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  1. #1
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    Zeus - First Ride Impressions

    (Cross posted from the 650B Forum)



    Just came back from my first ride on the Zeus.

    At 6-0 the large frame worked out near perfect. The only fit issue I had is that I set up the bike with a pair of uncut (750mm) Easton Havoc bars so my stem bar config still needs some fine tuning. Today I ran a 70mm stem and felt like I could go a bit longer and maybe trim the bars slightly, but I'll give it a few more rides before I commit, the wide bars are nice on the downhills.

    I rode at Tokul East today and basically climbed the power line trail twice, which is a smooth, very steep, very painful, very soulless double track climb. The top of that climb gives you a couple of options, I did two long, steep, techy, **** eating grin type descents- Upper and Lower Crazy Ivan and Minefield.

    The bike climbed Powerline just as well as the Sultan, peddle bob was a non-issue in Trail mode completely gone in Climb and noticeable but not disturbing in Descend. At the top is a bit of rolling rooty singletrack with a few small log drops and a couple of burst type uphill scrambles. I felt more at home up there on the Sultan or my hardtail 29er than on a six inch travel bike, I don't think it's anything to do with the suspension design, I'm just not used to riding with that much travel.

    Descending on the Zeus was easy. These trails are basically super steep fall line trails with lots of hairpin switchbacks with occasional 2-4ft drops (with options) right before and after the switchbacks. There's also a couple of doubles on one run that I would usually roll on the Sultan that I comfortably jumped on the Zues. The wheel size never really crossed my mind on the descents but afterwards I realized that I was pushing the corners a lot harder and was way more comfortable grabbing air on the drops and stump jumps than on the 29ers.

    The best part was the return to "flickability", after 7 years on the big hoops it's really good to have that back!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Zeus - First Ride Impressions-l28c8804.jpg  

    Last edited by wipp; 02-06-2013 at 09:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    It appears you're happy with the 650B or 27.5 wheel size and the new pivot location. I'm waiting on the Zueus baby sister the unnamed 120mm 650B FS frame........should be a great frame.

    .

  3. #3
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    I still gotta spend some more time on it, one worry is that I might have too much travel for my needs. I'm going to try and sneak out tomorrow and do a XC loop and see how that goes.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wipp View Post
    one worry is that I might have too much travel for my needs
    Nice thing about the Zeus is you could always change the rear to 140mm travel & put a spacer in the fork to reduce to 150mm to tighten the ride up a bit. Thanks for the review.

  5. #5
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    I Just remembered that I forgot about that, whata' dope I can be. So I flipped the chip and the travel is down to 140 and the shock is more progressive and it's a bit steeper in the front end. Definitely heading out tomorrow for another test.

  6. #6
    Oji
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    Please explain

    Quote Originally Posted by wipp View Post
    So I flipped the chip and the travel is down to 140.
    I'm very interested in 27.5 bikes after a year of rolling a 27.5 front. I'm new to Ventana and I don't know the process for reducing the rear suspension travel. I'd be grateful if you would please explain how that's done.

    Thanks

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wipp View Post
    I Just remembered that I forgot about that, whata' dope I can be. So I flipped the chip and the travel is down to 140 and the shock is more progressive and it's a bit steeper in the front end. Definitely heading out tomorrow for another test.
    It'll be interesting to see what you think. I ran the Ciclon in 140mm and hated it. It feels much better in the 150mm travel mode. It'll be interesting to see what you think of the Zeus in 140mm travel. I don't think I want more than 150mm in the rear though.

    Quote Originally Posted by twangcat View Post
    I'm very interested in 27.5 bikes after a year of rolling a 27.5 front. I'm new to Ventana and I don't know the process for reducing the rear suspension travel. I'd be grateful if you would please explain how that's done.

    Thanks
    In the Zeus and newer Ciclons, the upper mount point for the rear shock has a little bit that changes the rear travel of the shock.
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  8. #8
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    With the bike set at 140 the bike feels more lively, the rear shock feels more progressive where as the 160 mode seems to be more linear. It's amazing that moving the top of the shock about a half an inch back and down on the rocker results in such a dramatic change. Interesting also is that the slightly steeper HTA complements the 160mm fork, I think dropping the fork even 10mm might be too much.

    Still just playing in the driveway with this setting, skies willing I hope to squeeze in a short root infested XC ride today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    It'll be interesting to see what you think. I ran the Ciclon in 140mm and hated it. It feels much better in the 150mm travel mode. It'll be interesting to see what you think of the Zeus in 140mm travel. I don't think I want more than 150mm in the rear though.



    In the Zeus and newer Ciclons, the upper mount point for the rear shock has a little bit that changes the rear travel of the shock.
    Last edited by wipp; 01-28-2013 at 09:40 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wipp View Post
    With the bike set at 140 the bike feels more lively, the rear shock feels more progressive where as the 160 mode seems to be more linear. It's amazing that moving the top of the shock about a half an inch back and down on the rocker results in such a dramatic change.
    If I'm not mistaken, you had the shock in the shorter, 140mm, setting in the posted pics. Moving it toward the seat tube should have increased travel to 160mm. FWIW, I prefer the Ciclon @ 150mm too.

  10. #10
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    Damn. I've flipped that chip so many times now I've lost track of whats what! Your right, the back position is 160mm and the front is 140mm. I like the geometry better with the frame set up for 160mm which makes sense because I've got a 160mm fork. Now if it would stop raining here I could get out and ride this thing vs play with it in my garage

    Quote Originally Posted by albeant View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, you had the shock in the shorter, 140mm, setting in the posted pics. Moving it toward the seat tube should have increased travel to 160mm. FWIW, I prefer the Ciclon @ 150mm too.
    Last edited by wipp; 01-28-2013 at 01:34 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wipp View Post
    Damn. I've flipped that chip so many times now I've lost track of whats what! Your right, the back position is 160mm and the front is 140mm. I like the geometry better with the frame set up for 160mm which makes sense because I've got a 160mm fork. Now if it would stop raining here I could get out and ride this thing vs play with it in my garage
    In the Ciclon, the further back it is, the more travel it has.
    Forward position: 140mm
    Backward position: 150mm

    So the Zeus is probably
    Forward position: 140mm
    Backward position: 160mm
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  12. #12
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    Yup. I just confirmed that with Ventana. Heading out for a mudfest in the 140mm setting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    In the Ciclon, the further back it is, the more travel it has.
    Forward position: 140mm
    Backward position: 150mm

    So the Zeus is probably
    Forward position: 140mm
    Backward position: 160mm

  13. #13
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    Nice sloppy ride today and the bike is finally settled in.



    I went to a longer stem, slid the saddle forward some and dropped the stem a couple of spacers. Perfect! Before I was too far back, upright and heavy in the saddle which lead to a wallowing feel in the rear suspension. Now I'm more stretched across the bike and everything feels better balanced.

    Now that I'm on the bike right, it feels as efficient as a DW in the Trail and Climb mode but super plush in the descend mode. I really like the combination of short chain stays and a low center of gravity. The bike is much easier to wheelie and manual than my Sultan and I'm not missing the big hoops.
    Last edited by wipp; 01-29-2013 at 11:19 AM.

  14. #14
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    Should be a fast bike! Race?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4life View Post
    It appears you're happy with the 650B or 27.5 wheel size and the new pivot location. I'm waiting on the Zueus baby sister the unnamed 120mm 650B FS frame........should be a great frame.

    .

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    It'll be interesting to see what you think. I ran the Ciclon in 140mm and hated it. It feels much better in the 150mm travel mode. It'll be interesting to see what you think of the Zeus in 140mm travel. I don't think I want more than 150mm in the rear though.



    In the Zeus and newer Ciclons, the upper mount point for the rear shock has a little bit that changes the rear travel of the shock.
    So far I like the 140 better, at 160 I seem to blow through the travel too quickly. I called Ventana about that and they suggested that I might want to send the shock to Fox and have it reset from Medium (the way they ship) to Heavy if I want to run it at 160. Something to consider if your north of 200lbs I guess.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by twangcat View Post
    I'm very interested in 27.5 bikes after a year of rolling a 27.5 front. I'm new to Ventana and I don't know the process for reducing the rear suspension travel. I'd be grateful if you would please explain how that's done.

    Thanks
    I spoke with Ventana today because I wasn't sure which setting did what. So...

    There are two mounting positions on the linkage, the one closest to the seat tube is 160mm which raises the BB some and has more leverage on the shock resulting in a less progressive feel. The other is 140mm which lowers the BB and has a more progressive feel. According to Ventana you will need to add about 15% more air pressure to the shock in the 160mm setting to get about the same feel.

    Hope that helps.

  17. #17
    Oji
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    Thanks...

    ...for the very helpful followup info about changing the rear suspension travel and the resulting change in the shock leverage and feel.

    I have been riding a Turner 5.Spot since the DW link models came out in 2009. I love the bike and converted to 27.5 on a 26" Fox 140 fork a year ago. Turner customer service is already legendary and I, too, have my own significant personal testimony I could add to the tome. Thus I am keen on continuing my support of DT in both words and purchases. Great bikes and great company ethos. When I compare the Burner and the Zeus on paper I'm partial to the Zeus geometry but I'm reluctant to move away from the DW Link suspension. Not to beat the dead horse, but not having any much opportunity to demo ride either bike (or others) is a total drag and I have difficulty laying out a few $K on hunches about preferences on paper.

    When i was looking for a longer travel trail bike a few years ago and ultimately bought the 5.Spot frame, I did so having been able to demo it through the demo/rental deal that Competitive Cyclist had at the time. I sure wish something like that was still an option. Were you able to demo the Zeus before you made the switch from your Sultan?

  18. #18
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    I wasn't able to demo the Zeus but I wasn't too worried about buying the frame untested after spending time with Sherwood on the phone. I was more concerned about getting the geometry right and worried about the suspension set up second.

    That said, for me the set up for the single pivot bike seems much less forgiving than the DW which I swear could be way off and still ride pretty well. The flip side of that is that the DW Sultan rode the way it was designed no matter what and the Zues has a few personalities and responds extremely well to the CTD shocks.

    The new pivot placement is great on the Zeus (sure took them long enough to make that change!), it does settle into it's travel a little more than the DW but I don't really think thats a bad thing. I think both companies do a great job with customer service, one advantage in favor of Ventana is that they are not outsourcing their stuff so they can build custom.

    Lot's of stuff in the pipeline I bet. The conservative thing to do would be to wait for Sea Otter and see what Ibis, Pivot and Yeti are bringing to the table.





    Quote Originally Posted by twangcat View Post
    ...for the very helpful followup info about changing the rear suspension travel and the resulting change in the shock leverage and feel.

    I have been riding a Turner 5.Spot since the DW link models came out in 2009. I love the bike and converted to 27.5 on a 26" Fox 140 fork a year ago. Turner customer service is already legendary and I, too, have my own significant personal testimony I could add to the tome. Thus I am keen on continuing my support of DT in both words and purchases. Great bikes and great company ethos. When I compare the Burner and the Zeus on paper I'm partial to the Zeus geometry but I'm reluctant to move away from the DW Link suspension. Not to beat the dead horse, but not having any much opportunity to demo ride either bike (or others) is a total drag and I have difficulty laying out a few $K on hunches about preferences on paper.

    When i was looking for a longer travel trail bike a few years ago and ultimately bought the 5.Spot frame, I did so having been able to demo it through the demo/rental deal that Competitive Cyclist had at the time. I sure wish something like that was still an option. Were you able to demo the Zeus before you made the switch from your Sultan?
    Last edited by wipp; 02-06-2013 at 09:35 PM.

  19. #19
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    Last First Impression:

    Today the sun popped out long enough for a good ride and the trails were nice and tacky. I'm more comfortable on the bike now and letting it run on the downhills, and WOW!

    At one point I seriously choked and ended up shorting a big rolling double and the bike just gobbled the thing up and sent me straight down the trail like it was nothing. Money well spent. As soon as the snow lifts this bike is Squamish bound for sure.

    Second Last First Impression:

    Rode yesterday in the 160mm mode, it was actually pretty damn good. In spite of the additional travel the bike felt more XC with a steeper HA and higher BB. If I was back East I would probably always ride it like this. That said, it's probably going to stay at 140 (slacker HA and lower BB) for the steeps around here in Washington.
    Last edited by wipp; 02-14-2013 at 09:26 AM. Reason: additional useless notes

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