With twenty nine inch wheels and 120mm of travel, the updated 29er from Turner is for everyone who loves the 29 inch wheel characteristics and now can utilize those big wheels with a class leading 120mm of DW-link travel. David Turner and Dave Weagle really did the homework on the Sultan. Carefully blending the dynamics of rider positioning with the special antisquat needs of the 29 inch wheeled bike. Special attention was paid to the relationship between bottom bracket height, chainstay length and DW-link placement resulting in super efficient power transfer through those big wheels, yet always fully active suspension that devours everything mother Earth has in front of it. Features -6.8lbs -4.7" rear wheel travel -Famous Turner tire clearance to handle any 29inch tires available -Available in Sasquatch sizing (XXL) for tall riders -Fox RP23 rear shock -DW-Link suspension
Strengths: Stable, climbs and turns easily, American Made
Weaknesses: Expensive but no more then other bikes in its class and can be purchased used for a lesser amount.
This is a great endurance bike with several advantages listed as below:
Weight: For a long travel suspension 29er trail bike, the Sultan is one of the lightest in its class, most Turners are in the 29 lb range, mine has Ergon grips and a Serfas seat that adds an extra pound, otherwise would be under 29 lbs. I have researched many bikes in this class and most are in the 30-31 lbs range and even some carbon bikes in this class that cost more $ are in the 27-28 lb range. To help compensate for the extra wt in climbing compared to my lighter hard-tail, I have a 22 tooth chainring in front and a 36 tooth cog in back which gives incredible climbing power.
Durability: This bike is made to last for a long time. On a recent
cross country race I saw a few carbon bike failures with broken
components and a broken carbon wheel. If you are going in the back
country on rugged terrain then the few extra pounds are well worth it
over a carbon bike because of the security of a well built frame. This bike is reliable and will function under
duress for many years and likely outlast many competitors. It will
also as get you out and back from your trail rides away from
civilization with less likelihood of a breakdown then you could have
on another MTN bike.
American Made- speaks for itself, keep business here in America.
Handling- the bike is engineered and balanced very well, handles the
switchbacks and swooshes easily with the big wheels with no
perceivable disadvantage in comparison to a 26er. This bike turns
much better then other 29ers that I have tried. With the slacker seat
and head tube angle then more of the power from pedaling comes from
the larger proximal thigh and hip muscles as opposed to the distal
quads and knees, thus enabling the rider to ride for long rides
without fatigue. This bike is responsive and turns quickly when
needed. Feels as good or better then the "G2 geometry" that another
high end bike manufacturer has used for their bikes.
DW Link- this really works, stiff and efficient pedaling but gives the
cushion you need to soak up the bumps. This bike climbs as well or
better then a hard tail because of the dw link suspension giving the
rear wheel the traction it needs. There is almost no tire spin outs
when going up loose steep hills. On a recent race I passed a rider on
a "Niner" brand and noticed there was pedal bob on each stroke on his
bike while going up hill. The Sultan virtually has no pedal feedback
or pedal bob and could pass the other rider with the more efficient
pedaling. Climbing is one of the best advantages of this bike with the stability and rear wheel
traction. The climbs are where I can gain ground on some competitors.
Safety- the 69.5 degree head tube and slightly longer chain stay gives this
bike a very stable feel when riding down hill, at high speeds and over
rough terrain. This also decreases the chance of doing an endo and
crashing. The solid feel of the bike and stability help the rider
feel confident on trails that would be walked on a lower caliber bike.
There is ample clearance to go over rocks, logs and roots with a
stable feel when the obstacles approach. I was temped to get another bike with a steeper head angle but my friend has one and states he has crashed repeatedly. I am so glad I did not get the bike he has. This bike was made for the
long haul and will keep the rider in the saddle for years to come.
Bottom line- This is the ultimate cross country exercise machine that can keep you competitive on an occasional race. A
rider will have a great time staying in shape with this bike- after all, isn't fun exercise the main goal of mountianbiking?
Favorite Trail: McDowell Competitive Track; Fountain Hills, Arizona
Duration Product Used: 2 months
Purchased At: Chile Pepper Bikes i
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Prophet, GF Paragon, Yeti Big Top, Kona Hei Hei
Bike Setup: 2X10 Front Chainrings with a 22 tooth as the smaller one for more climbing power. Easton Haven Wheels, Fox Shocks, Shimano XT front and rear derailers, Easton Haven Carbon Seat and Handlebars, Bontrager XDX tubless tires
Strengths: Lean and efficient pedaler but with deep useable 5.5"+ of travel. For the amount of travel I can't believe how well it pedals and climbs. Very little rise from the front end even with a 140mm fork. Night and day over other 4 bar designs I've ridden and I can't believe how well the DW link works and how stiff and powerful the frame feels. Second is the head angle at 69 degrees, this bike also completely descends like a champ.
This is arguably the best all around widest ranging 29er trail bike I've ever ridden and I've ridden a lot of different bikes including the current and 2013 crop of carbon 29ers.
Weaknesses: A couple but all are justifiable:
- Slightly heavy versus some of the carbon options. This said, I still built a 2XL at under 29 lbs (a Rocky Mountain Element 29er 970 carbon weighs 28lbs also though, FYI) so it is comparable when you start placing emphasis on better components.
- Expensive, but a beauty and the attention to detail is spectacular. Plus its made in the USA and when you call Turner you're talking to the enthusiasts you're supporting with your purchase.
- Long wheelbase, but not a lot of options around this if you want a bike of this size with this travel and this capability. This said, at first I thought the long chain stays were a liability from reading on the forums, but after just a couple rides and learning the bike, they actually handle great and are the perfect length that lets you climb great even with tall handlebars and a long travel fork (140mm). After some time on this bike I would be hard pressed to actually say I'd want shorter chainstays. The front of the bike rises as you'd like but stays planted on tough and technical climbs.
This Turner Sultan is built up as a lightweight long travel trailbike. I couldn't believe how well it performed and how it felt, it completely surprised me. I was able to build a 2XL for less than 29 lbs. That is completely acceptable to me versus the carbon bikes.
The biggest thing I noticed about the bike is its capabilities both climbing and descent. 5.5" of deep smooth travel with the Fox RP23, but it has that initial kick of the DW Link that makes climbing more efficient than any other 5"+ bike I've ridden other than other similar designs. Long multi-hour climbs in the western US are fast and efficient. It feels equally as good and efficient as some 4" 29er race bikes I've ridden including Carbon.
But the build is powerful and indestructible and completely heavy duty. Basically completely embodying the spirit and the design of Turners as "trail bikes." On descents the deep travel, the 69 degree head angle, the powerful stiff 140mm 34mm Fox fork, and the big 29er wheels make this bike **hungry** for terrain. It just eats it up. It is so powerful. And it corners on rails. I'll be hard pressed for a number of years to find a bike that is more all around capable and enjoyable as this bike.
Strengths: Comfortable riding position. Beautiful welds and super durable paint. Journal suspension pivots. Stiff and durable frame. Made in the USA.
Weaknesses: Long chain stays make lifting front wheel over obstacles difficult. Slack front end. Both adding together to make up a looong wheel base which is good for high speed and downhill but not so much for techy stuff. Pricey, but you get what you pay for.
I bought this bike direct from Turner's demo fleet in 08 and I still ride it everyday for everything from cc to am to century+ road ride events and mtb racing. I still love it and I have no desire to replace it. Other bikes may be better at some things, but, overall I can't justify shelling out the cash to marginally improve on this great ride. Bike has over 30k miles and the rear suspension is as solid and smooth as the first time I rode it. On my second fork. Came with 100mm Reba and suffered through its noodley feel and numerous pedal strikes. Moved to a 120mm Manitou Drake 2 years ago and am glad I did. Fox rear shock has been rebuilt twice and still works perfectly. Overall, a great bike from a great company.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Juan, PHL
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2011
Strengths: The bike just floats over small obstacles. Traction is greatly improved over a similar 26 inch wheeled bike. Amazing in technical climbs.
Weaknesses: None, except maybe the weight. But not really an issue for me. Its a trail bike.
I got this used at a great deal from a friend.
This for me is the ideal all day trailbike. Rider position is pretty neutral - not racerboy stooped, nor too upright. It is very reliable and never a complaint from the frame in thousands of kms. of trails. It is surprisingly efficient on the climbs. What sets it apart for me is the traction uphill. This thing is a beast for technical climbs. Even on muddy chutes, I can clear them on my relatively low profile GEAX Saguaro tires. On chunkier rubber, this will climb anything your legs can provide power for.
On the downhill, the Sultan was very stable and compliant. Sharp cornering takes a bit of practice, but it is still very capable. The frame, however, will only be as good as its fork. Upgrading to a 15 or 20mm thru axle fork would be a good idea, since the QR fork I had on was noticeably flexier than the rear suspension and it would deflect off rocks and such.
I recently upgraded to Enduro needle bearing shock hardware and have increased the plushness factor even more. It is now super smooth. While the DW Sultan is even better on technical climbs, Im pretty content with the TNT Sultan and will keep it until it breaks apart, which is hopefully not in a couple more years.
Strengths: The usual Turner stuff, paint, welds, and handling. This is the first suspension Bike I've ver ridden that performs almost like a hard tail bike standing while climbing.
Weaknesses: No weakness. The bike is better than I am and makes me look more advanced than I am
My gauge for good or bad equipment is how often I think about it while riding. My only thoughts while riding the Sultan, up or dowm, I can't believe I just cleaned that or I feel like I'm cheating or have an unfair advantage. I bought the bike solely based on reviews here and because at 58 years old, I will never be able to afford, or justify, a new one. I haven't regreted the purchase for a single second.
Similar Products Used: My first FS 29er. I've owned 5 other Fisher 29 HTs. Demo'd Ventana and Specialized FS 29ers.
Bike Setup: Mine looks exacltly like the picute above with Reba 100mm front and RP23 in rear. Bonty Mustang rims on DT 240 hubs. Sram X9 components
a Weekend Warrior
from Rockville, MD USA
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2010
Strengths: Exceptionally well balanced, nimble, plush and climbs like a squirrel up a brick wall. Although it is heavier than my hardtail, I can hop it off the ground higher (using the FS compression before launching). Baffles me at times when I feel like I'm losing control (both on bomber downhills and low speed rough uphills) and the damn thing snaps itself back inline and keeps on going. Has significantly lower tendency to drift into potential endo territory than my hard tail 29er (haven't gone over on it yet).
Weaknesses: None that I've observed thus far. My only minor gripe is that clearances are tight particularly on the rear- leaves get caught frequently and buzzzzzzzz louder than my CK rear hub (which I actually LIKE).
Fits my ~6'2" frame perfectly. There's nothing that I can say I'd change about the setup - it is spot on for my style of wacky XC/trail/mtn riding.
Handles rough stuff without complaint and climbs like a dream. I've come close to maxing the travel a couple of times; haven't used propedal yet.
Similar Products Used: Niner, TNT Sultan and Ventana FS; Fuji, Giant Niner and Trek HT
Bike Setup: Large '09 DW-Link frame (28.92 lbs all together), King ISOs on Flows w/ DT Swiss hardware, Racing Ralph (tubeless) 2.4f / 2.25r, Stylo GXP crank, XT pedals, XTR 12-34t cassette, Reba Team fork w/ Maxle, RaceFace 3d, Truvative 7050 stem, Noir CF handlebars w/Lizardskinks , Elixr-CR's w/160 G2 rotors, SRAM X9, Selle Italia C2 flow on Thomson Elite setback 367 post
a Cross Country Rider
from New Orleans
Date Reviewed: July 18, 2010
Strengths: Balance, lateral stiffness, fast smooth handling.
I can't tell any noticible loss of climbing power compared to a hardtail.
Weaknesses: None that I can tell. Maybe cable housing thru out?
Previously on a 29 SS. Much of the time the sultan feels faster/ with no loss of power.
Took a few weeks to adjust to the responsiveness of this handling...very fast and smooth almost too fast for my skills at times.
If you don't want a bunch of bouncy sag, with the rear only active for the bear necessity, then this is a great choice for a solid responsive ride.
Similar Products Used: Kona Hei Hei 29, Santa Cruz Tallboy.
Bike Setup: XT, Monkeylite XC, Thomson stem/post, King HS, AVID BB7, REBA TEAM 120mm TA, Stans ZTR Flow rims/rrhub(ft Hope), Nevegal2.2
a Cross Country Rider
from Fort Collins, CO,USA
Date Reviewed: May 30, 2010
Strengths: Great climber, smooth through rough terrain, bomber downhill ride, tough frame takes my 215lbs without complaining, R23 is the best shock I've ridden
Weaknesses: Not a fan of bushings on the pivots (no trouble yet), sometimes wish I had a little more travel in back
This bike made me a better rider from the moment I started riding it. I clear more tech obstacles then ever with a 26 wheel. I am faster down hill and I enjoy the stability of the frame through the turns and downhill. I have really enjoyed this frame & set up.
Strengths: Great suspension, reasonably stiff, perfect geometry for trail riding
Weaknesses: Frame could be a little lighter, but 6.1 lbs. for a medium is not bad.
I love the suspension on this bike. Note it was Pushed by the previous owner who weighed a little more than me. It also has the high volume sleeve. In summary, the bike is super plush and goes through virtually all of its travel on most rides but I never feel it bottom-out. With the RP23 totally open it bobs only ever so slightly and it really isn't noticeable. This to me is the Holy Grail of suspension. I do think the Pushing of the shock may have a lot to do with this.
I like the relatively slack geometry and the whole build is fairly light as my bike is right at 27lbs. with no studpid light parts and real tires. The whole package is very stable on the descents but still climbs well.
The frame is laterally very stiff, but I only weigh 150 lbs. The suspension pivots are completely silent and I haven't even lubed them through the lubing ports yet.
Note that I did consider buying the DW link frame but did not think that it was necessary given the Push tune on the shock. Also note that I sold my DW link Ibis Mojo and replaced it with this bike and am quite happy about the switch. I still think the DW Link is the best suspension system out there but Turner made it way too heavy for me and also changed the top tube length so it no longer fits me as well as the TNT model. While I must admit that I never rode the new Sultan DW Link, I don't think the extra .8 lbs. of weight and suboptimal top tube length would have been worth it for me.
I think the Sultan makes a great trail bike and that's what I use it for. It is still too heavy for a race bike although I do see some occasionally race it. I don't do any big drops so It wouldn't be stout enough for a real All-mountain bike, but I'll take the lighter weight for my purposes.
Similar Products Used: Leviathan 3.0, Fisher 292, Dos Niner
Bike Setup: X-0, X-9, XTR, Spinergy Cyclone wheels, Manitou Minute 120 fork, Magura Marta SL brakes
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 1, 2009
Strengths: MADE IN THE USA.
i guess also re-sale value was ok once i got tired of this bike after only 6 months / see product weaknesses below
Weaknesses: a lot of bobbing without propedal, not very plush with stock rear shock - needs XV sleeve for larger riders, very slack geometry does not work well on technical singletrails, rear is flexy in comparison to my '09 niner rip9
IMO one of the most overrated frames. maybe ok for fireroads but nothing for technical singletrails.
Similar Products Used: owned niner rib9 09, maverick durance, scott ransom and others
Bike Setup: Manitou 29er, XTR, Formula Oro, i9 wheelset
a Cross Country Rider
from Miami, FL
Date Reviewed: March 23, 2009
Strengths: Made in the USA! Great design, great construction, fully serviceable bushing system (not bearings), great customer service and a company with a proven track record for quality full suspension bikes. Comes as a frame so you can pick/choose your parts - or you can get it with one of three smartly spec'ed kits. You can build it light, or heavy. You can race XC with it or do enduro stuff - it's really a versatile machine.
Weaknesses: It's a bit expensive. I put $4000 as price paid - that is the whole package, wheels, tires, fork, etc. My only nit pick is the valving in the stock RP23. I ride an XL and weigh 210ish - the High Volume can allowed too much blow through in the mid-stroke. Fixed that with a Low Volume air cannister. Later went to a full PUSH tune - well worth the $150 for that tune. It took me 7 months or so to fully figure out what 'exactly' I wanted for performance in the rear and PUSH nailed it - giving me a tailored Sultan experience that suits my needs.
After a year and 1000+ miles - I'm sold. The 08 Sultan is a fantastic bike. If you can afford the price of entry - it's is hard to beat the Turner Sultan. I will have mine in the stable for a long time to come.
Bike Setup: WB Fluid 110 w/ TA, Kings on Flows, Ardent front/Python rear, XO medium cage, RF Turbines, SRAM PG990, Ritchey WCS Stem, Easton EC70 low rise bars, Ergon grips, Bontrager InForm saddle.
a Weekend Warrior
from Tucson, AZ
Date Reviewed: March 8, 2009
Strengths: Puts a big stupid grin on your face. Carves so very nicely.
Weaknesses: Bugs get stuck in your teeth. The longer chainstays and wheel bast are going to make it hard to flick and manual in more technical terrain.
Good lord this thing is a blast. Coming from the Surly, the CG was noticeably a bit higher. Once I got used to that (about turn 2), I was absolutely railing. Haven't checked out any of the Niner geometries, but the geo on the Sultan was quick without being twitchy and responded like a champ to body english only, lay it over and it rails. Like skiing on dirt. Went and rode my poor Surly afterwards, and it was not at all the same, it felt awkward and twitchy and I was slowing down for stuff I had just blown through half an hour previous.
I haven't ridden a whole lot of different linkages, mostly just single pivot, and can say that I'm sold. I noticed no pedal bob, even on the 5-spot w/o any damping; unless you are trying to make it bob, it don't bob. Yet the rear wheel stays planted, and tracks perfectly.
A downside I noticed, is that it was hard to get the front wheel up in a manual. In fact I couldn't get it to do it period, and would not feel confident rolling off any sizable lips w/o considerable practice. Other than that this could easily be my ideal trail bike. My other great disappointment was having to give the bike up for others to try, if I hadn't had stuff to do, I literally would have hung around and begged to take it for another spin. It was that much fun. By far the most fun bike I've ever ridden on winding singletrack, and dang-it I want one.(i've really got to stop trying new things, it only empties my bank account...)
4.5 for value, even though i'm gonna throw down for it, man is it gonna take a chunk outta the pocketbook.
Similar Products Used: Surly Karate Monkey, Santa Cruz Heckler, Gary Fisher Superfly, GF roscoe, Trek Fuel.
Bike Setup: demo fleet components, Ardent in front, x-mark in rear
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 9, 2009
Strengths: Super balanced ride with a high speed rolling feel that is confidence inspiring. Incredible climbing capabilities and down hill screamer.
Weaknesses: None that I've experienced. People have commented about the price, but you'll never regret buying a Turner -- they are worth every penny!!!!
Although I love my Flux, this 29er thing is really making me question the 26" wheel. If I had to choose one bike, I think I'd go with the Sultan for sheer fun and all day riding appeal. But giving up that Flux would be a heartbreaker.
Similar Products Used: I also currently own a Flux and over the years have had several Specialized bikes (3 different Stumpjumpers and 3 Epics).
Bike Setup: All XT drive and controls, Shimano 29r wheelset, Fox F29rl, Kenda Nevegal tires, Easton carbon cockpit.
a Cross Country Rider
from Aspen, CO
Date Reviewed: January 13, 2009
Strengths: Perfectly balanced. It's a Flux on steroids, but without the backne and shrunken 'nads. At only 5'7" it still fits perfectly.
Weaknesses: Turner doesn't offer clear ano finish any longer.
I had a Flux for 3 years and loved it, but always felt it needed something more. I bought a 5-spot, and although it is also an excellent ride, it wasn't what I was looking for. While getting my 5-spot fixed, I tried a demo Sultan and within 100 meters I knew this was what the Flux was meant to be. It's balanced, confidence inspiring, smooth, and very fast.
*This bike could benefit from an adjustable travel fork. 100mm works well almost everywhere, but 130mm would be great for steeper decents and drop-offs.
Similar Products Used: Turner Flux, Airborn hardtail 29er
Bike Setup: Industry Nine, Manitou Minute, Middleburn (20,30,40t), Panaracer Rampage
a Weekend Warrior
from Austin TX
Date Reviewed: December 26, 2008
Strengths: Incredible ride - stable, great climber, better in all respects from my old Ellworth Moment and Maverick ML7
I have sold all of my 26ers. Have been riding over 12 years and this bike has changed my life. Climbing is insane. Once you learn the handling, it is faster due to greater contact path (running 2.55 weirwolf LT's).
I am 20-30% faster across the board, now dusting my riding buddies. Wondering if it just the 29er, or the bike just fits me perfectly. Have an evolve coming, so will be able to compare soon.