Will the Canyon Torque:ON still have the fun of the regular bike though? Talk on...
The Torque:ON is Canyon’s latest e-bike, a pedal assisted version of the big-hitting Canyon Torque, a machine we’ve loved since its launch four years ago. Now there’s an electric version, with the same 175mm travel and 180mm fork as the original bike, and Canyon says the same ride feel and ethos… a playful yet big travel e-bike then, now this we’ve got to see.
Canyon Torque:ON need to know
- Torque:ON e-bike with 175mm travel and 180mm fork
- 27.5in wheels front and rear, alloy frame and gravity components
- Shimano EP8 motor and conservative 504Wh internal battery
- Extra battery option available for another £500 from Canyon
- Two models to choose from, with Fox 38 or RockShox Zeb fork
Few brands have made something like this, and fewer still have really pulled it off. You know where I’m going here: the Specialized Turbo Kenevo is the best, maybe even the only example we’ve tried where this concept really works, welding together excellent geometry, sizing and suspension to make a gravity fed monster. That said, it took them two goes to really get it right, and it could hardly be described as playful or flickable even then.
The Torque:ON is going to be a difficult bike for Canyon to pull off: the regular pedal bike version carries big travel, but it really stands out by being playful, supremely maneuverable and fun to ride. Add on 10kg and can Canyon really expect that to continue?
Motor and battery
The first step was to do nothing, and instead wait for Shimano’s EP8 motor to become available. This explains why Canyon has left the big travel epic segment alone until now. The old Shimano E8000 unit wasn’t smooth enough for the new application, it says, and besides, the EP8 is 300g lighter and 30% smaller too. Weight saving is the holy grail, but so is improving ground clearance so you don’t beach yourself on a climb or sump it out.
One of the most eagerly anticipated facets of the new EP8 motor was its bigger battery, some 630Wh on the internal version, and a big step up from the old E8000’s 504Wh. It would bring Shimano back up to standard with competition from the Bosch Performance Line CX and its 625Wh battery. Surprisingly then, Canyon has turned its back on it and opted for the smaller 504Wh version. What’s more, there’s no space to fit the bigger version should you wish to buy one yourself. It’s a bold move going for the smaller battery, at a time when the industry standard has pushed those watt hours north of 600.
Stop howling in anguish though, because there’s method behind the madness: Canyon needs to claw back as much weight as it can to fulfill the brief, and there’s a 600g saving right there in the smaller battery. That extra 600g would be in the worst possible place too, high up in the downtube, raising the bike’s centre of gravity.
Less battery also frees up some space and allows greater design freedom to improve the standover height and tweak the kinematics of the supension, Canyon says. There’s also now room for a water bottle, something the ‘bio bike’ never managed.
Canyon also argues that if you’re buying this bike you’re into your party laps. Multiple runs at a bike park perhaps, or some natural gravity hotspot where you’re barely more than a mile from your car or van. This makes a second battery a really smart move for the Torque:ON, and Canyon will supply one for £500 more, complete with downtube cover. That’s a sizable discount considering it costs the brand £640 at trade price. It’s an upgrade we wouldn’t think twice about.
We don’t know if the concept works yet, 504Wh was never enough juice on an E8000 motor for our usual Surrey Hills loops on Trail mode… then again, Bosch’s 625Wh is often more than you need for an hour’s blast in the winter gloom. I’m cheered by the fact you can remove the battery for charging or transporting the bike, something that really hampered the Whyte E-160 for example.
The regular Torque comes in a carbon version with alloy back end, or an alloy frame: the Torque:ON is alloy only and that keeps the price low, and the frame robust for the odd crash or two. Gravity riders are also traditionally more sceptical of carbon, so perhaps Canyon was just getting ahead of any potential objections.
Whatever the critics say, this is the first e-bike Canyon has made that confirms to the brand’s own Category 5 testing process, meaning it’ll take as much abuse as the Sender DH bike. There’s claimed increased stiffness over the regular Torque too, with angular contact bearings that are larger than standard and a proprietary grease mix for durability.
Sticking with 27.5in wheels rather than adopting 29in front and rear or a mullet setup like the Canyon Spectral:ON must have been a tough call for Canyon, because the betweeny size is falling in popularity among bike brands.
Here I think it makes sense though, 29in wheels can’t help but weigh more, all things being equal, and above all Canyon wants the Torque to be lively. Yes you’ll sacrifice all out speed with this approach, but this is not an enduro bike built to win races. Besides, confidence begets speed, something we discovered on the bio bike version, meaning great suspension and the extra e-bike weight could have you riding faster. So the theory goes.
The frame gets the usual deft touches from Canyon that help make one of its bikes so appealing – a big rubbery chainstay protector to keep it all quiet, a chain device and bashguard for retention and to protect the 34t chainring, and a charging port for your phone, lights or GoPro in the top of the top tube. Pop the battery out and there’s something new to see, the cables and hoses are held snugly in place by velcro strips, the idea being you can manage them better.
Just like the original Torque, Torque:ON uses a 4-bar suspension layout, and the kinematics charts show it’s remained progressive. Canyon has added a little more support though to allow for the extra weight of the bike.
The big change is in the anti-squat: or the lack of it here, meaning if it was a normally aspirated bike we could expect it to bob like hell when climbing and on pedally stuff. Canyon reckons this is fine though because the EP8 motor delivers such a smooth power output you don’t need to control the pitching of the bike, and the result is more active and supple suspension on the descents. The result is a claimed improvement in grip in all situations, with the shock working more freely without that anti-squat.
There are two models in the range, the Canyon Torque:ON 8 at £4,499 and the 9 at £6,299. The former comes with a RockShox Superdeluxe Select R shock and the latter a Fox Factory X2. There’s no coil shock option and no space in there for anything aftermarket. On the front, naturally you get one of the new big-stanchioned beasts, the RockShox Zeb R or Fox 38 Factory. The bike will take a dual crown fork like the Fox 40 or RockShox Boxxer, but Canyon hasn’t gone down this heavy duty road.
Geometry and spec
They’ve gone really slack, with a 63.5° head angle, and it’s big too – the size large has a 1273mm wheelbase. The seat tube isn’t quite as steep as some new bikes we’ve seen though, at 74° (measured), but it’s still reasonably upright for good pedalling.
Both bikes get the same Maxxis Minion DHF and DHRII tyres with heavier EXO+ casing, the Canyon Torque:ON 9 gets DT Swiss 1700 rims though and the cheaper 8 gets 1900s. The main difference, besides the shock and fork, is in the drivetrain – the 8 uses Shimano XT and SLX while the 9 adopts SRAM GX. The brakes are different too, the 9 uses SRAM’s huge new 220mm rotor on the front and SRAM Code brakes, where the 8 has a Shimano 203mm rotor and SLX stoppers.
Win a ride with the CLLCTV
To celebrate the launch Canyon are offering you and a friend the chance to win a day’s riding with one or more of the UK Canyon CLLCTV, featuring names such as Tahnee Seagrave, James Farrar and many more.
How does it ride?
Good question, much to our sorrow the bike was still in a container tied up in red tape at the border with France. We’ll ride it as soon as it arrives and update you!