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  1. #1
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    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...

    This was what I posted last evening before heading to JRA Bikes & Brew to pick up the Warden demo...
    _______________________________________________

    I really want to like this bike. As regulars on this board, you know that the only emotion greater than current Knolly love is Knolly lust for new. If I was Chili-less and child-less (currently paying for 2 in college), I'd already be purchasing parts to build up a Warden. Let's see which direction this weekend's rides take me.

    My plan is to add my backup dropper post to the Warden (if it doesn't already have one) so I can compare rides with my Chilcotin over the same trails in the Santa Monica Mountains. Without ever seeing a Warden in person, my gut feel is that at my skill level and age (56), there won't be a perceivable difference between the 27.5" Warden and my Chili with large volume 2.4" Conti Trail Kings. Not saying there isn't a performance difference between the two Knollys, just inferring that I may not be able to tell. Weather will be perfect (low 70's, light Pacific winds with a cloudless sky; gotta love SoCal "winters"); will be a fun and interesting weekend.

    Let the games begin...
    ________________________________________________

    After picking up the bike, first impressions have changed my opinion a bit. The Warden has the expected Knolly quality craftsmanship but the lower weight and cockpit riding position were notable differences when comparing to my Chili.

    The Warden demo has a very nice high end build... XO 11 speed shifter, RF Next Crank with a narrow-wide chainring, LEV Integra 150 dropper post, XT Brakes, Schwalbe Tires mounted on Stan Arch EX rims, DBAir CS and RS Pike.

    My Chilcotin weighs in at 33 lbs with a 170 Solo Air Lyrik and orginal DBAir. The Warden with my Straitline AMP pedals is a hair under 30 lbs.

    Off to the trails for 2 days of comparison rides...

    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...-warden.jpg

  2. #2
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    Looks like the Warden is in the high position. Try the lower shock mount position to get more of a chili feel and the high position to get more of an Endo feel.

    I spent four days on the same bike and really enjoyed it. It seemed to fit right between the Chili and Endo. It's not a plow bike like the chili but it felt better on the DHs than he Endo. The biggest thing that stuck out to me is how stable this bike is at speed.

    I haven't raced any enduros but the whole time I road the Warnen i couldn't help but think what a great race bike this would be.

  3. #3
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    A few thoughts after a weekend riding the Warden...

    I really wanted to like this bike, and I did. Nothing really new to add that we don't already know... still felt really good to ride the next-gen Knolly.

    And I was wrong... there was a significant ride difference between the Warden and my Chili. This is my first experience riding a 27.5 bike and Sram XO 11 10 - 42. Saturday was a climbing day on the Backbone Trail; Sunday saw more technical trails in and around Charmlee Wilderness Park overlooking Malibu.

    Very impressive first day ride with almost 3000 ft of climbing. The RS Pike lived up to all the hype although I stopped using the climbing switch on both the Pike and the DBAir CS... not really necessary with good pedaling technique.

    G-AIR is right, my first impression was also how stable the Warden tracks at speed. I knew the Warden would climb better than my Chili but was surprised by how much better. The 3 lb less weight difference seemed like much more. There are fire service training trails off that Backbone that are steep, loose and I have never been able to clean on my Chilcotin. In the steep setting, I was able to power up and over 2 of the 3 FS trails I attempted. During climbing day, I also experimented with the slack setting. The Warden still pedaled well but I preferred the steep setting.

    Charmlee is a small park with many connecting trails and even more fun stuff outside the park boundaries. Today was all about tech riding so I rode the Warden exclusively in the slack setting. I missed my Lyrik today... absolutely nothing wrong with the Pike but I have grown accustomed to the Lyrik predictable excellent performance on these trails. I was able to ride the same trails but had to be more selective on line choice. By the end of the ride, I was just as comfortable on the Warden at Charmlee as I am on my Chili.

    I've ridden friends' 29ers but have never felt comfortable on these bikes. I fully understand the benefits of the large wheels but something is always missing for me... most likely just an old-school mental block for all I know. The 27.5 Warden felt comfortable from the beginning while providing some of the benefits of the bigger wheels. I liked everything about the Warden including the riding position.

    Nothing ground breaking here but the 1x11 is the real deal... I can no longer envision a scenario that would put a front derailleur on one of my mountain bikes.

    Don't know where I go from here, but the Warden definitely opened my eyes and maybe my wallet...

    Here's a few Charmlee pics... that's Point Dume off in the distance.

    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...-dscn8778.jpg
    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...-w1.jpg
    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...-w2.jpg
    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...-w3.jpg
    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...-g0057975.jpg
    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...-w4.jpg
    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...-w5.jpg

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the review TM. Glad you liked the Warden. It sounds like we had similar impressions (except sizing).

    What is your height?

  5. #5
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    So, is it safe to summise that:
    You are impressed with Warden,
    Would drop $ to buy one, but...
    Not a suitable replacement for Chilco?

    Sounds like the Warden may be a good replacement for Endo?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by F.N.G View Post
    So, is it safe to summise that:
    You are impressed with Warden,
    Would drop $ to buy one, but...
    Not a suitable replacement for Chilco?

    Sounds like the Warden may be a good replacement for Endo?
    no to the last point. yes to the others.
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  7. #7
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    KRob... I'm 6'1" 210. The large fit me well.

    While riding both Knollys this weekend, I originally found my Chilcotin to be a bit more forgiving on only the most technical downhills sections. With more saddle time and setup tuning, I'm now convinced I could ride the same trails on both without issue. The Warden was hands-down better on all the ups. For most riders, I think the Warden could easily replace the Chilcotin. As much as I liked the Warden, I can't see me owning both bikes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmpaints View Post
    KRob... I'm 6'1" 210. The large fit me well.

    While riding both Knollys this weekend, I originally found my Chilcotin to be a bit more forgiving on only the most technical downhills sections. With more saddle time and setup tuning, I'm now convinced I could ride the same trails on both without issue. The Warden was hands-down better on all the ups. For most riders, I think the Warden could easily replace the Chilcotin. As much as I liked the Warden, I can't see me owning both bikes.
    What's your definition of technical downhill. The pictures posted show trails that only need a hardtail and im not even sure you need a mountain bike at that.

    Warden reviews really need to describe the difference between how the two bikes ride on certain aspects of very technical terrain (Bike Park or a DH Race track would be best), since these are 'big bikes'. Most Chilcotins are built up heavy duty, im not sure that Warden with Pikes and trail kit can compare against my Chilcotin with AVA forks Coil shock and DH build kit. To me it looks like the intended applications are completely different. For example, for riding Chunk in AZ im sure id rather be on TiSSers Chili than the Warden pictured.

    Climbing is also subjective, i.e., tech versus smooth...gradient...switchbacks...so on...
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  9. #9
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    A lot of Phx can be ridden on the Endo. Both my buddies shred SOMO on their endos. It's mainly skilled riding. I guess it boils down to preference and style of rider.

    I guess I misread TMs description. I picked up he liked the Warden for climbing but missed his 170 lyrik facing down. In that instant, I would stick with Chilco so I didn't sacrifice my reward of bombing down.

    Bottom line, everybody's opinions vary. There are a good number of Knomers here in NM so I am lucky as I am sure a couple will buy a Warden. I can get a true opinion of whether it's worth the switch or even as an additional FS bike.

    Thanks for the time in writing up what you experienced tmpaints. Enjoy the rest of your demo on it!

  10. #10
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    Pics can be deceiving but as Frenchy says you describe charmlee as the more technical of the trail systems you rode on the warden yet most of the pics the trails look smoother than a babies bum. Are there techy sections that you didn't photograph? I would love to see more reviews of the warden on really rocky, rooty terrain. How are the trails you normally ride the chilcotin on? I'm trying to get a baseline as I am really interested in a warden but doubt I'll get to demo one here on the east coast.

  11. #11
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    Boy, tough crowd. Here's a few pics of Rex on SoMo going up and down on the Warden. It's a little chunkier up there. Pretty sure the Warden would not be as comfortable for most riders on super chunky, technical terrain and big hit park type descents as a fully beefed out Chili, but I think those who have ridden it would agree that it can handle a good bit of that sort of stuff and overall leans more towards the Chili end of the spectrum than the Endo.

    I read from tmpants review that for most riding, for most people the Warden could replace the Chili....excluding the exceptions mentioned above. I also think it can cover a fair bit of ground in the Endo spectrum as well, but is not going to be quite as nimble and fast.





    Besides three of the rougher descents on SoMo, Rex also took it down Goat Camp. Here's a link to his review in case you missed it.

  12. #12
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    I picked up a Warden last night after work to demo this weekend...

    I wasn't questioning op's riding just how technical the terrain was! It's hard to correlate different trails in different parts of the country. Like I said I'm looking for a baseline. I'm the first to admit I'm not the greatest technical rider but I ride very rocky technical terrain. I've bought many frames based on reading and speaking with others as demos are hard or impossible to come by. I've regretted a few of those decisions so I'm trying to extract as much info as possible from the folks lucky enough to have demoed a warden.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    No one will ever confuse me for a Knolly Team rider or the majority of the posters on this forum. I'm a weekend/vacation rider with average skills (below average for this forum) but I probably represent a larger portion of the MTB market that Knolly should be (is?) targeting to grow the brand. I rode Hiline in Sedona solo; walked a few sections but rode more of the trail this year than last. For the first time with a few dabs, I rode Mescal in both directions... this accomplishment was more about the bike than the rider as I'm still attempting to raise my game to the level of the equipment.

    No one will every confuse Charmlee with Sedona or South Mountain chunk. 90% of the park trails are smooth, flowing connectors with incredible views to get me to the few steep downhills that test me... so that would be my definition of tech... anything that takes me out of my riding comfort zone.

    Here's the point I was attempting to make about the Warden but obviously failed to communicate....

    V-Tack, DT & Delirium were all pushed to the shadows by the Chilcotin... a lighter, stiffer frame with improved geometry supported by top shelf suspension and components. Knolly's best are now riding the same and even more challenging trails on the Chili. Given this development progression in the Knolly lineup, is it really a stretch to suggest that Knolly's best will continue to push the boundaries with the next-gen Warden?

  14. #14
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    Maybe I need to see about getting a Warden to demo at SOMO and Goat Camp for a few weeks and report back I too have been considering a Warden as a one bike, but the Chili and Endo are just so good for what I ride. My Chili build (about 35lbs) just destroys the trails here, it's almost unfair.
    "Three balls at once...who knew?" - Cotton McKnight

  15. #15
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    tmpaints ... sorry if I sounded a bit harsh ... didn't really mean to come across that way ... just my style of writing can sound a bit confrontational at times ...

    I think you make a really good point when you say "Given this development progression in the Knolly lineup, is it really a stretch to suggest that Knolly's best will continue to push the boundaries with the next-gen Warden?".

    The answer is no its not a stretch of the imagination, your right and I expect this to happen. But I also expect people to stretch what's possible on the Chili. More and more people are putting 170 and 180 forks on the Chili and riding big on it, this is not something I think we'll see on the warden as its an Enduro focussed bike (whereas the Chili is seen as a Freeride/Bike Park frame). The Warden maybe a slightly better climber but the Chili is repeatedly reported to edge it on the downs. People don't buy Chilis for climbing ability, the fact that it is pedalable, given how it descends, is seen as a bonus.

    Knollys angle is that each bike in the Knolly line up has its place and the Warden doesn't supersede any older model.
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiSS'er View Post
    Maybe I need to see about getting a Warden to demo at SOMO and Goat Camp for a few weeks and report back I too have been considering a Warden as a one bike, but the Chili and Endo are just so good for what I ride. My Chili build (about 35lbs) just destroys the trails here, it's almost unfair.
    I also think the Endo and Chili are a perfect compliment, the bit I struggle with is..why switch for a Warden that might not climb as well as the Endo or descend as well as the Chili? This leads my train of thought to this: If no bike is perfect, there is no one bike, and while there is no one bike, the diversity you get from two is more fun than one..

    It just really depends on the variety of riding you can do and your cash for bikes budget...im lucky that where I live does justify having all three bikes and I had the dollars to buy them, else my story might be different...
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrench View Post
    I also think the Endo and Chili are a perfect compliment, the bit I struggle with is..why switch for a Warden that might not climb as well as the Endo or descend as well as the Chili? This leads my train of thought to this: If no bike is perfect, there is no one bike, and while there is no one bike, the diversity you get from two is more fun than one.
    My answer would be because I only want to bring 1 bike with me when I travel and I can't swap bikes on the big climbs or the gnarly descents at home so having 2 bikes that are better at each end of my riding equation isn't nearly as useful as having one bike that's really good at everything.

    1 bike means I can bling it out to the max and still afford to travel and spend money on other things.

    1 bike also means I hone my abilities with that one machine to their peak. All my riding is on the same platform so it all leads to being the best rider I can be.

    That said I don't spend time at bike parks and I don't race XC so my bike needs are decidedly in the middle of the spectrum in the "all mtn" camp. I like crushing climbs as much as I do letting loose going down.

    I'm not suggesting a 1 bike fleet is the right choice for other people.
    Safe riding,

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  18. #18
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    Finally! Something logical...

  19. #19
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    Cool photos.. climbing over there on 2.4 contis is, ouch

    Warden ftw

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    My answer would be because I only want to bring 1 bike with me when I travel and I can't swap bikes on the big climbs or the gnarly descents at home so having 2 bikes that are better at each end of my riding equation isn't nearly as useful as having one bike that's really good at everything.

    1 bike means I can bling it out to the max and still afford to travel and spend money on other things.

    1 bike also means I hone my abilities with that one machine to their peak. All my riding is on the same platform so it all leads to being the best rider I can be.

    That said I don't spend time at bike parks and I don't race XC so my bike needs are decidedly in the middle of the spectrum in the "all mtn" camp. I like crushing climbs as much as I do letting loose going down.

    I'm not suggesting a 1 bike fleet is the right choice for other people.
    I like this it made me think of a problem I forgot I had that is when I take the flight over to PNW/BC in the summer do I take the Endo and the Podium or the Chili and the Podium...I can only take 2 ...if I had a Warden it would solve that problem ...im still sticking with what ive got though because most of my riding this year is at home where 1) the endo is used for trail centres and enduro, 2) the chili is used for Park and honing DH skills on DH trails, 3) Podium for DH racing.
    2013 Knolly Endorphin | 2013 Knolly Chilcotin | 2014 Knolly Podium.
    Tweed Valley, Scotland.

  21. #21
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    So would you guys say the Warden is closer to the Endo than the Chili?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    My answer would be because I only want to bring 1 bike with me when I travel and I can't swap bikes on the big climbs or the gnarly descents at home so having 2 bikes that are better at each end of my riding equation isn't nearly as useful as having one bike that's really good at everything.

    1 bike means I can bling it out to the max and still afford to travel and spend money on other things.

    1 bike also means I hone my abilities with that one machine to their peak. All my riding is on the same platform so it all leads to being the best rider I can be.

    That said I don't spend time at bike parks and I don't race XC so my bike needs are decidedly in the middle of the spectrum in the "all mtn" camp. I like crushing climbs as much as I do letting loose going down.

    I'm not suggesting a 1 bike fleet is the right choice for other people.
    No you've got it wrong. You need three bikes. Two for the various local terrain and one for when you travel

  23. #23
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    I think the most important aspect is getting lost here in the discussion of the build type of the 3 bikes mentioned and that is the Warden being 27.5. I would think that a Warden with a slightly burlier build like a 36 160 RC2 or Lyrik 160 and a good set of carbon wheels would make the perfect 1 bike that can handle the chunk.

    Try riding a 27.5" Warden for 3 months, switch back to a 26" Chili or Endo and at that point is when you will appreciate how much faster the 27.5 picks up speed & how it has the edge in roll over.

  24. #24
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    The man knows of which he speaks.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrench View Post
    I like this it made me think of a problem I forgot I had that is when I take the flight over to PNW/BC in the summer do I take the Endo and the Podium or the Chili and the Podium...I can only take 2 ...if I had a Warden it would solve that problem ...im still sticking with what ive got though because most of my riding this year is at home where 1) the endo is used for trail centres and enduro, 2) the chili is used for Park and honing DH skills on DH trails, 3) Podium for DH racing.
    You don't want your Endo on the trails scheduled for the PNW trip. Not much XC. Mostly AM and gnarly freeride. I run a Chili and V-Tach around here (PNW/BC).

    - "The I-90 exits" = shuttle DH (podium), or freeride on trails with DH elevation loss. Tiger Mt is perfect for Endo, but I doubt we will hit it due to time constraints. Maybe though...it's in between the two "exits".
    - Galby = XC/AM/FR, but ride leaders will probably show off the gnar, so you'll want the Chili for pedaling up, and shredding down.
    - Fromme and Cyprus = Chili for both, or Chili then Podium respectively.
    - Squamish = depends on ride leader, but I would take Chili. Some of the trails are STEEP, and the roller/drops can be huge. I'd do Chili first day, Podium 2nd (shuttle day)
    - Pemberton = no idea, I haven't ridden there.

    There's a ton of trail around here the Endo would be perfect on, I just doubt any of them will be on the list, or at least not enough to make it worth bringing (if you have a Chili as well).
    Last edited by Big B; 01-24-2014 at 08:58 AM.
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