Review: Privateer 161 - The Budget Priced Brute

Aug 24, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  
Privateer is a relatively new brand and part of The Rider Firm, the same company that's behind Hunt Wheels. The 161 is their first model, a burly aluminum enduro machine with 161mm of travel and 29” wheels on all but the smallest size, which gets 27.5” wheels.

It's the value-oriented focus of Privateer that's turned heads over the last few months – the 161's frame and shock retail for $1,535 USD, and there's a complete model with a very smart parts spec that's priced at $3,075 USD.

The 161's geometry has also generated plenty of comments and speculation, due in part to that extra-steep 80-degree seat tube angle, 490mm reach and 446mm chainstays on a size P3. With a 170mm fork, it has a 64-degree head angle.
Privateer 161 Details

• Travel: 170mm (f) / 161mm (r)
• 6066-T6 aluminum frame
• Wheel size: 29" (27.5" on P1)
• 64-degree head angle
• 80-degree seat tube angle
• 490mm reach (size P3)
• Sizes: P1, P2, P3, P4
• P3 frame with shock: 9.8 lb (4.4 kg)
• Weight as shown: 34.9 lb (15.8 kg)
• Frame w/shock: $1,535 USD
www.privateerbikes.com

I built this bike up from the frame only, and over the last three months it's served as a rolling test platform for several different forks, wheelsets, and tires. As pictured, it's equipped with a 170mm-travel RockShox Zeb fork, SRAM Code RSC brakes, Stan's Flow S1 rims with DT Swiss 350 hubs, a 175mm Fox Transfer post, and a Maxxis Minion DHF / Dissector EXO+ tire combo.


bigquotesThe 161 does best on faster, wider open tracks – it's more of a speed demon than a trail dancer – and when there's room to straighten it out and let off the brakes the stability at speed is very satisfying. Mike Kazimer





Privateer 161 review


Construction and Features

The 161's beefy frame is made from 6066-T6 aluminum, with off-the-shelf tubing that's joined to a rocker link and bottom bracket junction that was designed by Privateer. By not going with fully custom tube shapes Privateer was able to keep the final cost of the frame down and pass some of those savings to the consumer.

The dropper post housing is internally routed, and the derailleur housing runs through the chainstay, but otherwise it's an all-external affair. Bolt-on cable guides on each side of the headtube keep the housing from flapping around at the front of the bike, and zip-ties hold the housing in place at other points on the frame. There's room for a smaller water bottle inside the front triangle, at least on a P3 – the amount of room available is going to shrink as you go down in size.

Chain slap protection is in place on the chainstay, although you won't find any fancy ribs or bumps here – it's about as basic as it gets, which goes for the downtube protection as well.

Other details include a threaded bottom bracket and a set of ISCG-05 tabs around the shell for running a chain guide or bash guard.

Privateer 161 review
Most of the housing is routed externally along the top of the downtube.
Privateer 161 review
There's plenty of tire or mud clearance.


Privateer 161 review
The chain slap protection isn't the fanciest, but it does the job. Yes, there's some heel rub on the frame - muddy rides with flat pedals will do that.



Geometry & Sizing

It's amazing how quickly what's considered 'normal' for mountain bike geometry has changed. A 490mm reach on what's essentially a size large would have been considered extreme a few years ago, and now reach numbers in that 480 to 490mm range are becoming more and more common.

The 161's 80-degree seat tube angle is still one of the steepest out there, though, and with a 75.5 actual seat angle, things stay very steep for even the tallest of riders. That steep seat tube angle creates a fairly compact seated position – the effective top tube length on a P3 is just 603mm.

The head angle sits at 64-degrees with a 170mm fork, and the chainstay length varies slightly depending on the frame size, measuring 446mm on a P3.


Privateer 161 review

Suspension Design

The 161 uses a Horst Link suspension layout, with a one-piece rocker link driving the 205 x 65mm shock. According to Privateer, the bike's progressive leverage ratio allows it to work well with both air and coil shocks. The anti-squat value is around 126% at sag, and then falls off as the bike goes through its travel, although it still stays above 80% for the entire time.







Test Bike Setup

The geometry game's a tricky one to play, especially with how quickly things are changing and how adaptable the human body is. Think about the bikes many of us were riding 5 or 10 years ago – nowadays they'd seem comically small, but back then they seemed just fine. Lately, I've been most comfortable on bikes with reach numbers that range from 470 – 490mm, which is why I went with P3 size on the Privateer (that's also what their sizing chart recommends).

We'll see what I prefer three years from now, but I've found those dimensions to work best for my riding style and terrain. I ran a 40mm stem and my preferred 780mm handlebar width.

The RockShox Zeb was inflated to 55 psi, LSC 10-clicks from closed, and HSC 2-clicks from closed. I set up the Super Deluxe shock with two volume spacers and 150 psi, which put me at 27% sag.

Testing took place in Bellingham, Washington, with a few trips to other riding zones, including Silver Mountain, Idaho, for some long lift-served laps.


Me.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 38
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer


Privateer 161 review

Climbing

There's no getting around the Privateer's nearly 10-pound frame weight, which turned into a total weight of around 35-pounds once I'd built it up with what I'd consider a fairly standard parts kit. That weight is with EXO+ casing tires; I also ran DH-casing tires for a portion of the test period, which drove the number on the scale all the way up to 37-pounds. Yikes.

That weight is noticeable on long climbs – there's no question that it takes more of an effort to get it up to speed, and it can make long, hot logging roads feel like they've somehow gotten even longer.

All that being said, the good news is that the 161's steep seat tube angle does create a very comfortable climbing position for getting this beast up the hill. I'd say it's teetering on the brink of being too steep – it can feel a little strange on the flats, and I wouldn't want the effective top tube length to be much shorter, but as it is it works very well for making it as easy as possible to get the 161 up to the top of a steep ascent. Even with that long front center, I was upright and centered on the bike, which helped me keep enough weight on the front wheel to prevent any wandering.

There's minimal bob from the RockShox Super Deluxe shock thanks to the 161's generous amount of anti-squat, and I never needed to reach for the climb switch. The initial portion of the bike's travel isn't overly supple – more on that in a bit – but the length and relatively slack head angle do make it a stable climber, traits that helped keep it chugging along through rough, chunky straightaways. Of course, this wouldn't be my pick if my climbs were tight and meandering, since the long wheelbase is most noticeable on sharp switchbacks, but you're looking in the wrong direction if you're eying up this bike with climbing performance high on your priority list. Overall, the 161's geometry is best suited to steep climbs followed by steep descents.


Privateer 161 review

Descending

The Privateer is billed as an enduro race bike, and under a strong, aggressive rider there's no doubt it could fill that role, although it can be a handful on slower, tighter sections of trail. There's an endless variety of enduro race courses out there, but many of them tend to have at least a few tighter, more awkward sections, which is where the 161 struggles a bit. To me, it felt more like a burly bike park bike, or something that could be used to access steep DH trails via pedal power when there's no shuttle truck or chairlift nearby.

The 161 does best on faster, wide-open tracks – it's more of a speed demon than a trail dancer – and when there's room to straighten it out and let off the brakes the stability at speed is very satisfying. However, despite having 161mm of travel, it's not the plushest ride out there. It takes the edge off big hits but doesn't mute them as much as I'd expected. The flip side to that is it's easy to tell what the back end is doing; there's no vague handling when plowing through rooty or rock-strewn sections of trail.

I experimented with different sag amounts and volume spacer configurations, and I found that 27% sag with two spacers gave me the best results. Running more sag had me sitting deeper in the stroke than I wanted, and one spacer had me going through the travel a little too easily. The stock Super Deluxe shock has a medium rebound / light compression tune, but I do wonder if going even lighter with the compression would help increase the level of small bump sensitivity. A coil shock could also help in this department, bumping up the level of grip available in slippery terrain.

I had the Guerilla Gravity Gnarvana on hand at the same time as the Privateer, and while the wheelbase lengths are within 5mm of each other, the Gnarvana was noticeably easier to manage, especially at slower speeds. The Gnarvana and its coil shock had a much plusher, ground-hugging feel, while the Privateer sat higher in its travel, and didn't track the ground as well. Looking a little closer at the numbers, the 161 is 20mm longer in reach, which could certainly have contributed to the feeling that I had to work harder to muscle it around. The 161 can feel like a handful at times if you didn't bring your A-game, while the Gnarvana was more forgiving on the days when I felt more like cruising rather than turning the dial up to 11.


Privateer 161 review



Privateer 161
Raaw Madonna V2 review
Raaw Madonna V2

How does it compare?

The Raaw Madonna and the Privateer 161 were both designed with similar intentions in mind, and the fact that they're manufactured in the same factory makes the comparison even more appropriate.

As far as geometry goes, the Raaw has a slightly steeper head tube angle of 64.5-degrees vs. 64-degrees and a shorter reach of 480mm vs. 490mm for the 161. Both bikes have very steep seat tube angles, but I actually preferred the slightly slacker angle on the Raaw. I didn't feel pushed quite as far towards the front of the bike, which made it feel more 'normal' on flatter and rolling terrain.

On the trail, the Raaw was easier to handle – it felt more alive at slower speeds, and I had fewer runaway freight train moments on it compared to the Privateer. There's better small bump sensitivity as well, at least when comparing the Fox DPX2 to the 161's Super Deluxe. A number of factors could be at play here, including the inherent differences between the shocks themselves, the kinematic differences between the frames, and the fact that the Raaw uses cartridge bearings at the lower shock mount.

The Raaw's frame has a few more refinements than the Privateer, including bearing covers to keep the mud and grit out, a spot to hold a tube under the downtube, and room for a larger water bottle. Those niceties do come with a higher price tag, though; the Madonna frame costs over $700 more than the 161.

RockShox Zeb
MTB on a Budget
Fox's new Transfer Post and OneUp's dropper (shown) both spent time on the Privateer.

Technical Report

Quieting those creaks: After my first couple of rides the Privateer developed a creak from the swingarm area. I ended up pulling and greasing the pivot hardware in order to quiet things down, adding some Loctite to the bolt threads while I was at it. This did the trick, and everything stayed secure and quiet for the remainder of the test period.

All the drop: The steeper a bike's seat angle, the more necessary a long-travel dropper post becomes. I'd recommend going with a 170mm dropper on the 161 at the minimum. I spent part of my time on the new 175mm Fox Transfer post, and the other part on a 210mm OneUp post. I prefer the shape of Fox's new thumb lever to OneUp's, but otherwise both posts went up and down with zero issues.

SRAM GX 10-52 drivetrain: Laugh all you want at that 52-tooth cassette cog, but I was glad to have it on multiple occasions while grinding up stupidly steep logging roads. It only took a couple of wet rides for the crankarms' finish to begin to wear - I think raw aluminum cranks need to become more common, or someone needs to create anodization that can last more than a few sloppy rides without rubbing off.

RockShox Zeb vs. Fox 38: Both of these beefy forks made it onto the front of the Privateer, and neither option disappointed. In this case, there's not a clear cut winner as far as how they feel out on the trail, but if I was forced to pick I think I'd go with the Zeb. It's a little lighter, a little easier to set up, and a little less expensive. Dan Roberts has a more definitive head-to-head comparison on the way – look for that in the near future.


Privateer 161 review


Pros

+ Very stable at speed
+ Modern geometry - steep seat angle, and chainstay lengths that vary by size

Cons

- Heavy frame - gram counters need not apply
- Not the best small bump sensitivity





Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Privateer 161 isn't a bike for the timid. Drink those protein shakes and hit the gym, because this is a bike that requires a strong, confident rider at the helm. If you can hang on, the Privateer is a stout machine that comes alive at higher speeds. Mike Kazimer








210 Comments

  • 245 7
 This bike makes me wonder - have you considered the risk that enduro bike geometry might catch up with the Grim Donut by the time you release the video?
  • 33 0
 Sorry to inform you Grim Donut has moved to another paralel Universe...
  • 4 0
 Honestly if it never comes out it'll make my limited edition that much cooler. Win win for me.
  • 14 12
 I am completely lost on the whole grim donut reference. Should have read more PB instead of being on the trails. Quick history lesson?
  • 3 0
 Sub 2k frame only is the shiz.
  • 6 2
 @MTB-Colada: a quick google search will provide you with one
  • 39 0
 @MTB-Colada: If I were you I'd remain in blissful ignorance until the video actually drops.
No need to put yourself through the heartache we've all experienced.
  • 2 1
 @TannerValhouli: Thanks, that was easy. For the other ignorent folks: m.pinkbike.com/news/behind-the-numbers-the-grim-donut.html
  • 14 0
 @MTB-Colada: Mike Levy do some extrapolation on current bike geo to estimate what it would be like 10 years from now. He then brings the number to Taiwan and make Genio fabricate the frame. That was all on part one. After an eternity (and one shameless april fool jokes video), people are still (not) waiting for part 2. Maybe we just want to see the 57 deg HA snap on the first huck to flat.
  • 14 0
 @chakaping: I'm still sore from the April Fools joke.
  • 1 0
 @ReeferSouthrland: yeah, but it’s almost 10lbs!!! Are they using solid alloy frame tubes?
  • 8 1
 @Twenty6ers4life: Cheap, light, strong...pick two
  • 5 1
 This is comment gold.
  • 9 3
 @Twenty6ers4life: FYI, tubes are hollow, rod is solid.
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: What if the existence of the Grim Donut has moved us into a parallel universe?
  • 1 0
 @rifu: ...and they more or less acknowledge in Part I that a few years ago, they told us that you couldn't just go to Taiwan and start your own bike company (www.pinkbike.com/news/pinkbike-went-to-taiwan-and-started-a-bike-company.html). Sometimes it takes the off-the-charts personal charisma of a Mike Levy to get shit done. Still can't have a water bottle mount though, sorry.
  • 1 2
 @Twenty6ers4life: Hahaha for real, you can get a real DH bike loaded for half the price and same weight.
  • 1 0
 @BillT999:my Zipp Moto wheels did cost a bit. I guess still to cheap, hahaha. But they are neither strong or light.
  • 1 0
 @cebolla: it survives!
  • 1 0
 @rifu: hell yeah!
  • 1 0
 @MTB-Colada: Same. And it's about 2 months now lol
  • 59 0
 I have this bike and have been riding it around Italy and Germany since May. This is a bike (as are the other long, slack and heavy ones, like the Poles or the Raaw) made for Enduro racing! In the right hands it might give you an advantage to get the last few seconds on an Enduro stage. It CAN climb, but that's not what its made for. It's heavy and you (well, I didn't) wont go very fast. I put my powermeter on it and I estimate that it climbs about 10-20% less effective (I know, I did this in a super unscientific way, and this number is more of a guesstimate, but it lines up with how I felt) than my usual Enduro/Trail bike, the 301 MK14. On the downhill it's a machine that goes like on rails. But: It doesn't really feel like that much fun. It's kind of difficualt to "play" with the trail. Do little jumps, smash it into corners in a fun way, stuff like this. Again: Point it downhill and you will be FAST, almost effortlessly. Very impressing and just made for full on racing.
I would not recommend getting this bike for general trail riding or tours. For Enduro racing? Amazing!
  • 6 0
 I’ve got a pole evolink and sounds very familiar, goes like a rocket ship on anything steep or fast, slow and nimble can be hard, and it’s very hard work to keep it going on
  • 5 4
 This sounds like a review of my 2020 Sight (Very similar geo). I love it in the trails it loves and it hauls when I want it to, but other days when not riding steep/fast/chunder I take my 27.5 hardtail.
  • 5 1
 perfect review...enduro is no xc...long wheelbase bike is=heavy .. is perfect stabile down big speed ride...mine Marino is 1354mm wheelbase..is awesome stabile .
  • 12 2
 @toad321: This must be down to the overly progressive reach numbers on these bikes (and a lot of other modern bikes there days), they are massive! I'm sure they are great at ploughing through stuff but it appears to be at the expense of fun, which is what it's all about really.
  • 2 2
 @Davec85: keeping the reach same and shortening the rear end will end that point
  • 18 1
 @Davec85: depends on your idea of fun, I guess. For some, it's taking cheeky lines, popping and manualling everywhere. For others, it's about going warp speed fast. We live in a great time where there are solid dependable, reliable bikes that cater for both.
  • 5 4
 @Davec85: the pole is plenty fun mate, jumps well, ploughs things, comfortable at warp speed

Ok you’re not gonna be getting massive air off every little jump but for real jumps it’s perfectly capable. Cornering just takes a lot kore effort and skill to be able to throw the rear round
  • 2 1
 Basically a downsized downhill sled?
  • 2 0
 @Davec85: I ride a calibre sentry pro, similar geo, 64 ha and 485 reach size L, I'm 180cm and usually ride L in all bikes, but I downsized to M 465 reach which is still longer than my L Scott spark 460, I done this after recommendation from a few people and it helps with keeping it nimble as can be. Interestingly Richie Rude rides a M 460 reach and he is 6ft 2, Sam Hill rides M 455 reach... now if only I was half as good as them ????
  • 1 3
 @M-100: Brazil is a lame country for trails, so a XC rear suspension is enought. I'm on board with a Fuel 8 (2011) and overforked (140mm). Good enought for the climbs, riot on the downs. I just take care to not jump hard on her.
  • 3 0
 And youll notice the enduro racers arwnt even running the bigger bikes often. Specialized run the sj more than enduro
  • 1 0
 @Jim9792: Rude is 182cm

@jrocksdh: forget the sofa, try the loveseat
  • 2 0
 @Davec85: depends on what you consider fun. Fast smashing can be as fun as jibbing.
  • 1 0
 @TheLoamDeranger: it also depends hugely on what trails and hills are available to you. I've had downhill bikes in the past (probably less capable than this bike now!), but my closest mountain is more than a 2 hour drive away. With the best will in the world, between my job and 2 kids I just couldn't justify owning a bike like this. It would sit in the shed gathering dust. I bet this is true for a lot of people.
  • 3 0
 @Davec85: Depends how tall/big your are. I ride a P4 161. I am 6'6". I don't find it massive at all. I find it band on near perfect and incredibly playful still compared to other bikes I have ridden. I have had to wait 30 years to realise that I have basically been riding sketchy as f*ck youth bikes all my life! I look back at the old 26" wheel day and laughs my head off. Looks like I am standing next to an Isla Bike!
  • 1 0
 @pongtoe: next stop, 32" wheels for big guys?...
  • 28 1
 I own one of these death machines. On the uphill - as Mike said; you won't get the prize. But you don't buy this bike to win the uphill.
Once you point it downwards, it's where the bike is unleashed. I was intimidated on how fast this thing can go. Is it fun-stealing? Depends. I like to go very fast. That makes it fun for me. I agree again, if you are more of a cruiser and like to watch the birds during the downhill stay away from this bike. It will accelerate very, very fast. But if you manage to steer the ship and hold on, you will have a damn of a time.

Addendum: i swapped the super deluxe after a month or so with a super deluxe coil. the bike transformed again to a ground hugging beast. best decision ever. I recommend it fully, since you can go even faster, which means more fun. At least for me.
  • 37 1
 @RecklessRascal Hey, thanks for the support and glad you're enjoying your 161! We've been testing coil shocks and love the way they ride. Based on this and customer feedback it might be something we look into offering as standard in the future.
  • 2 0
 @PrivateerBikes: I agree with @RecklessRascal, coil is superb on this bike.
  • 2 2
 @PrivateerBikes: Any plans to offer the framesets with a fox rear shock? Sounds like one of these with an x2 would be prime.
  • 5 4
 @zyoungson: na pls, get an DVO Topaz
  • 5 0
 @PrivateerBikes: in the near future (september/october) please ;-)
  • 1 0
 @PrivateerBikes: future, as in December future? ;-)
  • 1 0
 Seems like the high amount of anti-squat could be causing some of the harshness.
  • 1 0
 @PrivateerBikes: near future as in before my frame arrives end of September??
  • 1 0
 @PrivateerBikes: I put a deposit on one after reading this review, if coil becomes an option please let us know.
  • 3 0
 I have one of these aswell, and I can echo almost everything stated. It's a comfortable, but not incredibly fast, climber, love the seated position for steep fire roads. But once you point it down, it is scary fast and is surprisingly maneuverable for how huge this thing is. One thing I can unfortunately say, is that I also had the creaking issue Kaz mentioned, and sadly the problem only gets worse and starts coming back faster everytime. Privateer have acknowledged the issue and are being amazing to deal with and they've sent me a whole new bolt/bearing hardware kit while they search for a permanent solution. I was debating getting a coil, and now I am 100% sold, will be ordering a Dhx2 as soon as possible
  • 1 0
 @BradenMac:
Did the new hardware solve the problem?
  • 1 1
 @RecklessRascal what kind of RS SD Coil did you get? ML Tune? Normally, the RS SD Coils are tuned for a specific bike like e.g. the Norco Range...So it would be interesting to know which one of those custom shocks works on the 161.
  • 2 0
 @shredderoni: they don't expect the new hardware to completely fix the problem, its just a stop-gap until they find a solution. ETA on the solution is about a month. They've been so great to communicate with so I 100% trust they'll find a solution and make it right with everybody.
  • 12 0
 I've had one of these since May. I bought it for 70% pedal and 30% uplift in the Alps, so aimed at bigger mountains rather than more general trail riding. My experience has been really positive so far - I would describe it as racy and fast rather than comfy and plush, but that is fun to me as it's really responsive pushing into turns and pumping the trail while still absorbing the big hits and bad landings well. I suspect a coil would work well for the bike park but I like the air shock elsewhere.

To be honest the seat angle looks a bit odd but felt pretty natural to me straight away which I didn't expect. I'm 187cm on a P4 so once the seat is up it slackens the effective angle a bit, though I do notice the difference when getting back onto my hardtail. The thing I noticed is that the seat position means it sits higher in its travel when climbing, then when you stand it's like it opens up the suspension a bit as your weight shifts which seems to work well. Still using the lockout for longer climbs of course.

The other feature I love is the really low top tube. As I'm on the taller side I sometimes find bikes my size look and feel big whereas this feels low and agile. I guess it slightly limits space for a water bottle but on the P4 there is space with a side loading cage along with tube etc strapped to the frame for the full enduro experience.

I haven't ridden a raft of carbon enduro superbikes so it's difficult to make a definitive comparison but the Privateer has been spot on for my intended use. Plus the customer experience was fantastic: the bike was a bit delayed (pretty understandable given the circumstances) but there were regular updates and it was always super easy to get information, and when it turned up it included spares, tools and tubeless sealant to get everything up and running. Like the full build spec it was all well thought through. Probably not surprising they are back-ordered!
  • 1 0
 How do you like the P4? I'm nearly the exact same height as you, and on their charts I'm almost exactly between P3 and P4.

As I see you're in the UK, did you get a chance to demo/sit on the P3 at all before buying?
  • 3 0
 @ocnlogan: love it, but I have always sized up rather than down so could be personal preference. Doesn't feel unusually big or anything, more just feels like there is enough space to move around a bit.

Didn't demo a P3 but didn't even consider one to be fair. My other bike is an XL Kona Honzo for reference.

Bear in mind that the steep seat angle gives a more compact cockpit when in the saddle so it won't feel stretched when climbing. Hope that helps a bit!
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: I'm 182cm and riding a P4, had a bit of an adjustment period coming off a smaller bike for a couple of rides but feels normal and good now.
  • 1 0
 @fibreprovider All this is good to hear. This bike is on my short list for my next bike. Im same height as you and was figuring P4 as well.

What shock are you running on it?
  • 1 0
 @Deep-Friar: I ordered the full build so am running the stock SuperDuluxe Ultimate. Seems good so far and the climb switch is handy for the road transitions for sure, though would be interesting to see how a coil handled in the bike park.
  • 11 0
 Was hoping for a really negative review so people would cancel their orders. Est. delivery is Dec week 4 right now.. I want one so bad, but I'm also not patient enough to wait that long on a bike..
  • 4 0
 Mine is coming during the last week of September. Ordered in March hehe.
  • 2 0
 @SupraKZ: Same here because I dent my frame back March.
  • 8 1
 I honestly took the review as pretty negative. I wasn’t considering this bike because of the geo, and now I wouldn’t even want to demo one because it just sounds like too much bike.
  • 12 3
 Seeing you weight, the leverage ratio of the frame and that you ran the shock with a medium rebound tune and the standard air spring it is easy to see why you ran into problems. Go to your favourite suspension guy, give it a low rebound tune and a megneg and you are good to go.
  • 1 0
 That's my plan, I have the megneg on my privateer and like how the spring feels now but I have to have the rebound near full open to get the feel I want but then lack a bit of stability on the bigger hits. From what I've heard this is common with super deluxe shocks as they have a digressive rebound tune.
  • 1 0
 @subwaypanda: Nope, they tend to be overdamped in general.
  • 8 0
 @PrivateerBikes A 141 (lighter Enduro/ heavy trail) would be awesome. Something to go against the Ripmo AF. 160mm fork (Lyrik) and 141 rear (light coil. (Like a crane creek in-line coil!) Geometry based on a 29er Enduro which can get round tight corners and more fun technical trails. 35 pound max with proper tyres like Schwalbe SG or Michelin Enduro. Sounds like the suspension is pretty much already dialled for this type of bike?
  • 3 0
 Had my own comment about this, but, responding here to increase the likelihood that @PrivateerBikes will see and respond Smile .
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: Hopefully, they will. Fingers crossed ????
  • 3 0
 Sounds like you've described the new Commencal Meta TR ????
  • 5 0
 @nrpuk Soon! Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks for more info.
  • 2 0
 That's a Meta TR!
  • 1 0
 @spookydan: Yep, similar idea, but threaded BB instead of press-fit would be better than the Meta TR.
  • 1 0
 @nrpuk:

And proportional chainstay length (hopefully).

After my Kona Process 153 29'er, and its 425mm chainstays, I'm "over" short chainstays, as a taller guy. I'm hoping the whole changing chainstay lengths by size thing will catch on honestly.
  • 2 0
 @nrpuk: Didn't spot the Meta was press fit, what were they thinking?
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: Yes, size proportional chainstays make a lot of sense. The ideal bike size range needs have considered geometry full stop. Modern, but not OTT. Wheelbase, reach, chainstays, seat tube angles all not to extreme that the bike doesn’t work well. HA at 65 degrees?
  • 1 0
 @spookydan: ? Seems like YT, Commencal etc love a press fit. Must admit, would stop me buying a bike.
  • 9 2
 I come from the motorcycle world, and bikes like this remind me of 1000cc superbike replicas. They look super cool and offer incredible performance that 95% of the people riding them will not be able to access and the 5% who have the skills would only be able to use on race tracks (downhill parks in our scenario). To each their own, but as an occasional enduro racer, there's not that many of you out there Smile
  • 1 0
 I dunno about not being able to access though. There are descents near my that are super steep and chundery and a plow bike might these trails easier to ride for anyone. Anyone can access the advantage of a plow bike if they have the terrain for it.
  • 2 0
 Lot of people out there on litre bikes having a good time though.
  • 10 0
 35 - 37 Pounds? Dangerholm's next project?
  • 2 0
 World's lightest downhill bike and world's heaviest enduro bike
  • 8 1
 I am pretty sure this is the first time I've ever heard anyone make a comparison with any bike from Guerrilla Gravity and say that GG was plusher and better at hugging the ground... just how stiff is this thing?
  • 6 0
 Can we stop arguing about milimeters, ratios, curves, for a moment and be happy to have a company that doesn't charge you a leg and an arm for a friggin bicycle (that seems well thought out) ? I'm surprised by the outcome of this review, which seemed a bit more negative than the preview. Not all of us are racers, yet most of all can enjoy the hell out of this bike and even improve our riding with it. I'm returning on pb and in riding after a 2y break, I'm surprised how numbers and charts now dictates the process of buying a bicycle. Do people ask for the same data when they buy a camry ?
  • 6 0
 Not if they buy a Camry, but if they're looking for a performance car, certainly.
  • 1 0
 Hahaha no one is going to pay attention to the good parts of your argument, all they see is Camry and eye roll immediately
  • 4 0
 “The steeper a bike's seat angle, the more necessary a long-travel dropper post becomes”

Why? 180mm of seat post drop is exactly 180mm at a 90° seat angle, but it’s less than 130mm of vertical drop for a 45° seat angle
  • 2 1
 to get the seat out of the way in the most efficient manner, we move it downward AND forward. more clearance on any given dropper travel.
  • 3 0
 It’s to do with the relationship between the location of your hips and the saddle, when different seat angles are applied. From it’s starting position, a slacker SA drops the seat more forwards and down (as you rightly point out), leaving your hips plenty of space to drop vertically downwards. The forward bit is the important part here.
On a long reach, steep SA bike things work differently, as the seat doesn’t move forward much from the starting point, more just downwards. The longer reach also moves the rider forward in the bike, elongating the back and keeping the hips more central over the BB vs a shorter reach, slacker SA bike.
When a rider drops the saddle, it’s normally coinciding with the rider dropping the hips down and back from the seated, starting position. A saddle that moves forward more, relative to the hips, is a saddle that’s further away also, like the hypotenuse in a triangle. To get a similar distance with a steeper SA, you’d need more drop. As a long legged 6ft 1 rider, that’s been my experience on a mix of different frame geo’s anyway!
  • 3 0
 Its seems I am Mike's sibling regarding body dimensions and I also struggle with RS Super deluxe setup. It seems to have way too much fast rebound damping in the MM tune. When you open the rebound it gets better on rough, but then you have not enough slow rebound. Anyway, if you are considered with rear performance, buy a 4-way adjustable shock.
  • 1 0
 or buy shock with appropriate tune, you don´t need to fiddle with knobs all the time then to still end up with mediocre result.
  • 1 0
 @Mondbiker: But how would you determine this tune. Most of the time it is easier to try many settings in the field. To properly set up non adjustable shock you would need telemetry and a good service. Much cheaper to buy an adjustable shock.
  • 3 0
 I still think this will climb better then my current bike the Propain Spindrift. I will see how much it can climb on 25% slopes end of September. I will fit this thing with the new Newmen carbon rims and some other carbon parts to get it below 15kg. No weight savings on tires pls...
  • 2 0
 Don't see the climb issue either. Done a tonne of testing recently with friends on different bikes. So far it's faster up the local climbs than my old 27,5" 160mm that was 2 kilos lighter! Even did a PR on my local test run, being almost 10% faster than my best so far! I'm not a racer, so take it with a grain of salt, but I do that run fairly often, so something definitely changed! Not sure if it's the 29" wheels all of it. Highly doubt it. Seem to have more to do with the seat angle and efficient suspension :-)
  • 3 0
 Pretty spot on review from my time on the Privateer 161. I purchased a P4 (XL) a while back. I am the minority here, but this bike climbs fine with the stock shock locked out. I actually enjoyed the bike more with the air shock than coil, and I am a big guy. I actually got a PR on a local 1200' climb and my other bikes are Transition XXL Sentinels, both versions 1 & 2. My only issue was embracing the steep seat angle of the privateer and running more sag than normal at around 35-40%. This put me in the correct climbing position when it settles out and straight rips downhill.

This bike is planted and predictable, but requires a strong experienced hand at the wheel. The steeper and rougher the better. When I grab a bike for a ride, it is now a decision of how tough the DH will be as to which bike I take.

Details are quite nice. Very thoughtful little things here and there for cable routing and assembly. Not a penny pinching production model here.

Shocked that the raw version has a clear coat too. No weird staining like other raw finish bikes in our PNW mud and clay.
  • 1 0
 i was thinking this or Knolly but went with Knolly, you know anything about KNATION to make a comparison?
  • 2 0
 Thank you for the review. I've been considering this bike for the last couple of months, as its value for the money is simply incredible (frame only, and complete).

But, without the ability to demo one, I think perhaps I'd best stay away for now. Simply put, I'm not sure my "A game" is good enough to handle it, if I'm being honest with myself.

Also,as I've considered this bike these last few months, I realized that with these bikes with really steep STA's, I can't figure out how to decide on a size. Basically I have to decide on if I care more about the ETT, or the reach. And it seems like this problem will be more and more common as geo keeps evolving.

Basically, the P3 has a similar reach to my current bike, while a P4 has a similar ETT to my current bike. And if I bought one, I'm not sure which one I'd go with.

Thoughts?
  • 4 0
 My experience with the P4 161 has been less one sided than Mikes. I am a slower, weaker rider and most of the trails I ride are pretty techy and awkward and I have been loving the bike. It goes like a freight train on the wide open stuff for sure but I don't feel limited when things get tight.

In terms of sizing, I am 6'3", I went for the P4 and it felt big for about one ride and now all the other bikes I ride feel weirdly small.
  • 1 0
 @Patrick9-32:

I'm 6'1", and fall in the grey area between the sizes on their chart. I even emailed them about it, and they didn't have any very specific recommendations on sizing. Turns out, they don't have many (any?) tall guys on staff to give opinions.

How do you think the P4 would feel if you were my size?
  • 4 0
 @ocnlogan: I'm 6'3" and I own a P4. My riding buddy has a P3 at around 6'. I sat on his bike and I could ride it with no issues at all. In fact it is larger than my Ralllon I owned before. (But yes, P4 is the right size for me!) In my opinion P3 will work for you.
  • 2 0
 I am 188cm and I've ordered a P3. My reasons being that the P3 is still 10mm longer reach than the longest bike I've owned (a large NS Snabb plus, the first bike I've ever owned that didn't feel a bit too small) and the wheelbase on the P4 seems way too much for me, so I'm hoping the P3 will be a bit more playful (relatively speaking)
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: I’m 6’2” and ride a P3 and love it! I wanted a more nimble ride which is why I downsized. If you want a more stable, pure speed machine then P4 might be the way to go.
  • 1 0
 Size for proper reach/stack. That is based on feet to hands.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer any plan to throw a different shock on there? Something like an x2? Would be able to explore different compression and rebound tunes.
  • 3 0
 So we've managed to officially find the end of Enduro geometry without the Grim Doughnut. 170mm 29er with: 490mm reach, 79.5 seat tube angle, 64.3 HTA and 435 mm chainstays. That's it...good work. We can all head home.
  • 5 0
 Sounds like my kind of bike. Fingers crossed for a coil option. Hopefully a ZEB fork speced build package as well.
  • 2 0
 @PrivateerBikes

I really, really love the value that you guys are bringing to the table. Also, the one time I've reached out to you guys for information, you were very responsive (Thanks John Smile ). Please keep that consistent as you move forward.

Speaking of moving forward...

In the "first look" review, you said something like "keep an eye out this summer for more details" when someone asked you about the rumored 141 bike.

Can you give any more clarity/care to give an update to that statement now?

I'm not quite sure I can use the 161 to its extent, so the rumored shorter travel bike has me curious. And I'd just love to have any hint of when I could learn more about it Smile .
  • 3 0
 @ocnlogan Thanks for the kind words and support! We're always happy to talk bikes.

About that other bike...It's coming soon! Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks for more info.
  • 2 0
 @PrivateerBikes: maybe i should rethink about my order (sept/oct) :-)
or even better: Preorder the 121 additionally for 2021 ;-)
  • 2 0
 @PrivateerBikes you're bike is the bomb! I was just shreddin' it in Finale Ligure...and the guide was on a Madonna (which I could ride as well). The 161's "lack of sensitivity" or "disadvantage at slower speeds" does actually not play a role cuz you're riding at high speeds anyway. I kinda missed the comparison at high speeds in the review. The insane stiffness of the bike makes it not just very fast on open trails but also a monster in nasty and very rough corners. The directness makes it also very easy to initialize a corner and then stay on the line. However, a coil shock with a firm tune could be even hotter!
  • 2 0
 How playful was it compared to Madonna? Going fast is fun, but so is popping from bumps and manualling into turns. Both are on my shortlist for the next season and because of the price difference Privateer is currently above Madonna Wink
  • 1 0
 @madcow-krakow: well I ride a P3 (large) and the Madonna was an XL. The stack height of the Madonna was much higher. So they're kinda comparable but not completely. It was much easier to initiate a corner and turn with my privateer. The slightly longer and coil fitted Madonna was a bit calmer in the chunder...the Privateer with the air shock a bit poppier. A comparison to a Madonna in L with the DPX2 would be more expressiv. But I think that's what @mikekazimer did.
  • 4 0
 Super Deluxe Air traits still on every bike that comes with this shock. RS should do something about it..
  • 3 0
 DH tires, inserts, coil shock, and beef platforms pushing 40lbs. It better ride downhill well... Cause thats what it is. (With 39mm less travel)
  • 2 0
 If you can count you can see that it would be lighter if you just build your own.
  • 2 0
 "...and a Maxxis Minion DHF / Dissector EXO+ tire combo." So, anyone know when the EXO+ Dissector is actually available? Like the tire, but it didn't take long to puncture through the open tread design on the EXO casing.
  • 1 0
 A side note for anyone interested, the chain slap protection on the chainstay and seat stay peeled off right away for me. I ordered some VHS tape, but the chainstay isn't very flat on top, so it's hard to get the VHS tape to adhere fully - just too much curvature. I made my own mastic tape seat stay protection and that's working great. Regardless, you'll want to be ready to sort out that area on your own.
  • 3 0
 @emarquar Hey, thanks for the early support! We know the CS protection isn't as good as it could be, so we've been busy working on a replacement. We should have more to show soon.

Thanks!
  • 2 0
 @PrivateerBikes: It's all good guys! I'm loving the bike otherwise. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
  • 1 0
 stfubike.com - I have it on my hardtail, works really well!
  • 2 1
 "That steep seat tube angle creates a fairly compact seated position – the effective top tube length on a P3 is just 603mm."

That's not "compact", that's tiny. It had better be fast going straight, because in turns it'll be dicey on knee/controls interference once those bars come around.
  • 3 0
 Im 186 and though it feels a bit cramped on the flat/straight parts, that is not the case at all.
  • 2 1
 Seems like a very odd, one-sided concept. I don't really get these one trick pony bikes. By the virtue of its overly progressive geometry, it might be good at going down a hill very fast in a straight line. But thats it really. Seems very, for lack of a better word, limiting. Not really versatile enough for my taste.
  • 3 0
 Would a Meg-Neg added to the super delux sort out the small bump sensitivity?
  • 2 0
 Tried a megneg, added small bump sensitivity, but found it then added mid stroke harshness. Needs the shock tune looking at, seems to be fine for park riders, but those that ride more natural trails not so much. I've fitted an x2 and it's mega, transformed the bike into what it should be.
  • 1 0
 dunnow about the Privateer, but on my Propain Spindrift, it transformed the back end of the bike to a bump eating monster. totally recomended
  • 1 0
 I added a megneg, took one volume spacer out, and am running it with no negative spacers, and I think it feels fantastic.
  • 1 0
 A Megneg also transformed my Process 153. Went from 3 tokens to just 1 and running 2 negative spacers.
  • 1 0
 @Loche: Did the same for my Slash 9.8. 1 Spacer and 2 Bands and made a huge difference out back. Luft Klapper with no spacers up front on the 36 Performance. 85kg kitted with water.
  • 1 0
 With this leverage ratio curve and rebound tune, i can imagine a lot of the harshness will be caused by the shock packing down. Did you have a relatively closed rebound adjuster @mikekazimer ?
  • 1 0
 I was one click from fully open on the rebound dial. I'm on the lighter side, so that's not exactly out of the ordinary, but I do think a different shock tune could help out here.
  • 2 0
 The really high anti-squat value could be causing harshness in a lot of situations too
  • 4 1
 That price point though... Glad to see bike companies offering "affordable" bikes finally.
  • 1 0
 It doesn't make this bike better or worse, but the frame has some similarities with some canyon models (rear dropout, the rear derailleur hanger, ). But it's not about the kitchen, it's about the cook and the recipe ;-)
  • 1 0
 Good to know about the hanger in case you ever need one in a pinch.
  • 3 0
 Geometry is getting a bit weird. Doesn't top tube length factor into sizing? The top tubes in all sizes seem rather short.
  • 4 1
 Sounds like the P2 size would have worked better for an enduro bike.
  • 4 0
 Would probalby make it more agile while descending but with the steep seat tube angle it'd make the seatead position feel very short.
  • 3 0
 @raozaki: Yeah sliding the saddle all the way back might be the move in that case.
  • 3 0
 Jordan Boostmaster, is that you?
  • 3 1
 @dan-roberts can you compare the Zeb and Fox 38 back to the Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 too?
  • 2 0
 @dan-roberts We know you ride some pretty steep stuff near Champery... In your report could you compare to the Boxxer as well. What would be really cool to know is for downhill, roughly how far a Zeb is in feeling between a Lyrik and a Boxxer?
  • 5 1
 @sambobcat This is actually in the works, between the Zeb and 38. The Öhlins probably won't be a direct comparison, but with it being such an impressive fork when I reviewed it, there might be a mention here and there. Öhlins also have a 38mm diameter stanchioned fork coming at some point it seems.

@rojo-1 Aii, there's a few steep bits round here! Again, it'll be more a Zeb vs 38 comparison. But the Boxxer and Zeb definitely have a similar squish feel to them, unsurprisingly. But in regards to beefy single crown vs dual crown, I'll try and have some mention in there and a bit of talk about that topic.
  • 2 1
 @dan-roberts:

Any chance the Mezzer will be in the "Burly enduro fork" comparison test you're talking about? I'm low key in the market for a fork, and from what I can tell, the Mezzers claim to fame was that it was much stiffer than the Lyrik/36, which would "probably "put it into the same realm as the Zeb/38.

If not, I get it, just thought I'd ask the question.

Thanks for all the hard work Smile .
  • 2 0
 @dan-roberts: awesome thanks
  • 1 0
 @dan-roberts: Can't wait to read your article. Thanks!
  • 1 0
 Been waiting for a detailed review, so thanks for that. Its been on my list but by the sounds of it possibly not the bike for me unfortunately
  • 4 0
 @bigad28 Hey, sorry to hear it's not quite the bike for you, what are you looking for? We're always keen to hear rider's thoughts.

We've been busy working on some new models, so perhaps something in there for you
  • 1 0
 @PrivateerBikes: I think I'm a better rider than I really am! I would like one, good kit, great value. I shall keep an eye on future models. cheers!
  • 3 0
 External cable routing for the win!!!
  • 3 0
 Now lets get that 21 Meta TR review out Mike been waiting on the one.
  • 1 2
 I don't understand the point of having the top tube come down so low but leaving literally oodles of seat tube sticking up. Plus they pinched the top tube and down tube way back. These two things severely limit the space for on-bike storage. Just look at the side-by-side with the Raaw.

I have the same issue with my bike only with a funny shaped down tube. I think I might be able to fit the smallest Fidlock bottle under the shock. But I can't complain too much because it was only $380 delivered.
  • 3 0
 The long awaited return of the "park bike"
  • 1 0
 What appears to be such an awesome bike is let down by the fact that it comes in a Medium size at most. Where are the Large and XL???
  • 2 0
 Waiting for the Zeb VS 38
  • 1 0
 Yes sir, that's exactly what I'm going to do - laugh all I want at that 52-tooth cassette cog, thank you very much.
  • 3 1
 Mike can you compare this with the titan? Or is that still coming?
  • 2 0
 Would be nice to see a review of one of these with a coil or fox x2.
  • 3 1
 External cable routing. Hallelujah.
  • 2 0
 a good competitor for the commencal meta am
  • 2 0
 Why the zeb looks like it is at 140 mm
  • 2 0
 Waiting for 141...
  • 1 1
 121...
  • 15 0
 @MiLi Might have something for you very soon Wink

@vinay Maybe...we've been brewing a few ideas, but you'll need to wait a little bit longer.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: I'd definitely be interested in a 121!
  • 1 0
 @PrivateerBikes: how bout a 201???
  • 1 0
 First time I've noticed the Zeb graphics, thought it said "NEG"... Smile
  • 2 0
 I like it a lot
  • 1 0
 78 degree seat angle is the sweet spot.
  • 1 1
 10 pounds for the frame and shock? Ouch. Seems way overbuilt for a trail bike. At least it’s relatively low cost.
  • 2 0
 Not exactly a trail bike..
  • 1 1
 @zyoungson: it’s a bicycle designed for riding on bicycle trails. Trail bike.
  • 1 0
 @ryane: By that logic a DH bike is technically a trail bike, because it is made for riding on mtb trails, just ones that go downhill.
  • 1 1
 @zyoungson: I thought Transitions were fat bikes, these are about the same. A 35 pounds trail bike makes no sense. That's without tire inserts and all the other crap people add to bikes these days.
  • 1 0
 Such a bruteeee
  • 2 2
 Needs a EXT Storia V3 on it to help with that sensitivity
  • 5 2
 and be driven insane by the incessant clicking noise of a check valve.
  • 1 0
 I reckon there isn't enough leverage for a storia. Even the lightest tune is very supportive.
  • 2 0
 @Randomscruff: Never heard any clicking on mine.
  • 1 0
 @honourablegeorge: neither did I until 1 year after use. Confirmed by EXT it's a normal noise. Really annoying normal though.
  • 2 1
 Also never heard a sound on mine... and my bike is dead silent. Only thing making noise is the fat bloke riding it.
  • 4 0
 Wouldn't needing to invest $900 in a shock kind of defeat the value proposition of this thing?
  • 1 0
 @roma258: Sounds like it could benefit from any coil shock, to be fair. Might as well add a bit more weight, eh?
  • 2 2
 thanks but no thanks, I'm saving up for a Grim Donut.
  • 2 0
 By the time it is available, you can sure by yourself a sweet couple of bikes.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Sure, if by "sweet" you mean "antique geometry." I have seen the future, and it is a shrouded donut with a scythe.
  • 2 0
 @phile99: Nah, I merely meant to say that if you keep saving up until it has been released, you have saved up a good lot of money Wink . If you got bored by then, you could always get yourself a couple of Unno bikes.
  • 1 0
 @phile99: the grim donut is a shit ass slack bike that makes no sense for most trails. The privateer geo in my opinion is pretty much closest to perfect for an enduro bike
  • 1 0
 Gorgeous shapes
  • 2 3
 Am I tripping or is that a v1 alu sentinel?
  • 6 0
 We don't know dude, but it sounds like a pretty lame trip.
  • 4 0
 @chakaping: portobello mushroom trip
  • 1 2
 2006 called, they want their cable management clips back!
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