Ventana El Chucho All Mountain Full Suspension


  • 5.5” rear travel with Fox RP23 Pro Pedal air shock
  • 120mm fork compatibility
  • 73mm width internally butted BB shell
  • Fits 34.9mm top pull front derailleur
  • 27.2mm seat post diameter


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[Sep 06, 2010]
Weekend Warrior


No Flrx, Strong frame, 69 is working for me


Cant say I see one yet

OK..first things first...Im 6'3" 230 geared up...basically a CLYDE. I gave up my XL RIP 9 for this ride. I really liked my RIP much that I had 2 of them. But I wanted something with a slacker H/A and slightly shorter W/base that would make it easier to turn in tight places. As you all know there are all kinds of bikes that can do all that. I considered several bikes to include Turner, Pivot, Ellsworth and Ventana T-moto and X5. But the 69 caught my eye becasue it had the specs I was looking for and I already have some great components on hand plus I didnt want to have to buy a 26" fork when I had a perfectly good 29" FOX fork in my garage.
So I bought the El Chucho sight unseeen additionally I have to state I have never ridden a 69er I didnt know what to expect other than what everyone else said.

First Ride Impression:
I went to the North Foothills in Albuquerque for the shake down ride. Its a simple S/T with a slight climb at the start....
Initially I felt like I was on a 29er looking over the bars. But it became apparent PDQ that I wasnt on that bike anymore.
The El Chucho scooted around corrners with more snap and it went were I pointed it without as much effort...basically it didnt feel like I was driving a 18 wheeler.
The El Chucho climbed ok at first and I noticed a little bit of bob compared to the Niner CVA suspension...OK Pro Pedal on...almost no bob! (I forgot to bring the shock pump)
The 68* H/A and 17" chainstay made me adjust fwd during the climb more than usual...The front end wanted to come off the ground more and staying on my line was more difficult until I figured out where to sit and how much force to apply to the bars. Once I figurred that out I was able to keep the front wheel planted and on line. The greatest part came from the slacker H/ made it easier to pop the front wheel up over ledges and rocks than the RIP 9.
The suspension really didnt get a workout on this trail...but it absorbed every bump without cause for alarm. I immediately noticed a differance in the frame stiffness compared to the Niner when I went through a twisty rocky minor downhill section. The Ventana was superior! I was used to manipulating the RIP 9 expecting it to flex around turns so I was using the same riding style...all that did was throw me off my line. So I just let the bike go where I pointed it...the bike simply felt like a straight arrow at that point and the bike railed the twisty turns while absorbing the babyheads/small drops. I felt like I was going faster without using the entire cross section of the S/T drifting to get around turns.
On the flats the bike was just as fast as my RIP 9...but Im not fast so I cant say it was better. It did transition from flats to climbs considerably better especially if there was a tight turn or bumps immediately prior to the climb. (Example: climbing out of a river/creek bed up on the bank with baby heads and roller bumps immediately prior to the climb...once on top the bike seemed to accelerate faster going into/over the next obstacle)
On the flat turns I felt like the front was too light and wanted to wash out...but the trail was dry sandy/micro I cant say it was the bike or the trail or me. Either way I was able to flow through it just as good as the RIP 9. ( I think it was the H/A effecting my steering...I was used to the NINER H/A)
In a rock garden I misjudged a line and came down the wrong side of a 2 foot boulder...I was fully expecting to go OTB...the bike just held the line and rolled right over it that just made me more confident about the big wheel up front and the slacker H/A. BTW I had previously went OTB on the rock 2x already on my 29er....
During a slow crawl through a rock gardern I stalled trying to get around a rock that has ripped off several RD. I balanced long enough to start spinning again and roll over the rock quickly without incident. Basically the bike started moving faster than the RIP ever did in areas like this. I diidnt get a chance to jump anything larger than a 2 foot drop so I cant say how it handled in the air. (Im not good at jumping/dropping off stuff anyway and when I try I typically crash).
During the ride I checked the bike over several times for loose hardware and or anything backing out. So far so good. But that was only 7 miles.
Ok thats it for now...I have some minor adjustments to make on the suspension and Im waiting on the 180 rear rotor and handlebars to come in.

2nd ride,,,Mars Ct/Otero CanyonTUnnel/Cedro about 16-17 miles it was a great ride.
FAST and nimble in the tight turns. FAST going down the middle of Otero.. front end was easy to lift/pop over ledges on climbs.
Suspension go a really good workout. It handled everything without incident after I worked with the tire pressure a bit and the RP23 rebound adjustment but once I got that figured out it was a great ride.
The big front wheel bashed through stuff as all 29ers do. But the really good thing is that the rear wheel spins up faster than the 29er...It made the technical transitions easier to get through.

Climbing was ok in the areas I did climb....but my legs were wasted by the time we hit the west wall of Otero going to I can really say it was good or bad...more to follow on that.
The real issue isnt the bike it is my confidenece level after the crash Im still gun shy to dive into things.

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