Canyon’s full-power eMTB offerings have continuously expanded over the past few years, from the 150mm trail-centered Spectral to the big hit Torque AL. But a certain offering was absent amongst the lineup from this race-winning brand: an all-out, race-capable, speed-loving machine. Taking the EWS race-winning pedigree of its Strive, Canyon injected it into an e-MTB to create the Strive:ON. Designed with substantial involvement from Canyon athlete and World Cup legend Fabien Barel, the new model was built to attack EWS-E races while remaining a trail-capable choice.
And if developing an entirely new platform wasn’t enough to keep the Canyon eMTB team busy, the engineers elected to revisit the Torque:ON. A long travel, freeride-dedicated platform, the Torque:ON aims to carry riders to the most remote big mountain descents, serving as its own shuttle rig via a bigger battery, stiffer frame, and a lighter carbon chassis.
The Strive:ON utilizes Canyon's CFR carbon in an optimized layup construction, adding compliance to the rear triangle to achieve a ride that is not overly stiff or fatigue-inducing. The compliant rear end balances the stiffness of the front triangle that is optimized for high-speed control. Canyon claims that the Strive:ON overall stiffness is similar to that of the standard Spectral and Strive.
The Strive:ON frame is built around a mullet wheel package. Differing from the 29-only setup of the standard, non-eMTB Strive, Canyon claims the added stability from the motor and battery weight is ideal for a mixed wheel setup, with the smaller rear wheel providing an agile and "quick from the gun" ride, removing sluggishness and lessening rider fatigue.
So where does Canyon's infamous Shapeshifter technology fit in? Well, it doesn't. Canyon chose to forego the geometry-altering technology on the electric version because they believe the bikes climb well enough not to need it, and the space the Shapeshifter takes up in the frame can be better utilized for a full-size water bottle.
Like the Strive:ON, the Torque:ON follows suit with a mullet setup, but that's mostly where the similarities end. The Torque's carbon layup is category 5E rated, meaning the frame goes through the same testing (and then some) as the brand's Sender downhill model. The prior Torque:ON frame was constructed of aluminum, and by moving to carbon Canyon was able to shave 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) from the frame while increasing front triangle stiffness by 7% and rear triangle stiffness by 25%. This is impressive, considering the Torque:ON now features even larger battery size options.
The Torque:ON chassis is visually striking with its unique moto-inspired look. Canyon states that the chassis design's purpose goes far beyond aesthetics. Priority was placed on keeping the center of gravity low to improve handling and traction, not so different than a moto. Canyon achieved this via a low-slung shock position, low bottom bracket, and low motor and battery placement.
This is where Torque:ON frame design gets really interesting. The unique design leaves no space for a water bottle in the traditional position. Challenged to find a solution for the bike to carry water so that riders don't need to wear a pack, Canyon's engineers split the top tube top, making room for a custom-made 650ml water bottle to slot in the middle. We like to call it the fuel tank. An added strap ensures the bottle is secure. Like a typical water bottle cage, the snap-in cage can be easily removed if one prefers a cleaner but drier top tube.
Both bikes feature ample frame protection, including motor "skid" plates and Canyon's new fork fenders custom fit for both FOX and RockShox. Both frames also feature replaceable thread inserts and sealed bearings.
When defining the geometry of the Strive:ON, Canyon looked to two of their flagship mountain bikes, Strive and Spectral. Influenced by their respective speed and agility characteristics, only a few small tweaks were required to accommodate the motor and added weight.
Like its non-eMTB brethren, the Strive:ON flaunts generous reach measurements, running about a full size larger than many comparable bikes. The reach on the medium is 475mm, whereas the small is 450mm. Shorter riders need not apply? The head tube is a slack 63.5 degrees for stable handling on aggressive, fast descents. As a true enduro machine, technical climbing ability was one of the prerogatives that the engineering team strove for (no pun intended) — the 78-degree seat tube angle ensures the rider is well-positioned for pedaling and a 445mm chainstay helps to balance uphill traction.
Where the Strive:ON seeks precision on technical climbs, the Torque:ON merely requires the ability to get uphill quickly as a means to an end, that end being burly descents and freeride moves. Thus, the seat tube is less steep than Strive:ON, but the reach, head tube, and chainstay have the same measurements. But don't be fooled into thinking that equates to the bikes riding similarly. The bottom bracket on the Torque:ON rests 7mm lower than Strive:ON, keeping the center of gravity as low as possible for stable handling.
The kinematics of the Strive:ON are based on Canyon's Triple Phase Suspension. The design creates a leverage curve that is sensitive at the beginning of the travel for traction while reducing trail chatter. The mid stroke becomes supportive for stability and maintaining speed, and the end of the stroke ramps up to avoid bottom out. Anti-squat was designed to be minimal, especially deeper into the travel. This helps the rider manage comfort and fatigue while keeping the suspension active.
The kinematics of the Torque:ON follow the same concept, but its lower anti-rise values are designed to keep the suspension active for performance under braking – think charging into bike park corners littered with braking bumps. The leverage curve works with both air and coil shocks.
Geometry and suspension are significant factors to consider with an eMTB, but one designed particularly for racing is only as good as it's motor and battery. To achieve race-ready performance, Canyon needed a motor that could produce power quickly with a high peak output. Enter the Bosch Performance Line CX and CX Race motors, with 600 watts of peak power and 85Nm of max torque, up to 120 rpm.
The CX Race motor, featured exclusively on the Strive:ON CF Race build, has an additional mode referred to as — you guessed it — Race mode, delivering faster and stronger power with an overrun feature that drives even longer after pedaling stops. The CX motor's four modes provide pedal assist up to 340% of rider output, while the CX Race motor assists up to 4x rider output.
Powering the Bosch motor are two battery options, 625Wh and 750Wh (size small frames are only compatible with the 625Wh battery). The 625Wh battery has 20% less range but is 700 grams lighter. The Canyon-designed battery mount in the frame allows for easy battery swaps, a handy feature for racing. A handlebar-mounted Bluetooth Mini Remote operates the Bosch motor's power modes. The integrated Smart System Top Tube Control Centre displays power mode and battery level, and can connect to Bosch's Flow App.
While the power output of the Strive:ON is tuned for a racing environment, the new Torque:ON is all about big battery energy. Shimano's EP8 motor delivers 85Nm of torque and is backed by two massive, Canyon-exclusive battery options — 720 and 900Wh (again, the small frame is only compatible with the 720Wh), which is a huge increase from the prior Torque:ON with a 504Wh battery. To accommodate such large batteries, Canyon had to rotate the motor by over 30 degrees to allow such large batteries to still integrate into the downtube.
A simple handlebar-mounted remote toggles between the three power modes, and a right-side handlebar-mounted display screen provides power mode and battery range information.
Both bikes are offered in three build levels. Strive:ON's flagship build is Fabien Barel's Signature CFR LTD, the sole build with the CX Performance Race motor. The LTD features a SRAM drivetrain and RockShox suspension, while the CFR and CFR Underdog builds utilize Shimano drivetrains and FOX suspension. Each build can be selected with a 625Wh or 750Wh battery. US pricing will be announced before the bikes are available later this summer. Euro pricing ranges from € 5,799 to € 9,699.
Torque:ON builds include an aptly fitting Ken Roczen (motocross superstar) "Roczen 94" special edition, equipped with a RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock, RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork, and SRAM X01 AXS groupset. The other two builds feature air shocks via the FOX Float X2, FOX 38 forks, and Shimano groupsets. US pricing is $5,499 for the CF 8, $6,499 for the CF 9, and $8,499 for the Roczen edition. Euro pricing ranges from € 5,999 to € 9,399.
To introduce the new bikes, Canyon invited us to the beautiful Tuscan hills of Italy for several days of presentations and riding, supplemented by incredible food and drink. Not only did Canyon bring its entire staff of eMTB engineers, designers, and product managers to ride along and educate us on the latest and greatest, but they also brought a stacked crew of CLLCTV athletes. Fabien Barel, Sam Pilgrim, Braydon Bringhurst, Paul Basagoitia, and Samantha Soriano all geared up and joined us on the trail throughout the week for some extra motivation or a sobering class on humility, at the very least.
Riding the Strive:ON
Anyone who has followed Fabien Barel's career knows how tremendously involved he is with his sponsors, especially when it comes to product testing and development. Barel was instrumental in developing Strive:ON, working harmoniously with the product managers, engineers, and Canyon athletes.
To test the Strive:ON, Canyon shuttled us twenty minutes from our base camp where our CFR build and Barel awaited us, ready to demonstrate its capabilities. Ironically, we were set to ride some of the tracks raced in the first Enduro World Series ten years ago – Punta Ala — won by none other than Fabien Barel. Talk about intimidation!
Thankfully before charging head-first into EWS terrain with a past champ, we warmed up with a fire road climb to get familiar with the Bosch motor and its numerous power modes. The powerful 85Nm motor made our warmup short-lived, however, as we quickly upped the amps to a technical singletrack climb scattered with rocks, off-cambers, and short steeps — ideal for testing the bike's agility and ascending prowess and our jet-lagged legs. The Performance CX motor is the ideal choice for racing due to the power building continuously along with the rider's pedal cadence. There's also a slight "overrun" where the power output continues for a moment after you stop pedaling.
Amidst several difficult uphill corners, Fabien took time to discuss line choice and body positioning for optimal climbing technique. Each of us took turns attempting to clean the sections as Fabien coached us trailside. Although we aren't nearly as skilled as Fabien, it became clear that the Strive:ON was a seriously capable climbing machine.
After a mix of flowy descents and rocky climbs with impossible no-dab challenges (Fabien aside), we reached the day's most technical descending. Here, the terrain became steeper, the ruts deeper, and the rocks much bigger. Our group's pace was quite wild as we charged down, an abrupt taste of what blind European enduro racing is all about. The Strive:ON's suspension was forgiving and supportive, keeping the bike firmly planted, while the mullet setup provided swift maneuverability amongst the absurdly deep ruts and corners, even when we chose the worst lines of entry (which was most of the time). Although grateful for the shorter 165mm crank arms, no type of crank arm short of motocross pegs would eliminate pedal and shoe scraping in these deadly, rocky trenches.
After surviving one of the most uniquely technical trails we've ridden, the remainder of the day was spent on dark, forested loam littered with rock, damp from the day's light showers — the perfect testing conditions. If this wasn't Italian chocolate cake, we don't know what is.
At the end of the 7,500-foot vertical, 30-plus mile testing day, one of the major takeaways was the noticeable compliance delivered by Strive:ON. We've ridden eMTBs designed for similar applications that have left our hands wringing and arms too pumped to handle another lap. Curious about how Canyon found such a delicate balance between stiffness and compliance, we asked Fabien to explain Canyon's approach. Emphasizing the importance and differences in understanding lateral and torsional stiffness, Fabien stressed the significance of ensuring the Strive:ON wasn't too stiff. The carbon layup was optimized to add compliance in important areas, and the proper components were selected down to the tires, so the rider did not receive unnecessary feedback. This results in a comparable stiffness to the standard Spectral and Strive, but slightly more compliant than the Torque:ON.
One day isn't nearly enough to come to definitive conclusions, especially on an eMTB as capable as the Strive:ON. Still, despite our begging to stay longer in Tuscany, Canyon insisted our time and wine allotment had come to an end. The Strive:ON felt like a truly complete enduro package, stout enough for the serious racer yet agile and fun for the non-racing hard charger alike. The Bosch motor delivered manageable power and traction even in the most difficult trail circumstances. The Shimano groupset and FOX suspension were flawless, and we got along well with the overall build kit.
Riding the Torque:ON
Initially, we thought our day on the Torque:ON CF 9 might be less demanding without a top pro racer leading the pace on EWS trails. But as we were preparing to depart the Canyon factory rig on our fresh ride, freeriders Sam Pilgrim, Paul Bas, and Sam Soriano anxiously joined the group.
We tested the Torque:ON on the trails of Massa Marittima, guided by the friendly and knowledgeable crew of the local shop, Bike Service. The Massa Marittima trails are flowy, bike park-esque, with plenty of turns, berms, trail chatter, and a few smaller jumps scattered about. Fire roads return riders to the top. In theory, this is the ideal type of riding where the Torque:ON should excel. Despite recent rains creating wet and muddy conditions reminiscent of the UK, our pace was quick, and we didn't encounter much that would slow the Torque:ON other than the Shimano XT brakes and the terrain itself.
While these trails made good use of the elevation loss and terrain, they were not steep, nor were there many fast sections where we could gain speed for long periods. Although the trails in this zone would have paired better with a trail bike, we still found the long-travel Torque:ON handled surprisingly well in tighter, slower turns and corners. The low bottom bracket position was noticeable, as was its low-slung weight.
The Shimano EP8 motor has become a standard go-to for eMTBs, and its predictable and quick power delivery worked well on the Torque:ON. The simple remote makes changing modes deliberate and easy.
The Torque:ON's suspension was outstandingly responsive to trail chatter, the initial curve smoothing out bumps effortlessly. Canyon's pro athletes on hand also mimicked that belief. Jumping was straightforward, and the bike took to the air reasonably easily on the small jumps that we encountered. The additional stiffness of the chassis was also noticeable, but we didn't get enough time to determine how that would play out on a big ride. The only qualm we had with the build kit was the choice of a 2.6 Maxxis Minion DHRII on the rear. We would prefer a 2.4 for more predictable braking and sliding of the rear end into corners, as the 2.6 seemed to hang up more than we prefer.
While our testing was limited and largely confined to what felt like rivers of flowing espresso, the Torque:ON impressed upon us that it is equipped to manage almost anything one could throw at it. Yes, it is a big bike, but it is an easy bike to get along with, especially if the terrain is demanding enough for its capabilities.
Full-power eMTBs have come a long way in recent years. The fun factor has continued to increase as advancements in motor integrations, geometry, and components enhance the riding experience. As riders and brands continue to evolve the e-landscape, bikes like the Strive:ON and Torque:ON represent the current crop of long-travel, powerful, long-range eMTBs.
For hard-charging enduro racers or weekend warriors looking to tackle challenging trails, up or down, the Strive:ON is an excellent option. If you're fortunate to live near big mountains with backcountry trails accessible by road climbs and would rather self-shuttle than throw your bike in a pickup bed, look at the Torque:ON. Both bikes are available with quality builds at competitive prices and are worth considering for any rider in the market for a full-size eMTB.
For more information, please visit canyon.com
View key specs, compare e-bikes, and rate the new Canyon Torque:ON in the Vital MTB Product Guide.
About The Reviewer
Rick Reed - Age: 39 // Years Riding MTB: Who’s counting? // Height: 5' 9” (1.75m) // Weight: 142-pounds (64.4kg)
A veteran of the bike industry, Rick now finds himself in his first phase of self-described “early retirement,” allowing him time to actually ride. Obsessive about bike setup, dissecting products and European croissants, Rick enjoys riding fast tech, backcountry singletrack, and bike parks, occasionally with the company of a select human being or two (you know who you are). He resides and takes siestas in Reno, NV with his terror dog, Zuul.