CANYON TORQUE:ON CF 8 EMTB REVIEW – WHO NEEDS A SHUTTLE OR CHAIRLIFT?

The gravity-friendly and value-priced electric mountain bike that's ready to send

Although Canyon’s integrated bottle is far better than none, the strap makes it harder to use than a regular bottle and cage setup.

CANYON TORQUE:ON CF 8 EMTB REVIEW

Canyon’s newest long-travel ebike offering, the Torque:ON CF 8, is a hard-hitting and affordable platform that is ready to devour trails and jumps straight out of the box. An all-carbon frame and a slew of durable and value-driven components make this a viable choice for somebody looking to replace their downhill bike with a more versatile riding platform. It’ll handle everything apart from the gnarliest of downhill tracks while letting you cruise back up to the top for another lap.

FRAME

The Torque:ON CF 8 features an all-carbon frame that is rated to their highest Category 5 classification, the same rating as the Sender downhill bike. While it shares a name with its purely pedal-powered cousin, the Torque:ON’s frame more closely resembles that of the Sender, with a low-slung suspension platform and bottom bracket/motor. It features a dedicated mixed-wheel setup to keep things agile while still being able to plow over anything that comes its way, along with a 63.5-degree head tube angle.

An immediate standout on the Torque:ON is the proprietary water bottle and its integration into the top tube of the frame. The bottle is triangular in shape and passes through the top tube, securing to the frame with a mount on the downtube and a buckle strap that attaches over the top. A unique look, but it is definitely an effective solution when a traditional bottle cage is not an option. The size medium that was tested by the wrecking crew has a 1276mm wheelbase with a 475mm reach, which is on the longer side for a medium-sized frame and fits much like Canyon’s enduro bike, the Strive.

Shimano’s EP8 motor drives this burly beast.

 

DRIVE SYSTEM

Driving this beast is a Shimano STEPS EP8 motor that tops out at 85 N/m of torque and a Canyon BT001 battery with 720 watt-hours of power. Canyon also offers a larger 900 Wh battery that fits size medium-and-up frames, costing $950. The motor features three ride modes—Eco, Trail and Boost—that are individually tuneable through Shimano’s E-Tube app. At the handlebars are Shimano’s familiar Shimano SC-E7000 black and white display and STEPS power mode switch.

COMPONENTS

Our test model CF 8 came spec’ed with a slew of value-driven and durable components. The SLX drivetrain and brakes by Shimano offer performance nearly on par with their premier XTR offerings, though they compromise slightly in terms of weight and durability over the long-run. The CF 8 model is rolling on a set of mixed-size DT Swiss HFR1700 wheels wrapped in Maxxis tires, with an Assegai in the front and a Minion DHR II in the rear (an MBA staff favorite).

One nice touch on this bike is its Canyon handlebars with internal wire routing channels and holes that really clean up the cockpit. In addition to the CF 8 tested, Canyon also offers a CF Roczen edition that’s named after the Supercross star. It costs $8,199 and features a SRAM build with Rockshox suspension and a coil shock.

SUSPENSION

At first glance, the Torque:ON frame is reminiscent of Canyon’s dedicated downhill bike, the Sender, utilizing a four-bar suspension platform. However, the critical difference is that the Torque:ON’s low-slung rear shock is driven by the seat stays directly. It offers a clean and aggressive look and is designed to work with both air and coil shocks to drive the 175mm of rear wheel travel. Canyon claims the suspension kinematics are similar to the Sender, so this bike is built for big hucks and rough trails.

On the CF 8 model, the rear suspension is damped by a Fox X2 Performance shock that features low-speed rebound and compression adjustments, along with a climb switch (although this was rarely used). Up front, there is a 38 Performance fork sporting 180mm of travel and a 44mm offset with Fox’s simple Grip damper.

CLIMBING

For an ebike weighing 50-plus pounds, the Torque:ON CF 8 and its Shimano EP8 motor cruised up the majority of climbs on our test rides with ease. The 85 N/m of torque was more than enough for most situations, and the power came on smoothly without feeling jumpy or twitchy. Most of the time was spent in either Trail or Boost modes while heading uphill, and we never had an issue of running low on battery.

The rear wheel tracked very well over singletrack and technical climbs, and we never really got the feeling of being bogged down, even with 175mm of travel. The 475mm of reach and 77.5-degree seat tube angle on a size medium put our test riders in a comfortable and fairly centered pedaling position with only minimal adjustments to the saddle. When things get tighter or more technical, the 1,276mm wheelbase can feel cumbersome at times, but nothing that the Shimano EP8 motor and some riding techniques can’t handle.

DESCENDING

With long-travel suspension and a burly weight, the Torque:ON feels incredibly stable and planted when pointed downhill. Speed can be carried through corners and rougher sections of trail, thanks to the mixed-wheel design, and the rear suspension provides plenty of support and progression while still being sensitive off of the top. With a click or two of added damping, the Fox 38 Grip fork was supportive and didn’t dive significantly when slamming on the brakes while still soaking up small bumps and trail chatter.

ON THE RIDER Endura MT500 MIPS helmet ($240); Tifosi Rail Race sunglasses ($80); Chromag Dominion jersey ($68), Feint pant ($146), Habit gloves ($95); RideConcepts TNT shoes ($170)

Once you have a feel for the additional weight, jumping with the Torque:ON feels very natural and predictable, and you can instantly feel the increased stability that the heavier weight brings. As long as the suspension is set up correctly and you have proper technique, there is virtually no limit to what you can send on this platform. Tighter and more technical descents felt smooth and in control, while the SLX brakes remained fade free on longer and steeper trails.

When things get really tight or on a series of switchbacks, however, the long wheelbase and weight of the bike will be noticed. A slightly different approach or wider line will help mitigate this, but there were times when it just felt like a lot of bike. It’s built to be a big bike for gnarly features and not a lightweight, nimble machine, which is noticeable straight away. Not a bad thing, but something that should be considered when taking this bike out to ride.

WHAT DID WE LOVE?

Though they aren’t top of the line, the Fox Performance shock and fork provided a sensitive yet supportive feel, were incredibly easy to set up and adapted to a variety of trails and conditions, both climbing and descending. The Shimano EP8 motor provided smooth and predictable power and allowed us to tackle virtually any climb we could find without much fuss or worry. The Torque:ON is built to charge, and it does so with poise and confidence. The wrecking crew were big fans of the stability that this bike brings and its adaptability to a pretty wide range of trails and conditions. For a value-driven full-powered ebike, are thoroughly impressed.

WHAT DID WE HATE?

Our test bike was set up without enough slack in the rear brake hose and sensor wire between the front triangle and mounting points on the stays. When the suspension compressed to full bottom, lengthening and separation of the stays caused the brake hose to become tight as a banjo string and the sensor wire to break causing an error code and ending assist from the motor. Since the hose and wire are anchored in the front triangle, it requires dropping the motor to adjust the tension, and in our case, replace the broken wire.

Adding insult to injury, our bike was also delivered with a grossly misadjusted rear derailleur and a misplaced spacer in the cassette causing one gear to jump around no matter how dialed the derailleur was. Yes, we expect near perfection on builds from consumer-direct brands because that’s how everybody buys them. This is not typical of Canyon and an anomaly in what has otherwise been a string of very well-built and tuned test bikes out of the box. Canyon says that it is investigating the matter to ensure it does not happen again and that this situation would be handled via its customer service department through a bike shop or mobile repair services at no cost to the owner.

Our only other gripes surrounded the typical Shimano motor rattle while coasting, slight difficulty securing the integrated water bottle strap while riding, and general distaste for headset cable routing.

BOTTOM LINE

If you are looking for a platform to replace your downhill bike and eliminate the need for a shuttle truck, then the Torque:ON could be the golden ticket. The stability that the added weight of the motor and battery bring is confidence-inspiring, and the long-travel suspension soaks up virtually anything you can throw at it. To us, it feels like a burly and capable downhill bike with the added ability to get you back up to the top of the hill, and a few choice upgrades could make it an even more capable machine. At a price point under $6,000, it will be hard to find a platform that is as capable as the Torque:ON from Canyon out of the box.

CANYON TORQUE:ON CF 8

www.canyon.com

CATEGORY: E-freeride/gravity

SUSPENSION: 180mm (fork), 175mm (frame travel)

TIRE SIZE: 29″ (front), 27.5″ (rear)

Price: $5,499
Weight: 53.6 pounds (without pedals)
Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
Frame tested: 175mm-travel carbon fiber (travel and material)
Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Canyon BT001 720 Wh
Controller: Shimano SC-E7000
Shock: Fox X2 Performance
Fork: Fox 38 Performance Grip, 180mm travel
Wheelset: DT Swiss HFR1700 (29″ front, 27.5″ rear)
Tires: Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip (29×2.5″) front, Maxxis Minion DHR II (27.5×2.6″) rear

Seatpost: Iridium dropper (170mm travel)
Saddle: Fizik Gravita Alpaca X5
Handlebar: Canyon HB0057
Stem: Canyon:ON ST0031 eMTB stem
Grips: Canyon Lock-On
Headset: Canyon
Brakes: Shimano SLX M7120
Rotors: Shimano RT64, 203mm (f)/203mm (r)
Rear derailleur: Shimano SLX M7100
Shifters: Shimano SLX M7100
Crankset: Shimano STEPS
Cassette: Shimano Deore M6100 12-speed, 10-51T
Chain: Shimano CN-M6100 12s
Chainrings: Canyon EP1110-01 34-tooth

GEOMETRY SIZE LARGE

Head tube angle: 63.5°
Effective seat tube angle: 77.5°
Reach: 475mm (18.71″)
Stack: 648mm (25.52″)
Bottom bracket height: 335mm (13.19″)
Chainstay length: 445mm (17.52″)
Wheelbase: 1276mm (50.24″)

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