Super-enduro, long-travel all-mountain, or simply park bike, Canyon's Torque CF 9.0 Pro defies most categorization. This 27.5in-wheeled carbon steed features 180/175mm of front and rear travel in a package that can actually ascend under human power. Three years ago, bikes like this were mere fantasy.
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Canyon Torque CF 9.0 Pro highlights
- Carbon main frame / aluminum rear end, 175mm travel
- Fox 36 Factory 180mm fork / Fox Float X2 Factory shock
- SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed / SRAM Code RSC discs
- Mavic Deemax Pro wheels / Claw Pro XL 2.5 front and Quest Pro XL 2.4 rear tires
Making fast and steep easy
Cruising around my main test loops, right away it was clear how easy this long-travel enduro sled made everything.
Mixing a dialed carbon chassis with class-leading suspension dampers has the tendency to do that. But more, a carbon bar, 170mm dropper and the soft-riding Deemax Pro wheels add a level of control that's a step above the norm.
Regarding those Fox bits, when a bike comes with a 36 Factory fork and Float X2 Factory shock, I have high expectations. Once again, they provided a wide range of adjustment, delivering a ride that can be buttoned down, tight and supportive, or soft and doughy with loads of cushioning. Experimenting with the dampers to coax the optimal ride will be fun.
Geometry wise, with a 65.3-degree head angle and 1,243mm wheelbase (size XL), the Torque isn't maxing out either number. That said, it still felt best at higher speeds and wide-open sections.
Tight, twisty terrain and switchbacks took a bit of getting used to, but throwing the bike around snug corners was possible with a little extra body movement.
Climbing was as expected. The big Canyon can do it, but it won't set any KOMs. Settling in and keeping a smooth cadence seemed to work best. Rising out of the saddle saw the X2 rear shock wallow about, although flipping the climb compression lever worked wonders.
Interesting bits and pieces
Overall, Canyon nailed the specs where it matters most. The Torque CF 9.0 Pro has a full carbon frame, good wheels and excellent suspension units. However, there are a few things I would not have picked.
While I love the 170mm drop on the Reverb, I was a bit bummed to see the old plunger remote instead of the newer under bar version. Ergonomically, it's okay, but the button is small and takes what seems like a lot of effort compared to a trigger-style paddle.
Where the Torque contacts terra firma, the Mavic Claw and Quest are an odd tire spec, especially for a bike with this much travel. They're part of what Mavic calls a Wheel/Tire system, but up front, the Claw Pro XL casing is rounded so while the transition from straight to leaned over is consistent, it's not inspiring when really working hard.
On the rear, the knobs of the Quest Pro XL tire are fast rolling, but way too small, giving up traction when climbing and more importantly, braking.
I dig the 31.8mm clamp G5 carbon bar, it has a comfortable rise and sweep. And kudos to Canyon for having inside flanges on its house-brand grips. It feels moto, and while I know it's just a placebo effect, makes cornering precision feel easier.
And yes, I've chosen to leave the wheel reflectors and pie plate on just to troll other riders.
Canyon Torque CF 9.0 Pro vs the competition
Longer-travel 27.5in wheeled enduro sleds have been the rage for a few seasons now. These 160mm travel bikes live a challenging life as they get smashed down bike parks and downhill tracks. Then at the bottom they're required to winch themselves back up the hill with only human power.
And now Canyon has ratcheted it up a notch with the Torque line up and its 180/175mm front and rear travel.
Compared to Norco's 27.5 Range, the Torque feels longer and bigger, more downhill oriented. Against a 27.5in Specialized Enduro, the Torque feels a bit less playful; the Enduro is more eager for hooning around than all-out speed. Santa Cruz's Nomad comes close with a get-out-of-my-way, smashing ride quality.
Interestingly, the latest trend is to shoehorn 29-inch wheels into a long-travel chassis. When the clock is the priority, the big hoops are hard to argue with. But at the bike park, or when fun is a major concern, whippable, stronger, lighter 27.5in wheels shine.
Canyon Torque CF 9.0 Pro early verdict
It seems absurd that pedaling a 180/175mm travel bike is now a reality, but it is. The Torque is entirely capable at gaining elevation without a chairlift or some form of shuttle.
Even with that trait, it doesn't compromise a bit where it matters on the downs. It feels stiff, poised and like any good downhill monster, seemingly makes the rider the weak link in the equation.