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Wednesday
Jun072017

Zerode Taniwha Test

Zerode Taniwha Drive Side Frame

Zerode bikes launched in 2011 and have been producing gearbox Downhill Bikes for 5 years now. During that time there has been a rising demand from customers and others interested in dropping the traditional derailleur on their AM/Enduro bikes. These systems inhibit the suspension, add weight to the rear end and allow a somewhat vulnerable mechanical piece to dangle a few inches from the ground. We would like to introduce you to The Taniwha a 12spd Pinion Gearbox, Carbon Fiber trail slayer.

Zerode Taniwha Drive Side Angle Shot

Rob Metz has spent the last 5 years producing Zerode downhill bikes. This was a high single pivot gearbox bike. Well, the time has come for Zerode to release the highly anticipated trail bike. Please allow us to introduce to you The Zerode Taniwha. This is a 160mm, 650b wheeled bike sporting a 65 degree HA and using a Pinion 12 spd gearbox that is mounted into its Carbon Fiber frame! For the “enduro” frame Rob found it best to go with the more common lower single pivot design. Once again you will not need a derailleur, cassette, shifter, chain guide, cranks or BB for the bike.

Zerode Taniwha Non Drive Side Angle

Zerodeusa began importing and distributing Zerode bikes back in 2011. At that point it was Zerode's high pivot idler bike called the G1. The Mountain Bike market began to change around this time and many people began to trade out their downhill bikes in favor of long travel trail bikes. Once this Enduro craze hit Zerode knew that a trail bike would have to happen sooner rather than later. Rob started contacting carbon manufacturers in Asia about producing small batch runs of the Zerode trail bike. Santa Cruz agreed to help Rob out and sample frames began production shortly after. Take a look at the Geometry of the Zerode Taniwha compared to the Santa Cruz Nomad and you will notice they are nearly identical in the size department.

Zerode Taniwha Features

  • Carbon Frame
  • 650b
  • 12spd Pinion Gearbox
  • 31.6 Seatpost
  • 142mmx12mm rear hub
  • Water Bottle Mount
  • 430mm CS Length
  • 74.5 Seatpost Angle
  • 65 Degree HA
  • 600% Range
  • Equal Gear Steps

Zerode Taniwha Pinion Drive Side Detail

The suspension design of the Taniwha is a simple linkage driven single pivot. Rob explains the reason for this is that it has the exact same Anti-Squat (100%) throughout the whole range of travel. This also allows for a very easy suspension set up. The Zerode has a slightly progressive design that the rider can fine tune easily with HSC/LSC and shock spacers. After riding the bike for almost 6 months we can say with certainty that the pedaling feel of the bike is totally unique. It offers tons of traction and never stiffens up while going over obstacles.

Zerode Taniwha Pinion Non Drive Side Detail

Many gearbox advocates like to press the point that you eliminate the most fragile part of the Mountain Bike when using a gearbox. This is very true to a point but not the reason Rob Metz made Zerode. His driving reason for going the gearbox route was to eliminate unsprung weight from the drivetrain and by doing so dramatically improve suspension performance. The combination of saving 1.5 pounds off your back wheel and keeping chain driven suspension effects away provides a bike that has some of the best feeling suspension that we have ever ridden. It is very sensitive to small nuances on the trail. It feels as supple as a downhill bike going along chatter filled terrain. Having the ability to shift while coasting is another benefit of using a gearbox system. This can allow riders to change gears over the roughest terrain or while in mid turn.

Zerode Taniwha X2 Shock Mount Detail

Building the Zerode Taniwha was trouble free. It went together easily and we just had to watch the cable install video on the Pinion Website a few times to get that running smooth. The i9 305mm Enduro wheels are strong trail wheels. These are a bit stronger than was probably required and we could have laced up some lighter custom wheels and saved some weight. We opted to build the bike with almost the exact same build that we used on our Evil Insurgent Review. Overall our complete Zerode Taniwha came in at 34.85LBS and we are running WTB Convict/Trail Boss front in rear both in TCS casings. So these are about 1.5 lbs heavier than a Maxxis set-up would be. So, in theory, you could build one close to this at the low 33lbs range. Just an FYI our XL Insurgent weighed mid 32LBS with a very close build so about 2.25 lbs lighter in a frame size bigger than the Taniwha we tested.

"Fundamentally the Zerode Taniwha is about making the mountain biking experience better. Nothing inspires us to ride more than a quiet, low maintenance, confidence inspiring bike

The 12 spd pinion gearbox offers a huge spread of gears that goes well beyond today’s 1×11. Whether you are grinding up an epic backcountry single track or blasting down a high speed fire-road there is a gear to do the job. An unexpected pinch climb will never be a problem again, changing gear is effortless and immediate.

A significant reduction in unsprung weight ensures suspension performance that is undeniably better than any Enduro bike equipped with a rear derailleur. Symmetrical spoke angle ensures a very strong, light rear wheel that further improves suspension performance.

A simple, effective and proven suspension platform combined with a fixed chain line optimizes pedaling performance through the entire travel range. It is difficult to approach the elegance and performance of this layout with any virtual pivot design.A sleek full carbon frame offers excellent stiffness, reduced weight and flawless beauty in a modern geometry.

Maintenance and tuning of gears are almost nonexistent, sprocket and chain life are massively extended. On a Zerode, that brand new drivetrain feeling happens every day.

For those that ride for fun, the Zerode Taniwha will inspire you to ride in any conditions on any trail. If you are racing, whether it for an EWS podium or for bragging-rights amongst mates, the Taniwha provides an edge your competition won’t have.”

Zerode Taniwha Pro Build Complete Zerode Taniwha Pro Build 

  • Zerode Taniwha Large Frame Fox X2
  • Fox 36 Rc2 Fork
  • Chris King Inset
  • Gamut Cillos Stem
  • Enve DH Bars
  • Hope Tech 3 E4 Brakes 203/183
  • Industry Nine 305 Enduro Wheels
  • Fox Transfer 150mm Dropper
  • WTB Convict TCS-WTB Trail Boss TCS
  • Fabric Saddle
  • ESI Grips

Zerode Taniwha Geometry

I took the Taniwha out on a trail that climbs about 700 feet in just over 1 mile and I could tell The Zerode had a 4 lbs weight gain over the Django I tested earlier. It's pedaling ability was good even with the X2 shock in open mode. For about 85% of the time while climbing we used the pedal feature on the X2. But you could tell it had more weight compared to the last bike I was on. It also offers a bit more traction on the climbs as well.

Taniwha Pinion Tensioner Detail

Once at the top I strapped on my bell and goggles and got ready to drop in. The first part is high speed and fire road width with a good scattering of rocks. I could tell right away The Taniwha was more forgiving when hitting bigger rocks than the previous test bike. It didn't have the roll over ability as the Evil Wreckoning but the 29" wheels gave that bike a large edge. The suspension on the Zerode did smooth the entire trail out better though.

Zerode Taniwha-Pinion Mounting

The trail takes a hard left through rocks and enters a very high speed off camber single track section. there are some large rocks here you dodge and weave your way through. After that, it goes right back across the mountain through some ruts and up and over a steep roller that acts as a G-out and typically uses most of a bikes suspension when hitting it at speed.

Zerode Taniwha Pronouced TANIFA

This trail is somewhat smooth compared to others in the area. Also towards the end, you have to climb up some twisty single track to finish it off. this is where we used the ability to shift without pedalling in the very tight turns and come out in a gear that was easy enough to climb with. Overall the trail was a little too mellow for The Taniwha. You could tell it wanted something much rowdier to show off its unhindered suspension.

Taniwha Pinion Cable Routing

About 300 feet up from the first trail is one that is rock filled for about 500 yards and enters a fast twisty section of trail for the last mile or so. This is a good trail to get a feel for how a suspension system will perform. The entrance to this trail you can hit pretty high speeds my best ever was 28mph and I was just under that aboard The Taniwha. The bike felt stable going fast and there are rocks scattered all across this double track section of trail. It seemed to offer good traction and felt very planted in the high-speed quick turns in this section.

Zerode Taniwha Shifter

There is a small climb up that takes you to the rocky part of the trail. You enter this on a fading right-hand turn that drops you into the rock garden. The rocks range in size from marble up to knee high here. The fastest route is a straight line down the middle and linking the sections together by hopping over and down the larger embedded rocks. Overall I would say the suspension worked remarkably well. The trail felt smoother than it did on many of the other trail bikes we have tested. Maybe saving the weight off the back wheel does translate into better trail manners after all. This trail has some loose turns and the Zerode Taniwha seemed to offer a fair bit of traction. It wasn't as much as a 29" bike but more than a normal 650B seemed to offer. This also can be attributed to the suspension sensitivity and the low center of gravity. There are a number of fast turns back to back in this trail that you can hop the bike into and hope it grabs traction. The low center of gravity really seemed to help the bike find grip easier here than many of the other 650b bikes we have tested. Moving around on the Taniwha to effect front end traction or lift the front wheel was very easy. The window of balance on the bike was huge. Keep in mind this frame is a fair bit shorter than the last two bikes we have tested so this feeling can directly be attributed to the gearbox being down low on the frame. The Zerode proved to have a stiff frame. I never noticed The Taniwha showing any kinds of flex in tight turns or even high-speed rock filled ones.

Zerode Taniwha Internal Routing

So the Zerode Taniwha descends well in part due to having a very light rear end and one of the lowest centers of gravity around. Also, the simple suspension design works very well at eating rough terrain and is one of the easiest to set up. But how does the Taniwha climb or pedal? Let us get this out of the way now. You can tell it has a gearbox when pedaling on the flat ground. It makes a bit more noise than a standard bike with a full chain guide. It isn't as loud as the old school Mr. Dirt guide but it makes noise just a slight whirring from between your feet. Pinion claims the gearbox gets smoother as you rack up the miles. We put about 500 miles on the bike and would have to agree with them. It did begin to make less noise and seem to offer a bit less resistance. Honestly, if there is a bit a drag while riding the Zerode Taniwha it is very mild. In fact, it may entirely be in my head. Getting to the trails from work is about a 2-mile flat pavement pound. I never made it there as fast as I have on a few other bikes. Now shifting the Zerode takes a bit of forethought at the beginning. The Pinion will not shift into an easier gear under load. When I say load I mean like the weight of you leg will prevent it from shifting. So essentially you have to stop pedaling the Taniwha to get it to shift. On the steep technical climbs make sure to shift when you can and not when you need to since it may not be possible. Another thing that was noticeable was the lack of engagement provided by the Pinion. We had i9 wheels with 120 points of engagement and it still had some play. This was really obvious when you back pedal and then try to pedal forward. The gearbox would take about 30 degrees of rotation before it engaged. It would be interesting to see what an Onyx hub would feel like. Using a Pinion adds about 2 lbs to The Zerode Taniwha and there is no great way to cut that weight back. As stated earlier we had an Insurgent with the exact same build in size XL and this Taniwha is a LG frame and still, the complete bike is about 2.2-2.4 lbs heavier. The new C-Line Pinion will shave about 250 grams off the bike so you will have a 1.75lbs penalty. Is the added weight and shifting issue worth it to avoid a derailleur? This is all dependant upon you, where you live, what you ride and how lazy you are on servicing equipment.

Zerode Taniwha Rear Chainstay Clearance.

There are some areas to improve and this will all depend on Pinion and what they can do with the box in the near future. The "Grip Shift" on the Taniwha was a non-issue it took a few rides to become accustomed to the wrist twisting mode to shift gears. I have had a few SRAM Grip Shift bikes back in the day so I have some experience with it. There is no issue of a missed shift or of an accidental one for that matter. MX bikes ride terrain four times as rough at speeds that are much faster and having a twist throttle is a non-issue for them so why would a twist gear shift be an issue for a MTB? What needs mentioning here is the insane range that The Pinion P 12 gearbox offers. It is just over a 600% range and Rob from Zerode equates it to having a 10-60 on the rear of a standard bike! Another good thing is that every gear change provides the same ratio jump you will never shift a gear and make a dramatic change like you can with a normal 11-12spd system. If you require a different gearing setup for your Zerode you can do it but you must use the Pinion front and rear sprocket to do so. They offer a few teeth in either direction from the ones specked on the Taniwha. I would venture to say that most riders will almost never use the two top easiest gears. They are so tall that to keep a walking pace you are spinning fairly fast on the cranks! Speaking of range the ability to dump a large number of gears with the twist of a wrist is something that can become a great benefit for those that ride in terrain with large elevation changes or tighter trails. Keep in mind you can all this without having to move the cranks!

Zerode Taniwha Chainstay DetailConclusion

Overall we liked The Taniwha. It has a straightforward suspension design that a marketing crew doesn't need to spend millions of dollars on to convince the general public that it works. It pedals pretty well even with the X2 wide open and very little LSC on the shock. I think running the shock with a bit more LSC would have allowed us to rarely use pedal mode on the Fox shock. Even though it shares a similar suspension system with a Guerilla Gravity Megatrail it doesn't have as much resistance to pedal bob as that bike seems to. We had a CCDB Air on that so that could be the difference.

The Pinion gearbox on the Zerode moves weight off the back wheel and centers it as low as possible on the BB. This gives The Taniwha a distinct advantage over a traditional derailleur system in the suspension department. Saving almost two pounds off the back wheel makes the suspension much more active at slower speeds. Another thing that is unique to The Taniwha is it's fixed chain line that optimizes pedaling performance. It gives the bike a unique feel on the pedals and in theory is better. Going up and over rocky terrain, the bike feels like it rolls over terrain easily even when applying power. The range The Pinion offers on the Taniwha is huge and having the ability to jump between all those gears without even pedalling is pretty nice. Cornering is something I mentioned earlier and the Taniwha excels at this. This is a weak point in my riding and the Zerode provided tons of traction and a very wide body weight window. I have the tendency to weight the front too much at times and this never happened once while riding this bike. It feels as if the Zerode grants the rider and extra foot of room to make body adjustments while riding. Also worth mentioning is removing the most easily damaged item off the back wheel and eliminating it. For many, this is an issue but in all honesty, over the past 30 years of riding, I have broken about 8 derailleurs and 6 of those where during a decade of downhill racing.

So with the positives gained from running a Pinion gearbox on the Zerode Taniwha, there are also negatives. There is no denying that the Pinion adds 2.5 lbs over a traditional system and even the new C-Line version will add 2 lbs to the bike. Along with that comes its low engagement this wasn't a make or break but sometimes it was noticeable.  Also not being able to shift under load is our main issue with it. It took us awhile to get somewhat used to letting up while climbing especially on steeper terrain. Everyone gets fried out and has to shift into an easier gear at one point or another during a climb. Typically I could just dump a gear and keep going. With the Taniwha I would have to stop pedaling all together to get the bike into an easier gear. Keep in mind that Pinion hasn't been around very long and with their background in automotive engineering, I would only assume that they would get their gearboxes able to shift under load at some point. The grip shift is a nonissue for us but some have complained about it in the past once Zerode said they were going to use a Pinion. There are rumors of a trigger shifter being in the works from Pinion currently. So that may change as well.

Basically, it will come down to the consumer and their needs or desires. Do you want the most efficient suspension over rough terrain or the most efficient pedaling machine? Mountain bike designs are a compromise. You give up suspension performance in favor of pedaling performance. In the case of the Zerode we gain some weight and lose out on shifting into an easier gear under load. While you gain a very active suspension attached to a frame that corners like it's on rails due to it having a very low center of gravity. Another benefit of The Zerode Taniwha will be lower maintenance and a chain that will last seasons instead of months. With a rear cassette costing close to $300 these days, it will save you money by not replacing one of those every 6 months. In theory, the gearbox proponents are correct, you can break off a derailleur it's just a question of how often that may happen to you.

Overall the Zerode was a fun bike to ride. It was very active and ate up all trail nuances with ease. Frame stiffness was very good and it cornered better than most other trail bikes we have tested. People looking for a unique bike that will prove to be low maintenance should take a good hard look at The Zerode Taniwha. We would recommend this to a friend looking for a unique "stick it to the man" do it all bike that could spend the day at the park or a day riding the local trails. Go check out Zerodeusa for more information on the Taniwha. If they only made it in 29" wheels....

Zerode Taniwha Pinion Set Up

Zerode Taniwha FAQ's 

Is Grip shift the only option?
It turns out that the grip shift is a very nice match to a drive train when you do not have to pedal to change gear and the gears change instantly. If you get caught out in the wrong gear on a pinch climb you can back off for a split second and rip through a bunch of gears with a twist while the derailleur guys are trying to pedal over the top of the wrong gear or click and crunch through gears one at a time. There is no comparison in this situation. You can grab gears when coasting, back pedalling so you adapt and change when and where you shift, the grip shift lets you do this in a seamless way. I have no doubt a trigger will be available at some point. I have designed one on paper, friends have made their own but I'm not sure experienced pinion users will want to swap the grip for a trigger.

Why no horst link?
In a nut shell. I don't link them. The pedalling performance of a Taniwha is second to none. The "real" pivot design combined with a fixed chain line means it is possible to achieve very stable pedalling through the entire range of suspension travel while independently control the suspension rate via a link. With a Horst link or VVP design the virtual pivot races all over the show making it hard to control suspension rate and pedalling independently. You get a compromised design but one that marketing departments love…

Brake jack?
There is a huge amount of misinformation online about brake effect. The story goes, "single pivot designs suffer from brake Jack or brake lock out". In reality all bikes, even bikes equipped with horst links have brake effect to some degree. What happens is the traction force at the rear tire tends to rotate the suspension about the pivot whether real or virtual causing a suspension compression. It's worth noting the traction force at the rear wheel is usually small and so is the compressive effect and that the suspension is still free to respond to other inputs. Some bikes have more compression than others, in some situations this compression helps performance, in other situations it hinders performance.

I could go into an in depth analysis of brake effect. However, there is no need, motorcycles have used simple swingarm designs for over a century now, motorcycle designers fully understand brake effect and understand that a simple swingarm design is the best solution. Almost every DH world champ since records began had a bike with a brake effect essentially the same as that of a single pivot bike.

Gearbox range?
Imagine a 10-60 cassette. Enough said.

Gearbox drag?
Obviously there is an extra element in the drive train so there has to be losses. The loss is small and depends on load and gear. A comparison with a clean mech with a chain in the middle of the cassette would obviously have a standard mech come out on top. If you take into account a significant reduction in unsprung weight changing gears instantaneously and the fact the a mech drive trains efficiency falls off quickly when the chain is at the top or bottom on the cassette or when sprockets are small, then add a little bit of dirt or mud the Pinion becomes very attractive. I wouldn't use one on a road bike but a 160mm trail/enduro bike for riding proper mountain bike trails it is a no brainer .


Why a gearbox/what about the weight?
If you add a Pinion gearbox, take away a cassette (unsprung weight), derailleur( unspring weight), chain guide and build a lighter stronger rear wheel and the disadvantage is ~800g. Given that you have to power yourself and the bike up hills and overcome rolling and air resistance the extra effort required when climbing is almost not measureable. Even if it was I would happily breathe a little harder while cruising up the hills with my mates if my reward was a significant improvement in suspension performance, 600% gear range, stronger rear wheel, almost no maintenance, chains that last years, shifting without pedalling, instantaneous shifting, no chain slap, optimised pedalling etc etc I'd be very surprised if Taniwha owners go back to a derailleur.

Zerode Taniwha Grade Card 


Thursday
Nov032016

WTB Riddler Tire Test

 

Wilderness Trail Bikes has been around a long time. They came to creation in Marin county what many consider to be the possible birthplace of Mountain Biking. The scene in the late 1970's and early 1980's was much different in Marin. The times have changed and WTB has evolved and is now making tires, saddles, grips and their own rims. We gave them a call to get a some tires to test out. Our terrain is about 85% rock with spatterings of soil the dusty kind with no traction and marbled out high speed loose trails with no berms. It takes a hell of a tire to perform well in San Luis Obispo. Using a semi slick on the back helps get me up the hill a bit easier so The Riddler was the rear tire we chose to use first.

"WTB was founded in Marin County, California in 1982, fueled by the need to create durable and reliable mountain bike-specific equipment. Back then mountain biking was a new and burgeoning sport, and mountain bikes weren’t much more than cobbled-together oddities. The original WTB crew was captivated by the experience of riding bikes on dirt trails, and they started creating more durable and functional components for their own bikes. Soon, local frame builders sought to outfit their bikes with WTB’s high-end components. WTB was able to turn our passion for bikes into a successful business.

Today WTB is a global enterprise; our innovative components are used for trail riding, transportation, recreation and elite racing across the globe. After 30 years things have changed a bit here at WTB–our little garage has morphed into a real office and the bikes we ride and the components we make have evolved to meet the needs of today’s riders, racers, and commuters. What hasn’t changed is our passion for cycling and our commitment to providing the cycling community with durable, reliable, high-performance components."

We contacted WTB to get ahold of some of their latest tire offerings. A week later we had a box with Vigilante, Riddler and Breakout tires to test out. We are running The Vigilante tire as a front tire with The Riddler as the rear tire. Many riders in our area have been raving about The Riddler since it first came out. Our terrain is very rocky, dry and loose. Basically for ten months out of the year you are riding on marbles.

"Born from the need to race in European enduro events, the Vigilante is our premier aggressive All Mountain tire, and first choice for Team WTB’s Mark Weir.  The square-lugged, open-tread pattern offers stability in loose or wet terrain, while the stiff outside knobs grip at lean angles like nobody’s business.  With Dual DNA (TCS) and Gravity DNA (Team Issue) rubber, this is the tire to ride when you are giving it your all."

Mounting the WTB Riddler was a snap. We did it with a floor pump and without using soap mounting them to 30mm rims!The Easton ARC did ever so slightly flatten out the Riddler's tread profile BTW. We had the 27.5 2.4 TCS Tough Fast Roll casing our tire weighed 1060 grams. That is a bit more than advertised but we have seen DH tires vary by 200 grams! If you are that worried weigh each tire in the store before making a purchase. 

WTB Riddler Features 

  • Actual weights: 
    • TCS Tough-1056 grams
    • TCS Light-869 grams
  • Actual widths:
    • 2.4: Tread-2.29" Casing-2.2"
  • ETRTO 584
  • Fast Roll compound is 60A durometer
  • TCS Light casing is supple and conforming
  • TCS Tough casing is dual-layer for protection
  • Folding bead
  • Round profile
  • Fast rolling center tread
  • Aggressive cornering knobs
  • TCS - Tubeless Compatible System - Uses sealant to seal inside of tire, will NOT hold air without sealant
  • Enduro Pro Nathan Riddle signature tire
  • Made in China
  • WTB part #'s:
    • TCS Light, Fast Roll-W010-0586
    • TCS Tough, Fast Roll-W010-0587

Our first ride on the Riddler was on a trail that we ride every week. It is about 700 feet to the top and getting back down it takes around 4 minutes. There had been a good deal of rain the last few weeks so our soil that usually feels like you are riding on ice was actually providing decent traction. Entering the first few turns I was shocked how much bite the tire was offering both in braking and while being leaned over. I was a bit worried with it being a semi slick. The soil around here is clay based and packs up quick! The fourth turn on this trail is a severe off-camber left hander that is very sharp about 120 degrees the front of the bike offered copious amounts of grip and i just got the Riddler to brake loose with a hard pull on the brakes. We are running 203mm rotors and Hope Tech 3 V4 brakes and The Riddlers resisted breaking loose in shocking fashion.

The next trail is about 900 feet to the top. Fast times going down are about 2:30 or so. This trail has a rock garden that is about 300 yards in length. After that you enter the trees and begin riding on a hard pack dirt. This section is very fast and filled with fast gradual turns. I was running 25 PSI on the front tire and just below 30 on the rear. Even though we had the fast roll version the rear tire offered very good traction in the baby heads. Lower down the trail the Riddler did well in the high speed hard pack.

San Luis Obispo is know for having fast loose and rocky trail. That was what the next trail is know for. I can do it in 9 minutes the record is in the low 7 minute range. On this trail you can easily get up to 30 mph on the top section. It is fire road width and filled with good size embedded rocks (the kind that pinch flat) and for good measure these are coated with smaller loose rocks to make it extra slippery! I pinged my rim a few times hard and the tires had no issue. There are a few corners that are long and off camber and when riding an aggressive trail bike you need to be pressing the front end down. WTB seemed to have done a good job with The Riddler they offered good traction on the loose rocks. I know the sticky version would have been even better. These are semi slicks so ruuning a full tread tire would have offered more grip over the loose stuff.

There is a trail in town that is short and pretty rocky. Not exactly Santa Barbara rocky but has some good size rocks in it. The rocks here range from golf ball up to beach ball in size. They are almost all round so it can be fun to bounce through them. Tires that are super sticky will allow a rider to cut edges off of these rocks easily. The WTB Riddler was almost able to do this. Having aggressive side knobs helped the tires stick to the rocks. Riding large rocks like this is not very challenging for the modern tire to get good traction on. This is more a test of its ability to avoid pinch flats. It slid off of some of the smooth rounded rocks and others it held enough traction to let me glide over an edge. Overall the tire did very well and in fact I got one of my fastest times down this trail and I had not ridden it in almost 6 months!

Being close to the ocean provides us with trails that are more sand based. These are great to ride post rain or even during the rain. I went out here and made my way up the hill it is about 800 feet to the top. fast riders can get down in under 8 minutes it usually takes me 9 minutes. This trail is very fast to start then you drop down into a valley and it is filled with turns and rocks. Lower down you are floating on top of a fine sand layer and things can get twitchy at speed. The WTB Riddler did well on this sand filled trail when it was wet. The tire held traction in the turns and had no issues crushing over the rocks. Lower down it floated its way over the sand without issue. I went and road this during a heavy downpour and the tires worked incredible in these lower sandy turns BTW. When the trail dried out a bit they began to fight the trail for traction while using the brakes and not being leaned over.

 

Conclusion

Overall I was impressed with The WTB Riddler tire. It worked well as a rear tire on our traction deprived trails. They did a good job making a tough casing that will tolerate low PSI and not tear of flat easily. The tire did well in rock, hard pack and decent sandy trails. I also did some riding when it was pretty wet out and it did decent in light mud as well.

It rolls pretty fast and has good grip once you lean the tire over. Deciding if the rolling resistance benefit if worth the traction decrease in straight line braking will largely depend on your soil and riding ability.

This isn't the lightest tire out there some other companies offer tires around 900 grams but you have to ask yourself if a 200 gram savings is worth a flat or destroyed rim. WTB does make a lighter version if weight is a big concern for you. Having a tire that sticks in varying terrain is great. This is a tire I would highly recommend to a friend. Down the road when looking for a semi-slick rear tire The WTB Riddler will be on the short list.

WTB Riddler Questions

1.     Give us a “quick” history of WTB.

Started early with the idea of doing what was not already done. Making parts to provide for complete bikes led to surplus production and bike shop sales. Maturing markets took WTB from designing for others to promoting the WTB brand and production in Asia for OE and replacement parts. The soul has never been lost though the price point pressure is high.

2.     What goals or concerns did you have when designing the Riddler?

Rolling fast on the straightaways, while still having the ability to dig in while corner. Those were the two primary goals when designing the Riddler. We found that, in certain conditions, ensuring traction with the tire upright required only a minimal amount of tread prominence along the centerline of the tire. In an upright position, with the rider's weight directly over the centerline, we didn't need tall knobs to keep the tire from sliding. Yet, of course, the knobs were still needed on the outer edge to deliver bite when the tire was leaned over. 


3.     Was weight, reliability or traction the biggest concern?

Though we wouldn't say that weight was specifically our biggest concern, being fast rolling and minimalistic was the focus. We aimed to reduce rolling resistance and increase speed without sacrificing traction where it is needed most. With the Riddler 2.25 275" TCS Light tire coming in at only 780 grams, it's amazing how much grip it delivers while still being a resilient tire. 

4.     Who created the tread design?

WTB has a variety of people that have an influence on how the various tread patterns produced get done. In order to ensure we approach the design from numerous angles, we never leave the design process up to a singular person. In this case, Evan Smith, WTB's product design engineer, teamed up with longstanding WTB athlete Nathan Riddle to create the tire. Riddle came to us with specific needs for a tire that hooked up on race day without slowing the pace. Riddle was such a driving force behind the Riddler than it was a clear choice to name the tire after him. Click here for a more in-depth story behind Nathan Riddle's involvement with developing the Riddler. 

5.     What widths is the Riddler available in?


For 27.5-inch versions, the Riddler is available in both 2.25 and 2.4-inch widths, while the 29-inch version is currently available solely in the 2.25-inch width. While all Riddlers are available with a TCS Light / Fast Rolling casing, the 27.5" 2.4 version is also available as a TCS Tough / Fast Rolling version. 

6.     What about a tire with multiple durometers? (60/42)

The Riddler is in fact dual durometer. Initial production tires of the Riddler were 60/50, though we've since made a running change to 60/45. With a tread pattern as specific as the Riddler, using a dual durometer rubber compound is the only way to go when you're combining a fast rolling design with meaty knobs.

7.     When will a fat bike win an EWS race?

When it all freezes over and flotation is the only way to make time and speed.

8.     What would help the bike industry the most? ($, lowering cost, more trail access)

More people on more bikes more often in more places. If the bike industry makes more money, it will most likely put it into product technology and marketing. Most companies won’t spend a large part of the profit on advocacy, as WTB does. We spend so much on bike advocacy that it actually harms our business at times. Lowering cost is a human rights issue. We don’t support low quality of life for the people who make bike parts and nor should anybody else. Lack of trail access can make it hard, or impossible, to ride mountain bikes in an efficient manner. You see this in areas where the only way to get in a good ride is to jump in the car and drive hours. You basically have to take a half, or whole, day to go on a decent ride when driving is involved. Easy access to trails for everyone will allow bike sales to flourish.

  

9.     Who is the better rider Nico, Tomac or ACC?

If you ain’t first, you’re last! Let the results do the talking. We are not fit to judge. Better yet, ask each of them about the other.

10.  How is the hiker/biker conflict in Marin these days?

Cooled out for the most part. The best interaction is none at all. In the last couple of years we’ve seen a lot more public discussion between both parties on the issue of trail access, and how to best share the open space that we all enjoy. Facilities like the Stafford Lake Bike Park opening up provide great opportunities to showcase our cycling community, as well as teach up-and-comers bike skills and trail etiquette. We think things will only improve given the amount of cyclists in Marin, it just takes time and careful planning.

12.  What is with all the new “standards” the last 5 years?

Improving the breed requires vigilance. Standards do not become “standard” unless they are worthwhile. And just like science they are only as good as the current best effort and knowledge.

13.  Can America make a race organization that will surpass the UCI? Like real payouts and corporate sponsorship?

That is doubtful, for now. Mountain bike riding is increasing in the states, mostly due to NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association), which is getting the next generation of riders on bikes. In turn, more parents and family members of these youth are getting on bikes as well. This builds fans of the sport, and fans of racing, which will ultimately feed America’s hunger to have more high-level races on our home turf and increase support for the organization of a solid cycling federation. Surpassing the UCI is a hefty goal, but thinking bigger is how we get outside the box.

 

 14.  Anything you want our readers to know about the Riddler?

Though fast rolling and expeditious, the Riddler is not a tire designed solely for those looking to cut down on time. It's an excellent tire for any trail bike that spends its time on hardpack to loose-over-hardpack to damp trails. Mostly commonly used as a rear tire, we often find riders using it on the front as well.

 

 
Tuesday
Nov012016

Devinci Django Test

The mountain bike market as we know it has changed and become much more specialized over the last five years. Bikes are now broken down into very specific categories and the only bike that now seems to cover two genres is the Enduro bike. It is a climber as well as a descender with a stronger emphasis on going down. 

Devinci released the Django as an aggressive trail bike. these are shorter, lighter version of their Enduro counterparts. These bikes will climb better and be a bit easier for longer rides in general. They do however give up a fair amount of comfort once trails get rocky and rowdy!

We took a break from the longer travel Enduro bikes and decided to test out Devinci's go at a short travel all mountain slayer the Django. it was noticeably lighter than our last bike and was a full factory build. We had to get used to Shimano brakes and drive train again but that only took a few rides.

Devinci History

"Aluminum was the seed that set a two-wheeled revolution in motion, when Devinci Bikes landed in Chicoutimi, Quebec, more than 25 years ago. From road to race to carbon and dual-suspension line-ups, today Devinci stands as a global frame-manufacturing leader, home to cutting-edge R&D facilities and a top engineering squad committed to the ultimate ride.

Its story starts in 1987, when Devinci began life as Da Vinci (as in Leonardo), a company envisioned by two local engineering students. Soon after, road biking entrepreneur, Felix Gauthier, entered the mix. By 1990 he had purchased half the company, swapped vowels, and Devinci proper was born.

From the outset it wasn’t always smooth roads for this fledgling Canadian-born brand. Perfecting the heat-treatment processes was a game of trial and error. Money was tight, distribution channels were slim, and when a costly new oven threatened to break the bank, Gauthier and his team combined ingenuity and talent to build one themselves. With a growing set of tools and skills in place, Devinci went to work cooking more bikes. By 1993, distribution had expanded, Gauthier had taken sole ownership of the business, and Devinci moved from its modest 800-square-foot home to one four times the size.

Brainpower was corralled; designers and skilled technicians were sourced; R&D was ratcheted up, reinforcing a commitment to quality and performance. From Canadian market exclusivity, Devinci branched worldwide, expanding its road repertoire to include an array of women-specific rides, hybrids, XC standouts, ergonomic cruisers, and a World Cup winning dual-suspension mountain bike lineup—featuring Dave Weagle’s patented Split Pivot technology.

Today Devinci’s creative engine revs under one roof. This includes a state-of-the-art on–bike testing system, which measures every stress and strain in real life situations. Changes to a particular design can be prototyped, tested, tweaked, and re–tested in days rather than weeks.

This detailed ethos equates to value and efficiency, as well as industry-leading quality control and R&D efforts poured into every bike launched at Devinci HQ."

Devinci Django

"Freedom on the bike is all about breaking from the starch and sending it into the dirt-sphere with power, speed, and finesse. Devinci’s new Split-Pivot Django actualizes those aspirations on the trail, with an optimal blend of 130mm front/120mm rear suspension. Surefooted 27.5 wheels enhance traction on wet, slippery surfaces and deliver appreciated stability. And alloy and carbon frame architecture augments punchy acceleration with precision handling and a lively overall feel. Whether sticking fierce, fast descents or finding optimal flow over upturned environments, Django seizes the opportunities ahead. Its lifetime warranty fuels the advance. *Image may not show accurate specifications. Please refer to specifications below."

Django XT Build Kit

  • Carbon DMC-G 120mm
  • RockShox Pike RCT3 27.5 Solo Air 130mm
  • FSA Orbit 1.5 Zero Stack w/SL bearing
  • RockShox Monarch RT3 7.25x1.75 DB High Volume Eyelet
  • Schwalbe Hans Dampf 27.5x2.35" Trailstar SnakeSkin TL
  • Schwalbe Rock Razor 27.5x2.35' Pacestar SnakeSkin TL DT
  • Swiss X1700 Spline 27.5 15x100mm
  • Shimano RT81 180mm Centerlock Shimano XT M8000
  • Shimano RT81 160mm Centerlock Shimano XT M8000
  • 11s Shimano XT M8000
  • RaceFace Next SL 30T
  • Shimano 11s 11-42T
  • Shimano 11s
  • Race Face Next ¾ Rise 31.8mm 725mm
  • Race Face Turbine 31.8mm
  • SDG Bel-Air Rock
  • Shox Reverb Stealth 125mm 31.6mm
  • Alloy CNC 37mm Black
  • Devinci Performance w/lock-on
  • 12.38 kg / 27.29 lbs

Devinci Django Frame Features

  • 5th generation of all mountain Split Pivot frame. New geometry with a top tube 20 mm longer on all sizes to fit a wider range of customers
  • Tapered head tube Precise control and the best strength-to-weight ratio in the business
  • Lower stand-over height Delivering prime stand-over fit, and a super-low center of gravity for enhanced handling
  • DMC-G Devinci monocoque carbon. Lighter, stiffer, more responsive. Featuring EPS molding with T700 carbon fiber
  • Ultra-short chainstays Pin-it acceleration, combined with superior driver's seat handling
  • Split pivot Suspension system. Separates acceleration forces from braking forces for synchronized feel
  • AXIS & FRG ADJUSTABLE Perfect balance, minimum unsprung mass, and prime hi/lo geometry adjustment for perfect settings
  • Boost 148 standard Stiffer rear wheel
  • Internal cable routing Protection from elements. Deluxe, aerodynamic styling
  • Asymmetrical construction Milking the most performance out of every frame angle, improved torsional stiffness
  • 27,5 dedicated 2.35'' maximum tire clearance
  • Increased bottom out force Increased progressivity for improved bottoming out forces
  • CUSTOM TUNED REAR SHOCK

Split Pivot Suspension

"SPLIT-PIVOT is a newly patented Dave Weagle suspension system for high performance bicycles, where traction, efficiency, maneuverability, and frame stiffness are important factors on the track and trail. Shaped by DW's competition proven engineering, SPLIT-PIVOT offers true performance advantages over single pivot bikes, with a ride that's sure to make you smile.

  • SPLIT-PIVOT's [concentric dropout pivot] is the heart of this new design. The [concentric dropout pivot] and Dave Weagle's engineering allow for performance features that no single pivot can duplicate.
  • SPLIT-PIVOT separates acceleration forces from braking forces in the suspension The system reduces excess suspension compression due to acceleration forces, and at the same time reduces excess compression due to braking forces.
  • Braking neutrality can be tuned independently of acceleration characteristics, and leverage rate curves can be tuned to meet the needs of the application.
  • SPLIT-PIVOT can be engineered to build lightweight frame structures without resorting to exotic materials or tube shapes.
  • Featuring 12mm thru axle, QR 12mm axle, or 10mm vertical QR possibilities, plenty of stock wheels fit the design.
  • Bottom Line: SPLIT-PIVOT is a patented DW suspension that can be engineered to offer a ride that will make you want to be on your bike more often."

Devinci Django Geometry

The first trail climbs about 700 feet in just over 1 mile and I could tell The Django had a 5 lbs weight savings over the bigger bike. It's overall platform felt much stiffer as well and a bit less forgiving while climbing. I was only a minute behind my normal time of 18 minutes to get up which is not bad considering how much time I had off.

Once at the top I strapped on my bell and goggles and got ready to drop in. The first part is high speed and fire road width with a good scattering of rocks. I could tell right away The Dgango was a bit less forgiving when hitting bigger rocks than the past bikes we have tested. It was time to hop over these instead of just steam rolling them like we do with the bigger bikes.

The trail takes a hard left through rocks and enters a very high speed off camber single track section. there are some large rocks here you dodge and weave your way through. After that it goes right back across the mountain through some ruts and up and over a steep roller that acts as a G-out and typically uses most of a bikes suspension when hitting it at speed.

This trail is somewhat smooth compared to others in the area. I was able to get within a few seconds of my fastest time on my second time down the trail so this is a bike that inspires confidence.

 

Overall the bike seemed to provide a solid pedalling platform. Whether standing or sitting the bike bobbed very little we ran it in pedal mode on the rear shock about half the time. On a few occasions on the descents we left the shock in pedal mode just to see how it would feel and honestly you couldn't tell except for the small bump sensitivity.

The Devinci Django proved to be a more trail oriented type of bike. It's shorter travel and firm suspension stroke begged for smooth line choices and pumping your way down the trail to keep up the speed. Having ridden the more aggressive Enduro bikes recently what we came away with was that The Django can make for a rougher ride over rocky terrain. Smoother terrain and flow based trails are where The Django shines. It can carry speed and cover terrain very quickly with a skilled rider behind the bars. The Split Pivot Suspension designed by Dave Weagle feels good. Setting up the bike was pretty easy. We actually didn't need to add any rings into the rear shock. We ran between 25%-30% of sag on the bike. It was very progressive and we never had an issue with excessive bottoming out on the trail.

Riding The Devinci Django it became apparent that Weagle's design goals of a stiff, efficient and neutral braking frame have been achieved with The Django. I weigh 220lbs and can usually detect frame and wheel flex pretty fast. The Django felt very stiff and gave a very neutral braking feel. Acceleration, and climbing while providing a firm pedaling platform is something the Django does well. The tradeoff is that the bike provides a stiff ride on the way down and you have to be hauling ass to get the suspension to soak up the smaller stuff. This won't bug most riders but it should be noted. If you live in Santa Cruz or flow filled Nirvanas then it won't be an issue.

The Devinci Django is a fast bike it wants to be pressed into the turns and pumped out of them. Tires are something that can get chewed up around here fast. The trails are very rocky so we yanked off the back tire and ran a GRID casing Specialized to play it safe. It added some weight but was well worth it. With our Hope flat pedals our XL complete bike weighed 31lbs.

Conclusion

Overall we liked The Devinci Django with its short travel can do attitude. It was very playful and poppy, a bike you could launch off or over anything to big to run over. Carrying speed helped to keep the suspension active and absorbing all the terrain passing under your tires. Pumping your way down while avoiding the big stuff will keep you covering ground in a hurry.

People looking for a short travel aggressive trail bike that can handle 50 mile days and descend most terrain easily will love The Django. It provides a stable pedalling platform in a stiff chassis. Rider input is instantly translated into bike movement overall it is a very lively ride. Devinci did a good job with the bikes overall geometry. We ran wider bars and beefier tires to avoid sidewall tears.

It has been close to a decade since I have ridden a Shimano drivetrain and I was surprised by how will the XT 11spd worked. It clacks much harder between gears than SRAM stuff does so that took a bit of time to get used to. Overall the build was good. One thing worth replacing would probably be the wheels just beat the hell out of them and swap them for something wider and stiffer down the road.

There are some very rocky tails in this area and that is when you will notice the short travel of the Django. Hitting that stuff at speed transfers chatter into the bars and pedals. This was the only time we found the short travel holding us back. Overall it's agressive geometry, great suspension and stiff chassis make The devinci Django one hell of a fun ride.

We would reccomend The Django to a friend looking for a short travel bike. If they are looking at XC bikes I would suggest they check one of these out. If they already own a DH bike but want something to train on the Django could be the answer! Shortly after we got the 650b bike Devinci announced The 29" Django which should prove to be a bit better as smoothing out rough trails. Another bike sporting a Dave Weagle suspenion system that is awesome imagine that......

Devinci Django Questions

1. Give us a Devinci history lesson.

http://www.devinci.com/company/index.html

2. How do bikes go from ideas to production at Devinci?

https://freehubmag.com/videos/made-love

3. How did the idea for The Django begin?

With the Troy being updated with a burlier frame and now being more at the All-mountain crowd, it left a space for a new bike in our offering. Being based on the east coast, we wanted a bike that would be punchier than the Troy to handle the rolling terrain that we have here. That’s when we decided to go with a smaller travel bike (120mm in this case) that would remain very capable but would give a better punch.

4. Was it a hard choice to decide on a 120mm travel bike for you guys?

No, as previously said, this falls naturally in our lineup.

5. What where some of the main features you guys wanted in the Django when you were laying it out on paper (computer)?

We wanted a bike that feels more capable than the typical 120mm bike but also that feels very lively. A bike that makes the climbing less painful and bring some fun to it. True to Devinci’s design, we wanted to have short CS and low BB as well as low stand over height to make sure the bike is fun to ride.

6. Did you achieve all the elements into the final product?

We did and we are stoked on the final product. No need to say that this bike has been the ‘go to’ option for many of our staff.

7. Any updates you guys are looking to do to the Django in the near future?

The Django saw a few spec change for 2017 like dropper post and wide bars on all models, including entry level. Other than that we are pretty stoked on the bike.

8. Care to elaborate on geometry used on the Django?

We wanted something that feels capable but remain nimble and fun. So short CS, low BB, HA that enable to handle the steeps while remaining lively on the trail.

9. Rocky or jump filled trails?

Jump filled on the 27.5, Rocky on the 29er.

10. Where are your carbon bikes made?

Aluminum are 100% made in Canada. Carbon bikes are designed, tested, assembled in Canada but frames are manufactured in Asia.

11. Who is the best Mountain Biker ever?

Stevie Smith

12. Any new bikes you want our readers to know about?

All our 2017 models are now online, check it out !

13. What do you think about all the new standards that have popped up in the last 3 years?

As long as it makes the ride and the bikes better it’s worth it. However it is definitely a challenge for us in terms of frame conception and parts spec.

14. What would make the bike industry better?

More trails and more people to maintain them.

15. Will Devinci be making a long travel 29” anytime soon?

Only future will tell.

16. Anything else you want to get across to the readers?

Have fun on the trails !

Thursday
Jun092016

Evil Wreckoning Test

Evil Bikes had a rough start with their initial production run. They learned from their mistakes and have since been making carbon bikes that are aggressive in nature with a suspension platform that is very efficient.  The brand originated making the first Chain Guide that actually worked for Downhill racing. It was a small start but soon the brand found it chain retention system on a majority of bikes out there. This lead to them creating some DH and Street hard tail bikes that would eventually prove to become collectable and the thing of legend.

Evil as we know it today is owned by Kevin Walsh. He purchased the brand from Dave Weagle back in 2008. Since buying Evil they had some problems on the manufacturing side with their first few runs of the Downhill bikes. With manufacturing happening in big quantities it took things awhile to get sorted out. Once production issues where sorted the guys at Evil took care of customers that had problems. Their carbon trail and downhill bike have been very successful. Last year Evil made the jump into the short travel Wagon Wheel segment with a bike called The Following that by many testers standards was considered The Holy Grail. Shortly after the launched The Insurgent a 650b trail slay machine offering 151mm of rear travel. Now Evil has launched the 161mm travel 29" wheeled rock crusher called The Wreckoning! Evil bikes is now using the same factory as Santa Cruz bikes for the production of the full carbon Evil bikes and with SC's experience in building carbon bikes it sounds like a good choice.

Build Kit 

  • Evil Wreckoning XL
  • DVO Diamond 160mm
  • Enve DH Bars 800mm
  • Hope 35mm Stem
  • Chromag Grips
  • Hope Tech 3 V4 Brakes 203mm F/R
  • Rock Shox 170mm Dropper
  • Fabric Carbon Saddle
  • Hope 170mm Cranks
  • Hope 32 Tooth Chainring
  • Gamut Podium Pedals
  • SRAM XO Shifter
  • SRAM XO 11 SPD Derailure
  • SRAM XO 11 SPD Casette
  • Industry Nine 29" Enduro  Wheels

A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

With the Following, Evil Bikes gave the world a taste of what a 29'er was capable of when developed by a small company whose agenda was to have fun on bikes. This was soon followed by the Insurgent, a 27.5” machine that is aimed more at the clientele that Evil originally became popular with - a crowd who won’t shy away from pedaling to the top of the mountain, but who really come alive on the way down. It would be trivial to say that the Wreckoning is the love child of these two bikes, because it is certainly more than that. The madmen over at Evil have once again scrutinized the boundaries of mountain biking today and decided they could simply roll right over them, on stiff new 29” wheels powered by Boost 148, and 161mm of DELTA suspension.

Features

  • Wheel Size: 29"
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Rear Shock: Rock Shox Monarch RC3+ Debonair
  • Rear Susp. Travel: 161mm
  • Rear Shock Size: 216x63mm (8.5 x 2.5")
  • Rear Axle Standard: 12x148mm Boost
  • ISCG Tabs: Custom
  • BB Standard: 73mm BSA
  • Seat Post Dia: 34.9mm
  • Seat Clamp Dia: 39mm
  • Headset Standard : ZS44/ZS62mm
  • Intended Use: AM/Enduro/FR
  • Warranty: 3 Years

Fanatik Bike's Take

"With the Following, Evil Bikes gave the world a taste of what a 29er was capable of when developed by a small company whose agenda was to have fun on bikes. This was soon followed by the Insurgent, a 27.5” machine that is aimed more at the clientele that Evil originally became popular with - a crowd who won’t shy away from pedaling to the top of the mountain, but who really come alive on the way down. It would be trivial to say that the Wreckoning is the love child of these two bikes, because it is certainly more than that. The madmen over at Evil have once again scrutinized the boundaries of mountain biking today and decided they could simply roll right over them, on stiff new 29” wheels powered by Boost 148, and 161mm of DELTA suspension.

Where other companies have been timidly approaching the sorts of numbers that many of us now feel make for the ultimate all mountain ride, Evil pounced on them. The Insurgent’s long top tube, reach, and wheelbase have translated almost exactly over to the Wreckoning, while minor tweaks have been made to accommodate taller riders. The seat tube angle has been steepened up to 74.8 degrees in the high setting (when running a 160mm fork) and 73.9 degrees in the low setting. This seat angle is in the same range that many of the most capable enduro style bikes sit, and quite a bit steeper than that of the Insurgent. It allows for taller riders to comfortably fit this bike without shifting their weight too far back. Which brings up a point of curiosity: where is the size small Wreckoning? Evil has determined that packing everything into a small-sized Wreckoning package would simply result in a bike that doesn’t ride how they intended. For smaller riders looking for a DELTA-equipped, root-eating shred rig, the Insurgent is still the way to go. For the average trail, the Wreckoning is most at home running a 160mm fork, but for those looking for a 29” downhill monster truck, this bike has been tested with forks running all the way up to 180mm. Be forewarned, going this route will push the Wreckoning into downhill bike territory. Granted, it can still be pedaled up the hill, but it will require a bit of extra effort.

Evil scored a homerun with Dave’s Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus (D.E.L.T.A.), and it has been scaled/tuned up for the Wreckoning. This frame sports a 8.5”x2.5” (length x stroke) Monarch Plus RC3+ Debonair, versus the 7.875”x2.25” version found on the 10mm shorter travel Insurgent. For those heavy hitting riders out there, the Wreckoning is available with a Rock Shox Vivid Air RC2 for an added $225. While slightly heavier, the added plushness of this beefier shock is definitely welcome during a day of pounding brake bumps at your favorite lift-accessed bike park. If you are primarily pedaling to the top of the hill to enjoy the descent, the Monarch is more than enough shock. While we’ve found that we tend to leave the compression switch in the open position on D.E.L.T.A. equipped bikes, it can be nice to have for extended pushes up fire roads.

The newest crop of full suspension bikes from Evil Bikes are all built using a unidirectional carbon layup with a one-piece molded construction at one of the most reputable carbon bike factories in the world, VIP Composites. Stiffness and durability are backbones of Evil’s commitment to quality, and after riding the Insurgent for six months and putting the Wreckoning through it’s paces, we can attest to that. Having sold a record number of Followings and Insurgents, we can speak to the high standard of QC that these bikes adhere to. The single pivot frame design is intrinsically stiff, stable, and reliable, and we have had virtually no warranty issues with Evil’s other current models. We expect the same to be true with the Wreckoning.

In the past, bike companies have often struggled with frame stiffness on 29’ers. With the advent of Boost 148, it is now possible to make a 29” wheel that approximates the similar strength and stiffness to it’s smaller siblings. This bike does not compromise when it comes to straight line speed, and this is largely due to the roll-over capabilities of the large wheel paired with increased stiffness resulting from this new hub standard, the beefy single pivot swingarm, and carbon fiber construction. Other features carry over from the Insurgent, such as the integrated carbon chainguide, the built in sag indicator, a threaded BB, and the option to run Evil’s own custom E13 lower guide/bash guard.

The Wreckoning features internal cable routing for the dropper post, and external routing for the rear shifter and rear brake lines. The rear derailleur line is routed next to the brake line underneath the top tube, then internally through the seatstay.

The Wreckoning frame comes stock with a Rock Shox Monarch RC3+ Debonair rear shock (with the Vivid Air RC2 available as an upgrade), FSA sealed bearing headset, a Boost 148 (12x148mm) axle, and rubber downtube/chainstay/seatstay protectors. The frame is backed up by Evil's three year warranty. Evil bikes and frames may only be shipped within the United States.
"

 

The Delta Suspension System

"(Dave’s Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus ) Despite Delta representing Dave Weagle’s 3rd cycling specific suspension system, we thought a super tech acronym would be much more appropriate. Well, if we had our way we would say it bends in the middle, stops and goes. But let’s be realistic, we can’t get away with that simple of an explanation. As much as we would like to think that everyone will have the opportunity to test ride an Evil, the reality is most of You will buy based on reviews, friends or Weagle’s past successes.

So the following is straight from the horses mouth ( Dave Weagle being the horse ). The DELTA system was conceived to, among other things, achieve very complex leverage rate curves that can be used to tune for varying track conditions, spring, and damper parameters. The dual progressive leverage rate curve was developed for coil sprung downhill applications to take advantage of the speed sensitive shocks on the market. Mechanically, the system uses very compact links that can achieve a lot of angle and velocity change through the travel. We can tailor the leverage rate curve to really take advantage of the shock’s valving and the way that a speed sensitive damper is designed to work. Ultimately the design achieves a high degree of suppleness early in the travel, with a very predictable high traction stage through the middle and a bottomless ramp at the end of the travel.

The whole suspension system, every attribute, is developed concurrently with each other, with the shock absorber, and with the bike’s intended use and geometry in mind. Main pivot location was carefully chosen to give the best balance of acceleration and braking performance. This careful positioning lets the bike accelerate without the need for excess damping, which in turn helps us push the limits of shock setup as far as possible to achieve ideal damper setup for any World Cup track. One of the biggest advantages of the system is its ability to let riders and mechanics adjust frame geometry without changing leverage rate and wheel rate at all.

Additionally, different link kits can be used to make drastic changes in the bike’s feel. These link kits are something that Evil’s World Cup athletes will take advantage of to fine tune for the drastically different race courses that they compete on over a race season. There is no bad option.It all comes down to personal preference. If you like to run air shocks and a position sensitive damper, we can develop that tune. If you like yourframe geometry low in the BB and slack in the head angle, or vice versa and anywhere in between, it’s covered. Upgradeability, tuneability, and personalization is what it’s all about, finding that combination that’s perfect for you and no one else."

Looking at The Evil Wreckoning geometry numbers below it becomes apparent that they went for a slacker and somewhat longer frame than many companies making 29" Enduro bikes. The HA and BB numbers are adjustable via The Flip Chips. We opted to run the bike in the LOW setting most of the time. Running it in X-LOW (64.8 degrees HA) with a 35mm stem made climbing some of the steep stuff around here a bit challenging. Keep in mind we tested The Niner WFO and it has what many considered at its launch very aggressive numbers for a 29" bike with 150mm of travel. The Evil is very slack for a wagon wheel bike we ran it in the 66.1 HA setting and that proved more than capable for most trails. Some people are concerned about crank clearance, but it wasn't much of an issue for us and the 170mm cranks. Our frame was an XL and I am 6' 2" tall.

 

Evil Wreckoning Geometry 

Evil Wreckoning Features 

The Wreckoning proved to be a very capable Enduro/Trail Bike. It had the ability to climb well and descend chunky terrain at alarming rates of speed. It took a little while to get used to the bikes copious amounts of travel and what the larger wheels will allow you to mow over. The Wreckoning doesn't really feel fast per say, but it's times prove that it can be a KOM capturing machine if that is your thing! The bike offers gobs of traction, aggressive geometry, great suspension platform and wagon wheels.

The D.E.L.T.A. suspension is very supple at the very beginning of its travel. Once the bike's suspension seems to cycle well and offers traction by the boatload. Dave Weagel initially designed The Delta linkage for the Evil Undead and the high shaft speeds sometimes encountered during Downhill Racing. The Wreckoning offers two settings through the chips either Low or X-Low. The X-Low mode lengthens the WB, CS and also lowers the BB. For a majority of the test we ran The Wreckoning in the Low setting which gave us a 66.1 degree HA. This is plenty slack on a 29" bike for most applications. With this setting the bike had no issues wandering on the uphill.

 

Ian Wilkinson

Evil seems to have created a 29" bike that can be used on trails and also taken to the park and resorts when open. While The Wreckoning probably isn't going to win a Pro Downhill race on rock filled trails like Tahoe has but it can for sure handle some rough terrain. Although the bike has a bunch of traction it is also pretty nimble. We had no issues moving it around on the trail. It wasn't as poppy or easy to move as The Following but the extra 40mm of travel is a fair trade off in the grand scheme of things. 

The D.E.L.T.A. suspension on The Evil Wreckoning is very supple to start. You can run it pretty firm and it will cycle into the travel without any noticeable drag. A coil shock on the bike would be even more impressive and from the sounds of it the Push 11-6 is a dream on the frame. With our Following we needed to add bands into the shock to make it more progressive to help prevent bottoming. This doesn't seem to be the case with The Wreckoning. So far we typically use about 75-80% of the travel and a fast run on most of the local trails. While testing The Evil Insurgent we also had to add in air volume spacers because we chose to run The Rock Shox Vivid Air on the frame. 

The first trail I took The Wreckoning on was a 900 foot climb. Our build came in at 33lbs but it still climbs well and offers good traction over loose rock.  We opted to use the Rock Shox Monarch Plus RC3+ Debonair on this long travel 29r to help get to the top of the hills. Having the ability to adjust the compression with a flip switch is nice but 3 options just is not enough. I would much rather have LSC, HSC and a lock out feature but it worked well. This trail has some rocks at the start and the suspension tracked well over the fast rocky sections. Then it changes into a turn filled smooth trail (flow) with a few small climbs. There are a few tight turns on this trail and The Wreckoning can get away with less front end weighing than smaller wheeled Enduro bikes to get around corners. My record time on this trail was set aboard The Following almost one year earlier. I eventually bested that time by almost 9 seconds with this longer travel bike and this trail is fairly smooth and almost 5 minutes in length.

Many people are huge fans of short chain stays The Wreckoning is not super short but close. It moves quick when you lean on the bars. I did notice that the big travel Evil had a wheelbase that was almost a full three inches longer than The Following we tested. This showed in fast, steep terrain add the extra travel and it can handle a much rougher trail. The Following and Insurgent where just not as stable and smooth on rowdier trails. The Wreckoning's rear suspension does feel almost bottomless. Riding it hard over rocky terrain you cannot tell when the shock is bottoming out which is very nice.

Above the previous trail is one that has close to 200 yards of rocks that range in size from golf ball to knee high. Faster riders can hit almost 20 mph going through this rough section. Typically I hover around the mid teens in this section. This is a good section to see how a bike tracks, rolls over terrain, eats square edge bumps and maintains its composure. The Wreckoning has a wheelbase that is 3 inches longer than The Following we tested last year. Both are 29' bikes but the travel, HA and WB differences become apparent when the trail becomes steeper and or rougher. Riding this trail on The Wreckoning showed how the extra travel and longer WB can help to smooth out a trail. It made the trail feel much smoother even when running over some bigger rocks while attempting hasty line changes at speed. The lower part of the trail is a bit more twisty but speeds increase here. Speed is what The Wreckoning is all about it just felt planted and wanted more. Riding the 29" wheels for sure gives a traction and roll over advantage compared to smaller wheels. The damn bikes just roll along faster as well and cover more ground. "Bigger wheels, bigger momentum- it is as simple as that. More momentum will allow you to roll through technical sections with a smaller chance of getting hung up on obstacles."

I commuted into work a number of time on The Wreckoning. This is a 25 mile ride on the pavement and a bit longer if you take the dirt once you hit the top of the freeway climb. The bike is big I am using heavy tires it weighed in at 33lbs completes in a size XL. With all those things considered it wasn't bad riding a longer pedal, spin fest aboard The Evil. The D.E.L.T.A. link does a good job at keeping bob in check. I ran the Rock Shox Monarch in firm mode to help even more. People have complained about the seat angle of the new Evil bikes and I would say this one gave me no issues at all and in fact was probably the better of the three that we have tested in that regard.

Conclusion

Overall we liked The Wreckoning. It has a great suspension system that works as DW designed it. The platform allows riders to put power down, climb, handle chunky terrain and provides good mid stroke support. The bike has a longish wheel base and slack head angle making it stable at speed. Combine that with a stiff frame and the wagon wheels and you have a great option for the more aggressive Enduro racer. We would not hesitate to recommend it to a friend looking for an aggressive Enduro bike or an All Mountain bike that could handle park trips fairly well.

Evil came at the long travel 29" market in a similar fashion as they did with the short travel 29" market. They created a slack, low, long bike with a suspension system that provides abundant traction, pedals well and essentially feels almost bottomless. Our Wreckoning was built to cater more to the gravity rider. Those looking for a more trail friendly version can easily shave 2 lbs off our build to keep it close to the 30lbs mark.

There are a few things Evil could do to improve The Wreckoning and both are small changes. The first would be to add a water bottle cage mount just above the shock. Again we had to fabricate our own sing a strap and rubber to hold a cage onto the frame. Next they should look at giving just a bit more tire clearance in the rear stays and while at it throw in some rubber protection to keep rocks from chipping the paint or carbon.

We have tested all three of Evil's trail bike offerings. If pressed to pick one it would probably be The Wreckoning or Following. There is a noticeable difference with the 29" wheels. Where we live is pretty rocky so roll over ability is huge. Wagon Wheeled bikes just roll faster and cover more ground. I would say The Wreckoning frame is stiffer than The Following was and this is in large part due to them using a beefed up chassis and possibly from using a Boost rear on the bike. All three of Evil's trail bikes are good. With The Wreckoning you have a 161mm, 65.5 HA 29" trail bike that can flatten some fairly rowdy terrain. It is pretty close to a do it all bike. Riders can do 40 mile excursions with it or take it to the bike park and it will do both without asking to much form you. Riders that are stuck on the short travel trip once faced with rockier and heavier load trails will soon find themselves have reliability issues with their lighter weight bikes. With The Wreckoning the rider can hammer some hard terrain and not have to worry so much about it developing stress fractures and the rear end of the bike packing up under high speeds over rough terrain.

 

Monday
May022016

2016 Guerrilla Gravity Downhill (GG/DH) Test

Guerrilla Gravity is a small mountain bike company located in Denver Colorado. They were sick of frame prices shooting through the roof while production moved overseas with little, if any, performance increase from year to year. All this while many bike companies grew in size and became more distant from their customers and what they really wanted in geometry and suspension designs. Who wants to buy a frame for $3500 and have part of it go to subsidize some road racers salary anyhow?

We tested their Megatrail last year and it proved to be an insane trail rig. Not only was it insane descending,  but when using Trail mode it was one of the best climbing enduro bikes we have ever ridden. The guys at Guerrilla Gravity emailed and asked if we would be interested in testing out their updated 2016 GG/DH frame? Hell yes we would!

Upon receiving the GG/DH we opened up the box and found a clean looking frame with great welding and paint to match. Guerrilla Gravity had four updates that it did wit the 2016 GG/DH frame. The first was to remove the shock mount eccentrics for BB height/HA adjust and replaced it by adding two holes for Park Mode and Race Mode geometry adjustments. Just like the Megatrail uses. They also increased tire clearance and optimized the frame for 650b wheels. The last update was to the rear axle and was aimed to improve it's function.

2016 GGDH Build Kits


The guys at GG sent us the bike with a blend of the two kits. It had the Boxxer WC, Atlas controls, Zee shifting and the nicer wheels. It had the Kage RC shock on it as well. Our medium GG/DH with Hope flat pedals came in at 37.5 LBS. Overall the build kit is decent the one thing we would swap out is probably the rear shock. It would be nice to have separate HSC and LSC adjustments to fine tune the bikes ride with. After riding trail bikes for so long with air shocks it is a surprise to see how much traction this bike gives even on the steepest and loosest of trails. Maybe there really is something to coil shocks......

I am 6' 1" tall and the MD fit me okay. I think I would buy the LG as a personal bike and run a shorter stem possibly. I am right between sizes so that always makes it tricky. Andrew is 5' 9" and said it felt great. Having a TT of 24.6" on a MD makes it close to 1" longer than many companies MD offerings and it is the same size as the large Specialized Demo.

"The GG/DH is a refined machine built for riders that like goin' fast.

With a suspension platform that is progressive and a frame that is laterally stiff, the GG/DH is designed to carry speed and pop off bonus lines at will. The enclosed rear triangle provides snappy cornering and rails lines better than John Belushi.

The frame design eliminates all unnecessary complication, creating the bike for those that like to get out and ride day in and day out, for riders that want something that's high performance, yet easy to maintain. By eliminating the need for additional pivot hardware, you are left with one pivot that utilizes long-lasting Enduro bearings. Limit your time inside doing maintenance and go ride.

The ride characteristics provide a lively, nimble platform that pedals extremely well for its downhill capabilities. The geometry is low, slack, and adjustable. Choose between Park Mode and Race Mode via the rear shock mount adjustment that are easy and quick to change."

Forward Geometry Benefits

  • Security in steep areas

    The front axle is more advanced than in a conventional geometry making it almost impossible to go over the bars in steep sections. It feels more secure and confident due to a slacker angle perception.

  • Confidence at high speed

    The longer wheelbase makes the bike much more stable over any terrain.

  • Direct steering

    The really short 10 mm, 30 mm or 50 mm stems mean much less handlebar movement to get the same front wheel angle, thus improving steering precision and making the bike extremely reactive.

  • Uphill precision

    The front wheel keeps the contact on the ground avoiding wheelies due the longer front-center length.

  • Stability on rough sections

    The FG defends a new weight balance between front and rear wheels making possible to load the front wheel a lot more than with a classic geometry. This possibility changes your handling as it allows for more grip in cornering and better control.

GGDH Features 

  • 203 mm (8") rear travel
  • Dual modes adjusted via shock mount
    • Race Mode
    • Park Mode
  • Threaded bottom bracket, greatly reduces creaking and loosening (vs press fit)
  • Massive 25mm pivot axle
  • Zero Free Play pivot and axle interfaces
  • Premium Enduro dual-lip sealed cartridge bearings
  • 7.9 lbs. (3,583g) frame with hardware (size Medium, no shock)

GGDH Specs

  • 30.9 mm seatpost (34.9 mm clamp)
  • 1.5" head tube (49 SHIS - compatible with all steerer tubes and the Cane Creek Angleset)
  • ISCG05 chainguide mount
  • 148 mm rear wheel spacing
  • 83 mm bottom bracket spacing
  • 240x76 mm shock
  • Max tire size: 27.5 x 2.5

GGDH Geometry

 

Similiar to the Megatrail the GG/DH offers two travel/geo options. One is Park and the other is Race. While riding the Mega we noticed a huge difference in the two settings and we where wondering if the same would hold true for their downhill bike.

GGDH Owner Information

Proper suspension set-up is critical for optimum performance. Due to variance in shock pump readings, we suggest using a ruler and a friend to help set sag.

Recommended front fork sag is 15%. Recommended shock sag is 18-20 mm. 

To set sag:

  • Step 1: Compress the suspension several times to break the seal and get oil flowing
  • Step 2: Have a friend hold the bike while you stand in the attack position, both feet on the pedals
  • Step 3: Have said friend take the eye-to-eye measurement of the rear shock in millimeters. Subtract this number from 76 mm. You now have your sag
  • Step 4: If you're using an air shock adjust the air pressure using your shock pump to achieve the recommended sag setting (listed above). It may take a few times.

Shock specific setup info:

  • Cane Creek DBcoil: Cane Creek shocks purchased with a frame come preset with the base tune--you just need to set sag and tweak the damping settings to your weight, with gear weight taken into account. The base tune is dialed in for a rider weight of 175 lbs. Adjust +/- 2 clicks of low speed settings and 1/4 turn of high speed settings for every 20 lb increment of rider weight difference from 175 lbs. Email us to talk further about shock settings for your unique riding style and terrain.
  • Cane Creek DBair: Cane Creek shocks purchased with a frame come preset with the base tune--you just need to set sag and tweak the damping settings to your weight, with gear weight taken into account. The base tune is dialed in for a rider weight of 175 lbs. Adjust +/- 2 clicks of low speed settings and 1/4 turn of high speed settings for every 20 lb increment of rider weight difference from 175 lbs. Email us to talk further about shock settings for your unique riding style and terrain.

Ian W

The first trail I took the GG/DH out on was one that I have not ridden in almost three years! This trail is steep, rocky, loose and nasty. It drops 1350 feet in 3/4 of a mile. It is littered with sharp embedded rocks and has a heavy layer of loose shale in sections. There are very tight turns in some sections and a few high speed steeps that have some soil. Overall it is a great trail to test a bikes GEO and suspension out on. I was in a bit over my head trying to ride this trail after so long. You drop into the trail and it enters a high speed section that is littered with good size rocks. The GG/DH did a good job at absorbing the harsh high speed impacts. There is a small uphill then the trail turns downhill in a very steep fashion for about 100 yards. This section was covered in loose shale and hard embedded rock. I went in slow and used front and back brakes. What shocked me most was the traction! Holy hell the rear tire just kept gripping the whole way down. Overall the bike felt great on the steep chunky terrain it reminded me of the Bruce Lee quote “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it." Riding down this chunky trail I was reminded how easy it is to adjust most single pivot bikes. Everything felt good from small bump, bottom out and the GG/DH offered stability in spades. 

San Luis Obispo offers rocks and lots of them. There is a trail in town that is 1000 feet and has baby head boulder most of the way down the trail. It isn't very steep so a burly trail bike has some overall speed advantage but riding a DH bike on it reminds you how much better they are at eating up rough terrain compared to Enduro bikes. Riding behind a 150mm bike while on a big bike you can watch the rider moving around to help absorb the trail while you sit back and move only if needed. Again I noticed the rear offering good traction when needed. I was actually suprised by The Boxxer WC it felt very good. Super supple and offered decent mid stroke support. Matt at GG said the leverage curve is what gave the bike such confidence inspiring grip. Another thing of note was how easy it was to change lines with the bike. I could hop it over and off rocks easily even in Race Mode.

The bike was very playful in both modes. Using it in Park Mode it is a bit more poppy and easy to move around but it is not as huge of a job as we noticed while testing The Megatrail last year. I am not sure I would run it in that setting a whole bunch unless the terrain you where riding was loaded with jumps the whole way down.


Conclusion

After ridng the Megatrail and being so impressed with it we really where not surprised to find the Guerrilla Gravity downhill bike to be so dialed. The geometry isn't super aggressive either with BB height or head angle but the frame is long. I was a bit nervous getting the medium frame but it turns out their sizing recommendations for the GG/DH are pretty spot on. We have had a YT Tues for almost 8 months now and it is a size large. The GG/DH in a size MD feels the same or maybe a tad longer in the reach department and on paper it is.

Overall we where very impressed with the GG/DH. It's strong point would be it's forward geometry and stiff frame. Point the bike along boulder edges and it will try its hardest to hold onto them. Come into a corner to hot and have to break the rear end loose to make the turn no problem. Guerrilla Gravity did a good job building a stiff chassis by using a huge 25mm pivot axle and oversized tubing. We noted how stiff the Megatrail chassis was and I would say the GG/DH is one of the stiffer DH frames we have ridden. 

Traction is something this bike offers by the truckload. I was blown away going down the steep shale trail with brakes on hard that it was sliding all over the hill. This is somewhat due to its coil spring but also its very supple suspension curve. A nice thing about Single Pivot bikes and their suspension curve is how easy they are to set up. Typically we run a bit more LSC with them and since they are somewhat linear feeling we can add more HSC or bands into an air shock to resist bottoming while still keeping a bunch of traction. The frame we tested was a MD GG/DH and it fit me well. I am six foot one inch and I could probably ride the LG as well with a shorter stem on it. Again the GG MD is the same size as The Specialized Demo.

It is for sure a bike we would reccomend to a friend and it being made here in the sates is a nice added touch that is getting harder to find by the year. 

 

Guerrilla Gravity Downhill Questions

1. So how did Guerrilla Gravity begin?
It began with the idea to create a different type of mountain bike manufacturing company, one that is driven by the community, and at the end of the day serves to make mountain biking more awesome.

2. Did you guys have a lot of experience in the bike industry before you starting making GG Bikes?  
Very little. We’ve all been avid riders for most of our lives, but I was the only one (of the three founders) that had experience, and that is from just one summer spent working in a bike shop.

3. Break down your team for us and what they do?
 
Matt Giaraffa, founder & chief engineer: Mechanical engineer with experience in auto racing, aerospace, and consumer product testing. He’s headed up bike design, as well as manufacturing design—from jigs and tooling to our processes… Kristy Anderson, founder & chief BAMF: Kristy has a career in medical sales and helps with events, marketing, and getting the word out… Theron Tate, shop manager and chief bike builder… Sutherland Detweiler, pre-weld fabricator… Shaun Braap, post-weld fabricator… Kevin Witte, badass welder… Myself (Will Montague), founder and chief bike slinger: I’ve always played in the startup world, doing sales and marketing for four startups. I handle most of the business management components—sales, marketing, strategy, etc.

4. How did the idea for the GG/DH begin?
 
The original idea was that downhill bikes were getting too expensive and too complicated without any performance benefit.  Focus has been over-emphasized on marketing terms and what descriptor to use with how the suspension parts are bolted together.  Without being married to any one setup, the design was made for maximum performance without any unnecessary complications or undue costs to the rider.

5. What where some of the main features you guys wanted in the GG/DH when you were laying it out on paper (computer)?
  • Geometry built for speed
  • Predictable suspension performance with high traction and support
  • Stiff & strong frame
  • Versatility for a more poppy Park setup or a more plowy Race setup

6. How was reception been on the GG/DH so far?
About the same as when Hugh Hefner shows up to your house party with his harem.
 

7. Do you weep when you see guys that are 6' 4” and above on a “XL” bike and they look like Spud Webb on a 16” BMX bike?
 
It’s certainly a little painful to see, haha.

8.
Are you going to be doing an XL frame soon?
Via special order, it is available now.

9. Any updates you guys are looking to do to the GGDH in the near future?
 
Smash many rocks with it; the new Race Mode and Park Mode features, along with more tire clearance are new for this year already.

10. Care to elaborate on Geometry used on the GG/DH?
Sometimes the “internet riders” seem to think our cockpit geometry is way too long, but literally every rider to throw a leg over a Megatrail feels comfortable instantly. By utilizing a roomier cockpit with a shorter stem you have a better, more stable center of balance and room to freely use body English. It’s also preferable for getting rowdy on the downhills, as your weight is more centered and not as far forward, over the bars.

11. Rocks or jumps? How about jumps in rocks?
My favorite type of riding is what I call “flow tech,” which is when you can find flow in a semi-technical mid-speed trail, trails where you can make your own natural doubles out of rocks and roots. Schleyer and Fatrobat in Whistler are great examples of my favorite type of trail (minus the long skinny at the end of Fatrobat).

12. Who is the best Mountain Biker ever?
Any of your riding buddies. Mountain bike rides with your amigos are what mountain biking the best “sport” ever. There’s no such thing as rock stars.

13. What do you think about all the new standards that have popped up in the last 3 years?
 
I think they’re unfortunate for the riders. Mountain biking has a lot of barriers to entry (namely cost) and little has been done to do anything about this. New standards prevent manufacturers from accessing economies of scale, which would bring down the cost of bikes. Is there some merit behind each new standard? Sure, a little. Do they make mountain biking better as whole better? No… but they do help companies sell more shit. The marketing machines at the big companies are impressive.

14. What would make the bike industry better?
 
More mountain bikers, more places to mountain bike. We get more mountain bikers into the sport by doing what we can to lower the cost of entry, creating bikes that are straight forward to use (and understand)--obviously our bikes are still expensive, but working on reducing the cost is a key goal of ours. Building the community also helps get new riders into the sport. Riders are more likely to ride when they have friends to ride with. And focusing on creating and supporting the organizations that build and maintain our trails is vital to the long-term health of the sport. Without trails the sport is nothing but fancy roof ornaments.

15. Anything else you want to get across to the readers?
Let’s go ride.

Guerrilla Gravity DH Owner's Manual