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No, that's not phonetic
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is what we rode on day two. Let me just preface this by saying that while these are largely my own personal thoughts, I was riding with two or three other guys each lap (Larry, El Beastro, CrashTheDOG, Bob the Wheelbuilder, MK_, others...) and we swapped bikes back and forth on the trail and compared impressions whenever we did. We also discussed the bikes afterwards and I took some notes, so I think what I am laying out here is a reasonably accurate representation of our group's general feelings.

Ventana X- Manitou Minute Platinum/Manitou Swinger 3-Way Air (5x5"). A very disappointing shock selection. The Swinger was very harsh riding but allowed the suspension to bob at the same time. The most undesirable combination possible. Both El Beastro and Ventanarama commented on this too. The Minute also had a very harsh ride. We ran the SPV chamber at 50-70psi front and rear. I did prefer the newer geometry to the old. Last year I think an 04 frame made it into the model lineup and I did not really care for the steep head angle. This year's X5 was much better handling imo. The steering was slowed down and it did not feel so tall in back. The shocks really ruined the effect though. The added stability from the shallower head angle was offset by bouncing off every rock and skittering on gravel. Climbing was only ok due to the poor traction from the harsh rear end. High speed cruising was similarly tough and it sometimes almost felt like being on bare rims. Not pleasant. We just got unlucky because many of the other Ventanas had Fox rear shocks and different forks. The bikes are very well built and very stiff.









Mountain Cycle Fury- Marzocchi AM1/5th Element Air (6x6"). Wow, rear end flex city. The rear wheel needed some serious tensioning, but even when we grabbed the rear swingarm and the seat post and reefed you could see the ball eyelets of the 5th air rotating as the suspension members twisted in relation to each other. It made the back end swim a bit when pushed through corners. The AM2 had a noticeable topout whack and was not that great on compression either. The bike's cockpit felt very short for a size large and the bars were very wide. It offered a similar (and not entirely pleasant) sensation to the MKIII. This was another bike (like the Heckler) where I could feel some pedal feedback/stall when in the middle ring and more so in the granny, and the rear end seemed to hunt for traction under braking. We had some occassional and annoying shifting problems in back which we could not find any resolution to. Overall the bike was ok. Sort of unremarkable.











Rocky Mountain Slayer 50- Marzocchi AM2/Fox RP3 "High Volume" (6x6"). A very plush ride and actually a very accomplished pedaler on the flats. The rear squatted a lot on climbs though. It really settled down in the rear through g-outs and when attacking a hill seated. It was amazingly sensitive to weight shifts for some reason. The RP3 was pumped up to an incredible 275psi (I think max is 300psi) and we still bottomed the rear end through deep and fast g-outs (no significant drops on the route). The RP3's Propedal settings had a very noticeable effect on pedaling and the ride height of the rear end. Minus mode was very squatty but it regained some composure in the plus setting. The linkage made a LOT of noise in the form of creaks and popping. This bike seems to desperately need some linkage lube and a progressive sprung shock. Overall it was actually pretty fun to ride, the idiosyncrasies were just a bit much in the climbing department and I don't know what someone much over 200 pounds would do with the RP3.











Knolly Delerium T- Marzocchi Z1 Light/Progressive 5th Element Coil (6x6"). A yummy fork, a very yummy bike. I think Larry and I were the only people to ride this new model from Knolly, and this is the only one in existence so far. The V-Tach is well known, but Knolly decided to do a more trail-oriented model to diversify the line. This thing flat out ROCKS! The build is amazing and it rides extremely well. It is a fantastic pedaler and still plush as all get out. With the seat raised it takes on a pretty laid-back feel, but there is no suspension movement under power either seated or standing. The bike may have been a bit over-sprung for us, but it still soaked up bumps beautifully. This thing is BURLY. About 9.5 pounds with shock and designed around 6-7" forks. The rocker's shock mount is eccentrically placed in a square chip which can be rotated in 90 degree intervals to achieve 4 different bb heights (all result in the same travel). The rear drops can be moved to adjust the chainstay length between 16.4 and 17.2". The very slack seat tube angle could lead to some fit issues if you have long or short legs. This was a medium and still was fun for Larry and me to ride. The Z1 Light rode like a nice fresh Zoke. Very plush and well-mannered. It was the best feeling Zoke among those we rode in the two days. With a proper fit and setup it would could easily rival the 6-Pack and 6.6 for best 6" travel burly bike. Larry wants to order the first 3 Knolly puts out and I can see why.













Santa Cruz Nomad- Fox 36 Van/DHX Air (6.5x6.5"). We were actually all a bit disappointed in the Nomad, possibly because we had very high expectations for it (partly because we liked the seemingly similar 6.6 a lot, and that was a medium) that went unfulfilled. This was one bike which did not seem as well suited to the 36 Van as the 6-Pack and others. It was hard to put a finger on just what did not click with us, but it seemed that the frame was designed around a Pike-height fork, and the Van just tipped it over backwards too much like the 888 made the VPFree somewhat annoying for much other than dedicated FR or shuttle use. I increased the air pressure to what I run on my 6-Pack in the DHX Air and it did reduce sag to about 25% and stop the rear end squish to a point, but the handling didn't really recover fully. Whereas the Pack and 6.6 felt balanced and confidence inspiring, the Nomad felt unbalanced and sort of vague in handling so you felt like you were reacting to what was going on and not totally in control. It was very plush and pedaled well, it just did not come together as a package. None of us could pinpoint what was bugging us about it though...











Moots Cinco- Fox Float 130 RLC/5th Element Air (5x5"). Nice bike. Head angle probably around 70 degrees, so a bit steep for my taste, but quite manageable. A bit quick. The size large bike came with a pretty long stem (about 120mm) and wide bars, but still felt sort of short overall. The bars were also jacked way up with lots of spacers under the stem. It made climbing a bit unpleasant with the non-adjustable Float up front. It pedaled pretty well but you could detect some flex from the Ti, but in a springy and not energy robbing way. Climbing was hurt by the position on the bike and it was a bit hard to feel centered with the short cockpit. The Float was the best feeling of those I have ridden, but still not amazing. A pretty cool bike overall, but the fit seemed odd.











More coming...
 

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Team Sanchez
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4,369 Posts
Thanks for the report Cheese. So I was thinking the KNolly might make a nice replacement for the 6 pack, but at 9.5 lbs, that is one porky trail bike. Thanks for the reviews. Looking forward to "tapping the Goose" with you on Saturday.
 

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Bodhisattva
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10,843 Posts
I had a chance to demo my friend's Nomad with Pike fork and Float rear. It felt very balanced & well mannered as a do-all trailbike. I noticed just a tad of pedal feedback under hard compression but certainly less than a Blur. I would expect it to feel a bit floppy with the taller 36.

The Knolly sure does look nice but that weight pushes it far more to the FR/DH lite end of the spectrum. The 6-Pack/RF6 at a pound lighter, is already a bit overbuilt for general trailriding.
 

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No, that's not phonetic
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14,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Lenz Leviathan- White Brothers/5th Element Air (4x4"). The rear end was a bit harsh with the 5th air. The 5th Air shocks didn't really impress us on any bikes this go round. The White Bros fork was much less annoying than the one on the Behemoth with it's bushing slop, but still failed to impress. It just lacked stiffness, plushness, damping quality and all those things you would look for in a good fork. The bike handled well overall with neutral and predictable handling, and was very much aided by the great rolling characteristics of the 29er wheels, but was less impressive than the Behemoth (despite that bike's terrible performing fork). It rolled well, but I think would have not been that great an execution if it were a 26" wheeled bike.









Yeti 575- Fox 36 Talas/Fox DHX Air (6x6") . Just like last year, we loved this bike. The 36 is just too tall on this frame when extended, but was fun for bombing downhill on. Not as laterally stiff feeling as the 6-Pack and heavier built bikes (duh), but handled high speeds well and had great manners overall. It is a very accomplished pedaler and is very plush descending. A little more tire clearance in back would be nice, but otherwise a very refined package.











Surly Pugsley- fully rigid. We LOVED this thing. It totally surpassed all our expectations for it. It rolled well, handled well, accelerated, climbed, cornered, descended, and basically kicked butt in ways we would not have guessed looking at it's elephantiasis form. Despite rolling on about 11 pounds worth of wheels, this thing could motor. It did not suck the life out of you the way DH wheels and tires seem to on big bikes. The ride was like being on a very plush but totally undamped short travel fully. It soaked up trail noise with no issues and only bucked back when run into bigger stuff. I could easily keep up on it when following the boyz on 6" trail rigs down rough sections and through rocky switchbacks (and the Pugs is fully rigid!). I did manage to forget I was on a rigid bike and plow it into a rock garden hard enough to pinch flat the front 3.7" Endomorph tire (probably the only instance of that happening at the demo). The Large Marge rims are 75mm wide and coupled with the Endomorph 3.7s offer up a wheel size which is astounding. The traction is amazing. There is just so much rubber on the ground that it just never wants to drift or slip. Rolling over soft gravel or sand is almost indistinguishable from riding on packed surfaces. Larry and I agreed we both had to have one and El Beastro was all smiles after riding it too. The Pugs was the sleeper of the demo.















Turner 6-Pack- Fox 36 Van/DHX Coil (6.5x6"). Since we took two 6-Packs out this afternoon along with the Nomad, and I got more time on the 36 Van, I thought I'd add a few more comments. This bike just stands out from the other 6" rigs in terms of overall ride quality, and this was a point all of us could pretty much agree on. It just pedals, cruises, climbs, descends, and handles as a complete package in ways that the others could not match, though the Knolly threatens and the 6.6 comes close. I have liked VPPs in the past and was eager to try the Nomad and 6.6, but after squirreling around on all 3 on the same trails, I have no qualms at all about sticking with my 6-Pack. As far as I could tell the TNT version pedals just as well as my Horst version. I will reserve any speculation on braking effects until I can get on some nice firm, grippy but rough ground to do some side by side comparisons, but at this point I can say I can't feel any apparent detriment to braking performance on the Bootleg Canyon trails. It also takes to the 36 Van in a way the other bikes did not. A Z1 or 36 is the fork for this bike imo.













Turner Nitrous- Fox 80X/Fox RP3 (3x3"). I felt much more at home on this bike this year than last. They specced a shorter stem and a straight post and the increase in cockpit comfort definitely helped in all aspects of handling for me. It is still rocket-ship fast and has a lot of hardtail-like qualities, most notably acceleration. It also takes the edge off trail obstacles very effectively and keeps the rubber in contact with the ground improving traction and steering where a rigid chassis would buck and skate. I personally find the Nitrous to be plenty stiff and it exhibits excellent pedaling manners (I rode it in the minus setting on the PP selector). The 80X worked pretty well and seemed to know when to lock out and not. It is a very quick handling bike but I don't find it to be nervous or twitchy at all. The increased feeling of stability over last year may be due to the shorter cockpit layout due to component choices. It is not a sit back and rail bike like the 5-Spot, and it does require a bit of attention, but it gets up and moves out with authority and alacrity.













WHEW!!!! We rode 23 bikes (if I counted right). I'm pretty wiped and now I am going to go drag myself around the floor show. Yes, I'll take pics. Take it easy peeps...
 

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Registered
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Great stuff TS and crew

I have to say the biggest thing I am seeing from the day 1 and day 2 posts is not so much suspension design (Horst/Faux/VPP/whatever) but bike geometry, particularly in relation to the fork. What appears to make the Turners so special isn't the link, but the geometry and execution of that geometry. That's why the Turner will never ride like the Kona. The neutrality and handling of the Turner isn't in the link.

What also surprises me is this - assume TS has a Turner bias based on riding/owning one for as long as he has. The amount of variation from the Turner geometry by the other manufacturers is staggering. i.e. only a few other bikes have a geometry/handling package like the Turner (575, new X5, new Knolly). Everyone else has some radically different angles and cockpits, regardless of suspension implementation.

How about that oil can headtube on the Knolly!!
 

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No, that's not phonetic
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14,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Course: the official "loops" were pathetically smooth cattle chutes where riders crawled along in a conga line. Fock that. We rode half way up the mountain and took the real trails down. It started with about 1/2 mile climb up smooth gravel road, then 1 mile climb of crushed rock and hardpack singletrack with g-outs and some rocky sections up to a saddle, then abou 3 miles of alternating very rough, off-camber bedrock gardens with deep fast g-outs interspersed with fast sections of fairly smooth crushed rock and pea gravel through swoopy turns and some table-top jumps. We pinch flatted A LOT!!! Braking was a challenge due to the decomposed rock and ball-bearing like surface. Traction on the rocky stuff was pretty good, but it was rough. We shuttled to the top once and that added some more tech difficulties, but basically more of the same. Brutally hot.

I did not ride the 5-Spot again. The Turner booth did a clipping business and there were times when every one of the 50 demo bikes was out!
 

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Paper or plastic?
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10,593 Posts
tscheezy said:
Course: the official "loops" were pathetically smooth cattle chutes where riders crawled along in a conga line. Fock that. We rode half way up the mountain and took the real trails down. It started with about 1/2 mile climb up smooth gravel road, then 1 mile climb of crushed rock and hardpack singletrack with g-outs and some rocky sections up to a saddle, then abou 3 miles of alternating very rough, off-camber bedrock gardens with deep fast g-outs interspersed with fast sections of fairly smooth crushed rock and pea gravel through swoopy turns and some table-top jumps. We pinch flatted A LOT!!! Braking was a challenge due to the decomposed rock and ball-bearing like surface. Traction on the rocky stuff was pretty good, but it was rough. We shuttled to the top once and that added some more tech difficulties, but basically more of the same. Brutally hot.

I did not ride the 5-Spot again. The Turner booth did a clipping business and there were times when every one of the 50 demo bikes was out!
I was looking at a pic of the Supermoto. Did it have a telescopic seatpost?
 

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Baked Alaskan
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1,810 Posts
Pugsley -- DAMN!!! -- winter UGI just took on a whole new look for me. Expect one of those babies to be #2 in the stable next to the Spot. Might sell off some of the spare forks and shocks and skis to justify funding one.

I have a 1x1 frame that I scored dirt (ha, ha) cheap that was going to be my winter ride with some of those Marge rims, but that Pugs with those behemoth tires just looks like too much fun. Time to unload the 1x1 and put a Pugs on order.

I got dibs on calling mine Purple Rain. Now if only I can get a frilly, lace-trimmed Homer jersey...

p.s. I dig the assymetrical stays on the Nitruos.
 
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