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The Canyon Spectral 6.0 is my first full suspension bike which I ordered directly from Canyon in February 2015. It peaked my interest not only because of the rich petrol frame colour, but the geometry of it. The aluminium frame looks so sleek, I just love the straight flow from top tube down through to rear axle. Atheistically, this bike drew me in from the moment I locked my eyes onto it, and I knew it was "the one". And so I did what any girl would do when she had a crush, I stalked it. For weeks, every day, twice a day, thrice a day! I would log onto the Canyon website and read and re-read the spec whilst visually absorbing every angle, every component, every nut and bolt, until I couldn't take it anymore. I had to have it!
The Spectral 6.0 was at the top end of my budget, priced at £1699, but it had everything I was looking for and a lot more I didn't even know I wanted! I learnt that with manufacturers such as Canyon and YT Industries, by ordering directly from them you're cutting out all the middle men such as shops and intermediary companies. The manufacturers are then able to pass these savings down to the consumer, so you end up getting a lot of bike for your buck.
Given that this is my first higher-end mountain bike, the Fox Float 32 boasts 140mm travel which is plenty for me and the Shimano SLX and XT set up was more than appealing. I was looking for a 650b wheel size given the 26" was fast becoming outdated, and the 29" I felt was too big for me. It has a 2 x10 drive-train and Shimano SLX crank which looks great whilst providing a good range of gears for even the most stubborn of climbs.
Canyon's website has a nifty frame size calculator which helps you choose the right size for you. I'm 172cm which is on the cusp of a Small/Medium, however I had compared dimensions with my old hardtail and decided to go with a Medium size frame. As a good rule of thumb, I find that if you are on the cusp of a frame size, it's better to go bigger and shorten the stem, rather than go for a smaller frame with a longer stem. A shorter stem allows more control and nimble handling which is essential for cornering those tight berms and technical features.
The bike comes partly assembled, but don't worry! It's a simple case of piecing the bars and wheels together and making sure everything is bolted to its respected torque setting with the Alan keys provided. The box included super useful bits such as brake spacers: so your brakes don't accidently seize when the wheels are out... definitely keep these safe! You also get foam Velcro squares which is part of the packaging to protect the frame from bumps in transit, but these come in handy whenever you need to transport your bike, so keep these safe as well! You get a hefty manual and a nice zip lock case to store all your little tools and bits.
Now it's all assembled, lubed and checked over, how does it ride?
...as smooth as freshly shaven legs in bed! What a change it was from my old hardtail! Bumps, rocks and roots are effortlessly absorbed by the Fox Float rear shock and the forks do well to cushion the bigger drop offs and technical downhill sections. The Shimano gear shifters are smooth and light on the fingers making it easy for swift changes. The Spectral was also my introduction to the Rock Shox reverb dropper post which just might be the best thing to happen to mountain bikes! Easy to control trigger on the bars makes it easy peasy to drop your saddle out the way quickly when you hit a descent. The geometry of the bike was spot on as well as the sizing, I don't feel overstretched or awkward whilst riding at all and with the seat at its max height, I'm still able to just about pedal. The Spectral has given me more confidence as a rider, and given me the incentive to really progress my riding in order to really stretch out the Spectral's potential.
A few months on now and I've tweaked some of the setup of the bike. Firstly, the male saddle that the bike originally came with was like sitting on a brick. I thought that I could break it in over time, but I was getting bad bruising around my groin and it wasn't easing up, so I replaced the original Iridium saddle with a Selle Italia Lady Flow+ which has made a great difference in comfort. I converted my Continental Mountain King tyres to tubeless, so I shaved off approximately 340g by ditching the innertubes. A very messy procedure, but well worth it! Later I decided to change the Iridium 3.0 bars and stem for a Renthal Fat bar lite set up. This dropped my stem from a 60mm to a 40mm and not only is it more comfortable to ride with, but the Renthal colour matched the stanchions of the Fox Float forks. Win win for the somewhat colour conscious me. And to top it all off, I stuck some DMR V12 pedals on the bad boy.
Overall, I think this is a fantastic first time full suspension bike, which I have finely tuned to my riding style and preference. I am in love with the colour, it's an attractive petrol blue and accessorized in the gold Renthal set up, and the Fox Float 32 stanchions, it looks pretty badass. The girly pants in me likes to be colour coordinated and this bike looks great with any colour, especially teals, purples and fuchsia pinks. If I were to point out a negative with this bike, it would be the shock set up. The forks were quite stiff to break in, but once they had, it was smooth sailing. I personally find the suspension in Trail mode a little hard and yet the rear shock in Descend mode is too soft as it is very easy to bottom out. As a newbie to bike mechanics, it was difficult for me to adjust the shocks to a suitable level. Luckily, I have the internet and William to help me through this and teach me shock set up.