Although designed as a XC race / marathon bike, the Czar also chews up fast, twisty single track. The versatile nature of the Czar is capable of taking on more demanding trails than many XC race courses offer. With 29inch wheels, Toray High Modulus Carbon Fiber, and Turner's legendary ride quality this full suspension mountain bike will make waves.
I ride a carbon fiber road bike but I still use mechanical shifters. My mountain bike is a full suspension rig with 26 inch wheels. I use a Garmin but do not have a Strava account. I wear a helmet and sunglasses on every ride. White socks are for road rides; black socks are for mountain biking.
My favorite beach hat says “Old Guys Rule” on it and I’m OK with that. I am not what the techies call an ‘early adopter.’ I still have an iPhone 4. I look at every new cycling-related gadget with squinty-eyed suspicion — especially the gadgets that claim to forever change the way I ride. Yeah, right.
You see, I’ve lived through so many cycling fads that I’ve stopped keeping track of old fads from the 80's and 90's that have come back into style (and then gone out again). Oval chainrings? Used them back in 1989. Garishly-colored anodized bike parts? Had several on my bike back in 1995. Fluorescent yellow and green jerseys and shorts? Wore them on every group ride back in 1993. Helmets with no vents? Had one back in 2001. I guess it’s like most things in life — if you live long enough, eventually everything comes back around. That means that at some point in the near future the mullet will come back into style. Yay.
Like any modern sport, cycling is constantly pushing the envelope of what is technologically feasible — always with the dual goals of maximizing athlete performance and corporate profits. Recent advances in industrial design, mechanical and chemical engineering, computer science, textiles, and food science have led to an explosion of cycling-related products from the inane (Park Tools’ pizza cutter) to the ubiquitous (Garmin Barfly). But, every so often there’s a new technology or product that has a huge and lasting impact on the sport of cycling. One such example is the 29er.
What started as a funky design modification from a bunch of garage tinkerers in the mountain bike scene several years ago has become the dominant hardtail and full suspension rig of off-road cycling today. This year, every bike manufacturer has several 29er models in their mountain bike line. The 29er has become so popular that there are a number of companies that only sell 29er models. Soon, the venerable 26-inch wheeled mountain bike will be a thing of the past. The result is that Old School guys like me will become Old Fashioned. That’s not going to happen to me. Not yet.
With all this churning in the back of my mind, I swung a leg over the Turner Czar test ride bike, clipped in, and pedaled towards the Chesebro Canyon trailhead.
To read the rest of the review and view photos, please go to Better-Biking.com:
Date Reviewed: July 6, 2013
Strengths: Frame durability and awesome in tight singletrack
I have been riding one of the first Czar and put mega miles on this frame, all over the southwest and all types of terrian and riding condiitons. The Czar is all I need I can ride all day and also I have done some bike packing trips. If you are looking for a dependable bike this is the bike you will want to add to your garage and get ride of the rest.
Strengths: Exceptionally stable, responsive, and balanced. Frame is torsionally very stiff yet quiet and smooth as silk. DW link performs flawlessly for this application.
I'm coming off a v.1 (Horst link) Sultan, and a 5 Spot and Burner before that. Great bikes all, but for me (165 lbs, med frame, cross country rider) the Czar is a whole different category of great.
Yes, I know—carbon frame, DW link, etc – it’s a given that it would be a different experience, but I was unprepared for this kind of revelation.
Climbing: long, steep fireroad, in the saddle and out, presents no discernible energy loss or flex under load. First gear crawling is precise and easy to maintain your desired line. The bike rewards hard effort by rolling right up loose, rocky pitches that you are sure will cause you to unclip and walk, whether you’re already accustomed to 29” wheels or not. It almost whispers to you to give it more, and responds by taking you past previous capabilities.
Downhill: fast, sweeping singletrack or rocky, tight, technical sections—descending on this bike is an eye opening event to say the least. How is it possible for a 29er to be both this stable and this quick and agile at the same time? From the very first ride, I was far exceeding the speeds I am used to, holding lines and momentum that I didn't think was possible. I wasn’t trying to go that fast, it was just happening naturally. My confidence, even on trails that I’ve ridden for years, has soared.
In almost 30 years of mtn biking I have never experienced a bike as smooth, stable, and intuitive as the Czar. If you’re a cross country rec rider or racer and actively looking to upgrade, or even if you’re fairly content with your current steed but sometimes wonder if there could be something better, the Czar is simply phenomenal. No matter what your current skill/fun level is, this bike will take you higher.
Weaknesses: Umm, hold on, I'll think of something.
After many years of fighting the 29er "Fad" I found one that made all the things I didn't like about 29ers, go away. My last bike was a 5 Spot. Loved the DW design, climbed like a scalded cat, cushy on the downs. I had thought, 29ers, long, can't wheelie, heavy, slow in transition, hippy bikes..
Enter the Czar..
Test ride in the parking lot saw me doing wheelies!! Oh boy.. bout half hour later, was trying to figure out how to afford the switch to this bike. Lot's of ebaying later, I took delivery of my Czar. I did a long build thread, put a lot of fire road miles, and just did my 2nd good single track run.. This bike is awesome.
High points, through loose rocky descending, very stable, even though loose baby heads. Point and go, holds a very good line.
Side to side transitions, really quick. Equal or better than any 26er I've had. This really impressed me because the last 29er I rode was not quick in transition. The guy who let me try it said I had to learn how to ride differently. Well, apparently not!
Feedback, one of my first rides, through fast corners, I could feel what the bike was doing. The feedback is tremendous. It lets you know when the tires are getting loose, and when they're good, Loose gravelly turns, off camber, it just felt like I could do no wrong, and, when I did, it warned me before I got too deep in trouble.
Light weight, 25 lbs. That's with full XT kit, Fox 120 CTD, Lightweight Bike CF rims with Hope Evo's
It's in the same price range as most the other "good" CF bike frames out there. As far as SoCal trails, this one seems to RULE!!
I'll be continuing to test it and find it's flaws, as they've eluded me thus far.
Strengths: Laterally stiff, but not harsh, fast, but still smooth in the rougher stuff, quick cornering, but not twitchy at speed or on downhills, light, last forever bushings, and finally (to my eye) it looks great with its fairly straight "classic" lines.
Weaknesses: Well, maybe price, but nobody is giving away carbon frames, are they?! I gave it full marks for value anyway, because if you ever do have a problem, Turner Bikes typically resolves it without question, and does so QUICKLY, which means a lot during the prime of the riding season.
Make no mistake. This is an xc/race or endurance racing bike, not a trail bike. Its rear suspension is firm, but never harsh. It begs for the whip during races and training days, but also loves long, rougher days of fun. At least more than my Epic did. It rails corners, which may be a result of the short-ish chainstays. It does not budge laterally. I'm near 200 pounds, and when I stand and hammer it, there is no flexing from front or rear. I think the carbon construction and one-piece upper and lower linkages are responsible for this.
My primary racing is 100 mile events. Over the last several years, I've ridden/raced a Superfly 100, Epic Expert, and Camber Pro Carbon. The Czar is my favorite for racing and riding both. The Epic is in the same league as a pure race tool, but nowhere near as enjoyable for regular -- but still fast -- riding.
I recently attended the Bike PressCamp event and had a chance to talk to Dave Turner. The Czar was released at Sea Otter and Leel has been testing one for us.
In this video, Dave tells us a bit about the Czar and how it came to be.
Check it out.
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So how painful is this, GF and I on holiday in the states (moab etc) and our pair of Czars have turned up whilst away!
Can anyone add anything about the offset on the fork, is this standard I can't find anything on my current fox fork or f ... Read More »