The overall ride quality of the Torque CF 8.0 is superior
MBR Editor’s Choice 2019: Canyon Torque CF 8.0, £3,269
The lure of a big-hit bike is incredibly appealing – all of that travel acting as a buffer that does more work than you. The catch however, is that you need a high-end model just so the bike is light enough to muscle up the climbs, which often means they are prohibitively expensive.
One way to keep the price in check is to go with a direct sales brand, so in the September issue we took delivery of the best 27.5in enduro bikes from Canyon, YT, Radon and Vitus and it quickly became apparent that that Canyon Torque CF 8.0 offered the best bang for your buck.
We were won over by its composed, lackadaisical approach to even the roughest down hill tracks. The winning combination of the 180mm travel Fox 36 fork and X2 rear shock gave the 175mm Torque the necessary grip, control and pace to really open up the taps on the descents.
All of that travel wasn’t at the expense of agility though. The Torque steers light and neutral, the stiff, carbon front end making it every bit a precise as it is capable.
And it’s this split-personality that challenges ideas of what a bike with this much travel can do. Sure, the Torque is never going to be the fastest up a climb, but with a neutral riding position and a climb switch on the shock, we were happy to plug away to get to the goods. You’ll be shocked at how quickly the Torque dispenses with your hard-earned elevation though. But that’s what makes it so good.
What’s new for 2020?
Not a jot. Well at least not yet, anyway. Given that the Torque platform is less than two years old, we’re not expecting a wholesale change for 2020. You don’t need a crystal ball however, to predict more Shimano 12-speed drivetrains and brakes sprinkled throughout the range. As soon as the 2020 Torque becomes available we’ll bring you a First Ride, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Canyon Torque CF 8.0 review
Canyon Torque CF 8.0 review
Derived from Canyon’s Sender DH race rig, the Torque is a bit of a gravity-fuelled beast. With 175mm rear and 180mm front travel, the German packs extra downhill muscle, but a carbon fibre front triangle and top tier parts aim to keep it sprightly enough to pedal UK enduro terrain and all-day wilderness rides.
The smooth, squared-off, UD carbon mainframe is slickly bolted to alloy rear stays with a tucked away chainstay pivot that indicates a 4-bar suspension layout. All chassis profiles are modern and refined, and excellent noise-dampening rubber frame protection at both ends ensures the Torque stays safe and quiet when the trails get rowdy.
A curvy, triangulated seat tower affords good standover clearance and the low BB height makes the 460mm reach feel bigger than advertised. There’s no room for a water bottle up front, which will be a deal-breaker for some, and plenty new enduro bikes have an even steeper seat angle for a more upright climbing position.
Orientated horizontally and driven by a forged extender yolk, a 250mm long Fox X2 Performance-level shock has downhill levels of oil inside for extended performance. Its damper offers three-way external adjustment (via allen key), and is mated with a huge 180mm travel Float 36 suspension fork using the top-level Grip2 damper that goes one better by having four-way tuning.
Stacks of adjustment is great for experienced riders able to detect low and high speed damping nuances, but the Torque’s also a cinch to set up for everyone, and rides balanced straight out of the box with correct sag and Fox’s factory recommendations.
With a full (mostly XO1) SRAM 12-speed drivetrain and e*thirteen top guide, the latest Torque’s been upgraded, and the same brand’s dialled Code disc brakes kill speed nicely if all that travel gets you in trouble. Canyon’s own brand handlebars and stem is a decent shape and feels solid too.
DT Swiss E1700 wheels are made tough enough for heavy e-bikes and use the strongest straight pull spoke build with extra thick 30mm rims to resist denting. They’re durable and roll well but are a tad meaty to turn over climbing, even with the EXO casing Minion DHR2 rear tyre that ought to be thicker and tougher on a machine with this much grunt.
The Torque takes the mickey out of vanilla, everyday, enduro terrain and maintains rapid pace over chunk right up to full-on downhill tracks. The faster you go the more the bike wants too, which is pretty addictive.
All this capability isn’t at the expense of agility or reactiveness either. With a ‘regular’ 1,220mm wheelbase and 65-degree head angle, the Large bike steers light and neutral, and the stiff frame responds rapidly to weight shifts and leaning in turns with a taut, balanced response that makes it easy to manoeuvre.
Canyon’s rear suspension is a big highlight, simultaneously managing to balance a ‘liquid’ off-the-top feel that totally erases irritating little bumps and edges, with enough support to hammer into fast berms and holes, all the while maintaining ride height. There’s plenty to push back against to generate speed and drive, and the super-reactive tracking quality amplifies grip and control on greasy rocks and all kinds of loose surfaces.
Considering the bounce, the carbon Torque’s efficient and smooth enough climbing, but the overall weight is noticeable. This is a big rig to drag around, and continual up and down fireroads can feel like hard work. There’s massive payback though when riding the Torque at high speeds and feeling so calm tracks appear to slow down in front of you, even when you’re almost crashing into the back of whoever is in front of you on the other bikes.
So much surefootedness helps you ride your best too. It’s easy to lean hard, chuck the frame about and flow smoothly, which translated to being happy to scare ourselves hitting several huge berms totally brakeless in and out, which we simply weren’t prepared to do on other bikes. In this way, the Torque proves fast really does equal fun.
Canyon’s Torque CF 8.0 challenges ideas of what a bike with this much travel can do. The beautifully finished frame is built like a tank and descends like a rocket, yet it’s smooth, nimble and playful on easier mellow trails. Rider position is perfect, it’s dialled to ride out of the box with easy to set up suspension, and has brilliant parts for the money. The overall bulk and 175/180mm is noticeable to lug around, but the Torque makes as light work of it as possible for all this punch and speed bandits will love how much of a hero the Torque makes you feel on the best DH trails.