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  1. #1
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    Long-ish term review: Canfield The One

    I've been gushing for a few months about my new ride, a 2012 Canfield The One. It's time I post up something resembling a full review of the bike, rather than just saying the usual, 'it pedals really well' mantra for which the One has become known. So here it is. It's going to be rather long, but more information is always better than less when you're about to drop the big bucks on a new frame. I will try to respond thoroughly to the questions and doubts that I had while I was deciding on a new frame.


    WARNING: long post ahead. If you don't want to read it all, you don't have to. But if you're seriously looking into the bike and want honest info, go ahead and read.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I do not know the Canfield Brothers at all, although I met them once, years ago, riding Bobsled in Salt Lake. Didnt' know it was them at the time. I don't know any of their employees either. I'm not being paid or compensated in any way by them, and I really am trying to remain as objective as I can about this bike. If something is less than stellar, I'll be honest about it. Since I had never test ridden a Canfield before ordering the frame, I was a bit worried that I had possibly purchased the wrong bike. I want people to be able to make a good decision and get the bike that they want, that's all.


    History:
    To put it into context, I'm 32 years old, 6'3" tall, I tip the scales at 240ish lbs geared up. I'm a big guy of caber-tossing Scottish heritage. I'm a former motocross racer, and I like to ride fast. Not all that into slopestyle hoppy jumpy park stuff. I can usually be found pounding rock gardens and fast singletrack.

    I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I enjoy lots of varied terrain, ranging from spring slop/clay to mulchy forest, dust on hardpack, and Moab's sandpaper. I like it all.

    I've owned a number of bikes, starting with a 1996 Cannondale F400 (yes, the sparkly purple one with the Headshok P-Bone), and most recently a 2009/10 Giant Reign 1. I've also spent a considerable amount of time riding a Santa Cruz Blur, Kona Dawg, a few different variations of the Santa Cruz Nomad, and recently the Yeti SB-66.

    I have started riding steeper stuff in the past few years. One trip to ride lifts at Deer Valley, and I could feel my Reign was starting to wimp out. I wanted to ride more full on DH stuff, but I was being limited by my gear. All my friends are xc types, so I couldn't upgrade to some 45lb DH beast unless I wanted to ride alone. I heard all about The One being a great crossover between AM and DH, and all reviews of it were glowing. I had heard the same praise given to Ellsworth bikes, and one ride on one was enough to make me hate it. I was very skeptical of 100% positive reviews. Early this spring, I ordered a Canfield The One frame on blind faith that the internet masses were telling the truth: that it could pedal like an AM bike, and descend like a DH bike.

    Here she is:

    Long-ish term review: Canfield The One-img_0003.jpg

    Long-ish term review: Canfield The One-img_0006.jpg

    Build details:
    Frame: Canfield The One, XL
    Rear travel: 8" mode
    Fork: Fox Float36 180mm
    Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel Air
    Brakes: Shimano XT IceTech
    Rotors: Shimano IceTech 203/180
    Bars: ODI Flight Control, 29.75" wide
    Grips: ODI Ruffian lock-on
    Drivetrain: 1x10, 28 x 11-36
    Crankset: Sram X9, 170mm
    Chainring: North Shore Billet direct mount, 28T
    Shifter: Sram XO
    Derailleur: Sram X9 Type 2, short cage
    Guide: MRP Lopes
    Hubs: Hope Pro2 Evo, black
    Rims: DT Swiss FR600
    Spokes : DT Swiss Comp, black w/ red nipples
    Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF Exo 2.5 (ghetto tubeless)
    Pedals: Canfield Crampon Ultimate, black
    Saddle: WTB Rocket V SLT
    Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb Stealth, 150mm
    Headset: Gravity G1
    Head angle: 65 deg
    BB height: 12.7in
    Weight: 34.6 lb


    First Impressions:
    I admit I had a bad case of NewBikeMakesMeFaster-itis. I felt like superman, but that wore off after a few rides. The first week was dedicated to dialing in the Float 180 and Cane Creek DBair shock. The DBair is incredibly good, but it did take a lot of tweaking to get it where I wanted it. The first large difference between it and my recently sold Giant Reign was the bar height. The One is longer, and noticeably lower in bar height than the Giant. The One also felt much more rigid, and the center of gravity was much lower. The bars being a few inches lower than the Giant made me feel a bit over-the-front at first, but when descending, I realized what a benefit it was. More on that later.

    Climbing:
    Ah yes. The first thing everybody wants to know about the bike. Does it really climb as well as people say? In a word, yes, but not how I was expecting. First thing I noticed was the different feel of the bike. It was a very different beast from the Giant I had just sold. The Giant's Maestro suspension I had grown accustomed to stiffened up a LOT when pedaling. The harder you cranked, the more like a hardtail it climbed. You could feel every pebble, root, bump, etc when climbing. The same could be said to a degree of the Nomad (both coil and air) and SB-66 (air). They were a little softer/more active while pedaling than the Giant, but still seemed to be in the same arena. Pedal harder = stiffer suspension, and stiffer suspension = higher efficiency, right? I thought so too.

    The Canfield seems to subscribe to a very different philosophy. The rear end of the Giant would almost completely deactivate while climbing, but the Canfield's parallel-link suspension remains active. Very active. I did feel a little pedal bob, even after tuning the shock all over the place. I minimized it to about 1/8" of an inch or so on the shock stanchion, but I couldn't fully get rid of it without pumping up the shock to ridiculous pressures. Now, when I say pedal bob, I don't mean some galloping, 2002 Kona Stinky pedal bob. I mean just a tiny bit. But even with the minimal amount, I was honestly worried because I felt less efficient, less connected to the ground as I pedaled. I was about to get a little disappointed with my purchase.

    It took me timing myself up a trail that I've done countless times on other bikes to realize the benefits of an active rear triangle. As I hit roots, rocks, and other obstacles, the One would gracefully gush right over them. The stiff back end on my Giant would allow me to feel every little edge, giving me the illusion of efficiency, but what it was really doing was killing my forward momentum. I destroyed my best time on the Giant up the climb, and have done so every time since, with remarkable consistency. It's only a 20-minute climb, but I am consistently ~2 minutes faster on that climb every time I ride it on the One. A bump comes along, the back end floats up and over it with zero increase in pedaling effort, and the bike maintains forward momentum. The rear end of The One stays planted and smooth even when pedaling through rough, loose, rocky climbs. The traction is unbelievable.

    You do sit a bit more over the rear wheel than the average AM bike, due to the slack geometry. So that is something to take into consideration. To keep from looping out I sometimes have to really scoot up to the tip of my saddle. But it's not awful by any stretch. It's just a slack bike, and I had to adjust my riding style a bit.

    Verdict: Canfield nailed it. Honestly. It feels so buttery soft, like it should be inefficient. But the One can climb fast. Amazingly fast. I don't know how it can feel so cushy and still climb so quickly, but it does.

    Bottom Bracket Height:
    This is a point of concern with many people. The BB height on The One is low. It's about 12.7" with my setup and no angleset. Before you freak out, realize that it it was designed that way for a reason. Generally speaking, the lower the BB height, the faster the handling. I've hit a few rocks with the pedals, yes. But I did so on occasion with my Reign that had an almost 14" bb height too. I have grown so accustomed to it in these past few months, I don't really even think about watching my pedaling anymore, and I rarely even tap anything with the pedals. I run 170mm cranks and Crampon Ultimate pedals. The one thing I will say is that the low bottom bracket height makes the bike handle like a scalpel. It corners better than any bike I've ever ridden (a title which was previously held by the SB-66). Just think it, and the bike is already responding. Corrections mid-course were often a scary thing on my Giant due to how tall it was. I've grown to LOVE the low bb height, and will not go back.

    Descending:
    This is where the One comes into its stride. I do not have a dual crown beast of my own, but I have ridden/demoed DH rigs ranging from a Karpiel Disco Volante (awesome bike in its time) to a brand new V-10c set up just for me by Santa Cruz's techs. I feel I have enough ground to compare the One to full DH race bikes. Does it feel like a V-10c? Kind of. The V-10 feels a bit sluggish until you get up to a certain speed. Then it livens right up and will eat anything in its path. The Canfield feels very light and lively right out of the box. It is effortless to skip over rocks, and the suspension eats up harsh hits very well. I purposely cased a small yet peaky double on a local trail, just to see how it would respond. No problem at all.

    It does feel like it gets a little nervous in comparison to the V-10 when going REALLY fast, but that is to be expected. The One isn't designed to be a full DH race bike. That's the Jedi's territory. But the One does feel almost as capable in every way, and easier to jump and corner. If your technique is good, I believe you can rail corners faster than any 6" AM bike out there. Rock gardens, even steep ones, are easier than ever. The One is the funnest bike I've ever ridden when pumping through twists and turns on a fast section of trail. It's SO nimble!!

    Durability:
    I'm a big kid, and I don't go easy on my gear. Nothing has broken on it, and I've definitely been putting it through its paces. The welds look to be of good quality, and the machining is well done too (I work with CNC machines, so I'm particularly picky about that). Haven't had any massive get-offs yet, but i did have numerous close calls this spring in Moab. Lots of rocks have smacked all over the frame, but all I have seen are a few tiny scratches in the anodizing. No dents at all. It is also comforting to see the oversized pivot bearings and built-in bearing shields in the bolt heads. The pivot bearing size was a problem on the first Nomad I rode. The little toy bearings got hammered very quickly, and the once smooth linkage started to grind and rattle. It'll be a while before I expect I'll need to replace them on the One. Even with my big boy size, everything feels extremely tight and tidy.

    Frame Flex:
    As mentioned earlier, the frame is nice and rigid. It doesn't twist nearly as much as my Giant did. Just a degree or two of twist will translate into a lot of displacement over the length of an XL frame, so rigidity is important to me. The Canfield is plenty rigid and tracks very straight in rock gardens and turning g-outs. I'd love to see a carbon version of it, but I admit that would be a tall order from a company or Canfield's size. Definitely possible, given the talent that went into the current offering, but carbon development requires VERY deep pockets and a few years' time.

    Downfalls:
    I'm actually scraping to find any that are worth mentioning. Honestly, all fanboy stuff aside. It is hard to find anything that I truly wish were different on the bike. Most are small items of personal preference, like cable routing options. The XL sized frame could be a bit taller in height, but that would mess with the quick handling, so I don't know if I would really want that to change.

    The weight of the bike isn't exactly feathery, but it doesn't feel heavy at all when riding. If you're coming from a light duty AM bike, the weight will probably add to your time while pedaling up hills, so it will be important to build it light. That means more money spent per part, but it is worth it. Keep in mind that it is not an xc machine, and never will be. A super light xc leg shaver rocket bike will still beat it to the top of the hill, but you'll pass them back on the way down. Keep in mind that the One is more of a Grizzly bear in ballet slippers, not a sparrow with combat boots.

    If I was to complain about anything, it might be that the rear linkage seems to have a pretty progressive rate to it. Yes, this is another matter of personal preference, not something actually wrong with the bike. The progressive linkage makes it a bit hard to use the last bit the travel if you are using an air shock like the CCDBair. I haven't tried the extra volume air canister for it yet, but I hear that it might help make things a tad more linear (which I usually prefer). But again, that's preference, and I'm sure others that jump a lot will want to keep that progressive rate for added bottoming resistance. I'm finding a very wide range of people ride this bike, and it can be tuned very easily to suit a number of different roles.

    ----

    Anyway, that's about all I can think of at this point. I'm incredibly impressed with this bike. It feels different from other bikes. Those differences took a few weeks to get used to. But I now see the logic in every one of the differences I've found, and I would not go back to what I previously liked. It is that elusive mix of DH and AM that everyone seems to want. It feels like it should be inefficient on the climbs, but it gets you to the top very quickly, and does not sap all of your strength in the process. It is incredibly playful, super plush, and very agile on the way down. It is strong, well designed, and handles exceptionally well. What more can one want?


    Long-ish term review: Canfield The One-img_0007.jpg
    (Bull Run, Mag 7, Moab)

    Long-ish term review: Canfield The One-jacobsladder2.jpg
    (Climbing Jacob's Ladder, Corner Canyon, Salt Lake City)


    Oh, one more thing. Canfield's customer service is outstanding. It's been said over and over again in these forums, but it is true. I called well before ordering to ask a few silly questions about compatible components. The guy (Sean) answered all of my questions very honestly and enthusiastically. While we chatted, I could hear noises in the background hat sounded like bikes, and I eventually asked about it. Turns out, he had stopped mid-ride/photo shoot to answer his work phone! That is a person truly dedicated to the customer. Incredibly nice and knowledgeable people, and they stand behind their products 100%. Not that they need to though, The One stands just fine on its own.
    Last edited by charging_rhinos; 07-02-2013 at 09:16 AM.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  2. #2
    usually cranky
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    no pics make me a sad boy.

  3. #3
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    Done posting a few pics. I've been riding a lot by myself lately, and I've been having far too much fun to interrupt a ride and set up a camera. I'll try to get some action shots, and maybe I'll take out the GoPro if i can get it back from a friend who 'borrowed' it 6+ months ago.
    Last edited by charging_rhinos; 07-02-2013 at 08:35 AM.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

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    usually cranky
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    even garage queen shots make me happy.

  5. #5
    DBY
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    Nice review! My purchase of The One back in February is the best money I've ever spent on a frame. Very solid, very versatile.

  6. #6
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    Great write up, well written. You've done well to highlight the qualities of The One with such a short amount of saddle time.
    Old enough to know better, too old to give a F$cK

  7. #7
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    wow long write up...but truely amazing bike...I have ridden a "ONE" xc'ed out out 27 pounds and full DH one weighing 34...both pedaled the same, but I would choose the 34 pound with an 888 ti and DB coil......a great bike...I am impressed
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  8. #8
    El CicloPath!!!!!!!
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    Great review! thanks a whole bunch!

  9. #9
    Huffy Rider
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    Good read, I love my Diggle!

  10. #10
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    Question, I like and ride with minion dhf 2.7 tires. Is there enough clearance in the rear tri angle for these bigger tires ? ...ralph
    i need to ride more. building jumps takes to much time...my other hobby is kicking the crap outta my home built mook jong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1962 View Post
    Question, I like and ride with minion dhf 2.7 tires. Is there enough clearance in the rear tri angle for these bigger tires ? ...ralph
    I can't say for certain, since I haven't run anything other than a 2.5 DHF. I hear that the constraint is not the width between the chainstays, but between the center tread of the tire and the cross brace that connects the chainstays to the seatstays. The 2012 also has a small bit more clearance than the 2013. I did read in another thread that a 2.7 DHF will fit with about 1/16 of an inch of clearance on the 2013. That's really close, and could rub if the tire gets squished just right. Mud might not be too fun with that small a gap. I don't know how well it fits in terms of width, but I would imagine it would be close there too.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  12. #12
    www.derbyrims.com
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    Great review. Very well written and complete, especially the pedaling action observations. Thanks!

    Sounds like the suspension is leveraged to optimize a more linear spring rate. I've found that a larger air can set up to have the same sag and damping adjuster settings as a smaller can, requires a little more air pressure, which supports mid travel, reducing pedal bob, allowing less compression damping, and gains in deep bottom travel access and bump compliance.

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    Thanks very much for the info. I'll most likely be ordering the larger air can in the next month or two. I'll let you know if it performs as you say.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    I did read in another thread that a 2.7 DHF will fit with about 1/16 of an inch of clearance on the 2013. That's really close, and could rub if the tire gets squished just right.
    Yeah that was my post... Minion 2.7" fits out in back of the 2011/2012's easily, but only clears by 1/16" on 2013. Still, the 1/16" gap is at the front of the rear triangle brace... I wouldn't worry too much about the tire rubbing from "squishing", I'd only be more worried about riding the 2.7 in muddy conditions.

    Charging_rhinos, you might prefer the "high flow inner air can mod" which is different than the extra volume outer can. I had this mod done to my DB Air and it's working great - I can easily use up all the travel if I set the HSC to allow me to do so.

    Nice writeup, I agree with every point you mentioned in here

  15. #15
    squish, squish in da fish
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    well written review! man i just got a N9 now my wife is gunna kill me when i tell 'er i'm looking at the one. they (canfield) might want you as a pitch person

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    Wow, I'm very glad to see a really good thorough review of the one. Well done!
    I have the one 2011 which is practically the same bike with exception to gusset plates at the head tube and additional reinforcement to the rear triangle.

    I can honestly concur with the characteristics you mention. I absolutely love my bike, rides like no other and if I had to compare it to my Giant Trance X with reference to pedalling efficiency, I would say the Canfield is generally better and agree with the review.
    I think the only difference is how long you are going out, you will feel a bit of strain if trying to keep pace with other more cross country biased bikes,.....but only after about 2.5 hours riding and that because the bike is slightly heavier. Even with this in mind I much prefer to ride the Canfield because of its active suspension and the feedback you get from the bike. Bottom line.....I'm selling the Giant because the Canfield does everything you could want from a bike and therefore have no need for 2 bikes.

    I have the X fusion HLR coil shock and love it, please can anybody let me know how the cane creek db coil compares? Running fox van 180 on the front.

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    Hi.

    Could someone advice me about suspension forks for `The One`. I m looking double crown fork, any advice, what would fit best and what headset? Also is it still good to pedal, because mostly I drive flat forest paths. I know that I dont need that, it just that I want it!! I m heavy guy, 245 lb ,191cm tall so Fork should be with coil?

    Thanks
    Karri

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    Any of the dual crown forks will work well with the One, in my opinion. Their axle-to-crown distances are all very similar. I've seen equal number of Rockshox Boxxers and Fox 40s on them, and I'm sure they both are fantastic. If you ride flat forest paths, I would get an air fork just to avoid the unnecessary weight of a coil. The new Fox Float 40 saves around a full pound from the coil version. The larger diameter air piston and reservoir of the Fox 40 allows you to use lower air pressure than with other brands. I'm a big rider too, and the Fox hybrid air/coil 40 was fine under me. Any modern air fork will work fine for your weight. But a coil would be fine too. It is more a question of how important a lightweight bike is to you, and how much you are willing to spend. The new air forks very nice, but also very expensive.


    Headsets:
    The most important thing with finding a good headset for the One is that you get an 'external bearing' lower headset. The top can be a zero stack if you like lower handlebars, but you should get an external lower headset to keep the bottom bracket up high. You can use this great tool from Cane Creek to find a headset that will fit your fork to your frame: Headset Fit Finder

    You can get either an adjustable Angleset or a fixed angle headset with the One, since it has a full 1.5 (49.6mm) head tube on both ends. The important thing that you need to know is that the bottom half of the headset should say "EC", meaning external cup. That is what you want. The next step depends on what kind of fork you get.

    If you have a straight 1 1/8" head tube on your fork, you want a ZS49/28.6 for the top, and an EC49/30 for the bottom.

    If you have the newer tapered steer tube, you want a ZS49/28.6 on top, and an EC49/40 on the bottom.

    I am using an FSA Gravity 1 headset with the external lower cup and it has been great.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

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    Thanks for a reply. It was perfect answer. I also have looked marzocchi 888 forks. Do you know anything about them?

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    Ah, Marzocchi. This is difficult for me. About 8 years ago, they were my favorite brand. Now, I don't think I would get them. They are heavy, but they feel VERY smooth, and they are very simple to take apart for service. The problem is reliability. Their oil seals tend to leak easily, and they had a lot of reliability problems when they moved their manufacturing from Italy to China a few years ago. To be fair, they have made much more reliable products in the past 2 years, but they are still struggling. Every year I see a news story that says they are almost in bankruptcy. Most of their original designers have left the company to start DVO Suspension. My personal feeling is that it would not be wise to get Marz products right now, since you never know if you will be able to get parts for them in a year or two. It kills me to say that though, because they were my favorite fork for many years.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  21. #21
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    yo charging_rhin,

    Excellent review!

    How do you compare the ONE to the SB66? or maybe you wrote a review for the SB66?

    ENJOI THE RIDE

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    Quote Originally Posted by nurb13 View Post
    yo charging_rhin,

    How do you compare the ONE to the SB66? or maybe you wrote a review for the SB66?
    Thanks, glad you enjoyed the review.

    In regard to the SB-66, there were a few similarities and a few differences. To me, the low bottom bracket height on the SB feels very similar to the One. They are both extremely flicky and agile. The SB might be a tad more agile, but I'd bet that any difference is due to the slightly steeper head angle and a bit lighter build. Both are fantastic at whipping through s-curves and corners.

    The next difference is a bit harder to describe. Burlyness? The SB feels nice and solid underneath you when riding it. Very little flex, gush, etc. But the One is incredibly rigid in terms of the frame and rear triangle. It definitely surpasses the SB in stiffness. Hard to describe, but the extra rigidity adds immensely to the confidence I feel when getting into harder hits, rock gardens, and when railing choppy corners.

    The SB climbs about equally with the One overall. The Yeti is lighter, so that most definitely helps. The One has a bit more floaty feel to it while climbing, but I'd bet it could keep up just fine. The extra lb or two of the One would be the only meaningful difference when going up for long periods of time.

    Overall, I think the biggest difference would be the fact that the One can get into scarier terrain than the SB and still feel completely at home. That isn't to knock the Yeti at all though. It's a fine bike, and if someone gave me one, I would not sell it. But if you envision yourself pushing your bikes hard on the steeper terrain, the One really starts to shine.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

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    That's a great review.

    Now I read a lot of enthusiastic review about technical climbing and fast descending, but what can you say about steep, slow, alpine-like descents? How do the One's low BB and slack geometry behave?

    Thank you

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    I took mine down the Whole Enchilada a few weeks ago in Moab, and it has a lot of steep, slow, technical obstacles. I wasn't babying it over any of the ledges or rolls, and it was just fine. I hit the pedals 3-4 times, but I hit them all the time on that trail. I never hit the chainring on anything, although I was surely close at times. But to be fair, I think I would have been pretty close on any bike with more modern 13"ish bb heights. The slack geometry is VERY nice to have when rolling slowly down stair-stepped edges. It also handles tight switchbacks surprisingly well for a bike that feels longer than most AM bikes. And when the occasional abrupt 'hide-a-hill' appeared around a blind corner, It was easy to stand up and grind my way up it.

    The only thing that I noticed on that ride that might be considered a negative was that it isn't a very good trials bike. What I mean is that, in a few spots, I was trying to hop my way through a few obstacles (mostly climbing up ledges) with near-zero forward speed. As most do, in that situation I often will compress the suspension to load it up as I approach. When it rebounds, it helps me hop up the ledge. The One tends to require a bit more energy input than my last 6" bike did in that situation. Not a TON more, but just enough to notice. That's to be expected though. It has more available travel, and therefore more opportunity for the suspension to dissipate the energy I put into it. So I had to put a little bit more into it to get the same rebound effect. It still got me through them just fine, I just noticed I was expending a tad more energy. I suppose a shock with a pro-pedal type feature might alleviate that, if you could just flip a switch on the handlebars, stiffen things up a bit, and open the platform up once you got past the obstacle.

    I hope that answers your question. Sorry it was long too. I like to err on the side of too much, rather than too little.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    I hope that answers your question. Sorry it was long too. I like to err on the side of too much, rather than too little.
    It does! thanks a lot.

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