DW Sultan Complete Expert Kit Review
Ok, this isnít going to be a review of the bike itself, as we are still under a bunch of snow. I brought this home for a look see on Friday after it arrived, and just had to tear into it. Furthermore, my review will be forthcoming on the bike itself when our demo fleet arrives. This first Sultan is simply our first non-demo DW to arrive and we are pretty excited. If you are looking for a review of the frame characteristics themselves, stop reading right here. But, the review may be helpful to those attempting to put together a complete Sultan and are struggling with going with the Turner complete, or putting it together with a frame and picking parts one by one. It also might be helpful to dealers struggling with the same thingÖ
So Iím going to review the completes, the kit, packaging, pricing, etc., because this really is Turnerís first full year into offering/pushing complete bikes. They selected the kit, they did their homework, and they did the work putting it together.
First off, delivery time v. delivery promised. This was spot on. Jarett was pretty specific with regards to turn around time, (within a week or two), which really helps a shop when dealing with an excited customer. A+
Packaging: Iíve always had a small pet peeve with some companies who simply throw about 5 pounds of paper into a box, randomly throw parts into it, and then when something ends up missing or damaged, or otherwise different than requested, are quick to blame staff. Both Turner and Intense do this right, the boxes arenít HUGE, but they are effective to deliver the items safely and effectively, with minimal additional costs. I donít mind putting them together, so having someone in Taiwan build it up for us isnít really a benefit. Plus, sometimes a customer wants to help or learn how to build a bike, and hauling it out of the box completely done is quick, but doesnít get that job done either. There is an exception to this rule, that I will get to later and it has to do with brakes. So, the packaging was done well, the 29Ē wheels were securely set into the box with the appropriate hub protectors and a spacing set of cardboard at the top. The rest of the items, besides the fork, were also in this box. Perhaps putting the seat post right at the top would be my only request, but that is really getting picky. A-
The Kit: This is the XT kit, which includes XT shifters, XT cassette, XT hydro brakes, XT chain, XT wheelset, XT cranks and bottom bracket. Good selection of parts, but I have to say, I HATE bleeding brakes, and they come unbled. Iíve hated bleeding XT brakes since my first set back in 2000, and it hasnít really gotten any better. I know this is a cost/benefit thing, as Shimano probably would rather have them done like this, but still, every other set of brakes out there in every other kit come pre-bled, why canít Shimano? I know, it does offer a small bit of flexibility in cutting the hose to proper length, which sometimes can be an issue, but Iíd rather be able to cut down the hose and do a quick bleed than a start from scratch bleed. It lends me to typically offer a set of Juicy 7ís instead to the customer, and put the box of XTís in the display case. (I have 3 sets there now, by the way, donít need any more, maybe Iíll find someone who likes to do itÖ) The rest of the kit is an Easton EA 70 set/monkey lite, with Al EA 70 stem, bar and seatpost. Typical WTB saddle, and Kenda Nevegal 2.2 x 29Ē tires (folding bead). Overall, a very nice kit that sure to make quite a few people happy. The fork is the new Fox F29 120mm fork, which is black, and a quick release. Iíd prefer a 20mm, but hey, you canít have it all. The headset is a Cane Creek S3, and although inexpensive, is probably the most used kit headset out there, due to its sealed bearings, ease of installation, and of course, cost. A good headset that is easy to use on any other bike if this is a chosen upgrade for the customer. Overall on the kit, Iíd say a solid B.
Frame: I have to say just a few words on the frame. I opted to see a custom color, charcoal blue, and must say it did not disappoint. Not a terribly dark blue, but not the light blue of the standard Flux, a very nice navy blue. Quite a good job on the PC, and of course the welds are impeccable. I like the idea on the downtube of having a cable routing system (see pic), as this always causes at least some cable rub and scratches for those who donít obsess about clean bikes. Having this there will minimize that to some extent. Headtube and bottom bracket faced as usual, threads appear to be chased, but I chase them anyway, just to be on the safe side. (nothing worse than stripping the threads on a $2300 + frameÖ.). The frame as it sits there gets an A- (minus because I want a quick release dammitÖ )
Price: Ok, I priced all these things out on QBP, and here is where the rubber meets the road for me. At $4,699.00 for the Sultan, Expert Kit and Fox 32 F29 fork, buying in kit form seems to be the way to go. Even at full retail, you are getting quite a deal on the cost of components, from what I can tell, savings of 13% or more. Donít stress if there are things on the bike that you donít like, or want to swap, as the kit seems to be built with such mainstream components and names that getting rid of something is quite easy for a dealer if they are so inclined. Its not like there are parts on there that although good, a dealer will have to sell to someone who is in the 1.2% of the population who knows wtf they are. This stuff is XT or Easton, end of story, so swaps, upgrades, and changes wonít necessarily be a problem. Overall, price wise if you take out the frame at $2,399.00, it seems to be a pretty good deal over buying all this stuff by yourself. A-
So, Turner is into the complete bike biz, and Iím sure we are not the only ones excited. It saves a ton of time ordering and getting items right, and the pricing is nice for the end user. My advise, unless you want to swap out more than 50% of this kit, start with it and go from there.
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