Canyon’s new short-travel Spectral 125 is built for the trail-riding hooligan

Canyon doesn't want you to assume less travel means a lack of rowdiness

Canyon Spectral 125 pack shot

Canyon has yet another new trail bike, the Spectral 125. As the name suggests, it’s closely related to the 150 or 160mm Spectral bikes, but comes with much less travel – 125mm, in fact.

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This is paired with modern mountain bike geometry, 140mm travel forks and lightweight but aggressively treaded tyres. Five models will be offered at launch.

Those familiar with the Canyon line-up might ask how it fits into the brand’s family of bikes. After all, the Lux Trail has 120mm of travel, while the Neuron has 130mm.

Canyon says the Lux Trail is for those looking for light weight and speed uphill, while the Neuron gives the best balance between climbing and descending performance, for a comfortable all-day trail ride. 

So, if those two bikes are all about getting from A to B as quickly or as comfortably as possible, the new Spectral 125 has other intentions. The 29in-wheeled 125 is said to be a rowdy trail bike that excels on technical descents yet climbs better than its longer-travel siblings. It’s ideal for aggressive trail riders who want a poppy, playful bike and aren’t afraid to be ‘under-biked’. 

And, before anyone asks – it’s not a downcountry bike!

Spectral 125 riding shot
125mm of travel doesn’t mean you have to treat the bike nicely!

Alternatively, if you like a bruiser of a bike but don’t live somewhere with big hits, and thus rarely push your suspension’s o-rings to the end of the shock’s shaft, Canyon reckons this might be ideal.

The relationship to the longer-travel Spectrals is obvious, with a chassis that very much mirrors that of the bigger bikes.

Geometry, suspension kinematics, chassis strength and stiffness all contribute to how a bike feels, as much as how far the rear wheel is free to travel.

canyon spectral 125 shock
Piggyback shocks have extra oil volume to aid consistency when on longer descents.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

This means that despite having less travel, the Spectral 125 still has an aggressive, low-slung shape and suspension that’s similar, but not identical to, those bigger bikes – and thus should be more than capable on steep, gnarly tracks.

Canyon also says it has built the bike with a little more playfulness than the 150 and 160mm bikes, thanks to more progressive suspension, additional anti-squat and a bit of weight saving.

Canyon Spectral 125 geometry details

Canyon spectral 125 riding shot
We’re aching to take the Spectral 125 to some fast, gnarly, natural trails in the sun!

As is now customary, long, low and slack applies here. The size-large bike has a reach of 486mm, which is as long as many larger enduro bikes. This is paired with a slack 64-degree head angle, but relatively short 437mm chainstays. 

The front end is therefore long, which should give ample high-speed stability, while the compact rear end will hopefully keep handling relatively sharp.

A short 435mm seat tube, that’s steep at around 77 degrees, means riders should be able to size up or size down, depending on how they like their bikes to feel.

canyon spectral 125 three quarters
Slam the saddle and the whole ‘long, low, slack’ aesthetic really stands out.
Tom Marvin / Our Media

Carbon bikes get a geo flip chip to steepen the bike by half a degree and add eight millimetres to the bottom-bracket height. Alloy bikes get the slack head angle and low BB position of the low setting, but the steeper seat angle of the high setting – the best of both worlds, perhaps.

Generally speaking, geometry is near identical to its longer-travel siblings.

The geometry details below are for the carbon bike in its low setting.

Seat tube length (mm)395420435460
Τop tube length (mm)587611636660
Effective seat tube angle (degrees)76767676
Stack (mm)613622632641
Reach (mm)435460486511
Head tube length (mm)110120130140
Chain stay length (mm)437437437437
ΒΒ drop (front) (mm)35353535
Seat tube angle (degrees)70.470.871.171.5
Effective seat tub angle @ max seat height (mm)75.6375.7275.7475.86
Effective seat tube angle @ min seat height (mm)76.6876.5876.576.56
Effective seat tube angle @ stack height (mm)76.8577.0677.2377.38
Reference seat height (mm)720760860840
Min body height (mm)163172180189
Μax body height (mm)177185194203
Wheelbase (mm) 1200123012591288
Standover height (mm)756762763768
Head tube angle (degrees)
Μax seatpost insertion @ frame (mm)230275275300

Canyon Spectral 125 suspension details

canyon spectral 125 frame centre
A 4-bar suspension layout, dubbed ‘Triple Phase’, is how Canyon designs its frames.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Canyon says suspension feel is key to how a bike rides, and despite having less travel, it appears the Spectral 125 should still be able to handle the hits.

This is thanks to a steeper, more progressive suspension curve, meaning the bike’s suspension should ramp up earlier in its stroke to help meter out the travel in a controlled manner, without blowing your ankles off the pedals when you bottom out. 

Canyon has, however, avoided the new Spectral ramping up too quickly, because that can feel harsh.

The result is increased control on bigger hits, but also ample support when you push your weight into the bike, giving it plenty of pop. That should make it fun to hit jumps on, or exit berms with tons of speed. That’s at least what Canyon claims.

When it comes to putting down some power, whether that’s on the flat or uphill, Canyon says the new bike’s anti-squat numbers have been bumped up a touch compared to the longer-travel bike, giving it a slightly more peppy feel. 

Anti-squat is said to be high early in the stroke to give that pedalling performance, before dropping off considerably later in the stroke so you don’t get too much kickback.

Canyon Spectral 125 frame details

canyon spectral 125 shock bottle clearance
It’s tight, but there’s room for a 600ml bottle in there.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

As we saw with the longer-travel Spectrals launched late last year, such as the Spectral CF8 CLLCTV mullet, both carbon and alloy versions will be available.

Carbon frames come with double-sealed frame bearings, replaceable threaded inserts and fully guided internal cable and hose routing.

At a claimed 2,500g for the frame, it’s about 100g lighter than the longer-travel bikes, while still being tested to the Category 4 testing protocol – put simply, it’s tough enough for EWS racing. 

The alloy frames are also EWS-rated, and come in at a claimed 3,000g. They’re designed from the ground up too, with their own tube profiles and shapes, rather than being attempted as a copy and paste of the carbon bikes’ shape. This means marginally straighter lines, better suited to giving the engineers the strength, stiffness and weight they wanted in the alloy bike.

canyon spectral 125 bottom bracket
A threaded bottom bracket – mechanics rejoice.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

You don’t get the replaceable threaded pivot inserts, but instead steel inserts are integrated, which are said to be virtually indestructible, and replaceable by a trained mechanic if needed.

Many of the frame details are shared with the regular Spectrals, so for more detail on the process of designing the carbon and alloy bikes read our news story linked in the first paragraph of this article, or our review of the 2021 Canyon Spectral CF 29 8.0.

Sadly, there isn’t room on either the carbon or alloy bike for a coil shock, nor can it be converted to a mullet, but you can squeeze a 600-millilitre bottle in there with a side-loading cage, as well as Canyon’s little tool caddy.

canyon spectral 125 G5 stem
Canyon’s G5 componentry line is built for everything from trail bikes through to Rampage and WC DH racing.
Tom Marvin / Immediate Media

Canyon Spectral 125 models and pricing

Canyon is launching the bike with five models, the AL 5 and AL 6, and then the CF 7, 8 and 9.

All bikes get the same EXO casing, MaxxTerra compound, 2.4in-wide Maxxis Minion DHRII and Dissector tyres front and rear respectively, as well as DH-spec Canyon G5 componentry.

This is kit designed to be raced at World-Cup level DH, so Canyon hasn’t scrimped on strength. It also includes Canyon’s new G5 dropper post, which has 25mm of adjustability in stroke length, all done via a stepped guide within the post, and changeable at home.

Canyon Spectral AL 5 specification and price

Canyon Spectral 125 AL5
Canyon’s entry-level Spectral 125 is aimed at bringing rowdy performance to a lower price point.
  • Fork: RockShox 35 Gold
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore
  • Wheelset: Race Face AR30 rims, Shimano MT400/MT410 hubs
  • Price: £2,449

Canyon Spectral AL 6 specification and price

Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6
The top-level alloy Spectral 125 comes with a Fox 36 and a piggyback shock.
  • Fork: Fox 36 Rhythm
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss LN All-Mountain
  • Price: £2,949

Canyon Spectral CF 7 specification and price

Canyon Spectral 125 CF7
Bang in the middle of the range, the CF7 should be a cracking trail bike.
  • Fork: RockShox Pike Select+
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss M1900
  • Price: £3,399

Canyon Spectral CF 8 specification and price

Canyon Spectral 125 CF8
We have a Spectral 125 CF8 in for testing – look out for a review soon.
  • Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss XM1700
  • Price: £4,399

Canyon Spectral CF 9 specification and price

Canyon Spectral 125 CF9
The top-end Spectral 125 is decked out with Factory-level Fox suspension.
  • Fork: Fox 36 Factory
  • Shock: Fox Float X Factory
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX AXS
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss XMC1501
  • Price: £5,649
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Bikes should be available now, though our US readers will likely have to wait until early spring for carbon bikes to arrive, with alloy coming later. International pricing is to be confirmed.