Bergamont Trailster EX9.0 - Review

Mar 30, 2015
by Paul Aston  
Bergamont Trailstar EX9.0

Bergamont have been around for some time in Europe, but the recently formed Bergamont/Hayes Racing Team, spearheaded by peoples' Enduro Champion Eddie Masters, has raised keen interest in the German brand. Their 140-millimeter-travel Trailster range is all new for 2015, and boasts some impressively priced machines. The EX9.0 in this review is the flagship of their all-mountain range, featuring a SRAM-heavy build, including a RockShox Pike fork and Monarch Plus shock, SRAM Guide RS brakes, and a SRAM X1 drivetrain, all for €3,499 (approximately $3,865 USD). Bergamont offers the Trailster in three more-affordable models, with the base price EX6.0 MSRP beginning at €1,999



Trailster EX9.0 Details

• Intended use: All Mountain
• Rear-wheel travel: 140mm
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• X-Link Suspension
• 6066 alloy aluminum construction
• Direct-mount MRP 1X chain guide
• RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, 150mm / RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 shock
• SRAM X1 DH drivetrain
• KS LEV 125mm dropper seatpost
• Weight: 13.71kg / 30.2lbs
• MSRP: €3499
• Contact: Bergamont / @BergamontBicycles



Construction

The 6066 "Ultra Lite alloy" frame incorporates most of the standards we have come to expect: Up front we find the trusty RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, mounted to an internal-type headset, housed inside a tapered head tube. At the opposite end, the back wheel uses a 142 x 12 millimeter through-axle hub. The post-mount brake caliper is located on the chainstay, nestled inboard, safe from harm. The 30.9mm seat tube has capacity for internal dropper post routing, whereas all other cables descend externally along the down tube, with an option for an internal front derailleur or non-stealth dropper cables inside the top tube. Bergamont have chosen the Press Fit 92 standard for the bottom bracket, which uses a wider shell and flush-mounted bearings in lieu of threads and external cups.

Bergamont Trailster EX 9.0 Review
The brushed aluminum head badge is a nice detail.

Bergamont Trailster EX 9.0 Review
The X-shaped seat stay brace adds stiffness, but could become a mud trap.
Bergamont Trailster EX 9.0 Review
'Always Vollgas! This translates to 'Full Gas!' in English.

Bergamont Trailster EX 9.0 Review
More custom details include the Bergamont seat-clamp and a Bergamont-logo SDG Falcon saddle.

The Trailster chassis is a single pivot design with a linkage-activated shock. The swingarm pivot lines up nicely with the chain at the top of the 32-tooth chainring, which tends to uncouple pedaling from the suspension. Driving the shock is the "X-Link," a 3D-forged rocker link that Bergamont claims to help strengthen the frame and make it more rigid, while decreasing the load on both the bearings and the shock. The shock is driven vertically, in-line with the seat tube, which leaves plenty of room for a down-tube-mounted water bottle.

The Ultra Lite tube set is hydro-formed into chunky profiles for the main frame, while the rear triangle uses rectangular shapes to add strength without encroaching on tire and crank clearance. The seat stays use clevis type attachments at both ends, which enclose sealed bearings and all the bearing caps have neat laser etching to indicate the correct tightening values in Newton meters.


Standout Components

The specification professes that even for a short travel machine, it's a bike ready for aggro. The one-by 11-speed drivetrain is complemented by an MRP 1X top guide to add security to the crankset's narrow-wide X-Sync chainring. Bergamont selected the hardest hitting versions of the Pike and Monarch, using a 150mm Solo Air fork with RCT3 damper and the Plus RC3 remote reservoir shock. SRAM Guide RS brakes fitted with 180mm rotors at both ends make for serious stopping power and the roomy office features a 50mm Answer stem and a 750mm width handlebar. Other nice details include a custom-badged SDG Falcon saddle, and matching red and black graphics.



Components:
Specifications
Release Date 2015
Price $3868
Travel 140mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Plus RC3
Fork RockShox Pike RCT3 27,5, 150mm, 15mm axle
Headset Cane Creek 40/15 series, semi integrated
Cassette SRAM XG-1180 10-42T, 11-speed
Crankarms SRAM X1, 32T
Chainguide MRP 1X
Bottom Bracket SRAM BB92, Pressfit
Pedals NA
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01, medium cage
Chain SRAM PC-X1, 11-speed
Front Derailleur NA
Shifter Pods SRAM X1
Handlebar Answer Pro Taper DH, Backsweep 8°, Rise: 12.7mm, Width: 750mm
Stem Answer AME, 0°
Grips BGM Race, double density, clamp version
Brakes SRAM Guide RS, HS1 Rotor: 180/180mm
Wheelset Sun Ringlé
Hubs Sun Ringlé Jumping Flea
Spokes Sun Ringlé
Rim Sun Ringlé Inferno, 27.5"
Tires Maxxis Ardent
Seat SDG Falcon
Seatpost KS LEV Integra, 125mm travel, remote






bigquotesDrive it hard into corners and it always pushes back. Ask it dig into off-cambers and it bites.


Suspension and Handling

From the outset, the Trailster feels solid in all aspects. The aluminum frame is stiff, without that 'carbon frame' feeling of some bikes, which can be a little too harsh. Its is responsive and there is a reassuring feel to the bike that lets you know exactly where you are in whatever situation. The suspension has plenty of back up, there's little wallowing to speak of, and it handles bigger hits better than I expected from its 140 millimeters of rear-wheel travel. Drive it hard into corners and it always pushes back. Ask it dig into off-cambers and it bites.

The sizing was right for a modern trail hacker. I rode a large size frame, which has a 466 millimeter reach, which is close to my sweet spot when it comes to sizing. The roomy front end mixed with a low bottom bracket (an18-millimeter drop) that keeps your feet close to terra-firma, and gives the bike more downward capability than one may expect from a 67-degree head angle. I did find that the seat tube wasn't long enough, and I needed to exceed the "minimum insert" markings on the seat post to get the required saddle height. This could be remedied by a switching to a longer, 150 millimeter dropper post, or moving up a frame size.

Rather than switching between the three different compression modes of the Monarch shock, I found the Bergamont responded best if I fine-tuned its suspension settings and left it wide open. The settings I settled upon gave me 28-percent sag at the rear and just under 25-percent up front. The resulting ride didn't feel super supple on small bumps, but that wasn't a hindrance. The Trailster's suspension has huge amounts of support in reserve for chunkier stuff, and the bike really holds its composure when smashing into big hits and corners. The large-size frame, combined with my suspension tune produced a near-perfect, 50/50 weight balance between the wheels on level ground.

Bergamont Trailster EX 9.0 Review

bigquotesWeighing in at just over 30 pounds, the 140mm travel Trailster certainly isn't a super light racing whippet, but in its favor is a stiff, efficient feeling frame that directs power to the back wheel.

Climbing

With the low bottom bracket, bashing pedals was an issue, especially as I rode mostly with flats on the Trailster, which have less clearance than your average clip-in pedal. Small-framed Trailstars are supplied with a shorter, 170-millimeter crank, which might be a better option across all the available sizes. Weighing in at just over 30 pounds, the 140mm travel Trailster certainly isn't a super light racing whippet, but in its favor is a stiff, efficient feeling frame that directs power to the back wheel. I spent most of the time with the compression lever flicked to fully open and even when fully open, the rear suspension wasn't particularly active or supple when pedaling.

Bergamont Trailster EX 9.0 Review

bigquotesThe Trailster surprised me with its downhill capabilities.

Descending

The Trailster is more capable than the numbers on the geometry chart may indicate. Thanks to the heavy-duty suspension, when the speed increases, the Trailster loves to be pushed, despite the not-so-slack, 67 degree head angle. The low bottom bracket keeps your weight down and combined with a measure of brake squat, due to the brake mount being positioned on the chainstay, helps to keep your weight centralized when braking into steep turns. The frame stiffness combined with a progressive feeling suspension rate, is great when boosting kickers and also receptive when coming back to earth. I rarely felt the bike bottom harshly, as the shock ramps up strongly towards the end of the stroke. The same traits are noticed when pumping, and pushing in to turns and ruts, giving positive rider feedback and making me think, "I really should have hit that even harder!"

Bergamont Trailster EX 9.0 Review


Technical Report

• I am tall and lanky, so the Answer bars were a little on the narrow side for my liking at 750mm, but the bigger issue was the bar's height. The zero-degree stem and low-rise bars meant that the front end was too low for me with the pre-cut steerer. I swapped out to a 780-millimeter Renthal bar with 30 millimeters of rise and a Duo stem with six degrees of rise to get my hands up to a more comfortable height.

• The 60a compound Maxxis Ardent tire on the back was a great all-rounder, but I prefer something softer and chunkier up front. I opted for a Specialized Butcher in Grid casing for a confidence boost.

• Other Pinkbike testers have had some issues with KS LEV seat droppers. The one on our test bike needed a little bit of silicone spray to get it going out of the box, but after that I had no issues.

• With the Monarch Plus shock mounted in the standard configuration, the piggy-back reservoir would hit my water bottle as the shock compressed. I flipped the shock upside-down.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe phrase, "a downhiller's trail bike," is often bandied around and not always for the right reasons. I feel the Bergamont fits that description, not because of the angles or suspension travel, although those are a well-thought-out package. It is the feeling of the bike as a whole. Bergamont's Trailster EX9.0 is a bike that a more aggressive rider may be destined for. The sturdy frame and suspension encourages an attack style of riding. The well-supported ride is confidence boosting, and while those features may penalize you on the ups, they turn to your advantage on the downs. The suspension is designed for speed demons and hard hitters. Bergamont have made a great hack bike that you shouldn't be breaking any time soon - one that will reward you every time a rut, steep or kicker pops into your vision. - Paul Aston



View additional high-res images in the gallery



About the Reviewer
The latest addition to the Pinkbike Technical team, Paul Aston is a racer and dirt-jumper at heart. Previously competing in World Cup DH, now he's attacking Enduro and has been since before it was fashionable. Based in the UK, but often found residing in mainland Europe allows him to experience a huge variety of terrains and trails.Stats: Age: 29 • Height: 6'1” • Ape Index: +4" • Weight: 161lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: Rockwell Watches



69 Comments

  • + 84
 Your gonna put that linkage on a frame and call it EX9? It can't have been a long trek to find that name..
  • + 103
 This bike really fueled me up to go out and ride! Looks like Bergamont has just the remedy for me. Time to go out for a session!
  • + 34
 That bike looks Superfly! I want to go Slash my savings and pick one up now!
  • + 18
 They must have been scratching their head in naming their bikes.
  • + 4
 Its ok its got a .0 on the end... Still wouldn't bike a few sessions on it though!!
  • + 0
 Hate to run the fun, but it's a completely different linkage - the pivot's not concentric with the dropout, and the brake's on the chainstay, not the seatstay. Cosmetic similarity only, functionally it's actually the same as a Commencal V3 link.
  • + 13
 looks like a... mtn bike
  • + 5
 who cares about function?
  • + 13
 as long as it looks like a session
  • + 5
 I only buy bikes that look like the session, so basically every bike for sale I'd consider buying.
  • - 4
flag viatch (Mar 30, 2015 at 16:48) (Below Threshold)
 its a four-bar suspension, the rear pivot is just on top of the thru-axle dropouts NOT concentric with it. everyone got it wrong lol !
  • + 8
 viatch, that actually makes it a faux-bar, which is essentially just a linkage driven single pivot. That pivot you're referring to would have to be on the chainstay for it to be a true four-bar.
www.bikeradar.com/us/gear/article/buyers-guide-to-mountain-bike-suspension-part-2-28438
  • - 6
flag viatch (Mar 30, 2015 at 17:16) (Below Threshold)
 ??? single pivot is anything that the rear wheel is connected directly to the frame. doesnt have to be on the chainstay. you might wanna refresh ur asumptions.
  • + 6
 Pretty much. Single pivot just means the rear axle will rotate circularly around a single fixed pivot point. The rear axle on this bike is connected directly to the main pivot just above the bottom bracket, making it a single pivot. The extra pivot on the seat stays and the rocker that drives the shock just allow the designers to fine tune the leverage ratio curve of the suspension better than you can with a standard single pivot that doesn't have those extra pivots. Check the link I posted, man. I'm not making this stuff up.
  • + 1
 well it still looks like a fuel
  • + 56
 "may penalize you on the ups, they turn to your advantage on the downs"

The saga continues....
  • + 1
 at least their getting creative with the "climbs alright for what it is, really opens up on the downs" shit show they're running.
  • + 39
 anyone else out there remember aluminum? Ahhhh the good ol' days.
  • + 4
 my bike is alu... i'm not a Dentist.
  • + 36
 the german bike companys sure are putting some great value for money bikes onto the market these days.
  • + 4
 YT and Bergamont FTW!!
  • - 6
flag nyles (Mar 30, 2015 at 6:31) (Below Threshold)
 Well when you sell direct without dealers it's pretty easy.
  • + 16
 Bergamont doesn't sell directly to the consumer. Just like Cube, they go through an extensive dealer network and offer some really great deals nonetheless.
  • + 30
 Does anyone else feel like these reviews could compare the way the bike feels and rides to other bikes so us lay people can understand instead of reading about the component package for the 47 millionth time?
  • + 3
 haha yeah, I dont know why its even worth mentioning the functionality of the components, they are going to operate the same, regardless of what frame they are mounted to.
  • + 3
 Sounds something Top Gear would do.
  • + 13
 When Levy punches someone in the face over cold meats you know PB has hit the big time.
  • + 1
 #R.I.PTopGear
#BringClarksonBack
  • + 2
 I blame clarkson. He made the show awesome, but he was such a dick. You don't get to pinch people in the face because you stayed out and got hammered long after the cooks went home so there was not hot food available.
  • + 16
 The phrase, "The phrase, "a downhiller's trail bike," is often bandied around and not always for the right reasons." is often bandied around by YOU pinkbike
  • + 13
 According to Bergamont my Large Norco Range is actually a size Small.
Dear Industry,
Please either somewhat standardize sizing or stop the S/M/L gimmick and instead just size promote the Reach so new comers can compare apples to apples.
  • + 6
 STANDARDIZE, STANDARDIZE, FFS, don't give the industry any more ideas on standardizing something, my head will explode...lol
  • + 5
 This travel bracket is where it is at. A bunch of ews rides are on it because of pedal power and capability. With modern suspension designs it feels as capable as 6" from three years ago, while remaing playful.
Awesome.
  • + 5
 Considering the recent weakeness of the Euro, german/european bikes just get cheaper everyday for americans, while bike prices are expect to rise 20% next year in europe.
  • + 2
 Where's this information come from? The dollar is getting stronger for sure but I haven't seen a definite "20% rise in bike prices" come out...
  • + 2
 read it in a german mtb magazine. Frames and components from asia will cost the companies up to 17% more and some insiders say Shimanos prices for new XT/XTR 11Speed will be 6% higher, meaning that you will either have to pay more for an equally specd bike or companies will have to accept lower winning margins...->I doubt it. But maybe thats just an old trick to sell put all the left 2015 Bikes
  • + 2
 I love the straight lines, the angles and the shape of the tubes. I really like that they are making agressive shorter travel bikes but 130mm-140mm bikes that weight 30lbs is kind of a turn off when there are good options out there in the mid/high 20s, some with even more travel. On the flipside, f it does actually translate into increased durability through crash proofing, I'm on board.
  • + 1
 Wondering if this bike maker used to be Bergwerk? My old frame became illegal as it had no Specialized sticker on it as they won a court case that year over the Horst Link and demanded $25US from everybody and stopped selling in North America.I am presently building up my 2000 Bergwerk Faunus 5" frame as one of my Jamaica tour rides as it is an XL and I have ridden it outdoors maybe 14 times. It has been my 2 month a year indoor trainer for 10 years and all the moving parts are rock solid. This frame is a work of art. The care put in by this German maker is astonishing. Even the percentages of each metal on a special sticker.... 7020 T6 Al Zn 4,5 Mg 1 was carefully woven into the shiny silver/black frame.
It was my 1st frame with carbon swing arms, zipp tie braze ons for hydro cables and each weld was almost overbuilt.
  • + 4
 I cant wait to get mine next month!
  • + 2
 "bearing caps have neat laser etching to indicate the correct tightening values in Newton meters"

Wow this is definitely a must buy bike with details like this!
  • + 4
 Like a 26" Remedy but better looking / spec

Very nice...
  • + 1
 funny that pinkbike didn't mention at all how similar the bike looks to a trek or at least talk about how this is not a trek
  • + 2
 Pinkbike has a thing for head badges.
  • + 4
 One could say they need their stinkin badges
  • + 3
 nice bike for the price!
  • + 2
 Trek w/o floating brake and better seat angle, and waaay more affordable.
  • + 2
 Looks like an older Pitch to me. What a great bike that was!
  • + 1
 Different rear linkage tho
  • + 3
 Looks like a Pitch!
  • + 1
 I thought the very same thing...
www.pinkbike.com/photo/11995552
  • + 2
 $3,865 USD wow good value for those parts
  • + 1
 Ordered in November. Getting more and more excited every month...
  • + 1
 Rear suspension design looks very similar to Trek's ABP/Full floater...
  • + 4
 Except the brake is on the chainstay, no benefit from floating brake like split pivot/ABP.
  • + 1
 I had to do a double-take. I can't tell if it is a full floater in the back.
  • + 3
 It's only aesthetically similar. The rear brake is on the chainstay and the lower shock eyelet mounts directly to the seat tube. This is just a simple linkage driven single pivot system.
  • + 1
 @dlxah good eye noticing that rear shock mount. I thought it was connected to the chainstay like a trek, had to give it a second look to see that you're correct and that indeed this bike has little in common with the remedy.
  • + 1
 A duo stem has 10 degree rise not six, just saying
  • + 1
 The paint/graphics and seat stay bridge remind me of a Niner WFO.
  • + 1
 looks way to flexy without boost hubs
  • + 1
 No suspension pic
  • - 1
 Very nice for the price point, but it is basically a remedy.
  • + 0
 I was thinking Trance, but you're right. Looks a bit more like a Remedy.
  • - 2
 I bet it was hard getting all the Giant decals off that Trance.
  • + 3
 Trance doesn't even look close, they're way more hydroformed
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