AMB172-FoxLiveValve-WEB-21.jpg

FOX LIVE VALVE

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @nickwaygoodphotography

Pointing the Live Valve equipped Altitude into the first few smooth turns and the bike felt nothing like the typical 150/160mm Enduro bike but rather a super firm XC bike. As the track steepens and more rocks and roots appear, the system opens and closes the compression circuit (lockout) without noise, hesitation or the slightest sensation that its actually being opened and closed. I did feel like there was too much support than I’m used to, so I planned to do a few more runs but back the Live Valve off to mode 1 after a run with the system turned off. So the magnetic solenoids or switches are not damaged when the system is turned off they default to completely open. Another run down this time with the system off and when FOX says open FOX means completely open and unlike the descend mode we are likely familiar with. As there was no compression damping I felt like I was flailing around and trying to hold onto a bike that was falling into holes and generally getting away from me and not behaving. 


Next run, same track and we put the bike into mode 1 which offers the least amount of compression damping. I couldn’t tell the difference between mode 1 and 2, both felt quite firm whenever the going was smooth or pushing into turns. We setup the laptop on the trailside next to s section of rocks with large steps, deep ruts and a very tight bermed corner so we could fiddle with the parameters and check out the new settings straight away. 

 
DSC07004.jpg

ALCHEMY ARKTOS

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @ryan.rides

The build quality of the Alchemy Arktos is stunning, overbuilt yet retaining a slender appearance. From the beautifully machined Sine link and a flawless paint job to match, the Alchemy Arktos is no “off the production line” kind of bike. Each frame starts its life as five hundred individual pre-preg pieces of carbon meticulously laid by hand in Denver Colorado. At the heart of the Arktos is the Sine Link which Alchemy hail as one of the best pedalling bikes in the world and unrivalled capability on descents. The Sine Link is the latest brain child of Dave Earle, a man who has worked on or conceived many links used today, VPP, Infinity Switch, Horst Links, faux bars he has done it all. 


There is no denying at a glance it does work a similar way to the Infinity Switch found on Yeti’s full range, however the lower link is smaller, tucked away and not sliding on two shafts. Sine links name derives from, when graphed the sine wave form of the spring curve. Initially there is a regressive spring curve, with super supple small bump sensitivity before ramping up into a progressive one resisting from blowing through its travel until a slight regressive curve again at bottom out which will work best with an air shock which tends to reach a halt at bottom out. Our Arktos is paired with a FOX DPX2 shock which is the perfect match for this bike given its climbing pedigree. 

 
DSC07539.jpg

DT SWISS F535 ONE 160

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @ryan.rides

To explain how the F535 ONE’s world first “Position Sensitive Damping” is different from the norm, its best if we explain how a “normal” compression circuit works and why the modern day trail rider is usually compromising at least one element. All suspension damping is moving oil one way or another through valves/ports/shims or by any means of oil flow restriction. Some forks have compression lockouts stopping the flow while some have high and low speed compression adjustments. Regardless of whether this restriction of flow is high, low, regressive, digressive, progressive or locked out its always restricting the flow from start to finish of the stroke.


Generally racers are pushing hard and need mid and end stroke support, which in turn will almost always sacrifice the break away feel or “small bump” sensitivity. Riders wanting a plush feel will generally find there suspension feels “mushy” in the middle and tend to blow through travel even when using volume spacers/tokens.


The F535 ONE’s first 30% of travel has little to no compression damping, the oil bypasses the compression circuit and allows the fork to move freely, extremely freely. Another reason this fork breaks away so smoothly is the air/coil hybrid negative spring, which is part of the reason when fitted to my 13.5kg Specialized Stumpjumper the fork actually sags under its own weight and if dropped form 5cm off the ground settles gently.

 
 
LRG_DSC05975.jpg

SUNN KERN LT FINEST

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @ryan.rides

Like anyone with a new bike in the workshop, I set pressures and put air in the tyres and hit the trails only to find on the first descent it was running tubes with a classic demo bike rear pinch flat. It was at this point that I was dreading trying to get it repaired and setup tubeless but was so glad Mavic and Hutchinson have been in the tubeless game longer than anyone. The UST rims and quality rubber are such a hassle free match. You will find no spoke holes or tubeless tape, just pop the valve in, add sealant, roll the tire onto rim and inflate with your track pump. This combo brought back good nostalgic memories of when I first tried tubeless with the same two brands.

smallSunn_Trek_a11i3056.JPG

SUNN SHAMANN FINEST

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @tbsphotography

Currently there are many 100mm 29ers available in the market, most of which are highly capable cross country race bikes, some that dip their tyres into that of trail riding like that of the Yeti SB100 or even the Santa Cruz Blur tested recently. The Shamann sits slightly on the otherside of this fence, it’s a serious racer, and that’s a good thing, nailing what Sunn set out to create.

 
YT Capra.jpg

YT CAPRA CF PRO RACE

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @tbsphotography

The YT Capra 29 is a bike that is home on rough, steep terrain or on huge features where speed and big hits are frequently encountered. True to YT’s word this is a bike that can be ridden all day and albeit big, the YT Capra is quite agile in tight terrain. Climbing was never a chore thanks to the steepish seat-tube angle and tweaked linkage. 

 
smallAMB_SC_BlurCC_a11i6506.JPG

SANTA CRUZ BLUR CC - SRAM XX1 RESERVE BUILD

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @tbsphotography

Its no doubt that the blur is well suited to XC and excels on the accents but how it achieves that is not what we would say is the norm. The Blur is not the lightest, not the steepest geometry with you sitting right on top of the BB but rather a tried, tested and highly tuneable VVP platform and a “new school” geometry that keeps the bike composed giving you traction and its this traction and well-mannered nature that just makes climbing easier. I found myself trying tech lines that made little sense for the sake of it, and with out the typical bounce and buck just kept on trucking through.

Full review will be out in issue 169 of AMB Mag hitting stands Monday July 9th 2018.

 
smallNZT_edit1_2p6a3721.JPG

BMC SPEED FOX 01

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @tbsphotography

Point the Speed Fox up a trail and extend the Trail-Sync and then the bike comes alive. The shock automatically moves into the trail setting firming up the rear shock while remaining active enough for the rear tyre to find traction.  The swing arm utilizes BMC’s APS (Advanced Pivot System) which squeezes a small link between mainframe and chain-stay extending the wheelbase slightly when the wheel travels through its path. This really helps resist pedaling induced bob and makes the bike easy to maintain speed and composure on climbs especially when out of the saddle. 

Full review will be out in issue 169 of AMB Mag hitting stands Monday July 9th 2018.

 
smallNZT_edit1_2p6a3568.JPG

CANYON SPECTRAL CF 9.0 SL

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @tbsphotography

This trail-tamer comes into its own when let loose in the turns and there are many reason why. We put it through its paces on some seriously steep and root infested trails around Craigieburn on the South Island on New Zealand to see how it handled and we were impressed at how quickly it changes direction and responds to rider input all doing so without being twitchy or nervous on the challenging terrain. With a 66 degree head angle and 430mm chainstay length the Spectral loves to change direction fast!

Full review available in issue 169 of AMB Mag hitting stands June 1st 2018

 
AMB_Orbea_a18w2273.JPG

ORBEA RALLON M10

Australian Mountain Bike Magazine bike review
PC: @tbsphotography

When the going gets fast and rough, the Rallon comes to life. It really is incredible how it manages to remain nimble on climbs and single track yet can be let loose on the descents. We found ourselves constantly try to wash off speed and trying more daring and questionable lines.

This bike is well suited for the spirited rider whom relishes speed, ungroomed or unknown rough terrain, a real benchmark in the Enduro game.

Full review availible in issue 168 of AMB Mag hitting shelves on March 1st 2018

 

Contact

Follow

  • Instagram

©2018 by Ryan Rides. Proudly created with Wix.com