2021 Canyon Spectral 29

2021 Canyon Spectral 29

Wheel Size: 29”

Travel: 150 mm rear / 160 mm front

Frame Material: Carbon Fiber

Stated weight:

  • Spectral 29 CF 7: 31.22 lb (14.16 kg)
  • Spectral 29 CF 8: 31.83 lb (14.44 kg)
  • Spectral 29 CF 9: 29.23 lb (13.26 kg)

Build Overview: See Below

Price:

  • Spectral 29 CF 7: $3,699
  • Spectral 29 CF 8: $4,699
  • Spectral 29 CF 9: $5,699
David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 29 for Blister
2021 Canyon Spectral 29 CF 8
Share this post:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on email
Review Navigation:  Specs //  Intro //  The Frame //  The Builds //  Fit & Geometry //  Bottom Line

Intro

Canyon just released an updated, 29er version of their Spectral Trail bike, with 160 mm front / 150 mm rear-wheel travel. In Canyon’s Trail / Enduro range, the new Spectral 29 joins the Spectral 27.5 that’s been in the lineup for a few years now, and slots in between the 29er Neuron (140 / 130 mm travel) and the 29er Strive, which also features 160 / 150 mm of travel, but adds Canyon’s wild Shapeshifter on-the-fly geometry adjust system.

We’ll be getting on the new Spectral 29 in the coming months. But in the meantime, here we’ll cover the design of the new bike, the significant differences between it and the previous Spectral, and how the new Spectral 29 slots into the current market.

The Frame

The Spectral 29 is only available in carbon fiber for now, and features very similar design language to the Spectral 27.5, but gets a healthy dose of the longer / slacker treatment compared to its smaller-wheeled brethren. Four sizes are available, S through XL, all of which feature fairly average, 437 mm chainstays. A flip chip toggles between a 64.5° and 65° head tube angle (compared to 66° for the 27.5” bike) and the reach has grown between 16 and 28 mm, depending on size (from 440 to 460 mm for a size Medium).

As with the Spectral 27.5, the Spectral 29 uses a Horst link rear suspension layout with a horizontally mounted shock. Despite the shock layout, there is room for a water bottle inside the front triangle, tucked underneath the shock just above the bottom bracket. Cables and the rear brake hose are internally routed through the downtube and chainstays, with guides that Canyon says make for a hassle-free routing experience.

David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 29 for Blister
2021 Canyon Spectral 29 — Internal Cable Routing

The bottom bracket shell is threaded (as seems to be the norm again, after press-fit bottom brackets reared their head and suffered justified blowback), and Canyon says that the threaded inserts for suspension pivots and the like have been made replaceable wherever possible.

Molded rubber guards protect the drive-side chainstay top and bottom, and Canyon includes an integrated upper guide to help with chain retention. A set of removable ISCG ‘05 tabs allow for an integrated bash guard or lower chain guide to be run as well.

Canyon’s rear axle is another clever-looking touch — it’s threaded in from the non-drive side, but rather than use a wrench for installation and removal, a lever pops out from inside the axle to provide leverage, then stows away inside the axle, out of the line of fire and providing a cleaner look.

The Builds

The Spectral 29 is currently offered in three builds, ranging from the Spectral 29 CF 7, priced at $3,699, through the $5,699 Spectral CF 9.

[The builds listed below are for the US-spec versions of the Spectral. Canyon offers significantly different builds in different regions, check their website for the options in your area.]

Here’s a rundown on the components for each of the three builds:

Canyon Spectral 29 CF 7 ($3,699):

David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 29 for Blister
2021 Canyon Spectral 29 CF 7
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Select RC
  • Shock: RockShox SuperDeluxe Select +
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 R
  • Wheels: RaceFace AR30 Rims / Shimano MT400 Hubs
  • Seatpost: Canyon Iridium
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 Front / Maxxis Dissector 2.4 Rear (casings and compounds not specified)

Canyon Spectral 29 CF 8 ($4,699):

David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 29 for Blister
2021 Canyon Spectral 29 CF 8
  • Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite Grip 2
  • Shock: Fox DPX2 Performance Elite
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT with XTR Cassette
  • Brakes: Shimano XT 4 Piston
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XM1700
  • Seatpost: Canyon Iridium
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 Front / Maxxis Minion DHRII 2.4 Rear (casings and compounds not specified)

Canyon Spectral 29 CF 9 ($5,699):

David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 29 for Blister
2021 Canyon Spectral 29 CF 9
  • Fork: Fox 36 Factory Grip 2
  • Shock: Fox DPX2 Factory
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 RSC
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XMC 1501 Carbon
  • Seatpost: OneUp Components V2 Dropper
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 Front / Maxxis Minion DHRII 2.4 Rear (casings and compounds not specified)

All three look like very solid value for the money, but the top-tier Spectral 29 CF 9 actually jumps out as being perhaps the most impressive spec for the price. At $5,699, it’s obviously not a budget option by any stretch, but getting DT Swiss Carbon wheels, a Fox Factory suspension suite, and a full Sram X01 drivetrain for well under $6,000 is a rare bargain. (And, in what is obviously the most important criteria when choosing a bike, the “Thermite Red” paint on the CF 9 is definitely my favorite of the three.)

Canyon also includes a shock pump and torque wrench with a bit set with all three builds, to make assembly and setup as hassle-free as possible.

Geometry and Sizing

The geometry of the Spectral 29 is right in line with the norms for a modern Trail bike. Interestingly, it’s strikingly similar to the Guerrilla Gravity Smash that we reviewed earlier this year and found to be one of the most versatile and best bikes we spent time on this past year. For reference, here’s the full geometry chart for the Spectral 29:

David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 29 for Blister
2021 Canyon Spectral 29 — Geometry Chart

Nothing jumps out as being totally wild here — just very good, modern Trail bike numbers that we’d expect to add up to a versatile all-rounder. It’s a big step forward from the Spectral 27.5, which is looking rather dated in 2020, and we’re looking forward to getting on the Spectral 29 to see how it stacks up against the class of mid-travel Trail bikes in general, and the Guerrilla Gravity Smash in particular.

The Bottom Line (For Now)

The Spectral 29 looks like a big jump forward for Canyon’s longer-travel Trail bike offerings, which were starting to seem a bit dated in terms of geometry. The new bike appears to fit right in with modern norms, and features a number of clever-looking design touches with an eye towards serviceability. We’re looking forward to getting on the new Spectral 29 and seeing how it performs on the trail. Stay tuned for the full review.

Share this post:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on email

9 comments on “2021 Canyon Spectral 29”

  1. Interested to hear your take on sizing. 485 reach on a large is getting ridiculous for someone around 5’10” in my opinion.

    • Hey Leo,

      My take is that you don’t need to be beholden to whatever nominal size you’ve normally ridden. If you think 485mm reach sounds bigger than you want to be on, get a medium, even if you’ve historically been on larges. That’s a part of the reason a lot of companies — off the top of my head, Guerrilla Gravity, Specialized, Privateer, etc — are ditching the S/M/L sizing nomenclature and going to numeric sizing. The trend of going longer for modern bikes does mean that the ideal nominal size is going to change for some people, but those sizes are just a name. There’s no need to get hung up on them.

      It’s also worth noting that Canyon’s recommended sizing for a size large starts at 183cm (6’0″). That’s my height, and I’m planning on riding a large.

  2. What do you think about the Privateer 141 (I think you had some time on that earlier in the fall) vs the new Canyon Spectral CF7 — they both come in around the same price point.

  3. It would be nice if Canyon could include the standover heights-most other companies do. It is one of the specs I look at first before anything else. Thanks

    • I’m also confused.. Here it states that the model 7 is supposed to come with Lyrik fork + NX drivertrain + RaceFace rims, whereas in Canyon’s website it comes with Pike select fork + GX drivertrain and DT Swiss rims? Have they changed the build due to shortages in parts?

      • Hi Martin,

        The specs we’ve listed are for the US-spec builds. I just had a look around Canyon’s site, and it turns out that the build options vary significantly by region. I’ve added a note to the post to clarify this point. Hope that helps.

  4. Hey Leo, I ordered a size L but I am very unsure whether it might be too big for me. Maybe it would be better to change my order to an size M, for more playfulness and maneuverability? I am 185cm tall and an inseam of 90cm.
    What is your advice?

    • My measurements are pretty much exactly the same and I bought a size L, which is perfect save a longer dropper post would work better for me to be able to take advantage of the shorter seat tube length (compared to my old bike). Coming from an XL YT Jeffsy CF pro 2018 (which feels a little on the small size for me), I was a little hesitant following Canyon’s size estimation tool, but I’m so glad I didn’t go larger.

Leave a Comment