2022 ENDURO SHOOTOUT
CANYON TORQUE 29 REVIEW
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Shootout Sponsored by Maxxis Tires & Fox Racing
The Canyon Torque has been in Canyon Bicycles’ range for many years now, slotting into the zone between their Strive enduro race bike and Sender downhill bike. It used to be a smaller-wheeled freeride focused bike that focused less on all-out speed and more on all terrain capability. We rode that 27.5er Canyon Torque in our Bike Park Review Tour some years back and thought how great it’d be with a little bigger wheel. Now we’ve got the freshened up 29er Torque CF7 at the plate in our Enduro Bike Shootout. With a carbon fiber frame and purposeful spec, the Torque 29 CF 7 is the second cheapest in our roundup, but definitely offered the best bang for the buck of all our contenders.
We’d like to thank Fox Racing and Maxxis Tires for their support in making this series possible. Without their partnership these types of projects wouldn’t be possible, if you feel so inclined, offer them a thanks down below! And while you’re at it check out Fox’s new 2023 Product Line and Maxxis’ performance MTB tires here.
• 170mm Horst Link Suspension
• HTA 63.5
• STA 77.5 (effective)
• REACH 490mm (Large)
Price Range: $3,299 (AL 5) – $5,399 (CF 8)
When choosing your Canyon Torque, there’s a few different options depending on your budget and wheel size preferences. Frames are offered in both aluminum and carbon fiber, with the base AL 5 spec receiving the former material and the CF 7 and CF 8 seeing the latter. Regardless of material selection, the Torque is offered in dual 29” or 27.5” wheel options, and the CF 8 employs a mixed wheel setup for the mullet lovers. The 29er options get 170mm travel on both ends; the 27.5” has a 180mm fork with 175mm out back; and the mixed wheel setup is made from a 29” front end and 27.5” rear end, so has a 170mm fork and 175mm rear travel.
Shared between the two frame materials and all wheel configurations is the Triple Phase Horst Link suspension system that Canyon uses on the majority of their full suspension bikes. Kinematics on this system begin with roughly 31% leverage progression with a smooth curve that flattens throughout the travel, ensuring coil shock compatibility. The anti-squat sits at just over 100% in the climbing gears, increasing gradually up to 114% in the smallest rear cogs. Anti-rise sits at quite a low 60%, which is typical for conventional Horst link design bikes.
The Torque CF is strength rated to their highest downhill standards and can be equipped with a dual crown fork aftermarket without voiding the warranty. There’s a nice, molded rubber chainstay protector; generous downtube protector, and room in the front triangle for a water bottle regardless of material selected.
Where they differ is of course in the material, with the CF frame undercutting the weight of the AL by roughly 600g. Additionally, there are premium frame features on the CF frame that the AL forgoes to keep the price down. The frame pivots get an extra level of sealing and the threads for pivot hardware can be replaced on the CF in case of damage. Also, the internal routing is fully guided, opposed to foam wrapped in the AL front triangle and external on the rear. Rounding out the differences, there’s a flip chip in place on the seatstay shock mount of the CF to quickly adjust the geometry by 0.5 degrees on the head and seat tube angle and 8mm at the bottom bracket, whereas the aluminum bike has a fixed geometry.
Canyon’s Torque CF7 is the mid-tier model in the lineup, coming in at $4,399 and sporting a purposeful parts package that should deliver dependable performance throughout. A RockShox pairing of Zeb Select+ fork and SuperDeluxe Select+ RT shock offer fewer tuning options than their more expensive siblings but should still deliver plenty of control for hard charging. Maintaining the SRAM group theme is the full GX Eagle drivetrain with Descendant Alloy cranks, and Code R brakes with 200mm rotors. The burly DT Swiss FR 2070 wheelset is shod with a Maxxis Assegai MaxxGrip EXO+ front tire and DHR2 MaxxTerra Double down in the rear. Rounding out the spec are Canyon’s G5 alloy cockpit and dropper seatpost, and a Fizik Gravita Alpaca saddle.
Geometry is fairly consistent between the Torque CF and Torque AL, with the only differences being in the combination of head and seat tube angles that can be obtained – the fixed geometry of the AL takes the slacker 63.5-degree head tube angle and 30mm BB drop from the “LO” position of the CF, with the 78-degree seat tube angle from its “HI” position. The size small is only offered in 27.5” wheel configuration, so reaches on the Torque 29 CF begin at 465mm for the medium through to 515mm on the XL, with accompanying stacks from 629mm to 647mm.
Seat tube lengths are relatively short across the board, from the 430mm of the medium to the 460mm of the XL, allowing for long travel droppers and the ability to choose between multiple sizes for most riders. The chainstay remains constant across the size range of the 29er, sitting at 440mm. Wheelbase figures total range from 1,253-1,312mm, which should give plenty of confidence inspiring stability. As we tested the XL frame size, the wheelbase is unsurprisingly long, but the remainder of the numbers are quite standard for a 2022 enduro machine.
Unfortunately, when it came time to get our bike, inventory was an issue and we were tasked with choosing between having an XL to try out or miss the opportunity to test this bike entirely. We opted to run the XL and use it as a learning process to see if that radically long reach thing would change our mind. Long story short, no it didn’t and we still like shorter bikes, but we had a lot of fun on this bike regardless. We have to admit that we see where the merits of a long bike can entice certain riders, but it’s still not for us and how we ride on the terrain we have.
Sizing aside, our 5’11 – 6’3” test riders got along with the bike pretty dang well. Canyon historically has some pretty low-slung bikes, and the Torque 29 is no exception. We definitely struck the pedals a bit while pedaling the bike, but not quite as much as the Orbea Rallon. Pedaling the Torque 29 CF was about exactly what you’d expect. It was far from terrible but not Fezzari La Sal Peak level either – not far off though! Riders were able to put in some big days in the saddle, and had a comfortable cockpit experience with good traction, with a boost to the efficiency on long smoother grinds offered by the easy-to-reach climb switch.
Once at the top the Torque CF really came alive. It begs for speed, jumps and a lively rider to push it hard. What’s nice though is it doesn’t require the rider to be ready for a race run, like some other stiffer, more race-designed bikes in the test. Instead, the Canyon Torque 29 will reward riders who prefer side hits and airtime as much as they value rolling speed and attacking the trail ahead. It offers a comfortable and sensitive response without having to push overly hard, and packs a load of progression to keep you off the bottom out bumper for all but the biggest hits.
Conducting these types of group reviews can be difficult as so many bikes are rather good and while we may favor some more or less, the reality is we’re usually not seeing huge discrepancies in the performance. What we’re trying to say is, if you didn’t ride 10 of the latest and greatest bikes on the market over the course of the season and only rode the Canyon Torque, you’d probably love it! However, we’re comparing it against those very bikes, and subtle nuances and performance changes need to be amplified by our testers as we know that discerning riders and racers are out there wanting to drop big bucks on the bike that suits them best. And that’s where little things like brake jack, geometry, pedaling efficiency and repeated hit performance come into play. When milliseconds count, the Torque may not be the ideal bike for racers, granted it wasn’t designed to be the race bike, Canyon has their new Strive for that.
When you’re pushing the Torque to the limits, it falls a touch short of the most composed bikes in this test, with the rear end firming up through repeated heavy hits and for that reason it’s not the bike that we’d hop onto to try and hit the top step of a race podium. All that to say, we may pick other bikes above the Torque but that doesn’t mean this bike isn’t a solid 8.25 out of 10. Then when you combine the price to performance ratio and how much fun you get for a bike under $4,500 and it’s easy to bump it up to an 8.5 or 8.75.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Establishing goals for our Shootouts and Roundups is tricky as we are well aware that riders out there are looking for different things out of their enduro bike. They ride different types of terrain at different speeds and levels of confidence. We do our best to take those things into account when recommending, or not, bikes and products.
The Canyon Torque 29 CF 7 is a bike we recommend for a lot of riders out there. From the value to the impressive performance on a wide variety of trails, it’s a very capable and fun bike that we absolutely enjoyed riding the hell out of. If you’re looking for a flat-out race bike, or live for technical pedaling and uphill climbs along with rugged downhills, this probably isn’t the bike we’d pick. Of course, that’s what the Canyon Strive was designed for, and there are some other options that may eek out a bit higher of a score in those fields as well. It gets a bit overwhelmed if you’re really looking to attack rough trails with hard braking at race pace again and again. The suspension firms up a bit, unsettling the rear end a touch and that can be enough to keep it back in the pack for those racers.
If you are an all-around rider who can benefit from a low-slung bike, like to find little side hits, big jumps, and playful riding style, the Canyon Torque CF 7 is a really awesome bike worth looking at.
Weight: 34.3 lbs
Frame: Canyon Torque CF
Fork: RockShox ZEB Select+
Shock: RockShox Superdeluxe Select+ RT
Brakes: SRAM Code R | 200/200mm
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle
Handlebar: Canyon G5 Riser Bar
Stem: Canyon G5 Stem
Saddle: Fizik Gravita Alpaca X5
Seatpost: G5 Adjustable Dropper Post
Wheels: DT Swiss FR 2070 370LN
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra
Bottom Bracket: SRAM BSA DUB
Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed | 10-52
Cranks: Truvativ Descendant 6K
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Performance to Price is unmatched
Low BB on natural trails
Stiffening suspension through repeated hits
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