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what mountain bike

Spectral AL 9.0 EX
3rd / 4.5 out of 5

What Mountain Bike

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  • Unbelievably good 'tough trail favorites' kit selection.
  • Impressively stiff, light,and practically detailed frame.
  • Great hard riding - if you get the right size.
  • The best suspension components on test.

3rd - Stunning value for a 'ticks every box' trail slayer.

Nobody matches price with quality like Canyon. Even when you take into account the lack of dealership costs - Canyon bikes are bought online and shipped direct to you - The mix of top-end RockShox, SRAM and Rethnal on a £2700 bike is jaw dropping. With the angles and suspension design looking like they add up, would this be a year where 'traditional' manufacturers fought for second place before the real testing had started?
 
You're potentially onto the bargain of the century as you grasp those big motocross-bred bars and lower the Reverb Stealth post into the Spectral's impressivley stiff, light and well detailed frame. The geometry is well sorted, dropping you low into the ride with the front wheel out far enough to keep trouble at an arms length.
 
SRAM provides it's X01 1×11-speed transmission, it's tight and light Roam 50 wheels and a top end revelation fork to make it the lightest bike on test here - Yes, it's lighter than any of the carbon machines - by almost 500g.
 
As the bike arrives in a box, you're on your own with setup - unless, of course you're prepared to look really sheepish and ask that local shop, whose more realistically priced bikes and built-in after sales support you've snubbed.
 
If you get the sizing and setup right, the Spectral is a superb example of a state of the art all-rounder at a price no-one can compete with, whether it's this model or the entry-level SLX/XT, Mavic wheeled, Reverb Stealthed, Fox-damped AL 6.0 version for £1000 less.

Stunning value for a 'ticks every box' trail slayer. I had to check the price on Canyon's Spectral at least 5 times to believe it wasn't kidding on the cost.