Fugitive LT owners, any regrets?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    hispanic mechanic
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    Fugitive LT owners, any regrets?

    I know this is probably not the least biased crowd, but I figure thereís also a lot more experience here.

    If youíve owned (or ever demoed) a Fugitive LT, is there anything that youíd want to change?

    Iím very close to ordering one- I love the design philosophy and the reviews are great, but Iím in a place where I canít test ride or demo one.

    So, any negative feedback/constructive criticism?
    Whiskey is my yoga.

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  2. #2
    Perpetual Hack
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    My only bitch is the downtube is a bit too swoopy, which makes it a bit naff to fit a decent bottle.
    I'm running a Fabric cageless bottle which gives a bit more clearance than most cages.

    Never been able to test ride before purchase either. Just a couple of long phone calls to Noel before each. I have not been disappointed in any of the 6 Knolly's I have owned.
    Hatched in '64
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  3. #3
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    I can only give a biased reply due to the fact that the Fugitive is also my 6th Knolly...

    I have had my Fugitive for over a year and have at least 80 rides on it. I can't say there is anything I would change on the frame. I do miss the old bolt on/pinch bolt rear axle, but the DT Swiss version on the Fugitive works fine.

    From the start I really liked the fit of the bike and how that translated to my riding. The only thing that I had to adjust to was the cornering. At first it felt a little slow to me, but eventually figured it out. The Fugitive loves to be pushed hard, but works fine on an average ride/trail. (not an easy thing to accomplish in my book)

    I have played around with the build a bit. Went from Fox DPX2 to X2 and 36 Fit4 150mm to 36 Grip2 at 160mm. Dropper from 150mm to 175mm. The changes added up to a bike that is more plush and slightly easier to lift the front. Climbing steeps takes a bit more forward body weighting, but it is a trade off I am willing to make for a ride that is more fun for me. The 150mm front with the bars at the right height makes for a monster technical climber.

    Hope that helps.
    Portland Off Road Navagators

  4. #4
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    Pull the trigger and rip it! Just remember to spec good brakes - this bike is fast and the wheels are big. 203mm MT7s on both ends really slow it down when necessary.

  5. #5
    hispanic mechanic
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    Thanks for the replies. I'm pretty sure I'll just move forward. It's been 19 years (?!?) since my last full suspension bike, a Santa Cruz Bullitt (!!!).

    I appreciate Knolly's design philosophy, and I think that based on feedback on this forum, reviews, and talking to a couple of Knolly riders that this will be a fit for my riding and values.

    Not having the opportunity to ride one has given me some cold feet, but I'm not terribly interested in the carbon or low-end aluminum bikes that are prevalent. Plus, I have too admit to enjoying the idea of being one of the first riders in the area to be on a Knolly!
    Whiskey is my yoga.

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  6. #6
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    After riding and enduro racing the Fugitive LT with a 160mm fork for all of last year, I sold it in fall and ordered a new 2020 Warden.

    Problem was, I sold it a bit too early... so with so much riding season left, I started demoing and borrowing bikes from friends. I did 2 rides on the new Santa Cruz Hightower, 3 rides on the new Santa Cruz Megatower, 1 ride on my friends 2018 Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition and 1 ride on another friends 2018 Norco Range. The most recent bike I owned before buying the Fugitive LT was a Norco Sight.

    To make a long story short... the Fugitive is a better bike than all of them. Testing/riding all those bikes so quickly after running the FLT long term really pointed out just how ****ing amazing of a bike it is. But the one comparison that really surprised me and summarizes just how good the Fugitive is, was against the SC Megatower. I rode it for 3 good rides (2 to 4 hours) at three different riding areas with different terrain... from techy steep rocky gnar to super fast flowy bermy jumps... with lots of climbing in-between.

    I had heard and read in reviews over and over about how badass this bike was, about how it needed to ridden at 10/10ths to really shine, that it was a super stiff enduro bruiser that could handle any and all hard charging. First off, I'm not sure if many of the reviewers just didn't know how to set up the suspension properly or what, but I started off a little too soft and had to stiffen things up (think I was expecting severe stiffness and/or progression). Second, I can just say that the bike was awesome and super fun to ride, anyone who has this bike is stoked because it's an awesome super fun bike. It's just that... well... the Fugitive is better.

    1. The Fugitive is stiffer where it needs to be than the Megatower! I didn't feel as confident to push into or go for big sketchy steep rocky chunk lines like I could on the Fugitive! That extra 25mm of rear travel didn't seem to make much difference in those instances. I actually walked a section of a trail that I ride all the time (when I'm ready) and that I had no hesitation to blast into on the Fugitive most days. I'm sure part of it was just not being as comfortable on the bike heading into some serious west coast BC gnar as I was on the Fugitive. I chalked it up to the Fugitive's 157 rear end being exceptionally stable which allows you to hit, hold and grip lines that are either much more difficult on a different bike (feel the rear end flexing and giving way) or you need more skill than I have (to keep it on line no matter what). I am now fully sold on 157 rear ends and I don't think it can be overstated just how stable and confidence inspiring it makes a bike.

    2. The biggest difference I noticed about the suspension design was the amount of "brake jack" compared with the Fugitive. I really noticed it on a specific fast, mostly flow trail with lots of berms... it's super fun. But prior to some of the bermed corners, there are steep sections of little step-downs through roots and rocks and/or some pretty good chunky breaking bumps combined with some roots and rocks. The Mega, compared with the Fugitive wasn't as composed through these sections... it tended to skip down/through these, loose traction and/or lock up. I'd loose some traction and the ability to brake late and hard before a corner. As a result, I wasn't able to keep as much speed as I would have liked... or it was just harder to keep speed and felt more sketchy through those sections while trying to set up for the corner.

    3. I did find that maybe where the Mega shined and was probably a little better than the Fugitive was between these sections. The mega's suspension platform allowed it to be pretty fast pushing and pumping through smoother berms and rolling terrain. My strava times were just a little faster here on the mega and might have been a even faster with more time on the bike. But, then I would lose much more time in the chunkier sections and of course the gnar. Different suspension platforms for sure, but I'd take 4x4 in a heartbeat.

    4. Finicky bike design... the flip chip is impossible to get to... even setting sag or seeing how much travel you're using is difficult. Cleaning the bike is annoying... the only real way to properly clean down into all the nooks and crannies of the linkage is to take it apart. Being able to adjust the geo trail-side in 30 seconds on the Fugitive is a far, far better design, something I definitely took for granted! Plus the change in geo on the Mega isn't enough... I wonder why they even bothered.

    5. Pricing... I found the Fugitive a better value.

    6. Tire Spec: Front - 2.5 WT MaxxTerra EXO+. Rear - 2.4 WT MaxxTerra EXO+. Those EXO+ tires were a highlight of the demo... I've used Schawlbe Snake Skins, Super Gravity, Maxxis EXO and DD's and EXO Plus are going on my Warden for sure. Great middle ground between EXO and DD. I was surprised by the support and damping quality for such little extra weight. Knolly needs to start speccing these on their Fugitive LT and bigger.

    Anyway, that did end up being a bit of long story. But bottom line - The Fugitive LT is a very high end, very high performing bike that does most things better than most bikes on the market. At the end of the season on my Fugitive I was still throwing it into gnarlier and crazier situations and coming out the other end laughing... I never did find it's limit.

    Things I'd change?? I rode it with a 160mm fork and pretty much always in the slack mode, so maybe a seat tube that was another degree or so steeper? Not a big deal, the bike still climbed really well with lots of traction. Other than swapping the tires to something burlier, that's about it.

    Enjoy!!

  7. #7
    orthonormal
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    I'd like it to be a bit more responsive to out of the saddle efforts (I rode SS for 15+ years) but wouldn't be willing to give up the technical climbing traction or neutral braking as a consequence.
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  8. #8
    hispanic mechanic
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandForLife View Post
    After riding and enduro racing the Fugitive LT with a 160mm fork for all of last year, I sold it in fall and ordered a new 2020 Warden.


    Mind if I sk why the switch from the Fugitive to the Warden? Wheel size or travel?
    Whiskey is my yoga.

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  9. #9
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    Anybody gone from a Delerium to a Fug? Do you miss anything on the downs? I noticed a huge diff between the Warden & Deler.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttchad View Post
    Anybody gone from a Delerium to a Fug? Do you miss anything on the downs? I noticed a huge diff between the Warden & Deler.
    Yes. One is a 170 Freeride bike and the other is 135mm trail bike. While the Fugitive can take some big hits, it's just not in the same class.
    https://youtube.com/c/jamesstoup - Check out my racing on Youtube

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandForLife View Post
    After riding and enduro racing the Fugitive LT with a 160mm fork for all of last year, I sold it in fall and ordered a new 2020 Warden.

    Problem was, I sold it a bit too early... so with so much riding season left, I started demoing and borrowing bikes from friends. I did 2 rides on the new Santa Cruz Hightower, 3 rides on the new Santa Cruz Megatower, 1 ride on my friends 2018 Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition and 1 ride on another friends 2018 Norco Range. The most recent bike I owned before buying the Fugitive LT was a Norco Sight.

    To make a long story short... the Fugitive is a better bike than all of them. Testing/riding all those bikes so quickly after running the FLT long term really pointed out just how ****ing amazing of a bike it is. But the one comparison that really surprised me and summarizes just how good the Fugitive is, was against the SC Megatower. I rode it for 3 good rides (2 to 4 hours) at three different riding areas with different terrain... from techy steep rocky gnar to super fast flowy bermy jumps... with lots of climbing in-between.

    I had heard and read in reviews over and over about how badass this bike was, about how it needed to ridden at 10/10ths to really shine, that it was a super stiff enduro bruiser that could handle any and all hard charging. First off, I'm not sure if many of the reviewers just didn't know how to set up the suspension properly or what, but I started off a little too soft and had to stiffen things up (think I was expecting severe stiffness and/or progression). Second, I can just say that the bike was awesome and super fun to ride, anyone who has this bike is stoked because it's an awesome super fun bike. It's just that... well... the Fugitive is better.

    1. The Fugitive is stiffer where it needs to be than the Megatower! I didn't feel as confident to push into or go for big sketchy steep rocky chunk lines like I could on the Fugitive! That extra 25mm of rear travel didn't seem to make much difference in those instances. I actually walked a section of a trail that I ride all the time (when I'm ready) and that I had no hesitation to blast into on the Fugitive most days. I'm sure part of it was just not being as comfortable on the bike heading into some serious west coast BC gnar as I was on the Fugitive. I chalked it up to the Fugitive's 157 rear end being exceptionally stable which allows you to hit, hold and grip lines that are either much more difficult on a different bike (feel the rear end flexing and giving way) or you need more skill than I have (to keep it on line no matter what). I am now fully sold on 157 rear ends and I don't think it can be overstated just how stable and confidence inspiring it makes a bike.

    2. The biggest difference I noticed about the suspension design was the amount of "brake jack" compared with the Fugitive. I really noticed it on a specific fast, mostly flow trail with lots of berms... it's super fun. But prior to some of the bermed corners, there are steep sections of little step-downs through roots and rocks and/or some pretty good chunky breaking bumps combined with some roots and rocks. The Mega, compared with the Fugitive wasn't as composed through these sections... it tended to skip down/through these, loose traction and/or lock up. I'd loose some traction and the ability to brake late and hard before a corner. As a result, I wasn't able to keep as much speed as I would have liked... or it was just harder to keep speed and felt more sketchy through those sections while trying to set up for the corner.

    3. I did find that maybe where the Mega shined and was probably a little better than the Fugitive was between these sections. The mega's suspension platform allowed it to be pretty fast pushing and pumping through smoother berms and rolling terrain. My strava times were just a little faster here on the mega and might have been a even faster with more time on the bike. But, then I would lose much more time in the chunkier sections and of course the gnar. Different suspension platforms for sure, but I'd take 4x4 in a heartbeat.

    4. Finicky bike design... the flip chip is impossible to get to... even setting sag or seeing how much travel you're using is difficult. Cleaning the bike is annoying... the only real way to properly clean down into all the nooks and crannies of the linkage is to take it apart. Being able to adjust the geo trail-side in 30 seconds on the Fugitive is a far, far better design, something I definitely took for granted! Plus the change in geo on the Mega isn't enough... I wonder why they even bothered.

    5. Pricing... I found the Fugitive a better value.

    6. Tire Spec: Front - 2.5 WT MaxxTerra EXO+. Rear - 2.4 WT MaxxTerra EXO+. Those EXO+ tires were a highlight of the demo... I've used Schawlbe Snake Skins, Super Gravity, Maxxis EXO and DD's and EXO Plus are going on my Warden for sure. Great middle ground between EXO and DD. I was surprised by the support and damping quality for such little extra weight. Knolly needs to start speccing these on their Fugitive LT and bigger.

    Anyway, that did end up being a bit of long story. But bottom line - The Fugitive LT is a very high end, very high performing bike that does most things better than most bikes on the market. At the end of the season on my Fugitive I was still throwing it into gnarlier and crazier situations and coming out the other end laughing... I never did find it's limit.

    Things I'd change?? I rode it with a 160mm fork and pretty much always in the slack mode, so maybe a seat tube that was another degree or so steeper? Not a big deal, the bike still climbed really well with lots of traction. Other than swapping the tires to something burlier, that's about it.

    Enjoy!!

    Awesome information, thanks alot! I just ordered a Fugitive and can't wait to give it a try. Thing is, I also have a Warden, and its such a capable bike I have a hard time imagining that the Fugitive will replace it. Guess I will just have to keep both of them! The new Warden sounds like it could be the best of both worlds though. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

  12. #12
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    I guess I should just buy another wheelset so I don't have to pedal a DH casing. Delerium is not bad if you don't climb super steep & loose. Or maybe I just got used to it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sslos View Post
    Mind if I sk why the switch from the Fugitive to the Warden? Wheel size or travel?
    Not a problem... I guess I'd say... because I can, so why not try something different and if I don't like it, I'll sell and switch again. No more motivation than that really.

    But I'd also be lying if i wasn't a little nervous that I've just sold possibly what could be the best bike in the world and I'm wondering if the new Warden will be better... or not? Maybe less than a little... I'm sure I'll have a blast on it and it'll be interesting noting the differences long term from a shorter travel 29r to a longer travel 27.5.

    At the very least, by the end of next season I'll hopefully know which platform I like better.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skooks View Post
    Awesome information, thanks alot! I just ordered a Fugitive and can't wait to give it a try. Thing is, I also have a Warden, and its such a capable bike I have a hard time imagining that the Fugitive will replace it. Guess I will just have to keep both of them! The new Warden sounds like it could be the best of both worlds though. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.
    Ya, I think you will be surprised what the Fugitive is capable of... and might lead you down the path of thinking... "if this geometry is so capable in a 135mm bike, what would a 160mm 27.5 be like?" Which is where I am now.

    If Knolly drops a true long travel 29r the following year... who know, maybe I'll have to try that out as well! Or maybe I'll want to be back on a shorter travel 29... or maybe a shorter travel 27.5... we'll see I guess.

    Have fun on the Fugitive... it's just a fast and fun bike. I will say it took me a month or so to get the suspension dialed just right and really get in tune with the bike... part of that was adjusting my riding style to the long, low and slack style. But once you get into it and trust it... there isn't much that will slow you down!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandForLife View Post
    Ya, I think you will be surprised what the Fugitive is capable of... and might lead you down the path of thinking... "if this geometry is so capable in a 135mm bike, what would a 160mm 27.5 be like?" Which is where I am now.

    If Knolly drops a true long travel 29r the following year... who know, maybe I'll have to try that out as well! Or maybe I'll want to be back on a shorter travel 29... or maybe a shorter travel 27.5... we'll see I guess.

    Have fun on the Fugitive... it's just a fast and fun bike. I will say it took me a month or so to get the suspension dialed just right and really get in tune with the bike... part of that was adjusting my riding style to the long, low and slack style. But once you get into it and trust it... there isn't much that will slow you down!
    Sounds like the Fugitive is going to be a seriously fun bike. Can't wait to give it a rip!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skooks View Post
    Awesome information, thanks alot! I just ordered a Fugitive and can't wait to give it a try. Thing is, I also have a Warden, and its such a capable bike I have a hard time imagining that the Fugitive will replace it. Guess I will just have to keep both of them! The new Warden sounds like it could be the best of both worlds though. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.
    I thought this too...but the Warden and Endorphin seem to have disappeared from my garage. Once I got used to the Fugitive / new geometry, the Warden felt a little sketchy on bigger stuff. (especially the turn in) I also did some back to back rides on easier trail between the Fugitive and Endorphin. The fun factor was a wash for me between those two. Yes the Endo is quicker, but not enough for me to keep it around.

    I think a big part of the reason the Fugitive works so well for me vs. the Endo and Warden is the fit/geo and maybe the wheel size. I ride a large frame and I can really weight the front of the Fugitive without fear of anything weird happening. Maybe my results would be different if I was smaller and riding a medium or small frame?

    Enjoy the new steed.
    Portland Off Road Navagators

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