It's no surprise that the Canyon Torque Ex Gapstar has an excellent parts list. However, it's backed up by a well-featured 180mm travel, four-bar frame that's capable of more than just playing in the park.
Frame and equipment: versatility is key
The main highlight of the outstanding kit bolted to the Canyon Torque is the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air shock. With adjustable high- and low-speed compression and high- and low-speed rebound damping, it's incredibly tunable.
In conjunction with the neutral-feeling and stable suspension platform, this unit really allows you to balance fast and furious descending control with pedalling manners in a way no other bike here can.
It also helps that the Canyon is fitted with a double on the RaceFace Chester cranks, so in addition to the top 36T ring there's a 22T bailout option. The long, 46.6in wheelbase and relaxed 65.9-degree head angle mean that, with sufficient weight shifting, you can winch up steep climbs pretty easily.
The e*thirteen chainguide and clutch-equipped SRAM X9 rear mech keep the chain firmly in place, and a bashguard fends off rock strikes. It adds up to a bike that's confident downhill but still manages to make surprisingly short work of uphills.
That relaxed front end and the 170mm travel, air-sprung RockShox Lyrik RC fork give plenty of support and confidence when it gets rough, tracking true thanks to the 20mm through-axle and tapered head tube.
We're big fans of the stealthy matt anodised finish on the frame, and although there's no dropper post fitted, the frame does have bosses for external hose/cable guides underneath the top tube.
Ride and handling: tough and efficient
The front end is slightly tall; we found the stem had to be run as low as possible to help carve turns, but it's not a deal breaker and the 785mm wide RaceFace bars gave excellent leverage.
It's an easy bike to muscle through turns and hustle through rocky, rough sections, and it backs up that front end with a stiff, taut chassis.
Some of the Canyon's pedalling verve comes from the tubeless-ready Sun Ringlé Charger Comp wheels, which we liked, although we hated the end caps for the front hub, which fall out and attempt to lose themselves whenever you take the wheel out.
The mid-weight, EXO sidewall Maxxis rubber uses an incredibly grippy Super Tacky compound up front, paired with a faster-rolling 60a compound at the rear. This gives plenty of grip and feel, and it breaks away progressively, which means more confidence to push harder.
When it does get too much, the Avid Elixir 5 brakes haul up in an efficient manner, though they do lack tool-free adjustment. On the plus side, they use neat clamps to integrate cleanly with the SRAM X9 shifters.
The Torque Ex Gapstar can tackle the rough and tumble of bikepark use and thrash down natural downhill courses, but if you break free from the uplift it sucks up natural big mountain riding too.