PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
We Are One Arrival SP2
Words by Matt Beer, photography by Tom Richards
When We Are One teased us with sneak peeks of what looked to be a frame mold, we knew we had to get our hands on one. It's hard to talk about anything that We Are One builds without mentioning their devotion to sourcing materials as locally as possible. Their new bike, aimed at the enduro market, the Arrival, sings the same tune. Everything from the hardware and paint to the carbon sheets is sourced from within a five hundred mile radius.
Their first foray into frame building encompasses a wide array riding styles. It's ready to smash or dash. The 152mm of rear wheel travel and 160mm fork are aggressive enough to take on Enduro World Series races, but won't shy away from backcountry sufferfests.
• Travel: 160 mm front / 152 mm rear
• Wheel size: 29”
• Hub spacing: 157 mm
• Head angle: 64°
• Seat tube angle: 77°
• Reach: 475 mm (SZ2)
• Chainstay length: 437 mm
• Sizes: SZ1, SZ2, SZ3
• Weight: 32.04 lb / 14.53 kg (w/ control tires)
• Price: $8,899 USD
This dual link, full carbon frame is purpose built around 29" wheels only, without any geometry or kinematic adjustments. In other words, there are no compromises between a steep seat angle or a slack head tube and the suspension has been tirelessly tested and tuned.
We Are One have also jumped on the size naming bandwagon. Since the field test took place, the naming has been changed from M/L to SZ2, but the reach remains the same at 475 mm. They also paused the start button on what would be a SZ4 frame, which we mentioned in the bike introduction. Currently, there are three sizes fitting riders from 5’3” to 6’4”, which seems like a bit of a stretch for those on opposite ends of the height spectrum. Reach numbers are traditional though, starting at 450 mm for a SZ1 and growing 25 mm per size to 500 mm for the SZ3.
For the SZ2 and SZ3, there are two options for dropper post length. Our SZ2 bike was equipped with a 170 mm dropper, which left 25 mm between the top of the seat clamp and the bottom of the post collar when fully inserted. I never experienced any clearance issues, but that middle rocker link pivot interrupts the seat post insertion depth, which could pose an issue for riders with a shorter inseam or different descending position.
Up front, there was a 100 mm head tube and 37 mm BB drop, creating a short stack height and aggressive, forward riding position. Henry and I both found ourselves using all 20 mm of spacers under the stem and swapping the 25 mm rise bar out for a 35 mm.
The smaller 185 mm x 55 mm trunnion mount rear shock is advised to set at 23% sag, so you won't be kicking rocks and that keeps the anti-squat in the zone for transmitting maximum watts. For my 73 kg weight, I did have to run 240 PSI in the Float X2, which might leave heavier riders maxing out the 350 PSI pressure limit.
Geometry such as a 64º head tube and a 77º effective seat tube angle are fairly standard these days, but the Arrival is versatile and doesn’t hold back in rowdy terrain. The chainstays do grow proportionately from 437 mm on the SZ1 and SZ2 frames, to 441 mm on the SZ3.
Other attributes of the frame are double row bearings on all pivots, which are housed in the links, not the carbon, a threaded BB, and… gasp, Superboost rear hub spacing. I'm not sure why this is such a heated topic, because the bike comes with its own premium wheels. This spec reduces wear on the larger cogs by keeping the chain straighter on that wide hub and pairs with a narrower 52 mm chainline.
Inside the beautifully finished raw to Cerakote matte finish frame are foam insulating tubes for the housings. This method superseded guided internal routing for one reason: quality carbon compaction. Internal guides can prohibit compaction when molding the carbon and leave voids, which can pose as stress rise areas.
On the topic of workmanship, all of the fixtures and threaded axles feed into replaceable, keyed alloy nuts, not the carbon, with the exception of the BB shell and proprietary brake mount. This bracket bolts straight up to a 180 mm rotor for the strongest and longest wearing design. At no surprise, the frame is backed by a manufacturing defect lifetime warranty.
What is really interesting though is their crash repair
program. We Are One offer to fix the frame without financially profiting from the service. It’s actually more expensive to fix the frame member than replacing it, which shows they are conscious of their environmental impact. They also assemble the Arrival in Kamloops without any plastic wrapping or ties and practice reusing other component manufacturers’ packaging.
For $8,899 USD, the Arrival comes with the mechanical SRAM XO1 groupset, Fox Factory suspension, Magura MT5 brakes, a Chris King headset, an SDG dropper post, and Vittoria Mazza tires. Of course, you’ll find their renowned carbon Union rims laced to Industry 9 1/1 hubs and Da Package carbon bar and alloy stem combo too.
The no holds barred build checks out at $10,999 with a full SRAM XX1 AXS wireless drivetrain and dropper post, Magura MT7 brakes, I9 Hydra hubs, and is finished with the same We Are One parts mentioned in the other build. Now that is a high entry level build price, but we are talking about premium components on a carbon frame that is made in North America.
At this time, complete bikes are the only option, but there are production plans to offer rolling chassis and Push 11/6 shock options.Climbing
Surprise - the lightest bike of the lot was also an effective climber, both on trail and in the efficiency test. Yes, there is a climb switch, but it’s really not necessary. The bike simply went forward when you stepped on the pedals, not up and down, due to that linkage configuration. Don’t let this undermine the descending capabilities of the Arrival, as we’ll discuss those shortly. When pointed in either direction on the hill, rear wheel traction was plentiful and maintained excellent small bump performance.
You might think that the large BB drop would lead to crank strikes and clumsy navigation through tech uphill routes, but this is where the 23-25% sag suggest makes sense. I like to preach about bikes that retain their geometry, or at least front to rear balance, and the Arrival is one of them. This makes it predictable to time pedal strokes when you put the power down or lunge up stepped trail features.
I found the steep seat angle and lower bar height a benefit while climbing, and was surprised in several instances by the Arrival's ability to scale some ridiculously steep pitches. The shorter rear center made the traction limit somewhat easier to find, and I could shift my weight accordingly, all while keeping the front wheel from wandering.
Immediately, when I jumped on the Arrival, I felt like both my contact points; hands and feet, were close to the ground, as if I was on a snappy, slalom bike. At slower warm up speeds it was noticeably lighter and more agile, like the YT, compared to the bigger bruisers in the fleet. I was anxious to throw this thing into some high speed berms, but also had some initial reservations of how the lesser travel and low body position would pan out on the steeper, rougher runs. Did we mention how fast the trails are at Sun Peaks?
I have to say, I was blown away with the Arrival’s capability on serious downhill tracks. Of course, the limit was a finer balance at race pace than on the longer travel and lengthy wheelbase of the Range and Force Carbon, but that suspension really gave the Arrival some muscle. There was no shortage of stability through heavy compressions and brake bumps, which contributed to confidence levels.
In those heavy braking zones, the bike remained active and the dual-link suspension didn’t squat or firm up the suspension. I was genuinely impressed with how that smaller rear shock did everything so well, including those sections of rumble-stripped singletrack. The Float X2 aided the right amount of kinematic progression. No, it’s not a high pivot, but the axle path seemed to move the wheel out of the way without using much travel. The drivetrain feedback was minimal, both in terms of pedal kickback and noise.
The only place I noticed a bit of feedback was at slower speeds on technical single track over roots, but I think this was more about my level of engagement and body positioning. The Arrival definitely rewards a rider that charges.
While it can chase the welterweight enduro bikes down raw downhill tracks, there is a limit. It still has elements that keep it hunkered down on your line, but you’re asking a lot from 152 mm of travel to bomb full-on downhill tracks. It is more demanding to ride at those speeds over longer sections of physical trail, but it can be done with a bit more focus and skill.
When Mike Levy posed the question, “What bike would you chose for an EWS season?”, I was torn between the Arrival and the Specialized Enduro. The main differentiator would be the fatigue factor. With the Arrival’s shorter travel and speed-hungry, attack character it might be more physical on longer race stages. The 170mm front and rear travel Enduro does slightly give up the ability to duck and weave in tighter corners, which the Arrival loves and our timed testing proved. Otherwise, both bikes possess contemporary geometry and respectable weights, making them top candidates for enduro racing.
If you had to give me one bike to go ride anywhere on the planet, I’d pack my bags and box up an Arrival. There would be very little terrain that I would shy away from onboard this bike. Its all-encompassing suspension attributes and geometry tackle every type of trail well. It has that rally car responsiveness that would suit riding destinations with ripping, technical single track, topped with plenty of corners and jumps to slay; Bellingham, WA, Bromont, QC, and of course Kamloops, BC are a few regions that come to mind. The Arrival is a do-it-all enduro bike that left us impressed with its eagerness to keep up with some longer travel bikes.