Hot stuff: what we’re excited about this month

Big Es, little lids, not-coffee, bum bags, oily stems, blue pills, scratch itchers, electric saddles and more… Hot stuff: what we’re excited about this month.

Read more: Best mountain bike shoe deals for flat pedals

Canyon Torque:ON 8 £4,499

We’ve loved Canyon’s regular Torque from the day it was launched back in 2018; a big-hitting enduro bike with liquid-feeling suspension and 27.5in wheels that made it nimble on the descents. The only trouble was you had to pedal it back up again when you wanted another run, dragging the sticky rubber, active suspension and heavyweight components along with you.

Oh for an uplift. Or better yet, a motor so you can do it yourself. Canyon must have been listening to us because for 2021 it’s launched the Torque:ON, the same old Torque but now ready to muscle you to the top of the hill with Shimano’s latest EP8 motor. The old E8000 motor wasn’t light enough, small enough or pokey enough to do the job, Canyon told us, so it bided its time, working instead on the Spectral:ON and Neuron:ON trail bikes until the lights went on for Shimano in the shape of the EP8.

The Torque:ON gets the same 175mm travel and 180mm fork – now a Fox 38 or RockShox Zeb – as the current pedal bike, the same
27.5in wheels, and the same ride feel and ethos, Canyon says… a playful yet big-travel e-bike then. That’s a high bar to set.

It looks good on paper though. Just like Specialized and its big-travel Kenevo, Canyon has opted to stick with 27.5in wheels to shave off some weight, and controversially specced a small 504Wh battery rather than Shimano’s latest 630Wh version. There’s method in the madness though – lopping off those cells also drops the weight by some 600g, and helps lower the centre of gravity too with the top of the down tube now empty. Canyon is also offering a second battery for £500 more, which is cheaper than you’ll find it anywhere online.

The geometry matches the travel too, with a genuinely relaxed 63.5° head angle, and it’s big too – the size large has a 1,273mm wheelbase. How does it ride? We don’t know yet, Brexit chaos meant the bike arrived too late to make it in as a first ride this issue, so look out for more Torque talk next month.


Specialized Mio MIPS helmet, £47.25

The Mio MIPS helmet from Specialized uses a magnetic buckle, a big ratchet dial at the back and easily adjustable straps to make getting the right fit on your toddler as easy as possible. MIPS liner, mesh vents at front, reflective straps, rounded back for trailer use.

Coffee break

Dafé, £6.50

Dafé is a coffee alternative; made from ground date seed, it’s naturally caffeine-free (unlike decaf) and has an almost chocolatey, smooth taste. Roasted in the UK, sourced from Tunisia, plastic-free compostable packaging.

Pack man

Bontrager Rapid Pack, £44.99

Made from stretchy material with a rigid foam back, the Bontrager Rapid Pack is designed to be comfy but supportive when loaded with kit. Two zip pockets, a central water bottle holster, 1.64-litre capacity, comes in black or khaki.

Slick look

FSA Gradient Team OS35 Stem, £209.95

FSA’s new Gradient Team LTD OS35 stem has been designed for pro riders, but now you can get hold of it too in this trendy (and expensive) oil slick look. CNC’d body and face plate, 35mm bar diameter only, 0° rise, 32, 40 or 50mm length.

Young talent

Carder hoodie, £44.99

We’ve all seen the youth riding in hoodies – join them with this subtle top from pedal brand Carder. Longer fit for a modern look, lined hood for warmth, polyester and cotton blend, double stitched. Skinny jeans next.

Cold comfort

Torq Fitness dFND, £14.95 (180 tablets)

Vitamin D3 and zinc are essential to your immune system, muscle function and more, yet many of us are deficient. Torq Fitness has a new supplement called dFND that dishes out 500 and 156 per cent of your daily dose, respectively.

Fork filler

SendHit Scratch Cover, €39.99

The SendHit Scratch Cover is designed to repair any ugly scratches in your fork’s stanchion. Included in the kit is a file to smooth it, epoxy resin to fill (either black or transparent) and fine sandpaper to finish.

Short back and sides

Fizik Terra Aidon X1 Saddle, £169.99

Fizik says its Terra Aidon X1 saddle is specifically for full-suspension e-bike use, with a short stubby nose and raised supportive rear end. Features carbon one-piece rail, nylon shell, two width options (145mm or 160mm), central cut-out with rubber mudflap.


Polartec Women’s Prime-Series Waterproof Glove, £50.00

Hate wet, frozen hands? The Women’s Prime-Series Waterproof Glove uses a waterproof and breathable outer from Polartec called NeoShell, and an interior waterproof sleeve too. There’s also a thin hydrophobic suede palm and touchscreen fingertips for feel.

Motion Instruments Enduro Fork Tracer and Mounting Kit $399.98

Any number-cruncher will tell you that junk in equals junk out. But what if you only had two data points to work with? Is that even enough to make an educated guess as to what’s going on in a dynamic system? Hardly, but it is all that most of us use to set up our suspension forks.

Slide the O-ring down the stanchion, load the bike and set the sag. This simple action gives us a crude starting point. Our second data point is then recorded when we look down at the end of a ride to see how far the O-ring has moved, probably on a single impact. What happens in between is anyone’s guess. Not with the Motion Instruments Enduro Fork Tracer ($349.99) and mounting kit ($49.99).

With a sample rate of 200hz, the Motion Instruments data logger is recording everything your fork is doing in real time. Best of all, you can view all the data trailside with the MotionIQ iPhone app (there’s no Android version yet) and make informed adjustments on the fly.

Motion Instruments fork tracer supplies fine-grained data on suspension kinematics.

Want to know the dynamic sag rather than the basic static measurement? You’ve got it. There are GPS traces of the trails you’re riding, including speed and elevation, but it’s the rebound and compression speeds of the fork combined with axle position that provide the real insights here. There’s also a motion sensor built into the head of the unit so it records vibration data too.

The Motion Instruments system is faster to fit than a front mudguard, so getting started couldn’t be easier. The app walks you through the set-up for your specific bike including fork travel and frame geometry, then verifies the connection with the sensor. All you have to do is hit record.

What the app doesn’t provide is actionable adjustments based on the data, so you will need some basic understanding of how suspension systems work so you can interpret the data provided and adjust your suspension accordingly. With dynamic sag and max travel this is relatively easy, but how many riders will know what the optimum rebound speed is in m/s?

Still, having the real-time data will take the guesswork out of any adjustments you do make, which also makes the Motion Instruments Enduro Fork Tracer a valuable learning tool. There are three levels of app with corresponding levels of analysis. The basic MotionIQ Data Logger app is free, the Expert level has a $9.99 monthly subscription and if more charts and graphs are your thing, the Pro version is $29.99 a month. Best of all, you can dip in and out of the different plans as your data requirements change.