Mountain Biking UK

ROWDY LONG-TRAVEL RIGS

Whoever said ‘freeride is dead’ didn’t figure on a resurgence of longer-travel bikes with burly single-crown forks. Hucking off cliffs may have gone out of fashion, but more machines with over 170mm of bounce are popping up, even if they now nod to speed as much as hitting big jumps and drops.

Canyon’s Torque and Propain’s Spindrift are two such bikes, and are burly enough for hammering bike parks or tackling full-on ‘superenduro’ style terrain. The German pair get close to DH bike capability, but with the added ability to pedal to the top (even if you might secretly rather plonk them on an uplift trailer or ski lift).

What sets these machines apart from similar-looking enduro bikes is that they pack up to 30mm more travel than your average race rig and the designers have placed even more emphasis on how they perform once gravity takes over. Huge gaps, bike-park-style dirt jumps or aggressively steep chutes and off-piste lines get taken in this pair’s stride, with fun being the priority.

That said, there’s nothing stopping you from racing the odd enduro or messing about with mates on mellower terrain, aside from the fact that extra travel and beefier kit usually mean lugging more weight around. Plus, with less focus on pedalling prowess and gram-shaving, these bikes may not be as competitive against the clock.

That’s the theory, but how do they really perform? We’ve got fewer bikes than usual on test this month (due to border hold-ups and customs confusion compounding availability issues caused by the pandemic) so we’ve switched things up and broken from our standard biketest format, instead comparing the Canyon and Propain head

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