Down Time: The progressivity in the Torque's rear end comes on slow and steady, and mixes supple, small-bump performance, poppy mid-stroke support and big-hit readiness. Its responsiveness and middle-of-the-road geometry make it ride lighter and easier than its travel numbers indicate.
The Up Side: The Torque's mild progressivity isn't enough to combat the relatively slack 74-degree seat angle, and you sink into its travel unless you rely on the shock's firm setting. But out of the saddle, it's supportive and efficient, so sprinters rejoice.
Dollar For Dollar: Fox Factory, Deemax wheels, Float X2 and Guide RSC brakes are a steal for $5,000. One of the best bargains in the bunch, as well as the best in the Torque lineup. Also impressive is the $2,900 aluminum model, though the slightly more conservative YT Capra AL edges it out on value.
The Canyon Torque rides like it has less travel than it's actually got, and we mean that in a good way. This bike won't surrender its squish without a fight. We still were able to bury the O-ring, but the Torque only allowed it as a last resort. In contrast, the YT Capra Pro Race offers only 5 millimeters more rear travel than the Torque, but it's an earth-eating cloud by comparison. This is thanks to the Torque's slowly but steadily increasing progressivity, which keeps big hits from sneaking up on you and keeps the bike calm when they try.
For those who aren't interested in staying calm, that progressivity invites a playfulness that perhaps no other bike in this travel range offers. The predictable suspension and middle-of-the-road geometry make the Torque remarkably responsive and easy to ride for being such a beast. Its taste for gnar was similar to that of the Santa Cruz Nomad, though it had an even lighter and livelier feel.
The Torque's natural pedaling platform comes on so gradually that, if you don't want to sink into its travel, you'll need to flip your little blue lever. But to be fair, that's true about nearly every other enduro bike except for the 160-millimeter rear travel Transition Patrol and the 170-millimeter YT Capra CF Pro, the latter of which was not at Bible Summer Camp.
The Torque might have sat up just as well as the more moderate Patrol and Capra did if it weren't for its relatively slack 74-degree seat angle. There was no unwanted pedal feedback, and when you get out of the saddle with your weight forward, the Torque will give you all the power you want.
The consumer-direct $5,000 Torque CF 9.0 Pro we tested offers a spec that might cost you another couple grand from other brands. Standouts were the Code RSC brakes, the Float X2 Kashima rear shock, and the light and sexy Deemax wheels. We would have liked to have seen a HSC/LSC fork, but we're almost embarrassed to complain at all. You can save a thousand bucks and go for the regular CF 7.0, but we think the wheels, cranks and brakes are worth the upgrade to the 9.0 Pro. If we're talking value, its only rival in this test (or any test for that matter) was the $5,200 YT Capra CF Pro Race, but that bike's carbon wheels didn't offer as nice a ride quality as the Torque's Deemaxes.
If you're looking for the bare minimum build, the $2,900 alloy Torque AL offers the same attitude, geometry and suspension kinematics as the CF models, though it has a strong rival in the better-equipped and only slighter shorter-travel $2,500 YT Capra AL. But if you've got the money to spend and you're looking for a high-value, high-energy plaything that just needs a little help on the climbs, the Torque just may be perfect.
Q&A with Daniel Oster, Senior Product Manager at Canyon
1) The new Torque is touted as meeting Canyon's Category 5 level of testing, the same as the Sender. Does that mean it’s just as send-worthy? Does it truly pass the same tests?
Yes, tests like jump load are the same as for the Sender. The Sender may be even stronger but…
2) Perhaps our only complaint about the Torque was its relatively slack 74-degree seat angle, which stands out next to so many 76+ numbers we're seeing now. Is there something about more moderate seat angles that you think the Torque's intended user might appreciate?
The bike was made mainly for descending. If the seat angle is so steep the bike feels too short when you’re in the saddle, that’s also not good for climbing. So you have to find a balance, and we we’re fine with 74 degrees. But it’s always good to get feedback to consider for future projects.
3) The linkage on the Torque is pretty simple, but something about the chainstay pivot stands out next to other "Horst" style designs, in that the pivot is above the axle line. What does that achieve?
The special Horst link helps to create the kinematic character you talked about. It helps to create the anti-squat and the support in the middle of the travel. Our older more traditional Horst-link designs were tending to run more easily through the travel. Internally we called it High Horst.