Foes Inferno - first Ride

Apr 17, 2005
by Radek Burkat  
Last month I got an email from Eric at Foes Racing, asking me if I would like to test the Foes Inferno. Reading about the Inferno on the Foes website it says that the Inferno is NOT a freeride bike. One look at this sexy rig and claming that this bike is anything less is like saying that the knee high boot wearing girls at the corners of Richards street don't like to party. We'll be the judge of that, and if you are lucky, you will too.The Inferno is labeled as long travel (7.5 inches) light weight all mountain bike, and the received built kit out of the box really tries to push that through. Single crown fork, Grip shift, 3 rings in the front. The Inferno is actually sold as a frame only so what you put on it is entirely up to you. I decided to give this XC driven parts kit a try and as I move along, I'll get a more serious setup going. I really want to experience this bike for it's intended all mountain market, getting in some epic climbs and descends in the Alberta Rockies and BC Squamish areas, but at the same time I'm going to push it and see how it handles the rougher stuff.

The first thing that I noticed about the Inferno is that it is a really sharp looking bike. Jet black with aggressive curves, monoque with incorporated flames, accented by the massive cornutt rear shock really make this an eye catcher.

If you haven't experienced a Foes bike first hand, it's hard to convey the size and performance of the Cornutt rear shock. The Curnutt is the original stable platform rear shock utilizing XTD (external threshhold damping) technology that since it's creation at Foes, has been licensed to the likes of Progressive Suspension, Manitou and others. I had a chance to ask Brent Foes at Interbike, why size matters? Why are their shocks bigger? The basic answer is that having larger parts allows for lower pressures internally, which create a smoother feel, greater durability and better performance.

With the Curnutt shock, the Inferno gives you a solid 7.5 inches of travel.

Our setup also comes with the floating brake option.

These things do wonders to improve control in sketchy situations by allowing the suspension to be fully active while you brake. I'll also try to run the bike without the floater to get a comparison to the inherent brake jack susceptibility of the frame.

Many rides these days start with waiting around at the bottom of some mountain for all your friends to show up with their lattes.
If you are eager to ride and are the first one there you have to keep yourself busy by doing wheelies in the parking lot or tuning your bike. I was all tuned up so Issac and I decided to ride some bridge rail across a small river. Boys will be boys. Somehow it did not matter that just 2 weeks ago I had some plates and screws pulled out of my leg, and this was going to be my first ride in a while on an unknown bike.

What could happen? I've ridden skinnier bridges 5 times as high. I NEVER fall, and I've NEVER lost a bike.

Uneasy start, but once you get going it isn't a problem.

Ahh. Just like old times.

A little sketchy. No need to worry, everything is fine. We're all professionals around here.

Close one dude but at least I am dry

Well there I was on the bridge and the bike somehow slipped out of my hand. Normally one would just reach in and pick the bike up, but in this case there was a bit of a problem. Monocoque bikes float, and this one stared to float away. What was I going to tell Brent Foes. Dude, you're bike floated away! Well I had to dive in and fish the bike out.

A few good laughs, a bit of re-greasing and we're ready to ride, right on time. The destination for this ride was Vedder Mountian in Chilliwack, BC. We packed up the Blazer and 4x4'ed to the top of the mountain.

I was really trying hard to do the "all mountain" thing. No armor, No Full face, and I almost rode clipless. To me all mountain means....ride ALL of the MOUNTAIN.

As the ride progressed the Inferno started to feel more and more comfortable. The rear end of that bike is amazing, due largely to the Curnutt shock. It's like the all too famous review cliché of most mags..."smooth small bump compliance, and BOTTOM-less travel". Well over here we don't see that too often. The spring seemed a little under sprung at first which had me worried that I might be bottoming this thing out left right and center. This of course gave a great ride soaking up all the small and medium size bumps.

As I started to be more aggressive I was really surprised that the rear seemed to handle it perfectly . The closest comparison is to the feel of a VPP rear suspension where you have a very soft and plush ride, but the ramp up is such that you truly get the bottom less feel. Of course this bike is not meant for the big hit or even freeride market, but I'm glad to see that it can handle this, as "all mountain" riding keeps bridging into more aggressive riding. The perfect trail comes to mind...all day climb from Moab to the top of Porcupine Rim, and bomb the descent hitting all the rock shelves without worry.

This was my first ride back and I'm glad the Inferno took good care of me.

As I said earlier the bike comes as a frame/shock only so the parts kit on this bike is just some arbitrary, SoCal super XC weenie setup (Kidding).
Here's what we change after the first ride.

SRAM Half pipe Grip shift
Yeah, great stuff if you don't have to hang on to your handle bar too much, or if you only have a hand 3 fingers wide. Actually in most cases if feels alright, except when you get into trouble and need a firm grip. Also on steep obstacles when you have to dip your front end hard while holding on tight, you inevitably shift.
Replaced with: SRAM S9 trigger shifters

The bike came with some older Hayes brakes which work ok but after riding Magura brakes all year there is a certain feel and ultimate stopping power that one gets accustomed to.
Replaced with: Magure Louise FR

Front Fork
The Z150 on the bike does not quite have the adjustability and more importantly the springs available for it seem to be too soft. We slap on a RockShox Psylo for that a great balance between adjustability, performance, and plush travel.

Next ride we'll leave the truck at home and see how this baby climbs.

1 Comment

  • 1 0
 Have always wanted a Inferno.

Copyright © 2000 - 2022. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.016694
Mobile Version of Website