Canyon has released a lighter, longer-range Spectral:ON eMTB with downtube capacity for a 720Wh or a 900Wh battery. Still very much a trail-oriented eMTB, slotting into the lineup below the longer-travel Torque:ON, Canyon are sticking with the mullet wheelset configuration and 150mm fork while the rear wheel-travel is boosted to 155mm.
The major updates to the Spectral:ON are centered around reducing range anxiety while keeping the bike nimble and playful. Generally speaking, more range requires a larger, heavier battery, with the knock-on effect of altering the bike’s handling. There is always compromise of course, but Canyon set about redesigning the entire bike to keep that compromise to an absolute minimum.
Some notable geometry changes came along with that but it was battery development that sat at the heart of the process; Canyon’s proprietary eMTB batteries, along with an updated carbon swingarm, has allowed them to drop the frame weight by a massive 800g; claimed weight for the new XTR-equipped Spectral:ON CFR with a 720Wh battery is 21.84 kg, 610g lighter than its 630Wh battery-rocking predecessor.
We got all the details from Canyon at Winter Bike Connection in Massa Marritima, Italy, where we also spent an afternoon riding up and down the Trail Brothers’ singletrack barely breaking a sweat. You can read our first ride review now, or keep reading for a deep dive on the new Spectral:ON. We have everything you need to know on its geometry, battery technology and well thought-through frame details right here, as well as a full breakdown of pricing and availability.
Canyon Spectral:ON eMTB
- Intention: Trail Riding and Bike Park
- Travel: 150mm/150mm
- Frame Material: Carbon (CF and CFR) with aluminum rocker
- Motor: Shimano EP8
- Battery Size(s): 900Wh or 720Wh (M-XL), 720Wh on Small
- Colors: Deep Space, Endless Black, Stealth, Eternal Blue, Green Vastness, Infinite Red, Boundless Grey
- Frame Sizes: S-XL
- Battery weight: 720 Wh – 3.84 kg, 900Wh – 4.75 kg
- Complete bike claimed weight: 22.85 kg (Medium CFR LTD w/ 900Wh battery)
- Starting Price: $5,999 USD
The Canyon Spectral:ON is available in sizes S-XL with 5 models to choose from; three run the heavier CF frame while two more expensive options run the CFR frame, said to be 300-400g lighter depending on frame size. It runs the same suspension platform seen on its predecessor, though it now delivers a tad more rear wheel travel; 155mm.
The new model maintains a 150mm travel fork up front and the mixed-wheel configuration. For those considering swapping that 27.5″ rear wheel out for a 29er, Canyon don’t recommend it for clearance reasons, also stating it would upset the geometry too much.
There are no surprises on the geometry front, only a continuation of the longer, lower, slacker trend. The head angle relaxes to 65.5° and reach is extended by ~25mm for each frame size, coming up at 485mm on the large. The frame is approved for use with a 160mm fork for folk who want to go slacker.
Chainstays grow by just 5mm, now 440mm across the size range, permitting clearance for a 27.5″ x 2.6″ DHR II WT. The engineers at Canyon tell us they did consider taking the proportional approach to chainstay length, altering the rear-centre length in proportion to the front-center using their “Frankenstein” test mule, but concluded there was no tangible performance advantage to be gained; they credited that to the bike’s low center of gravity. The bottom bracket is a touch lower, now dropping 19mm from the rear axle.
Canyon chopped 20mm off the seat tubes on the new model, allowing riders to run those longer travel dropper seat posts, leaving them with more clearance to throw shapes in the cockpit. Seat tube angle is stated at 76.5°, two degrees steeper than the previous iteration.
The 2022 Spectral:ON gets a very similar suspension kinematic to its predecessor, though Canyon tells us they have tweaked the anti-squat figure somewhat, reducing it for improved climbing traction. The leverage curve of this eMTB is said to be suited to the spring curve of an air shock only. Canyon recommend riders resist the urge to swap it out for a coil shock as the forces transmitted to a shock via the clevis mount shock extensions and rocker can be too much for the smaller diameter damper shafts used in coil shocks.
Frame Detail Deep Dive
The Spectral:ON CFR LTD cockpit is a rather neat and tidy affair thanks to the integrated handlebar-stem combo and the custom Acros headset that sits atop the oversized headtube, allowing cables and hoses to entire the frame via the headset. The bar has a 50mm reach. The small frame runs a 760mm wide bar while the M-XL frames get a 780mm bar.
The Acros headset uses a drag seal around the outer perimeter to prevent dirt ingress, and there are 12 sealed plugs that allow it t be customized to each rider’s individual setup. If you have a SRAM AXS dropper seat post, for example, you don’t need a port on the non-driveside; you can replace the port for a blank insert.
In eMTB terms, there aren’t too many wires to worry about on the new Spectral:ON. The wire running from the Shimano display unit also enters the frame at the Acros headset, leaving very little bare wire to get snagged on something during a crash.
A second wire can be seen exiting the non-driveside chainstay where it tracks to the speed sensor near the dropouts.The third and final wire connecting the motor to the battery is tucked away underneath the motor’s protective cover.
To position that 900Wh battery (or 720Wh) inside the downtube in a weight distribution-friendly manner, Canyon has taken a similar approach to what Norco did with the Sight, Range and Fluid VLT eMTBs. Tilting the Shimano EP8 motor up at a 30° angle has allowed them to slot the battery in front of the motor so it actually extends right down to the lowest point of the downtube.
The folks at Canyon may resent me making that comparison, because they’ve gone more than a few extra miles with their engineering in this department, at least. Their proprietary batteries get a vertical cell-arrangement, as opposed to a train orientation, that gives them a thinner profile than they would otherwise have. The innovative arrangement of cells allow for a thinner downtube, maintaining good ground clearance to keep rock strikes to a minimum.
That’s not all. The new battery design also allowed Canyon to make a lighter front triangle; here’s why. The previous Spectral:ON ran an off-the-shelf Shimano battery, requiring the positioning of a charging port on the seat tube, itself necessitating a port at that location that needed to be reinforced with additional material.
Canyon’s new batteries are charged directly, removing the need for the seat tube charging port, and thus the extra material. This played a big part in allowing them to make a medium CFR frame weighing just 2,880g; that’s 800g lighter than the previous model.
The lower link is well-protected, with a neat mud-flap extending from the back of the seat tube over the small gap between it and the chainstay bridge, well-placed to prevent stones getting stuck in this otherwise vulnerable part of the frame.
We did wonder why Canyon hadn’t bothered to make the protector a couple of millimetres wider to cover the bearing. They deemed that unnecessary as this main pivot bearing, as well as the Horst-Link bearing, features an additional brass-backed seal to further prevent water ingress to the ball bearings. They reckon this additional seal makes it safe to pressure wash the bike, even.
Accessing the Canyon eMTB Battery
The engineers at Canyon were able to give us a peek under the hood, so to speak, to get up close and personal with the Spectral:ON’s anatomy. The battery is removable for charging on or off the bike, accessible via the motor’s protective fiberglass panel.
Pricing & Availability
Exactly which of the five Canyon Spectral:ON models are available depend on whether you are based in the US or elsewhere. Canyon USA will offer three Spectral:ON models for 2022:
- Spectral:ON CFR – $10,500 USD
- Spectral:ON CF 8 – $6,999 USD
- Spectral:ON CF 7 – $5,999 USD
Canyon USA will have Spectral:ON CF models in stock come late spring and should have CFR models in the Fall of 2022. In the US, customers aren’t able to choose which battery to run; all M-XL CFR and CF 8 models in the USA will have 900 Wh batteries (small frames only fit 720 Wh batteries due to the shorter downtube length). All entry-level CF 7 bikes will be fitted with a 720Wh battery. Canyon USA will also offer a limited number of 900 Wh batteries as a limited-availability upgrade.
The pricing listed above pertains to the M-XL frames which will run 900 Wh batteries (CFR and CF 8). The Small bikes come in at $350 cheaper as they run a 720 Wh battery.
Pricing for the 2022 Canyon Spectral:ON starts at $5,999 USD for the Spectral:ON CF 7 (not pictured); in the US, this one is only available with a 720 Wh battery. It is built up with a RockShox Lyrik Select Fork, Super Deluxe Select shock and Shimano XT 12 speed drivetrain.
The CF 8 (not pictured here) rocks a Fox 36 Rythm fork with GRIP damper, DPS Performance Shock and Shimano XT 12 speed drivetrain.
The CF 9 (not pictured) tops the CF range; we’re awaiting pricing info on this one. It boasts a Fox 36 Performance Elite fork, Float X Performance Shock and a SRAM XX1 AXS 12 speed electronic-shifting drivetrain. A more complete list of specs can be found below.
There are two models running the CFR frame, the most expensive one of which is the CFR LTD (shown throughout this article), the retail price of which is 11,299 €. This one is all-singing all-dancing, decked out with a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate Flight Attendant Fork, Super Deluxe Ultimate Flight Attendant Shock, SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle 12 speed drivetrain, DT SWISS HXC 1501 carbon wheelset, Canyon’s integrated carbon cockpit and a RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post.
The final model is the one we tested at the Mountain Bike Connection Winter Event; the Spectral:ON CFR rocking Fox Factory suspension, a Shimano XTR 12 speed drivetrain, Fox Transfer dropper post and Reynolds TRE309 carbon wheelset.
All five models of the Spectral:ON will be available outside of the US with the option to choose between the 720 Wh and 900 Wh battery. The CFR LTD and CFR models with the 900Wh battery only (to begin with) are available now. Come the month of May, the 720Wh option will be available too, as will all three of the CF models. Head to the Canyon website for a more complete list of specs and pricing in your region.