Turner Flux (TNT)- Fox RLT 100/RP3 (4x4"). Fox RLT not a very compliant fork. We got at most 3 of the 4 inches. The Fox may be a bit short for trail use. The front end rode a bit low and the steering was quick, but precise. It railed like all Turners, but some turning ability was sacrificed by the incompliant front and a Maxxis tire which did not hook up that well. The front skated on me a few times. Braking performance was hard to evaluate due to the pea gravel the trails were largely covered with making traction a bit sketchy anyway. The RP3 was also set up firmer than what was optimal for me since I was the lightest rider in the group (CrashTheDOG, Ventanarama, El Beastro, myself, and later Bob the Wheelbuilder joined us). I typically try to evaluate all bikes with a minimum of help from platform shocks so I get a feeling for what the linkage design brings to the pedal stability. With the RP3 set in the minus mode, the bike still pedaled very well, but the rear was a bit less plush than it could have been due to the high main spring pressure, I think. Overall solid. I was not blown away by any of the XC bike we rode (Flux, Giant Trance, Mav ML 7.3).
Turner 6-Pack (TNT)- Fox 36 Van/Fox DHX Coil (6x6"). The Fox 36 Van is a brilliant fork and compliments the Pack perfectly. The height compromises climbing a bit and some ability to moderate height would be nice, but overall performance was excellent and worked in concert with the DHX Coil. This was my first time on the 36 Van, but due to our bike switching I did not spend much time on the 6-Pack, and while on it I was mainly concentrating on the Van. My thoughts on the 6-Pack are well known, and today did not change my impression, TNT or not. A very solid, good pedaling, overall great performing heavy-duty trailbike.
Turner 5-Spot (TNT)- Fox Float 130X/Fox DHX Air (5x5"). I hardly rode this model. It was very light though. Impressively lighter than my 5-Spot as built. I may try to get more time on one tomorrow.
Turner Highline (TNT)- Fox 40RC/Fox DHX Air (8x8"). The frame execution is very impressive. It is burly and to-the-point, and in the raw finish almost industrial looking. Each and every pivot gets a zerk. The main pivot has a zerk in a cool, side-port spot. I got to pedal this one all the way up to the pass at the Caldera Loop, including climbing up sections of the Girl Scout Trail singletrack. The top tube of the size large measured a full 24", but the stem was a pretty diminutive 50mm or so, so the cockpit was pretty short and upright. The weight distribution was not overly rearward as it seems to be on the AS-X, VPFree, and other FR bikes in this class, which helped in climbing noticeably. While not a pleasure to pedal up hills, it was certainly manageable. The Mr Dirt chainguide also came with a single, 36t ring, which added to the challenge, but I was able to muddle through the climb effectively (It didn't hurt that it was the first climb of the day and before the temps rose to the mid-90's). The bike pedals impressively for such a big rig. The weight seemed manageable (compared to the AS-X) and the suspension was not like drowning in a bowl of Jell-o (again, like the AS-X). In fact, even out of the saddle pedaling resulted in negligible movement. Dave obviously knows something about doing single pivots right after experiencing the great pedaling manners of the DHR last year. Descending was smooth and confident. The Turner balance was in full evidence. There was no wheel flop or pushing through corners. The turning behavior was actually surprisingly sprightly for a big rig.
We rode a lot of other bikes, but I'm going to bed. I'll post more tomorrow. Another freaking hot day for this poor Alaskan.
if you don't mind me butting in, i can give some impressions of the air/air 6-pack that they had at the show (DHX air, Fox 36 TALAS RC2)... first, the bike was set up WAY too soft for me, which was remedied by the fox shox guys that were set up on the trail. GREAT IDEA by fox to do this. once they helped me dial in the air pressure and pro-pedal settings, the bike felt amazing. i'm 5'11", and the large with a 70mm FSA stem felt great to me (bars maybe a little wide, but that's personal preference). it railed through corners with stiffness i haven't felt outside of my foes (it felt stiffer than a 5 spot to me), and it was totally smooth on the rough stuff. this is a bike that feels great at high speeds- i'm not a very fast rider, and i was pushing my limits because i felt so comfortable on it. it's a tad heavy, but with air on both ends, the frame weighs in the mid 8 lb range, which is okay for a trail bike. plus, with the travel adjust on the front end, you can steepen the head angle for climbing relatively easily. although you lose some of the super-slacked out feeling you get from the 36 van, i think it's worth it (especially if the 6 pack is going to be your only bike or your main bike). plus, the way they mount the shock allows you to reach the propedal knob really easily from the saddle. so if you hit a climb, you can crank it up a few clicks without dismounting. and yes, if you set the shock up right, you can get the bike to ride bob-free while seated. for reference, i weigh 215 with gear, and the fox guys recommended 170lbs in the DHX air. they suggest putting in more air pressure and backing off the pro-pedal as necessary for a smooth ride. all around, this is a GREAT bike. i see now what you turner guys have been talking about all these years.
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