The Brodie Damien is a bike built to take abuse. Built with a sturdy 1.5 " head tube, and an all mountain feel, the Damien is a bike that was well designed to take an immense amount abuse, and still send you through hell at the same time. We met halfway though. As some of you know me as a friend, you will understand why I say the Damien took me through hell, not once, but twice, and she still lived to tell the story. With a pearl white frame, a white Marzocchi 66 RC, and everything else black, the Damien was appealing to the eye and the mind when we first met. It was a sunny Sunday, birds were chirping, dogs are barking, it’s beautiful. Suddenly, with a roar that would rock you back 5 years, T-Rex jumps into my eyes with this smoking bike saying "it’s yours to ride". So, after a few minutes of pondering I took on the challenge of taking this bike, who has already been through where I was about to go, to hell.Strapped with a white Marzocchi 66 RC on the front, and a ROCO TSTR on the back, the squishes felt right. Set up with a super plush 7" of travel front and back the bike was roaring to run. Got her out in the open and she was begging to go faster. How many times a year do you wish you heard that?!
Anyways, back to my story. So I took her up the old mountain on a beautiful day to give 'er a test. Hopped on and after a few modifications she was ready to roll. Lower tire pressure, a little bit more responsive suspension, ended up draining the fork of most of the air that was in it, but after these few modifications she was rolling good and strong.
The Damien as a frame felt amazing, super tight cockpit, smooth top tube with 1 single gusset in the middle of the frame for strength. A lot like a full blown race bike design, with free ride feeling. The look of very full gussets on a frame has always appealed to me, which is what made this bike really stand out to me. With only the use of 1 main gusset, the frame stayed classy looking, but was still strong enough to take a very large beating.
The shoes she was equipped with were more than enough to do the job. Sitting on 26" Sun Ringle S-Types with Kenda Nevegals wrapped around them, the traction was immense. Enhanced with a lower tire pressure and your options are endless. Connected up with a JOYTECH qr20 hub in the front, and a JOYTECH 135x10mm through axle in the back, the wheels were smooth running seeing as they use 4 sealed bearings. Essentially, as long as the bearings were to stay clean, they should last a very long time. No complaints on the wheel department from this side of the scale.
Controlled braking in the steeps
An essential to any bike has to be the brakes. You can go fast, but when you need to hit a tree to slow down it doesn’t feel too good. Here’s where the new Avid Juicy 5 brakes with 8" discs come into play. Avid has been known for a long time now as one of the better brake companies in the industry, and these brakes definately did not let me down. Actually, come to think of it, a set of those brakes is yet to let me down. The stoppers work well, had a few times where she felt like we were going to flip over after grabbing a handful, but we managed to survive. Also, with the frame designed how it was, there was very little brake "chatter" or brake "jack" as some of you kids may call it.
However, with a rad setup, must come some rad shifting/gear control. The bike was using the new SRAM Holzfeller crank and Howitzer bottom bracket on the drive train and it was as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Kept it strapped with a SRAM X9 rear derailleur and shifter combo. Keeping the chain on was the RaceFace Diabolus chain guide. After a few minor difficulties resulting in some greasy, bloody fingers, and some cursing, we got our chain guide issues figured out. I can tell all you fans at home, the biggest, most single handed thing that helped me the most on this bike would have to be the self extracting crank arm. I don’t know if anyone has ever came to a slow, but still rolling stop, to figure out that your chain is down where the crank arm and the bottom bracket meet. Well, if you have, then you know the troubles I went through. For those of you that don’t understand where I'm coming from, picture 1, 155 pound guy, and another 205 pound guy, standing on top of a bike frame, yanking on a chain trying to free it from the spot it’s jammed. Now you know how I feel. But, like I said before, after some minor adjustments she was running better than ever.
: For 2008 the Damien will be running an all new and vastly improved Race Face chain guide that we are told will "all but eliminates any type of chain derailment", so that's great news.)
Well, if you have gotten this far I’m guessing you want to hear some more about how it rode. Well, here goes nothing. The bike's design felt great, everything from stand over height to bb height, to chain stay length. The only thing that got me about the bike was the 67 degree head tube angle. I found this to be a bit too steep. Now, this could be more due to me being used to riding the big DH bikes with slacker head tubes, but this just felt twitchy to me. The angle will not be holding you back, but it may feel funny the first couple of times you ride it. All around the front end of the bike felt solid at high speed. With the 66RC's responsiveness and the steeper head tube it added up to be a really fun bike. On the back side, at high speeds I found the Roco TSTR was good on bigger bumps, but small ruts seemed to just chatter more than anything. Back to the front side of things, the 66 RC was a very well rounded fork, which I never looked back at or ever pondered about. All around, with the shoes, the brakes, and the suspension, so far we had a pretty rad bike.
Most people in the biking world want to test a bike where they feel most comfortable. For me, this was Whistler Mountain. With more runs that you could shake a stick at, and waiting lines as long as the trails, Whistler Bike Park is an excellent place to take your bike if you want to take a bike and give it a thrashing. High speed runs, jumps, corners, and wipe outs all add to the feeling that the resort gives you. The main reason why people prefer to ride there demo bikes there is because the mountain combines all the elements that you would look for in a day to day ride, but with the access of a chair lift. So, after very little consideration we took the trusty steeds up the old chair lift to mid mountain where we got off and continuously rode trails that would impress even the hardest critics. Another benefit Whistler resort has to offer, besides around 35 trails, would have to be that it really allows you to pin it and push your riding level. Thus in turn really testing and pushing your equipement.
|Frame size||Small 16"|
|Rear Shock||Marzocchi ROCO TSTR 7" rear travel|
|Fork||2007 180mm Marzocchi 66 RCV|
|Headset||FSA PIG 1.5" Non-sealed|
|Bash Ring and Chain Guide||Race Face Diabolus|
|Bottom Bracket||Truvativ Howitzer|
|Pedals||Brodie b-Team Sealed Bearing Pedals|
|Cassette||SRAM PG-950 (11-32 9 spd)|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM X-9 Med. Cage|
|Rear Shifter Pod||SRAM X-7|
|Handlebar||Truvativ Hussefelt 25mm rise and 31.8 Diameter|
|Stem||Truvativ Hussefelt 1.5" 40mm reach and 31.8 clamp|
|Grips||Stock Lock Ons|
|Brakes||Avid Juicy 5s with 8" front and 6" rear rotors|
|Front hub||Joytech 20mm TA|
|Rear hub||Joytech 135 x 10mm TA|
|Tires||Kenda Nevegal 26x2.5|
|Front Rim||Sun Rims S-Type MTX 26"|
|Tubes||Standard DH tubes / Shrader valves|
|Rear Rim||Sun Rims S-Type MTX 26"|
|Saddle||WTB Pure V Race FR|
|Seatpost||Brodie 2 Bolt Post 31.8mm|
|Extra||Brodie post Clamp|
All in all, if a fun, free ride orientated bike is what you are out there looking for, hook up with your local shop and try a Damien. An awesome bike for the price range, stacked with a lot of reliable parts, combined with ¾ reliable rider, and we had a fun bike that was a blast to ride. For pinkbike.com this is Jordan signing off, stay classy internet, stay classy.
To learn more please visit www.brodiebikes.com