Issue #036, Review -

Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 LTD Review

Wow, how porno is this bike? Our jaws drop at the sight of Canyon’s Spectral CF 9.0 LTD. The futuristic shape of the frame, paired with the black/gold paint job and lots of bling makes quite the impression. But can the bike deliver on the trail?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best trail bike you can buy

Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 LTD | 150/140 mm (f/r) | 12.54 kg | € 6,999

We had to gulp at the price of Canyon’s Spectral CF 9.0 LTD: € 6,999 is quite a chunk of change. Canyon has always been known for its excellent value for money. How can that be? The answer is simple: only the best was good enough when it came to speccing this bike! For the price of the ENVE M60 wheelset and Chris King hubs alone, you could buy one of Canyon’s more affordable complete bikes. The dream componentry continues with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain, FOX Factory suspension and SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes – other brands will easily charge you a five-digit figure for a build like that! But do these components also perform on the trail? We found the first niggle before we even got on the bike: the 760 mm Renthal FatBar Lite carbon handlebar is a little too narrow.

As you’d expect from Canyon, the frame of the Spectral is full of smart solutions. The internal clamp for the RockShox Reverb seatpost is relatively large, requiring minimal clamping force. The cables are routed through an enclosed channel on the down tube, so you don’t have to disassemble the brake to reroute the hose. To prevent the cockpit from damaging the stylish carbon frame, Canyon uses their own Impact Protection Unit (IPU) on the head tube. The specially developed covers on the bearings not only increase longevity but also underline the clean look of the bike.

  The Spectral has more swag than a bus full of rappers!

The Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 LTD in detail

Fork FOX 34 FLOAT Factory 150 mm
Schock FOX FLOAT DPS Factory 140 mm
Brakes SRAM Guide Ultimate 200/180
Drivetrain SRAM XX1 Eagle
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 150 mm
Stem Renthal Apex 35 55 mm
Handlebar Renthal FatBar Lite Carbon 760 mm
Rims/hubs ENVE M60/Chris King
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/Rekon 27.5″ x 2.6″
Weight 12.54 kg
Price € 6,999

Very long
The head tube of the Spectral CF is very long. On the bike, you’ll feel nicely integrated with the ride, but if you prefer a lower front end, you’ll be disappointed. With a longer travel fork, the front end will be even taller.
With Canyon’s quick-release axle the lever disappears into the axle – nice!
No stranglehold
Overtightening the dropper seatposts can damage them. The large, flat clamping surface on the Spectral reduces the clamping forces.
Sexy curves
The lines on the Spectral are absolutely beautiful, Canyon has long since discarded the cheap direct-to-consumer image. Instead Canyon has set the benchmark for looks!

Geometry of the Canyon Spectral

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 425 mm 440 mm 480 mm 520 mm
Top tube 579 mm 605 mm 633 mm 661 mm
Head tube 92 mm 116 mm 147 mm 170 mm
Head angle 66° 66° 66° 66°
Seat angle 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Chainstay 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB Drop 27 mm 22 mm 22 mm 22 mm
Wheelbase 1141 mm 1172 mm 1204 mm 1235 mm
Reach 419 mm 440 mm 460 mm 482 mm
Stack 588 mm 605 mm 634 mm 655 mm
Helmet Troy Lee A1 | Glasses Oakley Jawbreaker | Backpack EVOC STAGE 12 l | Jersey Troy Lee Designs Sprint | Short Troy Lee Designs Ruckus

The Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 LTD on the trail

The rider’s position on the Spectral is nicely centred, neither super compact nor feeling like you’re sitting too far back. Despite the 2.6″ wide tyres, the bike accelerates easily. The rear end bobs only slightly when you’re pedalling at a regular cadence, meaning you’re unlikely to need to reach for the shock’s damping lever. On flat trails, the Spectral carries speed well. The ENVE wheels, which are often criticised for being overly stiff ride very comfortably with the wide 2.6″ tyres. The Spectral CF also changes direction very easily. Once you’ve found the right suspension setup, the rear end will respond sensitively while offering plenty of support. It works so well that, in comparison, the FOX 34 at the front feels a bit overwhelmed at times. The fork chassis could be stiffer overall and offer a little more travel. In steep terrain, the tall front end of the bike will instil you with confidence, although it lacks composure and stability at higher speeds. The fitted MAXXIS Rekon tyre at the rear couldn’t convince us; it lacks grip and puncture protection.

Tuning tip: buy the new Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 for € 3,000 less and go on holiday with your savings!


The Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 LTD not only looks the part, but it also rides beautifully. Its handling is easy and direct, transforming every trail into a playground. While writing this, Canyon presented their new Spectral models: they come with a FOX 36, a sturdier rear tyre and a centimetre more travel – many of the points of criticism mentioned here have become obsolete. We’re looking forward to testing the revised version again soon!


  • very easy and fun handling
  • excellent rear linkage
  • lots of clever details
  • drool-worthy spec


  • nervous at speed
  • fork can't keep up
  • long seat tube
  • handlebar too narrow
  • rear tyre not aggressive enough





Value for money

More info at:

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best trail bike you can buy

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 LTD | Evil Offering X01 | Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29 | Ibis Ripmo | Pivot Mach 5.5 Pro XT | Propain Hugene Highend | Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition | Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01+ | Scott Genius 900 Ultimate | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29 | Transition Sentinel X01 | Trek Remedy 9.9 | YT Jeffsy 29 CF Pro Race