Joe Barnes’ Spectral is a bike ready to rip

We take a close look at the Scottish EWS star's brand new race bike

If we ever need inspiration to get out riding, whatever the weather, Joe Barnes and The Dudes of Hazzard’s videos are just the pill.

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Having emerged from the Highlands of Scotland, Joe is now one of Canyon’s top sponsored riders, and so at the launch of the Spectral trail bike, back in December, I spent ten minutes getting nosey with his bike and getting the low down on how he has his new race bike set up.

Joe was involved in the development of the Spectral from early on, but got his hands on the production frame the day after the final EWS race of 2017 in Finale Ligure. Read our First Ride review of the Spectral, to see what we thought of the bike.

The Canyon Spectral only has 140mm of rear wheel travel, but this is enough for the Scottish EWS racer
Canyon

His sponsors, alongside Canyon, are Mavic, RockShox/SRAM, Ergon, Renthal and Crankbrothers.

The frame

The Spectral is a 140mm trail bike, but built to be able to withstand the rigours of racing. While Joe will race the longer travel Torque from time to time, it’s on the Spectral that he’ll spend most of 2018.

The 140mm travel frame has boost spacing, a neat cable run under the down tube, with the full-length of the down tube and cables protected neatly by a plastic sheath.

Integrated storage is designed to sit seamlessly in the triangle, and the dual bottle system will also be used by Joe so that he doesn’t have to ride with a pack. A quick-link for the chain is taped to his brake hose.

The suspension

Joe’s sponsor RockShox provides a Super Deluxe RC3 shock and a 150mm Pike RCT3 fork.

Given the frame is brand new, Joe has been playing with the shock’s damping tune, and has landed, at the moment, on both a light compression and rebound tune, thanks to the frame’s relatively progressive kinematic.

With that light rebound tune Joe is running three clicks of rebound damping. On the compression side of things, he leaves it as is, without running a lockout — this makes things as simple as possible, and he’s yet to need a lockout on the shock.

Joe has a custom light tune on his Super Deluxe shock
Canyon

The fork is the latest Boost width model. Joe likes the extra stiffness, but mostly appreciates the extra mud clearance, allowing him to run chunky-width mud spikes with no issues. 

At 69kg he runs 74psi with two volume spacers adding a touch, but not masses, of progressivity into the air spring. On the compression side of things he adds four clicks of low-speed damping.

A few clicks of low-speed damping and two volume spacers are all that Joe needs to tune his Pike
Canyon

Longtime sponsor Mucky Nutz provides a fender.

The drivetrain

No surprises here, Joe runs SRAM’s X01 Eagle groupset. Usually a 34t ring is used for riding at home — the 36t that sometimes finds its way on for races would just contribute to getting knackered for everyday riding! Joe says that “for the size of the cassette, the mech is really well tucked away — no issues when in the ruts.”