The 2023 Canyon Spectral:ON receives all-new carbon frame and two battery options


We’ve got some exciting news for all you electric mountain bike enthusiasts, because today sees the arrival of the all-new 2023 Canyon Spectral:ON. Representing the 4th generation of Canyon’s popular e-MTB platform, the new Spectral:ON brings further refinement to the chassis to broaden its capabilities, while offering greater range thanks to the arrival of two new battery options.

2023 canyon spectral:ON emtb electric
The Canyon Spectral:ON is all-new for 2023, featuring updates to its geometry, a lighter full carbon frame, and the option of two bigger battery sizes.

Canyon Spectral:ON overview

From first glance there doesn’t appear to be any radical changes to the new Canyon Spectral:ON. It still features a mullet wheel setup and a 150mm travel fork, though rear suspension travel has increased slightly to 155mm. For those wondering, the frame is capable of handling a 160mm fork if you fancy going there.

The carbon frame is all-new, and for the first time the Spectral:ON now features a carbon rear. Also new is the option of both CF and CFR carbon frames. These frames use identical moulds and geometry, with the premium CFR carbon frame employing higher-modulus fibres to reduce weight by 300g.

It’s the first time we’ve seen a Canyon e-MTB adopt the CFR label, and it’s been matched with some very premium components. Indeed the top-end model, the Spectral:ON CFR LTD, comes fitted with all the SRAM AXS goodies and RockShox Flight Attendant, making this the first e-MTB that we know of that features RockShox’ automated suspension system. Wowsers!

2023 canyon spectral:ON emtb electric
This is the first time we’ve seen the premium CFR frame option on a Canyon e-MTB.

Bigger battery options

Easily the biggest visual differentiator on the new Canyon Spectral:ON is its wider and boxier downtube. This cavernous space is capable of fitting a larger capacity battery, and the Spectral:ON will be available with both 720Wh and 900Wh options. With the exception of the Small frame (which only fits the 720Wh battery), complete bikes will be available with both battery options at the point of purchase.

The batteries have been designed by Canyon, with the cells arranged horizontally to make the pack shorter, helping to keep the weight lower down in the frame. Additionally, the Shimano EP8 motor has been rotated upwards to allow the battery to slide down even further. We’ve seen a similar approach on the latest Norco Sight VLT, and it’s a clever way of getting the centre of mass as low down and as central as possible.

According to Canyon, the new 720Wh battery is only 140g heavier than the old bike’s 630Wh battery pack, while offering 15% more range. The huge 900Wh battery steps up the range by 42%, which should go some ways to alleviating any range anxiety. You can charge the battery in the frame, or it can be removed from the downtube for charging separately.

2023 canyon spectral:ON emtb electric
The Shimano EP8 motor is neatly integrated into the carbon frame, while being tilted upwards to allow the battery to be positioned lower down.

Canyon Spectral:ON weight

Despite having a bigger battery, the new Canyon Spectral:ON is said to be lighter than the old bike.

Claimed weight for the Spectral:ON CFR is 21.84kg with the 720Wh battery. Compare that to the previous top-end option, the Spectral:ON CF 9, which was claimed to weigh 22.5kg.

Much of the weight reduction can be owed to the new carbon frame. In the CFR trim, the carbon chassis is purported to weigh just 2.88kg.

This is particularly impressive given just how beefy the new bike is. Along with the boxy downtube, the seatstays are visually chunkier and now feature a bridge to increase rear end stiffness. With the same goal in mind, the main pivot and seatstay pivots utilise big 15mm thru-axles. This increase in rigidity has seen the Spectral:ON step up to a Category 4E rating for Canyon’s in-house strength and impact standards.

Geometry

To match the sturdier chassis, the Canyon Spectral:ON has received a suite of updates to its geometry.

The head angle has slackened out a degree to 65.5°, and that’s now paired to a 44mm fork offset. Reach has also gone up by 25mm per size, and the seat angle has steepened by two full degrees to compensate. Helping with climbing stability, the rear centre length is 5mm longer than the old bike.

Also nice to see is a 20mm reduction to the seat tube length, which allows complete bikes to fit longer-stroke dropper posts as standard.

Canyon Spectral:ON Size Chart.

Frame details

Many of the same features from the existing Canyon Spectral:ON have carried over into the new bike, like the generous motor skid plate that protects both the frame and the chainring. The handlebar features internal wiring to minimise cockpit clutter, and the Acros headset has an in-built steering limiter to protect the downtube from the fork crown.

Speaking of the headset, the new Spectral:ON has adopted the questionable trend for routing all its cables and the rear brake hose through the headset. Sure it looks neat, but we’re really not looking forward to the time where we need to diagnose a creak or replace the upper headset bearing.

You’ll still find a SRAM UDH and the brilliant Quixle, though the bumpy chainstay protector is new. The chain does sit very close to the chainstay in the higher gears, so we’re curious to see if that results in any noise on the trail.

Canyon Spectral:ON price & availability

There will be five models in the 2023 Canyon Spectral:ON lineup; two that use the top-end CFR frame, and three that employ the cheaper CF frame. There are no alloy models.

All of the Spectral:ON models feature the same Shimano EP8 motor and the option of a 720Wh or 900Wh battery. They’re all equipped with the same tyres, with a Maxxis Assegai on the front and a Minion DHR II on the rear.

We’ve received our Canyon Spectral:ON CFR for testing, though due to shipping delays that will literally surprise nobody, we’re still waiting for the battery to arrive. Once we get some juice to power this beast, we’ll be hitting the dirt to see how all of the changes play out on the trail. It’s no secret that we were big fans of the existing Spectral:ON, so we’re keen to see if this new bike has carried over that same magic. Stay tuned…

2023 canyon spectral:on CFR LTD AXS flight attendant emtb electric
The top-end Canyon Spectral:ON CFR LTD is the first e-MTB that we know of to come fitted with the RockShox Flight Attendant system. So many batteries!

2023 Canyon Spectral:ON CFR LTD

2023 canyon spectral:on CFR emtb electric
Featuring Fox Factory suspension and a Shimano XTR groupset, the Spectral:ON CFR is claimed to be the lightest option in the range.

2023 Canyon Spectral:ON CFR

2023 canyon spectral:ON cf9 emtb electric
The CF 9 is the highest-spec’d model featuring the standard carbon frame. You get wireless shifting, DT Swiss e-MTB specific wheels, a Fox Float X piggyback shock and the excellent 36 GRIP2 fork.

2023 Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9

2023 canyon spectral:on CF 8 emtb electric
The Spectral:ON CF 8 is equipped with Fox suspension, Shimano SLX 4-piston brakes and the same Maxxis tyre combo as the top-end models.

2023 Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8

2023 canyon spectral:ON cf 7 emtb electric
For under $10K, the Spectral:ON CF 7 is available with the 720Wh or 900Wh battery, and comes with a RockShox Lyrik fork, Race Face rims and the Shimano EP8 motor.

2023 Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7

2021 canyon spectral:on cf 8 e-mtb shimano ep8
We’re eager to see how the new Spectral:ON compares to the old bike, which is one of the best-handling e-MTBs we’ve ever tested.
2023 canyon spectral:ON emtb electric
How do all the changes affect the ride on the trail? Stay tuned for our Canyon Spectral:ON CFR review!

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