Knolly Endorphin - Review

May 2, 2016
by Mike Levy  




Knolly claims that their 130mm-travel Endorphin is a rather well-rounded machine, even going so far as to say that it ''will dominate your local enduro race, and the 70-mile out-of-bounds epic you have planned the following weekend.'' That will make the Endorphin the Bo Jackson of mid-travel bikes if it's true, which is why Knolly's do-it-all trail bike is so interesting. It's also a premium machine that's built around an aluminum frame, rare in these days of carbon-is-best thinking, and features Knolly's unconventional Fourby4 suspension design, points that set all of Knolly founder Noel Buckley's bikes apart from others.

You want different? Here it is.
Endorphin Details

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Rear wheel travel: 130mm
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Frame material: aluminum
• Knolly's Fourby4 suspension
• Dual-ring compatible
• Internal or external cable routing
• Replaceable ISCG 05 tabs
• Threaded bottom bracket
• 12 x 142mm hub spacing
• Weight: 27lb 2oz
• MSRP: $8,395 USD
knollybikes.com / @KNOLLYBIKES


Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore


Our Endorphin test bike is a no-expense-spared kind of thing that's been assembled with Knolly's 'Trail Party' build kit, a setup that would usually go for $6,395 USD. I say ''usually" because this particular Endorphin came from Knolly with an optional upgrade to a set of Race Face's Next SL carbon fiber cranks ($287 upcharge) and Industry Nine's PillarCarbon wheelset ($1,713 upcharge), pushing the bike's MSRP to $8,395 USD. Because YOLO.

Those are big numbers, but the entry price for a complete Endorphin is a less cardiac arrest-inducing $4,895 USD for their 'Dawn Patrol' build, or a frame and Fox Float DPS EVOL or Cane Creek DBinline shock goes for $2,195 USD if you want to throw your own bits and pieces at it.


Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
Do you like it inside or outside? You can do either when it comes to routing cables on the Endorphin.
Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
Boost? Maxle? Nope and nope. Standard spacing and hex keys required back here.

Knolly Endorphin


Frame Details

Knolly's Noel Buckley hasn't been shy about his desire to keep his bikes as user-friendly as possible. One time, at a tradeshow in Europe, I questioned him about why his new Warden Carbon had a threaded bottom bracket shell rather than a PressFit version like so many other brands have decided to use, to which he replied: ''We're not f*cking around,'' with the straightest face you can imagine. The Endorphin also has a threaded shell, of course, as well as removable and replaceable ISCG 05 chain guide tabs - take 'em off if you don't need them.

In the same make-it-easy vein, the Endorphin can accept a front derailleur and two-ring crankset if you want to go that route, not something that all trail bikes can do these days, as well as either internal or external cable routing.


Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
  You got to make the most of what you have to work with, and the DBinline does exactly that with the Endorphin's 130mm of travel.


Boost? Nope, there's 12 x 142mm hub spacing on the back of the Endorphin, and the wheel is held in place via a thru-axle and pinch-bolt setup that requires hex keys to remove or install. Solid, no doubt there, but also not as quick as a Maxle, Syntace, or RWS axle system, if you care about such things. I suspect that most Endorphin riders won't, however. There's also a ton of tire clearance, although not enough to run plus-size rubber.


Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
  The Endorphin's 130mm of travel is controlled by the company's Fourby4 suspension system.


The Endorphin's Suspension Explained

How many links and pivots does a bike require? Only enough to ''separate out and independently tune (to a higher level) various performance aspects of the rear suspension and shock progression that are otherwise co-mingled in conventional linkage designs,'' according to Knolly's Noel Buckley. The Endorphin's Fourby4 linkage looks like a standard four-bar design that's seen an extra set of pivots and links added, but Buckley is adamant that the design allows for more tuning opportunities. The bike's linkage not only pushes on the rocker arm but also ties the system to the seat tube that's more forward yet slacker than usual, giving the Endorphin an effective seat tube angle that's similar to other bikes.

There is obviously some added complexity with the Fourby4 design, but it has been executed very nicely. Clevis pivots join the rocker arm with DU bushings to save weight in a location that sees less stress, and the co-pivot at the top of the seat stays saves further grams by eliminating another set of hardware.

I've spent a considerable amount of time on at least three different Knollys over the years and have had zero issues with hardware backing out or any other reliability quibbles that I thought might arise, which is more than I can say for some so-called less complicated bikes.
Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore




3 Questions With the Knolly's Noel Buckley


Mike Levy: You're one of a small handful of companies still offering what should be considered high-end aluminum bikes. With so much focus on carbon fiber these days, including your new Warden Carbon, why should a customer who's planning on spending a big chunk of money still be contemplating an aluminum bike?

Noel Buckley: The first thing to recognize that is that while carbon gets most of the attention, the reality is that manufacturing techniques and the quality of the materials are much more important than the actual type of material used. There is a misconception in the bike industry that all alloy frames cost the same amount to manufacture and that all carbon frames cost the same amount to manufacture. That's kind of like saying that both a Hyundai Genesis and a Porsche 911 Turbo weigh 1,500kg and have roughly the same amount of materials in them, hence both should cost the same. Of course, that's not true at all, and cost of manufacturing can vary wildly, even with the same materials involved. A well engineered and manufactured alloy frame will far outperform a lesser carbon frame, hands down.

We feel that there is a market for both products: our alloy frames have been receiving rave reviews for years, and we have built tremendous customer loyalty with those products. The introduction of (significantly more expensive) carbon frames does not instantly reduce the performance of the alloy frames. In fact, we feel that we can continue to improve the performance of our alloy frames to even higher levels (and still perform at the top of the market, irrespective of materials) while maintaining value in the alloy product that is not attainable in our carbon product due to its much higher manufacturing cost.



Levy: What would you like to tell the riders who say that your FourBy4 suspension design has an "extra set of pivots and links"? Why are they there and what do they do?

Buckley: The Fourby4 Linkage design is really the heart of our products: it allows us to separate out and independently tune (to a higher level) various performance aspects of the rear suspension and shock progression that are otherwise co-mingled in conventional linkage designs. We are the only company in the world that really does this as a fundamental characteristic of our products. Because it adds additional degrees of freedom to the design of our frames, this makes the kinematic engineering significantly more difficult and time-consuming. However, the trade-off is overall higher suspension performance that always maximizes traction (and without traction, what benefit is there to great pedaling dynamics), gives a very neutral feel, and provides great tracking and braking, features which deliver extremely predictable performance in all conditions. Google search images for "Formula 1 suspension" and you will see a lot of similarities to what we do on our bikes!



Levy: What sets the Endorphin apart from other bikes in the same category?

Buckley: Since the Endorphin's release last fall, we have seen a huge amount of customers flock to this bike after trying the latest and greatest carbon bikes from the past few years: they just want trail bikes that work in all situations, bikes that don't get hung up, have great climbing ability and stable descending, and feature progressive geometry that's comfortable for long rides and yet highly maneuverable and nimble. The Endorphin does that: it's a trail rider's bike that can handle a huge variety of terrain. A customer can completely change the performance bias of the bike based on shock choice and subtle cockpit changes: i.e. Fox Float DPS Evol vs. Cane Creek DBAir CS, an increase in fork travel from 140 to 150mm, shortening the stem by 10mm and increasing bar width. It's the application versatility, progressive geometry, neutral feel and overall performance that makes us and our customers love this bike!





Specifications
Specifications
Release Date 2016
Price $8395
Travel 130
Rear Shock Cane Creek DBinline
Fork Fox Float 34 Factory 150mm
Headset Cane Creek Forty series Zero Stack 44/56
Cassette SRAM XG1195 10-42T
Crankarms Race Face Next SL
Bottom Bracket Race Face
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01
Chain SRAM PCX1
Shifter Pods SRAM X01
Handlebar Race Face SixC 35 800mm
Stem Race Face Turbine 35, 60mm
Grips Chromag Squarewave
Brakes SRAM Guide RSC w/ 180mm rotors
Wheelset Industry Nine Pillar Carbon
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF 2.3'', Maxxis Minion SS 2.3''
Seat Chromag Lynx DT
Seatpost Race Face Turbine, 150mm

Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore








Climbing

"That thing looks like a tank," they said. And it kind of does look that way. We usually assume that aluminum means more weight than carbon (Knolly's own Warden Carbon frame weighs one pound less than the aluminum version) and the Endorphin's industrial looking unpainted finish adds to the bike's overbuilt appearance. I couldn't blame my riding partners for thinking that the 27lb 2oz Knolly weighed more than it does, or that the bike is more cautious riverboat captain than Four Loko-fueled jet ski pilot. Good thing they'd also be wrong, though.

The Endorphin's efficient feeling suspension and reasonable weight, not to mention the semi-slick tire out back, allow it to truck along at a pretty good pace when you need to cover ground on climbs that aren't overly steep. I did reach down for the Cane Creek shock's Climb Switch a few times, including during a local cross-country race, but it probably wasn't actually warranted - the Fourby4 design and all of its links and pivots do a good job of keeping pedaling forces from interfering with the rear suspension.


Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
bigquotesKnolly's bikes are famously adept technical climbers. In fact, this is one of the few bikes that can rival a good 29er when it comes to sniffing out any and all available traction. A whippet it may not be, but bloodhounds are fun, too.


Turning off of the fire road climb and onto something steeper and more technically challenging had me wishing that the stock build kit didn't include a semi-slick tire out back, but rubber choice is location dependent, isn't it? Installing something with an actual tread pattern allowed the Endorphin to get up some seriously tricky pitches, but I already knew that'd be the case - Knolly's bikes are famously adept technical climbers. In fact, this is one of the few bikes that can rival a good 29er when it comes to sniffing out any and all available traction. It may not be a whippet, but bloodhounds are fun, too.

That traction, especially when seated, will let you get the Endorphin into some pretty interesting places on the trail, and it seems happy to fit just about anywhere you want to place it. Want to cut inside on that steep switchback? Have at 'er. Like the look of that line up and over the root ball? Its easily placeable nature is going to let you do exactly that, with quicker steering than you would expect. The tight confines of its front triangle might not let you stay hydrated if you prefer bottles over a backpack, however, as there isn't even enough room for a small-sized bottle to fit without it angling out to the side. The medium Endorphin frame makes the rider wear a backpack on any ride long enough to require fluids, which is a bit of a bummer for a bike that I'd happily pedal for five or six hours at a time. A large-sized bike should have enough clearance for a bottle.

Fluid frustrations aside, the Endorphin is yet another Knolly with astonishing climbing abilities.



Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
  The bike's high-end suspension can deal with whatever you throw it into.


Descending

According to the dictionary, endorphins are ''a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system that have a number of physiological functions,'' and that they ''help relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria.'' That explains a lot. Knolly's aluminum fun-machine may not be the quickest bike in its class, either up or down the mountain, but it very well could be one of the most fun.

This is a bike that is going to make a lot of riders feel pretty clever about their line choices, even on trails that shouldn't inspire any out of the box thinking. Ultra-forgiving suspension (relative to how much travel the bike has) helps to erase mistakes that might otherwise erase what little traction is available, and the 27.5'' wheels let the Knolly fit into spots on the trail that a bigger wheeled bike, or most other bikes of any wheel size, could only dream of squeezing into. Riding the Endorphin turned into a game of real life Tetris once I got used to the bike's lively handling, only instead of buttons and a video screen, I was holding onto a set of grips and looking down the trail for more opportunities to do silly things. It's like Knolly visited my riding area, measured our trails, and made a bike that fits into every pocket and hole on the mountain. They must have done the same for every zone within three-hundred kilometers as well, because the Endorphin behaved in the same playful manner whether it was on smooth terrain or the steep, massive rock slabs and rooty trails of Squamish, B.C.


Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
  While high speed over rough ground isn't the Endorphin's forte, the bike can pick its way through slower and more technical lines with ease.


The bike felt less at home as the speeds picked up, however, and fast, ledgy sections of trail tended to upset the Endorphin more than some other bikes of similar travel, like the 130mm Ibis Mojo 3 or 140mm Devinci Troy. I was reminded on a few occasions that no, sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it, too, as the price for impressive agility is less stability when things go from fun to hairball. So what about Knolly's claims that the Endorphin ''will dominate your local enduro race, and the 70-mile out-of-bounds epic you have planned the following weekend''? If you believe that, I have a minivan to sell you that's also a great track-day racer. The Endorphin is a hoot to ride, and a skilled rider is going to go quicker than someone with lesser abilities regardless of what bike they're on, but the 130mm Endorphin ain't no enduro race machine, even with its formidable suspension.
bigquotesRiding the Endorphin turned into a game of real life Tetris once I got used to the bike's lively handling, only instead of buttons and a video screen, I was holding onto a set of grips and looking down the trail for more opportunities to do silly things.

You can't really go wrong by bolting on Fox's latest Float 34 Factory fork and a Cane Creek DBinline shock. Both ends of the bike provide more setup options than a night spent speed-dating, and they're a reminder of just how good we have it these days. The back of the bike, in particular, was impressive: the DBinline could trick some riders into thinking that there's more than 130mm to deal with things, such is the great balance between suppleness in the first third of the shock's stroke and how it deals with big impacts. This translates to a great handling bike that can really slice and dice its way through corners - so long as they're not rough or ledgey enough for a bike with more travel to pull away.


Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
  Having some of the best suspension available can come in handy.



Technical Report

• Industry Nine PillarCarbon Wheelset - The bike's Industry Nine wheelset, with carbon fiber rims and large diameter aluminum spokes, is about as trick as you could hope for, and they perform as well as they look. I didn't hear a ping or pop out of them, and no amount of smashing into rocks could knock the 400-gram rims out of true. And that sound from the freehub! They're expensive and, truth be told, unnecessary compared to many of the great performing, reasonably priced aluminum wheelsets out there, but I have to admit that I also lay in bed at night thinking about them. Also, Industry Nine lists a base price of $2,750.00 USD if you wanted to buy the wheels on their own, whereas you'll pay an extra $1,713 USD if you add them to your Endorphin's build kit.


Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
The Industry Nine PillarCarbon rims are light and proved to be reliable.
Knolly Endorphin review test Photo by James Lissimore
Would it be weird if I recorded the hub's buzzing while coasting and played it loudly while I drove around in my van?


• Traction > Rolling Speed - Selling a bike with a semi-slick rear tire is a bit like Chevy delivering their trucks with massive mudders. Sure they're going to look cool and work really well for about six percent of the driving you'll probably end up doing, but they don't much sense for the other times when you, you know, need traction on the road. I swapped out the fast rolling Maxxis tire for a Hans Dampf and, as you'd expect, immediately had more grip and control on both the climbs and descents. Sure, the bike rolled marginally slower on those rare (for the PNW) dry spring days, but the tradeoff was well worth it, especially for a bike that's such a capable climber.


• Sublime Suspension The Endorphin has been fitted with what is arguably the best suspension in the game: a Fox Float 34 Factory fork and a Cane Creek DBinline shock. The latter proved to be reliable, which hasn't always been the case in our experience, and it offered an incredibly composed ride that can be tuned to feel however you'd like it to via Cane Creek's immensely helpful online guide that leaves no doubts as to setup. And what can I say about the 34 that hasn't already been said? It's the most adjustable fork out there in its travel class and is almost too smooth and supple to believe. Knolly couldn't really go wrong with this combo.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Endorphin is going to shine under a rider who values cleaning any and every climb that they're faced with, and someone who is especially concerned about having a good time, be it during an all-day epic or by trying cheeky lines that put more of an emphasis on fun than speed. It's not a machine made for you to try and drop your buddies on the burliest of descents, although a skilled rider will be able to do exactly that, but rather a bike designed for exactly how so many of us like to ride. - Mike Levy




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About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 34 • Height: 5'10” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 165lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Mike Levy spent most of the 90s and early 2000s racing downhill bikes and building ill-considered jumps in the woods of British Columbia before realizing that bikes could also be pedaled for hours on end to get to some pretty cool places. These days he spends most of his time doing exactly that, preferring to ride test bikes way out in the local hills rather than any bike park. Over ten years as a professional mechanic before making the move to Pinkbike means that his enthusiasm for two wheels extends beyond simply riding on them, and his appreciation for all things technical is an attribute that meshes nicely with his role of Technical Editor at Pinkbike.


Must Read This Week

233 Comments

  • + 207
 Carbon is too expensive, which is why we build this w/ carbon crank, wheels, & bars to push the price over $8k.
Oxymoronic overachievement of the year.
  • + 43
 The stock endorphin comes with aluminum wheels, you can add the i9s if you want for more money. I got my 2016 endorphin with the spank trail alu rims.
  • + 30
 Putting the "moron" back in oxymoron
  • - 36
flag Aaronhuang (May 2, 2016 at 7:56) (Below Threshold)
 YT called...
  • + 96
 Why is it always the dipshit troll posts that end up in top spot?
  • + 59
 Or just buy the frame for $2k and swap over your components, which you can do because Knolly has chosen to make a user friendly bike rather than adopt all the trendy but unnecessary standards. I would love a carbon endo though. Sure AL works but why start out a pound heavier.
  • + 17
 @evanus: this is exactly what I do...I'm on my second Knolly (Chilcotin) and I swapped over about 3/4 of my components from my Delirium. It saves some big dough up front and I replace/sell the stuff I want to upgrade after the fact. I could care less about the frame material if its a great performing bike.
  • + 34
 Everyone here defending the price... Y'all know if Specialized or Trek (and especially Specialized) came out with an aluminum bike for over $8k, there would be no end to the criticism. That's all you'd see in the comments.
  • - 18
flag norcal77 (May 2, 2016 at 9:33) (Below Threshold)
 @Bikedude666: You could care less about the frame material? Another victim falls prey to the Knolly Marketing Machine. Noel needs to hire a real engineer who understand bikes have two wheels and Formula Cars have 4. I dont know why PB mollycoddles Knolly so much, i can assume but who knows. Trying to convince us we should buy a aluminum bike because not all carbon is created equal? wait what....? OH and they climb better than other bikes to? Im going to have to put on rubber boots for the next promo article for Knolly on PB. Do i want to see Knolly fail...no? Do a i agree with the rubbish they market.....sorry, no. Lemme know when the Podium actually gets on one. Noel....the Billy Mays of the bike world.
  • + 9
 @TheR: Well the thing is that not all the Endorphins come in at 8k. The Dawn Patrol build kit without the i9 wheels is about 5k msrp, and no one pays msrp. 8k is a lot of money for an aluminum bike, but for 5k you can get the same bike with an X1 drivetrain and Turbine cranks
  • + 16
 @norcal77: lol please keep being you. I enjoyed your rant, I hope as much as you enjoyed tapping it out.
  • + 46
 Read the whole article. No really, read it. Don't just pick up a few details, form a misguided critique, and troll out. It seems too many commentators simply race to be the highest repped snippet and not actually read the article?

You can get this well under 5k complete with a very decent part kit. As for the wheels, I'd rather have a good alu frame with carbon wheels than a cheap carbon frame with alu wheels ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. Carbon's main benefit is weight- so use it where it counts most (rotating weight!).

They also didn't simply say carbon is too expensive. They said it is expensive to do carbon right (true), and for the same or lower price, we can do aluminum frames really damned good (which they do). Better to have a properly engineered aluminum frame (with awesome standards compatibility) than a generic carbon clone like everything else. Get a Knolly.....or just order the 3 same item combo the non-thinkers choose from the mail order lunchboard.
  • - 11
flag TheR (May 2, 2016 at 10:06) (Below Threshold)
 @norcal77: Knolly, and let us not forget the weird cult of YT around here. It's like the sainted company that can do no wrong.
  • + 10
 @cerealkilla: thank you. Finally someone with their head screwed on right
  • - 14
flag norcal77 (May 2, 2016 at 10:18) (Below Threshold)
 @cerealkilla: To claim to only advantage of a carbon frame over an aluminum frame is the weight savings shows your lack of knowledge. Lemme save you some heartache, you cant water your crops with Gatorade either. Ive owned a Knolly, the suspension is junk. Believe what you want. PS- the Bible is just a marketing too.
  • + 11
 @norcal77: Your lack of reading comprehension is really not helping your point of view. He never said that the ONLY advantage of a carbon frame over aluminum is weight, he said it was the MAIN advantage. To say the suspension is 'junk' is pure troll. Perhaps you didnt like the suspension design for what/how you ride, but there are others who do appreciate its strengths and acknowledge its weaknesses when choosing to ride one.
  • + 6
 @Bikedude666 and @evanus:You don't even need to carry over your components from an old bike to get a Knolly at a reasonable price. Buddy just picked up a discounted Warden AL somewhere and with some creative webhuting and craigslisting has all the essentials. 160 Pike RCT3. Oneup modded 1 by SLX drivetrain, SLX brakes, Reverb external dropper etc.

Final price tag $3K.
  • - 19
flag norcal77 (May 2, 2016 at 10:48) (Below Threshold)
 @freestyIAM: show me a knolly on a podium
  • + 13
 @norcal77: Angry keyboarder much? What relevance does a bike 'being on a podium' have with how much fun it is to ride? So your new stance on the matter is that if a bike isnt under someone on a podium, then it is 'junk'? Noel doesn't design race bikes, he designs bikes for people that just love to ride and appreciate the design and workmanship.
This really is good material, please keep it coming!
  • + 5
 @norcal77: Wasn't talking to you. Was responding to the sub thread on how you can get a Knolly on the cheap. Troll someone else.
  • - 17
flag norcal77 (May 2, 2016 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @shoreboy1866: put the poms poms down SJW
  • + 11
 @norcal77: I know, I know, both the words "Main" and "Only" have an "N" in them. That must have overwhelmed your fragile mind, and you just snapped.

Also, if you want to make Idiocracy references, you should learn how to use apostrophes properly. It's kind of like walking into a thinking match with your brain in a bucket.

Poor norcal77. You must have experienced such angst when you found norcal 1 through 76 were already taken.
  • + 5
 hilarious.... although from what I can read @norcal77 seems like a pro racer using bikes that regularly podium (somewhere at some race), maybe rear shock set up its not his thing...... saying Knolly's 4x4 is junk when most of people riding the platform praise it... bold
  • + 1
 @TheR: Knolly uses 7000 series aluminum over the 6061 used by Trek and Specialized. It's harder to work with but has much improved fatigue life and slightly better strength/weight
  • + 14
 @norcal77: show me you on a podium!

Knolly fer life!
  • - 4
flag norcal77 (May 2, 2016 at 13:11) (Below Threshold)
 @shoreboy1866: @shoreboy1866: Telling Knolly FanBoys that their "Brand" isnt as polished as the companies marketing is like telling a crowd of BlackLivesMatter protesters that the president is black, it isn't a popular statement. I get it. I also understand the desire to buy from a grassroots bike company, that is why i bought a Knolly Chilcotin when they released. I was new to biking, looking to buy my third bike and didnt want to follow the crowd. All admirable ambitions. However i dont think it is the best bike for you money. Considering this is a bike review website and in some way this might have been a review in some weird way i feel the desire to voice my opinion. This is what i thought i heard. Aluminum is awesome, knolly's pedal well, the suspension is ground breaking, ''will dominate your local enduro race, and the 70-mile out-of-bounds epic you have planned the following weekend.''. I disagree with a lot of that if not all of that. When this site stops allowing comments, bans me for my honest opinions or knolly produces a bike that does what i think they are pitching then i wont post. Until then Pivot is a small company with tons of integrity that makes an amazing aluminum bike(i dont own a pivot). I will say this, the adjustable rear geo of my Chilcotin was amazing, i could adjust it in under a minute after a long climb and it made a huge difference. There is said something nice.
  • + 7
 @norcal77: May I ask what kind of riding you do? Is it possible that the Chilcotin was the wrong bike for the given application?
I dont think anyone will argue that Pivot makes nice bikes, but they certainly don't use their own suspension design now do they?
  • + 9
 @cerealkilla:
I've got nothing against Knolly, or their suspension designs, but to submit a $8400, 27.2lb 130mm trail bike for a review, and then tout "cost-savings" as the reason for its aluminum frame is simply absurd.
I've taught analytical reading in the Ivy League. Your self-congratulatory attack-ad gets a D. Do your market research before you open your mouth that wide to spew sorry ad hominem rant. Every well-engineered carbon-framed trail bike I've considered buying in recent years by Ibis, Intense or Santa Cruz meets or beats this Knolly on the combined price-to-weight front.
I can get a Santa Cruz 5010 w/ XO1 in their *top aerospace grade* CC carbon for $6600, and it weighs less than this $8400 Knolly. For $4700 I can get their basic C carbon frame w/ 1x11 and a Pike. If you don't like the new boost rear spacing, buy last year's model at a discount, it'll have a standard, threaded BB just like the new one.
There are lots of great bikes on the market, the point here is not that Knolly isn't among them, it's just they're talking out both sides of their face on both cost & weight when selling this particular trail bike.
  • + 3
 @norcal77: you should try the new carbon warden. the updated geo on it and the new delirium felt really good. if you fundamentally dislike the 4x suspension it won't matter but it's gonna feel a lot better than a chilcotin especially if you didn't size up with the ultra short reach
  • + 8
 @norcal77:''will dominate your local enduro race, and the 70-mile out-of-bounds epic you have planned the following weekend''? If you believe that, I have a minivan to sell you that's also a great track-day racer. The Endorphin is a hoot to ride, and a skilled rider is going to go quicker than someone with lesser abilities regardless of what bike they're on, but the 130mm Endorphin ain't no enduro race machine, even with its formidable suspension.... instead of picking little bits to point out read the whole thing. The point of a review is to pick threw the marketing BS which is exactly what the reviewer did.
  • - 6
flag norcal77 (May 2, 2016 at 13:46) (Below Threshold)
 @shoreboy1866: I bought the Chilcotin for everyday riding, knowing it would be acceptable for shuttle days as well. An Endorphin would have been better for day to day riding and I did get to ride one at Tamarancho in Marin(must stop for any bike enthusiast, tons of single track and their pump/flow trail is the most fun I have ever had on any trail ever). That day I had my 2013 26in Nomad, I also took a few laps on my brothers remedy and my friends Endorphin. The Endorphin was way more snappy than the Chilcotin and I really like it. Im still not a fan of the recovery of the rear suspension on the Knolly, Endo or Chilcotin. First hits are so nice, but it seems like the suspension makes it hard for the shock to recover in any setting for after the initial hit. Ive tested the rp23 on my Chilcotin as well as the main shock a cane creek DBA. The endo was fox as well, not idea what model. The feel of their rear suspension is not for me. I could compare this to the RockShox vs Fox argument. I dont like the Pike on my 650b nomad, i dont hate it but the fox float was a game changer for me when I rode my buddies nomad. I have friends who hate fox who are amazing riders and so smooth on a bike with RockShox it makes you sick. I guess it could all be argued that its all personal preference. meh
  • + 10
 @Veloscente: Wrong wrong wrong and wrong. They threw some nice parts on for the test bike, as nearly ALL companies do unless they are trying to showcase their mid-level part spec. I'm talking about frames and materials, and you're talking builds and dollars. Your total and complete lack of reading comprehension indicates that you taught Ivy-league reading as an undergrad tutor. You can't change someone's argument to build your own counter, donkey.
  • + 4
 @norcal77: Please define 'everyday riding' as I am sure our definitions are quite different.
  • + 2
 @Veloscente:
PLUS Santa Cruz now has lifetime warranty and life time bearings.
Yes that right, life time bearings shipped to your door.
  • + 2
 @Veloscente: your numbers are off Mr. Big Brain. Check what the 5010 fully decked out with carbon wheels costs. If you are going to argue on the basis of price at least use comparable component specs.
  • + 1
 @Bikedude666: Do this, Ride a SC, Spec, Ibis, Intense, Pivot, Devinci, Yeti....hell ride the new DB with updated rear suspension.....and then ride a Knolly. If you feel like you still "look" that much cooler on your Knolly, you enjoy the ride, then at the very least your still supporting a bike company and growing the sport. Fail Win
  • + 7
 @norcal77: In your bike comparisons, did you take the time to properly adjust the suspension? How about tire pressure? Bar rotation? Fore/aft seat position? Were all the bikes at an equal point in terms of wear? Had the suspension on all bikes been serviced around the same time? The point I'm making is that there a ton of variables that need to be considered that are often overlooked when comparing bikes, even those with the same components. I've never owned a Knolly so I'm not taking a position on whether or not the Knolly is a good bike, just trying to make a point that isolating good or bad to the frame can be difficult, and there may be other factors involved.
  • + 2
 Haha! Are you all on Knolly's payroll or something?
  • + 11
 What if I told you... ...that not everyone has the same style of riding, and likes the same kind of bike...
  • + 4
 @norcal77: I rode a SC Blur for a while before I had my Delirium. I loved it. To be honest, I can't find fault in any of those manufacturers you've mentioned. They all make great bikes just like Knolly. In the end I chose to purchase my awesome riding bike from a local manufacturer who supports the grass roots as well as pro scene and contributes to the community. Did I say the bikes ride awesome? You forgot Norco by the way.
  • + 4
 It would be more paradoxical than oxymoronic. If he sold more endorphins he would probably sell carbon for that model as well. I have a hard time getting bent out of shape over guys trying to make a living selling bikes. Ultimately, we must chose who to trust and what we want for a product. It's funny I do not scream into the internet because I like kicking horse coffee over salt spring. Of course I am now commenting about commenting and should stop. Have a great day biking when you can.
  • - 3
 @Bikedude666: if they still manufactured the aluminum frames in Canada that would be a definite uptick. Norco does rock, most bikes I wouldn't kick out of bed. Even Marin is slowly becoming relevant again. My coffee is wearing off and the its time to go outside before the sun dips out of sight. Ill see you fanboys in the next Ebike debate.
  • + 6
 @norcal77: Just to be clear, Knolly frames were never welded in Canada. The frames were welded in the US (SAPA) and final assembly was done in Canada.
  • + 0
 @yerbikesux: Tommy Boy quote, nice......I like where your heads at.
  • + 2
 He was obviously speaking in direct reference to manufacturing their own frame.
  • - 2
 @cerealkilla: You have a rare talent for delusionally self-congratulatory posturing. You hijack my thread on the inherent contradictions in Knolly's claims about the value proposition of (their, good) aluminum vs. carbon (everyone else’s: bad or expensive), and then you presume to graft your false market assumptions & personal priorities on top of it all.
Buckley said this "A well engineered and manufactured alloy frame will far outperform a lesser carbon frame, hands down." *You* took that line and ran with it, asserting that the choice is to opt for either a "properly engineered aluminum frame" OR "a generic carbon clone."
Both of these claims assume that, dollar-for-dollar, to get a frame that performs like Buckley's aluminum, I have to settle for a "generic" or "lesser" carbon frame.
*Here’s the point*, this whole line of argument is a red herring: there are plenty of top-performing, top-brand carbon chassis that I can get for comparable money with the same or better build. For those who buy bikes, the value proposition is not about what it costs Buckley to build his stuff, but rather what other quality bikemakers can offer at comparable pricepoints. You insist on carbon wheels? Drop the carbon Enves on that $6600 Santa Cruz, and you now have an even-lower rotating-mass (375g Enve rim vs 400g I9) on a Carbon 5010 that weighs a full *half pound* less overall than the Knolly bike for $8600. What’s the point? That the aerospace CC-carbon 5010 frame is inherently superior or that half-lb is worth an extra $200? No, it’s exactly the same point I made about the $4700 version of the 5010 with a lower-modulus frame: comparing apples-to-apples on spec, Knolly is asking as much for their aluminum-framed bikes as makers of the best-engineered, premium, carbon-framed bikes on the market. Not the “lesser” carbon “clones” - the very best designs. If you want to pay a premium to support Buckley in doing what he wants in aluminum, knock yourself out: his aluminum may be a better value than his carbon, but his assertions about the quality & value of the carbon alternatives to his product are simply false.
By the way, I was being modest, I had a faculty appointment at Princeton. That's Prof. Dr. Donkey to you. You now have an F for attempting to browbeat a better-informed interlocutor with Knolly's stinky red herring, and for your kindergarten attempt to shout down confirmable factual evidence, while being able to muster none of your own.
  • + 4
 Noel is talking about high quality aluminum frames vs. low quality carbon frames and not carbon bars and cranks. Did you even read the article?
  • + 5
 @evanus: Right on brother, which is exactly why I bought my chilcotin from them. Wanted a bit more travel and beef, and swapping the rear shock out for an avalanche, it delivers more than fed ex. Great company, design, support and products.
  • - 2
 @Veloscente: BOOOOOOM Goes the Dynamite. Keep it 100 Velo!
  • + 1
 @Bikedude666: I'm really interested to see how that bike rides! Looks like a perfect all-round shred machine.
I noticed Mark Matthews was running a DH fork on his: www.instagram.com/p/BCJjIliLv56
  • + 0
 @KristopherGower: That's Marks Delirium.
  • + 9
 Listen friends, this thread was not voted to the top because hundreds of PBers wanted a sectarian war for or against Knolly, but because it struck a nerve: even a "value" priced aluminum frame has to be loaded well towards the $10k mark to get any press these days. What we get amounts to a review of the "world's most affordable $8400 bike.” It’s a contradiction in terms, people sense it, and it rubs a great many the wrong way.
It’s not about demonizing one brand, merely about calling out their “all in” move to feed this inflationary dynamic with the press, even if it means the pitch for their “less is more” framebuilding philosophy goes down in a sea of cost-is-no-object parts.
The answer is neither to slam Knolly, nor to shoot the messenger that manages to put a satirical finger on the problematic. What might actually be interesting would be a discussion of how sites like PB could do tests & reviews that relate better to what the majority of us actually wind up buying.
A first suggestion: perhaps brands should be required to submit a bike in two build versions for comparative review: one that maximizes bang-for-the-buck with a MSRP limit of $5k, and one that focuses on performance without a price limit?
  • + 4
 @Veloscente: Good thought. I even wondered about Pinkbike having a system where they have a whole bunch of parts in stock for review and that they only accept frames for testing. That way what Pinkbike tests is the frame, it's quality and it's ride characteristics. Then they build it up with other parts that they are testing or having in a stock pool, so we never end up with stupid reviews of bikes with absurd build kit prices or bespoke wheelsets etc.
  • + 2
 @KristopherGower: I ran the previous version of Delirium (second gen) with a Float 180 and CC DB Coil and it was a real game changer for me. It wasn't perfect but what bike is? The new Delirium looks really nice. I'd like to get on one but my Chilcotin suits the riding where I live now a lot better.
  • + 4
 @ratedgg13: Positive energy: that's refreshing. There are German mags that test frames that way, keeping builds as identical as possible. I know of at least one other English-language cycling site where the reviewers attempt, at the very least, to review bikes on a suitable wheelset they have logged significant time on. That's harder to do on dirt than road due to all the tire/axle/build/freehub variables.
I don't know if a site like PB realistically has the budget to acquire & manage a component pool like that. They could perhaps get manufacturers to sponsor it, but I'm not sure if that is a better way to minimize bias on a review site than simply have bike companies supply bikes the way they sell them.
Maybe @mikelevy can chime in & keep the constructive vibe going.
  • + 1
 @Veloscente: Hey Pr. Dr Donkey, can I find you on Research Gate ???
  • + 7
 @Veloscente: You sound like an insufferable knob, and a hypocrite to boot. You're as quick to point out red herrings as you are to form an argument from authority. What does being a turtleneck-wearing Princeton (OMG!) adjunct professor have to do with your argument on bike value? Are you a mechanical engineer or a materials scientist? Are you familiar with all of the carbon manufacturers in Taiwan? These would all be salient things to bring up if this was your expertise, which it clearly is not. So, Dr, what "confirmable factual evidence" are you bringing to back up your claims that the 5010, et al, are the "best engineered"?
You've internalized Santa Cruz's marketing schlock as much as Knolly fans have. Thef*ckouttahere with "Aerospace". What a useless buzzword.
  • - 2
 @Broth-Ratchurch: @Broth-Ratchurch: Another attack that produces zero by way of superior, fact-based, *on-topic* argument. Why is it so hard for PBers to formulate coherent positions without the ad-hominem garbage? For all your disdain for academics, they at least possess this skill, and it has nothing to do with their rank (PS, you got mine wrong). My professional background was only invoked in response to cerealkilla's unprovoked attack, and repeated insistence that I did not read, nor know how to read the article. If people don't like getting called out for using ad hominem & red herring rhetoric instead of evidence-based arguments, they need to stick to the facts. For everything else, I discussed in this thread, I offered cold, hard numbers.
As for value & carbon fiber tech, I've also spent well over a decade working in the outdoor sports industry, and have first hand experience w/ CF as an athlete & tech dating back to the early 80s & the widespread adoption of the material in tennis rackets, then bikes & skis. If you don't like aerospace, just insert high-modulus. The outdoor industry directly competes w/ aerospace & F1 for the highest grade carbon fiber materials. I could care less about airplanes, or buzzwords, but there is a direct link. Specialized hired a guy who designed CF armored helicopter seats to design & source their CF MTB rims.
Santa Cruz is merely invoked as *one* example. In my first post I directly refered to parallels between SC’s pricing & design and Intense & Ibis - all 3 are highly regarded: there are plenty of riders, journos & engineers vouching for their designs on record. I don’t just take their words at face value, I’ve used the stuff. Core-brand loyalists may beg to differ, but we now enjoy a market where most major MTB brands do a great job designing & manufacturing carbon: Trek has producing highest-quality carbon frames for over 20 years. I’ve owned state-of-the-art, top performing Giant CF bikes for well over a decade as well. The list goes on & on.
Go back, re-read what I’ve actually written, and if you’ve got a superior, fact-based counter argument where I got something wrong, I look forward to learning from it.
Otherwise, go find a mirror, and ask yourself why there are so many on these forums that would rather go on the attack & lash out at people they don’t even know, rather than doing the hard work listening, analyzing, and formulating a well-substantiated response.
  • + 5
 @Veloscente: I'm not attacking your position w/r/t cerealwhatever. I'm attacking the way you responded, which is like the freshman you supposedly teach -devoid of any wit, expertise, or humility. You don't sound like an academic, you sound like an emotionally crippled man-child. What kind of thin-skinned adult cites his ivy league credentials -twice- in response to some random kid on the internet? This is what sparked my response.

I understand your position. Homeboy created a false dichotomy between good aluminum and bad carbon. I agree that you can get a well-made carbon bike for Knolly money. It’s your unfounded certainty about value that rubs me the wrong way. The only "cold hard facts" that you brought to the table have been weight and price. If those are your only metrics for value, then you are going to miss out on so, so much. Value can't be proven with stats alone -It's totally subjective. I can spout geometry, leverage ratios, and BB drop figures to you all day, but that doesn't mean it adds up to a bike that rides well. A bike is not the sum of its numbers. But if it were, price and weight would be pretty low on the list.

What Noel is trying to say is that frame material shouldn't be the only feature to base a purchase on. I think SC makes good frames, but I dislike the function of their VPP suspension. Even though the SC is cheaper and lighter, I'd still opt for the Knolly because of the way it rides. So would many others. They are not wrong in their decision.

Also, handling a carbon tennis racket in the eighties and ownership of a 1993 Giant Cadex does not make you a carbon expert. Nor does your vague employment in the outdoor sports industry. If you think Sauber, McLaren, and Mercedes "compete" with the bike industry in terms of carbon fiber technology, then you have no idea what you're talking about. F1 is light years ahead of bikes, regardless of who drops terms like "F1" into their marketing. Knolly included. We're all swimming in the same uninformed sea of opinions. You are no different, professor.
  • + 2
 @Veloscente: You have way too much time on your hands to be gainfully employed. The hypocrisy of you lecturing about ad hominem critiques is truly astounding. Your little shell game to argue your point may work on children, but not on me. You simply cannot get a well-engineered carbon bike with the same build at the same price as a Knolly. Doesn't happen. Knolly is NOT asking the same for their frames as the best carbon out there. If so, why don't you price the frames and not the packages. I'm not impressed by your braggadaccio Princeton baloney. I notice you "HAD" the appointment. Gee, wondered what went wrong there? Too much hubris? Everyone knows chumps get funneled into teaching. Real "Professors" do research. Your argument sucks goat balls...both for the bikes and your desperate attempt to validate your lordy lordy position above the peons.
  • + 89
 F'ing LOVE Knolly's ethics and design. All the best of the new standards, still building with Alu and supporting all wheel sizes! The Podium and Chiquoltin are my DREAM bikes
  • + 1
 hm, no 29er support, sorry to correct you ; )...
  • + 102
 @Lagr1980: I think he met all wheel sizes that matter....
  • + 14
 @Hammm: ooh that's cold
  • + 4
 @AUS-alo661: 29er in design apparently
  • + 106
 Ugh... totally get you guys on the wheel size thing. I recently met a Syrian refugee and a Somali refugee; the first was talking about how his country had been torn apart by a three way war he and his family were caught literally in the middle of. The Somali then told us about how his country was essentially trapped in a state of bloody anarchy, with a dozen warlords capturing various geographic areas and preventing any semblance of order or peace.

Then I chimed in, called them both pussies, and told them my tale of woe about how we have multiple wheel sizes to choose from, and some people make a different choice than me. They. Were. Horrified.
  • + 1
 Isn't the podium going away from 26"
  • + 2
 @Catfood-Johnson: I always have to point this out when Somalia comes up: It's a twisted, neo-feudalism (i.e. warlords competing for power), not anarchy.

I think Westerners have labeled it that because we are so trained to think government = law. They have government, just no rule of law.

lol'ed at your comment nonetheless
  • + 4
 @trialsracer: I'm actually pretty libertarian; I love that small government, live and let live, let me decide my destiny stuff. That said, when I think of neo-feudalism I think of parts of Pakistan or Afghanistan. The distinction is probably semantic, but I generally think of feudalism as an ongoing social structure that has some kind of stability (however horrible that stability may be). The situation in Somalia is the direct result in the collapse of a formal government, a civil war, a resultant vacuum in power and the restoration of religious law. As a result of this, the country fractured entering a period where close to a dozen religious, cultural and criminal/military sects emerged and battled over the course of the aughts, and by the early 2010's international intervention began to stabilize the country.

My point is that the "feudalistic" characteristics of the country we quite temporary, and the result of a transition and the collapse of a central government. Hence I think "anarchy" or "lawlessness" are quite apt descriptions. Upvoted for the coherent discussion, though.
  • + 27
 Fuck me, I thought this was a mountain bike website.
  • + 3
 @Hammm: In that case it should be 29 only then....
  • + 3
 @trialsracer: Great comment! Shocked to see it here on PB.

I haven't seen you guys mention that Somalia actually was on the upswing after the US intervention in the 90's, but the de-facto government that was then in place was destabilized by more US intervention. There are some really good podcasts about all this in the archives of the Scott Horton Show/Anti-war radio.

Anyways, back to wheel sizes. Clearly we need the government to get involved to set some standards and price controls. Pffft!
  • + 3
 @EMMURE621: Yes!! Im a Knolly Grassroots rider, and I can tell you #1: We will now do 27.5 podiums, and the last few 26'ers are going out now! But, I suspect, that Knolly will probably never make a true Carbon DH bike, for the people that ride Knolly's, go just too big.
  • + 1
 @Catfood-Johnson: wrong forum,man.
  • + 1
 @lenniDK: Everything comes down to resources and religion, even if the religion is wheelsize and the resources are $10,000 mountain bikes. Catfood's comment is fit for any geek forum you might find, Nintendo vs Sega, Rolex vs. Omega, Ford vs. Chevy, cloth vs disposable diapers...
  • + 1
 There's a 29" Knolly?
  • + 2
 @Catfood-Johnson: Funny, the strong libertarian in me forced me to start the discussion. I actually agree with your distinction. I just hate the connotation of lawlessness with anarchy, because anarchy is lack of the state, in a technical sense. In common usage, of course, the implication is of lack of order, implying anything from lawlessness to vigilante justice etc etc.

In the same way, I always like to tell those who I would consider "leftist statists", or "progressive fascists", but who like to think of themselves as "liberal", that my ideas might just be "too liberal" for them, and force them to consider the technical definition of the term (and hopefully the implications of using force to accomplish progressive ideas).

Good discussion though, maybe we need a forum topic!
  • + 1
 @masongood: I figured that out because I was trying to get a 26" podium and was told that they no longer have large any ore and they are eventually going to 27.5. Carbon isn't always the best.....case in point my 2013 demo 8 carbon. The headset cracked right down the middle. I was so pissed. I want to go back to aluminum, I'm not saying carbon is bad whatsoever but I feel that aluminum better fits me. I had an old azonic gravity and that thing was a friggin tank. I'm still amazed my demo cracked like that.
  • + 38
 Why put carbon rims on an aluminum frame bike after stating that carbon isn't always the best material. Just own up and say that aluminum is cheaper for you work with since you're a small manufacturer. Who is going to pay almost 9 grand for an aluminum frame trail bike?
  • + 12
 I am going to spend these 9 grands. I already own the new Podium and an old Delirium-T, this one could be a good addition to my stable.
I don't care about new standards and all, it's been 20 years I ride MTB and saw many "game changers" appear and disappear. Now I just want a bike that plain works, is fun to ride and that is reliable for years. Never been so satisfied with my 2 Knolly (I even tried the Chilcotin of my father), so yes, I'm gona spend those 9 grand.
  • + 29
 I believe the point was that aluminum frames can still be high end. Not that it's "always better" ... I mean they sell a carbon bike as well ...
  • + 8
 I nearly choked on my breakfast when I saw the price, thinking the same thing, until I looked at the build spec.

The frame itself is $2195 w/ a DBInline, that's not unreasonable for an alloy frame. Most of the alloy frames I've looked at are aimed at the entry level (e.g. Specialized comp level bikes) market and aren't built for a high end build spec like this bike is (most have evo level shocks, for example). This isn't a knock against alloy bikes, just that it seems options for them with high end components are dissipating in favor of carbon.

Also, consider the build spec of the test model and the fact it had almost $2k of upcharges (Per the article above), in the wheelset and cranks, both of which are carbon. Add in the fact it has a X01 build spec, Guide RSC brakes, a Fox 34, and dropper, the price comes together a little more.

I've seen their frames up close and personal, they are nice looking and they look like you could run it over with a car, then ride it. That said, there are a lot of options at that $6k price point and it would be a tough call if I were in the market for a bike, almost all of the other options would be carbon and have a similar build spec.
  • + 3
 Don't forget you can get the Dawn Patrol build kit for under 5k
  • + 7
 Those of us who are tired of breaking and punching holes in carbon on our every-day trail bike. Save the carbon for racing. The price comes from the component spec; the frame by itself isn't that expensive for aluminum.
  • + 10
 @clfry: you punch holes in your carbon frame everyday? i bet your fish stories are awesome!
  • + 2
 @norcal77:
You should learn to read before you type; I didn't say that I punched holes in my frame every day, but that I punched holes in my "every-day trail bike", or , in other words, "the bike that I ride daily"... And yes, my last carbon frame had several punches, cracks and splinters from the abusive, rocky trails that I ride.
  • - 3
 @clfry: stop falling
  • + 1
 @norcal77: Maybe you should grow a pair and ride some real trails.
  • + 36
 A threaded bb and a 12x 142 is all but a sign of staying true to what works
  • + 26
 It absolutely infuriates me as to why the designer has to justify why he has not made the bike out of pissing carbon fibre. When are people going to realise that carbon is not a wonder metarial and it doesnt automatically make a bike amazing just because it is made of carbon.Give me a well designed aluminium bike like this over a carbon bike any day. Well done Knolly that is a great looking bike .
  • + 9
 But it is a wonder material. Yes it costs more and all bikes need to be well designed and built, no matter the material choice. If it isn't in the budget, there are still great aluminum bikes. But carbon is a wonder material for bikes.
  • + 4
 @dfiler: Agreed! Carbon IS a wonder material...

@Matt76: You even put "Avid hater of carbon fibre!" on your profile ... So no real surprise on your opinion I guess? Big Grin

But stating... "Give me a well designed aluminum bike like this over a carbon bike any day" ...

Well... the carbon version of your "well designed bike" would simply be a better version! Smile
A lighter, stronger bike, that would climb easier and have less flex generally...

The science proves it! Wink

youtu.be/xreZdUBqpJs

Look it's each to thier own in this world and buy what you can afford...
Any modern mountain bike is more than capable these days...
But your carbon argument is ridiculous in reality...
Just look at the worlds elite downhill riders and what they are riding! Wink

I'm just thankful your not working as a Formula 1 car designer... Big Grin
  • + 1
 Well yes, but you end up 1kusd lighter.. If you have the money no prob...that carbon warden is a beauty.....
  • - 4
flag trialsracer (May 2, 2016 at 8:46) (Below Threshold)
 @SGTMASON: Do your materials research and you will realize that metal can be tuned extremely well for these type of applications, especially aluminum and steel. The problem is, it gets expensive quickly and is less consistent when you mass-produce it. Carbon, what most people don't understand, is actually cheaper to tune to preferences, because you can use different weaves, layering, resins, etc. It can also be replicated easily, once you have the molds and layups worked out.

A carbon version would not be a "better version" unless it was made to be a better version. What you are really saying is, "If a carbon version were made, it could be made to ride better for a moderate increase in price."
  • + 4
 @dfiler & SGTMASON :
Carbon is a wonderful material in that it creates tons of new degrees of freedom for design, and can be achieved with lower weight. This also means the possibility to make a lot of bone-headed decisions that compromise the dynamic performance but are basically forgiven as a result of low overall weight, and the ability to band-aid the handling with good suspension products and high end cockpit. A surprisingly small section of carbon fibre framed bikes are actually better as a result of having composite construction - the weight delta masks a lot of the deficiencies, and the inadvertent compliance for bigger riders achieved hitting weight targets actually makes them much better, but a lof of bike designs really don't to an intelligent job of leveraging those benefits.

If you see how much aluminum is present on top level UCI DH bikes, you'll see that Aluminum still has a place. There are still full 6061AL frames being raced on the downhill circuit, as well as EWS. Sure, there is a lot of carbon front triangle happening.

Basically, the fixed costs associated with getting carbon molds ready and sorting out layups is why it costs more, and making changes to those is also astronomically expensive. For a smaller manufacturer, they can create a bike that's more dialed and get it to their buyers in Aluminum for so much less cost that throwing some cockpit/drivetrain/suspension bling onto it still nets a lower final bike weight for the same cost (until we're entering the $6000 USD regime).

The ability of bigger brands with a lot of pull in bigger overseas carbon manufacturing to roll out tons of bikes is just an effect of them having enough market share to eat those fixed costs up front each time they need a design change, and having the resources to do a lot more validation testing on test mules before they have to finalize carbon setups (also, having access to pre-production OEM stuff helps a ton too).
  • + 3
 @trialsracer:
Obviously the carbon version of @Matt76's "well designed bike" 'wouldn't be better', if it were a 'poorly made' carbon version...
I was talking about his "well designed bike" made of both materials in direct comparison to each other....
I expect his "well designed bike" means it's of high quality in either material...Wink

And yes it would be more expensive... I never implied it wouldn't. Big Grin
  • + 6
 @tehllama: Not really sure what your point was directing to buddy?
If it's a "well designed bike" as Matt76 had said... Then your comments on poor dynamic performance are moot?
I also never presumed carbon frame creation was cheap? Your not telling me something I'm not already familiar with regarding the processes involved and the expense... In fact, I've learned that on a personal level from my present and past bike choices... Big Grin

And yes... there's plenty of aluminum bikes in the UCI DH, but...
Gwin's bike... carbon.
Loic's bike... carbon.
Stevie's bike... carbon.
Troy's bike... carbon.
Gee's bike... carbon
Rachel's bike... carbon...

You get were I'm going don't you? Big Grin
  • - 3
 @SGTMASON: Bullshit. Its not a wonder materiel its just an altenative. Funny how Gee Atherton won a DH world championship on a metal bike a beat all the carbon fibre ones!!! It always makes me laugh when people compare F1 to mountain biking. The 2 cannot be campared in anyway whats so ever. Also for your information i am a masive motorsport fan and have actually had the pleasure of visiting the Williams F1 factory, they are not just made of carbon fibre you know!!
  • - 3
 Da fack yo ass talkin bout...! NEVER GOING BACK TO ALLOY!
  • + 2
 @Matt76: I did not compare F1 to mountain biking... I said I'm glad your not an F1 car designer... Very different! Wink
It was about pointing out your inability to accept innovation and progress that I was eluding to! Wink

As I said... "You even put "Avid hater of carbon fibre!" on your profile" ... So it'll be pointless to try and have an unbiased conversation about it with you obviously... Big Grin
  • + 1
 @Matt76: "Bullshit. Its not a wonder materiel its just an altenative"....

Yes, like bacon is a better alternative to Quorn... Big Grin
  • + 2
 @SGTMASON: You know these guys dont exactly choose their ride, right?
  • + 0
 @thebikings: Really?... Gwin didn't have a choice about what team he went to? The Athertons? You think they would choose aluminum bikes instead of the carbon ones? Really? Big Grin
  • + 1
 @SGTMASON: of course gwin did have a choice. Just dont think that the deciding factor was the bike...
  • - 3
 @SGTMASON: I can dislike what the f**k i want dude whether you like it or not. Thanks for checking out my profile by the way and quoting what i've put on it . Just for the record i cant be arsed to look at yours!.
  • - 1
 @Matt76: Your a very negative chap aren't you? Big Grin
  • + 1
 @SGTMASON: Gee and Rachel (and Dan) were on aluminum bikes last year. Didn't much seem to slow any of them down.

All other things equal, I'll take the advantages of a carbon fiber bike.
As a tall guy, it's very rare for all things to be equal.

This is especially true with the damping characteristics when somebody my size is putting absurdly huge loads on a frame when using much of the travel, or how overall structural rigidity pans out when putting clyde-proof stuff onto a bike (or god forbid budget is actually a consideration).
  • + 18
 $2750.00 for a set of carbon rims, NO THANKS!
  • + 8
 Then don't buy them. Nobody is forcing you to.
  • + 9
 They make million dollar cars too. . . . . . !
  • + 10
 It's nice that some brands still offer top of the line Al models! Like this Endorphin, or a Spectral 8.0 EX which would probably fulfill many pinkbikers needs, or Commencal lineup where you can't find carbon. Wheels, frames, handlebars... We don't always want carbon, and when we do well it's a pricey choice...
  • + 13
 Came for the comments... stayed for the bike.
  • + 8
 Looking at the Geometry and suspension spec, I don't see why descending isn't a strength... sometimes I think testers just pull these things out of their ass for the sake of drama.
  • + 2
 Initial impressions were made in mixed PNW conditions with a Minion SS out back. Takes time to regain confidence in a bike, and in many regards the author is comparing the downhill performance against the 'dominate a local Enduro' claims, and other bikes that can be built up in the same weight-cost regime (which includes some carbon Enduro super-bikes that can get to the same weight for the same price, and would descend better).
  • + 8
 Just like it's predecessor the Endorphin 27.5 hits well above it's weight class while retaining fun and playful characteristics. Love how Knolly is all about the spirit of riding!
  • + 0
 They downhill offering (podium) is a bit dated.
  • + 2
 @MX298: Maybe, but mine still puts a huge smile on my face every time.
  • + 6
 Alright, I own a 2016 endorphin and let me say a few things. I DID NOT pay 9k for it, in fact way less than half that. The i9s don't come stock, you can add them to your build kit for an extra 1,700 something. The stock rims are spank trails (alu).

And the linkage works great. Some people say it looks weird or flexy... Knollys are VERY stiff, and the suspension works amazingly. And I think the bike looks damn sexy.

And lastly. Aluminum isn't just entry level. There are tons of riders (including myself) that prefer alu over carbon. Plus knolly does make a carbon bike. This bike is great, so don't bash on it until you've ridden one.
  • + 0
 Assuming you're talking to commenters since the reviewer has clearly ridden it. That being said, having recently tested a 2016 endo I too found it to be very underwhelming when it came to very fast, very rough tracks. I have a specific section of trail I like to test bikes on (long, wide, rocky downhill where braking is not required on most bikes) and I found myself feeling sketched out of the endo. Not sure if it was flexing or what but when compared to other bikes I've tested there (slayer, sb6c, jekyll, spec enduro, mojo HD, etc) the difference was very apparent. I did enjoy it in the slow tech stuff though
  • + 3
 Yeah talking to commenters. I guess I've had a different experience than levy and you, since my impression of the endo has been the faster the better. Although I do find the limit to be big jumps (20 feet on the endo feels really sketchy) and unforgiving rock gardens. Although I am pretty short at 5'8" (I'm 15) riding a medium frame, so the bike is a bit big for me. Several people are gonna call me crazy for racing DH on a trail bike. And they're right, DH might be pushing the limits of the endo. But I don't care, I love my bike and imma ride it till it won't let me
  • + 2
 @shredjekyll: how on earth would you expect a 130mm bike to descend as well as a sb6 or an HD or an Enduro ? All with 30mm plus more travel. Likely burlier forks, wheels and tires ? That's not apples to apples. A Warden is more apples to apples. A sb6 is a long low slack enduro racer lol. What do you expect?
  • + 4
 @wilks: You should be asking Knolly that question, not me. They are the ones who said "will dominate your local enduro race". Which is why I tested it in the same conditions....... Figured that was obvious.
  • + 2
 @shredjekyll: Maybe they said 'local' on purpose. It would not dominate an EWS series race.
  • + 7
 okay, well I just got back from a ride on my Endorphin. I was out there for a few hours, and given that tons of people in the comments are questioning this bike and saying Knolly is just full of marketing BS I decided what the hell, why not just take it way out of it's "comfort zone". Now, I do ride for Knolly (kind of) so take this as you will. And yes, before you complain about me not paying full price for it, I don't know your struggle... I'm not that important so while I didn't pay full price I still paid a fair amount. but the reality is that you can find the exact bike I ride for well under 5k.

As for it's capabilities. It can be ridden on DH tracks fast. But you will be shitting your pants, as I do when I race DH on the endo. I wouldn't say a downhill bike is light years faster, but it's a lot more forgiving than my endorphin. On my endorphin on the DH tracks I feel like I need to hop and skip through the rock gardens, but on my friends transition tr500 I could really plough through the gnar. That's not to say the Endorphin can't be ridden through fast gnarly sections though. Today I really tried to push the limits of the bike and never felt like it wasn't about can the bike ride it, it was can I ride it. Honestly I think it's more capable than the 130mm of travel suggests. But like I said, when you ride fast and aggressive on tracks you would normally find a DH bike on you find it's limits pretty quickly. Especially when jumping. As I said before, when the jumps start nearing 20 feet then it's time for the downhill bike. Really it's a capable bike that can be ridden through some burly stuff, but when you make a mistake in a high speed rock garden you might be more f*cked than you would be on a downhill bike.

In summary I'm getting pissed off at all these people complaining about price. The reason this bike is 8k is because of the i9 pillar wheels and the build kit. AGAIN you can pay half of that without even getting a deal as long as you're okay with an X1 drivetrain and the lower version Guide brakes.

Anyways, I love the bike, I think it's pretty capable, and you don't have to pay 8 thousand for it.
  • + 3
 @shredjekyll: Well you're comparing it to 6" enduro/AM bikes. I've found the Endorphin to be amazingly stable and gnar-capable in rough terrain when compared to bikes in its class(it is just a 130mm bike after all) , but, what's amazing to me is that geometry-wise it feels every bit as confidence inspiring in rough, fast descents as much bigger bikes like my Chilcotin for instance (until you run out of travel in really chunky, big drop, big gap territory).
  • + 8
 So my take is that Mike Levy might prefer the 26" Endorphin rather than this new version...? Wink
  • + 5
 Glad i decide to pick the 26" version then. Its a naughty little beast, did few downhill lap on it. Except the big drops or a big double it can handle obstacles very well even if you suddenly decide to pick a bad line juat for fun.
  • + 7
 I am currently on a Warden, and can unequivocally say that the 26" Endorphin was the best bike I have ever ridden.
  • + 1
 For most reviewers to give a bike a glowing review it would have to be a 29er. Just look at the guys from bikemag and their bible of tests. I swear they have a love fest on anything big wheeled.
  • + 1
 @digitalsoul: That's cuz there so damn fun man!
  • + 1
 @Broth-Ratchurch: I am still on my 26" Endo as it's f in' amazing and the Warden couldn't tempt me off it before. I absolutely love it. And yes, it has ridden a couple of EWS races. It didn't win, of course, but I wouldn't have been anywhere near the podium on another bike either! I run it with a 160mm fork and it is just one of the most ridiculously capable bikes. That said, I have a carbon Warden in the post because there's only so long you can hold out against the temptation of a sweet sweet new Knolly...I haven't tested a small Warden, so I have high hopes for this one. Not giving up the Endo though! From my cold, dead hands...
  • + 5
 Hold on, a review that suggests a Knolly can't keep up with another bike on the downs!


A side question. Steep techy climbing at times requires snappy out if the saddle acceleration. My experience is that Horst link designs typically lack enough anti-squat to do well in this area. Upping the LSC is an option to address this. Or, is one better off with a suspension design that has more inherent anti-squat?
  • + 7
 Now thats a proper rig not a plastic show pony, although I do like a show pony.
  • + 2
 So much love/hate for (insert bike) on PB when in reality pretty much everything reviewed here in the last few years is gonna be pretty sweet for its intended purpose. Sure we all have preferences in ride quality, but I think it's mostly splitting hairs IMO. And some amazing marketing. Fuuk marketing!
  • + 2
 "unnecessary compared to many of the great performing, reasonably priced aluminum wheelsets out there"
Or just, you know, reasonably priced carbon wheelsets under a grand that'll be at least as good.

On topic though, I'd love to try a knolly, though a warden would probably make more sense.
  • + 2
 The endorphin 26" is a super capable bike, that can handle a lot more than you think, and climb like a billy goat! For the pnw trails, the bike is perfect. I can't imagine this new one is any less awesome. Skip the b.s. and just go ride!
  • + 2
 I still love the look of TIG welds! I have always liked the knollys. Test rode the Warden last year and was impressed with the climbing traction and it came down nice and smooth. Wow this is beginning to sound like a trashy novel! Well that's what a knolly will do to you...Shwing! Hey and Noel's even came out to ride with us when we demo'd the bike. He is a Fukin genius that talks about engineering mumbo jumbo at my grade 12 education. Guess I should have continued with my education so I could afford one. But one day...she will be mine.
  • + 3
 I've owned Giant, Trek, Specialized and now a Knolly Warden...No bike can hold a line like Knolly...I will never buy any other brand...You can trust in a company run by an engineer, very intelligent one at that...
  • + 2
 all these articles on 'whos bike is better for this and that' is keeping way to many people from riding Thats why you sell your enduro bike and get back to FREERIDE then who knows maybe you'll enjoy riding instead of frolliking over carbon and aluminum shiznat just ride
  • + 2
 People balking at the price is funny. Here's my endorphin build...
New frame
New Derby rims/bhs hubs
Used Manitou mattoc 150
Xt brakes/cranks

Swapping over other parts to complete build. So far I've got 3400 in it. I'll be piecing together sram 1x11 components as funds allow but it'll be a great bike as is. Looking forward to riding this little beast.
  • + 2
 "The bike felt less at home as the speeds picked up, however, and fast, ledgy sections of trail tended to upset the Endorphin more than some other bikes of similar travel, like the 130mm Ibis Mojo 3 or 140mm Devinci Troy." I'll take my money someplace else! Santa Cruz, please bring back the Blur TR in aluminum 26"!!!
  • + 5
 Where is the wannabe VitalMTB suspension kinematics tiny video? I wanna see those baby-D pivots moving!
  • + 4
 Swapped down from a 6" travel rig non-Knolly brand, to the Endorphin this year & nothing but Miles & Smiles...
  • + 5
 Don't knock a Knolly bike unless you have tried a Knolly bike...
  • + 1
 $8500.00CDN for an alloy bike is a little crazy I feel. I can only speak for what i have the most experience on so... You can get the Process 134 Supreme for $6300.00CDN... It weighs 29 pounds as it comes and isn't equipped with the lightest wheel set available so really getting close to the same weight as the Knolly would be pretty achievable. I will give Knolly a point over the Process since it comes with a threaded BB and not a noise maker.... err.. I mean Pressfit.
  • + 1
 Presshit bb is an immediate no
  • + 1
 Anyone claiming the 4by4 suspension isn't good is crazy. It's excellent and the quality and detail of the frames are awesome. I'm so sick of people complaining about price. High end bikes are effing expensive. All the top offerings are so get over it.
  • + 4
 love the non-drive side shots of full suspension bikes, so much easier to see everything
  • + 1
 I think knolly bikes look amazing and have herd such good reviews but the price (for me at least) is steep, I understand that they aren't entry level bikes or anything close to that but 8k on a all mountain seems crazy. Maybe 8k on a DH rig but for something you won't be able to ride park with (my opinion) is a like nuts.
  • + 1
 I am in a dilemma, but arent we all when buying a new bike.. Live in East TN and ride North GA and Western NC. Looking at the Endorphin and Scout, but what shorter chainstays, i feel as if these bikes wont be enough in the carnage. So this also makes me consider a Patrol and a Warden Obviously a 160mm bike may be overkill, and a pain on the climbs, but i want one bike that will cover the basis. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated
  • + 1
 I love my 26" endo, the bike is awesome on the jump lines and the trails. I definitely would like to see a carbon version of the new 27.5 model. I also love my 2016 delirium, another fun machine. I have been a knolly owner for years and have had several of them. All have been reliable and bullet proof in feel and reliability. That said, imho they aren't the best bikes for racing something like enduro or xc, but they are the most fun bikes I've owned.

For racing, I ride my 2015 Carbon Nomad, it pedal more efficiently for me and is a great handling bike. For a fun ride I would take my new delirium any day of the week over the Nomad. Both have similar builds but the knolly just seems to feel better in the gnar and off the jumps.

Not sure why people are freaking out about the price. That build is pretty baller, spec out any 2k priced frame and it would cost about the same. If it's too much than go shimano xt, stans flow, your choice of fork and other components to bring the cost into your price range.
  • + 1
 Ive been running a Chilcotin for a few years now and it really is a do it all bike depending on setup. They are defiantly a premium al frame and the finish and quality are second to none. Only down side to the four bar set up is when its time to replace the bearings , theres four sets to replace but only need doing once a year.
  • - 18
flag davidsimons (May 2, 2016 at 4:14) (Below Threshold)
 I've NEVER had to change any pivot bearings on my Trek hardtail, it's been 2 years now...
  • + 0
 @davidsimons: truth hurts sometimes I guess why they neg propped you
  • + 10
 @weebleswobbles: Or they neg propped because he is comparing a hardtail to a frickin full suspension bike. Take your trek hardtail off multiple large drops at high speeds and get back to me.
  • + 1
 @shredjekyll: I have ridden my azonic evolution on every trail at northstar..loved it..that bike is solid.. But prefer the downhill rig there for sure.. As for trek hardtail not sure how that bike would hold up as a free ride hardtail..I have zero experience with trek
  • + 0
 @shredjekyll: Do it on a stache all day long!
  • + 0
 @bohns1: So cool! Much wow! Point is, you can't go anywhere near as fast/big on a hardtail as you can on a suspended bike. If you, weebles, or davidsimons could you would be racing professionally and winning.
  • + 2
 @shredjekyll: That's not what u said tho yo..U said to get back to u if peeps do big drops on hardtails..Well ,I obliged cuz I do...

Also who said anything about racing pro..I'm a mountain biker ..Plain and simple
  • - 1
 @shredjekyll: I definitely have taken it off big drops at speed..I probably could be racing professionally and winning but how many other things in life would I have to give up? Not everyone gets that lot in life just handed to them
  • + 3
 This comments section is obsurd. People need to stop pushing their opinions on everyone else. Also if someone doesnt agree, dont turn it into a pissing match.
  • + 3
 Rad rig. Digs the raw frame and welds. Wondered how it rides compared to the Canfield Riot...
  • + 2
 Knolly has recently stated they're designing a 29er so I'm super excited to see what they come up with to compare it to my Riot
  • + 1
 Dont know about Formula design, I was considering a Balance... ended with a Warden.. believe the hype.. the 4X4 system is wizardry. Once you climb and descend a few trails you are like WTF !!!!!
  • + 2
 I don't buy into the fourby4 marketing speak. I don't see anything achieved in the kinematics that hasn't been done by a simpler Horst link linkage.
  • + 3
 Im pretty sure when they first rolled out Fourby4 it was really just to get around the patent.
  • + 1
 It really works, I ride a Delirium, and the fourby4 is unbelievable. It's reliable on everything, it rolls smooth in the packed sections, and it takes the contours of loose and rooty ground even better. You can feel everything without being uncomfortable aboard the bike. It feels like a short back end, something like a Kona Entourage, but preform and look like a true downhill machine with an elongated frame to cover the biggest of bumps.
  • + 5
 8000 usd? Wtf..
  • + 0
 Bought a Warden last week. Never even got the chance to demo it first. Very impressed with my Rhinestone Cowboy. Super fun. Rolls fast. Comparing to carbon bikes I have tried, spend the money on Fox and CC. You'll notice more benefit than a carbon frame kitted with rockshox. And you'll save about 3g. Just my opinion.
  • - 1
 These bikes are Trash. Talk about a Band-Aid solution to get around patients.
Just wait until you have to overhaul the rear end. I think there are like 12 bearings in that thing.
15 dollars each plus at least 2.5hrs to complete the job @60hr. That's about $330 plus tax.
  • + 6
 Or you could by the bearings yourself and do the work yourself. It's pretty simple. There's probably even a youtube video of how to do it. Grab a beer - or 5 - and spend and evening taking care of your bike and save yourself some money.
  • + 1
 I have had 5 Knollies over the years. Have never had to change a bearing. Only changed the igus bushings a single time and that was when I bought a used Endorphin. INA bearings are not cheap, but they are also about the best you can get.
  • + 1
 I have thrashed my 26 Endo for 4 years. Never had to change a bearing. Never made a noise.
  • + 2
 @ratedgg13: We are talking about magazine Isle mountain bikers here.
They would try to do the bearings, and 15mins later would have the bike in
at the local shop because they blew the bearing race out. Lets me realistic here.
hahahaha!! But yeah. I agree, just f*cking giver.
  • - 2
 @mykel: 5 Knollies over the years. That's like one a year. Of course you haven't had to do bearings.
They usually last about a season, 2 max. I have 7 pairs of under wear. They last me all week.
  • + 1
 @dockjump: Don't assume too much.
They do make bikes for different purposes.

I have 3 that are built and ridden regularly.
Mark 6 Delirium w 5 seasons
2nd gen Endorphin with 2 seasons
2nd gen Podium with 3 seasons

Thanks for playing
  • + 1
 I like it. Would like it more if it was a degree or so slacker. Chuck an angleset in and it's probably the type of bike 95% of people should be on
  • + 1
 That's one sexy looking bike for sure. Still out of my price range.. Build your own. You Get what you want, more fun to ride your own build
  • + 4
 Threaded bottom bracket.
  • + 3
 Knollys linkage look really weird to me :S
  • + 2
 Blinkin' eck, so many underpants all twisted up because of a bike. Have a brew and calm down
  • + 1
 Its an awesome bike with out a doubt but why do bike builders including trek have to compare their product to formula one race cars?!!
  • + 4
 They both have bouncy parts.
  • + 4
 he's just saying that Knolly's usage of added linkage to tune suspension is a common practice is high end suspension.
  • + 3
 Formula 1 suspention keeps every tire, wether it be Knolly Fourby4 or Red Bull BMW, keeps the tire glued to the ground AT ALL SPEEDS. It's dependent on the frame and bike/car itself to provide traction, rather than betting on a specific set of ground angles to be within limits. It is effective without having a huge stroke shock, it is much more easily tuned with adjustment of the shock, (rebound, compression, air) than with changing say, the bridge length. I ride for Knolly Bikes on my 2016 Delirium, and I can tell you that it always has control of the back end, you can feel every contour when you want, and none of it when you don't, it rolls smooth, and it navigates rough and loose ground best.
  • + 1
 Mike- How does this endorphin compare to the 26" endorphin? Not sure if I would want to stick with the new endorphin or bump up to the warden when I get a new Knolly.
  • + 2
 Seems like one conclusion you can definitely make from the review is that the 26 is better for high speed ripping
  • + 1
 I always thought their bikes look odd with such a small main pivot, and their bikes do look super heavy. Looks can be deceiving, I guess.
  • + 2
 Doerphlin, Buehler, Matthews....have you seen their edits. Pretty sure the bikes are OK ;-)
  • + 2
 I just want to ride my current bike on that F$CKING AWESOME TRAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 3
 Add 3 CMs of travel and call it the Endurphin.
  • + 4
 And that would be a warden
  • + 2
 Nice bike. Not a big fan of that seat angle.
  • + 1
 Didn't even read the review after I saw the price. What is wrong with this industry? Stop paying these outrageous prices
  • + 2
 then you didn't see you can get it for under 5k
  • + 1
 Agreed
  • + 1
 Regardless of what it's made of these bikes will but a smile on anyones face.
  • + 2
 Love the look of this rig!
  • + 2
 I have a 2016 Endo. It's an incredible bike. I'd recommend it to anyone.
  • - 1
 Unless they're looking to win enduro races.. Many better options.
  • + 1
 @shredjekyll: Depends on the Enduro. Many of the races I do are much more pedaly and trail-bike friendly than your typical lift served/DH track EWS type offering. In this case the Endorphin would be a very good option. Not sure what Mike's problem was with descending, but the Endorphin is fast and stable. I've PR'ed a fast, steep, loose, semi sketchy enduro race segment with it that I've ridden a dozens of times on several different bikes.
  • - 1
 Why would I do this. the frame looks like the OLD KHS 650B with a couple changes. If you go Alloy stay with someone that makes bikes,. Intense, KHS and Giant. No Sticker Brands for me.
  • + 2
 Knolly are not sticker bikes. They are designed in Canada using a Knolly designed, patented suspension system that is not available to anybody else. Just about as far from a catalogue frame as you can get.
  • + 1
 Oh god I looked directly at it. Now my eyes are bleeding!
  • + 1
 wish they have a 29er, a low, slack, short travel 29er.. amen...
  • + 1
 knolly endorphin or transition scout? someone help =/
  • + 1
 So Mike, would you pick the Endorphin over the Warden for Squamish?
  • + 1
 I laughed at $8600 stopped caring at $4800... this is getting stupid.
  • + 1
 Mike, could you give a quick comparison to the Transition Scout please?
  • + 7
 I sort of can , i had a 26" Endorphin , it climbs like a goat, better than my ex Capra !
The Scout is more of a plodder, it is also poppier and rails better.As much as i lover the Endo, it was the most high maintenance bike i've ever owned, i could not stop it creaking, i even paid a shop to sort it ,lasted a few rides.
Took it to Morzine, it didn't like it !
  • + 2
 @pigman65: thanks man - I asked @mikelevy as I have a Scout and love it but the Endorphin is pretty much the only frame I'd think about swapping it out for. Boys at a bike shop were blown away by the build quality and ride of the Warden when they started stocking Knolly - plus, the raw finish...
  • + 3
 @jimmyconnors: So many bikes, so little time !
  • + 6
 @pigman65: ...and so little money....
  • + 3
 This may or may not help, but I've been on a Warden for almost two seasons now. It has been a blast to ride. About a month ago, I rode my LBS's Scout for the weekend. The Scout made quite an impression on me. In fact, I had so much fun on it, that I purchased a Patrol. The Scout made my local trails fun again. I know that the Warden has 25mm more of travel than the Scout and different geo, but riding the Scout showed me that the Warden gobbles up everything and really isn't that playful on xc trails. I got the Patrol because I was so impressed with what Transition did with a classic suspension design. Basically, Knolly's suspension design is great, but don't think it is some magic elixir like some of the Knolly diehards think it is.

I agree with @pigman65 - my Warden requires constant attention to avoid creaking and bolts backing out. It's interesting that @mikelevy stated "I've spent a considerable amount of time on at least three different Knollys over the years and have had zero issues with hardware backing out . . ." It's almost like he's acknowledging a problem that according to him doesn't exist. Anyways, if you do get an Endo, just know that you'll need to spend 5 minutes a week checking bolts, which is no big deal.
  • + 1
 @RichPune: I'll stop idly dreaming of another bike then - from XC to uplift so far I've had a blast, I guess I was under the impression that the four x 4 was streets ahead of the competition and might cope with fast and rough better. I'll just try and convince a mate to get one so I can ride it.
  • + 2
 @RichPune: Baloney. Never once had a single issue with anything 'backing out' on my Knolly's...not the old Delerium T, nor my current trail built Chilly...and I ride the Chilly on average 30 hours a week. Sure I check the pivots for tightness just to be on the safe side, but I've never, and I mean not a single time have I ever had anything 'back out' or 'come loose'.

As for myself, I did the exact opposite of You : I was on a Carbon Santa Cruz for a while which I got as payment for work I'd done for a customer, and I gave it to my brother. Seems to me that a Knolly is made for a certain type of rider, which, to me, seems to equate to someone who makes utmost use of incredible rear traction at any--angle, and, which is super stiff and very very comfortable to ride hours on end. Add to this the fact that the Knolly allows you to get away with all kinds of stupid mistakes or 'experiments' as you try to push your current degree of talent to the next level... Riding my Knollys has contributed to making me a better and more capable rider with the passage of each month. I can try stuff on my Knolly that I would--not dare attempt on any of my other bikes... Once in a while I try another bike, only to go back to my Knolly's.
  • + 1
 Also, regarding 'built' price : If you're smart, you can build an $8 thousand dollar bike for LESS than half that cost. I built ALL of my bikes in the dead of winter...where you can, if you try, hunt down 'thee' best top shelf components for less than half of what they cost 'in season'. If I were build my current Chilly right now during peak season, it would have cost me close to 8 grand, but instead it cost me just under 4. And the same can be true for an Endorphin build as well.
  • + 2
 I love my Knolly.......
  • + 0
 Looking at this and the warden to replace my frame
  • - 2
 I skipped the whole review when I saw the price ... Im sorry but 8,500$ for an aluminum frame is pure theft.. Note even in the realm of reasonable
  • - 1
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7G7xOG2Ag (-- the suspension is fully explained at about 1:29 Smile
  • + 0
 i9 hubs 3
  • - 3
 Close to 9 grand for an aluminum bike..no thanks.
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