Knolly Warden - Review

Jun 23, 2014
by Mike Levy  



Knolly's 150mm travel Warden rolls on 650B wheels and, to be completely honest, I was a little apprehensive about that fact. You might expect us to say that bigger wheels are better, but their 26" Endorphin impressed me so much when I reviewed it last year that I did my best to hold onto the day-glo bike for as long as possible. The Warden that's reviewed here sports an extra 10mm of travel and larger hoops, but its geometry is somewhat similar to the Endorphin. There is also the fact that the bike is also unmistakably a Knolly: aluminum tubing, mostly external cable routing, that now familiar 'Four by 4' linkage, and sensible construction that includes replaceable ISCG 05 tabs, a threaded bottom bracket shell, and a pinch bolt 12 x 142mm axle. As always, Knolly's bikes are more about long term durability and function rather than whatever the latest trend may be telling you what you need to have fun. Knolly through and through. Our high-end SRAM build kit is combo'd with a RockShox Pike up front and Cane Creek's DBair CS shock, adding up to a $6,841 USD price tag, but the frame and same shock can be had for $2,795 USD should you want to assemble it how you see fit.


Warden Details

• Intended use: all-mountain
• Wheel size: 650B
• Rear wheel travel: 150
• Aluminum frame
• Tapered head tube
• Titanium pivot hardware
• 12 x 142 rear axle w/ pinch bolts
• Internal / external dropper post routing
• Replaceable ISCG 05 tabs
• MSRP: $6,841 USD



Knolly Warden Headtube
  An aluminum frame, external cable routing, and classic pinch bolt rear axle setup all lean towards function instead of fashion.


While I might not call the Warden sleek looking, it does have a unique appearance that has grown on me over the many months that I've had it in my stable, and I'd say that it's more bruiser than streamlined. Cables are all strung externally, save for the option of routing the seat post's line within the frame, and Knolly has built-in a couple of clever options that allow for some flexibility should you find yourself making wholesale changes in the drivetrain department: not only is the multi-position front derailleur mount removable, the bike's ISCG 05 chain guide tabs can also be replaced or taken off entirely if they're not needed. Just as with Knolly's other machines, tire clearance on the back of the Warden is exceptional. Want to install some big 2.5" rubber for your upcoming day in the bike park? Go right ahead. There is also a standard pinch bolt arrangement keeping the bike's 12 x 142mm axle in place that, although requiring both 4mm and 6mm hex keys, looks burly enough to never have me worrying about it coming loose.


Knolly Warden Photo by Amy McDermid
  The bike's 150mm of rear wheel travel is controlled by Knolly's 'Four by 4' linkage design.



The Warden's Suspension Explained

The bike's 'Four by 4' linkage looks a lot like a common four-bar design that has had a set of links added that only complicate matters, but there is a some sound theory behind the design. The Warden's seat tube position is a key factor in the layout, with its forward position relative to the norm allowing the bike's seat to be more out of the way when lowered for technical terrain, but the slack angle of the seat tube means that it's in roughly the correct position for pedalling. This fact, along with Knolly's desire to not have to use lengthy and more flexible seat stays, necessitates the secondary linkage that is used to both push on the rocker arm and tie the system to the seat tube. There is a degree of added complexity and associated hardware that comes with the design, but it has been executed quite smartly. There are also clevis pivots that join the rocker arm with DU bushings to save weight in a location that sees minimal stress, and the co-pivot at the top of the seat stay saves further grams by eliminating another set of hardware (pictured to the right).




Specifications
Release Date 2014
Price $6841
Travel 150
Rear Shock Cane Creek DBair CS
Fork Rock Shox PIKE RCT3 160mm
Headset Cane Creek "40" series - ZS44 upper / ZS56 lower
Cassette SRAM X01 11 speed
Crankarms Race Face NEXT SL w/ 30t ring
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01, 11 speed
Chain SRAM X01
Shifter Pods SRAM X01, 11 speed
Handlebar Race Face NEXT '35' - 760mm
Stem Race Face Atlas '35' - 65mm
Grips Lizard Skins Knolly Charger
Brakes Shimano XT - 180/180 rotor
Hubs Stan's 3.30HD
Rim Stan's Flow EX
Tires Maxxis Minion 27.5x2.3 DHF / DHR II
Seat Chromag Lynx DT
Seatpost KS LEV Integra
Knolly Warden Photo by Amy McDermid










Climbing

There seems to be a bit of a competition to see who can make the longest and slackest mid-travel bike these days, which is all well and good if you believe that your sole mission come the weekend is to crush the downs, but there are still a few hardy few out there who take an equal amount of pride from scaling the impossible. Images of Knolly sender James Doerfling launching over chasms come to mind when one thinks of the Canadian company, but the 150mm travel Warden seems to have been penned for those riders mentioned previously, with it managing to claw its way up vertical tests like purpose-built rock crawler. That's not to say that the bike can't be ridden down the gnar or over said chasms - more on that below - just that I was surprised by what I managed to get up when aboard the black Knolly. I shouldn't have been, though, because the 26" wheeled Endorphin behaved in the same manner. ''In fact, the trickier the climb, the better it performs, with great traction on hand that seems to search out any available bite,'' were my words when I reviewed the Endo last August. ''Rear wheel spin was near nonexistent so long as I had the slightest bit of form, even when I was flailing up a stepped pitch that did its best to make my life difficult, and that fact always seemed to keep the bike moving forwards rather than stalling out.'' The Warden's chain stays are just 4mm longer than what the Endo sports, and the bike's larger diameter wheels give it a slightly better roll-over abilities on rough, stepped climbs, putting any failed attempts squarely on a lack of fitness or handling skills.
bigquotesIf you stumble on technical climbs you should seriously consider a bike that will make the most of what skills you do have. The Warden can do precisely that, taking you from zero to hero so long as you can turn the cranks over and keep it pointed in the right direction - it's that good.

The Warden's ability to channel Spider-Man has a lot to do with how compact it feels when the switchbacks begin to seem like another is starting before you're out of the last one, and the lack of a travel-adjust fork never held the bike back - get used to how it handles and get on with it. And even though the bike grew in length by just a hair under an inch compared to the Endo, I still had the distinct impression of knowing precisely where its rear wheel was in such terrain. That's not something that can be said about a lot of the current crop of mid-travel bikes, so it was a nice change to literally be able to breeze up things that troubled machines who think it's only about the downs. Newsflash: there's mountain biking to be done, and that very often means climbs that are even more challenging than the downs that follow. With the Cane Creek DBair CS shock, meaty tires that can be aired down low enough to barely register on a gauge, and a stubby rear end that delivers traction to you on a platter, the Warden seems to be tailor made for just that sort of riding. I'm not going to go lightly here: the Warden is probably the best 150mm travel bike that I've been on when talking about technical climbing.

Knolly Warden Photo by Amy McDermid
  Half the fun of the Warden is pointing it up silly climbs that your friends have bet that you can't clean. Be sure to make those bets count because they'll quickly learn their lesson and stop doubting you.

I believe that it makes a hell of a lot of sense to tailor your equipment to your weakness, which is actually the exact opposite of how so many people think when considering their next bike. Do you climb like the space shuttle but descend like a European in white bib shorts? Then consider getting yourself something big, slack, and more forgiving because you'll still be able to get it up pitches that your buddies struggle with on their cross-country bikes. Conversely, if you stumble on technical climbs you should seriously consider a bike that will make the most of what skills you do have. The Warden can do precisely that, taking you from zero to hero so long as you can turn the cranks over and keep it pointed in the right direction - it's that good.




Downhill / Technical Riding

All that rambling about the Warden's technical climbing prowess shouldn't out-shadow how much fun it is when you point it in the opposite direction. Remember what I said about the pendulum swinging towards bigger and badder mid-travel bikes? Add a few inches to the wheelbase, subtract a few degrees from the head angle, and viola, you have a bike that only works when you unleash the beast on truly beastly terrain. Those same bikes often leave me a bit deflated when I'm looking for fun rather than fear, but the Warden has an entirely different sort of character. Rigs likes this are purpose built to make you forget about your shitty day at work, your loud kids, and your spouse yelling at you for buying this exact bike. (edited: a previous version of this story contained an inappropriate comment) It's nice how things can balance out like that when you make the having fun a priority, which is exactly what Knolly have done with the Warden, and they've done such a good job that it's going to take a four foot diameter cedar tree to wipe the smile off of your face. I found myself with the front wheel off the deck for long periods of time, first just to manual out of necessity, but then because it just felt like the right thing to. It feels good, very much like when you put your spare change in that little plastic box beside the cash register at the grocery store that supposedly goes towards summer camp for blind children. Yes, like that but actually a bit more rewarding.

The Warden is impressively capable when the trail gets slow and techy, and its lively personality lets you pop around for more than just shits and giggles, but also to get you through tricky sections when it's time to do work. It feels like quite a sharp handling bike when the speeds drop, and while that sort of attribute doesn't add up to bucket loads of confidence when it gets fast enough to make you take note of your exposed knees and half-shell helmet, it does mean that you can thread your way through some seriously tangled bits of singletrack. Handling certainly feels like it airs on the quicker side of things for 150mm travel bikes, but that's what makes the Warden what it is.

Knolly Warden Photo by Amy McDermid
  Roll or pop, the Warden is good with either so long as you're having fun.

bigquotesIt feels good, very much like when you put your spare change in that little plastic box beside the cash register at the grocery store that supposedly goes towards summer camp for blind children. Yes, like that but actually a bit more rewarding.

Drawbacks? No bike is perfect, of course, and the Warden isn't the exception to that rule. Relative to other bikes with 150mm of travel and similar angles, the black Knolly felt a bit less confidence inspiring when the speeds picked up and momentum means that you you're going to stop a good twenty feet later than where you might want to. It's not as if I was being held back, however, but just that I've certainly felt more stable on other bikes of similar travel. Truth be told, this likely isn't going to be notable to most unless you've ridden a good cross section of 150mm bikes - get off your spindly trail bike and the Warden is going to feel like a rock and root eating monster that can't be fulfilled, regardless of my hesitations stated above. Knolly was also smart enough to spec the go-to combo of a Pike and a Cane Creek DBair CS, a one-two punch that's pretty hard to beat when it comes to suspension to bolt onto your all-mountain machine. I know there's politics, pricing, and promises involved when it comes to spec'ing a stock bike, but, at least at this point in time, there's no beating this fusion of ground levelling awesomeness. So, take what feels like factory-level suspension, add a dash of sharp-ish handling, then let a skilled rider hold the cake mixer and you'll end up with quite the sweet package. That said, there are more capable machines if you're looking for an all-out enduro race rig and elapsed time is more important to you than smiles, but those same bikes lack that special bit of friskiness that makes the Warden so much fun.

Knolly Warden Photo by Amy McDermid
  The bike is most at home on tight, steep terrain.


Technical Report

• Oh man, another bike with KS' LEV Integra and another bike with a dropper seat post that quit working for us. There's a lot to like about the Integra: travel that can be positioned anywhere in its 150mm of stroke, the best remote in the biz, and internal routing that makes for an ultra-clean look. All that is for nothing if KS can't make it reliable enough to last a weekend, though, which sums up the Integra on the Warden, with it not being able to be locked into the height that I wanted. The post depends on housing tension - not cable tension like other designs - to function, and I had nothing but trouble when trying to get it spot-on. I ended up swapping it out for an externally routed LEV from KS (pictured on our test bike) and had zero issues with the replacement.

• Knolly made a smart choice by spec'ing Shimano's XT stoppers - they're powerful, firm at the lever, and very reliable. If I had to ding them for anything it would have to be their on/off modulation that can make them feel a bit touchy in low-traction conditions. Regardless, the XTs are a no-brainer if you're looking for buckets of power and durability.

Knolly Warden Photo by Amy McDermid
  Compliment sandwich: great brakes, terrible dropper seat post, great drivetrain.


• SRAM's 11spd cassette, chain, and derailleur have been mixed with Race Face's NEXT SL carbon cranks and direct mount N/W chain ring to create a setup that is actually lighter than a full SRAM drivetrain, but does it function as well? You bet. Zero issues to report, and I am a big fan of the bike's hybrid drivetrain.

• So many bikes come spec'd with tires that seem to be geared more towards rolling speed than out and out traction, which is completely silly if you ask me. Knolly must think so as well because they've installed some burly Maxxis Minions on the front and back of the Warden that are all about grabbing ahold of dirt, roots, and rocks. This is a very good thing.




Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesIf riding many current 150mm travel bikes feels a bit like working as an accountant, spending time aboard the Warden is more akin to being the guy who tests waterslides for a living. That's a real job, by the way, and the Warden really is that fun. No, it's not the fastest down the hill, and because it's aluminum and not exactly inexpensive it won't be at the top of everyone's list of dream bikes, but there's something about the black Knolly that got me excited every time I threw a leg over it. That should be the number one condition that every bike has to meet, shouldn't it?- Mike Levy


www.knollybikes.com

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

152 Comments
  • 53 5
 Woman issues there Mike? "Fat wife" - none of us have fat wives - they are all babes and love our bikes...
  • 14 3
 Purpose built to make you forget about your shitty day at work, your loud kids, and your fat wife yelling at you... soon to be bachelor Mike Levy reporting.
  • 9 3
 Hahaha. I totally agree. Great review and then throws in 3 poor examples. Hopefully life gives you great kids and a fantastic wife. At least it did for me. I'm sure alot of women readers took issue with that. As for work... it is what it is.
  • 6 5
 Mike, hope your family life ain't so bad. I like being a family man, and I think that's the norm.
  • 20 2
 You guys are taking mike's joke way too seriously
  • 3 3
 @blackthorne It's not the first time Mike has commented on family life.

m.pinkbike.com/news/Laid-out-REVOLT-Mike-levy-2014.html
  • 3 2
 Mike has taken the bitter journalist attitude for the last year not sure if it is for real or just his role in pinkbike. If it is for real thats so sad for him....still the attitude brings somehow balance to pinkbike when put in contrast again these articles
www.pinkbike.com/news/bitches-brew-mountain-biking-human-athletic-performance-2014.html
  • 11 0
 I get what Mike is saying though... I go to work to support my wife and kid, and get stuck in the daily grind of existence, when the simplest of things that I really want to do — just riding my bike — becomes so hard to do. There's never enough time for anything, and always a need to save money, and the bike is always at the bottom of the list when it comes to family first. Any free time you once had no longer exists, and those carefree days of not having a time limit for long rides, saving up for that new upgrade, and everything else for that matter, are gone. It's like I'm chasing a dream...
  • 5 6
 Neg props for pointing out that Mr. Levy is consistent in his disdain for family life? Wow, you guys are great.
  • 1 0
 Edited: My original comment was wrong, never mind this one. Facepalm lol
  • 46 12
 That's more than I'd be willing to spend on a frame. Good looking bike and it sounds like it is a blast to ride, but that's too much for an aluminum frame even if it comes with a DBAir.
  • 12 4
 I have to admit, my eyes popped a little when I saw the frame only price. That fact alone is really going to hold this back from being a take off success. I would imagine most people with that type of cash to burn are going to demand something in carbon instead.
  • 21 3
 Plus I'm weary of bikes/reviews that don't post weights. Its a review, we need all the info possible...
  • 15 1
 The frame price is comparable to other companies carbon models, and it is quite heavy for it's segment. Idk though, suspension performance and durability are a lot more important to me than an extra pound.
  • 5 1
 For the price you'd struggle to find a truely poorly performing bike... With so much quality competition what separates this bike from the others such that it's worth more for less? Boutique brand maybe?
  • 12 1
 It has never been a secret, Knolly is an expensive bike! Truth is most will never pay that full price, I have one and paid a bit less, worth every penny!
  • 7 1
 You could pretty much buy a complete Kona or Norco or whatever you desire for the price of that frame. I'd love to have one, but it's not going to happen
  • 4 1
 Wrench Science has the MSRP at $2495 and usually you can always get frames under retail.
www.wrenchscience.com/mountain/frames/Knolly/Warden/2014
  • 11 3
 No, that's $2495 for the Fox CTD option. $2.8k for an alum frame with CCDBACS is a lot IMO. Compare with $2.1k for the Canfield Balance with the same shock and mini link suspension.
  • 4 1
 29llbs on the nose for my large with the x01 build and reverb. A customers intense tracer 275c came in at 28.2lbs with an almost exactly the same build.
  • 3 2
 Echo what others have said. Sweet bike, but for a little bit extra I could get a Mach 6, and for even less I could get a Devinci Troy.
  • 7 2
 Mine large is also 29lbs on the nose. @ digitalsoul, you better demo those two bikes, I have and they weren't for me. The M-6 has a small cramped cockpit & the Troy was a boring uninspiring ride.
  • 14 1
 People complaining about bike weights and prices... How suprising. Now we just need the guy who says oh buy a yt capra because it is cheaper, and yet they have never rode this bike or the capra before.
  • 3 0
 Weight: My new L Warden is a shade over 14Kg, or exactly 31 lbs, including some Hope 220 pedals @ 13.8 oz. I'm also running tubes in my tubeless Minions; if I remove the tubes then the bike is 30.5 lbs. My cranks are dual ring Shimano, which may add a tiny bit of weight, and I'm also running the Fox shock, not the the CC DB one.

The Warden is 2.5 lbs less than my Gen 1 2009 Endorphin at 33lbs, and the review above says lots about the ride and performance.
  • 7 3
 This isn't really relevant to the discussion about this particular Knolly model but Knolly in general, and that is they moved fabrication to Taiwan and their prices didn't budge?
  • 8 0
 And quality control, production timelines, design features, and quality of tubing all went up with the move. Even if production is moderately cheaper, they are loading the frames up with features that they never could have had staying on the sinking ship that was SAPA. It's not like they just kept making the same bikes at a cut rate and are rolling in the profits.
  • 2 3
 Add $300 and you get a complete intense tracer, and you have enough money left over to give it a better build
  • 6 0
 That's if you prefer that design and like the way they ride. For me I like the ride of this 4x4 suspension so I wouldn't be happy with a Tracer, in which I have demoed. Its all personal preference.
  • 10 2
 knolly is worth the money!
  • 6 8
 Damn the new nomad is over $200 cheaper than this..sorry knolly but carbon is carbon
  • 2 0
 The new nomad is $2999 msrp with a debonair shock.
  • 6 1
 Like I stated above, its all personal preference on what you want to ride. A carbon Nomad is not what I want so the price is irrelevant, I prefer a Knolly. Same goes for a guy who likes the ride of Banshee, Pivot etc...
  • 2 0
 im on the alu band wagon Im afraid. I paid nearly that for a orange five and its sublime (For me anyway) and doesnt look like everything else out there which is a bonus
  • 1 0
 A bunch of the Montana guys are rocking Wardens and they're coming in right at 30-1 lbs. with some bigger rubber on them.
  • 2 2
 @socalmx how can you say no to a nomad after watching this? nsmb.com/ermahgerd-nermerd
  • 3 0
 @ jonathanheierle, cuz this! Ryan Berrecloth shows em how its done!!! vimeo.com/88113187
  • 2 23
flag norcal77 (Jun 24, 2014 at 21:40) (Below Threshold)
 i had a 2012 Knolly Chilcotin and have a 2013 Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon. The Chilcotin was crap and....aluminum. The Nomad is amazing. Buy a nomad.......or look like an idiot on a Knolly when you bought it because you thought it was gonna make you look cool. Dont buy a Knolly and dont smoke cigarettes
  • 10 3
 After reading that comment I had to click on your profile and check your age! "37" REALLY??? You sound like a 12 year old little shit. If you knew how to ride you would appreciate a gravity driven bike like a Chilco. Go back to school & get an education!
  • 5 1
 I love my Nomad but "norcal77" is making us NC riders look like idiots. Sorry Knolly lovers.
  • 22 0
 The Warden should come in at about 28-29lbs with the X01 build kit, per the weights specified by Art's Cyclery (apparently they weigh the components, rather than post MFG numbers), which is a great weight for a nearly indestructible bike, meant to be ridden hard.

I have both a Chilcotin and Endorphin, and nothing written here really surprises me. Being in Phoenix, we have ridiculous amounts of tech climbing and I have never enjoyed climbing so much. Knolly gives up a bit of efficiency for all out traction, and in my case it works. Plush up and down, just how I like it.

I'm a bit surprised at the lack of suspension explanation though. Most people look at a Knolly and see a complicated linkage with extra pivots, but have no idea why. First, let's clear the air, Knollys are STIFF, very STIFF. Looks are deceiving in this case.

Back to the 4x4....there are 2 sets of linkages doing 2 different things. The first set of linkages which connect the seatstay to the seattube controls the wheel rate/path. 2. The rocker which is connected to the seatstay by a horseshoe link, controls the leverage rate on the shock. This unique system allows Knolly to control the wheel rate/path independently on the shock rate, so each can be tuned more specifically than most bikes which have only one linkage controlling both wheel and shock rates, which equals less compromise.

I have never ridden a bike which has such great small bump compliance. yet has tremendous mid and end stroke support. This design does not wallow and yet is not harsh anywhere in it's travel.

I agree with many of the poster here, I don't determine performance based on frame material or price. Geometry and suspension performance are keys for me.
  • 6 1
 Agreed, a few trademark Knolly characteristics for me:

1. Very laterally stiff frame, hold a line so well through the chunk.
2. Unmatched climbing traction, super slow caterpillar up stuff or just haphazardly mash into stuff and it just keeps gripping.
3. That small bump compliance you mentioned. Makes the rear travel of any of their bikes feel similar to a bike with 20mm more travel. Eats up chop at high speeds and maintains great braking traction.
  • 18 3
 Rigs likes this are purpose built to make you forget about your shitty day at work, your loud kids, and your fat wife yelling at you for buying this exact bike. So fucking funny cause my wife was doing something very similar while I was reading, my daughter was making a bunch of noise and well work's always shitty. Thats why I ride.
  • 3 1
 Pray your wife never reads this!
  • 3 1
 ouch... sorry man. Hard life!
  • 11 0
 I'm sure why people are talking about this frame being less desirable as its not carbon(or as light as carbon).I feel happier riding something that I can't easily smash a hole in whilst riding through some rocks. To me the geometry,suspension and ride is what it is all about .Frame weight isn't far off , lose some unsprung weight that's the most important thing . They have put the engineering into the frame , it has all the features and it will last-which is more than what can be said for many carbon bikes.
  • 2 1
 Sure, carbon is durable in the directions it is laid up for. The post you are replying to is concerned with off-axis hits, not it collapsing with the rubber side down when you are JRA off a big huck.
  • 1 3
 obviously you didn't watch the whole video. Take a look at 5:10 of the video... carbon engineers on Pinkbike are funny.
  • 2 1
 Not a lot of inertia in a front triangle, and they were hitting it at the downtube's strongest point, something I'm sure they knew. The thing I worry about -- based on experience with carbon windsurf gear -- is after I OTB and my expensive frame goes cartwheeling off the exposure I was avoiding when I crashed and lands sideways on a pile of rocks propelled by a full build worth of weight. Once carbon it has a hole you are toast, where with my Knolly Chilcotin I feel like I can ride a frame out with a dinged tube. I'm just not yet willing to bet a couple grand on that type of crash.
  • 1 5
flag jaydawg69 (Jun 23, 2014 at 18:48) (Below Threshold)
 Actually you can repair CF... www.robertscomposites.com. Aluminum is going to fail way before CF... science is fun!
  • 12 2
 "Knolly's 150mm travel Warden rolls on 650B wheels and, to be completely honest, I was a little apprehensive about that fact." Read that, fell out of chair with surprise.
  • 8 0
 "If riding many current 150mm travel bikes feels a bit like working as an accountant, spending time aboard the Warden is more akin to being the guy who tests waterslides for a living."

I love my job as a waterslide tester. I am a bed tester on the nights and weekends. It's a hard job, but some one needs to do it.
  • 10 0
 Uuu yeah, I love my Endorphin so much. Yesterday she gets so much abuse in the wood. She made it all. I was the weak link. Love the Knolly bikes.
  • 10 0
 "descend like a European in white bib shorts" .... such as Kulhavy Shurter Absalon or Akrigg?? Razz
  • 6 0
 Nice to hear there's a mid travel bike out there that's actually GOOD at climbing, and not just "good for how much travel it has". I love techy climbs enough that I'd probably never buy a bike in the 150-160 range, but bikes like this make me really curious. If only they sold Knolly around here....not that I'd have the money anyway.
  • 5 0
 This bike catches my attention, a lot! More I look, more I'm fascinated. I love climbing and fun part... Great review!

One question though - anyone knows how much it weights with that tested spec?
  • 1 0
 I'll ask again: How much does it weigh???
  • 2 7
flag Fuglio (Jun 23, 2014 at 8:08) (Below Threshold)
 37lbs
  • 2 0
 It is ~30lbs. My lighter build is a tad ~29...
  • 3 1
 I had and still have the pride of being the 1st and still the only Warden owner in Israel. Bike is 13.37 kg. after riding an Endorphin for a year I was waiting for the Warden for 6 months. After just 1 ride you notice immediately that it's a Knolly. Fun bike, exact for my riding skills.
  • 7 0
 If i could afford it, i'd be all over this like a rash. A dirty dirty rash.
  • 4 0
 Good write up. If I had to guess, complete bike pictured (depending on tubeless or not) would prob fall around 29-30 lbs. Which is pretty light for its intended uses.

I took a chance buying an Endorphin and I am glad I did. It might not be the faster climber in my area, but it sure can handle anything you throw at it and can eat a technical climb. The bike surprises me every time I ride it. And to me, geometry and riding characteristics are more important to me than frame material and trendy setups.
  • 4 0
 I have a Large Warden fully built and it weighs 30.22 pounds on the LBS Scale (Wrench Science). No fancy 1X11 carbon crank set or carbon wheels either. Stan's Flows wheels with Minion DHF/DHR, XT drivetrain with 1X10 set up (RF Turbine Cranks/32T chain ring, XT 10spd cassette with Twenty6 42T cog). Pike 160/CCDBAir CS, KS LEV Integra, XT Brakes, RF Turbine 60MM stem, and RF SixC bars. Expensive for aluminum...... Yes, but for an all around do-it-all bike that has durability and GREAT ergonmics/suspension compliance, the 30lbs mark is a non-issue for me. You can build it how you want on the Wrence Science website and it gives a breakdown of the weight of each component along with a total after.
  • 7 0
 if it rides anything like my podium, im signing a cheque tomorrow
  • 5 0
 Yeah, man. Saw a few of those up at Whistler this past weekend. Looks like a fun bike, and has a nice look too.
  • 3 0
 Loved most things about my old endo, but couldn't come to terms with the STA. Shame because it ripped downhill in a manner that no 140mm (or even 160mm) trail bike had any right to.
I'll pick up a used Chilcotin one day and coil that bad boy up for use as an uplift bike.
  • 3 0
 Definitely give one of the new models a go. I went from the old Endo to Chilcotin and pedal position is light years better. The original Endo was a great tech climber but long days with 3000-4000 feet of climbing here in N Utah were painful even with a Uturn Lyrik wound down to 110mm travel. On the Chilcotin I'm riding a Lyrik fixed at 170mm and it's fantastic for a heavy duty trail bike. More aggressive position for descending as well. It's a phenomenal bike.
  • 3 0
 Seriously Pinkbike, KS has had the new version of the LEV integra actuator that doesn't depend on cable tension available for months, it's stock on all 2014 models and you can send in you LEV integra for warranty service and they'll update the actuator. Yes, the original version does suck, and its a disappointment for an otherwise excellent product, but the fix is out there and available, why not use it?
  • 5 0
 no mention of the geometry adjustments? 66 vs 67 ha and two bb heights or did I miss it?
  • 2 1
 Also, I always thought the chainstays on Knolly endorphins look a bit 'small' and that the back ends might be a bit flexy - I know you can't judge just by looking but keen to hear how you found it in terms of stiffness?
Thanks!
  • 5 1
 It is VERY STIFF, seriously - at least my endorphin is.
  • 2 5
 compared to what? those pivot bearings look tiny to me, and the stays aren't exactly chunky...
  • 6 1
 Since I have been on Knolly, I can only compare it to a Pivot Firebird, 429, Ibis Mojo HD, and Turner TNT bikes. Knolly stiffness meets or exceeds each of these bikes. A well engineered bike doesn't need ridiculously large bearings or axles to make it stiff.
  • 2 0
 WRT the two bb heights/hta, it looks like the Warden has the same two shock lower mount positions that the Chilcotin has, which provides the two geometries.
  • 2 0
 Rear end stiffness is what sold me when I demo'd the Endorphin on my local trails. Looks are deceiving. I was on a Yeti 575. I am 6'4" and weigh 210. I am not subtle.
  • 4 2
 "Rigs likes this are purpose built to make you forget about your shitty day at work, your loud kids, and your fat wife yelling at you for buying this exact bike."
WTF is that?
So if your wife is hot, your kids well behaved, and you have an OK gig, then , well, this bike isn't for you?
  • 1 0
 Exactly. You can buy a carbon che che bike and keep replacing it when it breaks and when the new trend comes along!
  • 5 0
 Looking good. Sound thinking behind it. Beats overstyled masscrap every day.
  • 2 0
 I have the Knolly Warden size M in blue, I actually did a custom built to use some components from my old Giant Reign. The bike has Suntour Auron 120-160mm, Zee brakes, XT cassette with OneUP, Raceface Turbine wheelset and Raceface Enduro Crank with 32th NW, Maxxis High Roller 2 tubeless. KS 150mm and CCDBA. The weigt comes in at 29lb and i can say It climbs like a beast and descends like a monster. Best bike I have owned. Look over the price, its a bike that can take abuse, will last and more than anything, its so much fun!

www.pinkbike.com/photo/11101113
  • 1 11
flag themountain (Jun 23, 2014 at 19:15) (Below Threshold)
 Still fugly though Razz
  • 2 0
 "built to make you forget about your shitty day at work, your loud kids, and your fat wife yelling at you for buying this exact bike. It's nice how things can balance out like that when you make the having fun a priority."

Nice to know I am a demographic they make bikes for!
  • 2 0
 Gotta say that if I had the cash,I'd be looking to try one and an Intense T275 Carbon to compare. I ended up buying a Trance Advanced SX (carbon) because it was a better deal... I had a hard enough time dropping that much coin for a bicycle to be honest. I'v heard great things from both friends who have them or have tired them though, sounds like a great bike!
  • 1 1
 Gotta say that if I had the cash,I'd be looking to try one and an Intense T275 Carbon to compare. I ended up buying a Trance Advanced SX (carbon) because it was a better deal... I had a hard enough time dropping that much coin for a bicycle already to be honest. I'v heard great things from both friends who have them or friends who have tried them, sounds like a great bike!
  • 1 1
 Gotta say that if I had the cash,I'd be looking to try one and an Intense T275 Carbon to compare. I ended up buying a Trance Advanced SX (carbon) because it was a better deal... I had a hard enough time dropping that much coin for a bicycle already to be honest. I'v heard great things from both friends who have them or friends who have tried them, sounds like a great bike!
  • 5 0
 Was it tested in the low/slack position? Nice review.
  • 6 0
 Wondering the same thing. I had a chance to demo the Warden a few months ago. When I switched into the slack mode the bike had a very different feel and was very stable at speed. It's nice to have this option. I. Surprised it wasn't mentioned anywhere in the review.
  • 4 0
 Looking at the non-drive side linkage picture it shows he has the bike set up in the steep geometry setting which is the front bolt hole. If he didn't test it out in slack mode he'd be missing out on more fun and a complete review.
  • 3 0
 everything that's said about Knolly bikes sounds (almost) exactly like how the RM Slayer is described which is making me seriously hungry to ride one.
  • 3 0
 Funny.. I was thinking the exact same thing. I would love to ride my slayer and a warden back to back a few times! The only problem is I paid $3200 for my complete bike with a righteous setup so the Warden would have to completely blow it out of the water to be justified imo
  • 1 0
 Given the longer wheelbase of this bike, on par with the current crop of all mountain bikes out there I'm surprised they claim it's not as stable and good for the twisties... Maybe there is more to it than the numbers alone.
  • 6 2
 HELL YEAH, i want it now!
  • 4 0
 Looks and sounds like one fun bike !!
  • 4 0
 spec says flows picture shows arch ex rims
  • 3 0
 Few questions here
-what's the weight of the frame w or w/o the shock
-can we replace the bushings with real sealed bearings
  • 4 0
 Specs: Frame Weight 3169g w/DB Air
  • 4 0
 Cheers bro.

It's pretty lightweight then! Only 400-500g more than a carbon frame Smile . Well done Knolly!
  • 2 0
 Some guys on MTBR were getting considerably higher than the manufacturers 6.9lbs. Knolly originally quoted 6.75lbs for a medium frame with the CTD. Figure another half pound or more for a large frame with DB Air.
  • 3 1
 local shop weighed a large and it was 9.25 lbs. From MTBR, a XL with CCDBA was 8.5lbs. You get the idea.
  • 1 0
 It's not "that" shocking in my opinion. If your frame w/ CCDBA was of XL size and its paintjob a "normal" one then it makes total sense. I'm pretty sure they gave the weight for a medium size, raw frame -approx 80g lighter than anodized and 200g than a standard paintjob.

I bet we all don't want to sound like weight weenies but if some of us are still more than open to go alloy, we don't want to much weight penalty. Especially with a MSRP that high for most people. My biggest concern so far is the use of bushings instead of sealed bearings. I don't mind as long as I can swap the bushings for some good old SKF.
  • 5 0
 I miss the V-tach Frown
  • 1 0
 Fall in love in a first sight with Knolly Endo few years ago. But i just cant take the price offering, although i know it'll ride damn good and last yeaaars. Now im saving for a Spitfire.
  • 1 0
 I bought a 2014 Rune just before this bike came out. I completely regret my decision and now just purchased a 2015 Warden
  • 1 0
 Why Jlevandoski?
Was the suspension platform on the rune that bad?
  • 1 0
 It's not that the suspension platform on the Rune bad per say. But in my opinion, the Knolly Warden is a better suspension design. I also believe the Knolly has better build quality and handles better than my Rune did.
  • 1 1
 How any review of a complete bike can conclude without mention of the all-up-weight is incomprehensible and in my opinion inexcusable. It leads me to question the veracity of the reviewer. Just plain poor form. It's like presenting a Ferrari and not mentioning the horsepower. The Warden weighs what it weighs for the build reviewed. Why not show us one of those pictures of it hanging on a digital scale. Now that...would be truth reported. Without an as built weight number for comparative use, your audience has been short changed.
  • 2 0
 The question I have now is if I should cannibalize my Endorphin for this do-it-all-one-bike machine?!
  • 1 0
 Solid write up Mike, funny too ... I think every review should have the weight of the build or frame at least, this is a big factor for some people.
  • 3 0
 I would like to see pinkbike review the canfield balance
  • 2 1
 bring back the old articles/vids/forums where all the knolly folks and riders say they are rebels for NOT tagging along the 650B trend and sticking to 26........Smile
  • 1 2
 That seat angle is a deal breaker for me. With the Seatpost at full extension it would be like pedaling a beach cruiser up a hill, with the seat down like sitting on a toddlers push bike. Maybe that's why the dropper post stopped working, it's too damn slack.
  • 3 0
 It actually works. I have a problem with the Podium seat tube being too far forward, but the Endorphin at a pretty high extension (about 8" of seatpost) puts me in about an effective 73* climb mode. Right over the cranks. (I'm 6'4" and ride an XL Endo and XL Podium).
  • 1 0
 @Pinkbike- did you guys not have the updated LEV Integra to test? I don't think it's fair to bash the old version if there is a new and greatly improved option available
  • 1 0
 It was the updated version.
  • 1 0
 The fact that I actually got a reply from someone famous blows my mind (that's an honest compliment). Now that the fanboy gaga is over, might I ask what the update technically did to the post? Thanks!
  • 1 0
 Wow, thanks but I don't think me being on the internet counts, especially on a mountain bike website haha. As for the post, it uses an updated actuation mechanism at the bottom of the Integra that is supposed to be less probe to changes in housing tension (it depends on housing tension, not cable tension, to function) than the old version.
  • 1 0
 I guess I've had good luck. Now that you mention it, my local shop told me it was a pain to service and/or remove. Thanks for the insight!!
  • 4 2
 I wish there's space for me to keep some snacks at the box behind BB.
  • 4 0
 Ha ha - perfect size for some tire levers and a spare tube! However - that box is at least partly responsible for my Endorphin's awesome lateral stiffness in the rear that makes the bike so bloody fun.
  • 2 0
 Yo Mike...Compare this to the Endorphin!
  • 1 0
 Knolly warden vs Banshee spitfire(650b) If you were to ride the bikes back to back how would they compare?
  • 2 0
 I sold my Rune V2 after demoing a Warden. A much more fun to ride bike. Spitfire close to the same with less travel.
  • 4 5
 7000 grand for a non plastic XT level bike? It looks nice but that is alot of $$. Even 600 bucks more that the Trek Scratch, which is over priced.
  • 3 1
 XO1 drivetrain, Stan's wheels, Next SL cranks... the only part of this bike thats XT are the brakes. I think this is an amazing spec at a decent price
  • 1 0
 I can not agree with the $$$ vs. spec. X0 is xt quality and next is like XO cranks, if is was full csixx and a better wheel set then maybe, but you can get a bronson carbon xt for less than that and you could build a bike for a lot less.
  • 3 2
 BUT, you would be stuck with a vpp bronson. I will say it again, Its all about personal preference.
  • 1 0
 What size frame knolly warden at height 183????
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Warden or Patrol? Thoughts on differences?
  • 1 1
 The KS Lev 272 is where it's at
  • 1 1
 Maybe I missed it, but no mention of weight...
  • 1 3
 First pic - It looks like an old Nocablerouting Reign.........
  • 1 4
 Sorry, but...RIDING THE WARDEN??? WTF?
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