Canyon have built a reputation on their bikes looking amazing but also delivering in performance. So, when the crew from the [R]evo test team were given the opportunity to throw a leg over Canyons brand new Torque for review, it’s no secret the team were pretty damn excited!
Words // Scotty Prendergast Photos // Matt Staggs
First impressions, what did you guys think when you first got this sucker out of the box?
Well, this is something we don’t really harp to much on. It’s always cool to get a new bike, however one thing we should mention is being an online company and having your new Canyon shipped to your door, it can always be a little confronting building a new bike if you’re not as mechanically minded as your local bike mechanic. I mean how much time do the crew as Canyon’s factory take in tuning your bike before packing it up and sending it to your door? As it turns out they spend a lot of time. We literally banged the bars on, threw some oxygen in the tyres and put on the front wheel and we were rolling. All the gears and brakes were well tuned, and the bike was pretty much ready to go out of the box. Sure, we played a bit with our setup, suspension settings and finer points as to how we like our bikes to feel but if you’re new to the MTB game and are considering a Canyon rest assured the build was really simple.
So, what type of rider is the Torque designed for?
Canyon’s Torque is kind of marketed as an enduro bike. But we really think it’s more in the realm of an all-mountain/free ride bike. Sure, you can race enduro on this sled, but we think it is really designed for a rider who is more gravity minded. The reason we say that is due to a couple of reasons, the bike tested is a 29’r with a 170mm of front and rear wheel travel bike. They also offer this bike in a couple of additional options being a mullet (27/29) and a 27.5-inch version, the only variation is the standalone 27.5 runs a 180mm fork. With most ‘enduro’ race gigs hovering around 150mm to 160mm of travel you can see why we think this bike is more akin to an all-mountain/free ride style whip. However, the Torque is a little unique in the sense that it is still super capable of enduro racing, sure it’s low, long and slack, with a heap of travel but its remarkably light for a big rig so it still climbs and pedals amazing. In short, if you’re a gravity junkie and you like to spend time in a bike park like Whistler, Thredbo or Maydena but you still like to dabble in some enduro or even DH racing then this is the rig for you.
We’ve noticed the shock linkage is a different to the Strive and the Sender, give us the gossip on that design.
Righto! Canyon run what they refer to as a ‘Triple Phase’ suspension platform. Along with a lot of other suspension designs the concept is similar in the sense that it is designed to provide a supple and composed feel over the light trail chatter, providing excellent traction to the rubber below but also provide mid to end stroke support throughout the entire length of the travel over heavier terrain. In short, the linear rate and suspension kinematics really provide optimal performance throughout the entire length of the travel, which in turn inspires a composed handling bike.
We tested an XL size which ran 63.5 or 64 degree head angle depending on where you have your flip chip have adjusted, a 77.5 degree seat angle and 515mm in the reach. Based on these numbers alone you can see that it’s a pretty aggressive bike but still good to pedal on the up, but it’s no secret that this bike is really designed for descending performance. Some of these angles and technical specifications will change depending on the size of the rider you are and which model you go for (29’r, mullet or 27.5).
Cool! Can you give us a bit of a run down on the frame and specifications of the Torque?
OK kids just warning you we’ve got a bit of tech talk coming up. The Torque CF9 is Canyon Bikes numero uno 29’r beast.Boasting several cool components including new Fox 38 fork and an X2 air shock with Kashima coating, Canyons own bar and stem, DT wheels and hubs (560/240), Shimano XTR drive chain, RaceFace Carbon cranks, XTR 4 piston brakes and Maxxis Tyres to boot. No expense was spared when decking out the rig. And yes, this bike does come in a couple of build options if you prefer SRAM and/or RockShox but also depending on what budget you have in mind.
As far as the frame goes, the Torque CF9 features a full carbon frame construction, with the carbon construction being the same as the Sender DH bike for additional strength and stiffness, which is also rather light for a big bike. Overall, Canyon have stuck with what has become their trademark simple sleek looking design. Looks aside the attention to detail Canyon have paid to their press fit bearings, internal cable routing and frame protection, have not only delivered a bike that looks the goods, but those subtle tweaks have created a bike that is reliable, performs well and is super quiet to ride. There is plenty of room for a water bottle and the bike comes with a separate ISCG chain device mount if you want to run a different top guide or chain device.
All in all, the entire package is the goods, and it is extremely good value for money.
OK so give us the nitty gritty, the good stuff, how did the Torque tear up the trails?
OK punks, grab a beer and settle in! Suffice to say when the [R]evo test team got their claws on the new Torque we were impressed form the onset. We’ve ridden this bike in a variety of locations up and down the coast, around the Blue Mountains and punched a heap of hot laps at Thredbo aboard this steed. Not only does this bike catch your eye with its good looks it surely does back it up with performance. We’ve even headed out for some 40km plus XC laps just to see how this big rig pedalled so let’s start there. For a big rig this bike pedalled amazing, with a shorted rear end and roomy cockpit area it was really easy to shift your weight around. The bike is super light for what is and was exceptional on the climbs, we kind of know why they still call it an ‘enduro’ bike because that’s what it feels like.
It doesn’t feel like a big lengthy boat or sluggish mini-DH rig at all, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some EWS riders choose the Torque as their race weapon.
On those initial rides we did play around with the suspension settings, we also ran this bike in the slack setting and once dialled we took it out for some burley laps on what it was designed for, going down! Even after our first few shuttle DH sessions the Torque definitely put a smile on our dial. This trend continued the more we rode this bike the more we liked it. Sure, it’s no XC bike but as mentioned above if gravity is your poison its hard to deny the ride quality of this whip. This bike was super composed of the rough stuff, it was good in the air, and it was super easy to get the front wheel in the air due to the shorter rear end. That said, the wheelbase was still at a length where the bike felt extremely stable at high speed and super nimble through the corners. Even during those steep technical descents and corners the bike remained really light and playful for a big rig, this element of the bike’s performance was super refreshing, at no time did this big feel sluggish or an effort to rip through sections.
Some other good characteristics of this bike were that even though it had that lighter feel it didn’t compromise its stability. At super high speed the bike remained really composed which provides the rider a lot of confidence to really push the limits of this rig. The suspension design was subtle and provides really good traction below, yet it maintained its suspension support throughout its travel, exactly as Canyon Bikes claimed the Torques suspension would perform.
Trust us when we say we were not disappointed with the all-round performance of this rig. It’s no secret that the [R]evo test team have lots of love for down hilling, so when we get a bike like this it may sound like we are being a little biased. But proof is in the pudding, if you’re a gravity junkie and want a whip that can do it all from enduro to DH racing and a few trails in between. Let us suggest a new Torque, trust us when we say, you’ll be as stoked with this bike as we were. [R]