bikes being too expensive or having too many gadgets (for like 50 articles back) I'd feel the pressure and responsibility to prop that particular bike a lot... and it seems it isn't happening, some people don't have that. I like myself for having that... maybe I'm wrong...
  • + 1
 we want our pros to ride carbon dream machines but reviews to be of bikes we can afford. I don't expect to ride a pro bike, but I at least want to see how a $3,000 model does by comparison.
  • + 4
 It is funny to me how a matter of reliability went out of the window. Not more than 5 years ago people still used to care, if this and that cracks, if it would hold, is this and that reliable, which was kind of naive in it's own way, but nevertheless, we did wonder what is is exactly we are getting for the money. At this moment everyone seems to have "evolved" and asks: "how does it ride?" - ride experience is more important than practical issues, the only practical issue is "is it fast?". Two quite not measurable, perceptual issues in many disciplines of life but so much trust and "faith" for the science, facts, reason and logic... So how does a 3k bike ride compared to a pro 9k carbon demon? Or as you'd might to form that question: is it worth paying 6k more? - we all know the answer damn well
  • + 23
 this is the first bike i've seen in a while that's not 90% carbon.
  • + 50
 Holly seat angle Batman!
  • + 18
 Seat angle is to accommodate for his massive ballz!
  • + 1
 straight out the front door!
  • + 0
 I am not sure if the effective seat angle is as radical as it looks, with the curved lower part...which is to make room for is massive ballz, of course.
  • + 5
 I run a very close setup. With a similar seat angle. I never knew until now it was because of my balls. But seriously, it's comfortable. Way better than those DH rigs set up with the seat pointing up, they might as well have a an*l probe on the seat post.
  • + 3
 @SithBike exactly. And on an enduro course where most of your seated pedalling is on the ups it's a no-brainer
  • + 10
 Guys. Hold on a sec. Nobody complained about him riding 650b wheels? Is this Pinkbike?
  • + 1
 I'm suprised as well
  • + 1
 His wheels are the wrong size. - aah... it all feels right now!
  • + 9
 Hey Fabien, so what happend to forward geometry???
  • + 2
 I'm curious how the transition back to normal geometry went. Renthal's Duo stem only comes in 50mm, and that's quite a big jump from his 10mm Forward Geometry OnOff stem on his Mondraker. I doubt we'll ever know if he misses the old setup.
  • + 2
 Canyon threw a huge amount of money at him... and have their own ideas Smile
  • + 7
 The lines on the bike are sooooo clean. I would love to see in 160mm rear travel.
  • + 6
 I'm sure you would love to see 160mm in the rear.
  • + 3
 I know I'd love to see 160mm on the rear.
  • + 1
 No, he doesn't want it in the rear. He wants all 160mm on and around his rear?
  • + 8
 Is he still using his sketch book from Mondraker?
  • - 1
 Yea and your mom's in it!
  • + 4
 WTF @WAKI, people take you very seriously. And look forward to your opinion, no matter what way it goes. Why do you have to say stuff like this? If there is a reason, elaborate. But please refrain from the teenage comments that peeve you too.
  • + 2
 Had to get in on the "looks like a ..." But Fab definitely puts plenty into his bikes! Had a chuckle at "your mom" jibe, though being an Aussie we spell it Mum! Wink
  • - 1
 Sithbike - that was a joke, a good occasion to make "yo momma" joke. It wasn't personal at all. Apparently the author of the first comment was smarter than you to understand it... so, how's "Save tigers' balls campaign going?"
  • + 0
 That concern is still a issue. We have people like you who think that the news is falsely reporting on countries causing endangered species loss, just for entertainment purposes. But when I mentioned that theoretically, a 26" wheel will be stronger than a 29" of the same material. You completely dismissed the concern siding with the manufacturers saying there is no real difference in strength. Oblivious to the fact that 29" wheel producers have much to gain by this subject avoidance. The physics disagree with this one, and someone or the manufacturers still have to explain why there is no real difference in strength? With all due respect, you go from making respectable comments to being a joker. Being a conspiracy theory guy to just believing what a article is telling you. Your all over the place.
  • + 5
 i think maybe you put a little too much emphasis on Waki's contributions....no offence waki.
  • + 5
 Very surprised by his cockpit. I've often previously seen fabien riding riser bars with tonnes of spacers under the stem, even when on 36s. What the hell happened?
  • + 4
 650b wheels and fork are taller than 26 wheels / fork. Lower bars to accomplish similar height to a 26"?
  • + 2
 Enduro tracks not as steep as World Cup downhill, so lower front end to get it biting properly ?
  • + 2
 He used to run the 38mm rise Renthal bars with 20 or 30mm of spaces under the stem on his foxy enduro bike. Well I suppose he could have it set up for a less steep course.
  • + 1
 I think it was just last year that he did an interview explaining why he used the riser and spacers. it wasnt that long ago that he switched.
  • + 2
 Would love to know more about why he made the change.
  • + 0
 I think he might have pictured it this way... he still has an inch of spacers there to move it up&down. Otherwise being sponsored he'd just cut the tube in line with stem. Such thing as cockpit setup is an extremely personal thing, and if you'd really like to know why is he using what he is using, you might want to go through the testing process that led him to where he is with it now (save his riding and racing experience). It would probably make you end up somewhere else. I think it is wise to consider to not focus on the effect as much as on the process.

karaknic - certain very relevant sources report that 5th stage of EWS in Whistler had more gnar in terms of quality and length, than all 2014 DH WC stages all together. Then all stages in Whistler combined had more gnar than a decade of DH WC racing... DH isn't tough just because of steepness of terrain. Sometimes riding an offcamber corner on wet roots is trickier than a shute im Champery... I believe that after various MTb events of 2014, DH lost a lot of it's badassness. off course everyone is entitled to his own opinion, and everyone may be biased
  • + 1
 Its because of that weird as seat position, who the hell set that il for the photo shoot!
  • + 1
 His fork is 160mm, rear of the bike is 140mm.. think 20mm might possibly account for less bar rise and some spacers?
  • + 1
 The seat angle looks weird because the seat tube is so slack the seat has to be tilted forward to compensate, look at how tilted the seats look on Maverick frames even though they are almost level they just look tilted in comparison to the seat post.
  • + 1
 @WAKI - 2014 in the past tense?
  • + 6
 I'm not Fabien Barel and want more travel Razz
  • + 1
 Great looking bike. I love the clean look of the top tube - linkage - seat stay line.

I'm puzzled by the 42t back sprocket though. If he uses a 34-38t ring, wouldn't it be better to use a 32 and a smaller range on the cassette? 38-42 would be similar to 32-36 or 37 no?

I the 11 speed cassette only available in one gear range currently?
  • - 3
 Wouldn't Fabien spin out 32t immediately? I am surprised he runs chain ring as small as 34t... Graves mashed 38t front to 40t back in Whistler, my not so weak friend said he would struggle on the granny on the infamous "Fab´s shuttle"
  • + 3
 More to do with the 10t at the bottom, I;d say - he has a 36-10 gear with the 11 speed cassette for all out peed

Don't think there are any other sizes of XX Cassette available, even for the pros.
  • + 1
 I use a 36 tooth chainring on a 11-36 cassette...he is not as concerned with the easy gear as he is in the hard gear. A 32t spins out very quickly on the downs.
  • + 1
 @waki Graves is on 26" wheels. The overall gearing I much lower so a 40t ring feels much like a 38t on a 27.5.
@jaame That 42 is only used for climbing and the bigger it is the larger the front ring can be which allows for higher speed in that 10 which can't get smaller.
  • + 1
 Interesting that enduro pros are using much taller gearing than DH pros. I guess there must be a lot of road or fire road in enduro. I know that 32-11 spins out at 62km/h so to spin out 30-10 they must be really going some! Wow!
  • - 1
 Jaame, 32t - 11t spins out at like 30km/h max. If you are sprinting standing I think you can't spin out already at 25 or less. Most DH pros rode 36t front
  • + 1
 Sorry, I meant to type 38-10 is a lot higher than what DH pros are using. As you say most are using 36-11 top gear. 38-10 is probably about 10% higher. 32-11 spins out a lot higher than 30kph. I've personally clocked myself at 62 spinning out that gear. Try it for yourself if you don't believe me!
  • + 1
 Heh, the only thing that is relevant is when do you spin it out on the trail Smile
  • + 1
 There's an article where fabien talks about how he likes his stem and bars up high so he can loft the bike around. But if you look at this setup, he's running his stem almost slammed and pretty low rise bars. Maybe he's following the trend of lower front end? Or he lowered it because he's on a 27.5 not 26"?

Here's the article where it shows the picture with the stack height and riser bars and he says the higher bars help him keep the front end down. Maybe he was just high that day??
www.vitalmtb.com/photos/features/Pro-Bike-Check-Fabien-Barels-Canyon-Strive-AL,5340/Slideshow,0/sspomer,2
  • + 1
 He has changed the grips and the saddle to the all new GE1 grips and the SME3 Enduro saddle..

see here

www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=624409920933866&set=a.164176306957232.30779.161231463918383&type=1&theater

the seat angle has also changed
  • + 2
 in my opinion the saddle is mounted how it should be...if you would like to sit well and regarding your sag. This pictures are not from a bike which is set up just for a foto :-)
  • + 1
 there are a few things i cant get my head around,

1. why did canyon spec 99% of their production bikes with flimsy 32mm forks when he is clearly using bigger stantions.
2. why didnt they do a Fab replica as it looks like a wepon.

someone at canyon should get sacked for the spec balls up. until it gets bigger forks its not gonna sell
  • + 1
 Just found this:
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.
  • + 1
 Lawsuit?
  • + 1
 they make is sounds like they can't keep up with the customer service in the US.. hmn.. too bad, was going to spend that 4 grand Christmas fund.
  • + 2
 So...am I right that my Stumpjumper Evo with 150mm of travel is not "The All Mountain" bike that I bought but it's a "Race-Enduro" these days? Smile
  • + 1
 Pretty certain Curtis Keene rode his Stumpy in the first or second round of the EWS instead if the Enduro.
  • + 1
 I ordered one today
www.canyon.com/_en/mountainbikes/bike.html?b=3250

If its half the fun my Norco Sight2 se was I will be very happy I couldn't buy the parts without the frame for the cost of the the bike
  • + 1
 I'm surprised by the way the linkage is cut away. I would have thought having more material in a straight line between the pivot points would resist twisting better. Armchair engineers care to comment?
  • + 13
 You just did.
  • + 2
 What a great looking bike, would love to have thrash it round the trails. Love the yellow wheels myself.
  • + 2
 Looks like a nice setup to me. I don't get why a dropper post would be paired w a QR collar though.
  • + 1
 nice bike - saddle angle like mine Big Grin

Enduro is good for one thing - getting manufacturers to make very strong but light components
  • + 2
 True, but it's also good for giving you the best DH lines that are not present anywhere else because riders have to work for them. It's also the discipline that gets you deeper into the mountains and keeps you there longer. Whats not to like about that? Unless, like some of my friends, are afraid to be away from the car for a while?
  • + 2
 what the hell!!! why is people whining this thing is gorgeous!
  • + 1
 They aren't for sale in the US because of Specialized patents. Four bar suspension they have on the Nerve etc.
  • + 3
 Id ride it if he let me.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 21, 2013 at 20:28) (Below Threshold)
 Wow, you should get a set of Avid Trail brakes or something it is by now the only positive comment under this article
  • + 1
 You have to admit, it was insightful too.
  • + 1
 They aren't for sale in the US because of Specialized patents. Four bar suspension they have on the Nerve etc.
  • + 1
 That Spectral is looking suspiciously like a Mondraker Foxy? Maybe it's just me...
  • + 1
 guys, check out the spec, 12.6kg ?! Seriously? That's only 27.77 lbs if Google calculate correctly....
  • + 0
 wait a minute..... USA is not on the shipping country list?
  • + 1
 1x11 knocks at least a lb. Off right? My next bike may be the process 153. Comes @30lbs but it can be 28ish ez w/1x11, light bars, stem, ...tubeless.
  • + 2
 Fabian says "need more competition, give me a heavier bike and less travel."
  • + 1
 I still ride with my bars pitched way forward and me seat pitched way back... thats cool still right?
  • + 2
 dont really like the look of the bike
  • + 1
 Especially not the buckle in the top tube.
  • + 1
 Looks like a One Ghost Genken
  • + 1
 Looks like he´s still with the Mondraker! :-)
  • + 1
 What's up with those tires?
  • + 1
 No info on his pedal choice? Seemed like they were cropped out of pics.
  • + 1
 So what he hid on his proto is just a commencal connectig rod ?
  • + 1
 I like how it is called a 650b and not the fictious 27.5 name.
  • + 1
 where is the his Strive?????????
  • + 1
 Perfect bike... that seat position is bizare
  • + 0
 Looks much nicer than the red Spectral, thats just horrible
  • + 0
 that head angle looks super slack
  • + 1
 I think it's 67 degrees. So it's not super slack. But still it's slack enough to probably bomb down anything you would on a DH rig.
  • + 1
 Got a Strive, 66.5 head angle, pretty capable but not a full on beast so the spectral wouldn't be far off. 0.5degrees off to be precise
  • + 1
 650b sucks balls.
  • + 1
 angles and dimensions?
  • + 1
 Geometry can be found here:
www.pinkbike.com/photo/10348462
  • + 0
 Its a great bike! you could chose other collors so no problem
  • - 1
 Rear brake only? Is this the norm.?
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