We take Canyon's well-priced, long travel aluminium Torque for a spin.
If you’ve been flicking through the pages mbr for a few years you’ll remember the Torque as a 27.5in park bike with bottomless, sensitive, syrupy suspension. We couldn’t shut up about it, it won bike tests and even our Editor’s Choice award. The latest gen bike builds on the small wheels and comes in pretty much any variation you want: 27.5in, 29er, mullet, full carbon frame, alloy, coil shock, air-sprung… e-bike even.
Canyon also makes two other bikes you could race enduro on, the Spectral and Strive, and that puts it in a different league to YT then in terms of its product range and potentially its buying power for components. Whether that makes it a better bike though remains to be seen.
The Torque Mullet AL 6 is undeniably great value, and if we judged our bike tests via spreadsheets alone it would be the standout winner here. Yes, the Shimano SLX drivetrain is outclassed by the SRAM GX on the YT Capra Core 2 GX, but it’s functional and crucially the Torque costs £200 less. Add on the quality tyres (£160 worth) the Torque comes with and you’ve wracked up £360 worth of savings over the Capra and that’s not to be sniffed at.
Canyon worked on the alloy frame as well as its component choice, making an alloy version of its carbon offerings. The tubing is chunky without looking like an e-bike, and just like on the Capra there’s now space for a water bottle. What it doesn’t get is the flip chip geo adjust from the carbon Torque, instead Canyon has built the bike around the low setting. There’s no raising it into the high mode, although we never had a problem loading the front for grip or clipping pedals, so perhaps it’s a sensible cost saving.
With the reach on the size XL measuring 505mm, the Torque is a generously endowed bike (but smaller than Canyon’s printed figures) with a great spread of sizes to suit different riders. The standover height is equally liberal too, letting us upsize to the XL without it feeling like too much of a gate. The increased room comes from the front triangle, the short chainstays don’t grow with the sizes and that can really be felt by the time you step it up to an XL.
The previous model used a shock yoke, now the long seatstays connect directly to the Fox Float X2 shock and that makes space for a water bottle. It’s certainly not the same feel as the original Torque either, with more support than we remember. The four-bar linkage design is similar though, and there’s still 175mm of travel to play with.
The shock in question gives you low speed compression and rebound adjustments, but you’ll need to carry a 3mm hex key if you want to tweak it on the trail, which seems rather outdated in the days of indexed dials. Being the Performance model there’s no high speed adjustment, which would have been handy to help the bike deal with big hits on faster tracks.
Just like the YT, there’s a Fox 38 fork with 170mm travel. It’s a great entry level fork but on this bike you have to take a little more care on the steepest terrain as it’s not got the same progression rate as the shock so it sits deeper into the travel than expected.
Shimano’s SLX drivetrain is disappointing, the shift paddles are light in use but the drivetrain ticked away in the low gears and despite much fettling with the limit screws and alignment checks we couldn’t sort it. It never missed a shift though. There’s also a rattle from the internal cable routing, which you could probably solve if you got creative. Oh, and Canyon’s lock on grips are rock hard.
Everything else is stellar, the tyres are the perfect combination for all year round rowdy trail use, with a DoubleDown casing at the back and EXO+ with MaxxGrip rubber up front. Overkill for some? Yes, but it’s better that way round than flats every five minutes. The DT Swiss wheels are bombproof too, and the controls are spot on.
Canyon set out to build a park bike with the Torque Mullet, and they absolutely smashed it like a wheel slapping a berm. The best bit though is that you don’t even have to be at a bike park to enjoy it, any trail with something to push against makes the Torque feel fast and responsive. The bike excels when you’re leaning it into a series of berms, it’ll match your speed on the way in and return it with interest, and it’s noticeably faster here than the Capra. It’s a bike you want to pump every backside or scrap of support you can find, from the tiniest edge of a rut to a vast manmade camber. Likewise anything with a lip will have you pushing into it, confident of the bike’s balance and poise. It’ll send you further, faster and higher than before, but return you to the ground on a cushion of air.
We spent more time on the Torque than the Capra trying to figure out why it’s so good here, but the clue lies in its climbing performance. Pedal the bike uphill and the shock extends slightly thanks to the higher level of anti squat.
There’s a lot of support in the suspension then, and the bike rides high in its travel, never collapsing into mushiness even on the fastest of G-outs or biggest berms, even if your arms do.
For such a big bike the Torque is surprisingly good on mellower trails too, with the front end easily loaded though your feet. Loading the front wheel is automatic, so the bike does most of the work for you, and the short back end and diddy rear wheel helps it snap round corners like a trail bike too.
This all feels amazing when you’re pushing the bike into a take-off of course, but it loses out just a little when you’re bulldozing through a rock garden. The Torque can start to feel beaten up by repeated hits at pace, and with no high-speed compression adjustment on the shock there’s very little you can do about it, to open it up and ease it into its travel more readily.
It’s a park bike for sure, but it’s the groomed flow and jumpy tracks you’ll find yourself gravitating towards. There’s also a chatter to the bike and the firmness of the frame and suspension feeds through to your hands and grips more than on the YT Capra so it generates more fatigue.
With so much force from the shock holding the front down the fork can feel overwhelmed on steeper tracks too, the support from the shock way in excess of that from the Fox 38 up front, and the BB sits a little higher than the Capra too. Ultimately the Torque is crying out for a GRIP2 damper upgrade to balance it out then, and Fox distributor Silverfish will sell you one for £530.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a bike park then the Torque is the bike for you. Yes, it loses out in terms of pure speed to the Capra, but not everything is a race. This bike is a hooligan, it encourages you to take the wrong lines just so you can square off turns or find extra air time, and the frame feels incredibly solid and robust and ready to take the hits. The standover height means most riders could ride one or two different sizes too. And then there’s the price, which has the Torque out on top. You could race enduro on it as well, as it’s well set up for life between the tapes and it boasts the right tyres, but you might lose a few seconds to the Capra.