Review: 2019 Knolly Fugitive LT - A Tough, Versatile 29er

May 27, 2019
by Mike Levy  
When you're planning out your dream bike, is it made out of aluminum? Probably not, but Knolly is aiming to change that mindset with its latest creation, the 29'' wheeled Fugitive. Sporting 135mm out back that's paired with a 150mm-travel fork (in the configuration reviewed below), the Canadian brand's first 29er is intended to be a sturdy, all around package that puts reliability above competing for lightest-in-class bragging rights.

It's also less expensive than most carbon options, with complete bikes starting at $4,015 USD and topping out at $6,540 in stock configuration. The Gulf Racing-inspired bike you see here sports a bit of a different build straight from Knolly, hence the 36 up front and $6,748 price tag, and they're happy to change things out for you, too. The frame (and a Fox DPS shock) comes in at a claimed 7.1lb, or roughly 1 to 1.5lb heavier than a similar intentioned carbon creation, and it costs $1,972 USD.

Knolly Fugitive LT Details

Intended use: trail / all-mountain
Travel: 135mm
Fork travel: 150mm
Wheel size: 29''
Frame construction: aluminum
Head angle: 65.75° - 66.5°
Reach: 477mm (large)
Chainstay length: 430.5mm
Sizes: Sm, md, lrg (tested), xlrg
Weight: 31.4lb / 14.2kg
Price: $6,748 USD (as pictured)
More info: www.knollybikes.com
bigquotesIt's not made to be the lightest or sportiest, but it'll get you to where you're going and feel sturdy as hell while doing it. Those best suited to the Fugitive might be described in the same way. Mike Levy







Construction and Features

Noel Buckley, the founder of Knolly and the Fugitive's creator, had versatility in mind when he designed the bike, hence the two different models based on the same aluminum frame that's pictured here. The version I tested gets 135mm out back (and the option of running a coil-sprung Fox DHX2 and 160mm-travel fork), whereas the standard version is given 120mm from a trail-oriented shock with 50mm of stroke.

The 135/150mm combo that I rode is likely to see burlier wheels, tires, and intentions, while you can think of the 120mm bike as a more agile, all-day package.


Knolly Fugitive photo by Dane Perras
The 135mm-travel Fugitive is designed to be an all-day, all-of-the-trail kind of bike. Many riders spec the 150mm-travel Fox 36 that mine arrived with.


The Fugitive is also an interesting blend of compatibility and forward-thinking design. Riders can bolt on a front derailleur, any type of chain guide, wide tires, Di2... you get the picture. There's 157mm rear hub spacing out back, too, something that Buckley says is crucial to be able to offer a 430mm rear-end as well as clearance for a 2.6'' wide tire.

Other details include titanium pivot hardware, cable routing that's been sorted out quite well, room for a Di2 battery, and access to your internally routed dropper post underneath that orange bolt-on downtube cover.


Knolly Fugitive photo by Dane Perras
Knolly Fugitive photo by Dane Perras
The lines enter at easy to use ports and pop out at a bolt-on cover on the backside of the seat tube.


The Fugitive's FOURby4 suspension ensures that it looks every bit the Knolly that it is. Then again, it's also much swoopier than their previous frames, which is mostly down to more attention put towards the industrial design. ''I've actually put 100-grams of weight on this bike to make it look better,'' Noel said to me earlier this year, an admission that I'd doubt you'd hear from many other company bosses.

Knolly hasn't ever been known for producing fly-weight machines, so the 7.1lb frame weight (with a Fox DPS shock) isn't unacceptable for a bike that's destined for a rough and tumble life in the dirt. You can expect complete bike weights around the 30lb mark, and my test rig came in at 31lb 4oz.


Knolly Fugitive photo by Dane Perras
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See that bolt-on orange door? That gives you access to the internally routed lines and your Di2 battery.



Geometry & Sizing

Knolly Fugitive


Knolly Fugitive photo by Dane Perras
The Fugitive LT's 135mm of travel is controlled via Knolly's FOURby4 suspension design.


Suspension Design

The most recognizable feature of all of Knolly's machines has to be their FOURby4 rear-suspension design that usually nets one or two ''What's with the extra links?'' comments at the trailhead. Buckley would argue that they're far from being ''extra,'' though, with this scooped right from their website: ''It allows us to decouple the performance aspects of the rear suspension, which means we can fine-tune each bike to match its intended purpose. Put simply - the lower linkage controls the rear wheel axle path, and the upper linkage controls the shock progression.''

There have been some tweaks to the new bike, too, mainly a nip more anti-squat to improve its on-power performance. That's not a phrase that Buckley is a big fan of, though: ''Yeah, it's got more anti-squat, but that's not a term I like. I think it's more complicated than that. Yeah, it has the best pedaling dynamics, but it still maintains traction.''

Having spent loads of time on various Knollys over the years, I'd agree that traction has always been their calling card. While they're not the most racy-feeling machines out there, it's made most of their bikes incredibly adept technical climbers.
Knolly Fugitive photo by Dane Perras
The re-tuned FOURby4 rear-suspension uses a new link design for smoother lines. There's a bunch of titanium pivot hardware, too.



Build Kit
Specifications
Release Date 2019
Price $6540
Travel 120
Rear Shock Fox Float
Fork Fox 36 Factory Float Grip2
Cassette SRAM Eagle X01
Crankarms Sram XO1 Carbon DUB SB+, 175mm, 30T X-Sync
Chainguide OneUp
Bottom Bracket Race Face
Rear Derailleur SRAM Eagle X01
Chain SRAM
Shifter Pods SRAM Eagle X01
Handlebar Race Face Next Carbon 35, 20MM rise 760mm
Stem Raceface Turbine R, 35 clamp, 50mm
Grips Chromag Basis
Brakes Sram Guide RSC
Wheelset Industry Nine Trail-S, Hydra, 15x110 front, 12x157 rear
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR 2.3'' 3C MaxxTerra 60tpi EXO TR
Seat Chromag Lynx DT
Seatpost RockShox Reverb



Knolly Fugitive photo by Dane Perras

Knolly Fugitive photo by Dane Perras













Test Bike Setup

The bike's Fox suspension is a common sight on the trails these days, and the Fugitive doesn't call for anything strange when it comes to setting it up. I started at the recommended 30-percent sag number out back and, aside from some tinkering just to see what'd happen, I ended up being quite happy with that number. Sag isn't a metric I use when setting up forks, though, and the 36 was set a touch firmer than average to deal with everything Squamish, BC, had to throw at it.

At 5'10'' I could be happy with the medium's 450mm reach as it's close to the same as my strange Giant Trance, but the large bike's 477mm number is more in-line with how a lot of riders are thinking these days, so I ended up going that longer route this time around. Likewise, there are two choices at the geometry-adjusting lower shock mount: slack, which is where I had it, or not-even-labeled because the bolt probably won't ever go here. The former gives you a 65.75-degree front-end, and the steeper option takes it to 66.5-degrees. Those numbers are with a 140mm fork; the 150mm fork I was running slackens things by approximately .5 degrees in either setting.




n a
Mike Levy
Location: Squamish, BC, Canada
Age: 38
Height: 5'10''
Inseam: 33.5"
Weight: 168lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @killed_by_death


Knolly Fugitive review photos by Dane Perras
Knolly emphasizes traction and comfort over pure speed. It works.


Climbing

A bike like the Fugitive, with 1350mm of travel, a sturdy trail-oriented build kit, and a go-anywhere sort of vibe to it, has to be something that you don't mind spending a hell of a lot of time pedaling around. It might even have to pretend to be an all-mountain rig now and then, too, especially given that my test rig showed up with a 150mm-travel Fox 36, a spec option that Knolly's customers often choose for the Canadian company's trail bike. That paints a picture of how Knolly intends their first 29er to be ridden, but being able to tackle a rowdy descent doesn't mean it needs to be a pain in the ass on the way there.

So, does the Fugitive climb like a 135mm-travel trail bike, or does it have more in common with an all-mountain rig?

It's somewhere in the middle, it turns out. Knolly hasn't ever offered the snappiest pedaling bikes, and the Fugitive fits that mold as well. A race bike it isn't, and that wasn't ever Knolly's intentions anyway, so while it'll move along just fine under power, it's a bike that rewards someone who knows how to spin circles rather than squares. The little Fox shock has a three-position pedal-assist switch that lets you tune the 'Open' mode's action, and I can see those who spend their time climbing fire-roads making use of the blue lever.
Knolly Fugitive review photos by Dane Perras
It might not be the most efficient design out there, but it supplies loads of traction.

The flipside to the active suspension is plenty of traction and, most noticeable because of the small amount of travel, a forgiving feel when you need to mow straight through an uphill section of rough trail. Just stay seated, keep pedaling, and look at where you want to go. It feels like the active suspension lets it carry more speed, or at least be less bothered, by such things. Handling is middle of the road; it's not a tack-sharp technical climber, but you also won't be able to blame the bike if you have to dab or reach out to a tree.

One thing to mention is the seat tube that sits well forward of the bottom bracket but is angled back to have the seat end up where it should. I have long legs that call for a relatively high seat, which means that it was a touch farther behind the bottom bracket that I'd prefer. On the flip side, because it slides forward when you fully lower the seat, it also never gets in the way on the descents.

Knolly's new Fugitive LT isn't the type of machine that makes climbs disappear, and it's not made to be the lightest or sportiest, but it'll get you to where you're going and feel sturdy as hell while doing it. Those best suited to the Fugitive might be described in the same way.


Knolly Fugitive review photos by Brian Park
The Fugitive LT loves a cheeky manual or trail bike-sized gap.


Descending

You know what I love about Knolly's bikes? They're always an interesting blend of characteristics that you usually don't see together, and the Fugitive is no different. The bike also sports much more new-school numbers that Knolly has employed in the past, but the Fugitive still feels every bit the Knolly that it is when the trail heads downward.

Handling first, which is on the nimble side of the spectrum, even when the Fugitive is in its slackest position. While I wouldn't call it nervous, it's a bike that can change direction on a dime, a trait that makes it quite the machine in the slow to mid-speed jank that usually laughs at your efforts to hold any momentum. The blue bike can easily dart around those boulders and roots that need to be bypassed, and it's an easy thing to get off the ground when you need to go over them instead of around them.


Knolly Fugitive review photos by Dane Perras
Roll or drop, the Knolly doesn't really care. It's sturdy.


It's those awkward, not quite downhill but also not quite flat bits of the trail is where the Knolly can really haul ass, especially with its active suspension that lets you stay seated if that's how you want to do it. It's in those settings that the 135mm-travel, part down-country, part all-mountain Knolly can leave squishier bikes in its dust.

The 150mm-travel Fox 36 fork makes for a 15mm difference between each end of the bike, and Knolly says that this combo is one of their most-sold spec options with 78-percent of Fugitive sales going that way. What I do know, however, is that up-forking a bike doesn't mean that said bike is automatically more capable. The Fugitive feels supremely flex-free and solid compared to similar rigs I've been on, but you'll be reminded that a long-stroke fork does not an all-mountain bike make. The positive spin would be to say that the blue Knolly rewards a rider with finesse and foresight rather than someone with a leap and pray mindset, as the Fugitive is a 135mm bike no matter what fork is bolted to the front of it.
Knolly Fugitive review photos by Dane Perras
It's a fun bike in the corners, even if it's not as long and low as some others.

This is one hell of a fun bike in the corners, though, with a sort of energy that long-travel machines just can't match. It literally felt like it was jumping out of some of the tighter berms and bends, and it'll take only a handful of those moments before you realize what this whole short-travel movement is all about.

The trick, though, is to make a trail bike that doesn't feel like a warmed-over cross-country rig, and that's exactly what Knolly has done with the Fugitive. You'll note exactly that in rough, chopped out corners where the blue bike tracks the ground better than machines with similar amounts of rear-wheel travel, and the bomb-proof ride encourages some foot-out sliding as per required. And it's always required.


Knolly Fugitive review photos by Dane Perras
The 150mm-travel Fox 36 means that you can get after it more than on your usual short-travel rig.


The Fox 36, with its Grip2 internals, performed as we've come to expect; it was trouble-free and is my favorite damper out there right now. It's a lot of fork for the Fugitive, and I'd probably go with less travel up front if I spec'd my version of the bike, but it was also appreciated here in Squamish where things are steep and steeper. The little Fox shock did well, too, and I could run 30-percent sag to get full travel when I should, but without hitting the end of the stroke too often.

That's tricker than you might think with modern short-travel bikes that need to squeeze in being supple on top, supportive in the middle, and ramp-up at the end, all with just 135mm. Get it wrong and it'll bottom out its stroke more often than a teenage boy with a lock on his bedroom door, but Knolly got it right.



Ibis Ripley Photo by Dane Perras
Unno Dash review
The new Ibis Ripley and Unno's Dash both fit into the same trail bike category.

How does it compare?

It might cost a hell of a lot more, but Unno's 130mm-travel Dash is designed to be a do-all-the-things trail bike, just like the Fugitive LT. On the singletrack, the blacked-out Unno is more of a poppy play machine, but its Öhlins-controlled rear-suspension is also much less forgiving than what the Knolly offers. The Knolly is a better technical climber, too. I'd pick the Fugitive if I were into all-day adventures, but I'd choose the Unno if my rides were more about smashing corners and sessioning jumps and fun lines.

The other obvious comparison is to Ibis' new Ripley, a bike that I've been putting a ton of time on lately. It crushes the Knolly when talking about efficiency, and that, along with the lower weight (it's a much more expensive build), means that I'd reach for the Ibis when I want to cover some ground. The Ripley can match the Fugitive LT in the fun stuff as well, so it might come down to how much you want to spend and whether you lean towards aluminum or carbon.



Technical Report

RockShox Reverb: All of the Reverbs I've used over the past few years have been trouble-free, but the one on the Fugitive started to get a bit rough and slow by the time I was done testing the bike. It was still going up and down, though, but needed some love after months and months of use.

Calf Rub: Knolly's FOURby4 suspension is instantly recognizable, and the latest version used on the Fugitive is their cleanest looking yet. That said, I found that my calves would sometimes rub on top links and rocker arm. It was just a gentle brush now and then, but certainly worth noting. Maybe my calves are too big?

Industry Nine Trail-S Wheelset: They're not carbon or flashy, but they held up very well. And have you heard their new Hydra hub? With .52 degrees between engagement points thanks to a 115-tooth drive ring with six pawls working in six phases, they're very loud and buzzy sounding. I loved the music, but a few people I ride with mentioned that it's not their thing.



Pros

+ Extremely stout-feeling bike
+ Active suspension means comfort and traction
+ More agile than an all-mountain bike, more solid than a trail bike
Cons

- A bit of calf rub on the suspension linkage
- Active suspension means that you might use the pedal assist
- On the heavy side for a 135mm bike.




Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesWith the ability to do all sorts of things quite well, and be configured how you see fit, the Fugitive LT is a difficult bike to categorize. Part sturdy all-mountain machine, part nimble down-country rig, it's a bike for someone who doesn't think twice about that all-day epic that covers some serious terrain. Larger, heavier riders, or anyone that's hard on their gear should put it on their short-list, too. Mike Levy








259 Comments

  • + 178
 ‘It’ll bottom out it’s stroke more often than a teenage boy with a lock on his bedroom door’

Best analogy used in any review ever.....
  • + 11
 and the funniest thing mike has ever written
  • + 49
 I'm speaking from experience, too...
  • + 11
 @mikelevy: let’s be honest, it rings true for most of us....
  • + 18
 @mikelevy: WTF? This review just switched from the 120mm short travel version to the 135mm LT version??! Check the section about angles and fork travel, it still needs updating.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy also the wheels are listed as i9 Trail S, however they’re the Enduro S model.
  • + 3
 @islandforlife: I's just the industry's best kept secret - no difference between 120 an 135 bikes in terms of uphill performance Wink I hope Levy just not get incidentally eaten by a bear or whatever can happen to him in BC.
  • + 53
 My dream bike is aluminum.
  • + 8
 all my bikes are aluminum, best material ever
  • - 37
flag inked-up-metalhead (May 27, 2019 at 3:56) (Below Threshold)
 @RedBurn: really? its incredibly shit in overall terms, it fatigues so bad it has to be made stiffer (harsher) to not self destruct withing weeks, its still pretty fragile, it cant easily be repaired (heat treatment issues) its unbelievably bad for the environment with the mining and smelting required to produce it. im not saying carbon as it is is a better option in terms of environmental impact (everything else is better with is though, as long as its properly made carbon, not cheap stuff with design/lay up flaws) but its no worse, biggest downside is non easily recylable at the moment, whereas alu is almost infinitely recyclable.
  • + 31
 @inked-up-metalhead: He's not trying to start a Pinkbike warrior debate man. He's just sayin that he loves aluminium more. Good for you if you like a other material more... Tea ?
  • + 1
 I thought the same thing, though come to think of it, it would probably be steel or ti... Carbon is way down the list though.
  • + 4
 @gibspaulding: ti, steel or stainless gets my vote. Metal is good.
  • + 5
 I've never owned a carbon bike. Can't say I'm too upset about it. The fugitive just shot up to the top of my want list as well!
  • + 24
 @sam264: One of us! One of us! One of us!
  • + 2
 @KNOLLYBIKES:
Here's hoping I find a couple grand down the back of my couch... haha
  • - 1
 @RedBurn: Its why I ride Orange
  • - 2
 @sam264: Broke two of them..go carbon
  • + 4
 @gunners1:
Do you mean Knolly specifically? Because as a shop wrench I've seen WAY more cracked carbon frames than alu...
  • + 3
 @sam264: same here. A friend of mine has a raw finish Fugitve and he offered to let me have a spin on it. I was contemplating it and this review just upped the curiosity.
  • + 1
 @QuebecPoulin: COFFEE!!!!!!!!!
  • - 3
 @KNOLLYBIKES: What do you want to tell us? Will you go the same way as guerrilla gravity? Please don't. Say no to plastic.
  • + 1
 @squarewheel: They already have carbon bikes... but will continue aluminium one's as they seem to be more popular! Knolly's fans wanted a longer travel 29er before the carbon fugitive! Wink
  • + 0
 @Timo82: I‘m aware of the stepchild Warden C ;-)
But when they (as a Canadian brand) start to chant „one of us“, I think of we are one composites...
  • + 1
 @sam264: No one was a nukeproof and one was a kona
  • + 32
 I really don't understand the benefits of pairing a 120mm rear with a 150mm front. If you're a trail/xc rider you'll spend the whole time wishing it was lighter and better up hills, if you're a trail all-mountain rider you'll spend the whole time wishing you had more rear travel.
  • + 10
 A few years ago I had an Orange ST4 - 110mm rear and 130mm front. More burly than XC, less burly than Orange 5 or Patriot. Nippier than big bike, not as nervous as XC. Still the best bike I have ever owned - more responsive, faster to get going, more sprightly to get airborne. I still had to think about lines, it wasn't a hover bike with 150mm+travel, but that made it all the more fun. If your goal is ultimate speed, it isn't for you. If your goal is fun, give one a try, you may be surprised. Now, who makes a 110mm rear and 130mm front 29er....?
  • + 12
 @mattoutandabout: Giant Trance 29 is 130/115 and a ton of fun.
  • + 7
 Had gt sensor, 130 rear and ended up with 160 front. Was most excellent. My da bomb was similar. All the most fun bikes I've ridden have been mismatched like this.
  • + 10
 I'm running a 140mm fork on my Smuggler (115mm rear) and I love it. The fact it's slackened the head angle and slightly raised the BB are both advantages for me.
  • + 1
 @enduroNZ I think the same. And one more thing.. If you need a 150 mm fork, then why not take the LT model with 135 mm of travel instead of just 120??
  • + 12
 20-30mm difference in front vs rear suspension feels way better than equal travel. Way more balanced. Less sag out back on the climbs. More squish up front where it's needed. My two trail bikes are that way now, one is a Knolly, and they just ride a lot better.
  • + 18
 If you just look at it as a math problem, the longer fork travel makes sense. Where the rear travel is measured in an almost vertical direction, the fork travel is measured at the angle of the HA. To get the same vertical axis travel on a bike this spec, it typically needs about 20-30mm more fork travel than the rear.
  • + 3
 For me it’s about chassis stiffness and pop. I ride mostly trail/xc situations all day epic stuff but I weigh 101 Kg (220 lbs). If xc/trail chassis were built up like my carbon smugglers I would love to return back to a lighter chassis. But for now it feels great to have a bike that feels bomb proof, and has an supportive suspension platform while being very playful and poppy. If you are a frame smasher and don’t need the extra travel for gnar trails short travel Agro 29er is the way.
  • + 2
 Long fork and short travel in back gives a slack, snappy bike. Especially if you set up your fork a bit firmer, the fork travel’s impact on ride feel is mostly about getting the geometry you want.
  • + 1
 I'm running a 150mm DVO Diamond up front and a 135mm Fox Float X2 in the back and find it very well balanced. Part of the reason is that the X2 seems to have a deeper feel than any other shock I've tried.
  • + 3
 @mattoutandabout: Kona Process 111. Similar experience.
Beefed up the Pike to 140, put in -2° angleset and 27.5" rearwheel. Planted in the turns, poppy af and just all-out fun. Can not stress enough, how much fun short travel 29ers are.
  • + 4
 It's a mullet bike. Business up front and party out back! It's fun. Y'know, like mountain biking used to be before it got all serious.
  • + 1
 Evil following V1, 140mm up front, 120mm on the rear, works a treat.Dave Weagle is a genius, it needed the 140 on the front to match the bottomless feel of the rear imo.
  • + 1
 It's not something that you can get away with on many bikes without having an unbalanced ride. Knolly suspension tends to just feel much deeper than other brands I've ridden. I rode my 150mm rear Warden with 170 up front and my current 130mm rear Endorphin is setup with a coil MRP Ribbon set to 155 (and a 160 MRP Stage prior). I love all around riding, especially technical climbing, and the bike feels very balanced to me setup this way. I'd definitely consider running the Fugitive with a 155 up front in order to use a single fork with both the 135 and 120 setting.
  • - 8
flag youknowitsus (May 27, 2019 at 10:56) (Below Threshold)
 When I refer to my setup, I generally try to avoid using the word, "running."
  • + 3
 I'm running a Scout with 150/125, it's fun on XC loops and fun on technical DH trails. It works brilliantly on that bike
  • + 3
 I have 170 front and 140 rear on my bike right now, and if I could find the right shock size to drop to 120 I would do it. Like a long travel hardtail... with rear suspension. lol
  • + 1
 @mattoutandabout: Orange Stage 4
  • + 3
 @arphia: what bike?
I'm on a Banshee Spitfire with a 170mm coil fork. Wouldn't drop to 120 rear, but the over forking is a winner.
  • + 7
 Well i have Kona Honzo with 130mm in the front and 0mm in the back. Hella fun and fast. Should i spec it with a rigid fork then to feel balanced?
  • + 1
 @Velocipedestrian:
Mine is a Giant Reign with a shorter stroke on the rear. Geometry wise I still have everything running about the same as stock
  • + 20
 Did I miss it or did you not mention the same bike comes with an LT option? I wish that is the bike that would have been reviewed. I don’t know the numbers, but I’d guess Knolly sells more Fugitive LT’s than 120mm Bikes.
  • + 13
 The fugitive LT won the Canadian Enduro series in the first year it was released... It's fast bike, and I had the chance to try it yesterday so trust me when I tell you: you can push it much harder than you think. I could find the end of the bike's ability, but it was surprisingly close to my Warden's abilities (160/150). Definitely would recommend
  • + 3
 @Lookinforit: What does the LT do BETTER than the Warden? I have been riding/racing Warden Carbon for 2 seasons. I have a really dialed custom build. Was on the Alloy Warden for 2 seasons before that. I freaking love this bike, but could see the appeal of maintaining speed with the wagon wheels. Have only seen/talked to one person who went from Warden Carbon to LT for racing and their numbers aren't really faster....idk if the hype makes me want to switch to LT or if the numbers are there.

Edit to add: I bet if I had 10 minutes to demo an LT in my size (small) I would probably be sold....
  • + 6
 Everybody I know is riding the LT. Seeing how stout the bike is I find the 120mm option odd but that's just me. This bike is by far my favorite and cant believe how well it handles in rough condition. The climbing ability is amazing as well.
  • + 5
 @WhiteroomGuardian: Check out the Knolly Fugitive build thread on MTBR... lots of people switching from Warden to LT or keeping them both and using them differently. forums.mtbr.com/knolly/fugitive-build-ideas-plans-1068728.html
  • + 4
 @WhiteroomGuardian: honestly I love my Warden more than the Fugitive LT I rode.
Part of me is a 27.5" die-hard (it just suits my style I think), but also the kind of riding I do is long up, then long down.
If you're riding more punchy terrain where you have to sprint here and there (like an enduro race, for example) then maybe the LT wins out. Hard to say because I just don't ride like that, but I will say both are incredibly fun and nimble bikes that can ride pretty much everything
  • + 2
 @Ride406orDie: the 120mm option seems to be for the rowdy xc races in BC like the BCBR
  • + 7
 You did miss it - I mention it a few times in the review Smile
  • + 1
 @Lookinforit: Ideally I figure out how the buy the Fugative LT AND keep my warden. Yesterday's race in Helena, MT was a perfect place for 29er. Two stages with long flat/punchy pedal sections. Next race in Whitefish will be great for the Warden Carbon monster truck. Guess I just need a second job Smile
  • + 8
 @mikelevy: Am I going crazy or did this review just change from from the non LT version (120mm) to the LT version (135mm)?? Which bike did you actually ride and what happened here?

EDIT - Looks like it because this statement is no longer correct - "The former gives you a 65.75-degree front-end, and the steeper option takes it to 66.5-degrees. Those numbers are with a 140mm fork; the 150mm fork I was running slackens things by approximately .5 degrees in either setting."

Those are the correct settings with the standard 150mm fork on the LT and get 0.5 degrees slacker if you add a 150mm to the 120mm version or a 160mm fork to the LT version (the one I have).
  • + 16
 @islandforlife: and all. Just want to jump in here for some clarity.

We sell the Fugitive as a Regular and a LT version. Really the two models are presented as a 140/120 bike or a 150/135 bike.

The Regular Fugitive is spec'd with a Fox 34 140 fork, Guide brakes, lighter wheels and a 120mm shock. These bikes make up roughly 20% of our sales.

The Fugitive LT is spec'd with a Fox 36 150 fork, Code brakes, wider rims and a 135mm shock. This is by far the most popular set up and it makes up roughly 80% of our sales.

We provided Mike with a Fugitive LT (Fox 36 150 fork) build kit along with one air 135mm shock and one coil 135mm shock but we also gave him a 120mm shock and a Fox 34 140 fork so that he could test a couple different setups/variations on the same frame.
  • + 10
 @islandforlife: looks like Mike completely forgot which bike he was riding when writing the review!! Travel numbers have now changed as they should as it would appear he was actually on the LT with 135mm travel rather than standard with 120mm. This also makes his comparisons to the Ripley and Dash a bit off, would have been better comparing to something like the Yeti SB130 especially as the LT version can also be run with a 160mm fork giving numbers similar to the SB130 lunchride.
  • + 7
 @Prh: Yep... except some of his text is talking about geo with a 140mm fork and he's slacking it out with a 150mm fork. But the LT is stock with either a 150mm or 160mm depending on the customers choice. If you're riding the 120mm version it's 140mm or 150mm.

Also the rear shock he keeps talking about and is shown in pics isn't even an option on the LT bike... it's either a DPX2, DHX2, Float X2 or a Super Deluxe... all of which are better shocks than the Float DPS and are a better shock for the price that's mentioned.

@mikelevy this review is all kinds of messed up right now.
  • + 5
 Mike crushing mini beers instead of mini doughnuts
  • + 5
 @j-t-g: spending too much time bottoming out his stoke can mess up a man's mind!
  • + 4
 @islandforlife: I'm right here with you. With how messed up this review seems, I would be pissed if I was Noel.
  • + 21
 This review is missing close-ups and dimensions of Levy’s calves
  • + 15
 DM'ing you that right now.
  • + 17
 Long time listener, first time caller here.

8 months on my Fugitive.

Originally setup as ST version with a 34 Factory on the front and a DPS in the rear.
Riding lots of local North Shore, Squamish, and PNW trails; I even did a day on it in this configuration on Whistler bike park in late 2018. While it's no park bike, it's really fast on the down. Flow, tech, jank: I found this bike just fun.
There is a certain confidence that that 4xFour suspension gives you in the downs and relentless traction on steep uphills Give you an idea where I ride up as well - Fromme climbing trail, Squamish Legacy climbing trail, and Spur 3 on Burke Mtn in Coquitlam. Where I usually ride down: Nvan: Boogie Nights, John Deer, etc... Squamish: Hueso, Credit Line, Angry Midget...etc... Burke/Eagle Mtn: Mental Floss, SIX, Bean, Manhandler, Hammertime...etc.

Coming off a very new carbon VPP 29er super bike from a competitor, the Fugitive rear end has more traction and was alot more confident on the downs. I've PR'd all my climbs and my downs versus the VPP bike and the friends I ride with did notice the increase in speed in the downs and ups in our group rides.

Skip forward 5 months, I've put a long stroke Rock Shox (135mm) on the rear end for 2 months and didn't like how "less poppy" it felt for my riding style. Yes, I went back to a 120mm rear end. I ended up putting the largest volume spacer into the DPS and reduced the air pressure slightly to increase sensitivity while maintaining a very lively feel.

Skip forward 7 months, still running the DPS and just recently put a 150mm PIKE Ultimate to make it a downcountry mullet rig. I absolutely love it. 7 rides in, I'm not 100% sold on reduced offset, the bike feels abit "plowy" in uphill tight switchback corners. On the downs, man...it's fast. Admittedly, the extra travel does help on the front, in the rear I'm still a big fan of the short travel. The quality of the suspension feel of the 4xFour makes the 120mm feel way more than the numbers indicate; some riders love to show off their "numbers" as a badge of merit and suspension travel is one of them.
Ride a 4xFour suspension, compare it to the big brands out there, you'll be really surprised how good this suspension feels even if the numbers aren't "big" in comparison.

Even as a lighterweight rider (158lbs) , I don't care about the alloy bike weight penalty. Previous bike was carbon 28lbs. My Fugitive weighs 30lbs in XO1 + Pike + DPS. The Fugitive feels more solid and planted versus my previous carbon superbike, the alloy just.feels.damn.good.

Heel rub? not noticeable on my size 10 shoes
Calf rub? not noticeable

@mikelevy got it right with the performance of the bike in this "mullet" 150/120 spec.
Can't wait to hear about what the LT review is with the 150/135.
  • + 4
 Have you thought about splitting the difference and running a 52.5 for 127.5 mm of travel?

I thought about it before going going 150/135 for my Fugi.
  • + 2
 @mykel: Haven't thought about going halfway. I'd love to hear if anyone does though and how it rides.
I feel like it's either one or the other, not halfway Smile
  • + 2
 Love my Fugitive. Had it for almost a year now. And it is still putting a smile on my face. Plush plush plush. Don’t be fooled by 135. It can handle what 150 bikes can do going down I n a heart beat and traction on technical up is top notch. If you’re worried about a couple pounds then I suggest you take a deuce before a ride. Lol! Customer service is thee best! The staff are all top notch! #knollyftw
  • + 3
 I think Levy didn't realise that he was riding the LT version all along.... oops!
  • + 2
 Love the comment @fungusfreakland and wanted to pile on:

I bought a fugitive LT frame, which Knolly was kind enough to ship directly to my house.
I didn’t test ride but went off the recommendation of a close friend who works as an engineer in the bike industry.

Built it up with Fox Factory Float x2, i9 torch enduro wheels, 160mm 36 fork, zee brakes (even though the same friend said I wasn’t fast enough to need four caliper brakes)

I’m afraid to weigh it, as the rest of my build is aluminum (descendant cranks and stem, renthal bar, SRAM GX cassette).
I didn’t bother trying to save weight at any corner. Opting to lose weight off my corpus rather than the bike.

EXO casing DHF front and Agressor rear tire combo. With Nukeproof ARD insert in the rear.

I’m really enjoying this bike. My neighborhood backs up to Pisgah National Forest; so I have road-bike-style access to great trail and ride to and from the house more than 95% of the time.

The Fugitive LT moves under pedal power efficiently, climbs very well.

Descending is a magic carpet ride: very intuitive handling characteristics, consistent and reliable in all the rough and steep terrain I dare to try.

I prefer the higher (not “slack”) shock placement on the frame, mostly influenced by the higher bottom bracket. Although I anticipate using the slack setting when I finally make it to one of the local lift-access bike parks.

I was most recently riding a 2106 Spec Enduro and 2017 Stumpy (both 29er) with nearly identical component spec.
After the Fugitive, I’ve never looked back.

Whole heartedly endorse this bike and Knolly in general.

Shred and enjoy.
  • + 18
 Would have preferred to see a review on the LT version myself, any chance one of these is in the mix?
  • + 8
 Same here, BUT I am already running the Fugitive LT (same colours) with the Fox DPX2 Factory and 150mm Marzocchi Bomber Z1 forks.
In the last couple of months I have been running it I haven't found anything really different to the review above, except with the 135mm rear travel and 150mm front, the balance of travel is awesome. Quite happy to pedal it all day on general duties, but also running on shuttle days. Raced it at Maydena, Tas over two days of Enduro with 960m and 750m of vertical climbing done in those two days and the bike was perfect (Eagle with 32T front). But wow, the bike really loved the bigger stuff, the rough stuff and the steeps on the decent, pity about the old bloke riding it...
The 157mm rear hub has allowed a nice laterally stiff wheel build, so I am definitely getting less flex. And this is a sweet off set to my Knolly Delirium that I run setup for downhill.
For comparison, the Fugitive replaced a carbon Specialized Enduro 29er (I went through two of those) and I am much happier with riding the Fugitive LT.
  • + 3
 @obrien-r: Sounds good, have you been tempted to try it with a 160mm fork?
  • + 2
 The review just changed to a review of the LT model... weird I know... but it's still kind of a hybrid review... lots of wrong info (geo, forks, shocks...).
  • + 14
 Good to see well spec bike not made from carbon.
  • + 11
 The unno is in a league of its own, that bike cost more then the Ripley and Fugitive combined
  • + 2
 And still less than boring to the bone Scott Genius, Remedy 9.9 or non Evo Stumpy SWorks.
  • + 8
 This simply ain't true. At least not if talking complete builds. The Unno can be had for as "little" as 5250 EUR, fully on par with a mid-level Ripley. www.unno.com/dash
  • + 2
 @Crossmaxx: using your link the frame only is 5,000 and 6,250 for a GX build. 1,350 for a build over a frame isn’t bad, but you can get plenty of carbon completes for the price of that frame.
  • + 6
 There are 50 unnos available each year in one size. Why compare it to anything regardless of price?
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
The remedy might be a little boring but I think it looks great and honestly, I think it's one of the best riding bikes out there right now.
  • + 2
 @sam264: remedy is awesome. But it isn’t worth more than 6k. It is a work horse, not a work of art. It is the Sherman of the bike world
  • + 10
 Why not compare it to the Transition Smuggler? Seems more direct than the Ripley. 120mm rears, Fox 36’s up front, both built to tackle steep terrain, active rear ends, etc.
  • + 2
 Yeah and the geometry is almost exact the same, too.
  • + 7
 Yup, that'd make sense, too. I haven't spent time on the Smuggler, though, and wanted to compare it to bikes that I'm familiar with.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: Makes sense. I’d love to see you review the 2019 Smuggler carbon. Not much out there in its current configuration with the 36 up front — just a cult following of short travel thrashers.
  • + 7
 "At 5'10'' I could be happy with the medium's 450mm reach as it's close to the same as my strange Giant Trance, but the large bike's 477mm number is more in-line with how a lot of riders are thinking these days" These days too many riders seems to choose too big bikes because of the current hype, even with 120mm travel. Were I live bikes are also ridden on non dedicated mtb trail. On the market, at 5'10 i would'nt go over 460 reach if racing is not in the scope. it's not just about going fast over thing. Seeing the spots mike ride i also understand why he upsize.
  • + 3
 Depends on the seat tube angle. If it's in the 76+ range, you definitely want a long reach because once your dropper is extended, it puts you in the same riding position as a bike with less steep sta and more "conventional" reach numbers.
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: makes sense but most people decide on reach, on gravity oriented riding of course
  • + 2
 I'm 5'9" with shorter legs on a large Fugitive LT and it is not too big. It's pretty amazing on everything I ride.
  • + 1
 I'm just shy of 5' 10" and ordered a large and I'm very happy I did. It feels slightly bigger than my larger warden but not enough to matter.
  • + 2
 Article may have been more informative and generally useful if both Med and Lrg had been fitted.
  • + 3
 Agreed. At 5' 10'' I feel like I'm in between sizes many times.
  • + 1
 I ride a Large warden and delirium at 5' 11" with a 35mm stem. i could not imagine riding a medium. they feel tiny
  • + 6
 No mention of the stupid amounts of heel rub on the non-driveside chain stay and seat stay? I won't even bother mentioning the over $9000 Canadian price tag for an aluminium bike, although to Knolly's credit they've at least put together a build kit that's better than the average big-brand's $9000 build.
  • - 8
flag CircusMaximus (May 27, 2019 at 8:30) (Below Threshold)
 $9K for aluminum. Total joke. Yes I get it’s a knolly.
  • + 4
 I did mention the heel rub. Never felt it while riding, but it was obviously happening Smile
  • + 4
 @mikelevy: I think you mentioned calf rub, I cant see where heel rub is mentioned?
  • + 4
 I've never owned a bike where I didn't get heel rub... I think it says more about the rider than the bike. I know that I for one have wonky feet.
  • + 1
 1. Their super-boost is 1 mm wider than their non-boost frame. If you rub on non-boost or boost, you'll rub on super boost. If you don't rub on non-boost or boost, you won't rub on their super boost. Check the overlay here - www.knollybikes.com/engineering

2. $9000 for their most expensive version... just like every brand. Many lower cost options and give them a call and you can get into one for just over $5000. Their engineering is on another lever vs most other manufacturers.

3. The LT version of this bike rips... hard... giant slayer.
  • - 2
 @islandforlife: that’s always the argument..their engineering is on another level. Really? How so?
  • + 3
 @CircusMaximus: From what I've experienced and come to learn from demo'ing multiple bikes before choosing the Fug, is that Noel obviously knows his stuff. I always take bike website marketing with a grain a salt, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert on suspension kinematics, hyroforming or much else engineering related... but, after riding the bike against other bikes, it was pretty clear that what-ever they did, it works because I am just able to charge harder, ride faster and feel more comfortable on this bike than the other bikes I tried. It's as simple as that... if another bike felt better and allowed me to do more than I could on the Fugitive, I would have bought them, but they didn't, the Fugitive did, so I bought it.
  • + 0
 @mikelevy: you rubbed a rear triangle weld so much it ended being polished. That’s an issue worth stressing.

It’s a $6000+ USD bike. Why aren’t we expecting better? I wouldn’t accept this from Santa Cruz, Giant, Trek, Specialized, or any other bike manufacturer.

Can’t help but feel that we as riders and the bike industry’s media could and should be much more demanding. Let’s start calling things out when they aren’t acceptable, starting with that ludicrous amount of calf/heel rub.
  • + 3
 @somebikeguy:
My heel rubs on my Remedy... If it wasn't for the protection tape I added I'd be down to bare metal too. It was the same on my old Giant Reign too...
As I said, it's more about the rider than the bike.
  • + 3
 I built my Fugitive LT gx for under $4k usd . Full custom @islandforlife:
  • + 4
 @somebikeguy: Yeah, ok, get real because most people can't walk straight let alone pedal circles without their feet going all ballerina toes for no reason and smashing frame parts. Heel rub is a function of a dysfunctional body, how much it affects you is entirely dependent upon YOU. Not sure what your point is... ?
  • + 11
 "with 1350mm of travel"
  • + 7
 53" of plushness
  • + 5
 @mikelevy this review is so confusing... Yesterday it was about the Fugitive, now it's the LT. You changed rear travel in the text but the geo chart still point to the 120mm version.
The Bike in the picture got a Fox DPS shock, which is not an option on the LT.... That's poor communication on what seems to be a good bike. Which one was tested ?
  • + 6
 I really get the feeling that this review didn't get the same level of effort that more exotic bikes would.
  • + 4
 At that weight, no reason not to go 140-160mm travel in the rear. It's too heavy to be a purebred XC race bike, and there are several longer travel trail bikes that climb super well (and more coming in the next couple of years).

I suspect a Ripmo (or even an Enduro 29) would match this bike for uphill speed, especially on techy ups, then eat its lunch on the descent-at a comparable price and weight.

I get lighter duty trail bikes for less aggressive riders (or less aggresive trails), but something like the Trance 29 or Fuel EX fill that niche waaaaay better than the Fugitive, at least as tested. If you're lugging around 30+ pounds of bike, might as well have the extra squish.
  • + 5
 As an owner of the LT version... I honestly never thought the 120 version made much sense. In LT form with a 160mm fork though... it all comes together and is an amazing bike.
  • + 4
 I'm happy to see a write up on this frame, and I'm also surprised that it wasn't the LT version that was tested, as that does seem the most popular build on the forums. That being said, I'm running an LT and it is faster everywhere than my Endorphin. Knolly really nailed this frame with the new tube set and suspension design...honestly it is hard to wipe the smile odd my face when ripping trail on it! True to knolly form, it is a great technical climber and really loves being pointed down.
  • + 7
 If after reading this review you no longer want your Knolly Podium, please contact me.
  • + 7
 The Fugitive is on the short list for my next bike, being alloy and a bit heavier than carbon offerings bothers me little.
  • - 2
 Just change that cable routing and you will be better off
  • + 3
 I just built up a Fugitive LT Gx build with a CC Helm coil fork. It weighs out at 34.26lbs. The bike rolls so fast and climbs so well that I don't even notice the weight. The bike is just a blast to ride.
  • + 2
 @THE-GUNT: On the flip-side, I also built up an GX build with a MRP ribbon and a Fox DPX2, with EXO (2.5 and 2.4 WT) tires and fairly light rims, and at just a hair under 32 lbs. If I went X01 I'd probably be right at 31.
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: hmm. Not sure how yours is that much lighter?
  • + 2
 @THE-GUNT: Helm coil is a full pound heavier than the MRP Ribbon Air (with the tooled axel), a part of my reason for buying it. Then not sure of the weight of your wheels but mine are 1750 grams (3.8lbs) which is about 0.7 of a lb lighter than typical stock wheels on the non industry nine builds. I also love and can get away with crank bros candy 1 pedals (294 grams or 0.65 lbs). Other items that add up could be my bar and stem combo (Raceface Next R cut to 770mm and Turbine R 35). I also run a lighter rear axle to get rid of that big ass DT swiss handle... small weight reduction but it all adds up. Mine used to be at about 34 lbs, but I realized I didn't need burly casing tires, nor "enduro" pedals, and got some lighter wheels... dropped 2 lbs right there.
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: What rear axle did you find? I'm on a super boost Troy and would like to find a non handle option as well.
  • + 1
 @dergnarwhale: I used a Robert Axle Project - robertaxleproject.com site can be a bit confusing, call or email to ensure your getting the right one. Burly and light.

But since I bought mine, MRP now make rear axles that should work. You can give them a call to ensure you've got the right one. (I use their Ribbon Fork and they have awesome customer service.) mrpbike.com/products/race-axle
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: Coil will give you about a pound more. Also running the I9 Enduro S WHEELS .About 50 grams or so more the the Enduro 305s.
  • + 1
 @THE-GUNT: Ya those Enduro S's are about 200 grams or so heavier than the wheels I'm using.
  • + 3
 @islandforlife: Yeah but for the price I got them for ($650 w/hydra) I will deal with the weight.
  • + 2
 @THE-GUNT: Oh wow, nice score!!
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: Great, thanks!
  • + 4
 I just built up a Fugi LT GX build with CC Helm coil fork. It came in at 34.26lbs. I can say the bike rolls faster than any bike I've owned and climbs awesome. You don't even notice the weight of the bike. Such a fun bike thus far. Would I like this bike in carbon ? Yes, but I have no regrets with my purchase . Another great fun bike KNOLLY!
  • + 0
 I really enjoyed that Fuji, too.
  • + 3
 Ive never noticed heel rub or calf rub.. I guess its the way I position my feet?.. lol
  • + 1
 That ain’t light. I know a lotta LT builds are coming in 33-34. Curious what size u went with and if you added any extra weight via coil rear, tire inserts, or DD casing tires.
  • + 2
 @WasatchEnduro: you wouldn't even know that these bikes were 32-34 lbs. THEY RIDE SO GOOD.
  • + 3
 @WasatchEnduro: 34 lbs / Large LT / Onyx-SpankVibro / Avy coil / Avy Yari / X01 / DominionA4
  • + 1
 @THE-GUNT
@myke

Thanks. I'm concerned about heel rub (not calf rub unfortunately) so guess I need to find out where the demo fleet is gonna be this year.

Also FWIW the alu Sentinel at 34+ felt a little sluggish climbing despite the very good climbing position, the plastic version was just fine though. Not sayin' I'd prefer a plastic Fugitive, it sounds like that's on the back burner for Noel anyway.
  • + 4
 @WasatchEnduro: I wear size 13 wide and haven't experienced any heel or calf rub whatsoever. Don't know anyone who has.
  • + 1
 @myfriendgoose:

good to know. i found a dealer in southern utah (over the edge in hurricane) who has an XL LT in their demo fleet. just need to find the time to head down and give it a go.

but to make matters worse i demoed a la sal peak this morn and it was a great/fun bike. too many good options these days. imo the fugitive kills it in the looks department though.
  • + 7
 I loved the two knolly's I've had & plan to buy another ASAP. Easily the favorite bikes I've owned.
  • + 7
 Judging by the photo under the geo chart, there could be some heel rub going on too.
  • + 6
 Exactly! But with time you'll get ultra smooth polished welds ;]
  • + 3
 I've been riding mine for months and I'm suprised I dont have any heel rub. I though for sure I'd have that issue as I have with multiple other bikes but they way Knolly shaped it prevents rubbing.
  • + 3
 There is clearly heel rub going on. The 7th pic shows it pretty clearly on the chainstay and seatstay on the NDS.
  • + 2
 Yup, there was. Never felt it while pedaling, but it was happening.
  • + 3
 Their super-boost is about a mm wider on either side than their non-boost frame. If you rub on non-boost or boost, you'll rub on super boost. If you don't rub on non-boost or boost, you won't rub on their super boost. Check the overlay here - www.knollybikes.com/engineering
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: just like video with suspension movement. Seriously Mike - what's wrong with you? You should know by now that we're like children who loves to watch rear suspension films all over again.
  • + 4
 I can honestly say that this is the most confident inspiring capable all around bike I have ever rode. Punches way above its weight and will make you a better rider. I look forward to riding this bike more than any other bike I have owned. Well done knolly!!!!
  • + 3
 Calf rub is real but not often or a nuisance. It's mostly when you and the bike are moving around on chunky stuff. The issue with bikes like the RIPMO is that they are designed for the average bros enduro adventures. So pedal really well uphill when seated and good on low airtime semi steep descents like the shuttle runs on Burke Mountain. But that regressive endstroke is such a pain in the butt on bigger impacts and eventually leaves you with a shock setup that is too harsh on most rides. Also the RIPMO is pedal strikes galore even with 170mm cranks and the quality of the frame is subpar which my broken frame can attest too. The Knolly in the 135/150 setup is definitely much heavier and not as quick as the RIPMO on the straights and I wish the seattube was a bit steeper. However, you get a bike thats glued to the ground and doesn't buck you around as much. I don't think it will be super fast but it's great for big air, huge drops and steep rollers and all the rock crawling ups. It will hopefully last a little longer as well than the carbon crap from Ibis. Also no pedal strikes!!
  • + 3
 I'm sure its a wonderful bike, and I have a Process 111 (maybe best bike ever) thats kinda got the mismatched travel thing going on (111 and 130), but something just seems confused about this steed. And while I have never even fondled one, much less put tread on the trail, Frankenbike comes to mind. Its almost like they built an aggressive hard tail and then thought, damn, thats a little rough, maybe we ought to toss on a we bit of travel out back. Billed as a rough and tumble bike for us big guys then put carbon cranks? That is one thing I would never put on a mountain bike.
  • + 3
 Agree on the Process 111, such an amazing bike, still got mine! I also have the Fugitive LT, with a 135mm shock and 160 fork, for me it makes the most sense for this frame. The bike pedals quite well, and is a supreme technical climber, and can hang with bigger bikes on the downhills. I don't see a huge advantage in going with 120 unless you are doing xc-ish racing or maybe all day epic rides, but I'd still take 135. Probably won't be selling either of my bikes anytime soon!!
  • + 7
 Your 111 is my favorite bike. Keep it forever.
  • + 3
 The LT version of the bike makes much more sense and is their biggest seller right now. 135mm out back and 150 or 160 up front. Everything comes together on the LT. Carbon cranks are just a choice that lots are clamoring for... when you build a Knolly, they'll put whatever you want on it.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: Totally regret selling mine!
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: From my cold dead hands! I have since added a couple of really nice bikes, YT JEffsy and Spec Enduro, still....something special about that 111, I don't see me ever getting rid of it!
  • + 7
 I prefer beryllium as a frame material.
  • + 3
 "I'd pick the Fugitive if I were into all-day adventures, but I'd choose the Unno if my rides were more about smashing corners and sessioning jumps and fun lines." ~ Do you mean the other way around? (Unno for all-day adventures)
  • + 5
 Loving my warden. Also no heel rub of any sort and i have huge flippers. Easily the best service and support ive received from any company too. A+
  • + 2
 +1. I am on a carbon Warden and I can't imagine a better bike for riding the North Shore. I absolutely love it. Fugitive sounds like an interesting bike, but I won't be trading in the Warden any time soon!
  • + 2
 @Skooks: I was skeptical of the not so long, not so slack geo until I rode it. Just as stable as it needs to be at speed, but man does it shine on the jank, steep, awkward shit we love so much in BC. Rode some questionably sanctioned trails today on it and was reminded again of how fun it is.
  • + 6
 I'd wonder how does it compare to Evil the following... seems much more in the same playground then the Ripley.
  • + 5
 I demo'd the Offering (140mm) because it's much more similar to the LT version of the Knolly that everyone is buying (135mm) before I decided on the Knolly. Both rode amazingly well, but it's like they say... you really do need to ride (if you can) before you buy. And hopping on both really showed that to be true. While the Evil was a good and fun bike, the Knolly really was on another level and made me feel a little super-human compared to when I was on the Evil.
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: interesting. thanks for the insight. how do they compare on climbing?
  • + 5
 @roygold: As Levy alluded to, previously, most Knolly's have prioritized a very active suspension as well as traction... the bikes were tuned to slay the the downs on the North Shore and then climb the shore's steep tech rocky climbs.

The Fugitive is the first bike where they've adjusted this somewhat... and made it more of a bike that performs well in more situations. It's still very active with almost zero beak jack and has the most tech climbing traction in a bike I ever had, but it's also surprisingly efficient considering it's other abilities.

Because of the riding areas local to me, I love the traction and active suspension... it may be a little less efficient on the longer less steep and tech climbs, but that's where I find the 3 position switch (open/medium/firm) on the DPX2 (or any good shock these days) works great. 5 months and 2 enduro races in and I'm actually quite surprised at how little I use the switch and how fast this bike is. The 135 out back feels like far more. I paired it with a 160mm up front and it's just so fun.
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: I’m not as technical in describing my Fugitive. All I know is that love the plushness of it. Dr Kimble for the Win!
  • + 2
 Just out of curiosity, the actual seat tube on this bike looks to be very slack. I know Mr. Levy is tall on donut stacks, bike skills and mopeds; but not so much when it comes to actually being "tall". Smile JKN. Anyway, seems like some other bikes with slack actual seat tube angles have gotten called out for that issue lately. Granted I only skimmed, but I didn't see anyone mention it.

Any tall riders have experience on this frame??
  • + 4
 We get this comment a lot and you can't judge the seat angle on our bikes just by looking at them. We have a page on our website that explains how our offset seat tube works and why the seat angle is actually steeper than many bikes.
www.knollybikes.com/size-guide
  • + 5
 It is slack, but only because the design has the seatpost start far ahead of the BB. But the seat still ends up where it's supposed to be. As an owner... you'd need to buy the right size. I'm 5'11" and on a large so the real angle for me is pretty much as stated, if not a little steeper (with a 170mm dropped slammed into the bike). But you're right, if you're very tall (beyond the x-large size), you'd need to see where your seat ends up at full extension.

On the flip side for tall riders, because the seatpost is straight there is virtually no restriction to the length of seatpost you can run.
  • + 2
 I'm 6'1 and ride an XL with 170mm post. Even at full extension the seat is in right in the sweet spot and doesn't feel like I'm over the back wheel at all. Climbs great but you'll want to flick the climb switch if you're hammering out of the saddle. When slammed the seat is nice and out of the way. Great bike.
  • + 1
 @KNOLLYBIKES: Thanks for the reply! For sure it's not fair to judge without riding one, or more info! It would be great if geo charts would list what seat height was used on each frame size to get the listed effective seat angle. (like how the fork A to C is listed) Then a person could use that against their seat height to compare.

Too bad Kazimar didn't have a go on an XL to get his .02 as a taller guy. Sweet bike for sure!

Thanks!
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: For sure sometimes buying the wrong size bike/frame is the issue. The flip side is that if you have long legs, or long legs compared to your height and the bike has a slack seat tube angle then the higher your seat, the farther back the seat is going and the longer the effective top tube gets and so to get proper leg extension you end up with a super long cockpit that makes you really stretched out!

So if you go back and forth between two frame sizes with the same seat height the smaller frame can easily feel more comfortable, more balanced/stable because the cockpit isn't so crazy long... However that would end up putting you farther over the rear and on the shorter wheelbase which might suck...

For instance, Knolly's fit guide at the top has you either M or L.

Bike fit = what a PITA! or I guess JSUAR... Smile
  • + 5
 Ive been waiting for this review for awhile! I think my sb5.5 frame is now for sale....
  • + 6
 and as it should be . See ya Yeti
  • + 2
 Bub bye!
  • + 1
 I'm surprised by the Float DPS spec. A Float X2 or DPX2 seems more in line with the frame and build kit. I love the Float X2 on mine but haven't tried any other dampers on there yet. Regarding pedaling efficiency: I'm 5'10" on a large Fugitive LT but with my average proportions, I don't have the issue @mikelevy has with a slack effective seat tube angle at full extension. I also have my saddle slightly forward on the rails. In any case, I'm happy with the shock in open mode all the time.
  • + 1
 Float DPS just seems like the wrong damper for such a burly frame/build spec. @mikelevy mentions that overforking does not an AM bike make but I can't help but think the bike with a Float X2 out back would have made a different impression.
  • + 2
 It's part of why this review is a little messed up. The Float DPS isn't even available for the LT version (135/150 or 160). You have the option when buying the bike of the DPX2, Super Deluxe, Float X2 or the DHX2. The Float DPS is only available on the short travel version (120/140 or 150).

And yes, the proper shock makes a big difference. Not sure what was going on with this review but t still has a bunch of wrong info around the geo and fork travels.
  • + 1
 Why not compare this to the RIPMO rather than Ripley? This bike replaced my RIPMO after the frame had a non-crash fatigue crack where the lower linkage is mounted likely from all the lateral flex the RIPMO comes with. The Knolly feels stout and most of the review is spot on from my own experience. Good trail ripper.
  • + 4
 The LT version... take this bike, put 135mm on the back and 160mm up front = giant slayer
  • + 5
 I'm rolling with helm coil 160 up front and 135 cc db air cs in the rear. thing id amazing .
  • + 2
 Slayer is right! 160mm MRP Ribbon Coil on mine, such a versatile bike! Happy pedaling mellower stuff, but comes to life in the rough steep terrain in Moab!
  • + 2
 If you're looking for a full-suspension bike that will do 2x and 27.5+ tires, the list is about as short as Fugitive, Fugitive LT, and Pivot Switchblade. That's all I know of. If you know of more, please let me know.
  • + 0
 What’s a 2x? Eagle or bust.
  • + 1
 @Circe: 2014 troy n a niner front
  • + 4
 Clicks or flats I don’t really care but I do prefer a bike with pedals........whatcha hiding Mike?
  • + 1
 I know that its heretical to say on PInkbike, not to mention very hypocritical given my ugly mug, but I don't like the swoopy, curvy industrial design of the Knollys. Its even worse when compared to the Unno, one of the best looking trail bikes of all time.

I know mike has said several times that the Unno has an "unforgiving rear end", but how much of it is from the sub-par Ohlins shock? Would a CCDBair or an X2 change its feeling in the rear (hehe)? is it progressive enough to run a coil?
  • + 4
 I'd bet most of it is from that Öhlins shock.
  • + 1
 It was interesting to read your feedback on fork length. I'm planning to order a FLT and run it with my current Factory Float 34 @ 140 to see if it's worth walking away from the trusty 51mm offset to something in the 40's.
  • + 0
 Why if this bike 1.2kg heavier than my XL Switchblade that comes with X2 shock, XX1 Eagle (not that much lighter than X01), and admittedly slightly lighter tires (Mountain Kings 2.3 are around 100-150gr lighter per tire than Minions 2.3).

And here I though Switchblade was a pig.
  • + 4
 Plenty of room for a water bottle on that frame.
  • + 0
 I added weight to make it look nicer... Well that just out me off buying knollys. I like to ride my bike. I also like the way it looks, but i dont really care enough about that to start sacrificing performance. And befoew people get all confused, im not overly concerned about how much my bike weighs, i just find the idea of sacrificing any performance metric to benefit aestheic ones totally alien.
  • + 1
 But, since adding 100 grams sacrifices zero performance, you might as well make it look better.
  • + 1
 Damn I’m glad my bike doesn’t have 1350mm of travel on the climbs and 135mm everywhere else. Are they partnering with Scott or Cannondale? That doesn’t sound like downcountry @mikelevy ????
  • + 3
 @mikelevy so what version have you tested? The regular 120mm one or the lt?
  • + 1
 He mentions 135mm many, many times... he's testing the LT.
  • + 3
 150mm is a short travel bike now? Oké.
  • + 9
 120 rear
  • - 1
 The modern industrie-standards of an All-Mountain Bike: at least 160 Back & Front (YT Jeffsy / Canyon Spectral / Commencal Meta AM...)

so I guess this Knolly is an "XC bike" :-D
  • + 2
 I'd be interested to see how it compares to an Evil Following; both bikes were designed with similar ideas
  • + 2
 @mikelevy Is this bike running the old standard 51mm fork offset or the NEW standard 44mm offset?
  • + 5
 mtbyoda - the bike had a 44mm offset on it.
  • + 2
 With 54 inches or rear wheel travel, what more could one want on the downhills!
  • + 0
 Canadian bike, Canadian forum, US pricing. I don't get paid in US $ Frown Entry point for this is ~ $5,500 CAD.

Paint looks thin on the chain/seat stay.
  • + 3
 1. They sell bikes all over the world (many more than they sell in Canada)... it's just easier for the world to price in US. I didn't have much trouble converting.

2. I can tell you from experience that part of what makes the entry $5,500+ is things like the paint not being thin. This bike is engineered to a far higher standard than 90% of the bikes on the market right now. The quality, fit and finish is excellent.

www.knollybikes.com/engineering
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: more ridiculous claims. How is it better than 90% of the bikes on the market? Cuz you bought one? Good for you. Enjoy but enough with the baseless claims.
  • + 1
 @CircusMaximus: Might be a bit of hyperbole because I do enjoy the bike so much. But my comment is based on of a lot of research and demoing many, many bikes before making my decision. Once you ride one and then yes, own one, you'll understand.
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: Confirmation bias.

If you enjoy your bike what does my opinion/comment matter to you?
  • + 1
 @m1dg3t: well it’s not really confirmation bias when I tested a shitload of bikes before I bought. It’s quite simple, this was the best feeling bike that made it the easiest to ride fast and hard over gnarly terrain while still climbing well. If any of the other bikes I tested were better, I would have bought them and would be talking about how great that bike is.
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: I think thats awesome. However, it is still YOUR opinion. It rides best for YOU, is all I was trying to get at. My Sight fits me awesome and I love it, but I don't believe its engineering is on another level, or that its better than 90% of bikes out there. OK, I'm done. Enjoy your knolly...it is sweet!
  • + 2
 @CircusMaximus: you too, loved my Sight... it was a sweet ride.
  • + 1
 Send them Cdn Cash in the mail
  • + 2
 Sounds pretty similar to a Banshee Prime
  • + 1
 Troy with long stroke shock. N niner front27 + 2.8 wide rims11-18 psi a damm good mullett bike
  • + 2
 Yo Dude, Where's My Podium???
  • + 2
 Jamis Portal where is the longterm review? Frown
  • + 3
 I'd like to not have to gouge my eyes out thank you
  • - 2
 Nowhere near as good as the Ripley climbing, same capability on the descents, twice as heavy frame (4# vs 8#), DW suspension vs Fourby4, hmmm, really the only thing the Fugitive has going for it is the price tag ... there are lots of bikes made if sluminumbthat meet these criteria.

I think it’s a no brainer, ie there are many better choices.

Honestly, if you want burl, balanced descending and climbing, snd bonestuc built, I’d get a Guerilla Gravity Trail Pistol.
  • + 7
 I don't think the Ripley is going to match the Fugitive in downhill performance, especially spec'd at the 135mm option.
Look at the geometry, the Fugitive is much more geared towards being an aggressive bike on the downs. I don't know anyone running 120mm on this frame fwiw. 65.25* head angle? Yes please!
  • + 1
 When you demo the bikes you realize the GG just can't do what the Knolly can as easily. The GG is a nice bike, but the Knolly is just on another level
  • + 2
 I wish that this had been compared to the Smash or trail pistol
  • + 2
 I rode the GG before demoing the Knolly and it's apples and oranges. GG is a sick company making cool bikes but ride quality wise there's no contest. Hard to explain to non-knolly riders out there, but they just work. I actually don't like the way they look at all, but after riding one I'd be a dipshit not to pull the trigger.
  • + 2
 Its not on pinkbike if it doesn't have a ripmo mention
  • + 1
 Looks like a Mongoose... kinda.
  • + 1
 "A bit of calf rub on the suspension linkage"

superboost?
  • + 4
 no any calf rub on mine (frame size XL, shoe size 45) after ~ 1000km
  • + 3
 No rub here.
  • + 1
 No rub here, large bike, size 9.5 shoes. Knolly have a schematic on their site that shows an their superboost overlayed on their non-boost frame (not even boost), the super-boost is about 1mm wider on either side. So if you run on a non boost or boost bike (like lots of people and it would seem Mike Levy, you'll rub on super-boost.

www.knollybikes.com/engineering
  • + 2
 no heel/calf rub for me. Size L frame w/ size 11 shoes
  • + 2
 No rub here
  • + 2
 great review
  • + 1
 Shouldn't this be called the Fugitive MT? (medium travel) Smile
  • + 1
 Is the Ripmo the only actual do it all bike?
  • + 1
 New Ripmo's are great, but you don't get to smile from ear to ear in the chunk. You have be precise. It's border line do it all!
  • + 1
 Fox36 everywhere theses days.
  • + 1
 That GRIP2 damper is hard to beat right now...
  • + 1
 The Fox marketing machine and OEM pricing is strong.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: I'd love to hear how this bike rides with some DB Coil CS out back and a Mezzer up front!
  • - 2
 "slow to mid-speed jank that usually laughs at your efforts to hold"...i don't know. If my bike laughed at me, it would slap the smile right off it's face.
  • + 1
 You mad bro?
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