“Go on, just try it for a lap, trust me!” - Sik Mik pestered me every day at team camp to try his new secret prototype downhill bike earlier this year.
“Alright… Fine” I finally agreed after a week, even though my flat shoes didn’t really compliment the clip pedals on there. Yet it only took until the end of the first section at the Queenstown bike park to know what he had meant and that this bike was something special. Even with close to zero grip on the pedals, the bike glided over the slippery roots and the tyres stuck to the ground like I had never really felt before. Fast forward 6 months and with the first full production model built up to my own specs including actual flat pedals here I am back home on the other side of the world with the task of taming this beast.
After a quick session at the local hill, I packed up the van and headed off to mountains much steeper and more worthy of the 230mm of travel to really see what this bike can handle. Of course, it was raining in Wales but it didn’t dampen our spirits and actually provided a more testing scenario for our session, with slick mud, wet rocks and roots that would really have given a lesser bike a hard time. But just as in Queenstown I couldn’t believe how the suspension just stuck the bike to the floor and gave me the confidence to hurtle down through the trees. The pedalling efficiency really is impressive but due to the nature of the suspension design, I was nervous as to how it would handle the jumps for a bike which feels like it’s glued to the ground. But I guess you’ll have to see it for yourself and check out the video!—Sam Reynolds