Review: 2021 Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana

Jun 29, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  
The Gnarvana is the big dog in Guerrilla Gravity's lineup, and out of the five Revved carbon frames that the Colorado company offers it has the most travel, slackest head angle, and longest wheelbase. In fact, its geometry numbers aren't all that far off from the downhill bike that first put Guerrilla Gravity on the map. 160 millimeters of rear travel are paired with a 170mm fork, and all of the frames have adjustable headset cups that can be used to fine tune the bike's reach.

Guerrilla Gravity offers three build kits – Race, Rally, and Ride, with a wide range of options to customize each kit. Everything from the brakes to suspension can be swapped out depending on a customer's preference, and the online menu makes it easy to see how much that dream bike will cost.

Gnarvana Details

• Wheel size: 29"
• Revved carbon front triangle, aluminum swingarm
• Travel: 160mm (r) / 170mm (f)
• 63.7-degree head angle
• 450mm chainstays
• Threaded bottom bracket
• Weight: 33.8 lb (w/o pedals, size 3)
• Price: $5,235 USD as shown
• Frame only (without shock): $2,195 USD
www.ridegg.com
The bike shown here started with the Rally build kit, and then received a Shimano XT M8100 drivetrain, Fox 38 fork, and DHX2 coil shock, which puts the price at $5,235 USD.


bigquotesSlower speed rock rolls into tight turns, awkward rock plops onto sniper landings, steep, loamy chutes that felt more like skiing than bike riding... The Gnarvana took it all in stride. Mike Kazimer







Construction and Features

Guerrilla Gravity introduced their Revved carbon frame at the beginning of 2019, and there are now five bikes in their lineup that use the same US-made front triangle. That front triangle is constructed using automated fiber placement for most of the layup process, which means that machines are able to dramatically cut the amount of labor time it takes to create a frame.

How can the same front triangle work for everything from a 120mm trail bike to a 160mm enduro machine? Well, there are obviously some concessions, namely in the weight department for the shorter travel bikes, but Guerrilla Gravity makes it work by using different aluminum seatstays and shock lengths for each model.


They even offer Seatstay Tuning Kits for $445 that make it possible to turn one frame into another. Of course, you'd probably need a different fork and shock as well, and maybe some lighter wheels if you were going from a long travel to a shorter travel option, so it's not exactly an inexpensive proposition.

The frame has external cable routing, but everything's hidden underneath a plastic cover on the non-driveside to give it a cleaner look. There's room for a small water bottle under the top tube, and a spot to mount a tube or tools on the top of the downtube. If you're planning on running a side-loading bottle cage, don't forget you'll need one that loads from the opposite side than you're used to, since its orientation is reversed compared to one that's mounted on a downtube.

Other details include a threaded bottom bracket, ISCG 05 tabs, and SRAM's Universal Derailleur Hanger.



Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana

Geometry & Sizing

The Gnarvana has headset cups that can be flipped around to alter the reach by 10 millimeters. In the case of the size 3 I was on, the reach can be set at either 460 or 470mm.

The seat tube angle is 76-degrees, and the chainstays measure 450mm for all sizes. It's interesting to see how those geometry numbers change when you compare the Gnarvana to a bike like the 120mm Trail Pistol, which has a 78.1-degree seat tube angle and a 493mm reach.




Suspension Design

The Gnarvana uses a Horst Link suspension design for its 160mm of travel, and unlike Guerrilla Gravity's other models there's just one position for the shock instead of having a 'Plush' and 'Crush' mode. There's a 22% change in the leverage ratio throughout the travel, a number that allows the bike to work with both air and coil shocks.

The anti-squat sits at a hair under 100% at sag, and then decreases as the bike goes through its travel.


Specifications
Price $5295
Travel 160mm
Rear Shock Fox DHX2
Fork Fox 38 Factory Grip 2 170mm
Cassette Shimano XT M8100 10-51
Crankarms SRAM Descendant Carbon DUB
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT M8100
Chain Shimano XT M8100
Shifter Pods Shimano XT M8100 12-speed
Handlebar RaceFace Next R 780mm
Stem Race Face Aeffect R
Grips ODI Elite Pro lock-on
Brakes SRAM Code R
Wheelset Stans Flow MK3
Tires Maxxis Assegai 2.5" / Maxxis DHR II 2.4" EXO+
Seat SDG Radar
Seatpost SDG Trellis







Test Bike Setup

I ran the Gnarvana's adjustable headset in the long setting for the entire test period; I never felt any need to go shorter. Up front, I ran 87 psi in the Fox 38 with two tokens. My compression and rebound settings were as follows (all numbers from full closed): HSC: 5, LSC: 10, HSR: 5, LSR: 6.

I began the test period with a few rides on the 2020 Fox DHX2 shock, and then switched that out for the new 2021 model. With a 400 lb/in spring I ended up at close to 30% sag, and ran the following: HSC: 6, LSC: 14, LSR: 12, HSR: 5. I did notice that Fox's recommended low speed rebound settings were very, very slow, nearly half of what I ended up settling on.

Conditions were on the wetter side of things for the two month test period, and all testing took place near Bellingham, Washington.


Me.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 37
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer


Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana review

Climbing

The Gnarvana is smack dab in the middle of the road when it comes to climbing performance for a bike in this category. It's not the lightest, but it's also not the heaviest, and the seat angle is reasonably steep, although more and more bikes are being released with even steeper angles.

It's best suited to rides with a triangular elevation profile rather than a sine wave, winch and plummet adventures rather than mellower rides on rolling terrain. However, if you do end up on more technical climbing trails the Gnarvana does reasonably well. There's lots of traction from that coil shock and those longer chainstays, which makes it possible to power through chunky, tricky sections of trail. It doesn't have the snappiness and quick acceleration you'd find on a shorter travel bike, but it's also less of a one trick pony then a bike like the Privateer 161, where climbing is almost solely done to get to the descents.

With the DHX2 in the open position there was a little bit of bob, so I typically used the climb switch to get more support. The new position of the climb switch was a little bit hard to find at times, especially since the water bottle mostly blocks the shock from view. That's probably due in part to being so used to the previous version – I'm sure with some more time I'd get better at remembering what I was aiming for.


Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana review

Descending


I've ridden multiple bikes with the same 470mm reach and 450mm chainstay ratio as the Gnarvana (the Nukeproof Mega and Banshee Titan come to mind), so it didn't take me long to get accustomed to the bike's handling. We are starting to see bikes released with even longer reach numbers – 490 seems to be the new 470 – but there is a point of diminishing returns, when it can take so much effort to maneuver a bike at slower speeds that some of the fun gets sucked away.

Luckily, that's not the case with the Gnarvana. It's a big bike, but it never felt unwieldy or cumbersome, at least not for me at 5'11” on a size 3. Slower speed rock rolls into tight turns, awkward rock plops onto sniper landings, steep, loamy chutes that felt more like skiing than bike riding... The Gnarvana took it all in stride, with a very predictable, easy to handle nature. Those longer chainstays give it a nicely balanced feel, putting me in a centered position where I didn't need to fight to get my weight over the front of the bike, or worry about the back end squirting out from under me.

I did try the Gnarvana with a Float X2 air shock for a couple of rides, but ended up preferring the coil setup due to the slippery conditions that were a common occurrence during testing. The coil bumped up the level of grip available, and made it even easier to bash through loam bumps and rooty sections of trail. The Gnarvana's 22% progression combined with the generous bottom out bumper on the DHX2 meant that I didn't experience any harsh bottom outs, and provided plenty of support to keep the bike riding in the sweet spot of its travel.

It's worth mentioning that the Gnarvana is a very quiet bike - there weren't any rattling cables to deal with, and even though the chainslap protection is fairly basic, it did the trick and made every ride that much more enjoyable.

Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana review



Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana
Banshee Titan review

How does it compare?


The Gnarvana's handling reminded me a lot of the Banshee Titan, and a look at the geometry numbers reveals why. Both bikes have a 470mm reach, with chainstay lengths in the 450mm range. The Gnarvana is a bit slacker, with a 63.7-degree head angle vs. 64.5, which does help make feel even more at home in really steep terrain.

The Titan does have 5mm less rear travel, but its suspension design gives it such a bottomless feel that the slight travel difference between the two bikes isn't noticeable.

The Titan's aluminum frames goes for $2,299 with a Float X2 shock, while the Gnarvana is priced at $2,825 for the same configuration. When it comes time to play the weight game, you're looking at around a .5 pound (227 grams) difference, with the slight advantage going to the Gnarvana. That's not much at all, especially considering that the aluminum Titan isn't exactly underbuilt...

How about a comparison with the Transition Sentinel? I had both bikes on hand at the same time, which made it easy to suss out the similarities and differences. The Sentinel's head angle is 63.6-degrees, the reach is 476 millimeters for a size large, and the chainstays are 440mm, which gives it a 10mm shorter wheelbase than the Gnarvana. The Sentinel also has less travel - 150mm in the rear and a 160mm fork, along with a lighter frame weight. When it comes to price, the Gnarvana's frame costs $374 less than the full-carbon Sentinel.

On the trail, all those numbers give the Sentinel a livelier feel than the Gnarvana. It's easier to make quick direction changes and to transfer from one section of trail to another on the Sentinel, but when it comes time for really charging through rough terrain the Gnarvana has the edge. The Sentinel is more of an all-rounder, a bike that I'd happily take on longer trail rides, while the Gnarvana is more purpose-built for rougher trails with bigger hits.


Technical Report

Rotor size: If it were up to me, the Gnarvana would have 200mm rotors front and rear. It'll depend on what your local terrain is like, but I went on a few brake burning rides where a bigger rear rotor would have been welcomed. The Code R brakes themselves worked well, with plenty of easy to modulate power. There's more vertical play in the levers than on the higher-end Code RSC brakes due to the use of a bushing instead of a bearing, and you lose the pad contact adjust feature, but otherwise the feel is nearly identical to their pricier siblings.

SDG Tellis dropper post: The Tellis dropper post went up and down just like a good dropper post should, although the remote lever had a rattle that required a piece of mastic tape to quiet it down. I'd be likely to go with a post with even more drop (Guerrilla Gravity offer the 185mm Bike Yoke revive as an option). Once you've ridden a bike with 180 or 200mm of drop it's hard to go back to anything shorter.

Stan's Flow MK3 wheels: Low spoke tension seems to be a common occurrence with Stan's pre-built wheels. I'd recommend checking the tension after the first few rides, since there's a good chance they'll require a short stint in the truing stand to bring them back up to tension.

Fox 38: The new 38's performance meshes very well with the Gnarvana's character. It's a stiff, stout fork, but it never felt harsh or hard to control. Setup was straightforward, and I was able to find settings that matched the feeling I was looking for. Stay tuned for a long term review with head-to-head comparisons, but for now know that the 38 is an excellent choice for big bikes designed for big terrain.



Guerrilla Gravity Gnarvana review


Pros

+ Modern geometry and plenty of travel without going too crazy
+ Made in USA without the US-made price tag
+ Lots of component / build kit options

Cons

- Adjustable reach but no adjustable chainstay length
- Slightly limited size range
- Not the lightest frame, even with the carbon front triangle



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesUsing the same front triangle for five different models is a tricky proposition, but somehow Guerrilla Gravity have made it work. The Gnarvana is well equipped for everything from bike park usage to enduro racing, with a level of customization that makes it possible to easily dial in your dream build kit.  Mike Kazimer








190 Comments

  • 110 0
 I wonder if they’ll make a lighter version called Pearl Gram?
  • 20 2
 Will it come with a Dt Swiss “Idle Tendencies” wheelset?
  • 18 2
 Yeah, I could also think of...
Temple of the downs
Shredgarden or
Ascendingslave Smile
  • 11 0
 Savour those wet conditions Mike, that's 'Mudhoney' stuck to the downtube.
  • 40 0
 Or a short travel version called the Poundgarden.
  • 43 3
 All ridden by Loam Temple Pilots
  • 6 1
 Also a women's version, the Mudhoney.
  • 24 1
 Hi my name is dirt.....dirt cobain
  • 5 2
 Name goes with the Effective Seat(tle) Tube Angle
  • 7 1
 Their freeride model will be called Gniron Gnaiden?
  • 13 3
 They already did this. Megatrail - Megadeath The Smash - The Clash Trail Pistol - Sex Pistols Shred Dogg - Snoop Dogg Pedalhead - Radiohead They name all the bikes after bands they like
  • 61 3
 Smashing Pumptracks?
  • 2 0
 Pearl Jam will be next @catweasel:
  • 22 1
 @catweasel: I think the PedalHead is actually named after Motorhead.
  • 6 4
 @Jtyler13: They don't like Radiohead WTF is wrong with them? Knowing those guys you are probably right
  • 12 0
 @catweasel: Pedalhead is definitely a Motörhead reference. The graphic design on the frame decals makes it fairly obvious. And it’s a plus that it sounds like metal head!
  • 2 0
 @gotohe11carolina: They don’t have no function - I don’t understand what they mean...
  • 2 0
 @SiSandro: amazing
  • 7 1
 GG does not strike me as the type of company that's into Radiohead.
  • 4 1
 @2pi: Shredgarden would make a great name for a bikepark!
  • 2 0
 dream of the 90s...
  • 6 10
flag duzzi (Jun 29, 2020 at 8:36) (Below Threshold)
 Who needs an e-bike when this one weights 35 pounds with pedals! In pure salesman lingo Pinbike comments "it is not the lightest but not the heaviest" ... really? are people now going around with 40 pounds bikes?

But wait! the bike does better with "triangular elevation profile rather than a sine wave" ... thanks the gods! All that weight does better on a steep incline rather than a rolling terrain! miracles!
  • 2 0
 Ride it through the Screaming Trees.
  • 2 0
 @duzzi: 35 is the new 32!
  • 6 2
 Still waiting on their free ride bike, the Huck Cherry
  • 1 2
 something in the way of that bottlecage mount
  • 1 0
 With no WC DH to watch has people going insane. Can call this summer "Mad Season"
  • 2 0
 Suspension system renamed to:

Slip-Not
  • 1 0
 @SiSandro: title of your sex tape.
  • 41 3
 Could you please give some more information on the difference in riding feel to the Titan, rather than just comparing geo's (which i can do myself)? Because as it is now. the comparison couldve been left out and I wouldnt be any dumber.
  • 9 6
 From the article: The handling feels about the same, and even though there is 10mm less travel, you don't really notice it. So overall they feel very similar. What more did you want?
  • 60 18
 Cons: The name
  • 22 8
 Art department nephew is furiously scribbling feedback notes on his Ipad. That and stick figures with guns and pew pew pew captions.
  • 11 3
 and no plaid decals, my 8 year old daughter is gutted
  • 8 9
 I wonder how much of this is Levy circlejerk; I actually really like the name.
(Levy, you made it bro)
  • 5 8
 Much worse than "Enduro" "Slash" or "Megatower"
  • 8 5
 From using a rock on emoji as their bike logo, to the dozens of juvenile nomenclatures you'll see on their website, its all a bit...well...
  • 16 3
 @SvenNorske:
Careful, your monocle might fall out on your next ride.
  • 5 0
 @everythingsucks: It's pretty cringe stuff. May as well throw some hair metal puns and PBR swag in there and call it 2011's finest irony package.
  • 2 0
 I love mine, but yeah.... Trail Pistol??? Hate the name but love the bike.
  • 35 3
 Wow, just wow. “It's best suited to rides with a triangular elevation profile rather than a sine wave, “ that’s some amazing review sh1t going down.
  • 39 3
 Translation:”Colorado bike”
  • 13 0
 2+2 is 4. Minus 1 its 3. Quik mafs
  • 1 0
 @GZMS: boom
  • 2 2
 @GZMS: your meth is good
  • 72 0
 C’mon, a little poetic license never hurt anybody - there’s only so many ways you can write the same phrase over and over again.
  • 2 0
 Regardless of the wording, it is an extremely valid point!
  • 6 0
 GG Illuminati confirmed.
  • 3 0
 Looked like a Dirac Delta kind of bike to me to be honest.
  • 9 0
 The worst is when your ride has a vertical asymptote.
  • 1 1
 Might as well just write, "perfect for the Sea to Sky area".
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I had their alloy trail Pistol last year & loved it! I'm also enjoying the Gnarvana in much the same way. It climbs pretty good for how long the wheelbase is, especially after moving the seat forward on the rails a bit. Descending feels like a full on powder day through the chunk. This is why I got into MTB.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Ha ha, you’re forgiven. I expect something even more out there next time tho. You set the bar high for yourself.
  • 43 17
 That banshee frame is a work of art, would take it over a plastic frame that looks like a cabinet anyday.
  • 7 0
 I ride a pre-Revved metal GG frame, which I'm still enjoying the hell out of, but the one thing that caught me in this review is how sweet the Banshee looks.
  • 7 3
 Finally people are realizing carbon ain't always what it's "cracked" up to be..
  • 25 3
 Yea except this carbon frame is produced using newer more durable thermoplastic manufacturing in Colorado, instead of the typical method of production for Banshee bikes in Asian factories alongside tons of other brands.
  • 8 2
 @PHeller: I believe Banshee only makes aluminum frames. But yes, GG is one of a very few companies that produce their carbon frames domestically, and one of the few brands I'd buy carbon from.
  • 10 0
 Don't knock those new GG carbon frames. My buddy got one and its rock solid.
  • 7 0
 The aluminum stuff coming from Last in Germany is gorgeous, too! Simple lines and reasonably straight tubes look amazing in metal.
  • 4 0
 @notenduro: Yea, Last is making good stuff, as is Reeb, but in those cases your paying a premium for an alloy bikes produced outside of Asia, and they end up being nearly as expensive as Guerrilla Gravity's carbon bikes.

That being said, if GG didn't exist, I'd probably be on a Last (if I could get one.)
  • 2 0
 @stumphumper92: yeti could learn a thing or two from these cats carbon process!
  • 12 0
 Other than HTA it seems like even the new Sentinel still compares better with the Smash? No build weight advantage then, even if the frame is ~half a pound more. (and still save 4-500 bucks on the GG)

@mikekazimer, you say the Titan feels bottomless, more so than the Gnarvana with coil? How do either of them compare with the newest Enduro?
  • 9 0
 I'd put the Enduro over both of them when it comes to downhill performance - that's still at the top of my list in that category. The extra bit of travel combined with the low center of gravity make it work extremely well in rough, choppy terrain. I do wish the seat tube angle was steeper on the Enduro. It climbs very well, but it has a 644mm top tube length compared to 623mm on the Titan and 625mm on the Gnarvana. And yes, on the Titan it felt like there was more travel in reserve for bigger hits compared to the Gnarvana, but keep in mind that the Titan I tested had a Float X2 - the ramp up of an air spring vs coil, plus that X2's generous bottom out bumper contribute to that feeling.
  • 3 0
 The Sentinel definitely compares more directly with the Smash, it was probably just compared because Kaz happened to have it on hand and was riding it at the same time.
  • 9 0
 Adjustable reach headset cups, I have often wondered why other companies have not done this for a long time. You can chose forward or standard geometry or just fine tune it at your leisure. Seems a little strange though to do the front end and not do the back end. I would have thought adjustable chainstays, BB height, leverage might also have been an option.
  • 1 0
 Obviously you’re right but all that stuff adds complexity and $ to the manufacture stage. Bikes are made as cheaply as possible with a solid lump of the $ going towards sophisticated bullshit (marketing) and pay to play ads etc.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: Surprisingly, for GG, the adjustable reach is for cost savings. They have fewer molds across sizes, since two different sizes use the same frame with different reach adjustments. My friend has a "Small", and the reach is just adjusted way close, making the head tube stick out kinda funny. Fewer molds = cheaper
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: But they’re a small manufacturer and have implemented the reach adjustment for cost reasons whereas most manufacturers omit them for cost reasons even though they produce more sizes. Every bike should have a rear centre adjustment, at least a non-integrated headset to allow an angle set, and a linkage chip to allow a 27.5” rear wheel.
  • 6 0
 @hamncheez: ...and in saving production costs by using the same front triangle across multiple models, they end up with a 160mm bike with a 2 degree more slack seat tube angle than their 120mm travel model - a significant compromise.
  • 1 0
 @PNdubRider: Probably more at sag.
  • 2 0
 @PNdubRider: you make a good point. I wonder if the significance is less than you think though. Maybe each bike is 1 degree off perfect (in opposite directions). I have a MegaSmash which has the same angles as the Gnarvana, I find the seated pedaling position to be really good, never ridden the trail pistol but I don't remember hearing that the STA was too steep. Certainly wasn't mentioned in the field test
  • 9 0
 I went out to Denver not long after GG dropped the Revved carbon project and stopped by their shop. I was able to ride the Smash and check out the frame details. They do a really nice job and the details are impressive. Despite the bikes looking (and being) incredibly burly they are surprisingly nimble and don't weigh a ton. If I was in the market for a bike it would be on my list. The Gnarvana would be a maybe, but I'd probably opt for the Smash which would handle 90+ of the riding I do.
  • 12 0
 Props for using "plops"
  • 19 0
 Plop props
  • 5 0
 Sounds like a fundraiser Plops for props
  • 4 0
 @scottlink: a Friday Fails theme day for old men: Pops' Plops for Props.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: hahahahaha!!!! Yes!!!!!!
  • 11 0
 Rockgarden. I’ll show myself out...
  • 6 0
 I have a Smash and it absolutely rips everything from aggressive trail riding to the bike park. I can't even begin to imagine the shear speed and confidence that more aggressive geo and increased travel must give the Gnarvana.
  • 5 0
 It's an impressive looking bike. Personally, I would prefer the Smash for my local riding, hopefully you will review that as well at some point. On the review side of things, I really like the videos to complement the article. Even a short one makes it so much better.
  • 1 0
 Same here, I was looking at the Smash for a bit before I ended up getting a deal from Transition. Sentinel V1 and the Smash are pretty comparable and fit my terrain pretty well. The Gnarvana is a burly as hell bike.
  • 5 0
 @bishopsmike: The new Smash is a little different than the alu iteration. I haven't ridden the revved frame but it sounds like it's more "enduro" than the aluminum. Longer, slacker, 5mm more travel, so it makes sense. The aluminum is a great trail bike though; I have one and it makes it hard to envision getting any additional bikes since it covers so much range.
  • 1 0
 @bishopsmike: mark normand fan?
  • 2 0
 @bishopsmike: old Smash, not the Revved. But thanks!
  • 5 0
 why does the spec list SRAM gear when the bike has a shimano crank etc

also "Stay tuned for a long term review with head-to-head comparisons, but for now know that the 38 is an excellent choice for big bikes designed for big terrain"

seen a few users already complain about CSU creak it's also a pound heavier than the competition.
  • 2 0
 You can choose either SRAM or Shimano drivetrain/brakes when ordering from GG.

The 38 is heavier than which competition? I'm curious.
  • 1 0
 @NWBasser: The 38 is heavier than well nearly everything single-crown outside of a Z1 Coil at 2500g. It's a tank of a fork.
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: If I were in the market for a new fork, I'd likely just go for a Mezzer. I suppose it doesn't matter much because I'm not buying a new bike or fork, but was just curious about how heavy the 38 is. I certainly wouldn't want that weight unless it had a coil.
  • 1 0
 @NWBasser: It's crazy that if a coil conversion for the Mezzer existed, it might add 300g to the fork, but that would still put it on par with the 2500g Z1 Coil despite having 37mm stanchions. The Z1 is beefy, and coil doesn't help. The Mezzer is a marvel of light engineering.

The 38 is 2450g from folks on MTBR who have weighed them. Worst of all is that they still have a CSU creak!
  • 8 1
 I love this bike , I really dislike the name and hand gesture plate on the front. :/
  • 5 2
 funny thing is you can't see the logo plate on the front or the name while riding. and it rides real well!
  • 10 7
 Between the obvious reviews that come out and say it and the subtle clues dropped by careful reviewers, it seems that the Specialized Enduro is the best bike in this class. My (admittedly limited) riding seems to back this up. It pains me to say this as someone who hates Specialized, but it appears that an ebike company that hates mountain biking makes the best 160mm-ish “enduro” bike.

What im trying to say is that it’s telling they avoided that direct comparison.
  • 2 7
flag GZMS (Jun 29, 2020 at 6:14) (Below Threshold)
 They avoided that comparison because this bike is not a competitor for the enduro
  • 5 1
 @wibblywobbly The Enduro is a helluva bike for its intended purpose. I've ridden one and it pedals better than any full suspension bike that Specialized has ever done save their XC whips. The thing is, one has to decide if they want to deal with its shortcomings in less than terrifying terrain. The other bikes mentioned will do 95% of what the Enduro can do, but be much less of a handful on twisty singletrack. The Enduro's wheelbase in my size is nearly 2.5" longer than my 160 travel 29er. Sure, that gives the Enduro the edge in all out DH speed on the chunky steeps, but that length takes some getting used to and lacks the playful hooligan qualities I dig as well as the aforementioned versatility.
  • 4 1
 @hellbelly: I don't find the length to be an issue at all, the front/rear weighting is so natural I find it to work extremely well in tight switchbacks, and it'll slide around steep/loose corners with amazing control and confidence. I have an S4, and at 37 lbs the only issue I have with it is the extra weight on flat sections of trail takes a little more effort to accelerate it up to speed, and it takes a little more time to get to the top of climbs.
  • 1 1
 @hellbelly: I have the new Enduro, and I actually find it to be shockingly "playful" - especially for a 170mm 29er. There is something about the midstroke of that bike that creates this amazing platform for loading and popping, and the bike as a whole is so confidence inspiring that you feel like you can carry serious pace into random side hits and gaps. It is a bike that demands an aggressive riding style: eyes forward, body in an aggressive neutral stance. That said, when you get it up to speed the bike becomes very "light" underneath you when charging through rough sections, and it really encourages you to point and shoot - let off the brakes! My biggest hangup is that the bike loves to hold a line and takes a heavy hand to disengage into a new line. I've heard this can be fixed by riding the Enduro in high-BB mode, and I intend to test this out when I swap the rear shock in a few weeks.
  • 10 0
 People like to hate on Specialized, but they've made some great bikes over the years, sponsored some of the best riders, and they probably spend more on r+d than anyone out there. Their current line has up-to-date geometry and features across the board.
  • 2 1
 @KJP1230: this is spot on.
  • 2 1
 There is really no such thing as best bike in the class. And if you try to make a comparison based on technical features, anything that Enduro has going for for it is even better on Pole Stamina or Nicolai G1. It all depends on what you want. Some people want stability, other people want something shorter. Sam Hills Nukeproof Mega is not as aggressive as those bikes, but he can shred it just fine can he can handle it. In the same weight Leigh Johnson can handle a significantly longer Machine without issues to come in 15th last year.
  • 2 1
 @phops: I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that there are no 'best bikes in class'. When every reviewer and rider hops on the same bike (2020 Enduro in this case), and every single person is saying that it wins the field test, performs at a 10/10, climbs ridiculously well for its class, etc....it's safe to say you have a hit bike on your hands. That doesn't mean other bikes are not also excellent - but come on.

And sure, a pro like Sam Hill is going to be wildly fast regardless of the bike he's piloting. That said, a bike can absolutely help make a given rider faster.
  • 3 0
 @phops: only on the Internet where people just stare at geo charts all day do people just blindly say the Nicolai and the Pole are better on “technical features”. Neither of those bikes have a Swat box or carbon links if you want to go that way...
  • 2 0
 @wibblywobbly: I'd also add that both the Nicolai and Pole are decidedly downhill focused. They have both taken the route of "it's basically a DH bike that is tolerable on fire roads and relaxed climbing." Meanwhile, the other bike in question is raved about as incredible on the DH and climbs really well, even without using the climb switch.

The Nicolai seems to derive a lot of its praise from the incredible EXT Storia shock as well - one could just as easily imagine getting similar results from a well-tuned EXT Storia being added to any other bike, including the Enduro.
  • 2 0
 @KJP1230:

Well, first, you are lying. If you go by reviews, both Pole Evolink, Machine, and Stamina as well as 2020 Enduro were said to be too long for tight technical trails and not super "playful" (whatever the f*ck that means in todays age) so they are definitely not 10/10, but that is expected from DH focused bikes.

Secondly, there is no standardized testing for bikes that you can point to, so you selectively pick the reviews for a bike, look at the fact that there is no negatives, and conclude that its the best bike. Enduro-mtb.com picked the Nicolai G1 as editors choice, so I can say that that bike is the best, and my argument would be as valid as yours.
  • 2 0
 @phops: The Nicolai G1 is a really interesting bike. But the periodical that you pointed to which listed it as "Editor's Choice" did so as this bike was favored by a single one of their editors (Felix Stix) in mid-2019. Other editors picked different bikes, such as the Canyon Strive (which was unseated by the 2020 Enduro in the 2020 'best of' testing), Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, and a hardtail called the Nordest Britango. Oh, and by the way, that article was written before the release and review of the 2020 Enduro. That seems like a major detail when comparing.

The Nicolai G1's suspension platform also seems entirely focused on DH performance. From the very review that you are citing: "The Nicolai climbs best on relaxed fire roads, where it makes its way up in a relaxed fashion." This hardly sounds like a bike that will offer the same pedaling platform as the 2020 Enduro.

Additionally, most/many reviewers from Enduro-MTB, BikeMag, Pinkbike, VitalMTB and MBR have given the 2020 Specialized Enduro universal praise. It won "best in test" for Enduro-MTB's 2020 issue comparing 17 Enduro bikes (including the Pole Stamina 180). It won multiple editors "best bike in test" for 2020 Bible of Bike testing for BikeMag, beating out not only other Enduro bikes, but bikes from other categories as well. It won Pinkbike's Field Test "editors choice" and Mike Kazimer recently said in comments that it is still the king of DH performance for the category. It also won the field test for MBR, where they literally said "performance is a 10/10" and "while we talk about the fact that it is the most capable bike downhill, it is also the best climbing bike in the test..." Frankly, I am not sure how much more evidence you need. There is not another single bike currently in production that has the same amount of universal praise for the category as the 2020 Specialized Enduro. That is a literal fact that you can google/research for yourself.
  • 2 0
 @phops: I would also say that you need to see my original comment. I am not claiming that the 2020 Enduro is outright "playful". I said: "...it is shockingly playful - especially for a 170mm 29er." I stand by this statement. The bike is very balanced, and has a great pedaling characteristic which means it climbs better than any other FSR bike I've ridden. It also has really good midstroke support which allows you to load the suspension and get good 'pop' when trying to gap over obstacles. Is it ever going to be as playful as a steeper, 140mm 27.5? Nope. But considering it is a long travel, race-focused 29er, it is pretty damn playful for that category!

The simple fact is, there is no other bike which has nearly the universal praise for both downhill capability, overall suspension performance and pedaling platform. This doesn't mean every other bike is rubbish, or that people cannot have individual preference. It DOES mean that it is probably fair to say that the 2020 Specialized Enduro is a hit bike, with praise across the industry, and therefore is most likely to represent the current "best of class" bike based on these facts.
  • 6 0
 "The Gnarvana is built for smashing."

Then what is the GG The Smash built for?!
  • 11 0
 Gnar-ing?
  • 6 1
 American made carbon at a fraction of the price? Yes please
  • 1 0
 Can someone explain how the shorter-travel Trail Pistol, with the same front triangle, has 13mm more reach? (The S3 has a reach of 483mm by the way, I almost fell off my chair when I read 493 in the article, considering the Gnar is 480 max.)
  • 4 0
 When you increase the a2c of the fork, the reach is decreased.
  • 2 0
 Shorter fork lowers the front end. If you imagine rotating the frame around the bottom bracket as you move the frame down the distance from the intersection of a vertical line from the BB and the horizontal line from the top of the headtube will increase
  • 2 0
 @catweasel: yeah, except bike is rotating around the rear axle, not the bb
  • 2 0
 @thegoodflow: yeah your right so the BB drop would probably add slightly too the effect
  • 2 0
 @thegoodflow: they have different rear triangles, so it's not rotating around the rear axle either.
  • 2 0
 @dthomp325: yeah, you're right. I was thinking about increasing the a2c while everything else stays the same
  • 1 1
 @thegoodflow: okay, so basically it’s a limitation of the measurement, yes? It’s down to the vertical line drawn up from the BB being at a different angle relative to the HT angle. That kinda is a crappy measurement... obviously the distance between your hands and feet (with like bar, stem, steerer) would be the same. You’d just have more weight on the front with less travel fork.
  • 1 0
 @thegoodflow: thanks for the help geeking out, BTW!
  • 6 2
 Hummm. Seems a bit lukewarm of a review. But it’s late and I’m pooped.
  • 22 2
 Maybe the Enduro bike fatigue is kicking in.

"Climbs like a 38 pound trail bike. Descends like a 160 travel DH. Next!"
  • 6 8
 just another fsr bike that doesnt stand out imo
  • 11 0
 @housem8d: I think the standout is the value. For $5.5k you are getting a well performing bike with Shimano XT, Fox Factory suspension, Carbon Frame, and a generally solid build kit. While the "Ride" builds are a really low-spec build out (Sram NX and entry level suspension), you're still getting a complete carbon bike for around the same price as many competitors frame sets.
  • 16 3
 @KJP1230: You missed "made in the USA" - which few brands even bother trying these days. For the same price or less than the competition.
  • 1 0
 yeah its cool that theyre pushing the enveloppe...but their presentation needs some work. That thermoplastic stuff looks up to par
  • 2 3
 @nouseforaname: Yeah seriously, Made in the USA by a robot is way better than made in Taiwan by a robot
  • 5 2
 @tempest3070: It is, for many reasons. To name a few: skilled jobs in the US, investment in new technology in the US, less waste to transport goods to market, less support for often shoddy enviro practices overseas.
  • 3 2
 @nouseforaname: I don't necessarily disagree with you about any of those points, but I am curious why you, as a Canadian, would value having another skilled job in the US vs having another skilled job opportunity available to an Asian worker.
  • 4 3
 @thegoodflow: Because I recognize America as one of the best places in the world, and off shoring of jobs to save a buck is one of the worst aspects of the push for 'free' trade in the 80/90's. I read an opinion piece yesterday that said that after the end of the Cold War, Americans were left with no identity. Previously it had been 'superpower, opposed to the Commie scourge'; but after the end of the CW they (you) collectively decided that the identity was 'shoppers'. Malls exploded like viruses, shopping and spending was in. The CW had been 'won' so the world opened up markets and the free trade era began (in order to sustain the flow of goods and increase profits). We're now seeing the fruits of that free trade era ripening in the endless Fed bubble, endless debasement of the $, small businesses told that they're not essential; all to keep the money coming in for those in the big league companies/stocks and shares market. Or Tl; Dr - what happens to USA happens to USA's hat too. f*ck the Communists.
  • 3 1
 @nouseforaname: yikes. Not often you hear a Canadian chanting "America's #1". Can't say I really agree with you there, but I'm thankful for the good things that America does have. Sure, American jobs are good for US citizens, and maybe you too by association apparently, but there's nothing inherently better about an American having a skilled job vs an Asian having a skilled job. Not everything has to be turned into 'us vs them'
  • 5 1
 @thegoodflow:

It’s not about us vs. them, it’s about (on both/all sides):

- having a healthy work environment.
- having meaningful employment with a wage that allows for security in food & shelter for your family, and ideally some time off for recreation.
- reducing unnecessary environmental costs.

If Guerrilla Gravity can build a business where they are paying American workers, adhere to American pollution laws (not the best but better than much of manufacturing Asia), and offer a competitive product at LESS than the overseas-made competition — how is that not a win? If nothing else, it should bring to light all the $$$$ sucked up by middlemen offering no value-adds to the boutique alternatives.
  • 3 1
 @AckshunW: meh, well I think @nouseforaname was making it about us vs them when he said "f*ck the commies". I do agree with the rest of your points, and that it's ideal if an American company with mostly American customers also manufactures in America... win-win. I think I just zoomed in on his point about "skilled jobs in the US" in isolation. Sure, that's great if you live in the US, but most of the world is not the US. I'm not sure what your point is about the work environment though. Yes, I want everyone to have safe and rewarding jobs with a healthy work/life balance, regardless of what continent they live on.
  • 4 2
 @thegoodflow: Well, Taiwan isn't Communist, but China is. And China is the largest benefactor of US offshoring of jobs and tech. Repatriating jobs from where they have been offshored is a good move for every country IMO. And yeah, it IS about us Vs them. The jobs have to be somewhere, my position is that it's better when they are in the 'west'/US/NA/Europe, rather than shipped off to wherever labour is cheap just to make a couple of extra percentage points. Re: Cheerleading for the US. I'm an immigrant to Canada, with a degree in history, and I will solidly put the US up on a pedestal and say 'this is the best humanity has achieved." Yeah there's flaws, yeah there's things that you could do better, but as a whole you've done better than any other attempt at the whole 'how civilization should work' thing. The Republic has endured for 250 years, but time and the venality of politicians is taking it's toll. Dial back the power concentration in Washington and re-emphasize States rights Vs Federal and you'll be well on your way IMO.
  • 3 2
 I just think it's funny that for as many cyclists, MTBers included, chant about "buying local" for their groceries, their soap, their avocado toast, and so many cyclists say "support your local bikeshop!" - but when you say "buy a Made in USA frame!" They are all like "nah dude the name is lame and its carbon blah!"

I for years bought Taiwanese produced frames because that's all that was available aside from Reeb, Lenz, and numerous (very expensive) hardtail builders based in the USA. Now, we finally have a good value USA manufactured full-suspension bike (with modern geo, no less) and I couldn't think of any other brand I wanted to give my money to.
  • 1 2
 @nouseforaname: I can't figure out if your comment is intended to be satire
  • 4 0
 Looks like it'll fly faster than a Gnarpoon!
  • 5 4
 I wonder how this compares to the Spez Enduro from last year. It already looks like the Gnarvana won't be a better pedaling platform, but will it be able to match the Enduro's performance going downhill?
  • 3 0
 Don't think so, the suspension on the Enduro is so dialed you just smash through everything without slowing down.
  • 2 0
 I'm tempted between this and the new Meta AM. Only problem is this is a pound lighter but $1000 CAD more for a similar build spec.
  • 1 0
 That's a very expensive pound!
  • 3 1
 Interesting comments about the Code brakes. The R doesn't have Swinglink, so I'm surprised the feel was the same as the RSC.
  • 1 0
 This. IMO Swinglink is the most important feature of SRAM brakes. Probably feels the same as long as you keep the brake pads less than 30% worn.
  • 3 0
 I've had good luck with the Code R brakes. The lever feel does change somewhat over the course of pad wear, but it isn't a drastic change and overall it doesn't bother me. The brakes have plenty of power and modulate well.

For what they cost on the used market (I got a set for 200 bucks) they are an amazing deal. Even new, they aren't bad. I tend to like the on-off feel of shimano brakes, but I like the control the codes give on really steep sections.
  • 3 0
 @bikekrieg: Agreed. Yes, I would prefer Code RSC brakes but I can put a full set of lightly used Code Rs on a bike for around $200. It's a fraction of the cost for very similar performance.
  • 2 0
 To me they feel better than the swing link brake. More consistent and predictable.
  • 1 0
 @WalrusRider: Or you could just buy Shimano Zees that effectively have the swing link for the same price and have RSC braking performance, and much easier maintenance (the bleed kit is a bottle of fluid and a funnel with plunger)
  • 2 0
 Appreciate the comment about the Stans Wheels. Just bought a pair and spokes were definitely loose.
  • 2 0
 Get used to it. I have flow S1, they came stock on my bike. I have to retension the rear usually every second ride. I have to tighten spokes more often than I lube the chain... sigh.
  • 1 0
 Aluminum is more recyclable than thermoplastic carbon composite but Guerilla Gravity frames are made in the US whereas Banshee frames are made in Asia. Both are sweet bikes.
  • 2 0
 Very high quality build for the money! Specialized take note, S-works for half the price.
  • 3 0
 Come as you gnar
  • 1 0
 Kaz, Great review, keep up the great content, oh and the pics look amazing. Love what GG is doing...
  • 2 1
 Wetallica even......another taxi
  • 4 3
 Fox suspension, sram brakes and shimano drivechain... take my money
  • 1 1
 Once again a bike that doesn’t have a dealer / shop in my province or country.
  • 1 0
 How many stars?
  • 12 14
 I thought they were making affordable bikes turns out im wrong
  • 15 0
 They sit between the other direct sales brands and the big store driven brands. Remember despite all the clever engineering they have to pay an all american work force. My MegaSmash was $4800 with xt 12s, code r, lyric ultimate, super deluxe rc3, one up bars, stans ex3. Not commencal or YT money but pretty reasonable especially for a partly custom build.
  • 5 1
 They make affordable bikes for being Made in USA. The only other USA manufactured MTB frames are like $1800 for a hard tail. Reeb, Foes, and Lenz all make alloy frames in USA for similar price to GGs carbon.
  • 1 12
flag NYShred (Jun 29, 2020 at 8:11) (Below Threshold)
 If they didn't go plastic this would be "affordable" and would be an amazing buy. This bike would be half the price if it was alu and would actually sell.
  • 8 0
 @NYShred: their frame only option were 1,995 when they were aluminum and they are now 2,195 (if my math is correct that is 200 dollar difference). so I don't understand where you think an aluminum bike would be half the current price.
  • 1 0
 @2zmtnz: because Santa Cruz and the like charge $1k to go from alloy to carbon
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: you do realize you are talking about one of the largest MTB companies and comparing them to a Boutique brand right? just because a large manufacturer can produce something cheaper overseas at a large quantity does not mean that same pricing can apply to a domestic small volume manufacturer.
  • 6 2
 @NYShred: Not necessarily, aluminum frames take a lot of time to build from machining tubes, jig set up, and welding, then there would also need to be more frame sizes.

The carbon front triangle is less complicated to build and to finish than aluminum, and once the mold is complete they can turn out frames faster.

Not to mention, you did know the rear triangle is aluminum AND the entire bike is make in Denver.

They are also selling like hotcakes.

Jealous are we?
  • 1 3
 Wettalica.......taxi
  • 1 0
 What??
  • 1 0
 @Dogl0rd: Pretty sure its the barman calling the taxi
  • 1 0
 @catweasel: if only but nice come back
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