Avanti use essentially the same design for all their suspension bikes, and the Torrent is their trail bike – or one of them. It’s a brother to the 29in-wheeled Coppermine.
Ride & handling: Work the climbs before ripping the descents
There’s no doubt that the Avanti loves a good chewy descent. With a 67.5-degree head angle and 13.5in BB, the geometry is no more radical than on comparably priced full-sussers, but it’s got a stout, indomitable feel that exudes confidence.
The only fly in the descending ointment is the mysteriously narrow 680mm bar – an extra couple of inches would make a huge difference (make your own jokes; we’ll wait). It’s easy and cheap to change, though, as are the brakes.
Inevitably many of the things that create that confident descending feel start to work against you when you turn round and head back up the hills. That impressive chassis and wheel stiffness come at the expense of high weight, and at 14.1kg (31.1lb) the Torrent is on the heavy side for all-day riding. It will winch up the hills quite happily, though, if you’re similarly happy to take your time.
Avanti have produced a massively fun bike with the Torrent, and if you’re happy to put the work in on the climbs because you’d rather enjoy the descents, it may well be the bike for you.
Frame & equipment: Solid feel and terrain-munching suspension
Nothing in the appearance of the Torrent suggests that it’s messing about. Bulging under the matte grey paint is a substantially built 6061 aluminium frame, and its design is right up to the minute – a tapered head tube, an X12 thru-axle back end, and it’s dropper post ready. It’s thoughtfully put together too.
The Tru4 suspension design is a variation on the tried and tested four-bar linkage, and it’s executed particularly nicely here. The chainstay and seatstay pivots are both clevis-style arrangements with reassuringly large hardware, and there’s decent tyre clearance even down the sides of the big 2.35in treads fitted.
A broad-stanced forged rocker drives a big-canned Fox CTD shock, and neat touches such as replaceable steel inserts in the brake mount (threading bolts directly into soft alu frames is asking for trouble) show attention to detail.
As for the Torrent’s spec, Avanti have put the money where it counts – the suspension and wheels. Inevitably it’s a little outgunned in other areas, and though it’s at the top of the price range it can only muster a 3x9 transmission and Tektro Draco brakes. These, while competent, aren’t on a par with the Avids and Shimanos elsewhere.
Tucked happily behind that triple chainset is a chainguide mount, should you wish to switch to a single or double ring and a chainguide – another good touch. A simple tube-style chainguide hangs from the chainstay and offers useful extra security if you stay triple.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.