The Affordable and Accessible Canyon Spectral AL 5.0, in for Test

Canyon is well known for offering high-quality bikes sold direct-to-consumer in many countries around the world. I recently unboxed a new Spectral AL 5.0 trail bike that’s in for testing, and here are my initial impressions.

Delivery is dialed

It’s clear from the packaging, materials, and included instructions that Canyon works hard to make sure new bike setup goes smoothly. I’m not usually one to get excited about unboxings, but the whole experience was far and away the best I’ve had among many dozens over the years. Everything is packed neatly in the box using high quality and purpose-made packing materials. For example, instead of using zip ties to keep items from moving around, Canyon employs reusable velcro strips with thick pieces of padding attached.

All of the tricky bits are assembled ahead of time, though of course buyers will need to install the front wheel and attach the handlebars to the stem. The dropper post was not pre-installed on my bike so I needed to connect it to the cable which was already inside the seat tube, insert the post, and attach the lever to the bars. Canyon includes all the necessary tools in the box, including a torque wrench that’s pre-set for use with the corresponding bolts.

A computer keyboard sized box included in the package has all the manuals, tools, and accessories riders need to get going, including a shock pump and a set of flat plastic pedals. The bike ships with reflectors on the bar, seat tube, and wheels, which I chose to remove along with the “pie plate” between the cassette and the spokes on the rear wheel.

I didn’t run into any issues or need help setting the bike up, but it was very clear from the included materials where to go to get assistance.

The bike

The Spectral is Canyon’s 27.5 trail bike with 160mm of travel up front and 150mm in the rear. (Size extra small and small frames offer 140mm of rear travel.) The AL 5.0 version I’m testing is new for 2020, and is currently the only aluminum Spectral build available from the brand. The bike retails for $2,699 and the size extra large I’m riding weighs 33.3lbs with pedals.

Overall, the Spectral geometry is fairly standard, with a 66° head tube angle and a 74.5° seat angle. The 482mm reach on the extra large I have isn’t overly long, which so far makes for a comfortable fit. Chainstays are 430mm long.

One of the things that initially impressed me is the cable routing on the Canyon Spectral. A channel running along the underside of the downtube, and another along the left stay tucks everything in neatly and should also make for easy cable changes. This configuration should be less prone to rattling than truly internal routing schemes.

Canyon ships the bike with clear frame protection covering the most vulnerable parts of the frame, and even the integrated chainstay protector appears to be robust, though I’ll be checking to see how quiet it is on the trail.

The Spectral is available in two colorways: Stealth and Super Red. If you’re not sure which one I’m testing, please make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately. I’m really into the red color, but it’s probably not for everyone.

The build

Canyon does a nice job speccing the Spectral AL 5.0 with a solid parts list. The main draw for most buyers will be the RockShox Pike Select fork up front, as it’s always a solid performer. A RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ RT shock handles the rear suspension.

To offset the fork splurge, Canyon goes with a SRAM NX 12-speed drivetrain which should at the very least offer consistent, durable shifting. The bottom bracket is a SRAM DUB press fit model.

The included Race Face ARD wheels feature a 30mm internal width rim which is a good match for the 2.5-inch-wide Maxxis Minion DHR II tire on the front and 2.5-inch-wide Maxxis Aggressor out back.

SRAM Guide T brakes, Race Face bar and stem, and SDG Fly Mtn saddle round out the branded component mix. Canyon specs their own dropper post, dubbed the Iridium, along with a set of G5 flange grips. I’ll be replacing the grips right away since I’m not a fan of flanges, and will wait and see on the saddle. Everything else should be good to go right out of the box.

Hitting the trail

With assembly dialed and the bike shaken down, I’m looking forward to hitting the trail with the Spectral this spring and summer. So far the bike appears to be well suited for everything from the local trails to all day rides in the mountains, just like a trail bike should.

Share This: