First Look: Canyon’s Revised Spectral Family Has a Wheel Size For Every Style

by | October 26, 2021

Trail riding is a vague classification, but the revised Canyon Spectral is now available in all three wheel combinations to suit all flavors; full 29″, dual 27.5″, or mixed, more causally known as a mullet setup. The 150 mm chassis sees a few kinematic and geometry revisions, but largely encompasses the aggressive trail market – “One family, any trail,” as Canyon states it.

The easiest way to explain the Spectral family is to forget about wheel size for moment and examine the pairing of parts with frame materials. Bear with me here…

Spectral Details

• Aluminum or Carbon frames
• Travel: 150 mm / 160 mm fork
• Dual 29″, Dual 27.5″, or mixed wheels
• 64-64.5 degree head angle
• 432 mm (27.5 and MX) / 437 mm (29) chainstays
• Size: 2XS (youth), XS (27.5 and MX), S, M, L, XL (29)
• Price: $2,299 – $7,499 USD

Not forgetting about the up and coming groms, the Spectral Young Hero checks out at $2,299. It has a unique frame shape for more standover and sits alone as a single built kit with a double extra-small alloy frame and 27.5″ wheels.

Next are the Spectral AL 5 and 6s built on an aluminum chassis and available in full 27.5″ or 29″ options. Jumping to the carbon bikes, you have the Spectral CF 7, 8, and 9 in both equal wheel sizes. The outliers are the Spectral CF 8 CLLCTV, the only bike with mixed wheels and a coil shock in the line up, and the light weight, premium build Spectral CFR with dual 29″ wheels.

Basically, if you want the party in the front, business in the back deal, there is only one build kit to chose from, leaving out a budget friendly aluminum option. The mixed wheeled Spectral actually uses a stock 27.5 rear triangle bolted to a 29 front triangle and all wheel sizes use the same rocker link. Canyon say they wanted to create a mullet trail bike with no compromises and for that reason, there is no flip-chip to preserve the geometry with a smaller rear wheel. Those frame pieces will not be available for purchase separately.

Frame Details

You’ll notice that the silhouettes don’t quite match up when comparing the two different frame materials. That’s because the aluminum frame has been optimized for simpler construction methods, dropping the weight below 3 kg and improving the stiffness. The goal was to make the alloy version just as desirable as the carbon.

To further increase longevity, all Spectrals use steel threaded inserts that are replaceable, should they become damaged. Out back you’ll find a handy “Quixle”; a lever that hides inside the axle, as well as the evermore common SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger. Under the top tube are threaded inserts for a utility strap to carry a tube or small tool bag and below the shock yields enough room for a 600 mL water bottle, no matter the frame size.

The carbon 29″ bikes have a geometry adjustment at the seat stay via a flip-chip, altering the angles by half of a degree. Digging deeper into that ultra light 2300 g Spectral CFR frame reveals a decent weight saving of 300g over the standard carbon version. Canyon really let their engineers free with this one as the graphics even weigh 50g less.

Derived from their Sender downhill bike, Canyon tweaked the suspension to their Triple Phase kinematics, increasing the anti-squat and upping the progression, lowering the pedal kickback by a few percent in the meantime.


Most of the time, 27.5″ and 29″ have entirely different geometries, but all three of the Spectrals share a large number of angles, barring the head tube length and BB drop. Without killing the sporty intentions of the Spectral, the head tube rests at 64º with a 76º seat tube angle, which can be made half a degree steeper on the carbon frames.

What is not unusual is for brands to axe a size depending on the wheel diameter. You’ll find that the four sizes of 27.5″ and mixed wheeled bikes go from a 410 mm reach on the size extra small, up to 485 for a large, incrementally by 25 mm. On the 29er chart, the XS is dropped and an XL is added, topping out with a reach of 510 mm.

On the back half, bikes with 27.5″ rear wheels receive a 432 mm chainstay and the 29ers gain 5 mm. These numbers don’t change, regardless of size and there are no flip-chips at the dropouts.

Build Kits