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