2021 eMTB SHOOTOUT
CANYON TORQUE ON REVIEW
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics
The brand new Canyon Torque On was one of the bike our team was thrilled to test at our 2021 eMTB Shootout. After having so much fun riding the Canyon Torque and Sender during last year’s Bike Park Review Tour our team was thrilled to see if the new Torque On would just be a motorized version blending those two bikes together. Due to timing and COVID-19 issues, Canyon North America was unable to send us the American spec, Torque On 8, so instead we received the Torque On 9. Canyon felt comfortable with this as frame materials, geometry and drive units are the same, with the only major difference being suspension and some drivetrain spec. We will reference both bikes in our review below, but please note that we are riding the 9, which is currently not available in North America.
While our bike came spec’d with Fox Factory suspension and a SRAM Eagle drivetrain with Code brakes, the Canyon Torque On 8 available in North America has a RockShox Zeb R 180mm fork and a 175mm RockShox Super Deluxe Select rear shock. Drivetrain on the Torque On 8 is Shimano SLX 12-speed with Shimano SLX four-piston brakes. Canyon specs 203mm Shimano Ice Tech rotors with an integrated speed sensor. The Torque On 8 also features DT Swiss H-1900 wheels with 30- and 35mm internal widths, front and back respectively. Canyon Bikes ships the Torque with Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II tires, however we swapped them over to our eMTB Shootout official test tires, the Schwalbe Magic Mary and Big Betty in a 2.6″ width.
The rest of the spec on the Canyon Torque On 8 is mostly Canyon Bikes’ in-house parts. We were unsure how we’d like the Canyon SD:ON saddle but grew to like once we climbed aboard. The Iridum dropper post worked fine but we wished for more than 150mm of travel. Up front Canyon bars, stem and grips rounded out the cockpit. We’ve yet to have a tester enjoy Canyon’s grips, but we found the bars and stem to be just fine.
When it comes to geometry, we have some very mixed feelings. Our Canyon Torque On was a size large, and all of our testers are between 5’10” and 6’2. The reach is 485mm, which is on the upper end of our comfort spectrum, the stack height is 634mm, the wheelbase is 1,273mm and the chainstays are the shortest tested, at 430mm. But the numbers that polarized our group most come from the bottom bracket height, and seat tube angle. At 74-degrees, the seat tube is relaxed, but not a deal breaker in our opinion. What very well could be however is the 15mm bottom bracket drop, and BB height of xx-mm, just XX-inches off the deck. More on that later.
Canyon Bikes spend a lot of energy creating durable and robust bikes that are up to the task. The Torque On is no exception and the frame meets their highest, Category 5 rating. The same found on their Canyon Sender DH bike. Oversized bearings are used in all frame pivots with a custom grease for smooth actuation and reliability. Canyon Bikes also integrated a neat bottom bracket/motor bash guard and chain guide on the Torque On, which is a nice feature for sure. Optimized Tripe Phase rear suspension has been designed specifically for the Canyon Torque On and the needs of an eMTB. Canyon reduced anti-squat values to decrease pedal kickback and also worked to improve traction and sensitivity at the rear wheel.
Chosen for many reasons like a robust support network, ease of customization through the E-Tube app and ride quality, Canyon spec’d the Shimano EP8 motor system with a 504wh battery. Reminder here, the Canyon Torque On is designed to be a bike park/freeride eMTB, so the theory is riders will be near a trailhead or vehicle to swap batteries or plug in and top-off while eating lunch. This was something we had many discussions about when Torque On riders had to drop down to Eco, while others were still in Boost or Turbo modes. At the time of purchase Canyon offers a discounted price to consumers looking to buy a second battery. If you climb lots, have steep terrain, or want to travel and ride back to back days, this may be worth taking advantage of. Speaking of topping off, Canyon puts a USB-C charge port on the top tube above the power button. It’s a unique and fun feature that we didn’t use at all but, could bring some value to folks on the trail. Of course the downside is, this bike already has a small battery, so we’re not sure we’d want to sacrifice any juice while on the trail.