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2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB

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Canyon Torque/ON 9 (Stealth)
2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB 2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB 2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB 2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB 2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB 2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB 2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB 2021 Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB
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REVIEW - 2021 Torque:ON 9 e-Mountain Bike

Ready for Descents, Lacking on the Climbs

Rating: Vital Review
REVIEW - 2021 Torque:ON 9 e-Mountain Bike

Vital MTBers, it’s new e-bike day. Four to be exact. Today, Canyon announced four new or updated eMTBs for 2021, all featuring Shimano’s EP8 drive system. We have a First Ride review of one of them - the brand-new, long-travel 27.5-inch Torque:ON 9.

The other eMTB models from Canyon are the mixed-wheel-size, 150mm-travel Spectral:ON, the 29er Neuron:ON with 130mm of travel, and the hardtail, Grand Canyon:ON. The Spectral and Neuron run 630wh batteries while the Grand Canyon uses a 504wh. U.S. riders shouldn’t get too excited, however, as the Neuron and the Grand Canyon are not available in our market.

Direct-to-Consumer Buying Experience Disclaimer

Canyon is a consumer-direct bike brand which means bikes are purchased directly through Canyon.com and they’re shipped to your door. There is no local bike shop involved in the process. We want to be clear that since Vital is not a bike-buying customer, we can not speak to the actual, real-life experience of ordering a bike from Canyon or interacting with their customer service department.

Canyon Torque:ON 9 Highlights

  • 27.5-inch wheels only
  • Alloy frame only
  • 175mm rear travel, 180mm front
  • FOX Factory Suspension
  • Sizes S, M, L, XL
  • Shimano EP8 motor
  • Removable 504wh battery
  • Built-in lower bash guard
  • Canyon :ON Cockpit with wire-through-bar setup
  • Clever, velcro and neoprene internal cable retention system
  • SRAM Code RSC brakes with 220mm front rotor
  • Maxxis DHF / DHR tire combo (2.5 front, 2.6 rear)
  • DT Swiss H-series wheels (30mm front, 35mm rear rim width)
  • Weight: 51.8 pounds (Size medium, without pedals - note our test bike came with a DoubleDown front tire. Production spec is EXO+)
  • Price: 5,799€ with single battery, 6,299€ with second battery.
  • The Torque:ON 9 we tested is not available in the U.S. The Torque:ON 8 with RockShox Zeb and Super Deluxe, Shimano SLX drivetrain and $5,399 USD price is what Americans can purchase.

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As you probably guessed, the dual 27.5-inch-wheeled Torque:ON e-machine is based on Canyon’s freeride bike of the same Torque name. The Torque:ON comes in two alloy-only models, the 8 or the 9, with 180mm of front travel and 175mm out back. We were quite happy Canyon went alloy to keep the prices in check.

U.S. buyers only have access to the Torque:ON 8, which retails for a very respectable $5,399 USD. The 8 features a RockShox Super Deluxe R shock and Zeb R fork with Shimano SLX-level drivetrain and brakes. On paper, the spec is dialed and Vital would have been elated to test one for ourselves.

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Strengths

  • Surprisingly agile for 53-pound bike (with pedals)
  • Shimano EP8 power and versatility
  • Capable descender
  • Braking power
  • Price

Weaknesses

  • 504wh battery limits range
  • Slack seat angle and very short chainstays limit steep climbing prowess
  • Low bottom bracket caused pedals strikes even with 160mm cranks
  • 150mm dropper on L and XL sizes
  • Not available in U.S. market

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First Impressions

Due to Covid-19 complications and media bikes having been ordered months ago, we were sent the Torque:ON 9, which is not available in the U.S. The 9 features FOX factory suspension and SRAM drivetrain and brakes. Having spent time on the both the RockShox suspension and Shimano components that are found on the Torque:ON 8, we have no reservations about their relative performance on that build and believe, at that price, it’s a fantastic deal. Our first ride impressions, however, are from the Torque:ON 9.

Torque:ON 8 - the only Torque:ON available to U.S. riders.
Torque:ON 8 - the only Torque:ON available to U.S. riders.

A lower bashguard, upper chainguide, accessory charging port, some clever cable management features, a *normal* stem, tidy, wire-through-the-bars setup and an overall clean atheistic round out the Torque’s composition. DT Swiss H series wheels are ready for eMTB demands with steel driver bodies and robuts spokes. Maxxis tires (2.5-inch front and 2.6-inch rear) with EXO+ casing handle the rubber side. Considering the 53-pound heft of our Torque with pedals, we could see Double Down or even DH casing tires being a welcomed addition for support and stability through turns, jump faces and other compressions.

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Suspension characteristics have been altered from the non-powered Torque to take advantage of the motor. The relationship between drivetrain and suspension is distanced thanks to the 85nm of electric power. Traction is improved with lower anti-squat values, which also minimizes pedal kickback through the travel. Mid-stroke support has increased due to the extra sprung mass of the 53-pound bike.

Regardless of build, 27.5-inch wheels are the only option on the Torque, sorry EugenM. Our first questions to Canyon? Can we run the Torque:ON as a mullet, and what about a dual-crown fork? Canyon said they do not recommend a 29-inch front wheel because of potentially negative geometry changes (hit the Spectral:ON if you want a mullet). Additionally, a dual-crown fork will have limited steering capacity due to the size of the head tube junction area.

That's a velcro and neoprene cover to secure cables. Pretty trick.
Removable 504wh battery

Geometry

Compared to the regular Torque, the geometry has been tweaked for the Torque:ON. Things are kept simple with no on-board geometry adjustments. Reach has been bumped up, 460mm on our medium, head angle is a fun, slack 63.5-degrees, and chainstays are a very stubby 430mm across all sizes. The elephant in the room? That 74-degree seat tube angle. Yeah, we thought the same thing when we first saw it.

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Motor and Battery

Canyon say they went with the Shimano EP8 motor setup for two reasons; the quiet, natural-feeling character of the motor and Shimano’s strong, in-place dealer and service network which could be critical for support with the direct-to-consumer brand. We’ve had time aboard a few different EP8 bikes, all pleasurable experiences, thanks to the versatility of the E-Tube app and the motor’s 85nm of power.

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Of note is the Torque:ON’s use of the smaller, removable 504wh battery. Markets outside the U.S. are luckier once again with an option of buying an additional 504wh battery for 500€ when purchased with the bike. Americans don't get that choice and will have to ride in Eco mode a bit more for longer days in the saddle. Canyon’s reasoning for the smaller battery? They were seeking a better handling bike by saving about 600g over a 640wh cell. Additionally, there is less real estate occupied by the battery. As a result, there are no bump stops or knock-block-type apparatus because the downtube and fork clear each other. There is also room for a full-size water bottle.

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Would we notice 600g to get more go-time? Seems doubtful. The Torque:On is already robust at 53 pounds, but we appreciate the water bottle space and lack of fork bumpers. If you’re an adventure rider seeking long days and big outings, you may want to check out the Spectral:ON.

Frame Details

The alloy frame is beefy and the stout pivots use double, angular-contact bearings. The Torque:ON meets Canyon’s Category 5 durability rating, which is the same as their Sender DH bike. A fun little fact is that Canyon used proprietary grease in the bearings to maximize life. E-bikes have a lot of mass and the forces at play were not taken lightly by engineers. Our first rides indicate that this is a stiff, beefy bike. When the battery is removed, there is a clever and quiet Velcro and neoprene cable retention system. This makes for easy cable swaps and eliminates rattle. The frame protection on the chainstay is up-to-date, and we always appreciate Canyon's rear axle with handy, pop-out quick-release lever.

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Torque:ON First Ride

On the trail, traction is ample and there is a liveliness that is surprising for such a robust bike. The Torque:ON will pop and maneuver, but it will also plow with its compliant 180/175mm travel combo. The slack head angle keeps the Torque:ON stable at speed and the wheelbase is a happy medium at max velocity. The low-slung mass was fantastic in high-speed, sweeping turns. One of our test riders noted on the descents that the Torque:ON felt very reminiscent to the Santa Cruz Heckler we tested last summer, a favorite in our e-MTB group test.

On the way up, the EP8 motor does its thing well, as we’ve grown accustomed. We ran the stock Profile 2 for our first rides without any tweaking. Trail mode in Profile 2 is a blast. There is no shortage of power to get up steep climbs. The hiccup with the Torque:ON and steep climbs, however, is that seat angle and the short chainstays.

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When asked about its laid back saddle position, Canyon replied that the seat angle could be relaxed for e-bike use because climbing power comes from the motor more than the rider. We could not rectify that response on paper, and that was not our experience on the trail. Both testers who rode the Torque have legs that are on the short side, so the seat post is well down the seat tube. It took an incredible amount of focus to prevent wheel lift and even looping out on steep climbs. Dropping the seatpost half way, pulling in our elbows and leaning into the hill, while performing a hybrid stand/sit climb technique would get us up the gnar, but the situation was hardly ideal. When hitting those let’s-try-to-go-up-THAT-because-we’re-on-an-ebike climbs, the front end of the Torque:ON became exhaustively light, making steering quite difficult.

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The supportive e-bike-specific saddle is a nice touch, and seems necessary with the recliner-like feel of that 74-degree lean, preventing sliding off the back. The climbing issue is also exacerbated by the 430mm chainstays, which are otherworldly short for an e-bike. With 430mm chainstays on every size Torque:ON, we can only imagine how amplified the light front end would be for riders with longer legs and higher seat posts. On that note, a 150mm dropper is the longest offered on any size Torque, including Large and XL.

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Another size-specific spec note is that the Small and Medium Torques come with 160mm crank arms. Large and XL run 165mm. 160mm is pretty darn short and winding up a speedy cadence to keep the motor humming was noticeably less natural than what we’re used to. That isn't a deal-breaker by itself, but we have to imagine the short cranks are quite necessary for the Torque:ON. With 15mm of bottom bracket drop on a 175mm travel bike, the ride height of the Torque:ON is very low. We hit our pedals on a few technical climbing bits.

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What's the Bottom Line?

As noted earlier, we’re in the U.S. which leaves only the Torque:ON 8 as our option, but we received the Torque:ON 9 to review. While there are spec differences to what we reviewed here, we would have no reservations about performance or durability with the Torque:ON 8 build. Its $5,399 price tag is a treat, too. If self-shuttling DH trails where steep climbs or big-mileage adventures aren’t a regular occurrence, then the Torque:ON should be on your short list because of its awesome descending capability. If regularly steep climbs or accessing long, crushing ups-and-downs of wilderness OHV trails is on your e-bike requirement list, then you’ll probably be disappointed with the 504wh battery life and the ascending short-comings of the Torque's geometry.

We wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water just because of the climbing characteristics. There is plenty of fun to be had with this nimble, lively eMTB and those short chainstays add to the fun, flickable nature of the bike. A willingness to adjust to its relaxed uphill nature is mandatory, however. In addition, the Torque:ON delivers an excellent spec for the money. To learn more about the Canyon e-bikes available in your region, hit up Canyon.com.

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Specifications

Product Canyon Torque:ON 9 eMTB
Model Year 2021
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 612mm 639mm 667mm 694mm
Head Tube Angle 63.5° 63.5° 63.5° 63.5°
Head Tube Length 115mm 125mm 135mm 145mm
Seat Tube Angle 74° 74° 74° 74°
Seat Tube Length 440mm 440mm 460mm 500mm
Bottom Bracket Height 15mm drop 15mm drop 15mm drop 15mm drop
Chainstay Length 430mm 430mm 430mm 430mm
Wheelbase 1214mm 1244mm 1273mm 1302mm
Standover 777mm 780mm 786mm 790mm
Reach 435mm 460mm 485mm 510mm
Stack 616mm 625mm 634mm 643mm
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
E-Bike Class Class 1: Pedal Assist (Pedelecs)
Motor Shimano EP8, 85 Nm
Battery Shimano BT-E8035-L, lithium-Ion , IPX5 water resistant, 2.9 Kg (adapter for external charging not included)
Battery Capacity 504 Wh
Display/Remote Shimano STEPS power mode switch
Modes Off, Eco, Trail, Boost
Max Speed with Assist 20 mph (32 km/h)
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details
Rear Travel 175mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory
Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2
Fork Travel 180mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Acros
Handlebar Canyon:ON HB0056 Riser, aluminum, 780mm width, 35mm clamp diameter, 20mm rise
Stem Canyon:ON, 35mm clamp diameter, 40mm length
Grips Canyon Lock-On
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 4-piston, SRAM Centerline 220mm front x 203mm rear rotors
Brake Levers SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed, MatchMaker X clamp
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed, single-click, e-MTB specific
Chainguide Top guide with built-in lower bash guard
Cranks Shimano EM600, 160mm (S, M), 165mm (L, XL)
Chainrings Canyon:ON 34 tooth
Pedals VP-536 composite flat, 7mm boron steel axle
Chain SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette SRAM XG 1275 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52 tooth
Rims DT Swiss H-1700 Spline wheelset, 30mm front, 35mm rear
Hubs DT Swiss H-1700 Spline wheelset, DT Swiss Hybrid/350, star ratchet with steel freehub
Spokes DT Swiss H-1700 Spline wheelset
Tires Front: Maxxis Minion DHF, 27.5x2.5", 3C MaxxTerra
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 27.5x2.6", EXO+ casing, 3C MaxxTerra
Saddle Canyon SD:ON, chromoly rails, durable nylon composite shell
Seatpost Canyon Iridium Dropper, internally routed, cable atuated, 125mm travel (S), 150mm travel (M-XL)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions Boost
Max. Tire Size 148x12mm Boost, Canyon Quixle thru axle
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Stealth
Warranty 6-year limited
Weight 52 lb 4 oz (23,700 g)
Miscellaneous
  • Triple Phase Suspension
  • Integrated USB-C charging socket for charging your smartphone, lights, or other devices
  • Also available with an additional battery and cover
  • Mullet not recommended
  • Price $6,900
    More Info

    Canyon website

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