Review: 2023 Bold Unplugged - Tracloc, Hidden Shock, & Two Smoking Barrels

May 8, 2023
by Henry Quinney  

Bold is a Swiss brand that operates with logistical support from Scott, as well as shared technologies. Remember when all Scott's shocks disappeared inside their frames? Well, a lot of that was undoubtedly due to Scott acquiring a majority share of Bold in 2019. In some ways, it would be easy to pigeonhole Bold as a novelty act, but that would be unfair.

Certainly, it is novel to put the shock out of sight, but it's housed within a frame that is radical in its own right. I've been testing it for the last few months and it's provided a lot of food for thought.

Bold Unplugged Ultimate Details
• Wheel size: 29" front / 29" rear
• Travel: 160 frame / 170mm fork
• Carbon frame
• 63.2 / 64.5-degree head tube angle
• 437 mm chainstays
• Sizes: S / M / L / XL
• 14.9 kg / 35.1 lb
• Complete bike - $10,999 USD
boldcycles.com



photo
Lots of space for a water bottle in the front triangle.

Frame Details

This is a big bike, in more than one sense. Yes, it's a big, 160 mm travel 29er with a 170 mm fork. But it's also got a long reach, a high stack and deep-feeling suspension housed in a big, chunky frame with a big shroud over its big headset assembly.

The bike is a strange mix of some genuinely clever, pragmatic design and some proprietary and convoluted technical features. There is the 1-degree adjustable headset, which I would love to see on more bikes. Headset cups, as opposed to flip chips in the suspension system, make an effective change to slacken the bike, without the effects bleeding into and potentially compromising the seat tube angle. It's not an adjustment in complete isolation, but it's still very effective. There is also a high-low bottom bracket setting to further fine-tune the bike. Although, as stated, this will affect the seat tube. However, on a bike that is already amply steep there is some room to play with. The frame can also accommodate 27.5" or 29" wheels in the rear with the flip of a chip, which is a nice touch.

On the downtube, you'll find a large trap door to access the shock. Here you will also find a multi-tool, inner tube and pump that's housed on a tray within a Save-The-Day Kit. I love internal frame storage, and commend Bold for this. It's there, it's organized and it's quiet. Plus, it would be a crime to strap or tape things to a frame that clearly has seen so much work to cut a clear, uncluttered, and uncomplicated shape.

photo

The rear axle lever also doubles up as a T25, T30, and 6 mm key. Again, I love this. However, for a bike this expensive it would have been nice if they had replaced all the 4 mm Allen interfaces on the cockpit - which is most of them - with T25 bolts. It would mean you had a one-stop shop for all adjustments. As we all know, a T25 will drive a 4 mm but it never feels particularly good doing it.

The headset uses not merely internally routed cables but special spacers and a shroud. This looks fantastic, at least to me, but it does inhibit bar-height experimentation slightly. You have to use a normal circular spacer above the stem and run it without the shroud, which looks, in a word, horrible. However, it's a short-term pain for long-term neatness. The steerer on our test bike came amply long. It's also worth noting that this bike doesn't have routing to support a cable-operated rear mech - so you're baked in to AXS.

photo

Geometry
Some features might scream gimmick the geometry says business.

With a bike that has a head tube as slack or slacker than some downhill bikes, plus a considerable 490 mm of reach and a large 644 mm of stack height, this is a bike that loves steeper trails. Throw in the middling to short chainstay length of 435 and that isolates its intentions further.

As we increase the height of our front end, it can mean that we're not only less likely to go over the bars but also we'll find it easier to scoop out weight under the front axle for wheel lifts, as well as put our weight over the rear axle for steeper sections. As you can imagine, it firmly biases the bike towards steeper gradients, where the trail is helping load the front as you push your weight away from the bars, as opposed to flatter turns where rearward weight distribution can give a slightly lighter less positive feeling on the front wheel.

A higher stack height does have other benefits, though, and it can be a way to temper larger reach values and keep the effective top tube in check. Yes, bikes have got bigger in their length overall and wheelbase. As the reaches have swelled, it can sometimes give a stretched-out, superman-like pose while pedaling, especially as you try and keep the front wheel tracking through steeper pitches on bikes. A larger amount of stack can be a tool to raise the contact points in parallel to the steering axis and bring them back towards the rider and more within range as it reduces the effective top tube length. This can, when it is the right window, mean that you can extend and push the bike more instead of being too outstretched.

The seat stays on this bike aren't outrageously short by any means, however, it does make you pause for thought. Good geometry is all about balance. Yes, that may well be subjective to the terrain you are riding. When you have high stack values and head angles of around 63.5-degrees, for anything other than the steepers trails riders might look to longer stays to keep the front weighted.

The things that longer chainstays can achieve is that they can let you have your slack, long geometry, while also letting you apply a lot of your weight through your feet into the center of the bike and onto the front wheel. Conversely, if your stays are too short, and the stack too high and reach too long, it can sometimes feel like you're having to drive the bike with your hands a lot and really focus on deliberately and consciously riding over the front of the bike.

Handily, this bike comes with bags of adjustment, and fine-tuning is very much an option. That said, those dimension changes are based more on angles than reach.

photo

Suspension Design

Perhaps the most obvious question regarding this internal suspension is how to set sag. The system uses a magnet that's driven by the external part of the main pivot that slides it along a marked-out percentage scale. The shock itself, a Fox Float X Nude, is very similar in looks to some of Fox's standard offerings but there are several key differences. Firstly, as you dial through the remote lock-out TracLoc system, it not only increases compression damping on the fly but also reduces the volume of the air spring being used. This means that the bike will not only feel firmer but also will sit higher in its stroke, meaning the angles of the bike will be steeper, namely the seat tube and head angle, which in turn should help keep more weight over the front on climbs.

The shock uses a trunnion mount to secure it to the frame and an eyelet on the rear end for the linkage to drive. The bolt does come thread locked from the factory, however, I did have the lower, active end come loose once which generated a clicking sound. I'm not sure how I feel about bikes that need to be disassembled to check the bolts. It's not the end of the world, but for some people having the remove the trunnion bolts and cycle the rear end to be able to access the lower bolt via a small window might prove tedious.

photo

The assembly for the main pivot has the crank axle running through it. To preload this part to spec requires removing the bottom bracket and torquing it up with a tool that comes with the bike.

Why you might want a bike with an internal shock depends on the owner. For some, aesthetics will merely be enough, but for most people I think they're looking for a bike that rides well, first and foremost, and if they can happen to make it look good then that's just a bonus. Others, of course, will be put off from the start by the added complexity.

photo



Test Bike Setup

Setting up the Bold felt like quite a protracted experience. That was for two reasons.

Firstly, I struggled for some time to get the bike to track when climbing as I wished. It felt too firm to follow the contours of the ground even in its fully open setting with the low-speed compression adjustment fully open. To try and get a better feel, I experimented with more volume spacers in the shock while also running it at lower pressure. However, this presented several problems. Firstly, how difficult the air-can is to remove and install. I eventually settled on removing the circlip, placing it in a backpack and inflating it until it popped. Then, once the can was removed, you'll find out that even though they look exactly like Fox X2 volume spacers in nearly every way, they're actually about 1mm different in their dimensions, meaning they won't fit.

Cannondale Habit LT review
Henry Quinney
Location: Squamish
Age: 31
Height: 183 cm / 6'
Inseam: 82 cm / 32.5"
Weight: 81 kg / 178 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None

Once you wrestle the air can back on, which I found was done best using a soft-jaw-equipped vice, you can then fit the shock back into the bike. This isn't too difficult, but I do think that the frame should come with some kind of trim around the edge of the downtube hole. I cut my thumbs and fingers on it once or twice, which wasn't great. It also begins to look tatty and lifting the lacquer very early on which is disappointing. There is the same problem around the shock-bolt window. It is hard not to scuff it up. This is something that on a bike as expensive as this isn't as good as I would hope. It at times can feel like a half-baked version of luxury.

It's also worth not removing the cable from the compression dial, but actually removing the whole dial via the small steel grub screw when tinkering with the shock. I think this is preferable because it stops you from going through a cable every time you wish to work on the bike, which is very tedious.

Once I was back on the trail, though, I found that decreasing the volume of the shock still didn't give me the precise feel I wanted. It helped tracking slightly, but it also meant that the initial part of the stroke was very unstable and it felt like you were falling through the first half of the travel before hitting the wall of support. After this, I went back to the drawing board. I eventually ended up running my bars slightly lower and the flip cheap in its high setting, with the headset cups in slack. This chip steepens the head angle by 0.4-degrees.

This helped in two regards. It helped me hook my weight onto the front when climbing more, but it also meant that with more weight over the front, the shock was less preloaded by my mass and extended into holes better. It also had the added benefit of feeling like my weight was more central on all but the steepest descents and I feel better rounded the bike's capabilities.

The Ohlins RFX 38 is a fork I'm familiar with and I ran it with 140 psi in the main chamber and 200 in the ramp-up. Although this is a little outside of the 1:2 ratio Ohlins suggests, I feel it gives me a very controlled fork that, while happy to go deep into its stroke, also provides a lot of composure. I run both compression adjustments open. The shock was set up with 190 psi and its stock 2-volume spacers. I ran the compression adjustment fully open.

photo

Climbing


Once I dialed in the setup and adjustments of the bike, I got it into a place where I was pretty happy with how it climbed. That said, I still think it could be more supple in the open mode. I believe that if you're going to make a bike that is underpinned with a remote lockout system, then you should offer three distinct feelings. In fact, I wouldn't be opposed to a super-soft setting for tech climbs, a middle mode that ramps up the compression for descending, and a full locked-out mode. It might be slightly more convoluted for your casual rider but it could be a way to maximise the system.

As it stands, the Bold is a decent climbing bike and a very efficient system. However, I think the remote is more about the fact that the shock is concealed and a standard-issue climb switch isn't an option more than it is about this system working best with a climb switch. You could take the wires out and leave this bike in fully-open the whole time and still have a bike that climbs perfectly well.

This system would be great with the ground-hugging grip of a coil, which doesn't fit the frame. It would benefit from less pressure with the stock volume spacers to give more distinction between the modes, but if you ride this bike in the same way I did you'll find it's already in a happy place with how much travel you're using, and you certainly wouldn't want to go through the stroke any easier. If you drop the pressure and increase the amount of volume spacers, as previously mentioned, it ushers in a feeling of instability as you break into the travel and then hit the support of the mid-stroke.

photo
photo

This bike definitely climbs better in its steeper-chip mode, although the biggest difference for me was putting the bars lower. As stated at the start of this section, this bike that I'm happy with how it climbs, I just feel they could do more to maximize the concept. I did dabble with the bike in its steeper headset setting, too. While it improved the climbing further, weighting the front even more, for me it wasn't a large enough gain to trade off the compromise in stability on the descents.

photo

Descending


I love interesting bikes, and this Bold is a very interesting prospect. Can it ride well enough to ward off the gimmick-skeptics? Can it cash the promise of its aggressive geometry and translate that to a bike that genuinely thrives in the steep? In a word, yes, but it's more complicated than that.

The more you give this bike, and the more you commit to the front the more that it will reward you. That, for good and bad, will make some people absolutely love it and leave some people in no man's land as they struggle to get enough traction on the front wheel to make it feel positive through turns.

Its raked-out long geometry excels at higher speeds. In fact, a combination of geometry and a suspension system that shrugs off big hits means that this bike thrives on fast chunder when ridden with a straight-talking riding style. While finesse isn't off the menu, and its rear end gives this bike a decent amount of maneuverability for last-minute choices as the trail comes rushing towards you, it's definitely an eyes-up, heels-down type of bike that loves to be pushed hard with little regard for its own well being. The suspension does a great job of giving a controlled stable platform through the roughest tracks, meaning that even when the bike is going deep off drops or battering rocks, it doesn't really suffer from being pushed around. The suspension also does a fantastic job of smoothing out bottom-outs really very well. These characteristics mate up very nicely with the Ohlins bolted on the front of the bike, too.

photo

The position of the bike keeps you balanced on secure as you drop into steeper turns, too. That said, the shock that conquers all that is rough perhaps could do with being a little more accommodating as you roll through jank. Suspension is always a trade-off, and this is a system that gives you so much when you're going quickly and stomachs one high-velocity hit after another, but it does mean it's slightly less forgiving when it comes to slow-paced tech. That said, every system has its compromises. This isn't so much a drawback, as much as it is a flavor.

When turning the bike, I still feel that geometry this aggressive would do well to be balanced out with a longer rear end. You do fall into line, and eventually find yourself really loading your inside hand through turns as you try and keep the bike heading where you want it. However, sometimes this can be both fatiguing and require conscious thought. What you do put in does come back to you with interest and the more your ride this bike by the scruff of the neck the more it will thank you.

On the brakes, it feels quite neutral. Plus, your ability to brace against the high front with all your might does mean that it is efficient with a muted calm style. The mass transfer isn't pronounced, and it feels as if your weight is handled without question by the shock.

photo

In the low bottom bracket setting, which is also slacker, it is a slightly different story. Firstly, you do feel just that bit more likely to wash the front. I don't believe this is just down to mere weight distribution, but also as you get on the brakes that lower BB combined with less weight on the front can leave your weight swinging through the cranks and overwhelming the front tire on looser terrain. It's not a big deal, but it's an inconsistency I would rather do without. Plus, its 63.6-degree setting in the high mode is amply slack for me. Maybe if I was riding exclusively steep trails then I would revisit the slacker setting, but in Squamish, I found that for descending and climbing the high setting is preferred.


photo
Bold Unplugged
photo
Transition Spire

How Does It Compare?


How does this bike compare against my long-term loaner and test mule Transition Spire? In some ways they're so similar, in other ways, they're quite different.

The main differences, that has a large effect on the bike, is simply the length of the rear center and high stack of the Bold. It sounds silly as each measurement is only 10mm difference, but I really believe it to have a pronounced effect on the bike. The Spire feels a lot more neutral, and your weight is more centered, on both climbs and descents.

The Bold does have the novelty of the TracLoc switch, but as I've discussed I don't think they've made the most of this system and would say that while it may be slightly more efficient than the Spire on tarmac slogs, it's not particularly difficult to flick a switch if you really want that support. The Spire has more grip on the technical climbs and tends to break into its stroke easier. Its effective top tube is also short and it feels easier to manipulate your weight on.

The Bold perhaps has the edge when it comes to repeated hits, but that is also a tale of two halves depending on which shock you have in the Spire. Compared to the stock Rockshox Super Deluxe that came on the build originally, the Bold is far far ahead. However, whereas the Super Deluxe could sometimes wallow through the mid-stroke, the Ohlins shock currently on there suffers no such issue.

photo
Prices in USD.

Which Model is the Best Value?


Saying any of these bikes are good value is a real stretch. Although the Ultimate, which has a price well north of ten thousand dollars, has a great spec it's not perfect, either. The cheaper Pro model sees that spec drop off quite substantially. A Performance 38 and SLX brakes, while very good, are solid mid-level components and for over eight thousand USD you would hope for me.

I could never justify buying a frame for as much as I can get a well-functioning bike so I haven't entertained that option too much. Although not great value, I would probably go for the Pro build and look at slotting in a GRIP2 damper should you need the adjustment (although you may well not).

photo

Technical Report


Ohlins TTX 38: The Ohlins forks, in my experience, lean towards a more damped feel, and do less of the duties through their spring. This gives a fork that can often go deep into its stroke and prioritizes chassis stability over geometry conservation. This teams up so well with the feeling of the rear suspension and, although that rear shock is made by Fox, the two complement one another well.

Maxxis Tires EXO+: I don't understand the conversation that happened with this bike. Ultra progressive geometry and a 170 mm fork with... Exo+ Minions DHF on the front and rear? It seems strange to me. This bike deserves thicker casings and, when something is this expensive, the customer shouldn't be expected to swap tires straight from the off. I like the DHF, but it seems an obvious miss to me.

Shimano XTR Four-Pot Brakes: I love the XTR brakes, and have found the four pots to offer great power and modulation. Plus, they seem less prone to the wandering bite point that irks many. That said I, again, don't understand the logic of speccing a 180 mm rotor on the rear of this bike. It seems to be a complete disconnect with how the bike was designed. I'm not saying that brakes weren't powerful enough, but in summer months and long runs incoming, I think the extra power and heat management of a bigger rotor is a no-brainer.

Syncross Revelstoke Alloy Wheels: For such a light alloy wheelset, these do a solid job of supporting the rider and resisting impacts. That said, I think they could be further protected with the aforementioned thicker casings. All the Syncros kit on the bike was great. The long 200mm drop seat post was also very appreciated, as was the integrated storage and repair kit.




Pros

+ Efficient climber
+ Excellent support through heavy, repeated hits
+ Integration looks great
+ The stored repair-kit in the downtube is brilliant
+ Will shine under aggressive riders

Cons

- Weight only really feels centered on steeper terrain
- Can feel unwieldy, and won't reward those who don't commit to the front
- Expensive
- Working on the shock proved frustrating



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesBold has made something very commendable with the Unplugged 160. However, I'm still not exactly sure who will be the kind of rider to buy this bike. To ride it, it's set up for the rowdiest riders who want something to boost higher and charge harder, but are they the same group that wants internal everything and added complication? Maybe not. This bike also offers geometry and support that demands a firm touch. It doesn't reward an easygoing riding style or easygoing trails. It yearns for steep, rough trails and to a committed riding style, and maybe the group of riders who place form over function might not be flattered by this bike.

In some ways, I kind of respect this approach. This bike is gorgeous, and once I finally got it set up it felt like it came alive. Although I'm not on board with the internal shock or the remote lockout, I am convinced that Bold has created a genuine work of art that you happen to be able to ride flat out down the gnarliest mountains, and that I can't help but admire.

This bike is one for the connoisseurs and those that can appreciate both demanding riding and the finer things in life, even if it isn't without compromise.
Henry Quinney


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213 Comments
  • 160 7
 Is a visible/exposed shock really a problem that needs solving?
  • 264 1
 No but fuck you you're going to get it anyway
  • 44 12
 Also, having an exposed shock is better for air flow to help cool it down.
  • 22 1
 I've wanted a viable internal transmission on a bicycle since the Honda DH team days. There seems to be plenty of efforts to integrate and internalize so many things other than a multi-gear drivetrain. Zerode fascinates me much more than most things going on in bicycle development.
  • 51 4
 An advantage that is not always mentioned (this article included) is how well the hidden shock concept keeps everything clean and safe from contaminants.
I had my Spark going through the worst possible winter and spring muck and is remarkable how smooth everything still is. I'm surprised to say this, but it has been the most fit and forget winter full suspension I ever had
  • 19 3
 Yes, this. They (Scott and Bold) seem to have completely lost the plot with all their integration, wireless and multi-mode stuff. I honestly don't think anybody was asking for this. Like, how many of these will they even sell? 100? Maybe 200? Hard to imagine they'll break even on the RND cost.
  • 3 0
 @Arierep: thats the only thing i care about i wouldnt buy this bike either way, price and performance are funny at best - but id want to know if a hidden shock means longer service intervals.
my shock and fork get a lot of grit each ride and honestly performs best 10-20h service intervals (which i dont do Wink

to be fair this depends a lot on the design too, some shock placements are better than others.
  • 7 1
 @Arierep: actually sounds really interesting for BC riding 8+ months per year. Main reason I have an HT as my second bike. Maintenance.
  • 8 5
 The incremental small improvements on bike tech, like hidden shock, are overall good, no matter how small the advantage is.

The issue is the price. I can see boutique manufacturers upcharging because if bring something innovative to the table, but $6000 for a frame that does nothing better is just a scam.

Of course, you can't really blame the companies because there is a whole market of people with money ready to spend it on the next "best" thing.
  • 16 2
 Mechanic: I'll find ya.
Shock: 'Course you will, sweet'eart.
Mechanic: I'll find ya.
Shock: What do you think this is, f*cking hide and seek?
  • 5 2
 @Arierep: That's cool and all, but a shock boot will do that without having to design the frame to be a complete pain.
These are concepts that already exist in other sports, so it's silly to completely redesign a frame to give the same effect as a piece of cloth/rubber.
  • 8 0
 A solution in search of a problem
  • 25 0
 Not interested until we also get hidden forks. Visible suspension is so unsightly.
  • 22 0
 @Hayek: 10 years from now we'll all be in large hamster balls....everything is internal, even the rider, lol
  • 4 0
 No doubt it looks great but this is like internal cable routing on steroids. Straight up not worth all the extra hassle for the aesthetics.
  • 4 0
 Routing the shock through the frame of course is the next big thing
  • 14 0
 No one wants to see your shaft.
  • 2 1
 @kanasasa: I can relate, I sold my dirt bikes due to too much maintenance. Amazing machines, but oil changes and air filters every 2-3 rides plus suspension service 1-2 times a year is a time suck.
  • 4 0
 It's for the people that are insecure about their shock choices
  • 2 3
 @Arierep: it has to be, because A. you're not going to notice the shock getting dirty, or notice it too late and B. when you finally notice it, you're going to postpone cleaning it because its a b*tch getting to it and cleaning it properly.
It's like those rubber fork covers: they keep some dirt out, but because you don't see the stanchions, you'll not see the dirt when it does inevitably gets in, and you're too late cleaning it before it damages the fork.
  • 4 1
 @Compositepro: Isn't that a Digit?
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: The funniest thing is: You know the procedure to remove the strut from a Digit frame? It literally goes through the toptube and out the front of the headtube.
  • 3 0
 @wrc21: eh. A hidden shock gets exposed to less dirt, grime and water which is arguably better
  • 4 0
 @Arierep: out of sight, out of mind!
But really, people don’t realize the abuse their shocks go through when it comes to contamination. The amount of damper bodies I see with scoring (big air loss risk) caused by a little bit of grit getting in the wiper is wild. I would love to have a hidden shock
  • 4 0
 @p1nkbike: yes, definitely. Oil and grease break down so you still need to service it but the virtual elimination of contamination is definitely a big plus
  • 7 0
 I feel great shame and stigma of my shock just hanging there, out in the open for everyone to see.
  • 1 1
 @Arierep: it also helps to get/keep the shock hot so it can work worse
  • 3 1
 it's another industry bs of "lets make a nicer looking bike that's a pita to daily unless you send every bike to the shop for every tiny thing. Also lets kill the shops by going direct"
  • 2 0
 @someguy101: I like to Rock out with my shock out!
  • 4 0
 @Mac1987: I have no clue about how it is on the Bold, but on the Spark/Genius removing the shock is exactly the same operation as in any conventional frame
  • 3 0
 No, but products don't exist to only solve problems. They exist to fulfil emotional desires too. Ferraris that go 200mph don't solve any real world problem but my people want them and pay crazy money for them.
  • 1 0
 @wrc21: For an extra $1000 you can get the upgrade frame with the shock cooling ducts. The ducts can be opened or closed via your quadloc system.
  • 1 0
 i just figured this riddle out - it's not that it's YOU that's being asked, it's the dentists
  • 100 1
 Stop cable tourism!
  • 3 0
 Cable Tourism with a Swiss flare.
  • 23 1
 This is the one bike where I'll give a pass on (and even expect) cable tourism. The whole point of their bike is to be as clean and minimalist-looking as possible. Mind you, I'm not touching it with a ten-foot pole, but I can appreciate that if you're making a bike for that market segment, hiding as much cable as possible makes sense.
  • 1 3
 @big-red: Swiss banks--look out, kid//cuz they keep it all hid.

Dude, your shock looks soooo maximal
  • 11 0
 This bike has shock turism too...
  • 1 2
 Unpopular, possibly dumb, opinion. Dumb as through the headset cable routing is, cable tourism sounds dumber.
  • 2 1
 @Telebikes: it's when your cable routine goes to overpriced places it's never been
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: Fair enough, lol. I had not heard the explanation.
  • 65 5
 looks like how I felt on Saturday after way to many tacos and beer Friday night....bloated. That Transition Spire in the comparison photo just looks soooooooooo much better. Less is sometimes more.
  • 12 2
 It manages to look both futuristic and dated at the same time.
  • 8 1
 It actually kinda looks like the old transition frame shape but way worse.
  • 13 1
 @jeremy3220: it looks like a concept bike designed in 2010
  • 1 1
 @jeremy3220: well put. Made me think of Softride bikes en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Softride
  • 41 1
 Even the comparison with the Spire is actually hilarious. In the huckleberry corner we have the incarnation of a no-BS Enduro. And in the other corner we have a bag of development fails with an immanent identity crisis disguised in a literally sharp marble dress. LMAO
  • 34 1
 Looks like an ebike so they had to call it “Unplugged”. Also, good luck selling that to the anti ebike crowd.
  • 19 1
 My thought exactly. Looks like an ebike. If others want to ride an electric motorcycle, great. But I don't want ride one or be seen looking like I'm riding one when I'm not.
  • 29 0
 A lot of talk here about the bike but I'm not seeing enough for amazingly high quality of the video production, script and thought that has gone into just this one bike review- good work @henryquinney and the rest of the team too! This was a bloody good watch and read!
  • 1 0
 Really appreciate that, cheers mate! We put a lot of time into this one
  • 2 0
 @tomivorrichards: Kudos, the production is a level up on this vid. Really well conceived and executed.
  • 29 1
 A $11000 bike with alloy wheels?
Beautiful.
  • 6 1
 *bauetiful.
  • 5 1
 @baca262: bootifeuel
  • 3 1
 Lol, I just built a fully customized steel full suspension with carbon wheels, carbon bars and a Pike Ultimate for $4500. All new parts except used Pike.
  • 2 1
 good I hate carbon
  • 26 0
 Its early Monday and Im behind on my caffeine intake; I'm I reading it correctly: USD6k for the frame only option?
  • 9 1
 That's 2 1990 Klein Attitudes with Campy Record OR.
  • 21 1
 Your mechanic's worst nightmare
  • 23 0
 Home mechanic, yes, but if I charged by the hour and saw a particularly expensive and complex bike roll through my door, I wouldn't call that a bad day.
  • 7 0
 If the customer was told at point of sale that their new pride and joy is going to cost 4 times more than it could to fix, then it's a win / win. I doubt that happens very often though! Most sales people just want the sale.
  • 18 1
 @henryquinney Dude I don't think you even mentioned the biggest con about this frame, which is that it ONLY works with wireless derailleurs.
  • 8 2
 I don't think that's the biggest con of this frame - but fair enough. I'll amend the article to include that.
  • 15 0
 Great video. Not really interested in the integration of this bike but @henryquinney Henry and Co. make such great videos, I watched anyway.
  • 1 0
 Thanks!
  • 18 4
 Hard pass, looks like a Ibis, double the parts you need, and their all proprietary. Probably rattles like a guitar with gravel inside it... Swiss engineering at it's finest.
  • 18 8
 One day bike companies will make proper chainstays lengths, until then I will keep not buying new bikes.

Like I can be convinced of a shorter CS on a "fun" trailbike or hardtail, but why on earth would a bike with 140mm or more of travel have tiny chainstays on the medium and above sizes? If you think they dont turn as well, im sorry but you need to change your technique.
  • 2 1
 Spot on. 100% agree
  • 3 8
flag HeatedRotor FL (May 8, 2023 at 10:50) (Below Threshold)
 im the opposite, CS length effects suspension curve and MOST brands who do use different lengths dont change anything else so the bike gets more and more linear the bigger the CS gets.

I ride size large bikes are they all feel pitched forward over 440 length.

Different sizes = more production cost that the more popular sizes have to cover, which is Medium and large - chainstay tax, no thanks.

if you think you can ride so well enough to Require a long back end, whats your name ill be looking for it on the WC DH list, top 20 easy i assume?
  • 5 0
 @HeatedRotor: Id say its the opposite for the pros, they have the skills to deal with less stable bikes and still haul ass.

If you feel pitched over the front I would say the problem there is too low of stack, which is another issue I see with most bikes. At 5'10" I am not a tall guy, but I still have 40mm of spacers under my stem, otherwise I feel super hunched over the bars. V1 Transition Sentinel is the bike, its CS is also too short.
  • 3 0
 @HeatedRotor: Different chainstay lengths can be achieved by relocating the pivot(s), so you can use the same chainstay and get several different effective chainstay lengths. On a carbon frame that is built in a mold, this shouldn't cost anything. The main reason so many bikes used the same chainstay length is simply laziness.
  • 3 2
 I think I agree. 420mm CS on my hard tail is fun, because it's for dicking around on chill local trails. The idea of 420mm chainstays on my enduro bike at race or park speeds sounds a bit unsettling.
  • 7 0
 Easier to manual, throw around on jumps.... 430mm on a size large freeride bike at Whistler, Coast etc. Lots of fun and plenty stable...maybe you just need to adjust your technique.
  • 2 1
 @Froday: im a huge advocator for high stack, As i gave such a negitive response to the fuel EX. such good everything else... except stack is low
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: Yep. The next big development we'll see over the next couple of years it taller stack height.
  • 4 0
 Jfk, enjoy your Enduro sled, but there is nothing about liking shorter chainstays that means you need to ChAnGe YoUr TeChNiQuE. get over yourself, just let your preferences be your preferences. they don't need to be universally correct.
  • 1 0
 Froday - some companies do have size specific chainstays, or chainstay adjustment though.
My Geometron you can adjust pretty much everything including seatstay length.
Or go custom with something like an Atherton?
I bet there are options out there for you. Whether it's worth spending the money for a new frame is what is actually up for debate!
  • 13 0
 Terribly impractical in every way
  • 9 1
 @henryquinney, I hear what you are saying about the stack, but I think you are mis-framing its impact on geometry. Hear me out:

Sorry ahead of time for the giant essay, but I've been shouting this into the void for a while now and I think this review really got me wanting to share.

TLDR: Chain stay length isn't to blame for too much rearward bias, it is too little stack height.

First, a caveat: I'm a lanky 6'2" and so definitely squarely in the XL frame size market... so my perspectives on stack might not scale to smaller riders on smaller bikes *we could ask @sebstott to do some math*

I have found, after many, many adjustments to my set up, that one of the most important ways to influence and improve the ability to weight the front and improve front wheel grip is by raising my bars. It sounds strange, and I get where the *idea* of lower bars lending to more front biased weight comes from (it makes intuitive sense), but the reality is that having a nice high stack on the bars allows me to push the front both harder (as in: put more weight on the front axle), and with less effort (as in: more quickly and intuitively shift my weight from back to front).

Like this: Stand facing a wall with your feet 2.5ish feet away from it and try to push into the wall as hard as you can with both hands somewhere around chest height. Note where your hips move when you really give it some umph. Then, without moving your feet, try pushing equally as hard but this time with your hands lower on the wall (somewhere around belly button height) and note how much more drastically your hips move... they go way BACKWARDS. With your hands reasonably high on the wall, it is much easier to push hard with your whole core engaged and your hips don't actually move much, while getting your shoulders braced for stability with your hands low on the wall requires you to move your hips way back.

I found that on my XL bikes with 25mm rise bars and 10mm of spacers I was having a hard time weighting the front, especially when the terrain got more technical and demanded more dynamic upper body strength (chunky or even buff but bermy and steep trails). As I braced myself and put some power through my shoulders and arms (in an attempt to force the front end into the ground for more traction) I was actually forcing my hips way further out the back, adding to the sensation of an unweighted front end. And what's worse, to get back into the right stance for bunny hops, pumping transitions, or otherwise dynamically playing with the front end, I'd have a relatively long journey for my hips to get back to centered above the BB (where they should be)

Now I'm running goofy 50mm risers with 20mm spacers under my stem and it is night and day compared to my old set up. With my new higher front end I can really push the bars while keeping my hips much more centrally weighted over the BB, and since they are already there my bike is much more playful because I'm always set up to pop and pump my front end, even when its gnarly and I'm really givn'er with my upper body.

I love my short chainstays (438mm on my 506mm reach canyon Spectral) and I don't think they have all that much to do with my ability to find the center of my wheelbase. Just took getting my stack nice and high to figure it out. I have plenty of ride time in on both a Banshee and a Pole (both have long chain stays) and I think the long stays do contribute to a feeling of stability (a trade off to "playfulness" ) but don't really make the difference on front wheel traction.
  • 4 0
 you are correct. repeating nonsense about chainstays and weight bias is just the latest in a long line of "accepted wisdom" that doesn't actually hold up any kind of analysis.
  • 10 2
 Yeah, I've gone into this theory in other articles and I disagree. Thanks for the comment though.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: word.

P.s. I love yer work bruh!
  • 3 0
 This is probably the guy selling those goofy tall stems :-)
  • 2 0
 In all seriousness, I find your points super interesting. But what’s it like to climb with short CS and mega stack? I really appreciate longer CS for climbing.
  • 2 0
 @FatSanch: Yeah, hard to say. For me, I think I find the same principal of being able to more easily weight the front to apply to climbing tech as well (along with the rear center being closer which make rearward shifts for extra traction or *more importantly* lifting the front a bit quicker).

But... just to stick with the theme of over thinking and over explaining in my first post...

1) As far as climbing goes:
----------a) 90% of my rides are on very steep fire road climbs with very steep plummets back down. I don't get to do a lot of tech climbing or even much pedaling up single track- I do all my rides where the climb is the fun part on my xc hardtail so take my perspectives on climbing with a grain of salt.
----------b) That being said, when I do ride the handful of local trails with proper pedaling on technically challenging terrain, they are in the areas with less extreme gradients... and on theses less than super steep climbs I don't find my higher bars limit my technical ability. On proper steep tech climbs I think higher bars are less than ideal, no mater the length of your chainstays.
---------c) The Banshee and Pole with the longer rear centers did "winch" up the tricky steep tech better, and I think that has more to do with the added stability from the long rear ends (which as I said in my first post is noticeable when descending on those bikes too) but the stability is a trade off to the "playful" feeling of shorter stays and that short rears can bring more ease to being precise with front and rear wheel placement.

2) I think one of the most important factors of my harping on about stack is pretty specific to taller riders. I Don't know if my stack to reach ratio is really all that "mega" compared to what smaller bikes with smaller riders are on. Like I said in my original post, I am not taking the time to crunch stack/reach and stack/cs ratios (I think @seb-stott has tackled this a bit) but I have put my set up into that mad scientist calculator and while my RAD measurement is bigger than the creator (Lee likes bikes?) guy says it should be, but my RAAD angle is only just edging into the bottom range for "trail riding". I'm 6'2" and riding a 506reach/ 640 stack Canyon Spectral with 64deg HA and 20mm of spacers under my 6deg stem with 50mm rise bars and the cs length is 438 (which I guess isn't super short, but my previous bike had 435CS and I've ridden a few bikes with 450+ so I do have a bit of perspective on how the cs length affects feel). How this scales to a 5'10" rider on a size large with 20mm of spacers and 30 or 35mm rise bars is probably a pretty important piece of the picture, which I haven't taken the time to figure out because it doesn't really affect me. As an XL rider, I think we are often riding bikes with WAY shorter rear ends (relative to the front end) and way lower front ends (relative to reach and our body proportions) than more average riders.

3) I realize this whole discussion is a bit pedantic, but all I'm really trying to say is calling out chain stay length as the culprit of poor front (or rear) wheel traction on modern bikes with long reaches and slack head angles is in accurate. Yes, I think longer chain stays feel more stable while shorter chain stays feel more nimble (probably pretty universally agreeable), but I feel strongly that weight distribution and front/rear traction dynamics are defined a lot more by stack/ reach ratio than by front center/ rear center ratio (which seems to be becoming a scapegoat in reviews of long, slack bikes).

To me it seems like what is happening is that riders like Henry (and Alecia in the case of her Digit Datum review... although I'd have to revisit that one, maybe I'm remembering her comments incorrectly) are finding themselves on slack frames with longer reaches than they are used to and riding them with the same bar stack they would a smaller bike. I think it is the shorter stack that is causing the front wheel to be underweighted, not the short chain stays. Sure, longer chain stays could help a bit with rear center/ front center weight distribution, but that is kind of the wrong way solve the problem and forces all of us onto bikes that are longer between the wheels then they *need* to be.

I say bike geo should use stack/ reach ratio and BB height to dial in the weight balance for a bikes given intent (lower stack to reach= more climby trail bikes and higher stack= more gravity oriented terrain) and then dial in stability/ playfulness tradeoff with chain stay length (shorter= more nimble for jibbing, jumping, pumping or tighter terrain with lots of dynamic direction changes and longer= more plow, up or down the hill).

Apologies again for talking too much! Clearly I am not a journalist and I have no grasp on clarity or brevity LOL
  • 1 0
 @RileyMarmesh: wow, thanks for the detailed reply!
  • 11 1
 Over 10K plus 35lbs with an air shock and no DD tires, how much does the frame weigh by itself?
  • 7 0
 marble is not the painting style...
  • 4 0
 14.9 kg is just under 33lbs which makes more sense.
  • 8 2
 1) Really appreciate HQ being willing to confront, so clearly the handling issues with short CS bikes that have long front centers experience. I'll never go back to short Chainstay lengths. Although I do wonder if really steep STA's (i.e. 78-79') could negate some of that CS length requirement for proper handling?

2) Would love to see PB take a SJEvo S4 and test with both the S4 and the S5 CS's. Would be fun to read a review and the S4 isn't even that unbalanced compared to some bikes (i.e., 432mm CS on the new Levo SL, for example).

3) The shock removal bit in the video was a missed opportunity to have HQ dressed like an Obstetrician yelling 'push...', then panning to a sweaty Levy with a hair net saying 'I really wanted a coil' when HQ handed him his new bundle of joy. Anyways.
  • 13 3
 Looks like a Scott
  • 7 0
 I'm suprised they did not tried to run the front brake hose inside the fork
  • 4 0
 I consider this bike the mortal enemy of bikes like the RAAW Madonna. Same travel, decently similar geo, both going for a minimalistic look in different ways. Big difference is the Bold being a massive PITA to do any work on and having a ton of unnecessary tech... and costing $11k for a 35lb bike with alloy wheels, and extremely limited on rear shock options (Why is having a hidden shock a good thing? Why is having all cables tucked into the headset desirable?)
  • 7 0
 The marble like frame color just looks like it’s dirty grey frame all the time
  • 8 0
 This bike was created to keep bike mechanics employed.
  • 2 5
 Anther scott touched bike... which is funny because scott are so far out of touch with Trail/enduro riders, They make a killer XC bike and a good DH bike.
  • 2 1
 @HeatedRotor: Read the article. Bold is the creator of this concept and Scott did throw some money at them to integrate it in their corporation and bikes. Big company buys innovation. That is what happened and not the other way round.
  • 1 0
 @squarewheel: you missed my point lmao
  • 6 0
 They actually nailed the dentist quite well here, providing a really crammed space to work in will have them feel right at home Smile
  • 5 2
 managed to try it too, agree with the riding impressions, although it doesn't look good, the integration is pure bs, the cockpit look ugly and it's just uselessly complicated, axs only is another con to be considered, overall, it rides good but i'd never consider one
  • 3 2
 oh, it also looks very bulky, and everyone thinks it is an e-bike because... well... it looks like one! that's another big con, plus, the fact that they force you to go AXS but cannot have an AXS seat tube is plain stupid.
  • 8 1
 Really well written, detailed article. Props @henryquinney
  • 1 0
 Thanks!
  • 6 0
 who cares about internal shocks? i want a hose through the headset for a remote integrated bong thats twinloc controlled
  • 7 4
 The weight of these "trail bikes" is getting ridiculous: 15 Kg/35lbs!? And so are these commercials claiming that such beasta climb "satisfactorily". This used to be bike downhill territory, and anything just above 15kg/35lbs is getting near to e-bike territory.

Physics have not changed and pedaling 15Kg/35lbs uphill is hard. Why on earth would I get this (at $11,000 plus!) when I can get an e-MTB for less money and just a couple of Kgs more?
  • 6 1
 According to “pinkers”, the weight doesn’t matter, if the bike costs under $4k. But if the cost is over $6k, then the weight, build spec, design, etc, is suddenly A problem…
  • 5 0
 14.9 kg is not 35 lbs
  • 3 0
 "The Ohlins forks, in my experience, lean towards a more damped feel, and do less of the duties through their spring. This gives a fork that can often go deep into its stroke and prioritizes chassis stability over geometry conservation"

Henry what? A more damped fork and you claimed it will go deeper into it's travel? You do realize that's not true unless you run a softer spring but that's your choice and not the fork
  • 2 0
 Im glad someone else noticed this. The ohlins has one of the most adjustable air springs with the second ramp up chamber so there is no reason to have it diving into travel more than any other fork. Also the TTX is the shock the fork is a RXF
  • 1 0
 @nismo325: yeah even without adjustability it would not be true. Assuming same spring rate a more damped fork would sit higher in it's travel. That's how damping works. Henry forgot how physics work.
  • 1 0
 He was also running compression fully open. I'm not convinced on his fork setup choices, but idk...
  • 1 0
 @spaced Hello - You answered your own question. I run more sag on Ohlins than I do some of the other big brands. I don't think we need to take on the assumption of same spring rate between brands. I also never said it dived - all the opposite. But it does that even with more sag - which is what I like as that bit of extra extension into whole and bumps is no bad thing.

I've used the fork with more compression - but it's worth remembering that there is still plenty of damping - I just prefer to add it if needed, rather than reliant on it from my base setting.
  • 5 0
 Henry really tells it like it is, no holds barred, but he also tells you went its good. A well written review I think. Also, good photos fellas.
  • 7 0
 Let me see the inside
  • 6 3
 How does a bike with a motor cost less than a bike without? 9k for the starting Bold and 8k for the levo SL. I would think with E-bikes becoming more popular that regular bike prices would have to come down.
  • 4 0
 They (Scott and Bold) seem to have completely lost the plot with all their integration, wireless and multi-mode stuff. I honestly don't think anybody was asking for this.
  • 5 0
 Bold of them to be this progressive on design and then not include size specific chainstays.
  • 5 0
 That would increase the cost or let's flip it, it would decrease the margin. Capitalism preaches maximum profit, not maximum customer satisfaction.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney, Taking into account your knowledge depth and previous articles, I was expecting a bit more detailed kinematics analisys on this bike as the suspension layout is not your common 4bar most bikes use nowdays. I feel this may even somewhat tie with the some of the geometry analisys points.
For example, I would like to know more about the rear wheel axle path on this bike. Merely looking at the BB pivot where the chainstays are attached, it would appear the rear end will grow under compression (the fact the bike goes well on harder, rooty terrain would probably point this as at least probable?). If this is to be correct, wouldn't this somewhat explain why the rear stays are not as long in a static sag measurement (geo sheet) as some other 4bar, etc bikes?
While I do agree the specific shock+lever setup may be polarising and a limiting factor regarding future customisation, I feel the latter part of the article drives my point home as it appears you found the suspension/bike performance was not lacking on the trail.
  • 4 1
 All that internal cable routing and they couldn't hide the front brake hose? If you are going through the trouble to headset route commit to all cables/hoses.
  • 5 0
 Hidden shock is too much trouble
  • 4 0
 for that price I'd at least expect something other than auto-shop grey primer paint jobs....
  • 2 1
 It's clearly an exercise in design and aesthetics, not something which provides any obvious performance advantage. I don't know what the goals of such an exercise would be.

Make a full sus bike that looks like a hardtail? Nope, still looks like a full sus bike.

Hide as many parts as possible, for that clean shaved look? I don't hate cables and shocks that much, I don't think many people do.

Make a regular mountain bike look like an ebike? Oh wait, yup, we can check that one off.
  • 2 0
 Man, if I sat in an office and had a modern looking home with all slab cement garage full of art and German cars I would want this. But I do not. My garage is full of tools to make art and to interpret the art of others
  • 4 0
 "It at times can feel like a half-baked version of luxury." A succinct and fitting description.
  • 4 1
 Cutting your hands inside the downtube is no joke. I use to work at a scott dealer and you would cut your hand every time you worked on a rear shock.
  • 1 0
 Sleek looking bike but none of these innovations do much to increase performance or reliability. Also, 35lbs is more than my steel 160mm full squish with coil, pedals and integrated multi tools. I use to really like my Scott Spark before it was stolen but no way would I buy a new Scott today. Especially as someone with no bike shop nearby and has to do all his own maintenance.
  • 4 0
 The marble paint job definitely matches the price of the bike
  • 2 0
 i was here thinking 64 deg head angle couldn't climb yet everyone gives you weird looks if you climb a dh bike. i guess it's not 2014 anymore
  • 1 0
 The head angle was never an issue for climbing, it was trying to make the head angle slack without addressing the rest of the bike.
  • 1 2
 @8a71b4: it's not an issue my ass, if flip flops left and right like mad compared to old school xc bikes
  • 3 0
 My Spire climbs quite well. Its definitely not a DH bike, but it is very good, A DH bike is so much more than just a slack HA
  • 2 2
 @onawalk: no it's not, it's only 40mm or so more suspension.

my point being, crank up the lsc good and just enough of hsc to give you a bit of a platform and you basically get an all mountain bike. you don't even need to open up the compression on the downs unless you want your bike a bit more lively, but controlled is probably faster.
  • 1 1
 @baca262:

It flops at slow speeds, sure. The product of the geometric trail and speed is what directly counters the floppiness, and if you keep speed on the climb, which you can much better with overall longer bikes, the wheel stays straight. Likewise, wider bars also make the front end easier to control.

The best technical climbing bikes (in terms of ease of tackling the climb filled with rocks and roots), are Pole and Geometron bikes, specifically because of their steep seat tube angle and rear ends, despite having downhill head angles.
  • 4 0
 Sega mentale (idiom, vulgar, Italian): mental masturbation.
  • 3 0
 So the only plot/graph/bar chart is comparing build and frame prices....super useful, thanks guys!
  • 3 0
 Similar sense of humour and manner of speech: Harry is the James Hoffman of mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 love how they forgot over all the integration to integrate ports for a shifter cable..
marketing team: "lets just call it: optimized for single speed builds and noone will notice.."
  • 2 0
 After reading this I just can't not not take my hat off, shake hands with myself and say "well done, you bought a commencal meta in 2020"
  • 1 0
 "In fact, I wouldn't be opposed to a super-soft setting for tech climbs, a middle mode that ramps up the compression for descending, and a full locked-out mode."

It's come to this.
  • 3 0
 I suspect this wasn’t designed with the home mechanic in mind.
  • 5 0
 You think a retired dentist is going to get his hands dirty working on this thing?
  • 4 0
 Nope. Just nope
  • 3 0
 went to the comments after first photo of the headset
  • 2 0
 Nice work Quinny, (& crew) I sure do appreciate your gift of the gab. Always professionally entertaining.
  • 2 0
 I'll take in-frame snack storage with external shock and pay half the price, thankyouverymuch.
  • 2 0
 Tell me they setted your bike in shop and you've never touch the dials anymore without telling z
  • 1 0
 Is the marble-look just a paint job, or is it some kind of carbon clear coat or other treatment?
Could be out of place here, but its well done.
  • 2 0
 All that Outside money and can't catch those typos.
  • 2 2
 Spire wins the looks contest on paint alone, and the Spire rider is gonna look better not needing to wear scrubs to change the shock tokens
  • 2 0
 I think being plugged is more bold.
  • 4 2
 My Levo SL weighs 4 lbs more and was the same price with upgrades….
  • 3 0
 Nice looking hardtail!
  • 3 0
 Bold price point...
  • 2 0
 Bike industry: I’m actually ok with seeing shocks.
  • 2 0
 Good review Henry. I prefer the Digit Datum's design personally.
  • 2 0
 stay bold ponyboy stay bold
  • 2 0
 Sneak peak at the future Scott Ransom
  • 2 0
 I can't believe a $11,000 USD carbon bike weighs 35 lb!!!
  • 1 1
 I'll just keep posting these ridiculous, irrelevant comparisons because I feel like it:
2023 KTM SX 350 F - $9,899 (local dealer new)
2023 Bold Unplugged Ultimate - $10,999
  • 1 0
 That’s the head badge they came up with? Looks like a strip of gorilla tape covering the actual head badge
  • 2 0
 Overpriced, overcomplicated and ugly. What an abomination.
  • 1 0
 This bike looks really sleek, but a hidden shock is worse than internal cable routing.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney this is some of your best video and writing yet. Great alterations and use of tone of voice. Really nice job!
  • 1 0
 Torque bits over Allen keys? Did I just read that right?
  • 5 1
 Torx is inherently better than allen, we only prefer allen because we are used to it and have a set of those everywhere. If you had all Torx size in your multi tool and everywhere tou wouldn't even consider allen.
  • 1 0
 Loved the Guy Ritchie reference on the title.
  • 3 2
 11.000EUR for a dentist bike, without an engine.
  • 1 0
 the basic tues is 3500e now, with a freaking boxxer. i'd rather ship a decent size L 26" dh bike overseas than cough that up for a 35mm stanchioned fork.
  • 1 0
 It sure has a but load of cables for something called "Unplugged"...
  • 1 0
 The angry dentist's bike.
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't pay $11k for a bike with STD's in its downtube
  • 4 5
 @Henry Quinney

What in the hell's hell is this thing with the autoplay... !?
To gain a few more views every time we open the page... really... !?
  • 1 0
 A Scott by any other name would smell as shit
  • 1 0
 Your welcome bike mechanics tup
  • 1 0
 This bike probably rides pretty nicely in a size medium
  • 1 0
 35lbs? remind me what the point is?
  • 1 0
 A hidden shock, woooooow. Is the frame made in Switzerland?
  • 2 0
 It's handmade in Switzerland by dentist
  • 1 0
 @betobi: in that case I'll take six.
  • 2 5
 Not a bad review Henry, nice work! Couple things, The way you complained about the sharp bits and hitting the frame with the wrench getting the shock out is LAME-O. I get it, it's for the wankers who'll do that but you know as I do those truly aren't issues for a true tech. I do have to say, the statement that it needs to be lower on the front end is a bit bs considering you still had spacers in it! C'mon man! Don't jade the performance because you didn't wanna cut the steerer! It's a bit of a pain I get it but that bike is legit, super fun playful buttery goodnesssssss. Nice job overall. It piece of art that is sure to satisfy
  • 2 0
 I think it is and it isn't. I'm not saying it's a problem for experienced mechanics but those who are high on enthusiasm might just find themselves needlessly damaging their frame - which doesn't seem great to me. Also - that bike is already quite long - both in terms of reach and top tube. Especially in its high setting. I was really very reluctant to make it any longer by going to a lower front.
  • 1 1
 @henryquinney: your my favorite (tell @mikelevy I said that). Go team Spire.
p.s.: do you approve of DD casing thickness?
Thanks.
Bye.
  • 2 1
 @henryquinney: Fair enough. I've just had a different experience. Coming off a Large Ransom this feels smaller, more flickable and playful even at quite a longer reach. The stack certainly helps but I can manage the lower spacer setup and for whatever reason it just makes me giggle when ripping it around. Lots for people to complain about with the Swiss' love of integration but all things considered it rides pretty damn good. Nice job overall
  • 1 0
 Good luck adjusting rebound of thec shock on the trail...
  • 4 3
 Scott, that you?
  • 2 0
 should be the opposite tho
  • 1 1
 Cons :
The cover should be carbon and the same color like the frame !
  • 1 0
 Hard pass… next!
  • 8 10
 BIKE COMPANIES, 438 CHAINSTAY LENGTH IS TOO SHORT FOR A BIKE WITH 490 REACH. 445 MULLET IS THE OPTIMAL!
  • 5 0
 Maybe optimal for you, but definitley not for me.
  • 5 3
 @Muscovir: mullet is a gimmick, but longer CS for such a long front end is definitely needed. If you read between the line this is what Henry says and it comes to no surprise. I currently ride a bike with similar front end but 470mm CS and you can ride centered, giving imput with your legs and hips and it rips. I tried many bikes with similar front end number and 430/440mm CS and you need to jump on your fork to make it turn, and if you have a low stack they feel heavy and stretched as fu*k. Try a long CS bike for a few runs to get used to it, you will not go back to unbalanced bikes ever.
  • 2 0
 Luckily, you have options out there....... Maybe this isnt for you, and thats ok, no need to shout about it. Do let us all know when youre bike comes out, that has no compromises, and is everything to everyone
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth: what are you riding with such a long rear. Been hating the short unbalanced CS bullcrap for a long time riding XLs. It’s hard to find anything with even a remotely long enough rear… and even harder to find one with a proper rear IMO that’s not paired to like a freaking 525 front that then brings us back to horribly unbalanced. I ended up riding a TB4 with a cascade link which equates to 445 rear and 488 front which was the most balanced I could get a XL trail bike that I wanted. My V10 is 460 rear and 490 front and love how it rides.

I’m still chasing down that balanced trail bike
  • 2 0
 @stormracing: Spire is 454 CS-510 reach in and XL
XXL is 454 CS- 530 reach
  • 2 0
 @stormracing: my theory is, front center to rear center ratio, at SAG, should be around 1.7 and in any case below 1.8 to ride without feeling like stretched arms and fork jumping. In skiing your skis grow proportionally tip and tail, if you buy a onesie you expect a M size bottom half to go with a M size top half, only in the bike industry we tell the customer that having a size S bottom with a size L or XL is normal and even try to make this a selling point ahah.
To actually answer your question I designed my own frame and had it welded by Egerie in France. I went this route as it wasn't that expensive and no frames on the market were ticking all the boxes for me. The only frames that would offer a ratio that I like at SAG would be HP bikes but I had some experience with those and while they offer some advantages I find that they tend to have some unwanted behaviors at the worst of times. Since I didn't want an idler pulley as I want one bike for Park and Enduro this close the case for the few frames that could have worked for me.
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 @Balgaroth: I think youre oversimplifying body proportions a bit here.

We all vary, by quite a bit actually, the "one size fits most" prolly isnt even true. Most medium shirts are way too tight in the chest for me, but fit great in the shoulders, I've got short as hell legs too, so most mtb pants dont work well.
The good thing is theres loads of choice out there, so you try and try and try till you find what works best for you. Just cause youre 6' tall, doesnt mean you have a 34" inseam

Super cool that you had a bike welded up for yourself, use what makes for you, or make it if it doesnt exist
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 @Balgaroth: Agreed, Mullet is a fad. Especially for taller riders like me. And I don't doubt that your bike with long reach and those ultra long chainstays works super well for you. But I can assure you that it wouldn't work for me. I had that very same conversation with Paul Aston. The terrain where I live just doesn't warrant a bike like that. You'd be hard pressed to find even 100m of elevation around here - I simply don't need a long, slack and stable bike with extremely long reach and rear center. (For reference: My main bike is a XL V5 Tallboy and it's borderline too much as I'm never using it to its full potential. Most people around here ride XC or gravel bikes. Around here it can be more fun to have a bike that's not incredily stable and well balanced because it makes the ordinary trails more interesting.)

But I'm glad you've found a formula that works for you. There's nothing more fun than a bike that fits you perfectly.
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 @Muscovir: having long CS doesn't make the bike cumbersome, it is all a matter of balance. Also a bike for what you describe would probably work well with a 66/65HA, 500mm reach and a 140mm fork, in which case to match the ratio of my 180/180mm bike with 63HA and 490mm reach you would probably need some CS around 435/440mm. I am not saying every bike needs longer CS, I am just saying we should think in terms of centering of the rider in the bike. For instance, most bike size S or XS have ridiculously long CS compared to their front centers but those bikes get rarely tested and unlike bigger sizes you can't shorten their CS unless you were to go with a 26 wheel at the back. But extending CS isn't a complex task and so keeping the balance consistent from a size M to XL could be achieved.
@onawalk I agree with you not everyone is the same and I like what Atherton are doing with their sizing as they take into consideration upper body and lower body size. Now standard manufacturing can't do that but like I said, keeping the balance as consistent as possible between sizes would make sense. You could still have bikes with a front length bias, or rear length bias, like you said different bikes for different people, but consistency amongst sizes for once given frame would make sense to me. In the ski world you can have skis with long tips and short tails or the opposite but this will remain true for all sizes of a given ski.
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 @Balgaroth: So we do agree after all Smile My V5 Tallboy does have pretty much exactly the geometry you're describing and I absolutely love that bike. It's 495mm reach, 650mm stack, 440mm rear center, 65,5° HTA.
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 @onawalk: The new Canyon strive is literally perfect haha
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