Is this the best value downhill bike of 2011?

Canyon's Torque FRX 9.0 has an amazing spec for under £1,700

With the cost of most downhill bikes continuing to rise, it's good to see some lower priced yet still race-ready models coming onto the market.

Saracen led the way with their Myst, which comes in at £2,299.99. This year's Mondraker Kaiser was also good value at £2,499, although it's getting a £200 hike for 2011. Most other big-hit bikes at this price are more freeride-orientated, with single- rather than double-crown forks and steeper angles.

It's Canyon's 200mm-travel (8in) Torque that looks like being the deal of the year though, with the FRX 9.0 version costing just £1,679 (€1,999) despite a spec that includes a RockShox Boxxer R2C2 fork and Vivid R2C shock.

Other parts include Truvativ Hussefelt cranks, an e*thirteen chainguide, SUNringlé wheels, Maxxis Minion tyres, SRAM X9 shifting kit and Avid Code R brakes. They haven't skimped on the finishing kit either, with an Easton bar, stem and seatpost.

The Canyon Torque FRX 9.0 comes with RockShox's base model Boxxer downhill fork, the R2C2

Claimed weight is 18.7kg (41.2lb) – not up there with the latest featherweight downhill rigs but lighter than World Cup bikes from a few years back. The 66° head angle is a little steep, showing the bike's freeride heritage, but nothing a Cane Creek AngleSet couldn't fix. You'll never achieve the same slackness as a 63° Mondraker Summum though.

Features of the 7005 aluminium frame include a 1.5in head tube, asymmetric chainstays and a Maxle through-axle rear end. There's also a more expensive (£2,549/€2,999) limited edition bike, with an upgraded spec that includes a top-end Fox 40 RC2 FIT fork and DHX RC4 shock, Mavic Deemax wheels and Shimano Saint shifting. Claimed weight is 18kg (39.7lb).

Canyon bikes are sold direct, not via shops, which goes some way to explaining the low prices. Cullen Ward from Canyon UK told BikeRadar: "We're pretty much unbeatable when it comes to the spec and quality of the frame." For more details, visit www.canyon.com.

SUNringlé provide the Drift 2.1 wheels, which are shod with Maxxis Minion tyres

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