It looks as if we're seeing a freeride resurgence, the return of long-travel bikes designed for seeking out the gnarliest terrain around. Today's all-mountain / enduro machines are incredibly capable, but there's still a demand for bikes designed to go even bigger, whether that's in the bike park or on a secret trail tucked away deep in the woods.
That's where the new Canyon Torque comes in. With 27.5” wheels and 175mm of rear travel, it's the latest entry into the new-school of freeride bikes, a class that includes the likes of the Commencal Supreme SX, Pivot Firebird, and Santa Cruz Nomad.
Canyon Torque Details
• Intended use: freeride / park / DH
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 175mm
• 65º head angle
• Aluminum and carbon frame options
• Boost hub spacing
• Sizes: XS (alloy only) - XL
• Price: $2499 - $7500 USD
Like the recently announced Spectral
, the Torque's design was inspired by Canyon's Sender DH bike, although the suspension layout is slightly different. In order to increase the bike's standover height, as well as allow for the use of longer travel dropper posts, the shock is now activated by a yoke that straddles the seattube.
The Torque's suspension curve is designed to be sensitive at the beginning of the stroke, supportive in the middle, and then progressive in the end, which Canyon refers to as their “Triple Phase Suspension.” The end stroke ramp up isn't drastic, but it can easily be altered by adding or subtracting volume spacers. It's a gravity machine at heart, but the Torque does have more supportive pedaling platform than that Sender in order to make those long approaches to the trail more tolerable. You'll want to wear a hydration pack, though, because there's no place to mount a water bottle.
The Torque uses Canyon's new cable routing method, where the housing is sandwiched between the downtube and plastic “cable channel.” Found on both the carbon and aluminum frames, the plastic cover can easily be removed for maintenance, and also adds an element of frame protection. Frame Options / Build Kits
There are two different frame options: the Torque CF, which uses a carbon front triangle and a 6066 aluminum swingarm, and the Torque AL, which is a full-aluminum affair. Prices range from $2499 USD for the base-model AL 5.0 up to $7500 USD for the CF 9.0 LTD. That 9.0 LTD model will only be available in the US, and is spec'd with ENVE M70 wheels and 2.4" Maxxis Minion DHR II tires.Geometry
Canyon experimented with several different head angles before settling on 65-degrees. According to Daniel Oster, Canyon's senior product manager, that number gave them the handling they wanted; quicker than a full-blown DH bike, but slack enough to avoid any nervous handling. With a 460mm reach on a size large, the Torque's measurements are modern but not wild, while the 425mm chainstay length is on the shorter side of the spectrum.
I was able to spend one day of riding aboard an aluminum Torque, just enough time to start getting a feel for its handling traits. The day's trails included a mix of twisty singletrack punctuated by rock gardens that were made even trickier by the recent rainstorms, and a smattering of medium-sized jumps and drops. Nothing was overly steep, but the trails did fit the bikes' intentions. Climbing:
Stomping down on the pedals to power up a climb does cause a fair bit of suspension motion; this is a bike where the shock's compression lever will see plenty of use if you're planning on earning those turns. There's also the weight to consider. The claimed weight for the top-of-the-line aluminum models is a little over 33 pounds, and the carbon models is said to come in at a touch over 31 pounds. Compared to the freeride beasts of the past those numbers are certainly reasonable, but it is something to keep in mind if you're planning on pedaling more than riding lifts or shuttling.
Fabien Barel was all smiles after sampling some of Madeira's best trails.
As you'd expect, the Torque is in its element when gravity takes over. Cornering was especially enjoyable; the short back end and the overall weight balance made it easy to really sink into a turn, then rocket out the other side. There's plenty of 'poppiness' on hand for getting airborne off of natural and manmade jumps, and I didn't experience any harshness in the rockier sections of trail. That being said, I'd like to spend some time on the Torque in some even steeper, rougher terrain - with only one day of riding on unfamiliar trails I I wasn't able to fully push it to the limit.
I kept trying to figure out what bike the Torque reminded me of, and then it clicked – Specialized's Enduro EVO
. That bike had 26” wheels and a front derailleur, but funnily enough, the geometry figures are very close to those of the Torque – head angle, reach, even the stem length all match. That's not a knock against the Torque, it's more of an observation that certain geometry numbers don't go out of style.
Most build kits come with the tried-and-true Maxxis Minion DHF / DHR II combo, but 9.0 Pro is spec'd with Mavic's Claw and Charge tires. Those tires ended up on the bike I was aboard, and they made for an 'interesting' time in the wet rocks and mud. They're much less predictable than the Maxxis rubber, and I wouldn't recommend running them if there's any chance of encountering wet conditions. Other than that, the bikes are well equipped and ready to rally right out of the box.
Canyon also rolled out another new bike - an aluminum Sender. Based on the popular carbon-framed DH machine, the aluminum version was designed to work best with a coil sprung shock, and uses a simplified version of the linkage found on the carbon model. There will be two complete models, the Sender AL 6.0 and the AL 7.0, priced at 2499 Euro and 2999 Euro respectively.
Sender AL Details• Intended use: downhill
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 200mm
• 63º head angle
• Adjustable chainstay length: 430 or 446mm
• Sizes: S - XL
• Price: 2499 - 2999 Euro