2022 Canyon Spectral Mullet CF 8 CLLCTV Bike

Vital Rating:
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Free shipping and express shipping options available.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free Delivery on purchases over £20.
Vital Review - Canyon Spectral CF 8 CLLCTV
Mixed wheels, pure intentions. Canyon's Spectral CLLCTV is all fun, all the time.
Vital Review
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The all-new Canyon Spectral CLLCTV mixed-wheel bike has sparked a lot of interest since it's arrival last October. We've been hounded about the review by anyone from random YouTube comments and Troy Brosnan querying where his was. When a consumer-direct brand drops a bike like this, people want to know more. Even if those people have yet to even be able to pre-order it. Despite the Spectral's nebulous due date, we've wrapped up our testing on this mixed-wheeled trail machine. Read on to see if the party is worth the wait.


  • Carbon frame
  • 29-inch/27.5-inch wheel combo
  • 160mm (6.2-inches) front travel // 150mm (5.9-inches) rear travel
  • Canyon Triple Phase suspension design
  • Tapered headtube
  • Internal cable routing
  • Flip-chip adjusts geometry 0.5-degrees
  • Accessory storage mount on the underside of the top tube
  • SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger
  • Canyon 600ml bottle and side-load cage included
  • Threaded bottom bracket
  • Boost 148 rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size medium, no pedals): 33.5 pounds (15.19kg)
  • MSRP $4,899 USD


  • A near-perfect spec for the money
  • FOX DHX shock
  • Broad trail manners with extra rowdy appeal
  • Overall durability is solid
  • Price to performance


  • Rear hub engagement
  • Availability

When Canyon updated the Spectral in December 2020, the new 29er platform elevated the bike to a more aggressive category. Some may say this was just keeping with the times. Others wondered if we'd see it on the World Enduro stage. This fall, Canyon upped the ante by revising the entire Spectral line. Three different wheel size configurations along with both carbon and alloy frames meant that fans of small wheels could now partake in the Spectral's new design.

Mountain bikers are still torn between 29-inch and 27.5-inch wheels. True, many (most?) bikes sold are now rolling on 29s but is that a matter of industry push or rider preference? We offer no insight. After all, we're here to talk about the amphibian, the mixed wheel 29/27.5 option in the form of the Spectral CLLCTV. Fast fashion or full function? That is wholly up to the rider. For our part, after riding the Santa Cruz BronsonandHeckler, Marin Alpine Trail E2, this Spectral, and undertaking a mixed-wheel project with our own Hightower, we like them.


Canyon's update gave the Spectral longer travel and more aggressive geometry. The Spectral line is still a bike meant to be pedaled and taken on big rides, so it rides that fine line of aggressive-trail/all-mountain/not-quite-enduro. We'll take it.

Starting with reach, our size medium comes in at 456mm, a nice middle ground that puts the Spectral CLLCTV in the modern realm while keeping the front in check. The stock 160mm fork and 64-degree head angle make for a 1221mm wheelbase. Canyon runs a 432mm chainstay across all sizes here. The 76.5-degree seat angle and 610mm top tube made for a comfortable climbing position.

Our test bike does use a flip-chip that will raise the bottom bracket and sharpen all these numbers by 0.5-degrees but Canyon states the Spectral line is optimized around the low position. So much so, the alloy line does not use a flip-chip and simply mirrors the low position of the carbon bikes. It is worth noting the geometry numbers for our mixed-wheel bike are unique and differ from the rest of the Spectral line.

We'll harp on this more later but it merits stating now - the Spectral CLLCTV is the only mixed wheel option in the Spectral line. Canyon has stated that each frame is built around its wheel configuration. That is, the 29er frame (front and rear) is unique, as is the 27.5 and the mixed-wheel option. We understand there are only so many spec options a brand can offer and objectively, we feel Canyon (nearly) nailed the parts for this model's intent. That said, we also know plenty of riders that would like X, Y, or Z parts in addition to an alloy frame for the mixed-wheel setup.


Canyon ships the Spectral CLLCTV with three springs for the FOX DHX rear shock. A "middle" option comes installed and a firmer/softer set of springs are included. For our part, the stock 400# spring was the perfect setup for both our testers. Our Spectral saw a myriad of riding locations and conditions during testing. As fall's steep and rowdy trails gave way to winter's flow and jump lines, we did install a third volume reducer in our FOX 36 fork. The Spectral CLLCTV has more of a rowdy, backseat nature to it than the Spectral 29. We found this more progressive setup lent to drawing out more of this nature in our terrain.

With our seat in the middle of the rails, we found the Spectral's positioning for seated climbing to be just dandy, even as pitches got steep. Canyon's dropper post has the ability to adjust its travel, a very cool function from a consumer-direct brand. We did find it odd that our medium came with a post that was at its max with 150mm of drop. Had they put the 170mm version on, riders would still have had the option to reduce travel while still catering to those of us that love a lot of drop, even with short legs. As it was, the 150mm drop was (obviously) sufficient but manually lowering it for sustained descents really brought out the ridiculously fun nature of this bike.

On The Trail

Our Spectral CLCCTV showed up in the fall, just before the snow started blanketing the higher-elevation trails. We made haste for the local trail center and then went high in the trees for some of the new, steep lines being built at the Basin Gravity Park. From there, it was local trails and then off to Southern California and back to Boise. Our test bike was used for long trail rides, dirt jump sessions, freeriding, and all manner of bad behavior as this CLLCTV model is intended.

DH/Technical Performance/Fun Factor

Canyon is one of those brands that will outfit a model with great intent. Our CLLCTV model is a prime example. The product managers behind this bike seemed to have started by embracing the ethos of "mullet," and all of the rowdy raucous nature that goes with it. The Spectral CLLCTV is unapologetically fun on the descents.

Sometimes the dirt is too good, the corners come fast and the speeds are too great. It was here that we felt ourselves get somewhat stuffed in the front of the Spectral. Bikes like the Bronson, with its bigger reach, have riders pushing into the front or at least stay neutral. The Spectral CLLCTV is a bit more touchy and if riders get too friendly with the front, it will take a lot of power to keep your chest off the stem.

In all, it seemed to us that the bike handled best with a bit of a rear bias position from the rider. Staying a touch off the back kept rear-end control instinctual while letting the larger front wheel eat whatever came along. We noticed the phenomenon more at higher speeds and off punter jumps.

During our final outings with the bike, there were multiple occasions where bravado created situations where images of, "This is how it ends," flashed in our minds as we grappled to keep up with big, enduro bikes. It was here where the Spectral's suspension really shone brightest and had us keep on making those poor choices.

Rear Suspension Performance

In short, the new FOX DHX is stellar. We respected Canyon's decision to go coil on the Spectral CLLCTV and were curious how the unit would perform outside of goofing around or just running over things for fun. Childish antics aside, the DHX is an excellent shock for just about any MTB usage case. Our testers were able to load up the rear end and get plenty of pop out of the bike. So much so, we wondered if it would feel like an old mattress through real trail features. Unsurprisingly, the DHX was utterly composed in the rough and had plenty of support when pumping and pushing the Spectral down the trail. We are accustomed to paying some penalty when running a coil on a trail bike. It seems the DHX and Spectral buck that trend. It is all upside here.

Unique Features

Canyon has its own tool pouch docking system on the underside of the top tube, near the front of the triangle. A single bolt holds the hook and loop system, which in turn holds a weather-proof pouch. Our test bike came equipped with Canyon's multi-tool wrap which uses a ratchet system with a variety of bits. There's also an integrated tire plug kit and CO2 inflator. We really liked how it all worked together and used it often to make trailside adjustments (like the seat post).

The Spectral uses a proprietary water bottle and cage (included) that well, it's a bottle and cage. It worked fine and holds plenty of water. We did run a 22oz Purist bottle on our bike and had no issues with shock contact or bottle damage. Unofficially, that can be an option for riders as well.

Finally, we have the proprietary headset/spacer system. We're a bit stymied as to why Canyon went this route. It looks kind of cool for photos but the oblong cap on a circular component is awkward in its function and will limit headset options down the road. For our part, in a winter season of riding (along with our other long-term Spectral test) we've not had any issues.


Riders accustomed to shorter or more conservative bikes will find the Spectral CLLCTV to feel fairly neutral on the trail. Mountain bikers coming from large enduro sleds could say the CLLCTV rides a tad small. Preference and relative experience aside, the geometry on which this bike is built is intentional. To that, we cannot argue. Canyon built the CLLCTV model to be a fun bike for throwing around the trail and off lips.

Perceived Weight

Our test bike comes in a bit over 33 pounds. For a trail bike, that is just on the side of a tad heavy. Considering the coil shock and stout wheels, the Spectral's weight is pretty darn good. Put the bike on the trail and riders will never notice the difference between this bike and others that weigh nearly 4 pounds less (6 pounds if you count the loss to your wallet). The Spectral is snappy, fun, and confident.


Putting power to the pedals certainly gets the Spectral CLLCTV going and is by all measures an efficient affair. However, compared to other 150mm bikes, this Canyon is not a rocket ship. Truly, we would point to the aggressive (but not heavy-cased) tires and the EWS rated DT Swiss EX511 rims. Riders are getting durability for when it matters, not rolling speed on low-angle flow trails. We'll definitely take the former on a bike like this.


Going uphill on the Spectral CLLCTV is unremarkable in that it gets the job done admirably. The bike is plenty efficient while being reasonably comfortable. Having a FOX coil on the rear does give the bike a bit of a "soft" feel when putting the power down. To address this, there is of course a climb switch. Engaging the lever creates a bike that nearly feels like a hardtail.

Climb mode on the DHX is vastly more dramatic than what we've felt with the DHX2 on bikes like the Orbea Rallon, Pivot Firebird, and Santa Cruz Nomad. On all of those occasions, the climb switch was a welcome simple feature. With our DHX/Spectral, there was a 20 yard adjustment period where we needed to mind our cadence and adjust to the sensation of the rear suspension being nearly locked out. We were fans of the increased ride height for those long grinds. The bike's angles stayed a bit sharper and the front end stayed in check. The Spectral may have "felt" like a hardtail but there is still squish in there to assist with traction and chunky bits.

Build Kit

As we've mentioned, Canyon's Spectral line is fairly broad. There are a variety of wheels, frame materials, trim levels, and even subsets dubbed "WMN," in keeping with Canyon's disdain for vowels. That said, the CLLCTV is the only Spectral of its kind, the only one with mixed wheels and a coil shock. If you agree with Canyon's choices, it's a killer spec. For our part, we think the team has done well and put the right parts on here that speak to the intent of the bike while keeping a price point that isn't in the stratosphere.

Suspension Performance

Canyon outfitted the CLLCTV with a FOX 36 Performance Elite Grip 2 fork and FOX Factory DHX rear shock. Frankly, there is not much new to say of the fork - it works remarkably well, has all the adjustments a rider would want, and suits the bike well. This is our first run with the new DHX shock and we really like it for this application. The small bump compliance of the coil mated to Canyon's Triple Phase design gave the Spectral a bit more "brawl" on the trail. Ultimately, riders will get more out of this bike with the coil given the ease of tuning and versatility. As an added bonus, you'll never forget to unlock it before heading downhill.

Tire Performance

Again, in a nod to the Spectral CLLCTV's intent, it is outfitted with a Maxxis Assegai/DHRII tire combination. These are treads meant for aggressive riding and all of the traction. Canyon went with EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra carcasses. Not the burliest but many riders will get along just fine as we did.

Wheel Performance

Is Canyon awesome for putting DT Swiss EX511 rims on this bike? Yes. These are super strong, enduro-rated rims and we were so happy to see a brand equip a bike like this with hoops that were not destined for the bin mid-season. Ours saw all sorts of ridiculous action and never flinched.

Conversely, the one stand-out (negative) part of our CLCTV build was the rear hub and its engagement. Sometimes it felt as if we would have half a pedal stroke before the freehub engaged and did so with a clunk. It's only a minor stretch to say it made the entire bike feel cheaper, despite having an otherwise amazing parts spec. We really wish Canyon had chosen a bit nicer hub here.

Brake Performance

Our Shimano XT brakes did require a bleed out of the box but performed without a hiccup for the duration of our testing. 203mm rotors front AND back meant that we could always keep bring things back under control when the going got rowdy.

Drivetrain Performance

We really appreciated Canyon's curation for the drivetrain. Namely, the inclusion of an XT shift pod to give riders the double-shift feature. The XT derailleur is a nice touch and proved robust throughout our exploits. An SLX cassette and cranks completed the parts that spin and we never had a concern.


Canyon has plenty of rubber protection around the drivetrain and all the cables are kept secure. Even the rear hub is relatively quiet. Overall, the only noises came from our riders hooping with delight.

Long Term Durability

Our bike was under two testers for five months in all types of riding conditions and styles. All our Spectral has to show for it is a few paint chips and some tire wear. Canyon does make the Spectral easy to work on with replaceable hardware mounts, threaded bottom bracket and single-sided bolts. True, we did bleed our brakes out of the gate but otherwise, that was it for maintenance beyond the usual clean, lube, torque.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Canyon Spectral CLLCTV is not the bike for everybody and that is the point. There are more well-rounded rigs such as the Santa Cruz Bronson. Where the Spectral sets itself apart is the geometry and build kit. This is a trail hooligan's bike and we absolutely love it. Canyon put some fantastic parts on a unique frame offering and called it a day. Like a Friday in late spring, the Spectral Mullet is light on the business up front and heavy on the party out back. It's 5 o'clock somewhere.

Head to Canyon.com to learn more.

About The Testers

Brad Howell- Age: 42 // Years Riding: 27 // Height: 5'9" (1.75m) // Weight: 165-pounds (74.8kg)

Brad started mountain biking when a 2.25-inch tire was large, and despite having threads, bottom brackets sucked. Riding in the woods with friends eventually lead way to racing, trying to send it at the local gravel pits, and working in bike shops as a wrench to fix those bikes. Brad has been fortunate enough to have dug at six Rampages, attend some World Cups, work in the industry for a few years, and become friends with some of the sport's biggest talents. These days, he just likes riding his bike in the woods with friends.

Logan Brown - Age: 21 // Years Riding MTB: 2 // Height: 5’11” (1.8m) // Weight: 155-pounds (70.3kg)

With experience in all things two wheels, Logan tends to enjoy big jumps and fast tracks. Jumping off roofs and long pedals also tend to find their way into the session. Originally from Southern California, he now resides in Boise, ID, and can be found at the local bike parks or concrete parks.


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Canyon Spectral Mullet CF 8 CLLCTV Bike
Model Year
Riding Type
Enduro / All-Mountain
Sizes and Geometry
Wheel Size
27.5" (650b)
Other: Mullet
Frame Material
Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details
Carbon front and rear triangles; molded chainstay, seatstay, and down tube protection
Rear Travel
Rear Shock
FOX DHX Factory, 230mm x 60mm
FOX FLOAT 36 Performance Elite, GRIP2 damper, 44mm offset
Fork Travel
Head Tube Diameter
Canyon G5 Riser
Width: 760mm (SM), 780mm (MD/LG/XL)
Canyon G5, 40mm length
Canyon G5, lock-on
Shimano Deore XT M8120, 4-piston, ICE TECH pads, Shimano RT86 rotors (203mm front, 180mm [SM] or 203mm [MD/LG/XL] rear)
Brake Levers
Shimano Deore XT M8120, reach adjust
Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed, I-SPEC EV bracket
Front Derailleur
Rear Derailleur
Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed
ISCG05, removable
Canyon upper slider
Shimano SLX M7120, 170mm length
Shimano SLX M7120, 32 tooth
Bottom Bracket
Shimano MT800, English/BSA threaded
Shimano Deore M6100, 12-speed
Shimano SLX M7100, 12-speed, 10-51 tooth
DT Swiss EX511, 30mm width
DT Swiss, 350 15x110mm Boost front, 370 12x148mm Boost rear with Ratchet LN freehub and MICRO SPLINE driver
DT Swiss wheelset
Front: Maxxis Assegai, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO, 29" x 2.4"
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, 27.5" x 2.4"
Ergon SM10 Enduro Comp
Canyon G5 dropper, tool-free adjustment collar changes travel by up to 25mm
Drop: 150mm (SM/MD), 170mm (LG), 200mm (XL)
Seatpost Diameter
Seatpost Clamp
Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions
12x148mm Boost
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts
One inside front triangle, plus single accessory mount under top tube
Funkturm Grey
6 years frame and Canyon components
33 lb 6.8 oz (15,160 g)
• Triple Phase Suspension system
• Mixed ("Mullet") wheels: 29" front, 27.5" rear
• Geometry adjustable via flip chip in rear shock mount
• Internal cable routing with internal guides
• SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH)
• Includes tool case, torque wrench set, shock pump, and assembly paste
What do you think?
Where To Buy
Free shipping and express shipping options available.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free Delivery on purchases over £20.

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