Canyon Torque:ON CF 9 – First Ride Review

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Canyon has launched the new Torque:ON CF, an electric self–uplift bike, this time in carbon fibre. It’s quite a different beast to the alloy Torque:ON, and something of a step-sibling to the non-electric Torque. Hannah was out at the launch, and brings you this first ride review.

Canyon Torque:ON CF review

Canyon Torque:ON Range Key Specifications

  • 175/180 rear/front travel
  • Mullet wheelsize only
  • Shimano EP8 motor
  • Custom 720Wh and 900Wh batteries
  • Sizes available: S, M, L, XL (Size small not compatible with 900Wh battery)
  • Custom 650ml water bottle capacity
  • Integrated mudguards
  • Max tyre width 2.6in
  • Claimed weight 23.7kg (Torque:ON CF 9, 720Wh, Size M)
  • Three models: CF 8, CF9, CF LTD Ken Roczen

Canyon Torque:ON Pricing

  • Torque:ON CF 8: € 5,999 / £5,749 (720 Wh) or € 6,399 / £6,099 (900 Wh)
  • Torque:ON CF 9: € 7,499 / £7,149 or € 7,899 / £8,249
  • Torque:ON CF Roczen € 8,999 / £8,599 or € 9,399 / £8,949

The designers wanted to keep the 63.5° head angle of the non-electric Torque, and wanted to create a bike with the range to ride further than the existing Torque:ON AL offered. This new Torque:ON CF uses Canyon’s custom batteries, as used in their Spectral:ON, which are longer and slimmer. The carbon layup creates the stiffness required to pass the Category 5E testing standards (which is Rampage Ready in lay terms), while also reducing the weight by around 1.5kg compared to the alloy version. The weight is distributed evenly through the downtube, helping to keep the weight off the rear wheel – handy for bunnyhops and taking flight.

Canyon Torque:ON CF review

I loved the acoustic (am I allowed to say that?) Torque CF 29 and it’s still a matter of some regret that I didn’t buy it after the test. Light, playful, flickable, it’s a real do it all bike that I would be very happy to have in my shed. On sight, the carbon fibre Torque:ON wasn’t really filling me with hope and anticipation. It’s deliberately styled on a moto, which in my eyes is the same as hitting it with an ugly stick in multiple places. I get that the designers wanted to find a way to carry water on the bike – for all those packless riders – but this solution offends me. I generally dislike bespoke components and accessories – and a specific water bottle for this specific bike falls into that category. I want to be able to use the multitude of other water bottles that I already own (and have already been created in this world) rather than need yet another one. Water bottles on the bike, yay, but this seems like an extreme length to go to to achieve it. Plus, in my view, it’s another strike for the ugly stick. Oh, and it’s debatable whether you need the strap – you have to be riding really hard to dislodge it – but doing it up is a two handed job.

Canyon Torque:ON CF review

I’m not the target market though as I think there is a lot to be said for carrying a pack of kit. A spare layer, some basic tools – and indeed in my case on this trip, a tampon – can make the difference between a long traipse back to base for supplies, a cold spell awaiting rescue, or a quick return to the business of riding. Indeed, there is a pair of bosses just under the seat tube/top tube junction designed to fit a tool like a Topeak Ninja Master+ Toolbox – another nod to pack-less riding.

Tool mount

For the keen moto crowd, there’s also the coil sprung Torque:ON CF LTD Roczen, styled on one of German motorcross racer Ken Roczen’s bikes. Whack, there goes that ugly stick again. (Yes, yes, I’m not the target market. I may even be old and curmudgeonly).

Canyon Torque:ON CF review

So then, my love of the standard Torque along with my definitely not love-at-first-sight combined to dampen my enthusiasm for testing out this bike. It looked like a great heavy beast, and the agility and light feeling of the standard Torque are one of its great attractions. But riding bikes is my job, whether they hurt my eyes or not, so I dutifully adorned my body with all the D30 I own (Fabien Barel had said he wouldn’t ride the Torque without his full face and back protector, it seemed prudent to heed that advice) and prepared to ride.

Canyon Torque:ON CF 9 First Ride Review

Canyon Torque:ON CF review

Despite the launch being in Tuscany, the weather was on the very British side of things. Trails were wet, and there was quite a lot of similarity to Bike Park Wales. A fast paced self uplift along the fire roads, a bit of a wriggle up through the trees and over a couple of wooden ramps of doom, and we were deposited at the start of the first of three trails, graded green, blue and red. Although it was a ‘bike park’, the trails were singletrack, and not the wide motorway jump lines that I suspect many of the target market will be eyeing up on this bike. The green was a wriggly snake of steep turns and swooping rollers, with a few jump opportunities towards the lower end. The blue offered up some flat out speed, with occasional rock traps, and the red added some small jumps into the mix. Along the way there were a couple of optional bigger lines, but with wet limestone being one of my least favourite substances on this earth, I generally opted for the B-lines here.

However, everywhere else, I happily rolled, swooped and occasionally flew my way down the trails. It offers a similarly confidence inspiring ride to the Torque, and gets you out of trouble thanks to tons of travel and support. Its weight seems well distributed enough to give a ride on steeps and turns that defied my usual ebike experiences of leaving me holding on while the bike rolls away from me, or slithers sideways out from under me. The Shimano XT brakes are up to the job of controlling the speed on the bike, whether that was a general dragging of brakes to keep speeds down though a steep section, or a hauling on them to come to a stop as I hit the fireroad, arms and legs jellied after a 5 minute+ descent. Its heft does make itself known when it comes to hopping around – I found it doesn’t quite offer the same playfulness of the Torque, meaning I’d tend to plough down lines rather than hopping off natural lips and edges – but when I did hit constructed jumps the bike felt balanced in the air.

Canyon Torque:ON CF review

Although in my view it looks freaky, the ride position is quite ‘normal’. Sizing is normal. The ride position is fairly relaxed. It’s a bike that will feel familiar and comforting to many. In contrast, the new Strive:ON is long and will feel it to those not used to more progressive geometry – you may even choose to size down. In which case, perhaps you should be look at the comfortable and forgiving ride of the Torque:ON instead.

The Torque:ON is a great big beef cake of a bike, with its emphasis on cruising up to get on down. I can imagine seeing plenty of these at the Golfie, or maybe even Dyfi, where fire roads take you up and up before you set your sights downwards. However, the Strive:ON offers more of the agile handling and climbing you’d look for if your upwards trails offer more challenge than flowy singletrack or fire roads. Curiously, the I’d have thought the Torque:ON was heavier than the Strive:ON, although both are roughly the same weight – the Torque:ON may even be a touch lighter. Perhaps my brain was fooled by the beefy appearance of the Torque:ON.

Another factor that may affect buying choices, is that the Canyon Torque:ON comes with a Shimano motor. On the plus side, this means you get Shimano’s buttons, which I think are far better than any of the options from Bosch. You get the Shimano EP8 system, which offers three levels of assist to Bosch’s four. The Shimano motor gives a more natural feeling to pedalling – as you pedal, it ramps up the assist in a curve, rather than the binary on/off of the Bosch. Both systems are good, but they are quite distinctly different. Riding both options consecutively really highlights the differences – if you don’t get the chance to do that, you’ll probably be happy with whichever you choose, and be none the wiser to the nuances.

Canyon Torque:ON CF review

This bike is designed for the freeride/bikepark/laps crew, right down to the casing on the underside of the motor. This is designed to withstand the kind of bashes you might get when casing a jump or misjudging a landing, whereas the Strive:ON comes with one designed to scrape and slide over rocks and obstacles.

Drop that bash guard and the battery is revealed. The battery uses a Rosenberger-style magnetic connector which makes charging super easy, on or off the bike. There’s no doubt when you’ve connected your charger, or wibbly little pokey prongs to fit into just the right holes, as per some older Bosch chargers. Ker-thunk and you know it’s seated properly and charing.

Canyon Torque:ON CF review

In terms of delivering an agile bike capable of all day laps, I think the designers have done well. I strongly suspect your body will give up long before you run out of battery. Indeed, the ease with which you can deliver yourself back up to the top may have you doing ‘one more lap’ more often than is wise. Without the physical barrier of having to get on up to get on down, you’ll have to rely on your own good judgement as to when it’s time to call it quits. I recommend doing so before you deploy the back protector and full face that you’re wearing. You did listen to what Fabien Barel said, didn’t you?

Overall

I personally don’t like how the Canyon Torque:ON looks, but I know that the moto aesthetic will appeal to some. Indeed, I think that most people who buy this bike will do so because they like how it looks – personally, I think the Strive:ON is the better all rounder. However, had I not also ridden the Strive:ON I’d have been pretty damned happy with this Torque:ON. It defied my expectations for an ebike, leaving me feeling in control even on technical steeps. It is a self uplift beast for lapping the bike park or enduro descents, and I’d suggest it’s more bike than you’ll need in most of the UK – but when did too much bike ever stop anyone buying it? Plus, with a motor, you probably don’t care about hauling an extra inch or so of stanchions around. If you never want to pay for an uplift again, it could well be the bike for you.

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  • Canyon Torque:ON CF 9 – First Ride Review
  • ThruntonThrasher
    Full Member

    “I loved the acoustic (am I allowed to say that?)”

    No, not ever, for two reasons:

    1. It is unbelievably pretentious
    2. Bikes that rely on human power should be called bikes. If there is any sort of motor involved then it is a motorbike.

    desperatebicycle
    Full Member

    I want a screaming budgie mascot on my bike!

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