The Privateer 161 was designed to fulfill the needs of those who race the likes of the EWS but without the support of factory teams. It's built with the geometry to go downhill fast whilst remaining an easy climber and the frame comes teeming with features all with the aim of longevity and serviceability. Let's take a look at what we've got here.
There are a few big names behind Privateer's 161, those being Alastair Beckett of Redburn Design who spent 18 months with the brand, developing the 161. Then, the bike has been designed alongside known privateer racer Matt Stuttard to make sure that the bike lives up to the demands of a DIY EWS racer. Matt's given feedback on anything from the geometry, down to things like space and cable routing for a number board.
Now, let's move on to the frame's details and it's full of neat little features that look like they could make life that bit easier. Firstly, around the head tube you'll find strategically placed cables guides, just to keep cables in check and the cockpit tidy. They're also said to reduce noise and cable rub.
On the subject of cables, the bike is externally routed for the most part but the dropper post cable runs through the downtube for a stealth dropper.
If we glance over to the bike's linkage, the main pivot uses three bearings, rather than two. Bearings are usually offset to make space for the chainring, so Privateer has kitted three here to more evenly share the load.
At the upper portion of the linkage, you'll find a one-piece rocker link. It keeps alignment high for prolonged bearing life, says the brand but it's also claimed to increase strength and stiffness. There's also space for a bottle cage.
Finally, there's a threaded bottom bracket for easy serviceability and ISCG-05 mounts for a chain guide to keep the chain where it's meant to be, saving precious seconds against dropped chains.
As for the spec, it looks pretty well sorted for the 161's £3,389 price tag. Handling the 170mm of squish up front is a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate air fork, chosen for its easy adjustability. At the rear, the 161mm of suspension is damped by a trunnion-mounted RockShox SuperDeluxe Ultimate with an M/L tune.
If an air shock isn't quite for you, the 161 is equally happy with a coil shock.
Shifting the focus to the drivetrain (get it?) that's provided by SRAM with the GX Eagle 12-speed setup. SRAM also has the brakes covered with a pair of Code R brakes.
This bike rolls on a pair of 29" wheels from HUNT and the Enduro Wides. Those come with 33mm internal widths and are built from 6061-T6 alloy.
Wrapping the wheels is a 2.4" Schwalbe Magic Mary EVO Supertrail at the front and as stock, there's a 2.35" Schwalbe Hans Dampf Supergravity although kitted to our bike is a Big Betty.
Rounding off the bike is a OneUp Components V2 dropper with 180mm of drop, a Fabric Scoop Elite saddle, and an 800mm RaceFace Turbine bar.
Just at a glance, you can see that the 161's geometry is mighty modern. Privateer has really gone for a shape that could descend as quickly as it can climb with a 515mm reach and 64° head tube angle but the brand has given the 161 a super steep 80° effective seat tube angle on this S4 frame. Progressive, this bike certainly is.
However, there are three smaller frames on offer, with the smallest P1 size rocking 650b wheels. Privateer says that the bike isn't designed to run a mullet setup as it'll lower the BB and alter the angles too much.
Now, it's over to Ty to take the bike for a spin and to see if the Privateer 161 can really live up to its name.
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