The direct sales brand from Koblenz has taken its time: While other companies have been offering eMTBs for years, we’ve had to wait a long time for the Canyon Spectral:ON to arrive on the scene. Has the wait been worth it? To find out, we reviewed the entry-level Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0.

Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 | 22.32 kg | € 3,799

Besides offering excellent value for money, Canyon has been known for its innovative concepts and well thought-out designs. No wonder that the expectations for their first eMTB were extremely high. So it came as a surprise when at first glance some were disappointed with the new bike. The Shimano battery with its 500 Wh capacity is only semi-integrated, the welds aren’t the finest, and you don’t immediately see anything new. The moment the bike gets delivered and you start to unpack it, however, you’ll notice how much thought the Canyon team has put into the new Spectral:ON. Instead of an ordinary bike box, the Koblenz-based company delivers the bike in a specially developed, sturdy Bike Guard box. Not only is the bike perfectly protected, but you can also just roll it out without having to do any heavy lifting. Brilliant, because this way you’re not in danger of putting out your back before you even get on the bike.

Once you’ve freed the Spectral:ON from the box, you gradually discover the first peculiarities. A bottle cage in the front triangle with an external battery? A rarity. A different wheel size at the front and rear? Certainly not the rule either. A saddle specially developed for eMTBs? We’re yet to see them elsewhere.

The Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 in detail

The componentry of this low-entry € 3,799 bike isn’t top of the range, but for the most part, it has been very well selected and is functional. The drivetrain consists of a mix of Shimano XT and SLX components with a sizeable 11-46 cassette. The MAGURA MT Trail brakes come with large 200 mm rotors, and the DT Swiss H1900 SPLINE wheels are specially designed to withstand the heavy loads of eMTBs. Only the cheap Performance variant of the Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyre on the rear with its thin Snake Skin casing raised a few eyebrows.

Fork RockShox Yari RC 150 mm
Rear shock RockShox Deluxe R 140 mm
Drivetrain Shimano Deore XT
Motor Shimano Steps E8000
Battery Shimano 500 Wh
Brakes Magura MT Trail Sport 203/203 mm
Handlebar Race Face Aeffect R 760 mm
Stem Race Face Aeffect R 60 mm
Seatpost Kind Shock Lev Si 150 mm
Tires Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2,6″/2,35″
Wheels DT Swiss H1900 Spline 27,5″+/29″

On the limit
The MAGURA MT Trail uses only two pistons for the rear brake. The braking power was just enough, but on long descents, we would have liked a four-piston version like the one on the front wheel, despite the 200 mm rotor.
The specially developed saddle seems unusual at first, but through the course of the review, we learned to appreciate it a lot. On climbs in particular, it offers loads of support and relieves the back.
The thin-walled Performance version of the Schwalbe Nobby Nic didn’t do the bike justice at all. We recommend upgrading to the tougher Apex version immediately. Canyon has announced that in future these will come as standard.
Despite the external battery, there is space for a bottle cage in the front triangle of the Spectral:ON. The matching bottle is available online, so you can order it with the bike.

The geometry of the Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0

Canyon offers the Spectral:ON in five sizes, so every rider should find a bike to suit them. With a rider height of 180 cm, we decided to go for size L.

Size XS S M L XL
Top tube 582 mm 597 mm 616 mm 638 mm 660 mm
Seat tube 420 mm 430 mm 440 mm 480 mm 520 mm
Head angle 66/66.6° 66.8/67.6° 66.8/67.6° 66.8/67.6° 66.8/67.6°
Seat angle 73.3/74.1° 73.8/74.6° 73.8/74.6° 73.8/74.6° 73.8/74.6°
Chainstays 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB Drop 33/24 mm 33/24 mm 33/24 mm 33/24 mm 33/24 mm
Wheelbase 1151/1149 mm 1161/1159 mm 1183/1181 mm 1208/1206 mm 1233/1231 mm
Reach 405 mm 425 mm 445 mm 465 mm 485 mm
Stack 605 mm 618 mm 622 mm 634 mm 644 mm

The Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 on the trail

Even with the geometry set to slack, the sitting position is nice and central. The raised rear end of the Canyon SD:ON saddle pushes your weight forward. Since the last software update, the Shimano STEPS E8000 motor works even more sensitively, and the fade out at the 25 km/h limit is hardly noticeable – perfect. In the progressive trail mode, it is also effortless to modulate on the climbs. Despite the rather short chainstays, the Spectral:ON does a good job even of technical climbs. Only once things get really steep, you’ll have to consciously shift more of your weight towards the handlebars. You won’t find an adjustment lever for locking out the shock, though we didn’t miss it. The rear end doesn’t wallow, nor does the bike bob excessively when pedalling.

Big Smile! Having fun comes as standard with the Spectral:ON!

Helmet POC Tectal Race | Shirt iXS VIBE 8.1 JERSEY | Shorts iXS ASPER SHORTS | Shoes ION Rascal

Despite the admirable climbing performance, the true strengths of the Canyon Spectral:ON are revealed on the descents. Here the bike excels with very agile, direct and playful handling. The front wheel pops off ledges without much effort and with a little practice manuals are no problem either. Direction changes on the Canyon are quick and effortless. The faster the trail switches from left to right, the bigger your grin will become. Even though the stem is 60 mm long, we never had the impression of having too much weight over the front wheel in steep downhill terrain. On the contrary: as the rider you’re comfortably integrated in the bike, giving you a lot of confidence.

Ultra annoying: nobody needs punctures!

The 150 mm travel rear suspension works sensitively and provides a lot of feedback at the same time. The RockShox Yari delivers a very solid performance. It can’t compete with the best forks on the market, but it still offers a sensitive and defined response once the compression damping is slightly closed. Considering the affordability of the Spectral:ON 6.0 this is absolutely acceptable. The puncture prone Schwalbe tyres received a lot of criticism, however. Both the Magic Mary in front and the Nobby Nic at the rear come with a thin Snake Skin casing and repeatedly suffered punctures in our review. Only once we exchanged them for something a little more robust could we enjoy a bit of stress-free riding. On request, however, Canyon has announced that they will be carrying out a running change over the following weeks to replace the tyres with sturdier ones.


The Canyon Spectral:ON 6.0 proves that you don’t have to spend a heap of money to get a top eMTB with excellent handling and well thought-out spec. The bike strikes a very good balance between agility and composure and only has a small weakness with the thin-walled tyres.


– manoeuvrable and stable at the same time
– great value for money
– innovative features like the eMTB saddle and space for a water bottle


– thin-walled tyres
– not a looker

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This article is from E-MOUNTAINBIKE issue #014

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Words: Photos: Andreas Maschke, Christoph Bayer