Canyon Spectral:On is the perfect electric mountain bike for 2020


Canyon of Germany makes some of the best bikes you can buy, and has scooped multiple awards, including several T3 Awards. They’re sold exclusively online by Canyon itself and as a result, they offer exceptional value for money, with build quality and spec far above what you’d expect at the price. Their electric bike range has just been significantly beefed up for 2020, and the cream of the current crop is a new model of the Spectral:On electric mountain bike. 

  1. Best electric mountain bike

Canyon is by no means a ‘cheap’ bike brand, but with pricing from £4,599 the Canyon Spectral:On full-suspension eMTB offers an incredible package of features for the price. 

That’s also true of its new siblings – the Grand Canyon:ON hardtail eMTB and Pathlite:ON, a do-it-all hybrid commuter bike – and the overhauled Neuron:On trail bike and the commute-focussed Roadlite:On – an electric bike that doesn’t look or feel like an electric bike. 

Updated for 2020, Spectral:ON is a whole kilo lighter than the previous model. It has a completely redesigned carbon front triangle with new geometry and tweaked suspension kinematics to give an improved ride feel with more control. It’s also got the integrated battery and the tidy cockpit design you see above.

The Spectral:ON is an eMTB built for BIG terrain. At home with steep descents, rock gardens, roots, jumps and general ‘gnar’, it’s more than capable of handling downhill tracks and bikeparks in the UK and abroad, and is ideal for big days out on the trails in places like the French Alps.

One interesting element of the Spectral:ON is the wheel size – or rather, wheel sizes. Canyon have opted to fit a 29er up front and a 27.5-inch at the back, apart from on the XS size. This gives you better traction and roll-over abilities at the front, and a more manoeuverable rear to help you tackle tight corners and twisty trails. So it handles big bumps, but still feels nicely nimble.

The 2020 model now features a stiff and light carbon front triangle, complete with a fibre-reinforced skid plate and bash guard to keep the downtube and underneath protected from rock strikes.

Electric bikes used to look quite monstrous, but that is changing now, and Canyon is helping to lead the way. The battery for the Spectral:On’s Shimano Steps E8000 motor now hides away in the downtube, making this a much better-looking bike than previous models.

150mm of travel front and rear combined with a slack 66.5 degree head angle will give the bike a planted, secure feeling when tackling descents, but the real magic is the addition of that Steps motor. Pop it on full and you can rocket up short climbs to get to the fun downhills again, or in a more economic mode you’ll be able to cover greater distances and explore more mountain and moor than ever before.

Powerful 4-piston hydraulic brakes combined with huge 203mm brake rotors provide enough oomph to slow, stop and stay in control when on steep stuff, and the redesigned geometry gives it a lower centre of gravity, which means a more planted, stable feel.

One final feature that’s worth raving about is the addition of a USB-C charge point on the top tube, so you can charge your phone, GPS, lights or whatever else you fancy on the go.

The pinnacle of the range, the CF 9.0, has an impressive build for the price, with Fox 36 Factory Float fork with Fox DPx2 Factory shock, Shimano XTR groupset and brakes, Reynolds TRe carbon wheels and a Fox Transfer Factory dropper seatpost.

Spectral:ON CF 9.0 – £6999; Spectral:ON CF 8.0 – £5599; Spectral:ON WMN CF 7.0 – £4599; Spectral:ON CF 7.0 – £4599

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