The Torque oozes control and carries out its duties with stealth-like precision. It’s no wonder I just want to ride it over and over and over again
Buy if, You want a well-balanced, surefooted, big hitting trail bike that's a total monster when pointed downhill
Pros: Composed suspension that balances traction with big hitting capabilities; easy to adapt to geometry that feels confident at speed and through the turns; great components package with some seriously well-considered, choice parts bolted on where it matters most
Cons: Keep an eye on the shock bolts; climbs well enough but you need to be patient
When Canyon launched the updated version of its highly acclaimed trail bike, the Spectral, it also unveiled a totally revamped version of its heavy hitting Torque. While it shares a similar silhouette to its shorter travel counterpart, the Torque is built to tackle burlier trails, huck jumps in the bike park or lap downhill run after run.
The Canyon Torque CF 8.0 is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2018. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub.
Canyon Torque CF 8.0 – Enduro Bike of the Year 2018 Winner
Canyon Torque CF 8.0 frame
The Torque has 175mm of rear wheel travel, all of which is controlled thanks to the impressive and smooth RockShox Super Deluxe RCT rear shockMatt Wragg/Mountain Biking UK
The Torque’s 175mm / 6.9in of rear wheel travel is delivered in what Canyon describe as its Triple Phase Suspension system where the initial stroke is sensitive, the mid-stroke supportive and the end stroke progressive. Controlling all of that travel is a RockShox Super Deluxe RCT shock which comes without a single red volume spacer inside the air can.
Geometry isn’t crazy extreme but in-line with a number of other big hitters in this category. My medium test bike sports a reach of 440mm, slack head angle of 64.9 degrees, wheelbase of 1,200mm, short 430mm chainstays and a slammed 335mm bottom bracket.
A chainguide complete with bash guard is useful considering how low the bottom bracket sits (335mm)Matt Wragg/Mountain Biking UK
Just like the new Spectral, the Torque features Canyon’s ‘Cable Channel’, which is essentially a plastic shroud that runs the length of the down tube and neatly hides the cables out of the way. This channel not only protects the cables and the underside of the down tube, but helps to keep the Torque cable rattle free, look cleaner and less cluttered but still offers ease of maintenance should you want to work on your bike (the shroud can simply be unbolted to access the cables).
Another neat touch is the rear axle. A hinged lever telescopes out of the axle body where it folds out to allow you to tighten or loosen your axle without needing a tool. It also means it you don’t have a chunky quick release lever sticking out of the non-driveside of your bike.
Canyon Torque CF 8.0 kit
As we’ve come to expect from Canyon, cutting out bike shops and selling direct to the consumer means its bikes are shod with some seriously drool-worthy kit considering what they cost. If you’re confident enough to buy online and forgo the help of your local bike shop then the Torque CF 8.0 won’t disappoint.
Canyon has bolted on some serious kit, including the RockShox Lyrik RCT3 fork which we rate as one of the best heavy hitting forks on the market. Maxxis takes care of the tyres in the shape of its Minion DHR II, both of which are of the 2.4in Wide Trail variety. The front tyre does use the tackier MaxxGrip compound though which is noticeable when rolling along on roads of hardpack surfaces.
The DT Swiss E1700 Spline wheels used here have a 30mm internal width which works well with the 2.4in Wide Trail Maxxis tyresMatt Wragg/Mountain Biking UK
While its growl signifies it might not be the fastest rolling tyre out there, get stuck into some seriously technical terrain and you’ll be glad of the well damped rubber that does a fine job of clinging to wet rocks and roots when you’re fighting for every ounce of traction. The Maxxis tyres wrap DT Swiss E1700 Spline wheels which boast a 30mm internal width and give a great shape to the Wide Trail rubber.
To help keep costs down a bit here, Canyon has opted to go for SRAM’s 1×11 GX transmission. While some might miss that wider range of the more expensive 1×12 Eagle gearing, I found this set up hard to fault throughout testing. Shifting remained clean and crisp and although there’s no big bailout gear to help you along when you’re properly blowing, the 42t felt just about fine for me.
While the 11-speed GX cassette doesn’t offer quite the same range as the pricier GX Eagle 12-speed offering, the Torque still managed every climb I pointed it at throughout testingMatt Wragg/Mountain Biking UK
Canyon’s new own brand G5 bar, stem and grips sit neatly up front. I found the bar and stem pretty stiff when riding some seriously roughed up high-frequency trails but totally fine on the bigger hits on the trails of San Remo, Italy where we finished this test off.
Canyon Torque CF 8.0 ride impressions
Fire the Torque head-on into a properly chewed up section of trail at speed and its quiet composure and well-damped patter of tyre on dirt is truly quite special. This bike oozes control and possesses a surefootedness that just can’t help but increase confidence levels as the terrain gets more challenging.
Things feel stable when it’s needed but there’s no shortness of pop and liveliness when it comes to lofting the Torque from take-off to landing, or when slicing across the trail to catch that inside line or avoiding a nasty rut at the last minute.
I put the Torque through its paces in sunny San Remo, ItalyMatt Wragg/Mountain Biking UK
While it can handle all the nastiness of a black run, it’s no point and plough machine. There’s still plenty of support through the suspension when you need to work the bike through the terrain to maintain speed, though its more than forgiving enough when you go battering into an unknown trail, missing lines left right and centre. It helps that the Torque’s Code R anchors offer masses of easy to control power too, which really helps when testing the limits of your ability and the bike.
Feedback through the bike ensures you can feel what’s happening beneath your tyres but without any kind of harsh feedback that’ll wear you out on longer runs down the hill.
The low slung geometry and broad, grippy tyres come together to create a seriously rapid bike through the turns. Traction levels are seriously impressive and I found myself getting away with more and more extreme lean angles as testing went on, railing corners at speed but in what felt like total control.
In terms of set up, I did add a single Bottomless Token to the 180mm travel fork which offered enough ramp up when taking on the bigger hits but ensured there was masses of comfort when tackling the longest and roughest of test trails.
You’ll certainly find the compression lever on the shock handy on really long climbsMatt Wragg/Mountain Biking UK
At the rear, things were even simpler. The 175mm of rear wheel travel is delivered in a well-measured, controlled way and I never felt the need to add any spacers to the shock to alter the level of progression at the end of the stroke. I did find I ended up just a few clicks away from fully open on the rebound damping though.
While the Torque is clearly designed with a downhill bias, it’s still more than happy to winch up climbs. Although the seat tube angle isn’t particularly steep at 74 degrees, a flick of the shock’s compression lever firms things up nicely, allowing you to claw your way back up the hill.
The 40mm stem and 620mm effective top tube make for a roomy position when seated and ensure you’re stretch out enough to weight the front of the bike when tackling steep inclines.
My time on the Torque wasn’t all trouble free though. During my first couple of days aboard the CF 8.0 I did find myself having to tighten the upper shock bolt a couple of times after it worked its way loose.
On my final day in San Remo, my bike also developed a creak emanating from the rear shock mount. Canyon put this down to the fact that some of the parts that made up my test bike were pre-production and not finished properly. I cleaned and greased the affected area and the creak disappeared.
Despite those small niggles, I still think the Torque balances compromise better than most and is a seriously fun bike to ride no matter what trail lies ahead.