Finally been out somewhere again! This time we went to the annual testRIDE at Lenzerheide which is basically the same as the demo days at Inter-/Eurobike. Maybe 20 to 30 manufacturers showed of some actual stuff and things to come and you can ride the hell out of ’em if you’re lucky to get one. It worked out quite well though. Had just two bikes on my wishlist to ride I wasn’t able to get as they were constantly taken. They set up some test tracks on various terrain but almost everybody went with the option of getting a ticket for the lift to ride the era vedra trail – even though the condition were quite ruff as it was raining before and lots of wheels turning the ground into something you defintely wanted to have 160+ mm for. Anyway, great fun. Following a review of the bikes I bashed down the trail. But please keep in mind that I’m not a very experienced full suspension rider and it was a very short time to test them. As we were busy testing all those great bikes only one picture was taken … So excuse me taking some manufacturer shots for showing.
I started with the Liteville 301 which was also the first on my wishlist to ride for a while .. Got the 140 mm version that was unfortunately on it’s edge at the era vedra trail though I went a little around with it aside from the trail and it turned out to be an incredibly light and neutral touring machine. It’s very stable though playful and reactive, the build quality is awesome and the raw factory finish is absolute eye candy. Guess this would be the ride if you want to do it all – even the hard way – and still want a longlasting bike. I would recommend getting the 160 mm version though as it is nearly the same weight and the 20 mm extra are a big difference to my opinion.
After feeling the big need for a bike with some more suspension I headed over to Santa Cruz and got myself a Carbon Nomad equipped with some 180 mm fork. Awesomely light and reactive for that amount of suspension. I guess this was the most comfortable ride I had the entire day. I you want to go big on descent and still be able to manage a 1500 m uphill this would be definitely the choice. I felt really complete and as it would take a real wide variety of riding styles and surfaces.
As 160+ mm turned out to be the best choice for the trail, I stayed in that region and went over to Norco for actually getting a 650B Range but for the lack of availabilty ended up taking a Truax to the lift. Actually I could say this was the most comfortable ride as the frameset absorbed nearly everything and was very safe to ride at high speed. But beeing noticably heavier than the Nomad – not by just lifting it but in reaction time on the trail – the feeling for me was not as complete as with the Santa Cruz. The Truax for me would be a perfect bike for long, rough and not too technical descents such as Megavalanche and only shorter uphills.
In the need of testing at least one of those 650B bikes a walked around looking what’s available and finally stopped at Transalpes as they showed a prototype about to come in march 2013 that fulfilled my requirements for this day and caught my eyes for it is a very beautiful frame – the nameless 650B fully. In contrary to the about to come production line, this one got equipped with a coil shock (which felt nice) and some 180 mm Rock Shox (can’t remember the model) in the front that felt clumsy and totally unreactive – simply dead. I tried everything to get it working but it didn’t come back to life. Therefore it was a bit difficult to concentrate on the bike itself but I remember the rear end to not to be felt in a negative way. But 650B? I haven’t felt any difference to a 26″ on that trail ..
Went to Liteville again checking for a 601 and to Norco for the Range only to found them beeing booked out for the entire day. So I got back to Transalpes, curious about their MOJO! system which is an interesting idea for touring fullies to make them capable of riding long uphill passages as good as technical and hard descents – by simply giving you the possibility to change the seat tube angle. I took the Big Mountain version for a ride and I have to admit that I got totally blown away by this bike. The MOJO! definitely works, is easy to handle and really increases the area of use for a 160 mm bike. It was the most reactive I have ridden that day and simply felt my bike when hopping on it for the first time. Capable of absorbing hard terrain very well while still remaining playful. Absolute fun to ride, I even had to take it again after a break to be sure of my impression. A real wolf in sheep’s clothing and I definitely fell in love with it!
All in all each bike felt nice and was fun to ride but the Transalpes Big Mountain defintely made it for me; the Santa Cruz Nomad as second and the Liteville 301 third (for the 140 mm version .. can’t tell on the 160 mm which would probably be even nicer).