Direct-to-consumer brand Canyon, based out of Koblenz, Germany has been shipping bikes to the US for years now, with the exception of their electric mountain bike, the Spectral:ON. Now with the revision of the e-Spectral, it will be available in the US; a sure sign that the overall attitude toward electric mountain bikes is changing stateside.
Canyon says their biggest and “most obvious” change on the 2020 Spectral:ON, updated just two years after its debut, is the carbon front triangle and a cleaner battery integration. Canyon says the bike is just as stiff, but it lowers the weight and the center of gravity, thus improving handling. By switching the front triangle to carbon, the weight has been cut by a full kilogram.
Geometry and suspension kinematics have also been changed. Canyon made the rear suspension a little more linear, and it is not compatible with coil shocks. The Spectral:ON has 150mm of front and rear suspension, and is a dedicated mullet, eMTB. Mountain bike trend haters are no doubt grinding their teeth after that statement. Canyon is using a 2.6-inch-wide tire in the rear, for increased bite whereas the previous ON used a 2.8″ tire. The 27.5″ rear tire helped achieve a shorter rear triangle.
The Spectral:ON models are powered by a Shimano E8000 motor. The newest models have an on/off button, and a USB-C charging socket located on the top tube, which is good for charging MacBooks or night riding lights on the trail. A fiber-reinforced skid plate surrounds the motor, serving as a bash guard.
Canyon says that the Shimano system is advantageous for a number of reasons, but firstly, it’s reliable. The motor is also light, at 2.8kg, fairly small, and feels smooth and natural, according to Canyon. There are bigger motors with longer battery life out there, but Canyon feels that the lighter Shimano option is a better tradeoff.
Full battery range varies with conditions, but in their own testing, Canyon says that they have made it 100km with the Spectral:ON in ‘Eco’ mode. Charging can take about four hours from fully drained to an 80% charge, and it takes about 7.5 hours to achieve a full charge.
The Spectral:ON comes in four sizes; S – XL, which will fit riders from 5’4″ to 6’3″. Canyon says they mostly left the geometry the same on the new bike, aside from extending the chainstays by 5mm to improve climbing performance. The chainstays were 430mm on the last version, which is short compared to what most brands are using for their eMTB frames. That made for a wandery front end, and some riders had a tough time getting their weight distribution right over steep climbs.
Canyon says that by adding 5mm to the chainstays, the front end of the bike feels like it stays planted and tracks better. They also add stability on descents, hence why brands’ chainstays are usually longer on their eMTBs.
The head tube angle did slacken slightly to 66.5°. The effective seat tube angle is 74.5°, reach starts at 425mm on a size small, and grows by 20mm each size up.
Although Canyon is now bringing the Spectral:ON into the US, they are only offering one build. The $5,000 Spectral:ON CF 7.0 comes with a RockShox Lyrik Select fork, a RockShox Deluxe Select shock, a hybrid Shimano XT/SLX drivetrain, four-piston Shimano MT520 brakes, and a Canyon in-house component brand, Iridium dropper post.
Check out more information on the Canyon website.