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Discussion Starter #21
Thank you annobis, I appreciate your help and your collaboration with me on getting information on this elusive beast. I'm thinking the AM set in the 165 mode with a monarch plus and a 160 or 170 lyrik would be the ticket for me. I'm a lightweight rider and think the AM would handle everything I could throw at it, maybe even the occasional resort. I'm not planning to buy anything till summer or later, if I buy anything. I'm going to start contacting their distributors and seeing if it's possible to get one shipped stateside, and if it's possible, what pricing will be like.

Anoobis, please keep any information you find coming, please!
 

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Hopefully i'm going to get a look and a quick ride on one on saturday. Along with one of the owners of Last Bikes...
Any questions anyone wants me to pass on? I'll ask about the US distribution for you guys.
 

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Anoobis said:
Hopefully i'm going to get a look and a quick ride on one on saturday. Along with one of the owners of Last Bikes...
Any questions anyone wants me to pass on? I'll ask about the US distribution for you guys.
Actually, I guess I'm not quite clear on the AM vs FR frames...

The first post in this thread says
"They have a pretty interesting model that can range from 145mm or rear travel, up to 175mm."
But the magazine article quoted implies that you can only run each frame with it's
intended shock (if I understand it correctly). Do we know for sure which is the case?
Is the AM exactly 145 and the FR 165/175, or can you use a different shock with the
same frame and get different travel?
 

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Warning - Another ramble coming up
So, after being supremely lazy I’ve got a bit of a review here. Summed up after riding what felt like a 20km pumptrack : stiff, fast, jumped well, pedalled fine for the travel and tyres on it.

Me - I’m 5ft 8, 75kg with all kit? Previous bikes 16” giant trance, 15.5” marin wolfridge, medium spesh demo 7, small marin quake.
I did a 21km ride with Jorg (co-owner of Last) rode a small 165mm FR with the monarch plus shock, 170mm lyriks up front. 2.4” big betty, Avid codes, 2x10 gearing. Forgive me - I’ve forgotten what wheels. Basically you could take this for some fairly decent downhilling and parts would be more than happy.

Completely the wrong bike for the trail I met them at, but this was the only chance I had to ride it and they weren’t familiar with the place. Descents were more like a pumptrack so no real rock gardens but lots of jumps and a fair few berms. Climbs weren’t technical, steepish in places just a bit boring.
On the first (very) gentle climb I tried out his medium frame with 150mm revelations but it felt so much more stretched out, too much for me. He made a comment that the lower forks will only add to the stretched out feel.

Carpark test – instant wow, stiff rear end. You will need to give this bike some proper abuse to get any flex back there. He said that in tests it came out stiffer than a particular dh bike, he was fairly secretive on which one so I’ll say no more. A few quick sprints felt nice. Before we go any further remember this is an approx 32lb bike with 170 travel either end, there is only so far you can push the laws of physics. Light and nimble on the climbs it is not but it will happily get you there without wasting too much energy

Out on the trail it felt happy to pedal, same if not better than my marin quake. Think a lot of this was down to the stiffness. I find my marin wolfridge suspension action quite awkward when I’m stomping the flat pedals (chain shortening, extending the shock etc). The last felt very predictable here and didn’t wallow about either like a 7” dh bike would. (came home and sprinted a 30% sag demo 7 for comparison). Several of the climbs I got out the saddle and stomped up mainly because the saddle was down from the previous descent. Sitting and climbing performance was good for the type of bike. No complaints from me.

As soon as I hit the first bit of trail which went down rather than up I started grinning. Lovely and quiet and was happy dealing with the 1-2” rocks we were rolling over. You know already that with a <65° head angle (with 170 forks) this thing loves speed and although I was trying, the bike was constantly wanting to go faster. Rear wheel was drifting on some corners so not sure the grip would’ve held for much longer!

Next up were some jumps. Difficult because the bike wants to go fast but the jumps are only so big. Felt fairly taught and controlled over the jumps, more like a 130/140mm bike I’d say. It wasn’t sucking my energy away and I didn’t have to try to get half decent air. I felt relaxed as soon as I was airborne, no scary stuff. Not sure how the forks and shock had been tuned but it felt good.

Talking about speed over jumps, was hitting one descent and was going faster and faster over some tabletops, overshot one to land completely on the flat, then went straight into the next jump. Bike was very controlled, bout 5ft to flat? And the heavy landing just wasn’t noticeable. Into the next jump and no bucking bronco. Loved it. Times like that you don’t want to be on a crap bike. After riding other jumps and drops on the trail it was great having it smooth out the little stuff but still shrug off the big hits. Jorg told me about some guy who’d knocked himself unconscious after a big jump or drop, forks had bottomed out really heavy but the frame was fine, no big smack of a bottom out apparently. Not sure if it was what’s shown at 1:30 in this - http://www.pinkbike.com/video/163494/ that’s the FR frame attempting the gap.

Slow tight twisty stuff? hard to tell! Spent so much time going flat out! Switchback corners on the climbs were fine although there wasn’t any slow speed technical features on the trail. Anything tight there had a nice berm to push against so the bike loved that.

Also had a ride round a pump track at the end. It wasn’t dying a death with the pumping and tight berms. Now that I think about it – nowhere near as bad as my old marin quake.

Frame differences on AM/FR, it’s been mentioned before but it’s only a stronger head tube and thicker down tube on the FR – for rock strikes as much as anything. If you’re happy with 160 forks and aren’t doing super mega radical freeriding or DH then stay with the AM frame I’d say. There are differences between the sizes too I’ve noticed, small has a kink in the top tube and large has a brace to support the taller seattube.
Difference between 145 and 165mm shock ratios- as the shocks start in the same location the extra 20mm of travel is just much more progressive (as you’d expect) so I’m getting the 165mm shock and setting sag at 25% for xc and 30-35%+ for DH. Should be alright.
He said he’s definitely noticed the difference between the standard monarch and the monarch plus, with the latter just being much plusher on the DH.

Til I get a hardtail I’m planning on using this for everything from xc/trail to dh/freeride. After I get a hardtail, it’ll still be doing most trail riding and all DH. Most of my DH isn’t national tracks but just the local stuff where the kids are on 8-10” rigs but a slack 165mm bike will excel. Also have a week’s dh in the alps planned.
My planned build: Herb FR with 165mm monarch plus. 140mm Marzocchi 44 rc3 ti or 180mm totem solo air depending on xc or DH. Hope hubs/stans flow rims, Hope m4 brakes, Slx cranks, 2x9.

If it gives any insight - Jorg was quite a playful rider, stood up and stomped on a fair amount on climbs, descents were a case of finding all the fun lines and things to pop off. he was all about having fun on the trail and not always racer style straight line speed. Although Dirt mentioned the 145AM felt unflappable even when pushed way beyond what it’s limits should be. Anyway, proper nice guy. Also noticed he came third in some enduro recently – 2nd was brian lopes and first was marcus klausmann

Ask me other stuff if you want. I’ve rambled as always and probably not answered all questions. I forgot to bring up the US thing but as the UK doesn’t even have a distributor at the moment don’t hold your breath. He told me to buy off the website.
 

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RHSman, any reason the FR and not the AM? is it just the 165mm travel or the extra strength in the frame? Although i may ride the odd enduro race - i won't be doing it seriously, hence saving for the 165mm FR :D

Also bidding on 2nd hand totems on ebay at the moment. cannot wait to build this thing up
 

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Purely and simply More Fun. I have seen it in the flesh and just know that it would so good. Would still like to have a go on one.
 

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Haha, I think it's pretty weird how you guys from USA and Canada want the stuff from Germany, while we in Germany are tending to the stuff from Canada and USA in return ;o)
Most people here just let themselves get caught by the marketing propaganda of the big companies... like Trek and Specialized, but even though bikes like the SX-Trail or Trek Scratch are assured to be absolutely awesome bikes, I always like to support the smaller, younger and more exclusive companies. Most of these German brands like Nicolai or Last were found by engineers who are biking themselves who felt the need to create something different, that can not just be bought in the shops, yet.

I'm actually interested in both, the Knolly Delirium and the Last Herb FR, and I think they both have pretty much the same potential just in a different shell, if you want to put it like that.

Personally, I prefer the coloring of the black Herb AM, but I would always go for the FR version.
The FR version actually has a different downtube (stiffer) and a slighty adjusted seat-tube angle compared to the Herb AM, so that the FR can handle the bigger (longer) forks with 180mm without cocking up the geometry or risking damage to the frame.
What I like on the Herb over the Knolly Delirium is, that you can use any type of rear axle and you even have the choice between 73mm or 83mm body bracket (with spacer).
The 83mm BB is intended for using the 150x12mm rear axle, in order to get a nice matching chainline.
I think these are some pretty unique and well thought-out features which give you unmatched possibilities for you individual do-it-all bike.

As far as the looks are concerned I would somehow prefer the new generation of knolly deliriums, since it has some distinctive design and kind of unique suspension system, even though it's actually not that different to others out there, except for the linkarm. Then there is the better color choice at Knolly of course.

I would REALLY love to see a shootout between those two FR machines.
 

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Thought I'd give a quick reply on this thread and say i've now got a Herb FR. I've ridden it for a week in the alps with 180 totems and have done a couple of rides round my local trails in England with 140mm Marz 44 forks.
I'll give my experiences of both riding types and also the subtleties of building the frame (...) soon. Want to ride again with the totems on UK DH and get a bit more XC under my belt first.
 

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I’ve been hesitant with this review as I haven’t felt as though I had clicked with the bike but after a ride yesterday it was exactly how I rode the demo bike 6 months ago. Bloody loved it. Climbed really well, was silent over rocks and just flew down the descents. It was pretty much perfect.
Plus get in quick on the last website shop – its sale time.

My background:
I bought this bike because I was looking for something that really could ride everything. Weight isn’t a big concern for me, I “only” want something strong enough for 15ft drop-offs, enough travel to handle proper world cup style DH tracks and then be efficient enough to ride any XC tracks too.
I was hoping my old marin quake was suitable – 170mm, air shocks, very pedallable up hill despite the 38+lb weight. Problem is it didn’t like bottoming out, 2 cracked frames later I abandoned that one. Previous bikes have also been a 2007 4” travel giant trance and a 2009 140mm marin wolfridge. Trance with 140 forks was just plain fun although with 4” rear travel you are limited on the rough stuff. The marin just was not suited to my riding, the efficiency while climbing was so great that when you stomped the pedals the shock extended – not great for rocky rooty climbs. don’t think the shock wasn’t tuned for high speed descents but that was something mentioned on a bikeradar review.

Review
Was aiming to buy the last herb AM/FR and use 2 pairs of forks(140/180) and 2 shocks (145/165) for DH and XC but I’ve ended up with 1 shock and 2 forks.
Spec:
complete spec list
Last Herb FR - small with 165mm monarch plus
Marzocchi 44 RC3 Ti 140mm
Mavic XM719 on Hope Pro II hubs
Hope Headset
Gravity Light 60mm stem
Nukeproof Warhead bars 760mm 20mm rise
Hope mono M4, 203 front, 180 rear, braided hoses
SLX double+bash (26T/36T) cranks
PG980 cassette
Wellgo MG1 Ti pedals
XT front mech i think
X7 medium cage rear mech
X7 shifters
tioga seatpost (cheapy till i get a reverb)
Charge spoon saddle
e.13 DRS chain guide
2.35 maxxis minion F, 2.1 Crossmark rear (not tubeless yet)

Weighing in at dead on 33lbs using highly accurate bathroom scales.
For proper DH duties I swap over to 180mm Totems and a heavier cheap DH wheelset. Although I’m very tempted by 160 lyrics or fox 36’s. the 180 totems raise the front a bit too much in my eyes.

Lets not make any bones about it – this is a 33lb 165mm “freeride” frame with a (as I ride it) 66° HA, it’s not a steep geo xc race hardtail!
Climbing – pretty surprised, the back end is really stiff and the compression adjustment on the monarch really adds to its ability, I don’t climb much if at all without full “propedal”. It’s pretty efficient and although the weight shows at times I haven’t struggled on any climb yet. It does seem to have a bit of a short rear end which although great fun when playing about means it is easy to get the front up in the air on climbs.

Descending – ahhh its so nice. I feel I haven’t really pushed it to its limits yet, despite the fact I feel guilty every time I touch the brakes. It’s so nice and stable at speed – as you’d imagine with that head angle! At the end of its travel the factory set rebound is really slow due to the FR nature of the frame – ideal for sticking to the landing on big stuff – but it can show when hitting the rough stuff, it really packs up and slows you down. very tempted to get that sped up when I get it serviced.
You barely notice the normal trail chatter and small stuff (1” rocks?) and I just can’t think of any situation (DH or XC) where it’s got out of shape and out of its depth. You’re going to have to try very hard to bottom the shock out too. I did a few 10ft drops in the alps with the shock pressure set for normal DH and never felt a harsh bottom out. surprisingly good. just how I like it.

Low BB means I have had a fair few rock strikes but it seems I’ve adjusted my riding accordingly and haven’t had many recently.

I’d really love to try a “145mm” monarch rt3 shock to see how it reacts differently across the whole spectrum.

26/36 double and bash and not sure if I’ve given the chainrings a good smash but they’re slightly buckled and I’ve had to add a 1mm spacer so that the 36T ring doesn’t rub the frame…

Front mech position – again with my double and bash i just feel the front mech is a bit high for the chainrings but due to the model of front mech and its location you can’t change the height much.

I’ve tried 50,60 and 70mm stems and 60 is the sweetpoint for me and although 70 does help on longer rides 60mm feels great all over the place.

I put two dents in the down tube on its VERY first ride but that is rider error after getting scary on some loose boulders. Still glad I went with the FR with its thicker down tube.

No I don’t notice the inbalance in travel. I sit back on the bike so the rear does most of the work, plus the impressive 44 rc3 ti handles everything you can throw at it. If the HA is 66° and the forks handle all the terrain you throw at them why go longer?

I’ve currently got the frame set at more like 25% sag as I don’t want to sink into the slow rebound area too much. As such I don’t think I ever go past 85% travel. And it still feels great.

QUESTIONS WELCOME!
 

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good to see u post! u finally got her, eh? I've almost given up. I'm set on keeping my Covert BUT i have an opportunity to pick up a frame only (no shock) brand new for 1200 euro. Fair price? I've got a shock connection so i'm not worried. How do you think it'd play with a coil @ 145?

My riding would not consist of DH tracks much just tech rock sections. It will get to Cali and PNW area too so the 66HA with a 160 should be perfect. I could care less about climbing efficiency. How do you like it on tight fast switchbacks? Did you get any xtra bearings/bearing tool for servicing? that's really more my concern with purchasing one and bringing it here to the US. which online shops will have frames in stock ship to the US though?

very curious now and wanting to pull the trigger just apprehensive on wo to transact with. any suggestions definitely appreciated!
 

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Yeah I've had it 3 months and have been coming up with problems and telling myself that stuff just isn't right but my recent ride just cemented it, best bike I've ridden.
Quick point 160 forks = 65°. this thing is slack! I've got 140mm forks and although the front end is too low they cope well. I do think 160 lyrics / fox 36 is the way to go on this thing though.

Yeah I'd go for it at 1200 euros, i paid 1800 i think with shock...
If you're not doing DH the 145mm frame is great, I would prefer it for most of my rides.
Coil shock, not sure. I really do like the compression lever on the monarch - makes a huge difference. Didn't you have a ccdb? what are they like for pedalling? for descending my monarch plus is surprisingly supple. I do like the feel of air though, gives you a nice pop when you want it. I really can't comment too much more on coil.

Tight fast switchbacks - can I give more feedback friday evening? doing a trail on friday that should have plenty of those.
 

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when you mention the 145mm frame are you talking about the AM then? the frame that maybe available to me is the FR, which might be overkill on rear travel @ 165-170mm settings. Hard to locate med AM frames right now.

can the FR run a 145mm shock?
 
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