Instead of the usual new kit round up this week we thought we’d let you know about some of the bikes we are currently testing, of which all will be coming to a review page near you over the coming weeks.
This week has been a week of extreme showers and hot spells here in the south of the country and however bereft of summer we might have felt everytime it rained, it has made for favourable bike testing conditions. If you’d been at a trail centre in the south of Wales this week, you’d have seen us put the climbing prowess of one of these bikes to the test followed by keeping our traction in check (or not as the case may be) over some mud covered rock beds to follow.
We’ve got a real diverse selection of bikes in the office shed and these are just a few of what is in store for both us and you soon!
Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 EX
Our Editor Jon, is currently choosing to tear up the trails on this Canyon Spectral. In this spec it comes in at £3,899 and leave us with no further questions as to why he might have chosen this rather blingier of numbers to ride. The 27.5" wheeled Spectral has 140mm of rear travel and 150mm Rockshox Pike RTC3's up front. It runs SRAM Eagle, SRAM Guide RSC brakes and Maxxis High Roller / Minion SS tyres on nice and wide 30mm wide (internal) DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One rims. Our large version with a seat tube of 480mm, a head tube angle of 67 degrees and a reach of 455, it fits the standard geometry box, aside from that rather lofty seat tube length.
Marin Bobcat Trail 4
At a smidge under £550, this bargain busting bike from the Marin is not one to be overlooked by those wanting an entry level bike with well sorted geometry. In a size medium the bike is equipped with 29er wheels. It has a 430mm seat tube, a 74 degree seat angle, a 68 degree headangle, a reach of 430mm and a 1150mm wheel base, numbers not to be sniffed at when the price is taken into consideration. In this spec the bike comes with 100mm of travel using Suntour XCM HLO forks, a 3 x 9 Shimano set up, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Marin own brand rims and Schwalbe Tough Tom tyres. We will be able to report back on those geometry and spec details soon!
Banshee Phantom X1
This Banshee Phantom with its ‘GX’ spec build comes in at a reasonably hefty £3,499, for that price tag you get Rockshox Yari RC 120mm forks, a Rock Shox Monarch RT3 shock, a 1x11 SRAM GX drivetrain, SRAM Level TL brakes, a 150mm KS Lev dropper and Halo Vapour 35 rims. This kit sits on a frame which can hold its own in the geometry stakes too, reasonably long and low the 29er has 105mm of rear travel, our size large frame has a 450mm seat tube and a reach figure of 456mm with a wheel base of 1181mm. Depending on the dropouts used the Phantom is compatible with 27.5 x 2.8” or 29 x 2.6” tyres when using the compact dropouts or 29 x 2.8” using the longer ones. This alteration comes via the modular dropout which also changes the head angle, seat angle and the chain stays of the bike from an already hill stomping 440mm to a healthy 443mm.
Merida 120 7800
We’ve spent a fair amount of time on this Merida and it’s likely to be the first review you’ll see out of this little lot. It’s a 120mm bike with 27.5” wheels, using a 130mm Fox fork. So far we’ve found the geometry (450mm seat tube, 431mm reach and a 68 degree head angle) on our medium sized bike to leave us slightly lacking inspiration. The suspension on this bike is pretty damn good though, it uses a ‘floating shock’ linkage (think Treks of last year) and its proving to be uber sensitive. We’ve taken it round the block more than a few times and are now putting together our final thoughts…..
Cube Reaction GTC
When we feel like releasing our inner XC whippet we have this Cube Reaction GTC with Di2 ready! The carbon frame and 70 degree head tube angle denotes the likely character of this bike; it likes going fast and prefers uphill! Componentry wise the Cube Reaction GTC comes with 100mm Rockshox Reba RL forks, Fulcrum wheels and a Cube heavy finishing kit. We are looking forward to spending some time on this 2 x 10 XT Di2 setup and see how rapid we can be in lycra!
And finally here's a trail dog on a photo shoot - just because it's the weekend and everyone loves a trail dog, right?
OR Arrivals-43.jpg, by Russell Burton