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  1. #1
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    Knolly Delirium 2017 - Rider Review

    Here's a rider review of the 2017 Knolly Delirium. Reviews are scarce so I figured I'd help those looking for more info.

    Background

    Been riding bikes for over 20 years. I've owned an Endorphin (26 inch wheel) and Chilcotin (also 26 inch). Been riding DH bikes for 7-8 years but now pedal to earn my turns and spend 5-10 days in bike parks. I ride 2-3 times a week.

    Why the Delirium

    I wanted a bike for those big days (as in steep, scary-tech, more DH oriented trails) but instead of getting a DH bike I wondered if there was a bike with DH qualities but could also pedal to the top when I needed. The Delirium (on paper) seemed to be the bike all "freeriders" wanted back in the early 2000's. Even though my current trail bike could handle some of the trails, I felt I always wanted some thing that left me with less arm and leg pump and could make up for "user errors" on the trail. Also, I wanted a bike that could carry serious speed over the harsh stuff. The Delirium was filling a space in my quiver that a dedicated DH bike could fill. However, it's capable of much more as I found out and what I hoped for.

    The set up.

    I knew the bike was going to be on the heavy side but I figured with the right mix of parts I could get it to a decent weight and with proper gearing have it be fine on climbs. The key component(s) was adding the XO1 Eagle group to this rig. The gearing ratios are a game changer and made such a difference when facing wall like fire road climbs. Chromag BZA stem, bar and saddle handling cockpit duties. No dropper on this baby cause I had a defined purpose for this rig. I also saved around 2 lbs (I'm not a gram counter but every ounce counts on this battle wagon). Wheels are a mix of Hope (rear) and I9. Tires are a mix of Schwalbe goodies, Muddy Mary DH in the front and a lighter Hans Dampf in the rear. XT Brakes for slowing down the beast. Fork is a Lyrik set to 170mm and Fox Float X2 (2017). This set up got it just under 30lbs (barely). As for sizing I went with a Large, even though according to Knolly's recommendations I should be on an XL. The reason I went with the L is because the numbers were close if not right on what I like for a bike. If this was to be the only bike I had to ride for every thing, I would of gone with the XL and ran a shorter stem. I also should mention I'm running the bike in the slack mode, for everything. Adjusting it is pretty straight forward (remove a bolt and slide positions)

    Going Up.

    The first 7 rides I ended up pedaling this thing all over the place. Even though I have a trail bike I wanted to see how this bike could do on "normal" riding trails. Knolly's are known for their traction and this war wagon can hold it's own on loose climbs even in the slack mode. Even when my body position wasn't the greatest the bikes rear tire stayed planted. The extra weight is noticeable especially on longer days but you aren't buying this bike for long climbs. There is pedal bob and when cranking hard it's really noticeable. With a shock that has a pedal or lock out mode I suspect that would be nonexistent. On flatter trails this bike is fun and when on it you feel the urge to take the extra credit hits or lines that exist. Also, it didn't feel like a tank on flat trails which was pretty cool and surprising considering its purpose. The word playful is overused but I found this bike really wanted to party and get loose no matter the speed or incline.

    Going Down.

    Well, it's no mystery, this bike was created to go down and go down with confidence. I haven't been on a DH bike in a long time (closest was the Evil Wreckoning in the last 2 years) but damn this bike is a confidence inducer. I always thought the Chilcotin was a great descender but this rig blows it out the water. The geo, the travel and the suspension design make it insane and you will find yourself going faster and pushing yourself. On trails I ride all the time, I felt I was faster and taking more risky lines. With the littlest of pumping or pulling up off trail obstacles the bike would just glide over the chunk. When I first started building this bike I wanted to set the fork at 180mm but 170mm seems to be the sweet spot for me. In bike parks that have technical routes this bike just hums. I don't think you can ever completely give up on a DH bike but this bike is the closest I've ridden (not talking about DH racing, just mere-mortal riding). Having the bike in slack mode makes it a berm hugger and even when the trails got super chunky there was enough clearance to prevent pedal strikes. The bike responds really good to body english and by that I found I was able to move around the bike and have it respond to last minute changes quite easily. The bike is able to take a dual crown which I would like to try at some point but that's an investment.

    Who is the bike for?

    After riding it for some time I feel like this bike fills a few categories. If you are already fortunate to have a stable of bikes, this bike is what I would consider a freeride bike revisited. Updated geo and with the advent of 12 speed drivetrains, you can pedal this thing to those gnarly lines filled with steep chutes and drops. I wouldn't call it a mini-DH bike but it can hang with those bikes really easily. It doesn't replace a DH bike but most of us have to pedal to earn the downs. This bike could also be a quiver killer, as long as your riding is skewed to the more gnarly and trecherous-n-technical lines with days shuttling and hitting the lifts. By adding a dropper it can become that do every thing bike. What you loose in spritely ascending capability you gain a beast of descender. It doesn't replace my trail bike but if I had to have one bike, I would just ride the Delirium at this point.

    Have fun out there.

  2. #2
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    Nice, thanks for taking the time to write that, i bought a Delirium for pretty much the same purpose. I have a trail bike too but like to have a burlier bike for park duty but something i can use outside of the summer months for shuttles, fire road climbs and tech climbing with my less enthusiastic climbing buddies.

    I didn't focus so much on weight savings, i went with a dropper, coil shock, beefy wheels/tires, no carbon etc, mine comes in around 35lbs. The traction is amazing on tech climbs and I have gotten up and over stuff i can't even do on the trail bike, if i wanted to drop some weight on this thing I'm sure it would be an awesome one bike does all but I love riding snappy trail bikes too much to give them up.

    I'm 6'2" and change and the XL is a perfect fit.

  3. #3
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    The Delirium is the best bike I've ever owned, and the best bike I've ever tried. I'm unusual, in that I use it for everything. XC epics, enduro, freeride and even rode Whistler Bike Park for a day, when my old V-Tach pinch flatted. It does it all. I have a Podium now for the bike parks, but that was a 1st world splurge rather than a necessity. The Podium is amazing at the park. It is difficult to find terrain that can challenge either bike. I have to go to Canada to find a trails that are truly worthy. But if trails get to easy, you can always just go faster!
    "My car of choice is a 12 year old civic that runs on the tears of my life choices." - redditor

  4. #4
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    Hi (been MTB'ing since 1987 - Jeez that's 30years!!!)
    Been riding the Delirium for about 8 weeks now - My UK setup (i.e. pedal up/ pedal down) is Lyrik 180/ X2 with -1 degree Works Component H/S, 50mm stem on XL frame (I'm 6ft 3"). Reverb dropper. Stans Flow rims, Maxxis Shorty Front/ Minion rear.

    Currently at Lake Garda and have it set up for shuttle-lifts with Vivid R2C coil rear (same e-2-e length) and Marzocchi 380 C2R2 Ti's.

    Compared to the previous bike (Banshee Darkside) this bike is longer and slightly taller at the seat-tube, which suits me much better (No XL in the Darkside - Great bike otherwise!)

    It's attracted A LOT of attention here and has eaten the off piste stuff easily.

    VERY impressed with it: So much room in the cockpit, esp on super-tight, tech hairpins and plenty of space to get weight forward without feeling like you're going to risk your teeth!

    Love the short chainstays, really flickable and fun, esp on an XL where longer chain stays would make the bike a bit of a barge in the twisty stuff.

    Totally disagree with the Bike Radar review - You actually need less rear shock pressure and less damping as the linkage does a lot of the work.

    So, if you want a do it all "big" bike, this is it. It's wiped the floor with the "enduro" bikes on the downs out here!!! (I've had Liteville 601 and Banshee Darkside as previous 2 frames)

    Cheers - Hope this helps a bit!
    Knolly Delirium 2017 - Rider Review-2017-08-07-13.43.49.jpg

    Ade

  5. #5
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    My $.015:

    For 2017, I moved from a large Chili as my do it all bike to an XL Delirium. The goal was to get more reach so the climbs were more comfortable, and more capability on the downs so park or shuttle days were more manageable. I mostly ride in Park City, Draper, Moab, and St George. This summer has included everything from a 6 hour XC marathon race to Whole Enchilada to Whistler double black last week.

    Setup:
    XL frame, Push 11/6 standard shock length;
    Marzocchi 66 fork, Avalanche cartridge, stock coil;
    Trail wheelset: Roval Traverse SL with Butcher/Slaughter Grid 2.3's;
    DH wheelset: Stans Flow MK3 with Butcher DH 2.3's;
    Race Face SixC cranks, 34t Hope narrow-wide chainring, Hope 104bcd bash & Hope chain guide;
    Hope V4 brakes with 203mm triple laminated, floating rotors, stainless braided lines, sintered front pads & organic rear pads;
    Saint i spec shifter, Zee FR spec rear derailleur, 11-36t SLX cassette;
    S Works DH bars, Renthal Duo stem, ESI foam grips;
    Fox Transfer 125mm dropper, Chromag Lynx DT saddle; &
    Multi-tool, tube, extra tire sealant, Co2, & quick link taped to frame because wearing a pack sucks.

    Weight: no clue.

    Early thoughts after building the bike and switching from Chili:
    Much more comfortable on climbs due to better fit/more reach, WAY faster on downs, loooong wheelbase, low bottom bracket, jumps different than Chili due to different rider position.

    After spending a considerable amount of time on the Delirium throughout the season, in varied terrain:
    Amazing bike, exteremely capable, and still pedals very well. When Noel et al told me it was way more capable than the Chili but pedaled as well, I called BS, but it's true in nearly all situations. I am consistently amazed at the terrain this bike will handle, while still allowing the rider to pedal to the top without a lot of fuss. Some of this ease is due to having two very different circuits on the shock (climbing/trail & DH).

    One aspect to consider with this bike (in my opinion), is a true assessment of rider skill and fitness. While the Delirium is no slouch on the climbs, a 29er hardtail it is not; therefore, the beginning of the season, after being off the bike for 3 months due to a broken hand, was a little rough. But if you have the legs, it'll motor up almost anything. I also feel like this frame has to be riden a little harder than the Chili or Warden due to the geometry and rider position. My setup is definitely quick, but there's really no sleeping at the wheel.

    Climbs and XC rides are definitely manageable on this bike, especially with a little tuning. Add a few clicks of compression on fork and shock and whoila super slack XC/"all mountain" shredder.

    If the rider is on the taller end of the spectrum, the long wheelbase coupled with a low BB gets interesting on ledgy climbs. I have to remember this in Moab, and my bash guard is witness to how many times I've forgot. However, the long wheelbase adds a large measure of confidence and speed on super steep trails.

    For trails, the steeper setting is by far the best option due to handling and BB clearance. For DH/shuttle/park, put it in slack setting and this bike flat out rails the corners--no berm, loose, blown out--no problem.

    Speaking of descents and park--unreal. After riding with a group of talented riders for a week in Whistler, I am very impressed at what this bike will handle. Very tight switchbacks get interesting (XL frame), but otherwise, it's nuts what this bike can handle while leaving the rider in control. IMO, the Delirium nails the balance between a plow bike and sharp handling to allow for crux moves. I'm sure a full DH sled would shave a few seconds off my laps here and there, but I have no complaints. Riding double black park trails and 30 mile pedals on the same setup is fun, convienent, and easy to maintain. It also opens up a lot of options for difficult to access, back country, steep trails where you always wished you had a little more bike.

  6. #6
    LWK
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    B Gillispie - appreciate the comments. I am on the fence for a new bike next year and your last two sentences sum up why I am strongly considering this bike (currently on a Chilcotin).

    wondering if you could clarify your comments a bit "...feel like this frame has to be ridden a little harder than the Chili or Warden due to the geometry and rider position. My setup is definitely quick, but there's really no sleeping at the wheel..."?

    I would have thought it being a bigger/slacker bike than the Chili you would have more margin for error (the sleeping bit)? How is the rider position different from the Chili? is it just that its big and long enough that you have to pay attention a bit more than you would with a smaller and perhaps more nimble bike?

  7. #7
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    If i can chime in, my XL Delirium is way more nimble and easier to get down some of the steep, tight, slow and technical sections around the Norrh Shore Vancouver than my old Trek Remedy 29er. My only issues with the geo are i wish the stack was a little higher and the standover a little lower, minor quibbles though.

  8. #8
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    With the front being looong, if you sit back you'll find there's less front end grip than if you get your weight over the front. The difference is that when you do this, you don't feel like you're going to somersault onto your teeth: The front tyre bites and the forks work.

    Think skiing and leaning your weight onto your boots!

    It really rewards rider effort

    Great handling bike.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWK View Post
    B Gillispie - appreciate the comments. I am on the fence for a new bike next year and your last two sentences sum up why I am strongly considering this bike (currently on a Chilcotin).

    wondering if you could clarify your comments a bit "...feel like this frame has to be ridden a little harder than the Chili or Warden due to the geometry and rider position. My setup is definitely quick, but there's really no sleeping at the wheel..."?

    I would have thought it being a bigger/slacker bike than the Chili you would have more margin for error (the sleeping bit)? How is the rider position different from the Chili? is it just that its big and long enough that you have to pay attention a bit more than you would with a smaller and perhaps more nimble bike?
    Lankymanc nailed it. The only thing I'll add is that my riding position is more centered on the XL than over the back on the L Chili, so manuals are little more difficult and jumping position is different (not in a bad way).

  10. #10
    LWK
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    thx for good explanations, I understand what you are saying - makes sense!

  11. #11
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    I'm wondering if that feeling has more to do with the reach on the XL size, plus your physical size. I'm 6'1.5" and on a Large, with seat rails all the way back, and I'm solidly in the middle of the bike on most climbs, and my front end is planted. That's on a 180mm Lyrik. I only need to lean over the bars when the trail gets stupid steep; the kind of steep where you wished for another gear or two.
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