Canyon Spectral 125

Canyon Spectral 125

Wheel Size: 29’’

Travel: 125 mm rear / 140 mm front

Material: Aluminum and Carbon Fiber versions available

Price:
Complete bikes: $2,899 – $6,299

David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 125 for Blister
Canyon Spectral 125 CF 9
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Intro

Right on the heels of us dropping our full review of the Spectral 29, Canyon has just released a shorter-travel version, the Spectral 125. The rear-wheel travel is, predictably, down to 125 mm (from 150 mm on its bigger sibling), but the geometry hasn’t been mellowed out to match. Canyon hasn’t just slapped a shorter fork and shock on the existing Spectral 29, though, and what they put together looks awfully interesting.

The Frame

As with the standard Spectral, the Spectral 125 is available in both aluminum and carbon fiber frames, but it does forgo the multiple wheel size options on the bigger bike — the 125 is 29’’ only. The overall layout of the Spectral 125 is essentially identical to the standard Spectral, with a Horst Link layout driving a horizontally mounted shock. That configuration leaves room for a smaller water bottle underneath the shock inside the front triangle, but bigger bottles won’t fit. The Spectral 125 is designed around a 140mm-travel fork.

The biggest difference between the aluminum and carbon frames is, of course, weight — the carbon frame is stated to shave about 500 g off the aluminum version. It’s also got a few extra bells and whistles, including a flip chip to adjust the geometry (more on that in a minute), fully guided internal cable routing, and replaceable steel inserts for all the pivot hardware threads.

The Spectral 125 AL loses the flip chip and cable guides (the routing is still internal, though) and uses fixed steel inserts for the pivot threads. Neither frame comes with ISCG tabs as standard, though an add-on set is available separately for the carbon version. Both get a threaded bottom bracket shell, post mount brake tabs for a 180 mm rotor, and rubber guards on the chainstay, seatstay, and downtube.

There’s room for a piggyback air shock (and a number of the complete bikes come with one) but Canyon says that coil shocks aren’t supported for clearance reasons. The Spectral 125 has been made a touch more progressive, compared to the standard Spectral, to help keep it from blowing through its more limited travel, and Canyon recommends running 25% sag.

The Spectral 125 carbon is stated to be about 100 g lighter than the carbon version of the standard Spectral (at 2,500 g vs. 2,600 g), but the Spectral 125 is still built to the same testing standards that Canyon applies to their Enduro bikes — it’s supposed to be a burly frame that aggressive riders can push hard, just with a little less travel to make it more lively and poppy.

The Spectral 125 joins the Neuron in Canyon’s Trail bike line, and while they’ve got very similar amounts of travel (the Neuron is 130 mm rear / 140 mm front), their geometry is wildly different. The Neuron is much steeper (67° headtube angle), features a slacker seat tube angle, shorter reach, etc. And the builds that are offered on the Neuron are significantly less burly to match. Canyon describes the Neuron as being more versatile and well-rounded, while the Spectral 125 is unapologetically gravity-focused, and that makes a lot of sense.

Fit & Geometry

The Spectral 125 is available in four sizes, Small through XL, with reach ranging from 435 mm on the Small through 511 mm on the XL, in roughly 25 mm increments between sizes. All sizes get a 76.5° effective seat tube angle, 437 mm chainstays, and — probably the most surprising number on the Spectral 125’s geometry chart — a 64° headtube angle. Those numbers are all stated in the low position of the flip-chip on the carbon frame, which is the only setting on the aluminum option. The carbon version’s high setting steepens everything by 0.5° and raises the bottom bracket slightly, though the exact amount isn’t stated.

David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 125 for Blister
Canyon Spectral 125 Geometry (click to expand)
That’s very aggressive for a 125mm-travel Trail bike (and essentially identical to the standard Spectral, which has 150 mm of rear travel paired with a 160 mm fork). I can’t think of another bike in this travel range that’s got such a slack headtube angle, in particular, and we’re very excited to see how it all adds up on the trail.

The Builds

Canyon offers five builds on the Spectral 125, with two offered on the aluminum frame and three on the carbon option. As per usual for Canyon, they’re notably good values for the money, and they’re also pretty burly builds for such a short travel bike — which makes a lot of sense, given the geometry Canyon has given the Spectral 125.

David Golay reviews the Canyon Spectral 125 for Blister
Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore 4-piston
  • Fork: RockShox 35 Gold RL
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+
  • Wheels: RaceFace AR30 rims / Shimano MT400 hubs
  • Dropper Post: Canyon Iridium
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX 4-piston
  • Fork: Fox 36 Rhythm
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance
  • Wheels: DT Swiss AM LN 370
  • Dropper Post: Canyon Iridium
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RS
  • Fork: RockShox Pike Select+
  • Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+
  • Wheels: DT Swiss M1900
  • Dropper Post: Canyon G5
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT
  • Brakes: Shimano XT 4-piston
  • Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XM 1700
  • Dropper Post: Canyon G5
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX AXS
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
  • Fork: Fox 36 Factory
  • Shock: Fox Float X Factory
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XMC 1501
  • Dropper Post: Canyon G5

Those are notably beefy builds for a 125mm-travel Trail bike. All get 200/203 mm front rotors, 4-piston brakes, stout forks, and so on. And though they’re the higher-end builds and certainly not cheap, the Spectral 125 CF 8 and CF 9 might actually stand out as being the most impressive values in the bunch — in particular, the full Fox Factory-level suspension, SRAM AXS wireless drivetrain, and DT Swiss carbon wheels for $6,299 on the CF 9 is pretty wild.

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) The Spectral 125 is clearly very aggressive and descending-oriented for a 125mm-travel Trail bike, but who does that mean it’ll work best for?

(2) And just how different does the Spectral 125 really feel, compared to the standard Spectral 29? Their geometry is nearly identical, so how much of a difference does the change in travel make?

Bottom Line (For Now)

The new Spectral 125 is a very exciting new offering from Canyon, with substantially more aggressive geometry than most bikes in its travel class. We’re hoping to be able to get on one soon, so stay tuned for a full review to come.

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