Bike Review: Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7.0 Trail Bike
Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7.0
Canyon Bicycles is a German company whose roots go back to the 1980s when brothers Roman and Franc Arnold founded a bicycle-parts supply company called Radsport Arnold (Rad in German means “wheel”). In the 1990s, they became a pioneer in direct sales via the internet. In 2001 they became a bicycle manufacturer, changing their name to Canyon Bicycles and going on to become a brand renowned not only for big race wins but more so for their successful consumer-direct sales model.
Fast-forward to today and we’re focusing on Canyon’s Spectral:ON enduro mountain bike. The CF designation is for the carbon fiber frame construction, and 7.0 is the level of components on the bike, which goes up to 9.0 with the highest spec. Interestingly, while Canyon sets up the non-assist Spectrals with 29-inch wheels, the Spectral:ON version runs with a 29/27.5-inch mixed-wheel combo.
The previous version of the Spectral:ON used an aluminum frame with an external battery mounted on top of the downtube. The new Spectral has evolved with a carbon front triangle and an integrated battery, which drastically improve the look of the bike, as well as helping to lower the center of gravity for better handling. Unlike the older models, because of the internally mounted battery and shock mount, there’s room for a bottle cage on this new version.
The 7.0 model is Canyon’s entry price, and it features a 66.5-degree head angle and 74.5-degree seat angle. It comes in two versions—the CF 7.0 and CF 7.0 WMN (a women’-specific model).
The wheels are set up with a Maxxis Minion in the front and a 2.6-inch Minion in the back. The suspension comes courtesy from RockShox in the form of a RockShox Lyrik Select fork and Deluxe Select in the rear, offering 150mm
The drivetrain is Shimano’s Deore XT Shadow Plus 1×12 setup with a Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur and Shimano SLX 12-speed shifters, which offer plenty of range and quick, accurate shifting. Keeping the Shimano E8000 cranks company are a pair of Shimano MT250 quad-piston calipers with 203mm rotors.
“Not only has Canyon put plenty of thought into the final design of the bike, but, being a consumer-direct brand, they’ve also focused plenty on the end consumer’s purchase experience.”
Depending on the frame size, the Iridium dropper post comes in two sizes—the small and medium get 150mm of travel, whereas the large and XL frames get 170mm. No matter which size you get, the saddle is a Canyon SD:ON.
Canyon’s stuck with the tried-and-true Shimano STEPS E8000, and it features up to 70 N/m of torque and three mode settings—Eco, Trail and Boost. In general, factory settings for this are good for Eco and Boost, but Trail is a bit closer to Eco than to Boost, so we used the E-Tube app to fine-tune that. That app was made by Shimano, so users can set up the power the way they like it for a very natural or very aggressive addition of power. They didn’t choose the new EP8 motor for this bike because the motor wasn’t available, but in theory, it could be retrofitted, as the mounts and battery are the same.
The battery included is a Shimano 504-Wh battery internally mounted in the downtube. The power button is mounted on the front of the top tube, and there’s a USB-C port under a weather-resistant cover that would be good for powering your phone, GPS computer or even a bright light. The really small E7000 display still shows mode, speed and battery life, and is protected where it is installed behind the handlebar.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
With 150mm of travel, plenty of power, and reasonably light weight and price, this bike is aimed at enduro and trail riders who want good power, handling and range without breaking the bank.
Suspension is set up to be supple and compliant at first, stable in the middle and has a progressive ramp as you get further into the stroke. There’s very little pedal bob, so you get more of your own power and need to use less of the battery’s.
As for cornering, the geometry and weight distribution are excellent, which leads to an enjoyable ride at any speed. It is the perfect compromise between extremes and works well with the smaller rear wheel. When it comes to climbing, the motor makes even the most difficult climbs a blast, especially if you use it to test yourself in technical terrain. Can you make it up that section without stepping off?
Heading downhill, the 29-inch wheel is more forgiving, as the larger wheel has a lower angle of attack on obstacles like rocks and roots, rolling over them more easily. The bike does well at all speeds, though at higher speeds on descents it’s a little less confidence-inspiring. The smaller back wheel offers more reactivity in the rear, and small-bump compliance is excellent.
With the fact that all models of the Spectral:ON offer such good components, your wallet has to decide whether the better Shimano components are worth it. They’re so similarly matched, and the gearing and brakes are the same, you’re just stepping up to Fox suspension on the 9.0 level.
The overall bike, ride quality, and power will make riding fun and lively. Not only has Canyon put much thought into the final design of the bike, but, being a consumer-direct brand, they’ve also focused plenty on the end consumer’s purchase experience. Everything from the packaging, shipping and delivery process has been looked at to best ensure a smooth process. The bike is well thought out, and Canyon’s legacy of making great non-assist bikes has obviously now evolved to the e-bike segment.
CANYON SPECTRAL:ON CF 7.0
Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000, 250W mid-drive with 70 N/m torque
Battery: Shimano STEPS 504 Wh
Charge time: 3–4 hours
Top speed: 20 mph
Range: 20–30 miles
Drive: Shimano Deore XT Shadow Plus SGS, 1×12
Brakes: Shimano MT520 hydraulic disc, quad piston, 203mm rotors front and rear
Controls: Shimano STEPS E7000
Fork: RockShox Lyric Select, 150mm travel
Rear shock: RockShox Deluxe Select, 230×60, 150mm travel
Frame: Canyon Spectral:ON carbon fiber
Rims: Race Face AR30 29” aluminum, Race Face AR35 27.5” aluminum
Hubs: Shimano MT400 (front), Shimano MT510 (rear)
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5”, Maxxis Minion DHR 27.5×2.6”
Weight: 48.73 lb.
Color choices: Shades of Stealth, Shades of Purple
Sizes: S, M, L, XL