The Privateer 141 brings everything we liked about the 161 but puts it in a more trail friendly package. While it may not be the prettiest or lightest of bikes out there the Privateer 141’s user friendliness and excellent kit list, combined with its forward-thinking geometry result in a bike that's as versatile as it is fun, making it one of the best trail mountain bikes you can buy.
Privateer 141 GX Pike - Technical details
Privateer first introduced its bike concept with the launch of the 161, a very progressively shaped enduro bike that was designed to appease the needs of privateer enduro racers. With the 141, the brand has acknowledged that not everyone wants or can make the most out of such a bike but still want to take full advantage of the Privateer ethos. As such, the brand has given us this - a smaller travel, more sensibly shaped trail bike with the aim of pleasing those who aren’t solely riding fast and steep tech.
Out of the box, the 141 prides itself on ease of use and user serviceability thanks to externally routed cables. This method of cable routing isn’t as sleek, or as tidy as the internally routed alternative, but gives riders very quick access to the rear brake hose and gear cable, reducing unnecessary faff to a minimum.
To tidy the cables up, Privateer has added some neat guides at the head tube to stop the cables from rattling while keeping them from rubbing the frame.
But not every cable is externally routed as the brand acknowledges the value of a stealth dropper post. Cables are easily accessed when needed, but the internally routed dropper keeps any stray cables from interfering when pedaling. The same goes with the rear portion of the gear cables, too, as that's routed through the chainstay.
While ease of use is a key point of the Privateer ethos, durability is of equal importance. As such, the 141 gets a one-piece rocker link that’s designed to keep alignment true to boost bearing life but this also increases strength and stiffness in this area. At the main pivot, there are then three bearings with two at the drive side. This has been done to better distribute load across each of the bearings, as the chainring creates an offset in the frame.
There’s then a threaded bottom bracket and ISGC-05 mounts with an included OneUp chainguide. There’s also space for a bottle cage in the front triangle
Privateer 141 GX Pike - Suspension
Privateer hasn’t just popped a shorter stroke shock into a 161 - instead, the brand has given the suspension platform a complete overhaul to help it excel during trail riding. The whole platform has been designed specifically for the Fox Float X, taking advantage of its known and impressive ability to absorb small bumps, along with its lightweight and simple use. The shock comes with a tune specific to the 141, to make for a suspension platform that performs better through the conditions found during trail riding, rather than the heavier and bigger hits common in gnarly enduro stages.
The kinematic has then been designed with around 145% anti-squat at the sag point in a bid to keep pedaling efficient.
The 141’s geometry has also seen a big shake up as Privateer has dialed it back a touch. Though, even if it’s a little tamer comparatively, the shape is still very progressive. On this P3 frame (or large) there’s a 485mm reach which is combined with a 64.5-degree head tube and a lovely and steep 78.76-degree effective seat tube angle. The chainstay measures in at 446mm on this size (and stretches on larger frame sizes), resulting in a 1,266mm wheelbase.
Privateer 141 GX Pike - Kit list
As for the 141’s spec, it’s rather respectable for the cash on this GX Pike build. You may have guessed by its name, but there’s a RockShox Pike Ultimate fork with a Charger 2.1 RC2 damper and Debonair air spring offering up 150mm of travel. Of course, that’s paired with the Fox Float X as mentioned before that damps 141mm of rear suspension.
The drivetrain comes from SRAM with GX Eagle 12-speed shifting. That’s paired with SRAM Code R brakes with a 203mm rotor up front and a 180mm disc at the rear. These brakes come with that, super-modular feel as expected from SRAM stoppers but, in this guise, they summon plenty of power, and trust me, you'll need it. It's great to see sensibly sized rotors here, too.
HUNT supplies the 29-inch Trail Wide wheels and they’re wrapped with a 2.4in Schwalbe Magic Mary EVO and a 2.35in Hans Dampf at the rear. Both of those get Addix Soft rubber and Supertrail casings. It's great to see proper rubber on this bike, as these tyres will easily see you through a year's worth of the UK's ever-changing conditions. They may be a little draggy but they grip.
There’s then a OneUp Components V2 Dropper post with 200mm drop and Race Face handles the finishing kit, apart from the WTB Volt saddle, all of which perform excellently, adding a top end, luxurious feel (the dropper especially) to a rather well-priced rig.
Generally, the kit Privateer as specced on this bike is really impressive. There's nothing here that I would change and for the money, I certainly can't complain. Though, this whole build tips the scales at a smidge north of 16kg.
Privateer 141 GX Pike - Performance
Even though Privateer has shaped the 141 to be more trail friendly, its progressive geometry is a clear hint towards its downhill-oriented design. However, its mighty steep seat tube and impressively stable suspension kinematic make it a pleasure to pedal.
That seat tube shifts weight more towards the centre of the bike, which hides the length of the reach when saddled but thanks to the 800mm bar, it's plenty roomy. Then with that extended chainstay, the 141 requires incredibly little weight distribution management when climbing and allows for a more relaxed, upright position over the bike thanks to that seat tube angle, whatever the gradient. It’s a very comfortable bike to pedal around.
The suspension’s behavior while pedaling is taught and surprisingly efficient when run at around 25%. I’ve even made a couple of PB’s without feeling as if I was trying. However, with any more sag, even 30%, I found that the shock was keen to blow through its travel when sprinting and it was more unruly when saddled.
While the suspension platform is solid when set up properly, the 141’s weight is very noticeable when climbing and really, is the only niggle in this area. Though this is a bike that’s designed with longevity and durability in mind, so Privateer can definitely be forgiven for the extra kilo or two, especially when considering how well the bike pedals overall.
Upon dropping into my very first descent aboard the 141, it was almost frightening how ridiculously fast this bike felt. Because of its lengthy reach, wheelbase, and that reasonably slack head tube, it’s very stable in a straight line and it’s got me going so quick, that I’ve had to rethink and relearn trails I’ve come to know incredibly well. It’s even made small compressions twice the obstacle they were before as I’ve been able to hit them with so much extra speed that I’ve nearly been sent over the bars once or twice.
If I were to describe this bike in one word, it would be confident. Having the front wheel so far out ahead rustles up so much confidence, whether that’s hurtling over flatter trails or rolling into something steep and spicy. Thanks to the bike’s length, I’ve felt assured enough to keep my fingers from squeezing the brakes when approaching sections I would usually slow down for.
The tall, 130mm, head tube helps in the steeps too as it shifts rider weight a little further rearwards and when combined with the 64.5-degree head tube, the 141 offers a supportive but reliable front end as the gradient drops.
At high speeds, the bike isn’t massively forgiving over tech and it can get a little overwhelmed because it’s not quite the monster truck its geometry would lead you to believe. Instead, it needs a lighter, more considered touch to successfully navigate technical terrain. As long as you pick your line wisely, the 141 is an excellent companion if you're looking to push yourself.
This is part of the 141’s charm though as if it hasn’t ejected you for being overly cocky, you’ll charge out of silly tech sections literally vibrating from the adrenaline. The bike massages your ego but it’s quick to stop your head from getting too big.
As mentioned before, the suspension platform is well-behaved on the pedals but its rather mountainous 145% of anti-squat does little to interfere with its performance when descending. If anything, it’s nicely supportive, with an excellent-but-consistent ramp up as it goes through its travel. Never has it felt wallowy or vague, with compressions when corning being met with a great level of mid-stroke support that directly transfers energy to forward momentum, pinging you out of berms with healthy amounts of free speed. However, that high anti-squat figure does lead to some pedal kickback when tackling high-speed tech, adding to that overwhelmed feel.
While a monster at speed, the suspension kinematic reminds you that the 141 is a trail bike, and one that encourages the rider to pop over that web of roots or take full advantage of any trail gaps. The 141 is nothing short of well-rounded, and it’s the bike’s clear, defining feature that sets it apart from its bigger traveled sibling.
Although, in the corners, the bike feels particularly large, both in its wheelbase but also around the cockpit. Over flatter trails, the head tube feels a little too tall for my liking, even if it does boost its ride performance down the steeps. Because of this, it takes a small shift in riding style to weight properly and retain front wheel grip. It’s also generally a fairly long bike, so tighter corners require a bit more forethought of line choice but if you’re buying a bike like the 141, this is something only to be expected and it’s a characteristic you learn to live with as a trade off for its blistering speed through more open sections.
Privateer touts the 141 as a trail/enduro bike and with its 150/141mm of travel, usually, I’d dismiss the enduro claim pretty quickly. Though, thanks to its progressive geometry, it’s a bike I would very happily put between the tapes, especially on 95% of the trails in the South West. But, of course, because the bike pedals so well, long days in the saddle aren’t out of the question and its supportive suspension squeezes every inch of fun out of mellower tracks. I'd even go as far to say that due to its progressive shape and well-designed suspension platform, the 141 could out perform bikes of larger travel against the clock.
Privateer 141 - Verdict
With an asking price of £3,689 the Privateer 141 shows great value for money, thanks to its top-end fork, and the fact there’s not an own brand component to be seen - it's all very, very good componentry. But to throw a competitor into the mix, the Canyon Spectral 29 CF 7 costs £3,700. It gets a carbon frame but also a Fox 36 Rhythm fork, Shimano SLX shifting. Generally, it doesn’t quite stack up on the componentry front but the Spectral is a staff favourite, see our review on the 2021 Canyon Spectral 29 CF 8.
There is the Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS however, at £3,200. The spec isn’t as nice as what is on the 141 but it does get a carbon frame. The kicker though is that the geometry isn’t quite as progressive as the 141s.
If the fabled quiver killer was such a thing, Privateer 141 might just be the Holy Grail. As long as you're not expecting it to top cross-country podiums, the 141 is a bike that’s just as happy slaying your favourite flow trail as it is when encouraging you to take on that steep and techy section you’ve been eyeing up for so long. It'll perform if you're looking to take on the odd enduro too. Asides from an extra kilo or two and some less than attractive welds Privateer has done a commendable job of the 141. It’s masses of fun just about anywhere you take it.