German direct-to-consumer brand Canyon has, until very recently, been forbidden fruit in the United States. But now the Stateside systems are sorted and Canyon is shipping bikes like the recently overhauled Spectral AL 6.0.
For 2018, the updated Spectral chassis has refined suspension action, is a bit slacker, and — most importantly — rolls on 30mm-wide rims wearing fat, but not quite plus-sized, 27.5x2.6in tires.
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Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 highlights
- Frame: aluminum, 140mm travel
- Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT
- Fork: RockShox Pike RC, 150mm travel
- Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
- Brakes: SRAM Guide R, 200/180mm rotors
- Wheels: DT Swiss M1900 Spline
- Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 27.5 x 2.6 / Rekon+ 27.5 x 2.6
Name-brand, price-smart spec
Perusing the specs of the Spectral AL 6.0, it's clear Canyon picked carefully. Suspension is handled by a RockShox Pike on the front with 150mm travel. With 35mm stanchions, it should have the stiffness to keep the big 2.6in-wide Maxxis Minion DHF on point.
For the rear, a RockShox Deluxe RT damps 140mm of travel and is mounted horizontally in the frame, which is new for 2018 and which Canyon claims allows for more tuning options and reduces wear on the linkage bearings.
Dropper-post duties are on a KS Lev SI post and Race Face takes care of the bar and stem. It's all name-brand stuff throughout, which for the base model (in the US, UK and Australia Spectrals start with a 5.0 version) is unique, in a good way.
Ready for the bottle cage but no ISCG-05
In the plus column, the Spectral has the ability to put a water bottle inside the main frame. Interestingly, it has three bosses with the upper two useful for riders who prefer a small bottle and/or want a shorter reach.
Another plus is the main pivot cover can be swapped out to one with a front derailleur tab, which Canyon includes.
On the negative side, there are no ISCG-05 tabs around the bottom bracket. That means any sort of chain guide will be hard to fit.
Building the Spectral AL 6.0
There will undoubtedly be many questions for those who are considering a direct-buy bike and building it out the box. If I'm honest, it was one of my main curiosities as well.
Opening the box was the first indication this was going to be a bit different than the usual bike build.
The box was easy enough to open, devoid of the standard glue and heavy, sharp staples typical of a bike box. A huge 'Welcome to a community of passionate cyclists' greeted me from the inside.
Once opened, everything was neat and orderly. It had an Apple-like feel to it, albeit clad in brown cardboard instead of pearly white everything. The parts box had a finished appearance with black on black.
The bike was nestled under some cardboard boxes, but easily pulled out. The front wheel was kept secure to the frame by some nifty foam and Velcro straps.
One of the other concerns for potential buyers foregoing the bike shop is whether or not they'll have the necessary tools.
The bike arrived 85-percent assembled but needed a few final touches for assembly. Canyon included a torque wrench with five small bits, another torque wrench with a dedicated 4mm hex bit, some assembly paste, and a shock pump.
Putting the bike together went quickly and effortlessly, although to be fair, it was not my first bike build. Out of curiosity, I called Canyon twice and both times the customer service guys were mellow, knowledgeable and eager to help.
Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 pricing and availability
As noted, Canyon sells bikes direct to riders. That means ordering online from its site. The Spectral AL 6.0 retails at £2,299 / $2,399 / AU$3,599. In the US, FedEx ground shipping tacks on an additional $89.
Want the bike built up and ready to rip delivered to your home or office? In certain areas Canyon offers delivery by mobile bike mechanic Velofix for $184.