Back story: Been riding a variety of bikes on technical AZ trails for a few years now. I've been fortunate enough to have a bunch of nice rigs as I like to buy and sell them and try new things. Not a wheel-size snob and have enjoyed a variety of bikes of all sizes.
If you were to go back in posts several years, you'd note I had a few not-so-nice things to say about 650b. I converted a Prophet awhile back, a bike I liked in its 26er format, but absolutely hated in 650b.
With the advent of specific 27.5 components, I was anxious to give it another go. Earlier this summer, bought a Bronson and really, really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much -- and because I was slightly between sizes -- I sold the L aluminum frame in late August after ordering an XL carbon Bronson.
Won't go into too much detail, but my Bronson still hasn't arrived and I've had nothing but my SS 29er to ride for nearly two months of prime AZ riding. So I went into my favorite shop and picked up an XL raw Burner frame to build up with all the parts waiting on my garage floor.
Frame: Raw XL Burner with CTD Kashima
Fork: Pike solo air at 160
Brakes: XT, 203/180 Icetech
Stem: Thomson X4 50mm
Bars: RF Sixc carbon
Post: KS Lev
Wheels: Speed Dream custom Arch EX to Project 321 hubs
Tires: HR II front and Ardent rear, both tubeless
Photos post first ride today.
My first thought is that the bike is massive. Honestly, I've never owned an XL bike previously. I'm 6'2" with a 35-ish cycling inseam and monkey arms. By both Turner's sizing charts and my LBS recommendations, the XL with short stem was the right choice.
My second thought is the bike is beautiful in a super-industrial, purposeful sort of way. I've previously owned two Spots and an RFX and I appreciate Turner's quality.
As shown, on a bathroom scale: 29.2 pounds.
First ride this morning, on one of my regular loops in Phoenix Mountain Preserves. A lot of technical climbing and steep, ledgy, rocky descents. Very typical of the type of riding I do.
The Pike was already set up from my Bronson and worked brilliantly. I put about 160 psi in the shock (I'm around 195 in full riding gear/pack). The bike was extremely plush, but perhaps just slightly mushy on steep seated climbs. I think another 5 or 10 psi will be called for.
First ride ever on XX1. Absolutely awesome. It's quite hard to justify the cost, but I think it really is the future in drivetrains. I'm sure I'll be bummed when I destroy my first XX1 derailleur, but still stoked.
Overall ride quality: I thought it was exceptional. While the bike looks big to my eye, it disappeared under me while riding. My only prior experience with DW Link was on a Pivot Mach 5.7, a bike that I absolutely hated.
This iteration of DW couldn't be more different. Plush and controlled but driving forward with each pedal stroke, but incredible traction on technical square-edged climbs.
With a wheelbase approaching a typical DH bike, I expected the bike to not be super-responsive on low-speed rock crawly-type descents. Again, I was wrong. When you look at the numbers (chainstay length, overall WB) you get a picture; when you actually ride the bike on very technical terrain, you get a different picture, one that doesn't quite add up to what you thought. The totality of the bike, taken as a whole, is different than the individual numbers. The descents are completely intuitive and the frame is responsive to weight-back hip-steering, which is my favored steep descent technique.
Even after one ride, the bike feels overall dialed. As I said, a bit more fiddling with the shock and the front is pretty tall. I've got about 15mm of spacers under the stem, which need to go away. I could probably move to a 35 or 40mm stem.
Overall, though, stoked. Thanks for sticking with me if you did. Otherwise, enjoy the pretty pictures.
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