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Freeride was never dead, and the Canyon Torque is living proof. Never straying far from the pedal-if-you-must, but gravity-is-my-compass roots, the Torque has long been a staple rig of shuttle lots, chairlifts and even that insane local climb that leads to the best descent around. As a concept, it borrows heavily from Canyon’s DH bike, the Sender. In fact, the Torque frame has always been tested and certified to the same strength standards, while also drawing inspiration from the Strive line of enduro race bikes. Instead of just combining those two flavors together to make the new Torque, Canyon spiced things up with a heaping of freeride inspiration, offering a lineup that lets riders choose where they’d like to land on the speed-to-style spectrum. And yes, that means there’s a mixed-wheel build.
The new Torque is drastically updated from the old version, which has remained unchanged since its 2017 redesign. Geometry has continued to evolve since then, and kudos to Canyon, they’ve been taking notes. Before we get into specific geometry, let’s talk builds.
There are six bikes in the new range. The basics are outlined in Canyon’s boilerplate international spec basics below, but in the U.S., only the $3,299 Torque 5, the $4,399 Torque CF 7, and the $5,399 Torque CF 8 Mullet will be available.
Back to frames. As noted in the chart, there are both carbon and alloy versions of the Torque, and they are actually designed slightly differently. In other words, the differences between the frame options isn’t just in the material.
Firstly, the alloy option is actually the objectively stiffer one—at least on paper. The frame is stiffer overall, designed for those park-rat riders who go big more often than not, whereas the carbon option has flex built-in at key points to help damp trail chatter. This isn’t uncommon in frame design, but it is noteworthy that Canyon specifically called it out as a feature of the new Torque.
Perhaps shedding more light on this point, the alloy Torque also features different geometry than the carbon Torque. Where the carbon frame uses a flip-chip to provide half a degree of adjustment, the alloy frame forgoes the chip and uses the steep 78-degree seat angle of the carbon version in the “high” position and the 63.5-degree head angle of the carbon’s “low” position. While this probably saves on manufacturing costs, it also perhaps speaks to the rider who prefers a simple alloy frame—get your pedaling cake and eat it all up on the way down, too. They took this same approach on the recently updated Spectral series, and it made us wonder why flip chips exist in the first place.
Both the alloy and carbon frames have internal routing, though the carbon option is internally tubed, while the alloy frame uses pre-installed foam guides inside to reduce rattling. The alloy option is also the only (of the two) options to come with ISCG tabs—you’ll have to buy those separately for the carbon frame, also there is a built-in upper chain guide.
Finally, while both the alloy and carbon frame’s pivot bolts thread into replaceable inserts (in case you strip them) the alloy option uses steel inserts while the carbon option uses alloy. Canyon notes that the inserts are only user-replaceable on the carbon frame; you’ll probably have to take the alloy Torque into a shop.
As far as geometry specifics go, the Torque is as contemporary as they come. The reach on a size large is 490mm, enough for some of us to reconsider our size preference. But preference is key. Canyon also keeps the seat tube length fairly short, so riders can choose their size based on, say, reach length, rather than the typical letter sizes.
Something to note on the Torque is that the chainstay length is pretty short compared to other big bikes in this category. Why? Most bikes with this much travel and big hoops tend to be race-oriented, whereas the Torque is meant to be playful and more of a goof-off bike. The chainstays are stubby by any means, but they aren’t anywhere near the length we’ve seen on other long-travel 29ers recently.
Want more specifics? Check out the geo chart below (click to enlarge).
Further, the new Torque comes in three wheel-size options. If you get a small frame, you’ll get 27.5” hoops, and for everything else you’ll be rocking 29” wagon wheels. Unless, of course, you get the mixed-wheel option, which only comes in sizes M-XL—sorry, no size small there. The mixed-wheel Torque uses a 27.5” rear end and the regular 29” front triangle, so no, you can’t just slap a smaller wheel on the back of your regular Torque.
We’ll also note that Canyon approves the Torque for use with a dual-crown fork, the only caveat being that they suggest running 180-190mm travel instead of full 200. Of course, you’ll need to make sure you’re using proper protection by way of fork bumpers.
Canyon has also modified the suspension kinematics of the Torque for 2022, slightly decreasing the initial leverage ratio and increasing the bottom-out resistance. You can use a coil or air shock, although most of the models will come with air. The anti-squat has also been adjusted; it’s increased right at the 30% sag point, then decreases more quickly through the rest of the travel for a plusher ride. This is borrowed from and influenced by the newer Strive race bike.
Finally, those small frame details we’ve come to appreciate and expect on newer bikes aren’t forgotten on the Torque. You get rubber padding on the chainstay and downtube, as well as space for a bottle and mounts under the top tube for a bolt-on accessory, like a tube strap. Most of the hardware is shared with the Spectral as well, so shops (or online retailers) should have an easier time keeping what you need in stock, and you should have an easier time finding any replacement hardware you need as well.
As for the models available in the U.S., from a component standpoint, the name of the game is more towards value than it is Gucci. The one alloy build, the AL 5, feature a Shimano Deore drivetrain (which is crazy good value), four-piston Deore brakes, RockShox Select/Select+ suspension, RaceFace AR30 wheels and in-house Canyon bits and pieces. The first carbon built, the CF 7, uses a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, Code R brakes, Select+ suspension, and DT Swiss wheels. There’s nothing lacking on these builds, but nothing that rocks the bling either. Rather, these a smartly spec’ed, work-horse options.
The CF 8 Mullet build bumps things up a bit with a Shimano XT drivetrain, Fox Performance Elite suspension and DT Swiss 560 rims laced to 350 hubs. While this isn’t quite Gucci, realistically this is pretty top-tier performance at a reasonable price. Again, it’s hard to find anything on the component sheet we’d need, or even want, to swap out right away.
We’ll highlight particularly that Canyon is speccing a Maxxis Assegai 2.5 Maxxgrip EXO+ in front and DHRII 2.4 Maxxterra DD out back—it’s very, very rare to see a bike come stock with such appropriately spec’ed tires. Kudos.
Canyon also is kind enough to include approximate weights with their bikes, so we can ballpark things and say that the new Torque isn’t going to be a light bike. Even the lightest option available in the U.S. is going to sit just over 34lbs (15.5 kg). Then again, the Torque isn’t meant to win any races up the hill.
The Torque isn’t meant to win any races for that matter. In fact, it’s a bike that really speaks to what the freeride generation of old always dreamt about. It’s a pedal-able, long-travel play bike with the chops to send Red Bull Rampage-sized hits under some riders, or just chill with mates running shuttle laps for others. If the popularity of the old Torque is anything to go by, the new Torque has some big shoes to fill, but it looks up to the challenge.
Find out the full details, availability and more at canyon.com.