Bike Test: Canyon Torque CF 9.0 PRO
Some bikes are hard to place into just one category, and the Torque is a prime example of that. Call it what you want— park, freeride or even “Superenduro”—but the Torque was specifically designed for our sport’s most daring athletes. To ensure the all-new Torque was up for the task, Canyon enlisted the help of top pros, including World Cup downhill racer Troy Brosnan and slopestyle prodigy Thomas Genon—two riders who are both phenomenal in their respective disciplines and who both know how to truly push the limits of a bike. In designing the Torque, Canyon borrowed inspiration from its burliest gravity rig, the Sender. The Torque was then held to the same testing standards as the Sender to make sure this single-crown slayer could excel under the most demanding trail conditions. We didn’t want to simply take Canyon’s word for this bold statement, so we packed up our gear and headed out to our favorite local bike parks to put the Torque to the test MBA-style.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The Torque is made for bike park junkies, enduro racers and riders without fear. Featuring 175mm of rear suspension travel and 180mm up front, the Torque is well-prepared to go “full send” down the roughest trails. Canyon’s design goal was to blur the lines between enduro and downhill by giving the bike a slack 65.3-degree head tube angle, short and snappy 428mm chainstays and a long reach to increase high-speed stability. All this was combined with a suspension platform that allows riders to pedal back up the mountain. So, who is the Torque made for? Well, it’s designed for downhill shredders willing to earn their turns.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Torque CF is constructed with a carbon front triangle and an aluminum rear, ranging in price from $4000 to $7000 based on component choice. A full-aluminum option can be had for $2900. All models feature Canyon’s cleverly designed, integrated cable channel to keep the bike rattle-free and to give it the look of internal routing. Removing the frame guards reveals easy access to the cables. The Torque shares similar linkage and kinematics with the Sender, Canyon’s downhill race rig. The Torque then fea- tures a triple-phase suspension tune designed to improve traction, small-bump compliance and mid-stroke stability. Canyon added fully sealed industrial bearings to further improve the Torque’s durability.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Our Torque CF 9.0 Pro is the middle-of-the-line carbon model featuring a host of top-notch components. Our favorite, however, was the Factory Series Fox suspension that mellowed out nasty rock gardens, making the trails feel smooth as butter. Powerful SRAM Code RSC brakes keep this wild steed tamed, and a SRAM Eagle XO1 drivetrain offers a wide spread of gears. Our test rig came with Mavic wheels and tires, a Canyon G5 cockpit and a 170mm-travel RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Setting sag: To unlock the Torque’s full potential, it’s important to properly set up the suspension components. For our Fox sus- pension, we started with the rear shock and equalized the positive and negative air chamber by cycling through its travel a few times with our psi roughly matching our body weight. From there, we adjusted our sag to 30 percent using Fox’s tuning manual as our guide. Once we found our desired sag, we referenced the psi placed in the shock to achieve 30 percent and used that number to find our base damper settings. The Float X2 features high- and low-speed rebound as well as high- and low-speed compression.
Next, we addressed our fork, continuing to reference the setup guide provided by Fox. These settings can be found on the back of the fork’s lower leg or at www.ridefox.com. After further testing, we backed the low-speed compression dial off a few clicks from the recommended setting and increased rebound speed by two clicks.
Moving out: Although the Torque has long legs and an aggressive geometry, the bike fits more like an enduro bike than a downhill rig. The 74-degree seat tube angle places the rider in a more centered position, and while the head tube angle is undoubtably slack, it’s not quite in the same range as your average downhill sled. When a rider is ready to descend, the low standover height (around 30 inches for a size large) com- bined with a long-travel dropper provides a feeling of the bike being well beneath you. The long reach and appropriately sized handlebar and stem help keep the overall fit comfortable.
Climbing: It’s no secret that climbing is not the Torque’s strong suit, but that doesn’t mean this Canyon doesn’t give its best effort. With the compression lever flipped to a more pedal-friendly position, the bike manages to make it up climbs at a slow and steady pace. The 34-tooth chainring doesn’t do riders any favors during steeper climbs. Hard pedal strokes aren’t exactly matched with bursts of acceleration, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the Torque needs a shuttle vehicle nearby. Of course, this is a bike that prefers being loaded onto a ski lift or tossed over a tailgate pad, but if climbing is the only option, the Torque won’t let you down.
Cornering: Thanks to short chainstays and 27.5-inch wheels, the Torque flies into corners and blasts out the other side. Canyon tuned the Torque with mid-stroke support that gives the bike a poppy feel when pushing out of turns. This came as a pleasant surprise, considering the Torque has 175mm of travel to push through. A lot of this can be attributed to the highly adjustable Fox Float X2 shock that makes the most of this Canyon’s rear-wheel travel. The Mavic rubber wasn’t our favorite, and while we’d suggest swapping these tires out for a Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II combination, we did find the Mavic wheelset provided stiffness and compliance out on the trails.
Descending: It really doesn’t matter whether the Torque is staring down the sights of a jump trail or sizing up the fastest line through a rock garden, this bike was made to descend, and it does it well. The Torque’s geometry lends confidence no matter what is thrown at it, and its long travel soaks up big hits with ease. The Torque is a new-age freeride machine that can handle the gnarliest bike park features or make its own lines down steep and rocky chutes.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
The first and most important tip we can give any new Torque owner is to spend time adjusting the suspension properly. Since Canyon sells its bikes consumer-direct, the internet will be your best friend here. We highly advise looking up the tuning guide for your fork and shock in order to unlock the Torque’s full potential.
If you’re looking for upgrades, we would recommend swapping out the Mavic tires for something a bit more predictable. We would then suggest a tubeless setup to allow for lower tire pressures and to prevent the risk of pinch flats. Inside the box, we found a pair of tubeless valves designed for our Mavic rims; however, you will need to purchase your own tubeless tire sealant.
Canyon delivers the Torque straight to your front door with all the necessary tools you need, along with some other cool acces- sories. Building the bike is a quick and simple process that any rider with just a bit of mechanical know-how will be able to pull off.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not the Torque is the right bike for you, consider this—are you a rider who loves fast speeds, airing out huge jumps, or regularly shuttling or riding at a bike park? If that’s the case, this Canyon might just be the bike for you.
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