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CNC Dude
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97 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had the Delerium for about six weeks now, so here's my official review:

I first saw the Knolly line at Interbike 2006. I've been to so many bike shows, been around the block in this industry for so long now, I don't see too many products each year that blow me away. Noel and the guys at Knolly did it this year. The bikes just made sense. Handbuilt frames, made in North America. Four-bar linkages throughout, but done in a way that doesn't interrupt the oversize seat tube. Low standover height. Adjustable BB height/headtube angle. Adjustable chainstay length, for crying out loud. The engineer in me also liked the small rear triangles and the inherent stiffness added by the Knolly 4x4 linkage. I was impressed. I didn't think I needed need one at the time, though. I already owned a really nice bike in a series of really nice bikes. I like nice stuff. I'm a mechanic, engineer, machinist, bicycle/motorcycle/kart racer - renaissance guy. I've owned bikes from Yeti, Spooky, Balfa, Sinister, Serotta, Endless, and old-school VooDoo.

A few months passed, and I broke that frame. I guess I'm hard on stuff. I'm told I look smooth. I feel mostly smooth. I like to go fast, though, and I'm not afraid to go medium-large. I've probably broken half of those nice frames I've owned. I rarely ask for a warranty. If I break it, I don't want another, thanks. So apparently I needed a new frame. Knolly immediately came to mind. I called Noel to ask a few questions, and 15 minutes later my Delerium was on the way. I'm still not sure what happened. He spoke to me in terms I understand, and it helped him that I wanted it really bad.

After chasing the FedEx guy around town a little, I got the box. This was a serious box. Triple-layer corrugated with big rigid chunks of some new space-age paperboard keeping my frame from slapping around inside. And the frame was beautiful, shimmering electric blue glowing as if lit from the inside. I immediately stripped my parts off the cracked frame. As a CNC guy, I love all the CNC'ed pieces. The bottom bracket extrusion is a work of art. The serial number is milled in during the CNC operation - that's crazy! Upon routing the cables, It really hit me how much attention these guys pay to the details. I have never seen cables routed this well. It seems like a silly thing to gush over, but having probably assembled over a thousand bikes in my 12-year bicycle shop career, I wish they were all done this well. They just go exactly where they ought to, awkward bend-less, and are well-protected from laydowns.

I put on a new drivetrain, stretched the cables, and clocked out early to snatch a maiden voyage from encroaching winter. It was about 25 degrees out, but the singletrack trails were dry and buff. My first impression was that the Delerium T felt exactly the way I wanted it to. The front end came up when I pulled on it, yet stayed down when I pointed it up the steeper climbs. It felt very neutral in the air, so much that I found myself hucking off waterbar kickers to blind backsides. The DHX Air 5.0 surprised me, feeling extremely supple and balanced with a Z.1 RC2 fork. The bike never felt unsettled, and never did anything sketchy. It pleased me immensely.

The next day, some dudes I know invited me out to check out some Shore-type stuff in their neighborhood. The ride up included this crazy-steep climb I didn't expect to clean. I started riding up with the intention of high-marking. I stopped when I got to the top. I can't think of another bike I could've climbed that hill on, except maybe my Yeti 575, which was 8 lbs. lighter. We then dropped down an incredibly steep ridgeline, and the Knolly just ate it up. We came upon a 15-foot ladder drop to tranny, which I had never seen, but nailed on the first approach. I had to really nose into the transition on this drop, and it was very easy to position the Delerium in the air. Then came some long twisty skinnies, which my buddies seemed to have trouble staying on. I could tell exactly where my tires were, and didn't misstep in several runs. I then popped the cherry on a fresh loamy road gap, which ran into a rocky creek bed crossing. Again, the Knolly felt very intuitive, very easy to place. It was the most satisfying first two rides on a new bike ever. I loved it from the start.

I have found more reasons to ride this bike more often than I have in years. I haven't kicked over my CR250 in a month, after riding it weekly all summer. The more I ride the Knolly, the more I want to ride it. It makes the technical moves easier, the big moves less scary, and the fast gnarly stuff a little faster. There's this one rock-strewn section of a local trail - it's hard to describe, but it's the necessary evil - the hell through which one must pass at the bottom of a crazy-fast, steep, bermy, jumpy smile-fest. There's no line through here - you just point for the less-obtrusive skull-sized greasy mossy rocks (some of which move a little when you hit them) and hope for the best. I hit this section on the Delerium and found myself laughing aloud. The rear end tracked amazingly through here, and I was able to feel the suspension working, rather than sloppily bouncing from boulder to boulder. Instead of the usual jolting, white-knuckle speed-walk through purgatory, I actually kept my momentum and enjoyed the run through the gauntlet.

Just the other night I hit up some local secret yum-yum on a solo assault. On this particular section of trail, there are a bunch of burly technical rock gardens. A few of them can't be cleaned in the daytime, but the Knolly gave me the confidence to drop into several of the burliest rock staircases (with sheer drops to the left) using only the light from my HID headlamp. I probably cleaned more of this trail at night on my Delerium T than I did in the daytime on any other bike. I love this bike! It has excelled at everything I've wanted it to do.

So much so, in fact, I've been eyeing up this gap:

http://forums.mtbr.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=229784&stc=1&d=1169817994

I will post video when it's in the can.

Thanks, Knolly!
 

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Can anyone comment on the sizing of the Knolly's? I'm 6'2" and I normally ride smaller frames than I should, so the medium knolly at 18" seat tube and 23.2 TT looks ideal, however lots of the reviews say buy the right size for you rather than a size smaller (ie: a large for me) would you agree? a large at 20" sounds fecking hugggggeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
 

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Calm like a bomb
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RichC said:
Can anyone comment on the sizing of the Knolly's? I'm 6'2" and I normally ride smaller frames than I should, so the medium knolly at 18" seat tube and 23.2 TT looks ideal, however lots of the reviews say buy the right size for you rather than a size smaller (ie: a large for me) would you agree? a large at 20" sounds fecking hugggggeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
I just got some decent trail time in on a Delirium last night. A mix of XC and freeride over about 8 or 9 miles with a few short climbs. I'm usually on the fence between a small and a medium. This particular frame was a small. The cockpit felt a little short but not excessively and it made for a flickable feel, I really felt comfy moving the bike around in the air. It suffered a little on climbs but the sus is so efficient that it was far from a poor climber. If I did a lot of climbing or epic rides, I'd choose a medium, for mostly freeride and jumping I'd stay with the small. I'm 5'8". I'd think you'd be fine on a Med unless you want to stretch out.
 

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CNC Dude
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97 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mine's a Medium - me 5'10" with long arms & legs. I would not want it any smaller. As it is, my stem is 90mm and my seat pretty far back on the rails. Try to get a test ride on a Large - the low standover makes my Med seem much smaller than any other "Medium" I've had. If you are TT-length sensitive, then by all means go with that. You might call Noel directly & ask him, too. He's fairly tall, as I remember.

Good luck! The bike has been AWESOME! Seriously - I've never ridden a bike that does anything I want it to do, and then some!
 

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1,674 Posts
RichC said:
I've fired a mail off to Noel, as its a lot of cash to spend to get it wrong
Hey RichC

As you know, I replied to your e-mail, but I thought that I would do a quick summary here just for everyone else's benefit (as guys like Err are also dealers of ours).

Anyway you will definitely want a large frame. I'm also 6'2" and I would be too scrunched up on a medium. I'm running my bike with a Thomson post and a 70mm stem. If you're going for a 50mm stem, you might want a layback post like a Raceface Diabolus or something along those lines.

Typically, our bikes fit like this:

X-Small: 5'3" and below
Small: 5'4" to about 5'7"
Medium: 5'8" to about 5'11"
Large: 6' to abour 6'4" or 6'5"
X-Large: 6'5"+

Cheers!
 
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