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3 Generations of 5-Spot Tested

5791 Views 37 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  turner_dave
After discovering our local Turner dealer (Nirvana in Westcott) had built up a demo medium 09 5-Spot, a fellow 5-Spot owner and I took the opportunity to take it for its maiden ride around some of the trails on the North Downs.
I have a medium 05 Spot with Push Rockers + Pushed RP3 and a set of Z1 Lights, whilst my mate has a medium 08 Spot with Pikes, so with the demo bike covered 3 generations of 5-Spots - HL, TNT, and DW. The 09 Spot was built up with some 20mm Revelations. As for other kit it was pretty similar resulting in bikes weight roughly the same, although the 09 may have been a bit lighter as a result of the Revs and lighter tyres.
After almost 24hrs of rain, trail conditions were never going to be ideal for testing bikes, especially as the 09 was running Blue Groove on the front rather than the mud-specific tyres on the other two.
We set off on the 05 and 09 Spots, and the first thing to notice is how sensitive the 09 is to shock set-up. To begin with, my mate was not impressed but dropping 15psi from the shock transformed it. Once this was sorted, our collective conclusions on riding all 3 back to back are as follows:
Climbing: the 09 is very efficient – noticeably a gear or two quicker than the other two. Over wet roots and step-ups, it feels more composed giving less of a kick-back through the saddle. I can’t say it gains any more traction given all the bikes were struggling a bit in the conditions, but on long climbs it felt less tiring at the latter stages.
Singletrack: the 09 accelerates quicker, feeling snappier under aggressive pedalling making the other two feel a bit soggy by comparison. Once up to speed, the 09 carves turns beautifully and when compressing the suspension into dips and corners, the bike seems to ping you out the other side. Whilst other good suspension designs do this to a certain extent, the 09 seems to give you more; having experienced the same thing on an Ibis Mojo I rode extensively last year, I suspect this effect is down to the DW Link. The rear end is very stiff leading to more accurate lines along with the greater pedalling efficiency.
Downhill: there aren’t many long downhills in the North Downs despite the name, but we did hit a tasty section a couple of times which had rocky and rooty bits, with a few step-downs thrown in. The first impression when climbing on the 09 is that it has less travel, but once starting to descend the 09 feels very planted on the trail with the suspension feeling plush and encouraging you to take the rougher lines. It lands from drops nicely, and on the rocky sections we certainly found the limits of the forks way before the rear end started feeling ragged. I wouldn’t really say the bike is any better than the other two, but with a beefier fork, would feel much the same.
Other thoughts: the 09 has a lot lower standover height - the data says the difference is only an inch, but it looks lower. Elsewhere geometry-wise, the bottom bracket is slightly lower than the 08 and this was noticeable (good for stability, bad for pedal strikes). On paper the 05 is lower still but the Push rockers and bigger forks move it up a bit, probably similar to the 08. The bike also feels a touch smaller, especially with the saddle lowered. On paper, the TT is identical on all 3 at 23” so the only thing I can put this down to is the slightly slacker seat angle on the 09 brings the saddle forward more. I’d be keen to try a Large now that Turner have narrowed the gap between sizes.

Our conclusion was that the 09 is a better bike than both 05 and 08, most notably when climbing and under acceleration. It still feels very much like a Turner in every other respect and the frame is beautifully made, looking much better as a built-up bike than a frame. Is it enough to buy one? For my mate, only 6 months into his 5-Spot ownership, then probably not especially given the price hike. For me, if I can work out whether I need a medium or large, then it could well be, especially in white which looks cracking.


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Great comparison. Your comment about dropping rear shock pressure on the 09 makes sense, as I believe that DW has posted a few times that the biggest error he sees in setup is people not running enough sag.

Sultan coming my way soon! Sadly, we just got 6 inches of snow and way below freezing temps.
That is a tremendous report HH, nice effort. You also bring more creds with your experience on the mojo. Cool to see all generations in one photo, maybe you could hang it along with the family pics in the stairwell.
DW Link is the crude now

It is funny how the DW Link was lightly regarded and now that Turner uses it it has become the king of all suspension design. I'm not debating it is a nicer pedaling bike but it just shows the power of marketing and branding. By the way, for 2.5 K it should go to work and do the chores around the house.

Fully agree! A really valuable report!!
Jaybo said:
It is funny how the DW Link was lightly regarded and now that Turner uses it it has become the king of all suspension design. I'm not debating it is a nicer pedaling bike but it just shows the power of marketing and branding. By the way, for 2.5 K it should go to work and do the chores around the house.

So you are placing an order right?

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Nice report, thx for posting.

What are those flap things attached to the fork arch of those bikes? Is that a fender of some sort?

I'm interested to hear a bit about how the DW spot contrasts with the mojo. Is it a similar feel when climbing to the mojo? Descending? I might be able to demo a mojo locally but probably not a spot.
Ansible said:
Nice report, thx for posting.

What are those flap things attached to the fork arch of those bikes? Is that a fender of some sort?
Yup, it is a fender (and it works very well). You can purchase them, or make "ghetto" ones from a bike tube.
Cheers for the comments.

Re: vs Mojo, the Turner is heavier so doesn't feel as sprightly climbing, but clearly has similar traights of fast acceleration, and that lovely taught feeling until things get leary then into plush mode. The upside is the Turner feels more robust. I never had an issue with the stiffness of the Mojo, unlike some, but did crack 2 rear swingarms in 8 months of ownership.

Re: fork fenders - yes these are the best mudguards I've used, and as you can see from the conditions were def needed. We spent 5 mins pre-ride attaching one to the 09 from a piece of old inner tube and zip ties!

Re: marketing and hype - not for me. I loved the DW on the Mojo but sold because the bike was a bit small and a bit fragile. I was therefore very excited to see how Turner would interpret the design, having enjoyed the HL Spot (+ 6-Pack) so much.
moosehead - do I know you, or was that a lucky guess re the pics in the staircase??
Was there much difference 05 vs 08? Different beasties with that longer rocker, but of the two, which did you like?

Care to comment on the PUSHd 05 characteristics compared with DW?
TBH You are right - with the bigger forks on the 05 they are different beasts. I never got on with the Push rockers until I fitted the Z1 Lights (previously Pikes) at which point the bike became a riot and close to the 6-Pack for fun-factor. My mate liked the ride of the 05 and the plushness of the forks, but getting back on his 08 felt more at home. I suspect the reviews are right - the differences between HL and TNT are pretty small, and other choices on the bike have a bigger impact.
Re: Pushed vs DW, my view is that the DW is an inherently more efficient design. I ran it with no pro-pedal (I never rode the Ibis with pro-pedal either unless on the road), whilst I always have some dialled in on the 05 (and have done on all other 4-bar bikes I've riden - Truth, 5-Spot, 6-Pack, Motolite). Yes the Push mods improve things, but to my mind if the suspension design can be made very efficient allowing the shock just to focus on damping rather than platform, then that's a "good thing".
Heihei how tall are you? I'm 5, 10 and a bit with longish 32.5" so I'm always between medium and large. Have always gone medium but with quite a bit of post sticking out.

With a Turner dw a large sounds best.
Good to hear Nirvana cycles has a dw demo, I brought my 05 spot after demoing their previous spot.

Being 5'10.5" with 33 inseem I really need to try a large as my old med felt a wee bit cramped. Any dealers in the UK have a large demo?

Iron glimmer looks great, nicely understated...
Great writeup! Very interesting to see all three gens together. It must have been cool to try them all at once. Thanks for sharing!

+1 on the mud flaps. I ran one up in wet-wet-Whistler. Ralph was with us and said it flat out works so I went with it. It took all of 5 mins to cut a tube a zip tie it on, and I ran it 5 days. I didn't even need eyewear. Our whole crew used them. Come to think of it, the first time I saw one was in a UK mag. You guys really know your mud eh?
Sounds like we are all in the same boat. I'm 5'10.5" with 32" inseem and run my 05 spot with a Thomson layback and the saddle pushed back to allow for a 70mm stem, and still occaisionally feels cramped. I'm not keen on compromising on a new bike, especially at the current prices. Don't know of any large demos but I'll see what I can find out.
I'm wanting to do one but can't see how you fixed it to the crown. Anyone got any close up pictures of the front shock guard?
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