deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd cover
First Impressions Review

Canyon Spectral:ON

Photos Deniz Merdano
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Canyon Spectral:ON CFR LTD

No good love story has a smooth start. That's what makes them good. Persevering to get through the hardship together. And you can only get over life's obstacles together. Generally though, it's so hard just to be together in a damned house, you'll end up splitting after a nasty divorce. The love fades away and leaves a massive gulf between the lovers.

Oh, just look at me ramblin' on again. But not without a reason. I'm really talking about the opportunity to start a healthy relationship with Canyon's newest engineering marvel, the Spectral:ON CFR LTD. Thankfully this story doesn't go too far back. During Sea Otter 2022, something really cool caught my eye. A printed Titanium, Lugged, Carbon-tubed E-bike frame mule stared at us with its grotesque silhouette, in the sexiest way possible.

deniz merdano seaotter 154

Beware, for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.

Canyon Spectral:ON CFR LTD Highlights

  • New thinner battery in either 720 or 900Wh
  • 48 lbs (21.8 kg)
  • 8 batteries (4 for AXS post, derailleur and controllers, 3 for RockShox Flight Attendant, and the main battery)
  • New carbon layup for more strength and lighter weight
  • 150mm front travel and 155 rear travel
  • Mullet - 29" wheel up front and 27" in the rear
  • Shimano EP8 motor
  • Meets “Category 4E” strength and impact resistance testing standards
  • Priced from 6,000 USD to 10,500 USD

I tugged on Pete's pants while he was being distracted by the friendliest of Vernons (Felton) and told him "we need to get one of these to test." His devilish smile made it clear he was 2 steps ahead of me. The arrangements would be made and a test unit would show up at NSMB headquarters sometime after Sea Otter. I kinda wished it was the Frankenstein mule, but I knew that was mere science fiction. Instead a head-to-toe carbon-dripping superbike showed up. How the hell did they get from Frankenstein to Heidi Klum so fast? That's some clever German engineering.

Canyon did a lot of homework before releasing the new Spectral:ON to the market. They had to do even more homework to get the CFR LTD to the people. The all new Spectral:ON has quite a bit of engineering behind it to make it an obvious upgrade over the previous version.

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48 pounds, 85nm of torque, 900Wh capacity, 29/27.5" wheels, tens of thousands of dollars.

The CFR models have an all new frame and a carbon layup that increases strength and reduces weight. The frame is full carbon apart from the shock yoke. There have been a few simplifications done to the overall design of the bike that shed quite a bit of weight. The new Spectral:ON comes with either 720Wh or 900Wh batteries. I ended up with the 900Wh version. Currently you can only buy the bike with the 720Wh battery but the 900 option is on the way later this year. I couldn't fathom having range anxiety while both Cam and Hansen are running around loose in their 900Wh Norcos.

Luckily for me however, the Canyon Spectral:ON CFT LTD only weighs 22kg (48.5lbs). That is 8-10 pounds lighter than their Norco VLT machines. This lack of mass has both good and questionable consequences to the ride quality. Canyon set out to make the lightest, full power eMTB in the market. How did they do it?

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deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 24

Shimano EP8 motor. 85nm is on par with the Bosch motor but has a little less oomph than Rocky's beast.

The Battery

the new Spectral:ON with its 720Wh or 900Wh battery, is a part of a new breed of E-MTBs that aim to kill range anxiety. Wether it is going longer between charges or going further from home, 900Wh of power comes at a cost. The size of the battery is the elephant in the room, coming in at nearly half a meter long and 4,756 g in weight. Figuring out best way to conceal such energy can't have been easy. Canyon worked with TrendPower, a Shimano-approved and supported battery manufacturer, to ensure that the form factor worked with the design principles of the frame. The wild-looking Frankenstein test mule supported the big battery underneath its belly, and this idea made it to production.

Generally, 650 or 720Wh batteries have a 80-83mm thickness. Either Bosch or Shimano variants seem to have the same cylindrical form factor that requires a tall and voluminous down tube that attracts attention. Canyon, working with TrendPower, a 3rd party Japanese battery solution company, designed a battery that is half the thickness of what's currently available. This kind of freedom means the downtubes of an eMTB could be as thin as your sub 30-lb trail bike. Don't be fooled by this optical illusion however; when you perch yourself above your new bike, you'll notice the width of the battery has turned your downtube into a powder ski. What is thin, has to be wide!

deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 3

This was a strap attached to the battery to help you yank it out of the bike. Mine showed up broken. International travel can be tough on parts.

I think in the overall tube shape category, Canyon designed a gorgeous looking bike that has all the flowy lines. The simplification of the frame design that allowed Canyon to shed a whole bunch of weight also led to a battery-activated power button. The system turns on and off via a button on the top of the downtube but the feeling of this button is rather vague because it's actually just pushing another button that's on the battery. So technically, you can leave the battery in your backpack if you have a long enough power cable to run to the Shimano EP8. DIYers... go!

The magnetic connector that mates the battery to the EP8 is my least favourite part of the whole system. It is not as snappy a fit as I'd like it to be. It sure works and looks slick but more connections mean more points of failure. And it did.. Read on.

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It doesn't get more jet fighter like than this


The 780mm integrated carbon handlebar/stem combo is light and slick and it hosts the Shimano Display unit SC-EM800 tucked away next to the stem. There is a 7-10 degree angle adjustment that feels solid and convenient. The Sweep of the bars suits my wrists and the effective 50mm stem is right where I'd like on a 460mm-reach size medium bike. The bar is obviously designed for eMTB integration as there is a groove and a hole under the left grip to run the cable from the Shimano controller to the SC-EM800. Be mindful while taking the grips off the bars as the wire could potentially get snagged and damaged.

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Angled up.

deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 41

Angled down.

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Groove and hole for the Shimano data cable.

The AXS paddles adorn the high tech cockpit and on the left you have the dropper control (that can also be set to override certain Flight Attendant settings) while on the right you have the XX1 shifter with the V2 paddle.

They are mated to the SRAM Code RSC brakes with a matchmaker adapter. I am not a huge fan of this setup as I can't get the angles I want as I like my brake levers flat and my shift lever pointing up. This is my personal choice and not a spec fault. The setup looks extremely clean like this with only the rear brake hose and a shimano cable from the motor to the display to be routed... RIGHT THROUGH THE HEADSET!!

There is no excuse for this. NONE.* (At least not according to MF - Ed.)

With this particular application, there is no derailleur or dropper cable and housing to worry about, the only time I see the headset routing to be a problem is when you have to deal with your brake hose. Having to do a brake bleed to service the headset is one more thing than I'd like to do and I hope your bike shop charges you handsomely for it if they assess the repair properly and catch the offending routing in time. Sorry, not Sorry.

deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 5

You get a hint of the incredible sparkly paint job that comes alive in the sun... and the 273km range!

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AXS Reverb paddle along with the Shimano controls.

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AXS shifter paddle.


This is a mixed wheel bike, a hybrid, a mullet, a party bike, whatever you want to call it. It has a 29" Front wheel and 27.5" rear wheel. It makes sense on most gravity-focused bicycles but especially on eMTBs. The wheels are probably the nicest and most understated pieces of this puzzle. DT Swiss HXC 1501 wheelset with 240 Hybrid hubs. :drool:

These $3500 CAD wheels are designed for eMTB abuse. 30mm internal width and the reliability symbol 240 hybrid EXP ratchet hubs with steel rings may not look fancy but they are perfect. Well, almost. If you don't mind straight pull spokes. Not a deal breaker but if you are a spoke breaker, it is way often easier to find J-Bend spokes. One thing to note is that straightpull spokes can often be changed without the need to remove the cassette and or rotors, which is a big time saver. Carbon wheels do not break spokes often and rarely go out of true. This makes them easier to live with compared to aluminum options.

deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 8

29" front 27.5" rear, DT Swiss HXC 1501 wheels with 240 hubs.

The front tire is a MaxxTerra variety EXO casing Assegai. 2 of those terms I don't love on my bikes, let alone an e-bike. EXO+, MaxxGrip it should have read. Going into summer I am less worried about grip but always worried about flats. I immediately tossed a Tannus Insert in there.

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2.6" wide tire claws its way up the rocks.

deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 46

I know this combo very well.

Out back we have a 148mm hub spacing that we love so much. The 27.5 x 2.6" tire is a EXO+ in MaxxTerra flavour. I'm more accepting of this combo out back. At the time of building I did not have a 27.5 Tannus in the house, but as soon as I can raid the NSMB headquarters, I will insert one in the back tire.

The tubeless setup was very easy apart from the lack of tubeless valves in the box. I will chalk this up to my misfortune as I'd hope yours will come with some DT Swiss branded ones at least. I had some Stan's valves laying around so no problem with compatibility there. The 203mm SRAM Rotors were not the newest HS1s but they are big and stop well, paired as they are to Code RSC calipers.

Bouncy Bits

"Tell me about the fucking golf shoes".

Well they are 150mm Rock Shox Lyrik Ultimate w/ Flight Attendant and a Super Deluxe Ultimate w/ Flight Attendant. There are a total of 8 batteries on this Canyon.


AXS Paddle shifters, fork, shock, Pedal sensor, Dropper post, derailleur, the main battery. I am a photographer and a nerd. I have a lot of devices in my office that have batteries. I try to keep my life simple and low maintenance but there is inevitably a certain amount of battery charging that happens throughout the week.

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The control unit for the entire Flight Attendant system.

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The shock listens to the fork's orders.

Last year I got a SRAM GX AXS system for my personal bike. It has not been an issue keeping the battery charged. Driving around, I take the battery off to keep it deactivated. I charge it for half an hour after every other ride and so far, knock on wood, I haven't been stranded with a dead battery. Brilliant. But how the hell do I keep track of 8 batteries on one bike? I don't know this yet. As I find out and run out of batteries on individual components, I will report.

RockShox Flight Attendant

I will dive into how Flight Attendant rides and behaves on a separate article once I have more time on it. It whirs and makes chirping sounds non-stop. I keep thinking there is an angry fowl after me. The setup process was simple enough, but there was an important step that wasn't communicated with me in any of the RockShox manuals. First of all, the fork needs to be lean-angle calibrated and that takes a good 30-45 seconds. But for the fork to accept calibration, ALL the AXS parts on the bike need to be paired together into a group. You can not just pair the fork and the shock and carry on with calibration. The shifters and the pedal sensor and the derailleur all need to be paired together for the calibration to stick. This will allow full automatic mode to be enabled and set by default. Otherwise, you can use the fork and the shock in manual mode without having to do the pairing. Then there is the SRAM app. The people at SRAM are smart, I know a few personally but their app is lacking in functionality, UI and reliability. It needs more work, asap!

Flight Attendant talks to you from the status lights on the fork and you can derive as much information as you need from it. Setting bias allows you to set the system to prefer between open-pedal-lock modes while you are pedaling. The system only chooses between the modes while you are pedaling. If you stop pedaling and start coasting, the system will move to the Open position. If you go off a curb, the system will open. If you hit a bump or a hole, the system will decide if the size of the bump was big enough to warrant opening the shock or not. I am learning and anticipating the system's decisions as I spend more time on it.

There are -3 to 0 to +3 settings. Minus being open, plus being more closed.

The fork decides what happens to the system and tells the shock what do do. The fork and the shock can be in different settings too. If the fork decides to do so, it can open the shock and leave itself locked. I'm not sure if the other way around is possible, but I'll figure that out for the final review as well.

Update from SRAM

  • We do have a setting called ‘split state’ where the fork is one position more open than the Rear Shock.  You know you are in this when there are two lights lit up on the fork module.  The left most light always shows the position of the fork and the right shows the rear shock.  This ‘split state’ was developed well into the development process based on rider feedback on technical climbs.  Possible states are:
    • Fork in Open – Rear Shock in Pedal
    • Fork in Pedal – Rear Shock in Lock

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Burly is the term.

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Fizik Saddle that my bum is not a big fan of. Coming off for a comfier perch.

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I hope these are the only sparkles from a bike that has enough battery capacity to power a small village.

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Basic geometry.

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Component specs.

The bike took took no more than a couple of days to arrive at my door. Considering it was all the way from Germany, I was quite impressed. Air shipping eMTBs or other powerful battery-operated machines is prohibited so the bike arrived without a battery. Which was fine as Canyon US sent a battery across the border from California. As it turns out, that is not as simple as we thought. 3 or 4 attempts later to air ship the 900Wh battery to my door, Canyon's shipping department learned valuable lessons about shipping batteries. Which meant that the bike was not ready in time for BCBR Megavolt which was where I really wanted to test it. Book end that with a month in Europe, and there hasn't been any significant time spent on this complex machine yet. I have been using the bike often these days to maximize all the daylight hours we have at our disposal and learning a tonne in the process.

The 65.5° head angle is definitely on the steeper side of things for bikes I ride, but not for this category. Paired with a powerful motor and lighter than average weight, the bike is nimble and hides its weight very well. It rides like a heavier trail bike that smooths out the chundery ground but retains incredible agility. So far the 440mm rear center has been right on the spot for me and believe it or not, this thing even manuals with ease. Compared to my previous experience on Cam's Norco Range VLT, it feels like a completely different vehicle. The seat tube is a little longer than I'd like it to be, and the 150mm AXS Reverb is on the short side, however the operation is lighting fast and smooth, every time.

deniz merdano spectral on tasco

The Canyon Spectral:ON is a confident descender, opening up huge amount of terrain. Photo - Cam McRae

Geometry and Ride Impressions

The suspension makes all kinds of noises while pedaling but nothing distracting on the descents. The Shimano motor has a slight clunk that is widely noted but I do not find it to be distracting or annoying. The speed limit of this tester was a hidden surprise. As it came from the EU, the maximum assist has been limited to 25 km/h. It absolutely blows on the road and commuting, for which I will be using it a lot. In Canada our e-bikes are limited to 32km/h and connecting the Canyon to the Shimano E-Tube Professional at the bike shop, I could NOT alter this speed limit. I am looking at ways to do this as it is technically not breaking laws or voiding the warranty. I am just trying to claw back what is rightfully mine...a bit more speed.

On the trail, the Eco and Trail modes have been more than sufficient. Following Cooper on his Trek Top Fuel up the climber, leaving the bike in ECO and casually chatting was possible. Considering how fit Cooper is, ECO puts out an incredible amount of power on this bike. BOOST is reserved for road pedaling only as it is definitely not viable for twisty technical climbing on the Shore. (Oh just you wait... Ed. Seconded...Ed #2.)

On the very first ride, an ambitious water crossing killed the motor mid stream. Meanwhile, a friend on a Bosch-powered bike made it across without an issue. The culprit was the battery to motor connector that had taken in water. Unplugging and drying it out fixed the issue but I will be coating that connection with dielectric grease and maybe even silicone.

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Full SRAM XX1 Drivetrain. A thing of unnecessary beauty.

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More Cable integration to make Ferrentino lose all his marbles.

Pricing and Availability

As it sits right now, this bike is only available on the Canyon UK and EU websites. It is currently only available with the 720Wh battery and around £10,000 or $15,475 CAD. Add $600 or so for the 900Wh battery and the price is over $16k. For a bike that has all the latest and the greatest it is in line.

Hopefully by the time I put 5000 kms on this thing I will have a better understanding of what it can and can not do. It will be appreciated by the North Shore community for all the trail work I will be able to take on thanks to this speedy traveller. Might as well put the beast to work and see what it can do.

Canyon Spectral:ON CFR LTD

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+16 Andrew Major Andy Eunson roil Sandy James Oates trumpstinyhands Metacomet toddball 4Runner1 Shoreboy Cr4w Timer Velocipedestrian nothingfuture Martin Todd Hellinga Dan

Great review.  This bike somehow manages to pull all the unnecessary stupidity of modern mountain biking tech into one complete package.  900 different batteries, headset cable routing, flight attendant (who needs a fork lockout these days?), crappy spec tires, and the inability to deal with actual trail conditions (stream crossings).  All this for the low price of $16k which btw is about the same price as a BMW S1000rr.  I'm definitely an old grouch but this just seems insane.  

Side note:  I may also be bitter at modern mountain bikes because I spent 4 hours this morning trying to get an internally routed hydraulic cable through a new frame.


+11 toddball 4Runner1 Cr4w Zombo Metacomet Timer Velocipedestrian Joseph Crabtree Martin Andeh Todd Hellinga

I love how this photo captures the juxtaposition of bold beauty and malevolent ugliness in the ultra-modern mountain bicycle. The eye-catching promise of smooth lines and a classic sparkle paint job in the sun; the gutting reality of what's involved when Deniz needs a new headset bearing this winter. The electrical cable teasing out beside the hydraulic brake line whispers, whispers, of the dark and dire insides of that sweet simple cottage made of gingerbread, cake, and candy.

I'd almost hang it in my workshop but I'd need to photoshop HNSL & GRTL SY FCK HDST BRNG CBL RTNG onto it somewhere.


+2 Andrew Major Dan

We need you to make motivational posters for the bike mechanics suffering all over the world in the name of aesthetics.


+5 Deniz Merdano Metacomet Matt L. nothingfuture Martin

Demotivational posters?!


-5 4Runner1 Dogl0rd nothingfuture Joseph Crabtree toddball

Its the mountain bike equivalent of learning to drive on dad's Lamborghini Aventador but having budget for a rolled 2nd gen Tacoma. I am enjoying this. And for people who can afford it, this is an incredible riding bicycle.


+5 Dogl0rd Velocipedestrian Joseph Crabtree Martin Dan

There is so much unnecessary and fragile stuff going on with this bike that I really dont think I could happily live with it even if I could afford it. Mtn bikes live a pretty hard life and things already break and go wrong.  My philosophy with mtn bikes has always been that you should be able to afford to buy your bike and whatever you are putting on it, twice, and some things even three times, because shit is going to break if you ride it.  There is very little about this that looks like it was built with any amount of longevity in mind, and with all of the inter-dependency of all the integrated electronics, systems, separate batteries, headset cable routing, bar mounted and exposed control unit, one piece bar-stem, etc etc...  This seems like it would be a really fun toy for a year, maybe two at best?  Or maybe only until the first or second time you crash and send it tumbling and sliding off into the rocks and trees.  After that... What will the cost be to get it back up and running?  Is there anything breakable that would straight up kill the bike outright? Cracked frame?  Will they still support any of this stuff in even 5 years time?


-4 Dogl0rd Cr4w 4Runner1 Joseph Crabtree

That is a fear you should have literally with every single mtb out there. I was terrified to take my fresh GX AXS on the trails but soon realized it has fared significantly better than a 1/4th the cost XT derailleur. I have incredible trust in SRAM's electronic offerings and a scratched stanchions will kill any fork, not just electronic ones. Frame is burly. And I mean burly! If it wasn't for the 25km/h speed limit, I would take it to the bike park all day long. It has the same massive rear end that the Torque has. Did I say burly? And If i were to break it, a local carbon repair place would get me going for $400+ in about 24 hours! I wouldn't even bother with warranty at that point. Shimano service centers are all over the place and can get me squared up if something was to go wrong. I also have big confidence in one piece bars. I would replace them just like I would to any other bar after 2 years of use or immediately after a crash. I don't even need to use the one piece bar, as there are other E specific bars out there with cable routing. I guess what I am getting at is there isn't any more stuff to go wrong on this thing than any other E-MTB, apart from a battery failure. Would I spend my own money on this bike, I don't know yet. Thats what the full review will be about. and I will test this bike to it's limits, I guarantee you that! And if something goes wrong, which it always does, I will report how the company dealt with it.


+4 Cr4w Dogl0rd Martin Dan

That IS a fear I have with every single mtb out there.  Which is why this one seems like there is just SO MUCH MORE expensive shit to break and go wrong, and go wrong spectacularly with enormous headache inducing service requirements.  Maybe the frame is burly, but what about all the plastic bits hanging off it?  Head unit ripped off by your knee in a crash?  Scratched stanchion, blown shock, cracked frame, etc etc etc.  But add a batteries and flight attendant and the whole host of synced electronics and replacing that scratched stanchion, or ripping the flight attendant off the fork or shock during a tumble, and I bet the dollars involved in replacing and resetting things are going to be a lot higher and more complicated than me swapping a part on a non electronically integrated part with headset cable routing.  

I guess what I am getting at, is that bikes of this nature just seem so much less serviceable in the long term.  Things will break.  Maybe they will be repairable, maybe they will not.  If they are, its certainly gonna be expensive as fucking hell.  If they arent, what are your options for salvage?  Ebikes dont come as frame only.  And even if the broken item is replacebale/repairable, the replacement may be so complicated, expensive, and labor intensive that you may be left wondering if the repair is even worthwhile.  On a 16k bicycle!   The same 16k bicycle that stopped working when you rode it through a stream.  What will happen when its on the back of your car during a near freezing temp downpour after a soaking wet slick ride with maybe a crash or two.


-2 nothingfuture toddball

I agree with you. If I had $16k put aside for a bicycle, I would probably have another 2k put aside for emergency repairs or spare parts. Which means, i would budget atleast $18k for that said bike. I would think about a spare fork, wheels(or rims) and even a shimano drive unit to keep the bike going with as minimal downtime as possible. 

When my neighbour challenged my 1972 MGB that it wouldn't make it past richmond, i drove it non-stop to San Diego the next 2 days, just to prove him wrong. I brought an entire car's worth of spares in the trunk. Which only a brake caliper was needed. Expensive things need expensive upkeep. If you have to spend every single penny in your pocket to buy this bike, you are doing it wrong.

+2 Deniz Merdano Dan

There should be an app that sends warning texts to all of your loved ones on the day you have to take on a task like that. Duck and run, daddy's busting out the cable magnets!


+7 4Runner1 Shoreboy Timer Martin Morgan Heater Dan utopic

i stopped reading at 8 batteries





+1 Dan

I'm sure it's fun to ride, but man, looks like it would be endlessly frustrating for space cadets such as myself. Remembering my shoes and helmet is hard enough. I can imagine many rides stuck in my hardest gear with my seat locked in the up position.



It'll happen to me too. I know it. Good thing there are many alternatives without excess batteries


+5 Shoreboy 4Runner1 Timer Dan utopic

8 batteries... farcical. They must be working on something to unify them


+4 Shoreboy Cr4w Martin Dan

Yet another crappy charging port cover, and you have to remove the brake hose to replace headset bearings. Do bike designers build up a test mule, ride it to grab a latte and then say "Good to go!"? Is the mark-up on a $13,000 bike so low that there's no money for a proper clamp on a charging port cover? They either rely on friction and a shitty bit of rubber, or worse still, magnets that attract dirt due to the tiny bits of iron in them. With 5% of the Earth's crust being iron, why have such a dumb system 30cm above it? :D


+3 4Runner1 Deniz Merdano Dan

prices are quite good with Canyon but would be scared to deal with warranty issues when there are no dealers.



You buy direct, you deal direct. With 7 or 8 Canyons we have going on in the NSMB rotation, no warranty issues so far. I'm not saying you are wrong, but how good is a shop that don't have anything to replace your broken part with? I'll do my best to stress test this bike for you Jerry.. Lets go ride!


+1 Velocipedestrian

I like what YT and Commencal have in Squamish for Dealer Direct....  easier to get warranty/parts,etc.  

side note:  no way I'll buy a bike with cable routing that goes through the headset...  what could possibly go wrong living in a rain forest.

+3 Jerry Willows dhr999 Dan

Commencal, yes. YT is long gone from Squamish and I'm not sure it was a happy time dealing with them for support for people with YTs.



didn't know about YT.  Their warranty/customer service was lacking for sure.  

I do see that with Canyon that you have to box up your bike and ship it, assuming it goes to Germany and back, that's going to be huge delays.


+1 Dan

It may just be going to Canyon US in California. We will inquire about that.


That was more of a problem with YT's Canadian distributor than YT itself, IIRC.


+3 Dogl0rd Joseph Crabtree Timer toddball utopic dhr999 Sandy James Oates

Enough with the damn ebikes. 

Let's call them what they are, mopeds.

And if anyone here got passed by a moped out riding their mountain bike I'll bet you wouldn't approve. I even agree that motorcycles are a ton of fun, and you get to go fast up the hills! Not to mention the legitimate exercise of riding them in the woods. But we are bicyclists, not motorcyclists, when did we start going off the rails making a brutally hard sport into one where an electric moped is now acceptable because 'it's so much easier' and 'I want to ride the distance of three hours in one hour' and 'the uphill is fun now'?


+4 BarryW Andy Eunson Metacomet utopic

I think it's because in business you can't offend anyone so we have pretended it's okay on this and similar websites until it's become normalized and now there's no turning back.

Thes bikes are evolving so quickly that I don't think we really know what things will be like in the near future



What did Bruce Cockburn sing? The Trouble with Normal is it always gets Worse"



I went off the rails 3 years ago because “I want to ride the distance of three hours in one hour' and 'the uphill is fun now'”.

Pedal Assist = still a great workout.


+2 Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian

the proto mule is kinda cool. now envision having a bolt in conventional bb cradle thing (like wrp / trinity is doing with their universal / convertible gearbox platform); drop the battery tray, and you could swap between e & non. also future proofs the battery assembly, as the support box would be built to fit whatever new form factor of the available battery.

+1 Dan

I like this modular thinking.



Come on Canyon. Make us a lighter low-power emtb.



I don't doubt for a second they are working on one.



Yikes. Nice eMTB tax on those wheels.



On par with Reynolds, Enve, etc. with DT Swiss reliability...



For much less money I could get me some CK hubs (~$1100CDN for the set) on some version of WAO rims (~$1200CDN) for the set. Guarantee they would hold up just as well and have a better warranty on top. There is no doubt in my mind they are charging more just because they put an 'e' in front of it as with most things eMTB related. This is still a spendy option, but im just saying I dont get the markup on that wheelset.


+1 Dan

Yes, you totally can. around $2k gets you a complete WAO which is the direction i would go with too. But I can't deny the reliability of DT 240 Hybrids, no CK or I9 will come close to that. 

There is also EXC 1501 from DT, not sure on their pricing but its their enduro version of this wheel. I'd imagine a little more reasonably priced. Still.. I get your argument.



How long have DT 240 Hybrids been out? I have to disagree with your durability claims. I am currently riding on some 15 year old CK hubs that have had only ever had one full service (and that was because I felt I probably should, bearings were repacked, not replaced) and recently sold two other sets that were of similar age and durability. Does DT have a lifetime warranty on their hubs like CK?

The EXC 1501 from DT is similarly priced (but slightly cheaper). The only difference I can see between them is a 30T vs 36T ratchet. Strangely enough the 36T enduro version is cheaper...


+2 Andy Eunson Dan

When mated to a 85nm 250watt motor, you really find out what a freeshub is made out of.. Hybrid 240s have been a go to for a many ebikes that have gone through OEM hubs. even the Hybrid 350s are excellent..

I'd love to see a shear test on ratchet and pawl systems under load..

+1 Deniz Merdano

DT Swiss hybrid hubs: rated up to 500nm torque

CK Hubs: rated up to 1000+nm of torque

No specs that I can find on i9 Hydras, but id be willing to bet they are close to or better than the DT Swiss

+2 Shoreboy Deniz Merdano

@Shoreboy, just one thing to be aware of is that the Chris King hubs you are buying today are not the same hubs in that teardown or that you're currently riding.

Since the MicroSpline version was released, none of the versions (HG, XD, MS) have included the needle-bearing that supports the axle. It's true, that doesn't change the drive system but there are whispers of other issues that would make me (a long-time King-hub value advocate who also owns some ancient examples) wary of choosing them for an e-bike (or for my own bike, actually).


I generally don't ride BroPeds (exception for test-riding bikes I was wrenching on) so I won't comment on whether engagement points matter like they do on a meat-powered bike, but unless it's a priority for you (the rider) I'd definitely take a more-meshed drive interface (DT Swiss ratchet, King RingDrive) over a pawl-system.

DT Swiss is a great choice, but personally I'd go for the new version of the 370 hub using the classic star-ratchet. The value in terms of price v. proven quality is fantastic.

As someone who does love a higher-engagement (<5°) on my pedal bike, if I couldn't find a used King with the needle-bearing/Classic configuration a pawl-system is the current obvious choice (although, Qvist is very intriguing). I love the Hydra hub - and the way it loads up it is probably the best pawl design for e-bikes but it still doesn't have the drive system contact of the DT/King systems.

*edit: Actually, the Onyx Classic (NOT Vesper) hub would probably be my top choice if I was building a blender bike.

+1 Andrew Major

That is good to know Andrew, I knew there were some changes, just wasnt fully aware what they were. Thanks for that. The ONLY set of hubs i've ever stripped out was a set of DT swiss with a 54T star ratchet. In my experience, the higher the tooth count, the less torque they can handle. Sure the engagement is quicker, but the old two spring star ratchet design was very sensitive in terms of how much/what kind of lube you use. I assume DT Swiss is going to lower tooth counts on their new system to decrease the chance of slipping, and ppl on ebikes likely arent as concerned about quick hub engagement?

+1 Shoreboy

@Shoreboy, absolutely. I know some single speeders who switched to the 54t ratchets (more engagements better) but bagged the 18t ratchets and carried them on every ride after having experiences stripping the faces. At least they're super fast to field-swap?! HAHAHA.

I think for regular bicycle use the 36t setup is great. For an e-bike, I'd definitely recommend the 18t. So again, comes down to whether high-engagement matters on the motorized setup. 

A lot of pawl setups are very sensitive to lube choice as well. If in doubt, DumondeTech freehub lube! Well, actually for DT Swiss you want to use DumondeTech freehub grease or a slurry of the two.


FWIW, all DT Swiss carbon wheelsets seem to be exorbitantly expensive.



I have been looking forward to the update of the Spectral since I demo’d a 2022 model last fall. That one was a top spec carbon bike with wheels made of the same plastic fantastic, and the same one-piece bar/stem. XTR components and Kashima bits throughout. 

I really liked the experience I had on the bike - it was the first mullet ebike I rode and I thought it handled great. I had a lot of confidence charging into familiar lines and even hit some new to me jumps and features that i had previously ridden around. The only thing that would have kept me from purchasing one if $10K USD fell into my lap was the sizing - that model only went to a size large and was limited to a reach of 485. I see Canyon is now offering a 510 reach XL which is perfect for my height. (I will say though that when I reached out to their customer support team in the winter asking if they’d be making a larger frame, the representative said “people are happy with the sizes we offer.” Insert eyeroll here. I mean, there weren’t any 2022s left to buy, why not just keep the customer engaged with truthful information?) 

Anyhow it’s a little surprising to see that this demo bike showed up in such a state - magnets that fell off, a battery strap that was torn, and a power connection that was not water-resistant - especially given that Canyon product guru Vernon Felton is formerly a BIKE mag gear editor. Did he box it up or personally transport it to NSMB HQ? Of course not, but you’d kinda think he might instruct his minions to ensure that the bike was dialed before it got handed off for a sorta high profile review. 

Also the battery count is pretty confounding. Yes yes there are lower-spec bikes in the mid-four figure price range that don’t ship with these little energy pods but for the top spec bike, it’s odd they didn’t come up with a way to integrate the peripheral bits with the main battery esp given that there is the XL 900Wh option. Trek’s latest Fuel EX-e has this integration, I’ve read. 

I’ll still keep one of these on my wishlist, but definitely not the model with all of these distracting servos. (FWIW the other bikes on the list are the Trek Rail and the Rocky Altitude PP.)



looking sharp in these photos, I might be in the market for one of these soon and want this kind of color scheme without the sparkling


-1 Joseph Crabtree

SRAM does not make 203 mm rotors only 200 mm (The Germans love their metric).

Also what happened to your Flight Attendant controller (left handle bar)? It looks like you received the standard Reverb AXS paddle EC.

I agree there is no place for anything less than DD (if one insists on Maxxis) or equivalent on an e-bike and MaxxTerror should never be allowed on a front wheel ever. The Arseguy is a good tyre (they were specced on my e-machine) but they roll like a boat anchor being pulled through a mud puddle and there are lots of burly, grippy tyres out there that roll better, grip just as well and last a lot longer.

Oh and to answer your bike maintenance management question: ProBikeGarage - awesome app that takes the miles from your Strava (or other ride log app) and fires notifications at approaching service intervals. 

Nice looking bike. Enjoy the e-experience.


+1 Cooper Quinn

Sram do make 203mm rotors.


+1 Dan

Sram gave in to the shimano pressure and people not being able to deal with the brake adapters and made their rotors 203...

The left paddle is a supply chain issue I believe. Customers will receive the FA paddle. 

Ideal setup on this bike would be dual DHR IIs with EXO+ maxxgrip front and DD maxterra rear...

I am quite enjoying a DHR II as a front tire these days, but it is the tire that goes out of stock the most often so I don't want to get too attached to the ride.


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