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what mountain bike

Torque EX Gapstar
4 out of 5 stars - Test Winner

What Mountain Bike (model 2014)

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  • Well featured frame with stable suspension
  • Highly tunable shock with 180mm travel
  • Versatile enough for trails and bike parks

"An excellent frame backed up with superb shock and smartly specced build kit."

It's no surprise that the Canyon 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.
 
Versatility is the key.
The main highlight of the outstanding kit bolted to the Torque has to be the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air Shock. With adjustable high and low speed compression and high and low speed rebound dampening, 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 pedaling manners in a way no other bike here can.
 
It also helps that the Canyon is fitted with a double on the Race Face 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.
 
Wheelie good
Some of the Canyon's pedaling verve comes from the tubeless-ready Sun Ringle Charger Comp wheels, which we liked. The mid-weight, EXO sidewall Maxxis rubber uses and incredibly grippy Super Tacky rubber compund up front, paired with a faster-rolling 60a compund at the rear. This gives plenty of grip and feel, and it breaks progressively, which means more confidence to push harder. 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.

The Canyon proves to be the ultimate all rounder, with an excellent rear shock for supreme descending... yet the best climbing performance of the lot. It's tough, versatile and a worthy winner.

Pure Cycling.