I’ve just spent the past few months aboard Canyon’s long-travel enduro bike, the Torque, and I have a lot to say about it. When I first saw the Torque in all of it’s 175 mm travel glory, I thought to myself “nice park bike”. That was my plan. Ride a few dozen Whistler Bike Park laps, maybe a few short spicy hits and done. As luck would have it, my review bike rolled in the weekend after my last chance to hit the bike park for the season. That might have been a good thing. It’s not too hard to see that the Torque, with it’s 180 mm Lyric up front and kinematics lifted from Canyon’s downhill specific Sender would probably be no slouch pointed down. So then, this becomes a review of what it’s like to own a bike of this magnitude in-between the lift served, endless days of summer.
Words: Toni Walbridge
Photos: Misti Walbridge
What we’ve got here is the CF 7.0 version of the Canyon Torque. The CF designates the carbon fibre front triangle mated to an alloy rear. The 7.0 designates it as the most cost effective of the CF series with a MSRP of $4000 USD in the States. Now look, bikes have gotten really expensive as of late. I hardly ever ride a bike that costs less than 7 or 8 G’s any more. Hell, I think I’ve got more than $4000 in my hardtail. But this Canyon, it’s different. It’s a hell of a value proposition. Let’s dig into the details to see just how much $4000 can buy these days.
Out back the Torque gets 180 mm travel out of it’s Horst Link suspension design utilizing the most excellent Rock Shox Super Deluxe RCT. If you’re used to all the bells and whistles of a Float X2 Factory it might seem a bit simplistic, but the Super Deluxe has everything it needs to get the job done. It’s worth noting that this is the first bike that I’ve ridden in ages that didn’t bottom out jumping off of, well, everything. I set the sag, quickly dialed in the rebound via the massive, glove friendly dial, and was off. Loads of traction, gobs of control, no constant bottom out, no screwing around. The only thing I have to complain about is all this well tuned suspension seems to have left no room for a water bottle.
Up front we have the ever capable Lyrik RCT3 in full 180 mm trim. Like the Super Deluxe, the Lyrik makes use of a few simplistic adjustments including rebound, low speed compression, and a 3 position high speed compression dial. I bounced around a little on the air pressure and settled in at 78 psi, 10 clicks in of LSC, and 12 in on rebound. After a little fiddling, I left the 3-position HSC dial in the middle setting for the duration of the test.
Canyon went with SRAM’s sensible and super tough Descendent alloy cranks, and a 32T chainring to strike a nice balance between climbing gear ratio and top speed. The Torque is also spec’d with an E-Thirteen TRS+ chain guide to keep that chain in place no matter what. Other than supplying your own pedals, there’s no need to spend a dime on this setup where many gravity bikes are still absent a proper chain guide, even at much higher price points.
Out back, we have a SRAM Eagle GX cassette and derailleur which I found to be nearly indistinguishable from X01 or even XX1 . Canyon also spec’d a really nice moulded rubber chain slap protector that proved to do a remarkably good job keeping the Torque quiet. So quiet, it’s easily the nearest to silent bike I’ve ridden in a good long while.
Up front, we have Canyon’s own G5 31.8 clamp bars at 780 mm and G5 40 mm stem. With 30 mm of rise in the bars on top of a 135 mm head tube, there was no need to stack a pile of spacers under the stem. The 5º rise and 8º sweep offer no surprises and most will feel right at home behind them. The lock-on grips are also Canyon’s house brand and despite being pretty picky about my contact points, I really couldn’t find much to complain about with them. Rounding out the cockpit we get a look at the SRAM Code R brakes, GX shifter, and, sigh, that old-skool Reverb plunger remote. I really can’t fault Canyon too much here. They did spec a 150 mm dropper and this is a price-point build so something has to give. As much as I’ve gotten used to all the great trigger actuators on the market this was probably a good place to save a few bucks.
At 5’8″ it was a little ambitious to size up to a large Torque. But, it’s a touch short in reach in the size medium for my tastes. The reach on the large frame comes in at 460 mm but also comes with a 455 mm seat tube and a 642 ETT. This means I ran the 150 mm Reverb slammed down to the collar and the SDG Scoop saddle slammed forward on its rails. Fortunately, that Scoop saddle is fairly low in stack height as I had no wiggle room to spare. It’s also damn comfortable and overall just a great shape. It’s a hell of a thing to have a good saddle on any stock bike and I could, and did, pedal all day perched up on the Scoop.
Canyon’s cable routing is pure genius and this has to be my favorite feature of the frame itself. Rather than route the brake and shifter lines inside the downtube, Canyon simply placed them inside a robust down tube guard where they exit at the BB. It looks right, it’s super easy to work on, and it protects the down tube. No more flinching at the sound of a hard rock strike, no worries draping it over a pickup pad or having to keep up with clear film on the down tube. This is the best thing.
The Torque’s rolly bits consist of DT’s E1700 wheel set and a set of Maxxis 2.4 DHR II WT tires front and rear. It seems like every DT wheel set I’ve ridden in the past season or two has left me well impressed on counts of durability and feel. The only thing tarnishing their rep is the god awful 24 pt engagement ratchets they sneak in to some of their hubs. Way to make a modern carbon wunderbike feel like a Allis Chalmers. Almost making up for my disdain of those low engagement hubs, the front and rear DHR II tire selection leaves me with pretty much nothing to complain about. They hookup everywhere and are super predictable.
Let’s start with the not so interesting stuff. Climbing. The Canyon Torque does absolutely nothing wrong when pointed up hill. It doesn’t squat much nor is there much unwanted, pedal induced suspension action. If there’s a decent amount of traction to be had, it doesn’t even mind a bit of standing climbing as long as you don’t get too carried away. The 74º seat angle isn’t cutting edge steep but it’s steep enough in conjunction with the supportive suspension to keep you from feeling like you’re off the back of the bike. It doesn’t hurt that the BB drop is not pushing the boundaries either. While not a technical climbing wiz, the Torque claws its way up rocky, rooty trails just fine with few pedal strikes. On the one hand, the fact that a bike with 175 mm of travel can climb with seemingly so few drawbacks other than its overall heft actually does seem pretty damn interesting. On the other, all that uphill talk seems pretty boring the moment you point it downhill.
Point the Torque downhill and it’s hard not to go straight hooligan. It was only just a few years ago that this much traction and poise was the realm of true DH bikes alone. The chainstays come in at a tidy 428 mm and make snapping out of drifty turns a real delight. Surprisingly, I didn’t find the Torque too particularly manual happy. I briefly swapped for a 32 mm stem which made pulling the front end a little easier but wound up going back to the stock 40 to help keep a little more weight on that front tire. Other than those minor tweaks, it took almost no time to get comfortable throwing the Torque around. I was particularly impressed with how well it stayed hooked up when cornering across wet roots in mud. The front and rear DHR II’s no doubt had a hand in that.
The Torque is for sending. One of the best parts of riding a bike like the Torque is the confidence that comes with so much composure. Almost all of these riding shots are from the first two days aboard the Torque. Even before I really had a chance to get to know it, it instilled gobs of confidence. Sure, you’re probably not gonna jib every little bump in the trail, but when you roll up on a spicy road gap in the middle of nowhere and no one around to tow you in, the Torque has your back. I took a run or two through this line way too deep, turning 12′ down into damn near 20. This is the kind of bike you want to be on when you come in hot and trade the promise of a buttery tranny for a hard, flat landing. No matter how much I screwed up, the Torque proved unflappable and encouraged me to keep on trying stupid stuff.
I rolled up on this rock to the side of what was already a spicy section of trail. As typical, photos just don’t do it justice. There was no clear line in, followed by interesting contours in an over-vert section, then a hard left in sand to make at the exit. The rock itself was grippy but the entire line was littered with loose rock and sand. I looked at this line a good long while. Make no mistake, this isn’t me being a tough guy, this is me writing checks my ass can’t cash and the Torque is my overdraft protection.
And so it went. Over the blind roll-in, I was reminded of how good the Codes modulate and what a good job the Charger 2 damper does keeping the front-end up. I was a bit tense and stiffened up which led to a little more air time than I anticipated. As my wheels touched down, the bike settled perfectly which afforded me an extra second to find the exit. Next moment, I’m skidding to a stop and celebrating. I feel like this is the whole point of riding a bike like this. Go out in the woods, find some scary stuff (Warning: don’t get too carried away) and let’er rip.
Who’s this bike for?
This is the perfect bike for anyone that wants to push harder and faster in bigger terrain but for whatever reason a DH bike doesn’t fit the bill. If you need to pedal to your extra spicy lines, the Torque has few equals.
Who’s this bike not for?
The Torque is probably not the best choice for general trail riding with just the occasional big move. Get something with a little less travel and a little snappier handling.
How does it compare?
The two bikes that I have ride time on that come to mind as being rather similar are the Pivot Firebird and the 4th gen Santa Cruz Nomad. The Pivot pedals a little better but it’s race tuned feel isn’t as forgiving. The Nomad I rode back to back on the same trail and felt a hair more playful but slightly less planted.
What’s not to like?
I had zero issues with anything related to the frame or build quality. The only thing I really missed was a place for a water bottle but EVOC’s Hip Pack Pro more than adequately addressed hydration woes. At $4000, even the Reverb remote and the low-engagement ratchets in the DT hub are forgivable. The fact that this model is on sale for $3800 makes the proposition all the more appealing.
What’s the verdict?
The Canyon Torque is a top performer and serious contender for your hard earned buck. If you’re down to huck, be that genuinely huge features or maybe you just want a little extra insurance while you figure out the whole “wheels off the ground” game, the Torque should be on your very short list for consideration.
Model:Canyon Torque CF 7.0
Weight: 14.5 KG (claimed)
Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
Travel: 175 mm
Shock: Rock Shox Super Deluxe RCT
Fork: Rock Shox Lyric RCT3, 180 mm
Headset: Acros The Clamp
Bars: Canyon G5, 780 mm
Stem: Canyon G5, 40 mm
Grips: Canyon G5
Brakes: SRAM Code R
Seatpost: Rock Shox Reverb Stealth 150 mm
Clamp: Canyon clamp SL
Cranks: SRAM Descendant
BB: SRAM GXP
Chainring: SRAM x-sync2 32t
Chainguide: E.Thirteen TRS+
Chain: SRAM GX Eagle
Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle, 12 spd
Cassette: SRAM XG-1275 Eagle, 12 Spd
Wheelset: DT Swiss E 1700 Spline
Tires: Maxxis Minion 2.4 DHR II 3C Maxx Grip (F&R)