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All-new Canyon Spectral Refined for Trail with Shorter Travel & KIS System: First Rides

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon 29er trail all-mountain bike, riding up-close
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Canyon completely revamps their popular all-mountain bike platform, reimagining the Spectral as a more versatile trail bike with a little bit less travel. You’ll also find a refined suspension design, the addition of 29er or mullet wheel options for every bike, in-frame storage, and integrated KIS steering stabilizers, making the new Spectral trail bike just as capable as ever.

We’ve been riding the new bike for a couple of weeks, and it strikes an interesting balance between the best characteristics of the previous generation Spectral 29er, Spectral Mullet, Spectral 125 & Spectral K.I.S with a couple of new bits thrown in too. So is it a better trail bike than any of those four different models, or something of a happy medium?

2024 Canyon Spectral CF do-it-all carbon trail mountain bike

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike
(Photos/Cory Benson)

At a glance, the new Canyon Spectral CF looks a lot like the old bike. Even the geometry table is almost exactly the same. But underneath there are several significant updates that readapted the Spectral platform to be a more concise all-rounder trail bike.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, old vs. new
new MY24 Spectral vs. old MY21 (Graphics & Studio Photos/Canyon)

The previous 150/160mm Spectral was more of an all-mountain or almost-enduro bike. The MX (mixed wheel) bike was more of a snappy, burly bike that wanted to ride jump lines. The 125 was the playful, poppy mini-enduro bike for riders looking to push hard on less technical trails. And the K.I.S. was a bike for the tech-savvy rider trying to eke a bit extra control out of their climbs and a tad more speed on the loose descents. I found something to like in each of those bikes. But for riders just looking for a capable mountain bike to, you know, go mountain biking… it was too many options and too complicated of a choice. So Canyon set out to make one Spectral that did everything that four different Spectrals did before.

Enter the new 2024 Canyon Spectral CF.

What’s new with shorter 140mm of suspension travel?

Canyon Spectral CF 140mm carbon trail mountain bike, angled

This new Canyon Spectral CF is now a 140mm travel bike, paired with 150mm forks. That amounts to 10mm less travel front & rear than the original Spectrals (obviously still more than the 125), but what Canyon thinks is a better sweet spot for a modern trail bike. And it makes for clearer differentiation between this trail Spectral and the proper enduro race Strive.

Update Suspension Kinematics

But to make a bit less travel feel just as capable, Canyon revamped the new Spectral CF’s suspension. The bike now gets a more linear, flatter shock leverage curve that means more support in the mid-travel for better pedaling efficiency, still with progressive support as you push to the end of the bike’s travel. Interestingly, putting the new 140mm 29er bike curve against the old 150mm 29er, the difference isn’t super pronounced per mm of travel. But looking at how the leverage changes as a ratio of its whole travel, it is clearly more progressive for the 29er, and then actually a bit less linear but a higher leverage ratio for the 27.5/29″ mullet build.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, anti-squat

Canyon also made a key suspension kinematics tweak to Anti-Squat that’s easy to overlook. Remember, Anti-Squat is essentially how much pedaling input stiffens up the suspension to efficiently put the power down. By slightly raising the back of the Horst-link pivot on the chainstay and lowering the rocker link, the new bike has about 5% less anti-squat when you are in the easiest hill-climbing gear, but a full 25-30% less anti-squat in the go-fast downhill gears. That means you don’t noticeably lose pedaling efficiency while climbing steep terrain. But the suspension is noticeably more supple/active while descending at high speed, even when you are stomping on the pedals. Canyon says their internal testing was unanimously in favor of the benefits of less anti-squat up to a certain point without a perceived loss in efficiency. So that’s where they put it to get a more plush ride.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, anti-rise

Anti-rise (or braking influence on suspension) remains mostly the same, with the new Spectral flanking the outgoing bike depending on your choice of rear wheel size.

Tweaked geometry and Extra Small size

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, geometry

Geometry is effectively the same as the previous model with a 64° head angle. But it gets half a degree steeper 76.5° effective seat angle in the slacker Low position. Yet Stack & Reach figures have been more evenly distributed AND there’s now a smaller new fifth XS size to accommodate more riders. Plus, increased standover to give more size choices based on preferred Reach.

29er or Mullet in every bike

Canyon Spectral CF 140mm carbon trail mountain bike, UDH & mullet flip-chip

Importantly, the new spectral is a 29er OR MX, both with the same frame. Thanks to a flip-chip at the back of the chainstay, every bike can run a 27.5 or 29″ rear wheel. With an 8mm change to chainstay length and the appropriate shift in the BB height. Before, the MXs and 29ers shared the same front triangle but required different rear triangles to adapt to different wheel sizes. Now, when you go to buy any spec of the new 2024 Spectral, Canyon lets you pick which rear wheel size you prefer. (Only the new XS size is MX only, since the 29er wheel would rub the seat tube at full compression.)

Internal (and external) frame storage

Canyon Spectral CF 140mm carbon trail mountain bike, Load System in-frame storage

Yes, it gets in-frame Load System storage too. A glovebox door under the bottle cage opens up with enough room to stuff a small bag with all your regular trailside repair kit. There’s also enough space to stuff a packable shell jacket in there as well. I was able to push the Canyon bag with a spare butyl inner tube, tire levers, a CO2 cartridge & inflator far enough up the downtube that I also fit a full-size hooded wind shell. It was a tight fit, but it worked.

Canyon gives the door a multi-material construction for a watertight seal. Proper metal threads also support a full water bottle in the cage. Then a snap-close locking “knee-lever” latch holds it all in place. It’s a tiny bit fiddly to close the first time, but it quickly became easy and secure to operate.

Canyon Spectral CF 140mm carbon trail mountain bike, on-frame storage

In addition to internal storage, the new Spectral also gets 3 braze-on bolt mounts under the top tube, above the shock. The idea is you can easily secure a mini-tool carrier with one bolt. Then still have the other pair for a mini bolt-on bag. Sometimes you just don’t want to dig into a bike’s glovebox to adjust a brake lever or seatpost.

There’s also the option to print your own multi-tool holder for the stem if you have access to a 3D printer! “Also piloted as part of this launch will be an innovative ‘print at home’ stem-mounted Minitool holder. Canyon’s engineers have been running the design on their own bikes for some months and they’re making it available for you to try too, if 3D printing is your thing. The 3D printer file will be available to download here.

Keep It Stable (and Straight)

Canyon Spectral CF 140mm carbon trail mountain bike, KIS integration

I first rode the integrated K.I.S. steering stabilizer system back in autumn 2022 on the limited edition Spectral KIS. It has an interesting effect of balancing your turns equally with the front & rear wheels, and simply helping keep the bars straight when pinballing down through a rock garden. It genuinely is a system you have to get used to. But by and large, it seems like it has the potential to improve the ride of beginner and expert mountain bikers alike.

Now Canyon is going fully onboard with the KIS concept. Every new Spectral gets it integrated inside the top tube – at no additional cost.

Syntace KIS steering stabilizer reimagines MTB handling, Canyon internal x-ray

This version is tuned down a bit with a softer spring that most trail riders will find less obtrusive, while still obvious. Set it at its lowest tension (which is how it arrives out of the box) and you are likely to forget that it’s there. Or dial it up to max power and it feels more like I experienced on that first KIS-equipped bike.

I’m fully willing to ride with KIS to see how it changes the feel of my local trails. But if you decide you don’t want it, it’s easy enough for a competent home mechanic to remove it. Canyon includes a blank cover plate with the bike in case you choose to ditch it.

Other small improvements to the new Canyon Spectral

Maybe the biggest upgrade for the new Canyon Spectral in my own riding is this 2-part rubber flap fender. It bridges over the point where the swingarm connects with the mainframe. The mud flap keeps dirt, mud, rocks, pine needles, and other trail debris from getting stuck in between the front & rear halves of the frame where they could wreak havoc. It also gets improved chainstay and downtube protector coverage with a new stick-on damped soft rubber material.

Canyon Spectral CF 140mm carbon trail mountain bike, 1-piece rocker link

Beyond that, the modified suspension layout also comes with a one-piece rocker link that improves suspension torsional stiffness. At the same time, thinner seat stays offer a bit of compliance that works together with a stiffer front end.

Canyon Spectral CF 140mm carbon trail mountain bike, SRAM AXS Transmission

The bike also shifts to the UDH standard for modern drivetrain or Transmission compatibility. It moves to a larger diameter 34.9mm seatpost which allows for longer travel, better-performing dropper seatposts. And it gets a revised Canyon G5 house brand stem without rear-facing bolts to hit your knee on.

Tech Details

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, flip chip

Much of the remainder of the tech on the new Spectral carries over from the previous generation. There still is the HI-LO flip chip at the rear shock mount, so you can steepen the angles by 0.5° and raise the bottom bracket 8mm for riders who prefer more maneuverability through slower, rougher terrain. Count me as a HI position fan.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, headtube routing detail

You still get robust sealed bearings at all pivots. A BSA threaded bottom bracket is used with an optional ISCG mount. Cable routing is still conventionally internal through ports in the side of the headtube, just with updated locking guides to reduce noise.

First Riding Impressions on the all-new 2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, wet riding

I’ve just started riding the new 2024 Spectral CF 9 on my wet local trails that are abruptly coming out of winter ahead of schedule. But I have started to get a sense for the myriad of changes that set it apart from the previous Spectral, which had been my go-to all-mountain bike platform.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, riding steep ladder

My first rides seem to fit relatively closely with Canyon’s claims. I have enjoyed the plush mid-stroke feel of the new bike, and I’ve not yet felt like the bike was lacking for its slightly reduced travel. I have sent it off some decent drops and ridden plenty of steeps and technical descents. But there won’t be any trips to the bikeparks for another few months yet.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, surfing leaves

My first impressions do seem to align with it feeling a bit more playful like the 125, but I didn’t feel quite as beaten up after a long ride on our big steep & rocky enduro trails. That’s a positive sign.

One thing though, it’s not exceptionally light.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF 9, 140mm carbon trail mountain bike, 15.45kg actual weight

My previous Spectral CF 8 weighed just under 15kg with pedals. My Spectral 125 7 tester is just 14.5kg. And, the Spectral Mullet CLLCTV is only 14.25kg. This large 2024 Spectral CF 9 tips the scales at 15.45kg / 34.06lb with crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedals. And it’s 520g more with the built-in gear ( tube & inflator in the downtube, the mini-tool & an empty water bottle.) That’s not a huge weight increase, but it’s always tough to stomach extra weight paired with reduced suspension travel. I need more ride time to see if the added performance improvements warrant the extra grams.

2024 Canyon Spectral CF – Pricing, options & availability

2024 Canyon Spectral CF, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, complete

The new Spectral CF is available in four models. All are available as either 29er or in a Mullet setup with a 27.5″ rear wheel.

Note: US customers only get 2 model specs and can only pick 29″ wheels. Plus, unfortunately, the XS will NOT be available stateside for the time being!

2024 Canyon Spectral, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, CF LTD Mullet

7000€ Canyon Spectral CF LTD

The top-of-the-line Spectral with a dream build of FOX and SRAM parts. The elite level Fox 36 Factory fork and Fox Float X Factory take care of taming descents and supporting on climbs. The SRAM XX Eagle Transmission (w/GX cassette) and SRAM XX cranks are instantly responsive to the rider’s pedal strokes. While the SRAM Code RSC brakes give riders full control. Keeping things rolling is a set of DT Swiss XMC1200 wheels. Coming in an Anti-Matter colorway, the Spectral CF LTD costs €6,999 and weighs 14.56 kg in a size Medium 29er.

2024 Canyon Spectral, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, CF 9

5000€ Canyon Spectral CF 9

“For riders wanting top performance with a RockShox and SRAM setup, the CF 9 is the way to go. A RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork and RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock keep everything feeling supple and sweet with a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain in charge of shifting. A lightweight set of DT Swiss XM1700 wheels paired with SRAM Code RSC lets riders rip when they want and put the anchors on when they need to. Available in Stealth or No Neon colorways. The Spectral CF 9 costs €4,999 and weighs 14.94 kg in a size Medium 29er.”

2024 Canyon Spectral, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, CF 8 CLLCTV Mullet

$4200 / 4000€ Canyon Spectral CF 8 CLLCTV

Nailing the sweet spot of hard-hitting reliability and on-trail performance is the Spectral CF 8 CLLCTV which comes fully loaded with a Fox 36 Performance Elite fork and Fox DHX Performance coil shock. Shimano Deore XT brakes and drivetrain are all about capability and confidence on any trail. On sale in the Stadtwald Sunset colorway, the Spectral CF 8 costs €3,999 and weighs 15.84 kg in a size Medium 29er.

2024 Canyon Spectral, all-new 140mm travel carbon trail all-mountain bike, CF 7

$3700 / 3400€ Canyon Spectral CF 7

A quality carbon trail bike that won’t empty the wallet, the Spectral CF 7 sports a Fox 36 Rhythm fork and Fox Float X Performance fork. Shimano SLX parts take care of the transmission, cranks, and brakes for a quality bang for your buck experience. Rounding off this build is a set of DT Swiss M1900 wheels. Finished in a Stealth or Barely Olive colorway, the Spectral CF 7 costs €3,399 and weighs 15.36 kg in a size Medium 29er.”


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1 month ago

Canyon’s on a roll and other bike companies are taking notice. Disagree with me? Look no further than the other companies’ (deep) discounts & price cuts.

At the same time demand for their bikes is unmatched.

1 month ago
Reply to  DefRyder

You may be right, but I always get the feeling that Canyon riders are online shoppers first and bike riders somewhere further down the list.

The image above of the rider swerving in the leaves with goofy form on a perfectly clean bike is, to me, a great illustration of the Canyon riders I most often encounter.

1 month ago

Been eyeing the Spectral as my 1st FS bike, but like most manufacturers these days, they make them too long for me. Now that there’s a size with the proper reach for me, it only comes in a mullet that I don’t care for at all! Oh well. I guess Canyon is off the table for me.

1 month ago
Reply to  IzzyM

just go mullet

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