Squamish, BC, is where I call home, with Whistler only 30-minutes up the road and North Vancouver's rooty, twisty trails 30-minutes in the opposite direction. As you can imagine, short-travel bikes with race-y intentions are outnumbered a-thousand-to-one in these parts by well-used enduro rigs closer to 40 than 20 pounds. And for good reason; much of the local terrain aims straight down, is full of pointy rocks waiting to punch holes in your ultra-light wheels, toilet paper-sidewall tires, and Lycra-covered skin, and it's often covered with anaconda-like roots. It's definitely wet, too.
The Spot wasn't made for those try-and-maybe-die chutes and slabs, but a skilled pair of hands and good line choices will see the red bike through most of it without issue. Remember, the Ryve is about as cross-country as a trail bike can be without you needing to wear bib shorts and a visor-less helmet to ride it. In other words, me telling you that things get a bit wild on the scary stuff is about the same as a breaking story on the homepage about how an enduro bike is a real pig at cross-country races. Don't put it past us.
Sure, bigger rubber, a 130mm fork, and some other changes could help the Ryve on the scary stuff, but I'd argue that you'd be better off on a different, burlier machine than diluting the Spot's sportiness in search of confidence. There are all sorts of bikes to pick from if that's your jam, but the Ryve isn't one of them.
Dialing back the terrain from f*ck-no to more-flow allows the 115mm-travel Ryve to come into its own, with the peppiness that makes it such a great climber also making it a blast on the descents. My closest riding area is a local hill known as Valleycliffe, a small mountain crisscrossed by a confusing maze of endless rolling trails, many of which require work to get the most out of. It's here where the Ryve makes brawnier trail bikes like the Tallboy and Optic feel slow and muted in their responses.
One of my favorite bits sees a long section of singletrack angled downward slightly, but not nearly enough to be called fast, and I'm usually taking careful stabs at the pedals for more speed while hoping I don't catch a rock or root and get scorpioned so hard that my shoes come off. Again. I've ridden this trail on pretty much every long-term test bike I've had over the last couple of years, but it was an entirely different experience on the Spot - it was way faster. The Ryve responds to pumping the terrain and using backsides in a way that softer, slacker, more forgiving bikes can only dream of, and the effect is a lot of speed. The Tallboy, Optic, and Hei Hei all require less effort in those settings than longer-travel rigs, but on the Ryve, it's as if the trail is covered in speed-boosting arrows from Mario Kart and those other three are stuck in axle-deep mud.
The faster you're going, the faster you need to think, and that's especially true on the Ryve. The steering is more cross-country than trail bike, but it's far from being nervous. While some quick-handling machines can feel as if they're just waiting to toss you out the front door, the Spot manages to offer a needle-precise front-end without you constantly being in fear of it knifing to one side unexpectedly. It also gives it the maneuverability that other trail bikes can only dream of. If you love nothing more than a well-timed manual, nose bonk here or there, or silly-but-fun line, you'll get more than your fair share of laughs from the Ryve.
The bike's rear-suspension isn't nearly as active and forgiving as the back of the Hei Hei, and rocky ground will knock the Spot around a bit. Tire choice can make a big difference here, though, and the stock, low-volume Schwalbe rubber leans more towards less rolling speed than more traction. Because of this, a light touch on the brake levers is needed when it's wet or dusty to keep the bike from sliding too much. Or maybe sliding just the right amount, amirite?
I settled on a standard 25-percent sag number and never once felt a clang at bottom-out, despite some questionable line choices, so there's certainly no need to run it any firmer. And what about Spot's claims that the carbon fiber Living Link suspension can supply additional pop to help get off the ground? I'm not so sure, but I can't argue that the Ryve does have that energetic personality that can make a short-travel bike so much fun.
So, what does all that mean, and where does the Ryve sit in the world of short-travel bikes? If you're looking for a new-school ripper to send off the jumps while keeping up with your buddies on longer-travel bikes, the Spot isn't for you. This is a bike made to cover ground quickly and efficiently, and it's far more interested in snagging those uphill KOMs than going fast down rowdy descents. But that also means that it's a demon of a bike on rolling terrain and downhills that don't look like EWS stages, which is a hell of a lot of the world.
Did I miss anything?
Dirt jumping and trials are off on their own somewhere.
Commuduro (I swear, there's a bloke over here doing that, middle age women driving Lancias don't appreciate it)
I guess the lateer can get the down-treatment at some point.
Or an Enduro ready frame/fork with good climbing geo and a slightly lighter wheel/tire set than usual ?
That being said, my list of XCM, DXC, or whatever the heck we are calling them is: Ripley, Spesh EVO Epic, Trek Top Fuel, and now this Spot. Never been a Kona fan, but have to admit that I wouldn't pass up a smokin deal on a new Hei Hei. One of these bikes will eventually take the place of my HT Epic on days when my lower back just says "oh hell no, no riding today for you"..
Also, I miss any references to ride impressions directly related to this novel suspension system. The overall impression seems in line with the claim of increased responsiveness though.
The idea makes sense to me. A leaf spring is a linear spring, like a coil. And you can use kinematics to make it act less in certain parts of the stroke. So it's like adding a coil on top of an air spring to increase mid-stroke support without affecting progressiveness too much. The whole thing would be more clear to me if I saw a graph of force vs compression measured at the axle with a line for force caused by the shock and a line for force caused by the leaf spring.
The idea that the leaf spring 'stores energy that is returned when the suspension extends' isn't very surprising btw. It is the definition of a spring.
The management of forces during compression, I imagine, would represent a rather different picture. Firstly, suspension response would necessarily be tuned otherwise things could get out of hand. From 25% compression, i.e. Sag, to 50% compression/mid-travel deflection force of the rear wheel would be stored in both the shock spring and the leaf spring. That implies that either or both the shock sping and damping could have a lighter spec than would be common on a similar dual link bike because the leaf stiffens things up marginally. That does not imply that the suspension is less compliant than for other bikes, only that the leaf spring figures in the picture of suspension response. At mid-travel the leaf spring will offer the greatest resistance to compression that it is going to offer. After mid-travel as wheel deflection continues towards bottom out on a big hit the energy stored in the leaf spring link starts to be dissipated (and is wholly dissipated by 75% of compression). Whether the suspension offers less compliance or relatively normal suspension response during 50% to 75% of compression will be a matter of shock and leaf spring tuning. The last quarter of the compression cycle ending in bottom out is presumably relatively normal, although, again, specific shock tune determines how things work in practice.
I suspect that Spot follows the first of these two approaches. That's a guess only. It would probably make sense, though, because Spot doesn't rely on especially progressive LR curves in its suspension designs as a rule so the suspension of the Ryve, if it follows the pattern of other Spot bikes, will probably be pretty lively to begin with. Some extra escalation from the leaf spring (especially in the 25% to 50% of stroke range) will somewhat tame the generally sensitive suspension setup. (Note: Like other suspension bike designers Spot is edging towards lower leverage ratios and longer stroke shocks. I'm not sure that this bike has been designed in that way but the leaf spring would seem to fit quite well into that picture. The leaf spring seems to offer some escalation in the mid-travel range where it probably will do some good but above 75% of stroke, where the leaf spring has no effect, the low leverage ratios should offer good resistance to big hits.)
Great review, thank you
As the article is clear about, for a lot riders this setup would as burly as they need.
No, it's not an enduro or park bike, but I have a Megatower for that stuff. Combined with a fun hardtail for variety and winter riding and I think my quiver of bikes is starting to feel complete.
Can we just go ahead and scrap all designations and just start calling everything a f*cking mountain bike.
I'm looking at an XL and I see a eff STA of 76.7 - which seems steep for trail bike, let alone a XC bike. I understand the idea behind steeper STA on larger frames, but I'm pretty sure that is the only XC bike with a near 77 degree STA.
I may just go with the 115 (which comes with a slacker STA of 76 in size XL), especially since consensus seems to be that it's plenty quick enough. Anyone have thoughts?
It sounds like an absolute blast, I'm in the market for something like this but planning on waiting for the end of the year before I make a choice. Cool that there are so many rad options out!
Oh well, the review itself is Spot on (I had to).
Of all the bikes ice ridden, the two most unique bikes that feel like nothing else are the spots and the revels. They feel noticeably different from anything else. The spots feel zippy and accelerated like they have an extra spring in their step. The revel feels incredibly plush yet efficient when pedalling.
The best part of XC tires is drifting every corner.
So yeah...I kinda agree with this review that light and sporty can be really fun too, even for someone who really likes going fast on steep techy stuff on a megabike. If a bike could be built light, with fast tires, but also not flat when a mellow rock casts a mere sideways glance at it, it could be a real hoot. I wish Rekon Race's (for example) could come in a burlier casing.
What is the "usual arrangement"? And how is this actually different?
Fragile- yes. But pretty grippy for most conditions and light. 2.35 is a good tire.
So I wonder, is an XC bike for riding stuff that you could do on a gravel bike? Seems like that's the market ...
An XC bike is made to go as fast as possible on a loop that includes both climbing and descending. If you rather have comfort than efficiency then an XC bike just isn't for you.
Honestly? Give it a rest people - yeah, they effed up. It happens.
Jonah Hill: People don't forget!
He could have said " Oh shit , let me fix that and look into why it broke"
There's 50 other companies that want to build me a porch.
Why the f$%^ would I get this guy to build me another ?
It's not like his porch building technology is that much better.
Nice porch - too bad it broke.
I mean to each his own. Just youtube drama and acting like this dude is your friend who was wronged, instead of a guy making money off content is just....I dunno, a bit odd.
I guess my point is how the company reacts and deals with these failures is a reflection on their commitment to customer service. When bikes are thousands of dollars and the market is ultra competitive, this matters.
As far as youtubers go, it's one way to see products tested by real humans that we can probably ride as well as or outride making their observations more relevant that those of a pro mountain biker like Kaz. ( not Levy - he's not good )
Stop calling me weird. I prefer abnormal.
I can't find instances of a lot of Rollik's breaking, can you post some? The only other I could find was on another forum, user said Spot was awesome about sending out a new triangle and updated link.
STS is a dude making money off of views, so I don't think he deserves the benefit of the doubt over a bike manufacturer. He's also not a paying customer of Spot. Don't care that much how a company pampers insta-stars, that just seems like guerrilla marketing to me. Don't want to encourage any more of that.
They re-designed the newer Rollik, but did not send out any free replacements (only the upper rocker link, but that didn't help as I know of multiple frames breaking even with that "fix"). There's more to the story too; I'd rather not go into more detail since it was two years ago and it's all behind us, but I also want people to know the actual facts and not make assumptions based on a YT video. It was handled about as poorly as possible, in my opinion.
I get it, I still don't think I'd write off the brand, mostly because the STS crash is the only bad thing I can find about the brand. Weird how people start to identify with Youtubers (or anyone else in media), like they actually have some kind of personal connection.