Hard choice: Knolly Delirium vs Canfield Balance vs Mondraker Dune?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017

    Hard choice: Knolly Delirium vs Canfield Balance vs Mondraker Dune?

    I'm in the market for a new full-suspension bike, I guess.

    After a lot of reflecting, thinking, considering, looking at loads and loads of bikes, etc. I've narrowed it down to 3 bikes: Knolly Delirium, Canfield Brothers Balance, or Mondraker Dune.

    Between those three, however, I'm pretty much undecided.
    In parts, this is also because of the bikes I'm currently riding and which I don't want to make superfluous.

    Some more information:
    I've been riding "freeride hardtails" for about 12 years now, and 2 years ago decided my trusty Kona Chute was a bit outdated. It was replaced with my new Do-it-all hardtail, a Stanton Switchback with Manitou Mattoc Pro. Basically, there's nothing the bike can't handle, and I love riding it. There are times where a full-sus would be nice, though: long, rough descents in the Alps (living Switzerland), going a bit faster through nasty terrain, or that extra bit of margin for errors you get with a rear suspension.
    Then my Intense M9. Still (to my eyes, at least) one of the most beautiful bikes ever built, and for a non-pro still easily able to keep up with most newer DH bikes.

    I love these two bikes, and it would be a pain to see them being replaced by the new one.

    Thoughts on the three candidates:

    The Balance is lauded everywhere for being an incredibly good bike, both up- and downhill, with an fantastic suspension. It's geometry, however, is a bit more traditional. Slightly longer than it used to be, granted, but still not too progressive. Pretty close to the Switchback in terms of use: enduro and all-mountain tours, playful due to short chainstays. Extremely similar, but with the addition of an rear suspension.

    The Mondraker Dune is long. Definitively a step forward in terms of geometry, lending itself for riding nasty trails where I might struggle with the hardtail. Not really playful anymore due to its length, and not a real DH bike either. Although it could be used for DH tracks, I just don't want to use it for that - the M9 can take a beating (and it took quite some over time) and still rock on unimpressed.
    What bothers me, however, is that the bike is hell-bent on going fast. Which is nice and all, but fun is not always a strait line. Plus, it's a bit of an enduro hipster bike.

    Finally, the Knolly Delirium. It's geometry is somewhat the middleground between the Mondraker and the Canfield, but still has a pretty low and aggressive front. It's heavier and more DH-orientied than both, so it's probably not going to interfere with what I use the Switchback for. I might use it for bike parks that are more freeride-y, so it kind of interferes with the M9, but not too badly.

    So, summing up what tempts me:
    - Canfield Brother Balance: suspension and overall performance, brand
    - Mondraker Dune: geometry, looks
    - Knolly Delirium: rock-solid, seems to fit nicely between my existing bikes, brand

    Maybe there's someone around who has ridden all or some of those bikes?
    Numbers can only tell you so much, and in the end it's all about how they feel on the trail. That's the area where the biggest question mark resides, especially as I can't test the Balance or the Delirium.


  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    It sounds to me like when you say "geometry", you really are just talking about reach. Most of the other measurements for the three bikes are extremely similar (except for the Canfield's short chainstays). All three are going to have longer reach than your M9, and a lot longer reach than your Switchback.

    I'm a bit biased - I own a Balance (and absolutely love it), and I haven't ridden the Dune or Delirium. I actually just wrote a few paragraphs on the Balance in this thread: http://forums.mtbr.com/27-5/yeti-nom...l#post13068407

    Personally, though, if the geometry between the three is similar enough, and each brand has a size that fits you well, I would go with whichever has the best suspension performance, hands down. And probably put a good coil on it, especially in your case with long Alpine descents.

    I also think it's unlikely that any of these three would replace your hardtail, even a hardtail with such sweet aggressive geometry. The ride really isn't "the same, just with suspension". I suspect that you'll find you strongly prefer the new bike for certain rides and the Switchback for others. Though I could see the Delirium (or potentially any of these three bikes) taking away from your M9 for lighter park riding, depending on how big of a fork you put on it.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Took me some time to answer, sorry.
    But I appreciated your input a lot - it made me reflect some more about the the bikes. Your thread was also one of the many I've read previously.

    Basically, it is about the reach, yes.
    I've ridden a prototype-bike of a friend with a very long reach (500-ish, don't know the exact numbers anymore). And while it was a fun experience after a surprisingly short getting-used-to phase, I don't want to go those extremes. Still, I think for a modern bike the reach of the Canfield Balance is rather short, no matter basically everybody else is using the same numbers (more or less).

    What draws me towards the Knolly is the often-heard statement that it combines long reach when pointing downhill with a very comfortable, inside-the-bike uphill position that doesn't feel stretched. Combined with the suspension that is also said to be very good it sounds pretty tempting.

    The Canfield Balance has the suspension as a positive point, although I wonder how much better it actually is than the suspension of the Delirium. Both systems receive a lot of praise, but I haven't found a direct comparison so far.

    The Dune I have ruled out in the meantime. I think it's a great bike, but it's much more geared towards enduro racing - which is nice and everything, but I don't want to race all the time. Sometimes, I just might want to play a bit with what the trail has to offer. Plus, it's extremely expensive.

    As of how to set the Delirium up (it's pretty much decided... ):
    Currently I'm thinking about going either for a custom build with an 170mm DVO Diamond, or the pre-configured build with an 180mm Fox 36. Both should be more or less the same overall length.

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