Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 first ride review£3,449.00

Value-rich e-bike that loves the climbs

For its first e-MTB, Canyon has taken its Spectral trail bike and added a Shimano motor. As ever, with the German direct-sale brand, it’s one of the most competitively-priced bikes in its sector.

Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 frame

Canyon has stuck with aluminium for the Spectral:ON chassis and opted for a semi-integrated battery, on the basis that it’s easier to remove for charging. This is positioned as low and central as possible.

The four-bar rear-end delivers 150mm of travel, which is matched up front. Where things differ is with the wheels, with the Spectral:ON using a 29in front rim and a 650b+ at the back.

Short chainstays (430mm) are mated with a reasonable reach (465mm on the large). A geometry flip-chip changes the head and seat angles by just shy of a degree. They sit at 66.8 and 73.8 degrees respectively, in the ‘low’ setting.

Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 kit

RockShox takes care of suspension duties, with its stiff Yari RC fork and Deluxe R shock.

The 250W motor and wide-range 1x11 drivetrain come courtesy of Shimano. Canyon’s German counterpart Magura supplies the MT Trail Sport brakes, while the wheels are from DT Swiss’s H 1900 family.

These are shod with Schwalbe rubber: a 29x2.35in Magic Mary EVO ADDIX Soft up front and a more basic Performance-level 27.5x2.6in Nobby Nic at the back.

Canyon’s own saddle has an odd-looking shelf at the back for added support on steep hills, and sits atop a KS dropper post.

It may not look as sleek as an integrated unit, but the 504Wh battery is easily recharged
It may not look as sleek as an integrated unit, but the 504Wh battery is easily recharged

Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 ride impressions

The Spectral:ON uses the same suspension system as Canyon’s Torque and Spectral bikes, and it’s great; supple where needed and supportive when things get rowdier, even with the added weight of the motor and battery.

With quick and agile handling, it’s a bike that’s well suited to twisty, flowing singletrack, with the peppy Shimano motor reacting quickly to pedal inputs between corners or up climbs.

Even at its slackest, the front wheel isn’t punted particularly far in front of the bike, so on the steepest tracks it relies on its weight rather than its geometry to give you confidence.

It’s climbing that’s the bike’s forte. Although the handlebar isn’t super-low, so long as you drop your elbows, the plus-size tyre out back just seems to grip for days, complementing the consistent feel from the front end.

The Steps motor’s torquey feel, combined with the traction from the rear tyre, lets you get up the most severe of ascents relatively easily. While a longer back end would make things even easier on steep pitches, it feels like Canyon has settled on a decent compromise between this and the bike’s ability to negotiate tighter, twistier technical sections.

Even the funky-looking saddle plays its part — you really can feel that extra seated support when things get steep.

The Spectral:ON suspension system is supple where needed and supportive when things get rowdier
The Spectral:ON suspension system is supple where needed and supportive when things get rowdier

While the pricing is competitive, I’d recommend factoring in the cost of a better rear tyre, because the Performance rubber simply isn’t up to the abuse it’ll get on an e-MTB.

I understand that Canyon may be upgrading this as stock soon, but in the meantime I’d suggest switching to a 2.6in Maxxis Minion with a decent carcass (EXO or DD) as soon as possible. The Magura brakes are also lacklustre, even with 203mm rotors front and back, feeling underpowered and wooden.

Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 early verdict

Impressive and well-priced trail e-bike that’ll appeal to those who want to crush the climbs.

Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 specifications

Despite its burly looks, it’s the climbs where the Spectral:ON excels
Despite its burly looks, it’s the climbs where the Spectral:ON excels

  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L*, XL (*tested)
  • Frame: 6066 aluminium, 150mm (5.9in) travel
  • Fork: RockShox Yari RC, 150mm (5.9in) travel
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe R
  • Power: 250W Shimano Steps E8000 motor with 504Wh E8010 battery
  • Shifting: Shimano SLX
  • Mechs: Deore XT rear mech (1x11)
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss H1900 Spline wheels
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary ADDIX Soft 29x2.35mm (f) and Nobby Nic Performance 27.5x2.6in (r)
  • Brakes: Magura Trail Sport, 203mm rotors
  • Bar: Race Face Æffect R, 780mm
  • Stem: Race Face Æffect, 50mm
  • Seatpost: KS LEV Si
  • Saddle: Canyon SD:ON
  • Weight: 22.6kg (49.8lb), large size without pedals

Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 geometry

  • Head angle: 66.8 degrees
  • Seat angle: 73.8 degrees
  • Chainstay: 430mm / 16.93in
  • Seat tube: 480mm / 18.9in
  • Top tube: 638mm / 25.12in
  • Wheelbase: 1,208mm / 47.56in
Tom Marvin

Technical Editor, Tech Hub, UK
Tom's been riding for 15 years, and has always chopped and changed bikes as soon as his budget allowed. He's most at home in the big mountains, having spent nigh on 30 weeks riding the Alps, as well as having lived a stone's throw from the Scottish Highlands for four years. Tom also enjoys racing events like the Strathpuffer and the Trans Nepal.
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 182cm / 5'11"
  • Weight: 82kg / 180lb
  • Waist: 81cm / 32in
  • Chest: 97cm / 38in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep and super tech or fast and flowy
  • Current Bikes: Canyon Spectral, Pivot Mach 429SL, Mondraker Vantage R +
  • Dream Bike: Transition Scout
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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