2024 Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 Review
Ebikes Review

2024 Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 Review

The Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 has been redesigned to offer a top-tier electric mountain biking experience. It strikes an impressive balance with a high-performance package tailored for both climbing prowess and confident descending. Here’s a detailed review of its performance characteristics.

Key Features

Key Features
  • Frame: Carbon construction, ensuring lightweight and robustness.
  • Wheels: Mixed wheel setup, combining agility and traction.
  • Travel: 155mm rear and 150mm front, suitable for versatile trail challenges.
  • Motor: Shimano EP8, reliable with customizable support.
  • Battery: 900Wh, providing extended range for longer rides.
  • Geometry: Modern trail riding design for optimal control and fun.

Performance Breakdown

Downhill performance

Downhill performance

The bike’s downhill capabilities are noteworthy, thanks to its well-considered geometry and suspension setup. At 65.5 degrees, the head tube angle is perfect for trail riding, offering a responsive and controlled descent without compromising agility. The combination of a 485mm reach and a 1,252mm wheelbase in size Large ensures stability at high speeds yet retains maneuverability through technical sections. Notably, the 27.5-inch rear wheel enhances the nimbleness, making the bike playful and fun on descents.

Despite the substantial 900Wh battery, the bike’s weight distribution is exceptional. The lower center of gravity not only aids in stability but also boosts cornering traction, making it easier to handle than expected for a bike tipping just over 50 lbs. The Fox 36 Rhythm fork, while slightly flexy under intense conditions, supports the bike’s overall downhill competence. However, for those seeking a more robust front end, upgrading to a 160mm fork could provide additional stability and adjust the bike’s geometry slightly for even better downhill performance.

Climbing Efficiency

Climbing efficiency

Climbing with the Spectral:ON CF 8 is a robust and comfortable experience, supported by the powerful Shimano EP8 motor. The geometry plays a crucial role in its climbing ability. A 76.5-degree seat tube angle optimizes the rider’s position for efficient power transfer and comfort over long ascents. The bike handles well on both fire roads and more challenging singletrack climbs.

However, the prominent motor/battery configuration does slightly reduce clearance, which could be a concern in highly technical terrains where large rocks or roots are present. This can lead to potential pedal strikes or contact with the skid plate. Nevertheless, the active rear suspension aids in maintaining traction, especially on rough climbs, by keeping the rear wheel connected to the trail, providing a smoother ride.

Distance Range

Impressive Battery Capacity and Range

Impressive Battery Capacity

The Spectral:ON CF 8 is equipped with a formidable 900Wh battery, which significantly outpaces the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp’s 700Wh unit by a substantial 28%. This larger capacity suggests a strong potential to minimize range anxiety, allowing for longer and more adventurous rides without the constant worry about battery life.

Real-World Testing and Results

Real world testing

During rigorous testing, including a standardized range test, the bike demonstrated excellent performance. On the Boost setting, which utilizes the highest power output, the bike covered 38.5 miles and climbed 5,292 vertical feet—an outstanding result that notably exceeds the Turbo Levo by over 5 miles on the same course. This is particularly impressive given the energy-intensive setting used throughout the test.

Further real-world tests underscored the battery’s capabilities. On a challenging trail ride involving 33.8 miles and 6,246 vertical feet of elevation gain, used aggressively in both boost and trail modes, the bike still had a full bar of battery remaining. Estimations suggest an additional 5 miles and 1,000 vertical feet could have been achieved, highlighting the exceptional endurance of the battery even under strenuous conditions.

Power Output from Shimano EP8 Motor

Performance and Customization

motor and performance

Shimano’s EP8 motor, while widely used in the electric mountain bike sector, remains a competitive choice due to its balance of power, weight, and noise level. Although it doesn’t lead the pack in terms of torque, offering 85Nm compared to Specialized’s 90Nm, the difference in real-world applications is minimal, and the Spectral:ON never felt lacking in power.

The motor provides 250W of nominal power with peaks up to 500W. It supports three levels of pedal assist—Eco, Trail, and Boost—which are fully customizable via the Shimano E-Tube app. This customization allows riders to finely tune their ride experience, adjusting factors such as assist character, maximum torque, and assist start sensitivity.

User Experience and Adjustability

User Experience

Feedback from the motor is mostly positive, with smooth engagement and disengagement of power, which enhances the riding experience by providing consistent assistance and avoiding abrupt transitions. The minor rattling noise noted during coasting is a characteristic of the EP8 motor across various models and is generally considered a minor drawback given the motor’s overall performance.

E-Bike Controls and Interface

Shimano Integration and User Interface

The Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 utilizes the Shimano EP8 motor system, which is complemented by the standard Shimano controls and the E7000 display. This combination is favored for its straightforward and efficient control mechanism. The controls are designed to be low-profile with a focus on ergonomics, making it easy for riders to manage settings without detracting from the riding experience. The E7000 display, positioned conveniently on the handlebar, provides essential information at a glance including speed, pedal assist level, and battery status. While the display offers basic data through a simple bar graph for battery life, the option to view more detailed battery percentage could enhance usability.

Battery Design and Accessibility

Powerful batteries

The battery system of the Spectral:ON CF 8 is thoughtfully integrated within the downtube, allowing for a sleek design without sacrificing accessibility. It can be removed from the bottom of the frame—a practical design choice that enhances both aesthetics and functionality. The charging system incorporates a Rosenberger-style magnetic plug, which aligns easily for hassle-free charging, though some users have noted that the charging port cover can be prone to displacement during rides.

Customization Through Shimano E-Tube App

Shimano E-Tube App

The ability to customize the pedal assist settings via the Shimano E-Tube app significantly enhances the rider’s control over the bike’s performance. Adjustments can be made to the character and intensity of the assist, allowing the bike to adapt to various riding styles and conditions. This customization extends to defining separate profiles for different riding scenarios, adding a layer of personalization that can be particularly appealing to tech-savvy riders.

Build Quality and Components

Carbon Fiber Frame and Suspension

Suspension and carbon fiber design

The “CF” designation in the Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 e-bike stands for carbon fiber, indicating a lightweight yet sturdy construction. The bike features a Horst Link suspension system with 155mm of rear travel and a 150mm front fork. While the rear suspension performs reliably, the Fox Rhythm 36 fork might benefit from an upgrade, especially for riders tackling more aggressive terrain. The non-e-bike specific version of the fork can exhibit flex under high loads, suggesting a potential area for enhancement in future models.

Drivetrain and Braking System

The drivetrain is a robust combination of Shimano SLX and XT components, offering reliable shifting and a wide range of gears suitable for diverse terrains. The 165mm Shimano cranks are tailored for e-bike use, optimizing the power delivery. Braking is handled by 4-piston SLX brakes paired with 203mm Hayes rotors, providing strong stopping power necessary for a heavier bike like the Spectral:ON.

Wheel Setup and Tires

The mixed-wheel approach, featuring a 27.5-inch rear and a 29-inch front, is designed to offer a balance between agility and traction. The SunRingle Duroc Comp SD37 wheels are tubeless-ready and matched with Maxxis Assegai and Minion DHR II tires, a setup that performs well in a variety of conditions. However, considering the bike’s capabilities and weight, a more robust tire casing might be advisable to withstand the demands of aggressive riding.


Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 – $5,699

Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 – $5,699

For those in the market for a versatile electric mountain bike, Canyon Spectral: ON CF8 e-bike presents a compelling option. It boasts a robust 155/150mm of travel and a geometry tailored for confident trail riding, making it adept at tackling a variety of terrains. The inclusion of a large 900Wh battery addresses common concerns about range, ideal for extended adventure rides or intense trail sessions. Additionally, its competitive pricing sets it apart, especially considering its high-quality carbon frame and well-rounded specifications. The bike offers exceptional value, especially when compared to similar models in e-MTB class, making it an attractive choice for serious riders.

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