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Upgraded Canyon Spectral:ON Brings Smart Canyon App, GPS Tracking & Security

Jan 31, 2024Jan 31, 2024

Following up three brand-new eMTBs last week, Canyon is back again with 3 almost invisible upgrades to their popular Spectral:ON ebike that make it more capable, more fun to ride, and more safe & secure. Bigger, burlier forks, a more powerful motor, and an all-new Canyon App for your smartphone that combines ride tracking with anti-theft security, while opening the door for more smart tracking features in down the road.

When Canyon launched the lightweight carbon Spectral:ON CFR last year they set in motion an overall modernization of their aggressive off-road mountain ebike family – rounded out last week by the all-new enduro Strive:ON and freeride Torque:ON. But while the 2022 Spectral:ON bumped its rear-wheel travel up to 155mm and boosted battery capacities up to 900Wh, its forks stayed at 150mm.

We tested the small Spectral:ON CFR ebike (which is limited to a 720Wh internal battery) and came away hoping for more travel and more confidence up front. And just a little bit concerned with Shimano EP8 motor rattle while coasting…

Well for 2023, Canyon has addressed most of our concerns – with more travel and an upgraded drive motor!

The newly updated ebike gets bumped up to eMTB-rated 160mm forks "for more confidence and stability on aggressive trails" (on most models). The 2022 ebike was already technically rated for 160mm up front.

But now that the new Spectral:ONs come straight from Canyon that way, they’ll all benefit from slacking out the headtube about a half a degree – to 65°. Paired to 155mm out back, we feel like this is a better balance for the all-mountain versatility of the Spectral:ON.

Then, it also gets upgraded to the latest Shimano EP8 series EP801 motor – the same one we tested with eMTB AutoShift & FreeShift, which curiously is not included here, even though the Di2-equipped model appears to have the hardware to make FreeShift work. Anyway, the new EP801 does deliver a bit more peak power output at a claimed 600W (up from 500W for EP800). And as important, it thankfully seems to get rid of the internal rattle that rattled us.

But while the fork & motor updates improve on what was already there, the new connected GPS tracker and companion Canyon App bring out all-new functionality, now tucked inside the 2023 Spectral:ON. And it hints at what's to come from other Canyon bikes and ebikes in the future…

"We made the Canyon App to simplify and streamline every step of owning and riding a Canyon, and to help riders get the most out of their bike – from day one, and for years to come. Thanks to a range of features that make every part of building up, riding, maintaining, and parking up their Canyon bike joyful and effortless."

The primary new tech hidden inside the Spectral:ON ebike is an onboard GPS tracking and wireless communication chip, directly powered by the system and not easily separated from the frame & motor, even if the ebike's battery is removed. Its primary function is the additional security of anti-theft bike location tracking – these top-tier ebikes can cost over 10k€ after all. But the key to its function is an all-new Canyon App that holds many more possibilities.

The new 2023 Canyon Spectral:ON is their first ebike (or bike) to get anti-theft GPS tracking. But it also includes accelerometers on the ebike that can be triggered when you park and ‘virtually lock-up’, to notify you if it is moved, then track over longer distance if stolen.

Other helpful Canyon App features include:

Also thanks to the open-ended functionality a smartphone app can deliver via over-the-air-updates, additional Canyon App functionality is probably limited only by the imagination and workload of Canyon's new software development team. One additional feature already planned for near future roll-out will be quick & simple bike insurance policies (available only in some markets).

For a consumer-direct brand like Canyon, it seems to make a lot of sense to provide an easy-to-use modern platform for them to communicate important information to their bike & ebike buyers, and to simply make it easier for their end-users to get the most out of their bike purchase.

The Canyon app is free and available on the Apple App Store and Google Play store now.

We’d already tested an all-black 2022 version, but now the 2023 models add more color options too depending on your spec choice – like white, green, blue & greys. Again there are 4 models that all get the key motor & GPS tracking update – 2 with the top CFR carbon frame and 2 with the more affordable CF carbon – plus the option to boost from a standard 720Wh battery to a bigger 900Wh battery for 499€ extra.

The 5000€ Spectral:ON CF 7 is the most affordable carbon-framed all-mountain ebike, with a Shimano Deore 1×12 groupset and RockShox Lyric Base / Deluxe Select R suspension. A 6000€ Spectral:ON CF 8 steps it up to SLX and Fox 36 Rhythm / Float X Performance spec.

With the lighter carbon frame, the 9500€ Spectral:ON CFR with Fox Factory suspension, an otherwise complete XTR groupset paired to XT Di2 electronic shifting, and Reynolds TR 309E carbon wheels.

And at the top, only the 12,000€ Spectral:ON CFR LTD build sticks with the shorter 150mm RockShox Lyric fork travel, pairing automatic Flight Attendant Ultimate suspension control with a new SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle direct mount transmission.

All of the newly updated 2023 Spectral:ON ebikes are available in most markets now. For now, only a $5600 version of the Spectral:ON CF8 with the new updates will make its way to the US, later this year.