Like most people which has passed half a century, I alternate between fantasy and reality when it comes to my physical condition. My fantasy is that I’m as fit and strong as I was when I was 25. Reality: I’m not. And while I like to think I would never replace my man-made mountain bike with an electrically powered version, Canyon’s new Spectral: On makes me feel like I’m 25 again. And who would not spoil that opportunity?
The first generation of e-MTBs I tested years ago were heavy beasts that felt hard to handle on the trail. But like the rest of the ebike multiverse, off-road machines have evolved steadily with lighter and smaller engines, more powerful batteries and more balanced frames (or a “relaxed geometry” in cycling nerd language) that generally make the riding experience better. These evolutionary steps make e-MTBs more and more tempting, especially if I want to go on long-distance cabin trips through Utah’s hinterland up into the eighties.
There are five versions of 2022 Spectral: On. Compared to the previous Spectral models (the original launched in 2018), all of these new bikes have greater range, more power and a stiffer, stronger, full carbon frame that places the rider closer to the center rear of the bike, an arrangement which provides more stability and balance. All are mullets, meaning they pair a more stable 29-inch front wheel, which can roll over pretty much anything, with a 27.5-inch rear wheel that adds playfulness to the ride.
Canyon also tilted the bike’s engine – a 5.7-pound, magnesium-clad Shimano EP8, which delivers 63 foot-pounds of torque, quadruple pedal power – to a 30-degree angle. This solution allowed Canyon to put the battery further down the frame, which in turn lowers the bike’s center of gravity, a major reason why the bike handles more like a motorless mountain bike.
Canyon then completely carbonized the frame, including the rear triangle, making it all lighter and stronger; grew the range by 25 millimeters per. frame size, the main angle relaxed a degree and added 5mm to the chain stay, all of which adds stability to the saddle. Then the Canyon took 20 mm out of the saddle tube, which made it possible to install the longer drop saddle posts, preferably on descents with high depressions.
Then there is the precise German attention to detail: the battery has a magnetic charger plug, which makes it easier to lock even in a dark, crowded garage. The wires are passed through the rod and stem, reducing clutter in the cockpit. Best of all, the dashboard is color-coded, so with a single glance at the rider, which of the three pedal assistant modes they are in; and with a single touch of a button, they can scroll through mph, distance, odometer, available range, max speed, average speed, cadence and time of day.
The only choices the consumer has to make to choose between the five versions are the frame size, the quality of the components and the battery size. You can choose between a 720- or 900-watt-hour battery, and the small frame only comes with the 720-WH battery option because the larger 900-WH battery does not fit inside it. All of these options determine the final price, which ranges from $ 6,000 to $ 10,500.