Review: Knolly Chilcotin 151

Jun 21, 2022 at 11:08
by Henry Quinney  

Knolly is a brand based in British Columbia and certainly isn’t afraid to go its own way. In a world of carbon-this and looks-like-a-Session that, Knolly’s bikes really have their own distinctive looks. If there wasn't any branding adorning the down tube you’d still be able to tell what it is at a glance.

At the heart of the appearance is the suspension platform. The system, which they name their Fourby4 isn’t merely a standard four bar layout, but is actually a four bar system that then drives a shock via a linkage. Although it looks very different it isn’t totally dissimilar in principle from something you might find on a bike like the Specialized Enduro.

Knolly Chilcotin 151 GX/Fox Details

• Wheel size: 29" front / 29" rear
• Travel: 151 / 160mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• 64.5 / 65.1 degree head tube angle
• 438 / 436.5 mm chainstays
• Sizes: M / L / XL
• 12 x 157 mm rear spacing
• 14.9 kg / 32.8 lb
• Complete bike - $6,199.99 USD
knollybikes.com

The bike, unsurprisingly, offers 151mm of rear travel but there is also a 167mm option that is built around the same frame. Our bike came with a 160mm travel fork. In Canada, the Chilcotin region is known both for its all multi-day riding epics and high-consequence terrain, and not just because of the grizzly bears that populate the area. For a bike to truly merit the name it needs to be both efficient, comfortable and offer confidence-inspiring geometry to give the rider a real sense of security. But just how did it get on? We’ve had this bike over the spring months in Canada to find out.

Our test bike, the full-alloy Knolly Chilcotin 151 GX Fox Factory build, sits in the middle of the range in terms of price. There is a slightly cheaper build for $5,699 USD built with a GX drivetrain and RockShox suspension or a more expensive XT and Fox Factory build. The suspension is top line, the brakes are amply powerful for a mid-travel bike and there are no parts that would be need to be swapped straight away to open up the bike’s capabilities.

I think the bike, with its 151mm of travel, is sensibly equipped. Most of the parts aren’t the one’s you might find on an enduro race bike, and this is a good thing because it’s not meant to be a long travel brute - there is the 167mm version for that. Instead, it’s meant to be versatile. Small spec differences such as the EXO+ tires or the 36mm fork add up and make the bike more suited to what it was intended for - aggressive trail riding. If you need thicker casings or the latest, biggest, baddest fork, you’re probably well on your way to just changing the shock stroke and going for the bigger bike all round, which leads me nicely onto my next point - the frame.


Simple and clean.

Lots of space for a water bottle in the front triangle.

Frame Details

The Knolly’s frame will almost certainly divide opinion. Its metal tubing almost embodies aspects of brutalism. Some parts of the bike are intricate and finely made, whereas other parts look slightly unrefined. In isolation, there are many parts that don’t look all too distinctive, but when standing back and looking at the BB area, it becomes a bike that looks elongated and stretched out.

The bike seems to be something of a medley of different traits as you look over it. One moment you’re looking at smooth and deliberate shaping of the linkage components, held together by titanium hardware, and the next you’re looking at a spaghetti junction of welds and metal tubing. Its cables and hoses, which disappear neatly into the frame at the head tube, and can be run in either orientation, then erupt and sprawl out the back of the seat tube before working their way down to the end of the stays.

I like SRAM Eagle, but one gripe is the outer self-extracting crank bolts that seem to constantly work loose and fall off (it's missing in this photo).

The frame itself doubles up its duties and services the needs of both 167mm Chilcotin owners as well as the 151. They do this by changing the stroke of the suspension. Personally, while understand this approach, I do think it leaves a little too much for one geometry adjustment to counter, in this instance the axle to crown difference as you change fork length. I prefer longer travel bikes to have steeper seat tubes and shorter travel ones to have slacker ones. With Knolly’s solution of merely changing the fork travel, it does the inverse of this.

Slackness isn't just about head and seat tube angle - but a flip chip can have a pronounced effect on where our weight is placed on a bike.

The reasoning for my preference is all about what I intend to climb the bike up and where it puts my weight. On an enduro bike, I am more likely to crawl up steep fire roads before descending, where the gradient of the terrain counteracts a steep seat tube to put your weight between the two axles. However, on flatter or more undulating terrain, the very type I am more likely to ride on a slightly shorter travel bike, the forward weight bias puts more weight into my hands.

The Chilcotin does have a geometry adjustment chip, but instead of it being Slack and Steep, it’s labeled as Neutral and Slack. This terminology shouldn’t be overlooked. Going into slack on this bike offers a very significant adjustment to the feel of the bike when descending.

Either-side-internal cable routing is a big plus for me, even if I was too lazy to change it on this test bike.
...and out the back. I think that the routing could be neater as they snake their way down the stays.



Geometry

The Knolly has many of the hallmarks of a mid travel enduro bike. Whether it’s the 64.5-degree head angle, or the stack of just under 630mm, it doesn’t look on paper like a large departure from what you might expect.

There are a few dimensions on the chart that do draw your gaze. Most notably, the 492mm reach on a size large. Whilst this isn’t that much larger than some more aggressive bikes, it features this length paired with comparatively short 438mm chainstays. These dimensions alone, irrespective of the head angle or stack, could potentially dominate the feel of the bike as the weight of the rider is going to be very rearward. Of course, that in itself isn’t a bad thing - it rather just depends what terrain the bike will be ridden on.

A frame sharing duties between two models of differing travel is nothing new, and I don’t think this is a problem in itself, but that's not to say it doesn't have a knock on effect.

As a consequence, the effective top tube of the bike, so how big the bike feels when seated, is relatively large. How we measure effective top tube isn’t a perfect art, and there can be a disparity between brands. That said, for me at 183cm I found the distance between the contact points to be too big, and I subsequently moved the saddle forward on its rails, which also steepens the effective seat tube angle further.

When testing bikes, sizing is so important. As a reviewer, I think it’s important to listen to a brand, how they size their bikes and how you fit into their size chart. It might just be they’re pursuing a particular trait, or have their own ideology when it comes to geometry that is a little unconventional. When sizing this bike, I asked Knolly to send me the size they felt was most appropriate, and the large should be very appropriate for me as, at 183cm, I stand exactly in the middle of the 178 - 188cm window for this frame size.

I think the linkage and rocker of the Fourby4 system looks sleek and well finished.

Suspension Design

As stated, Knolly's Fourby4 system is a linkage driven four bar. They do this because they feel it offers a greater level of tuning rather than including the shock within the four bar layout, which would make it harder to isolate certain characteristics of the suspension.

Knolly breaks down the needs of a suspension system into four main quarters - traction, pedalling, braking and rear shock control. Often, adjusting one will consequently change the value of another. An extreme example of this would be a single pivot - where everything is very much intertwined.

The brand also feel that it’s best to use a pedaling platform on a shock. I’m really coming round to this approach. I think a mountain bike should be made to best climb mountains and non-paved terrain. Part of that means offering a platform that doesn’t extend too much under pedaling load. Bikes with a high value of anti-squat can often lose out in terms of sensitivity and grip on rougher terrain because the shock resists going into its stroke and is too far orientated towards resisting pedal-induced-bobbing, even when tracking over lumps and bumps, which means it can compromise both comfort and tracking. If you happen to climb a smooth road on your mountain bike I think flicking one switch is a very convenient solution for a mid travel bike that is expected to do so much and can increase the versatility of our bikes even further.



Test Bike Setup

Setting up the Knolly wasn’t all too easy. In fact, I struggled to find a setup that fit me dimensionally while also achieving a fore and balance to my liking. I found that every time I made a positive change, it would have an obvious drawback, too.

In terms of the cockpit, I ended up on a setup where the saddle was forward on its rails and I went down from a 40 to 35mm length stem and moved up from 25mm to 30mm rise bars. These small changes definitely moved the fit in the right direction, but I wouldn’t say that they ever totally satisfied my needs for how I wanted the bike to ride. With this setup, I was happy with where my feet, hands and saddle were - but rather where the bike fit around them, and where they placed my weight on the bike, never really felt great. At the heart of this, I think for me, is the 492mm reach, the long effective top tube and the suspension action under braking.


Henry Quinney
Location: Here, there, everywhere
Age: 29
Height: 183 cm / 6'
Inseam: 82 cm / 32.5"
Weight: 79 kg / 174 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @henryquinney
I also experimented with the Neutral and Slack modes. With the Neutral mode, while I did find it to be perhaps too large, it definitely felt far better balanced with more weight on the front wheel. The low bottom bracket height of the Slack mode, combined with this long reach and relatively short stays, made me feel like I was pushing through the front a lot, especially under braking into loose sections.

I ran my normal Fox 36 settings, which are very close to the base damper settings. I started running base settings on the shock, but eventually came to open up the compression settings completely, which I’ll come to explain in due course. I ran around 30% sag.


Climbing

I really like the way the Chilcotin climbed. It seemed to offer a great middle ground of so many traits. Some bikes track better but feel softer under pedaling load, while others handle accelerations better, but struggle to let the wheel follow the ground and deliver constant grip. This bike managed to balance both of these traits so well. It feels solid under pedaling as it resists diving and lurches even when out of the saddle. That’s not to say it didn’t react, but rather I never felt any need to reach for the compression lever. On fire roads, it was quite happy just doing its thing and was never the source of any complaint. That said, if you do want something ultra-efficient on tarmac climbs the lever is pedal-switch is always there.

On more technical climbs, it follows the shape of the ground well, and doesn’t wallow as you throw the bike or move your weight forward on stepped roots. Its solid platform maintains grip really well, especially considering how muted it is in its response to pedaling load. Whether seated, hovering your weight above the saddle or standing up, I was always dutifully impressed with the composure the Knolly Fourby4 system worked. It’s hard to ever get a suspension system that gives everyone what they want, but I think Knolly have managed to give a platform that is going to give most riders what they like in most situations - and that isn’t an easy thing to do. So far, so good.

Whether seated or standing the platform offered a lot of composure.

As mentioned previously, the bars were a little too far away for me in its stock setup. The changes I experimented with (a shorter stem, higher rise bar and moving the saddle forward) made the bike feel much more “in range”.

As we rise or shorten the cockpit, it will affect how much weight is applied to the front wheel - which is going to become something of a theme when descending the bike. I would rather prioritise having controls in my range of movement, and being able to extend my arms to weight them as I please, rather than having a longer stem and lower bar, which in theory should put more weight on the front, but is predicated on me being able to reach them effectively. I think the bike's weight distribution is salvaged by its steep seat tube angle, and I lay the blame at the feet of the very long reach and subsequently long top tube, which just dominates the conversation about how this bike fits.



Descending


While the metal, burly looking frame delivered excellent performance on the climbs, how does it cope with what many people associate Knolly with - gravity-oriented bikes designed to be pushed hard on technical terrain? Truthfully, the Knolly is a fascinating bike, for both good and bad. It has certain traits that are easy to admire, and some that are hard to understand. Let’s start with the good.

All in all, I think Knolly has delivered a suspension system that is going to be good for a lot of riders. It has no nasty surprises, it’s consistent and easy to get along with and offers a great level of support and damping when charging through chunkier terrain, while also offering a reasonable amount of tracking. Much like its climbing characteristics, it’s not something that overwhelms in any one regard - but rather does most things very well. If you want something that’s going to climb well, support you as you drop your heels and hit things without care, the Knolly is going to be a good candidate. For a 150mm bike, it feels decidedly bigger and more confident than most of similar travel. It isn’t some that flutters through its stroke - but in lieu of that it does offer support and predictability. This is going to sound shallow, but it has the feeling of a shorter travel enduro bike, rather than a longer travel trail bike.

Again, the drawbacks of the Knolly come down to fit and dimensions. Although some small dimension changes rescued the performance on the climbs, I didn’t ever feel like I really got myself feeling as comfortable as I’d like.

Sometimes I felt the bike was getting away from me as I was stretching for the controls. These photos showcase this well.

At the heart of its problem is the issue of how rearward your weight is. Having a 492mm reach isn’t inherently bad, but it needs to be balanced with a longer chainstay. When you fit longer stays on a bike it’s going to express more weight on the front wheel through your feet, you can then add additional weight to complement this with your hands. This opened up two problems. Firstly, in its stock setup the bars were too far away for me to ever feel like I wasn’t reaching for them, and secondly, when I put a shorter stem and higher bar on the bike, further compromising how the front was weighted, I got a bike that lacked stability on the front, especially under braking. Either way, it wasn’t great. I didn’t want to run my bars lower because I felt I was already too stretched out and, in the stock setup, the bars were too far away and not high enough.

Throughout testing, I ran the bike in both settings. I would say this bike feels far, far better in its steeper position. It just has so much more weight expressed through your feet on the front wheel. It’s only half a degree of adjustment, steepening to 65 degrees, but boy, what a difference it makes. The front feels noticeably less fidgety, especially under heaving braking load on looser terrain. All that said, while I think it brings the balance to within range, I didn’t ever feel it was that easy to just get on and ride.

Some fantastic spring riding conditions were had, if you could avoid the rain.

It also raises the BB by around 10mm to 344mm which, at the very least, was far more in keeping with what I’m used to. The higher setting also felt like my feet were applying weight above the contact patch on the tire, as opposed to pushing through and overwhelming it.

The issue of fore and aft balance is compounded by the traits of the suspension. The bike feels like it really resists braking forces - which can be a good thing. It means that your braking forces are kept independant and the bike isn’t going to lurch deep into its stroke when you apply the anchors. But it also means that as you apply the brakes it can begin to pitch more weight forward. Whether you like this trait or not is entirely personal preference. Some people prefer bikes to sink into their travel when on the brakes - others prefer the bike to keep those braking forces separated and keep the rear wheel tracking. But there is an important distinction to make when talking about these traits and their relation to geometry.

When you’re feeling strong on the bike, and your controls are in reach and your weight is neutral, this isn’t a problem in itself. In the Neutral mode, with your weight more central, it blends far better into the overall feeling of the bike. In the slacker setting, it gives a bike that is almost jarring to ride and that is only ever a moment away from undermining your confidence in it.

I genuinely believe that if the reach was shorter, or the stays were longer, or if the front was higher this wouldn’t be an issue and would come down to a small preference within the larger picture of how the bike rides. But, when already on the back foot and searching for a sense of stability it becomes an unwanted compilation. I eventually took all compression adjustment off the shock, which did lessen the transfer of weight under braking but it was still very present.

Turnbar Quinney back in action.

On steep trails, the rearward weight balance of the slack position begins to make more sense. If you’re riding steep, loamy trails that aren’t particularly rough then the consistent suspension platform and short stays means that the bike really comes alive, but even then, dimensionally I don’t think it makes absolute sense.

While riding this bike, it's not massively stiff. It’s not a big issue, and really comes down to personal preference, but for a frame that shares duties with a 167mm version there could be room to make it a little stiffer.

I’m in the fortunate position where I don’t actually make bikes and send them in for know-it-alls to tell me how to do it on websites, but I would love to see this Fourby4 platform with at least a longer stay or a shorter reach. It would help weight the front more, or help you resist load transfer more by put your controls more in range, and let your push on the front, almost as if you’re doing a press-up, and driving the front. As it is, there just isn’t enough weight on the front to avoid this lurch. This is problematic, because as you’re entering a turn or more technical section and you begin to scrub speed it adds an element of unpredictability. I think if there was more weight on the front it would open up the versatility of the bike hugely and give a bike that can be bossed and pushed around - instead of, as a rider, feeling like the bike is often getting away from you.

Failing that, if the Knolly do want to remain loyal to their geometry ideals, I would really like to see a bike that is happier to go into its stroke under braking, if only to prevent the rider's mass getting pushed more forward under heavy braking.

Maybe also if I was a bit taller than the controls would also feel more in range. We’re all different shapes and sizes but for me I could never quite feel settled. The medium would also have been slightly too small. The reach might have been a little short but usable, but the stack height would also drop to the low 620s - which is less than ideal to ride the steeper trails that this bike excels on.


Knolly Chilcotin 151
Kona Process 153

How Does It Compare?


Recently, I reviewed another bike from a brand with their roots firmly in the pacific northwest - the Kona Process 153.

The Kona was such an easy bike to ride and, although not perfect, was a bike endowed with problems and virtues completely antipodal to the Knolly's. That said, it’s very interesting to see two bikes that are so very very different, even though they have almost identical travel and dimensions.

The Process, as I remarked in that review, is more aligned with an all-mountain and trail bike rather than a bike that is trying to replicate or replace enduro bikes. It’s a bike that is well suited to a whole variety of trails instead of a select few steeper ones, is very easy to ride and very comfortable.

The Knolly, on the other hand thrives in the steep - and is definitely better suited to somebody that is looking for a more efficient and quicker handling enduro bike than somebody who wants a trail bike with added versatility.

The Process though is far more balanced and I would say easier to ride. Although it doesn’t have the big hit resistance of the Knolly, and could do with more compression damping as standard - it’s easier to just get on and ride, it’s more predictable and far more confidence inspiring.

The Assegai & DHR2 pairing is great on a bike like this.
It might not be as exciting as wireless or as easy as a cable operated dropper, but I the paddle feel of a well bled reverb is one of life's simple pleasures.
Technical Report


Fox 36 Factory: The 36 is not only a great fork but it's so well suited to bikes like these. The base settings and technical information Fox provide are largely excellent and are helping more and more riders unlock the potential of their high-end suspension - myself included.

Maxxis Tires: Although we don't spec control tires on these reviews, it seems like a lot of brands are settling on the Assegai and DHR2 combo. The Exo+ casing, much like the Fox 36 on the front, is great not because it's on the extreme end of what bike's are capable of, but because it offers a good compromise and cherry picks the attributes from both ends of the spectrum. Yes, you might need downhill tyres on your trail bike, and some people will, but for most people in most places this is the right tire for this bike.

SRAM Code RSC: The Code can sometimes come in for a bit of flack for not being powerful enough. Whilst it may be true that there are more powerful brakes out there, I love the feel, tunability and ergonomics of the Code RSCs, especially on mid-travel bikes. For the small weight penalty for downhill brakes, I can see little to no reason to use anything lighter on a bike that has such broad aspirations.

Rockshox Reverb Stealth: After what seems like an eternity of cable actuated droppers, it felt quite nice to have the solid reassuring feel of a hydraulic system again. Of course it has no real performance benefit, and won't save you precious seconds on your custom made Strava Loop that the local shredders don't ride, but I appreciated it and its closed system during the warm wet months of spring.




Pros

+ Efficient and competent climber
+ Excellent support when plowing through jank
+ Ready-to-rip spec choices

Cons

- Long reach paired with shorter chainstays doesn't feel very balanced
- The mass transfer under braking when combined with the long reach can make it challenging to feel comfortable





Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Knolly was one of the most interesting bikes I've ridden in a little while. It's different - for both good and bad. Its looks are out there and Knolly definitely aren't afraid of going their own way in both geometry and suspension. Although I didn't like everything about this bike, I do admire a brand that isn't afraid to do their own thing while also being very open to talk about their reasoning - which the team at Knolly absolutely were.

If you can get this bike to fit you well, you could have something that will offer gravity-leaning versatility and a great deal of efficiency and composure on the climbs. However, you might also find the weight distribution just a little too rearward on anything but steep terrain and the weight transfer under braking, when combined with the relatively large reach figure, a little overbearing.

Henry Quinney



261 Comments

  • 213 24
 Knolly is canadas answer to Orange
  • 32 23
 Accept instead of simple single pivot design, it uses a multitude of pivots. Pivots for days, because race car suspension. I would say Cove bikes were more akin to Orange with their Peeler & Playmate.
  • 48 4
 Orange wouldn’t dare use SuperBoost....
  • 12 7
 @someguy101: If Cove still existed, I would agree. Raddest bikes in the world!
  • 32 19
 Nah. Knollys are actually very well engineered and manufactured to a very high standard.
  • 1 0
 KITNB?
  • 11 2
 couldnt find a manufacturer of filing cabinets in the entire of Canada
  • 12 1
 @sewer-rat: www.rousseau.com/int_en/about-us cmon man give the canadians some credit, out there somewhere there will be a head to head between Lista and Bisley and a review site too where the debate between metal gauge thickness and ceramic ball runners rages, Is 1.5mm thick sheet (metric) better than 16 gauge (imperial), will there be an entire shift from imperial to metric , which cabinet is better for ebike battery storage (real issue right now)
  • 18 4
 @someguy101: Except.
Not tryin to be a dick, but knowing the difference might be useful to have in your back pocket some day.
  • 2 1
 @someguy101: Most of the race cars I ever worked on had flexures
  • 9 2
 @Compositepro:

The 1.5mm is obsolete. The 1.49mm thickness will allow for a higher quality pendaflex to be used, thereby increasing the bearing life of the slider.
  • 8 4
 @thomasjkenney1024: love your thinking ,
watch out dentists, when the drawer opens and the golden glow of kashima is there
  • 10 10
 Does anyone know if they dropped the law suite against Intense?
  • 9 9
 Orange can't hold Knolly's jock...
  • 19 18
 As an orange fanboy i looked on in absolute horror at that linkage design. Gimme a single pivot any day over that over pondered pile of daftness that makes the wheel go up & down on bumps.
  • 11 1
 @someguy101: I'll give knolly credit for using quality bearings. Retiring my 6 year old warden this year and not a peep out of any of my pivots. Maintenance us typically my biggest fear with more complicated designs but they have it dialed.
  • 3 1
 @Moe2344: I never doubted the quality of their products. They seem to have a cult following and for a good reason. I just wonder why they stubbornly keep iterating the same overly complicated design over the years. Regardless, it's great to see a local success story.
  • 1 0
 @someguy101: That's fair, I did go with another brand this time just because I felt like there haven't really been a lot of updates in their design. Who knows I might decide to go back, we'll see.

Still keeping the warden as a back up bike
  • 13 0
 Nothing to do with Knolly - I have followed the guy before it was was a company and PB existed (on mtbr) - but where did the content go here? This has been the top story all day. It surely can't be entirely because I use the E-Bike filter and don't Subscribe+.......has there been a precipitous falloff? Maybe there just isn't much going on in the MTB scene these days with all the consolidation.....
  • 7 3
 @someguy101: It's just a run-of-the-mill four-bar design with a shock actuation linkage FFS. It does have what seems like a stupid or incomprehensible design decision, though. The bigger bearings are needlessly used to attach the shock linkage to the frame, instead of the seatstays-frame linkage, which is the most direct path to add lateral rigidity to the seatstays. Looks like they don't understand their own design???
  • 1 2
 @DavidGuerra: I do not know what metrics they were using, but maybe they figured something out when testing different prototypes?
  • 4 4
 @og-squid-mtb: I've owned 2 knollys (Warden and Endorphin) and 3 Oranges (2 Five Evos, and 1 Stage 4). I still have the 2 Five Evos. Enough said.
  • 4 3
 @zerort: lol . And who are you ?
  • 1 1
 @Muscovir: Uh, no.
  • 73 5
 I feel like this is the first review on PB to ever acknowledge and discuss 'chassis balance' & front wheel traction in depth and to print how important it really is. This has been sorely lacking.

Worth noting is that the exact same CS length, on a smaller sized frame, would certainly have behaved significantly differently in this regard and this should be considered by potential purchasers.

Well done Quinney.
  • 23 0
 Too true. This is a Dan Roberts quality review. Well done Quinney indeed.
  • 6 0
 Yeah, I really enjoyed reading and thinking about that chassis balance piece.
  • 6 1
 @henryquinney did you have any desire to size down and see if a shorter reach paired better with that fixed chainstay length?
  • 21 0
 @hamncheez: I would be keen to try it for sure. I'm still a bit old school and happily run 50mm stems (herecy, I know) so would be an option to try..
  • 1 0
 Good to see knolly now running true to size or a little bigger. Bought my wife a 2018 delirium size small and the TTL was an inch shorter than advertised. Bike was rad but a little small in the cockpit. I do like their kinematics and how they seem to soak up chunk really well. Swapped the frame out for a commencal meta AM
  • 11 0
 @henryquinney: I think we are starting to see the downside of the longer reach/short stem craze.. Lack of weight on the front end bothers me a lot on newer bikes.. At least some make it possible to size down a frame and run a 50-60mm stem.. I personally think that might be the sweet spot.. At least for me anyway...
  • 2 0
 @lumpy873: I've been back on a 60mm stem for a few years now, simply to weight the front axle on modern long slack HA bikes.
  • 2 0
 @bigkev123: I've been contemplating a 55mm stem on my Slash...
  • 1 1
 @lumpy873: Eh not totally. most of these issues are due to such a small back end
  • 1 0
 @Cgocal: longer chain stays can put more weight on the front end, but you also end up with a longer wheelbase... Granted, my main issue with the longer reach/ shorter stem is that I tend to ride with my body further back. It's something that I've been trying to change, but old habits die hard..
  • 1 0
 @lumpy873: yes. When I swapped to a bike with an 80mm longer wheelbase then my xl Santa Cruz I had the same feeling. But now that I ride much more central I could easily go longer. I still haven’t actually ridden a knolly in my size so I don’t wanna say to much but the large warden I rode is interesting geo wise.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: I'm 5-10 and ride size medium bikes with 50mm stems and life is good (Transition Spire and Scout).
  • 60 7
 It's a Knolly, forgive or love the looks and crack on with the descents, you ain't gonna brake it and if you need support they will 100% have you covered
  • 32 1
 *break it*
  • 14 2
 @sewer-rat: i just figured you meant to remove your fingers from those silly little levers on the bars during descents. it is a good way to go faster after all
  • 11 1
 I thought "crack on" was a reference to the aluminum frame at first
  • 12 1
 If you're running those $150 gold and titanium pads, you're definitely not going to brake it.
  • 3 4
 Gotta love the excellent grammar on these comments.
  • 43 0
 I wish there was a company that would make a bike that would slot right into the huge gap between the Chilcotin 151 and the Process 153, truly the one bike to rule them all.
  • 38 0
 Procotin 152?
  • 42 1
 @VTwintips:

Evil 152ening
  • 10 6
 Stumpjumper EVO Alloy.
  • 7 1
 Transition Sentinel is what you are referring to
  • 1 2
 @kleinschuster: just dont expect it to Feel progressive, that bike could do with 5% more progression and it would dominate that mid range market as far as performance goes.
  • 3 9
flag HeatedRotor (Jun 27, 2022 at 18:13) (Below Threshold)
 @thebradjohns: The new sentinel is great for swinging off the back while heading down blacks/double blacks. otherwise it pedals ok but its boring and flexy as with limited front traction
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: Had one and loved it, way better than the 21 Meta TR it replaced. As PB found in their test it is one of the best all arounders on the market today. If you need more than it offers then the Enduro is the choice which is what I swapped my STEVO for.
  • 2 4
 @kleinschuster: i tried really hard to like the Sentinel, but i didnt want to keep having to sit on the bar to get any front grip. - has to be one of the worst bikes ive ridden for front grip, maybe me and ms sentinel just didnt get on. and Others have a different experience.
  • 4 0
 @HeatedRotor: Riding a modern day mountain bike with enduro racing geometry takes changing your riding style, a different skill set, & tons of commitment over the front wheel. I purchased a 2021 Trek Slash 1.5 years ago and didn't get along with it at first, now I love it, and can rip corners better and faster than I could've ever imagined. The interesting thing now is that when I now get on a bike with more neutral geometry, I fricken hate it! lol,
  • 5 1
 @BlindMan77: ive ridden/owned 17 different bikes in the last 2 years, its the worst one ive ridden for the sake of front grip without having to sit on the bars, Your example of "enduro racing geo" is awfully wrong.
the top Enduro riders are making bikes shorter and some steeper, The biggest view on this is Commencal, Theyve had to create a whole new shorter/steeper bike for Enduro racing. - the Norco range is similar with several riders back on the Sight.

Id argue what your describing is "AM or All-mountain" Style geo, The Manf's call it enduro but its really not when you look at what enduro is and thats Racing. Canyon Proved this point alot, made a monster bike that nobody will race in the suggested sizing, and with all the Canyon riders on spectrals at EWS this year... shows it again.

I have a couple of friends who've +1deg their headset in the sentinel, ive ridden 1 of the bikes and its so much sharper when not going down double blacks.
The sentinel is too slack for how little reach/cs it has(in large anyway) - The TR shop i bought mine from did say it was harder work to ride but i bought it anyway(they also said the spire takes this anther step)
and they offer me a Angle headset to steepen it up.

I've ridden and owned the 2021 trek slash but in 9.8 Variant, its alot more balanced and has a steeper HTA with slightly longer reach which is why they ride quite good and they have good all-rounder quantities(as also observed by reviewers)
  • 3 0
 @HeatedRotor: I run my Slash in the steeper setting, except for lift park laps, and it feels spot on. The Knolly in the review has very similar geo to the slash, just seems like the bike doesn't fit the reviewer. However, I do agree that some brands have gotten too crazy with geo numbers in a race to be longer and slacker.
  • 1 0
 @VTwintips: Sounds like an prescription strength anal itch ointment.
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: how tall are you? At 5 10 I find transition size large bikes to be too big and suffer the issues you describe, but sizing down to a medium fixed the issue. Bikes feel more balanced and easier to get adequate front end grip. (I had a large patrol and now have a medium spire and scout).
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: 6ft and rode the alloy and carbon large. the only thing i didnt try was the CC link.
in general, large and 475-480 reach bikes with 30-40cs length fits me perfect..
The large/s4 Sj evo fits me perfect, running as mullet with WRP link but ganna try the CC link probably.
the large spectral mullet also fit me very well.
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: interesting. I find a 460 reach with a 50mm stem feels best for me, but I'm two inches shorter than you and probably have different proportions as well.
  • 40 4
 I personally really like a bike with a shorter rear end and a long front end. My current bike has a 505 reach and a 440mm chainstay (the xl is a 530mm reach and the same rear end) - and, having moved from something with a longer rear end, I think it feels great. It maybe lost some of the 'ploughability' of the longer bike, but it is more manouverable, easier to manual, and just feels more playful.
  • 62 0
 Cast thy humble plough, and appear jibby!
  • 4 1
 Same here
  • 19 0
 Yeah - very fair. Of course, there is no perfect conceptual bike, and any review is inherently subjective. That said, I think an acknowledgement of subjectivity is the best way to challenge it. This has many great attributes, and I hope I managed to caveat my thoughts as my opinion. But yeah, many different reasons to like many different bikes.
  • 14 9
 Same! 510 reach with a 435 chai stay is exactly how I like it! 440 on days I really need extra stability (hardly ever as I’m not racing anymore, it’s all about the fun now)

This review has far too much of Henry’s opinion in it, and not enough of what Knolly’s philosophy is. It should be compared to the old 26” Chilcotin was. Knolly has always been about grip, low, and flickable nature. A reviewer should know this going in.
  • 14 2
 @henryquinney: @brianpark: I think this review is a good example of how size is not the only factor in fit. Body type matters. I think a large number of words could have been replaced with the short sentence: "this bike doesn't fit me." That is useful info for people with similar dimensions as you of course. It would have been much more useful if you would have let someone else, or a few someone's) do a few test laps too to see how they get along with the geometry.
  • 5 0
 I have two XL bikes…one with a 450mm rear and one with a 430mm rear. It definitely changes the feel but I couldn’t call one better than the other. The 450mm is a dump truck that feels like it wants to go straight and destroy anything that happens to be unfortunate enough to be in its path. The 430mm feels way more nimble and poppy (even though it has a slacker head angle). Different bikes for different preferences, for sure.
  • 7 1
 Big fan as well. 435 is the longest stays I want
  • 3 0
 This is a bike that would probably do well with a flip chip for the chain stay length.
  • 3 25
flag Crankhed (Jun 27, 2022 at 16:25) (Below Threshold)
 Henry
In the future would it be sufficient to express your opinion of said subject in such a way that would exemplify your opinion in such a manner that would help the lesser educated humans (like my freind) understand exactly
WTF your talking about
Less word more better @ak-77:
  • 7 0
 @henryquinney: As a rider of Knollys here in Aus, I personally love the feel of the bikes - currently run Fugitive, a Delirium with dual crown as well as a Cache, plus new Chilcotin 167 being built at the moment. I have found I deliberately run a shorter stem for the balance, so it was interesting to read your perspective. An honest review of how YOU found the bike which will be interesting when I run mine. Thanks for the honesty in a balanced review.
  • 2 2
 @Crankhed: needs moar wordz
  • 4 0
 Modern day bikes with enduro racing geometry take more skill to ride than many have. Which is why I feel that many don't get along with them. I have a bike with 435mm chain stays & 492 reach on my size large, I'm 6-0" and love it!!!!
  • 1 0
 @Crankhed: go 2 skool
  • 2 0
 @BlindMan77: and yet the Enduro ricers size down and ride smaller bikes... It's confusing
  • 2 0
 @Dogl0rd: It depends on your trails. If you look at the the trails they race enduro's on they have lots of tight corners which a shorter bike will help
  • 4 0
 @henryquinney: Hi Henry, maybe it would be good to 'go deep' into overall anthropometry (I had to google that) and how it affects bike sizing/geometry. I am a fan of long reach/short chainstays, but I also have short legs for my height.

Funny how the Kona Process 153 has shorter chainstays than the Knolly - maybe there is something to be said about ratios? though a 12mm (or 2.5%) change in reach might be unnoticeable for novice riders.

While it will be impossible to remove subjectivity and personal preference altogether I think it would be an interesting study nonetheless!
  • 28 2
 That handlebar looks way too wide for you, especially in relation to your shoulder width. Perhaps a narrower bar might also help with reduce the feeling of being stretched out.
  • 6 0
 Also the saddle is slammed forward past the max mark, maybe Knolly's just off on their sizing and a size down would have been more comfy.
  • 15 1
 @nowthatsdoomage: Knolly have a very slack actual seat angle, and they sent the size that they recommend. Seems like Knolly should change their recommendations.
  • 4 0
 @Spencermon: this is probably the farest comment in this thread. Knolly seems to be trying to be more on the front side of reach numbers but not adjusting the rest of the bike to those numbers.
  • 22 0
 Love my Warden i built this winter. I do find it peculiar that both recent knolly reviews on PB mention sizing a lot. Maybe my body type just fits the Knolly well because it feels really good to me at 6 foot on a large. I do love when henry writes reviews, no knock against the other folks.
  • 3 0
 Same here. 6', love my Chilcotin! Pedals well, descends wit the best of them
  • 10 0
 Thanks! Loved reviewing this bike.
  • 5 0
 I was going to say the same thing. I have a large Warden LT with a 31mm length stem, and I'm 6'. My height is mostly in my legs, and I seriously enjoy that geometry. Also had the last gen Warden and the new version is just so much better in every way. There are only small moments that I feel the length of that bike, but got used to it and up to speed very quickly.
  • 5 0
 Same feeling here. Just ended a two month span off the bike yesterday and first thing I said to the buddy I was riding with was how natural my Warden feels after a long layoff. Lungs and legs may not have been ready for a big climb up to my favorite steep descent but the bike just feels instantly comfortable for me. 185cm on a large here and couldn't be happier.
  • 1 0
 Maybe it's just that you're riding the right size. If your seat is at the back of the rails like the top photo shows, then the size is obviously wrong.
  • 27 7
 "The medium would also have been slightly too small"

I disagree....

There is a 26mm reach difference between the M and L, you ended up with a 35mm stem on the L, with a 50mm stem (pretty standard) on the M there would be a 10mm difference.

Taller rise bars are an easy solution as is a $2 spacer, all you'd need is a single 10mm spacer to more than offset the 7mm stack difference.

You were on the wrong size bike - straight up....
  • 8 7
 According to the manufacturer he was on the right size...
  • 13 4
 @Dogl0rd: I've ignored those stupid graphs for ages, but fair enough, they wanted him on a large, I guess they don't get a great review because of it....
  • 5 0
 @RadBartTaylor: yeah I enjoyed reading a Henry's honest opinion. It would interesting to hear more about Knolly's thought process on the geometry and sizing - I imagine they put a lot of thought into it
  • 6 0
 Didn’t the last Pinkbike Knolly reviewer end up on the wrong size as well?
@RadBartTaylor:
  • 2 1
 @RadBartTaylor: I also wonder how different the bike would have ridden if he had gone to a medium.

Hump
  • 2 1
 But if the 183cm tall rider is supposed to be on medium frame, and the bike only comes in M, L, XL, then there is something wrong with the range. There would need to be at least one more size below medium.
  • 3 0
 @Ttimer: I'm 183 and happily on a large. Knolly deliberately does not do a S in the Chilcotin. They believe that if you are under 170cm, then there are other bikes in their range more suited to your body type - Fugitive for more of an aggressive trail bike 29r, and Warden for enduro/park (mullet option available).
  • 2 0
 @ridingloam: Except most other bike companies manage to do size smalls just fine with their Chilcotinesque bikes. Why should someone be forced onto a trail bike or parkduro bike when what they want is an mid travel versatile bike? If that is truly their train of thought, that makes no sense. Why don't they just say, "Sorry small one... Go buy a Ripmo AF."
  • 21 0
 Looks like more and more brands are moving us 5'10" folks into medium and are making the larges for riders over 6 feet tall. Welcome to the inbetween sizes hell Henry. It's a huge pain!
  • 22 0
 Wow. That was a really informative review. Thanks.
  • 9 0
 I've gotta wonder if as a person who is like 187, the large would be perfect based on you essentially saying it felt a little big.
  • 20 6
 This review reads like a piece about bike sizing and geo. Dude, you’ve gotta get your cockpit straight before reviewing a bike. Every single point you brought up here is followed by something about the sizing. Hurts my head to read.
  • 7 0
 This is spot on. The entire review could’ve just said, “I got the wrong size, so it didn’t ride well”.


And sure, Knolly is partially (or mostly) to blame here for suggesting the wrong size, but this has happened far too many times with PB reviews to use the old excuse, “they said it, so it’s not our fault…”

I don’t want to just complain, so here’s a suggestion. In cases where the reviewer suspects a conflict between recommended size and their preferred size, ask them to send you both. If they are unable to send two bikes, ask for the size that has reach numbers you know you’re comfortable with.

The PB review staff are all expert riders, y’all know when a bike will be way too long or short. It’s obvious Henry had his suspicions before it even shipped. If the reach is so long that your arms are nearly straight while descending, you won’t be able to move the bike around, and it won’t ride well. At that point, the chainstay length doesn’t even matter.

In this industry, Pinkbike reviews are highly consequential. They can literally make or break a product’s sales. After this review, I’ll bet Knolly would’ve happily sent you two bikes .
  • 16 0
 Excellent writing Henry! Thorough and coherent. Interesting take on this bike too.
  • 3 0
 Thanks!
  • 3 0
 I'm calling it modern geo purgatory. Being 5'10" we're stuck in the between space of "you can ride either" but will probably like neither.
  • 2 0
 @Lotusoperandi: Not anymore! …now if you’re 5’10”, you’re firmly in the medium category.
  • 12 0
 Fantastic review. Well done, sir. I owned the previous iteration of this bike. At 188 tall with an average inseam and a +2 ape, the Large was not rideable for me seated. I bought the XL. But the long reach, long TT, short rear and absolutely tiny stack height were a significant struggle for my dimensions. Bike climbed great, but I could never find a happy place coming down. Suspension was awesome, but the fit was so weird I could not go fast.

I have a pet theory that certain brands (Knolly) are built for short people and others (looking at you, Banshee) for taller riders. For me, in Phoenix, the Banshee Titan absolutely ate the Knolly’s lunch.

Lotta really great technical info in this review to parse. Awesome job.
  • 7 2
 IMO, Banshee has geometry figured out. Keep the reach manageable and lengthen the chain stays in order to keep to centered on the bike and your weight where you need it.
  • 4 5
 @ZSchnei: Meh. I've ridden a Banshee Titan and liked the general character of the bike. But 475mm reach on a size large is borderline to short in the front end. Also, their seat tubes are just unnecessarily long to the point where upsizing is almost not possible. Like come on, we live in the age of long-stroke dropperposts. There's no need for long seat tubes.
  • 2 0
 @Muscovir: yeah their downside is definetly the long seat tubes
  • 10 2
 @Muscovir: You don't need a long front end if you're already balanced on the bike. The taller stack height also opens up the cockpit when descending. It's part of a balanced package, not just "it's 2022 so lets make it long, slack, and unbalanced, no one will care".

I run a 180mm dropper in my Titan, size large. That's plenty of dropper.

The great thing is that there are so many awesome options on the market, we can all have an opinion and find the bike we love. That said, super long reach paired with super slack head angles and super steep seat angles is a creation of "this would look cool to our customers" vs. creating a well rounded package that actually works. That's just my opinion, of course, I'm not an engineer by any means.
  • 3 2
 @ZSchnei: I'd say wheter you need a long front end or not very much depends on your preferred riding position and how fast you go. But if you've got a different opinion, that's alrightSmile
  • 3 0
 @ZSchnei: I haven't ridden a banshee in years, but I will say on tighter trails my spitfire was the funnest bike I ever had. Unfortunately the frame snapped, but it was ridden pretty hard and probably exceeded its intended use.
  • 3 0
 Knolly's owner Noel is 6'2" at 220, last we spoke so I would not say short or small.
My trailbike is a Fugitive LT in large. I'm the same size as Noel and find the fit good.
However, I don't think I would be as happy on the Fugitive 138 update with the even longer reach and steeper seat tube angle especially in my flatter / rolling terrain.
  • 1 0
 @mykel: I'm 6'3 210 and happy with my Large Warden.
  • 13 3
 I ride a Fugitive LT and really like it, almost two years later. The newer fugitives are closer to the chili with longer reach/front center/etc; I am personally pretty happy with the length of my bike at 6ft, I could handle a taller stack, though. I'm on a 140 fork with 50mm bars and no stem spacers.

The Knolly travel options are... not my favorite. The 151/167 are identical aside from shock stroke; 0 reason to run it as a 151. If you want the firmer feel/more pop of a shorter travel bike... run your 167 with less sag. All you do with a 151 setup is find the end of the travel earlier.
  • 5 8
 YES! I'm glad I'm not the only one to have worked this out. If the bike can produce 167mm of travel, there is absolutely no good reason to run less travel than that (unless your tyre buzzes your seat...)

So many companies are producing bikes that give a certain amount of travel, but then suggest it is fine to put a stroke limiter in your shock if you want to. Of course it's f*cking fine... The question is why would I want to?

Either the bike companies are cynically bullshitting their customers, or the company designers don't actually understand how suspension works. I'm not sure which of these is worse. (Sadly, I'm also not sure which is more likely to be true. Some of the frame layouts doing the rounds at the moment do tend to suggest that the "engineers" hired by a lot of companies are actually just "graphic designers")
  • 3 6
 I love it when people leave negative props, but aren't brave enough to open their mouths and actually disagree. You're all wrong btw...
  • 2 0
 Yeah I wanted a normal warden but when I saw this, I just put it in the longer version of travel and was running at like 26 27% of sag instead of 30. I would never bottom out, but was not that close when I really missed a landing so it saved my life! haha That was really perfect, pedaling as a ''short'' travel enduro bike but so much ''safety travel''. loll
  • 11 1
 I'm 183cm and ride a large with with a 162.5 stroke coil (Formula Mod) and 170mm fork (Selva Coil), 42mm stem, and 20mm rise bars. This actually sets me at about 157mm rear travel. I run the bike full time in slack mode. Mostly old man enduro racing and daily driver in Whistler with a bias toward steep tech trails and ramming into compression holes regularly due to poor line choice. After testing the 167 with a 180 Zeb, the bike was close, but just felt a bit like a sled to me. Great for bike park and ploughing down straight steep loamers, but not agile enough. Dropping the front travel to 170, with 10mm spacers under the stem and setting the rear at 157 with a full 30% sag, and the bike sits beautifully into its travel and feels firmly more centred. For a bigger bike, the climbing is fantastic. For my preferred kind of riding, a short rear end is magic and is more important to me in managing technical terrain than a short front end. It's genuinely a burly and capable bike and the description of shorter travel enduro bike is bang-on. It really does not have trail bike handling traits, and I'm ok with that as I was after stability and confidence riding at my personal limit. And yes, servicing the bearings is a pain. Fortunately they have good durability. The loam shelf behind the seat-tube is for your spare tube and tire levers, duh.
  • 3 2
 +1 for dropping fork travel making a positive change. I swapped the 150mm 27.5 fork on my transition scout for a 130mm 29er and swapped the rear shock for a coil, and ended up in a similar boat as you. It's a 130/130 mullet now, but feels more balanced than it did before.

In its stock setup, I found the bike to be just a tiny bit squirrely when the front end was bottomed out. Exactly when you don't want your bike to be squirrely. Bumping up to a 29er helped rollover, and dropping the fork travel made the bike slacker at bottom out. I feel like it rides the same in most ways, like the wheel size and travel change canceled each other out, but there are fewer times when things feel sketchy due to slacker geo at front end bottom out. An interesting change for sure.
  • 1 0
 Can you tell us a few words about Formula squishy bits? How do the compare to what you used to ride with before?
  • 3 0
 @Zayphod: In short, really remarkably good. And disclaimer, I'm not biased in any way and have been open to experimentation on this bike. Thanks to support from Knolly and Alba Distribution, I've been able to try the bike from 151 to 167 rear and from 160 to 180 front and have tried RS Zeb Ulimate/RS SuperDelux Ultimate combo, EXT Storia/EXT Era V2, and Formula Mod/Formula Selva Coil. Interestingly the most affordable package - the RS package - was also the most "in the middle" - it did everything just fine and as you would expect. No complaints, but no mind-blowing enthusiasm - solid middle class workhorse - my complaint was around travel and I found that 167/180 just made the bike feel really long, really raked out, and too much rider input required for the kind of trails I ride daily, other than fast bike park laps. The EXT Era fork was very very good and was easy to get dialled. I really liked the little positive air chamber sensitivity adjustment. I never got along with the Storia, but to be fair, I never got it custom tuned for the bike as it was a loaner/tester - but in stock build, it was just way over-damped for the linkage and leverage design of the bike, and I couldn't get past the "sucking" noise they are known for. I'm not firmly settled on the Formula Setup. The range of "straight out of the box" tuning that both fork and shock come with is amazing. Pricepoint is middle between EXT and RS/Fox top-line offerings. First, shock and fork come with all the tuning equipment you need, no extras required. The Mod comes with spring-rate of your choice, mounting hardware of your choice, 3 travel spacers to allow full range of your shock stroke and fine tuning of travel, 3 CTS valves, and a beautiful analog shock pump. Once the right spring rate is chosen, you have full capability and excellent instructional videos to dial in this rear shock close to a custom tune. The CTS valves are easy to change and experiment with and have profound differences in ride quality. All damping adjustments are wide-range, easy to access, and provide meaningful results. Just excellent engineering. The Selva Coil is as a coil should be - absolute butter once travel is engaged. And with the CTS system, you can easily decide how much platform you want without just adding pre-load to a spring. And what about those 35mm stanchions? I'm 165 pounds (75kg) and ride mostly expert terrain and do quite a bit of enduro racing in the masters category with acceptable results and I don't notice any undo flex or lack of steering precision. Formula, being engineers, have also published a comprehensive study on flex versus stanchion size and prescribe strongly to the fact that some engineered flex is a net positive to performance and overly-stiff forks just from increasing diameter can add negatives to performance. I didn't know I believed it until I believed it - now I believe it. I have no craving for more stiffness, even compared to Zeb (it actually feels more intuitive and tracking, versus just pure linear travel). And so far, no CSU creaks. I look forward to putting the km's on this setup on tracks I know very well.
  • 1 0
 @ridingloam: Woah, I came looking for copper and found gold! Thank you for that awesome reply!

Are you using the stock medium spring in the Selva? At 75kg, according to Formula, you're right between soft and medium:

65-75 kg : Soft
75-85 kg : Medium
85-95 kg : Firm
>95 kg: Super Firm
  • 1 0
 @Zayphod: medium, but with lightest CTS. Only bottoming travel when I really should be.
  • 9 0
 "I’m really coming round to this approach. I think a mountain bike should be made to best climb mountains and non-paved terrain."

Welcome to the party! It's absolutely the only way to be for some trail areas, where there just aren't climbs long enough nor smooth enough to care about a couple mm of squat (or bob, but bob is more from pedaling squares than anti-squat), but there are many climbs where a loss of traction or getting hung up, and thus losing forward progress, drastically reduces the chances of cleaning the climb.
  • 9 0
 interesting review. i ride the 167 version of this bike and am also 6' - however, my inseam is something like 29" & the reach of the large feels great! but i also suck at riding so who knows
  • 8 0
 I'm 6'1''and ride the 151 in a large size. I feel the fit is "just right" in a way a lot of L/XL bikes haven't felt for me in a long time. I was also really impressed with how it climbs considering it's descending capabilities.

Of course I have my bias because "hey look they're talking about my bike", but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this bike to others.
  • 10 0
 Keep up the great work Knolly. If the Chilcotin is anything like my Warden, you have another winner on your hands. Such a fun bike.
  • 10 3
 At 6', the size large frame is too long for the reviewer, he should have been riding a medium. I'm his size and I ride a Canfield Lithium in a medium, fit is spot on.

Frames are getting too long, when someone who is 2" taller than the average North American has to size down to a medum...
  • 4 7
 Thats not that frames are too long in general its that Knolys seat tube angles are too slack. It creates a fit issue for a lot of reviewers.
  • 2 1
 @stiingya: I have to disagree. The problem is the reach is too long.

If your arms are nearly straight while descending, you can’t move the bike around effectively. We used to call this, “being at the end of your rope”. Your arms, just like your suspension, have to have sufficient travel.
  • 2 0
 @mrosie: others might say it encourages the rider to get weight over their front wheel. If your arms are nearly straight, your pucker factor is kinda high, and I bet you're appreciating the short chain stays
  • 10 0
 Can confirm rad bike. Super fast and fun. Got along with it right away.
  • 11 1
 They’re not photogenic but they look great in person if you ask me.
  • 4 0
 The 4 bar linkage certainly looks more refined and robust now.
  • 4 0
 Right? They've got this raw, industrial kinda beauty to them.
  • 6 0
 There is too much information about Henry's preferences and not enough about the bike.

I am VERY tall (6'5") and if I compare my bike the the XL Chilcotin, I see the latter's reach is 8 mm longer, the wheelbase is 5 mm longer and the stack is 3 mm lower. So if I equip the Chilcotin with a 40 mm stem (instead of the 50 mm that I ride on my bike), it would feel extremely close to my 150 mm AM bike. BUT (in capital letters) is that of importance to ANYBODY except me?

I guess not. So if I was a good rider, if I had the chops to analyze bikes and write an interesting review (non of which I have or can) I would probably not write about how much I like this bike feeling like my own ... because it's of no interest to anyone but me.

I guess that's the point here: The Chilcotin looks and reads like a VERY interesting bike, like a different interpretation of what I am used to, but with a perfect fit nevertheless. And this tests ... speaks too much about how Henry is not comfy on it due the dimensions being not "his". That's OK and understandable, but .... yeah ... you get it ...

PS: I am a HUGE fan of Henry's content (ever since that other gig on the eastern side of the pond) and especially his voice on the podcast ;o)
  • 9 0
 Can we get a modern Podium please?!
  • 6 2
 This linkage looks like specifically made not to replace bearings easily, there is literally no place you could rest an extracting sleeve.
Also the sizing is weird.
Used to have a Knolly and the suspension is very good especially the pk is low it simply plows through the rough. I do not believe that a Kona with RS damper can keep up, maybe on mellow/machine built trails, but not in the proper chunk.
  • 4 0
 Spot on with the bearing comment - I did almost all of mine after 18 months/3000 miles (main pivot was fine!), and it was much more hassle than it had to be, largely based on the shaping of the pivot locations.
  • 8 1
 The Bike Doesn't Fit Me should be the total of this review. Fricken bizarre!
  • 3 2
 Which given the last PB review of a Knolly had the same issue but for a different reason should tell you something. The last reviewer sized down 2 sizes as he thought he knew best and then had a list of issues caused by being on a bike that was clearly too small. The fact that in this review, Henry hits the point that he's riding the recommended size and still has size related issues tells me Knolly may have something a little funky going on.
  • 6 0
 Really good review. I've always wanted to rip a Knolly... when funds allow I'll be looking for one of these!
  • 4 0
 This frame is like 9 pounds with an air shock. It's a beast. Knolly should have put adjustable chainstays like they did in the olden days on the delerium. Those adjustable stays rocked.
  • 2 0
 Got my kid an XS Transition Scout and it's over 9 pounds (when I ordered it the website estimated 8.8 for med) I guess that is the reality of durable alloy bikes now.
  • 3 0
 I have a Large Chilcotin 167, I love this bike. I always have the impression that my rear tire has a flat but it’s the suspension that is so smooth. I’m 5’10’’ and this bike fits me well, I did change the stem for a 33mm long though.
  • 3 0
 Great review Henry! Back in the day, bikes were sized by seat tube length only with the rest of the dimensions being proportional, it was usually easy to choose the size based on leg length. The remainder of fit could be done with stem, bars, setback, etc. Its much harder now to know if a bike will give just the right fit, feel, and balance for the specifics of our body dimensions, terrain, and riding style. Not long ago, I was between an L and XL on everything due to my long legs. I just built a Stumpjumper Evo in size S3 after demoing an S4 and just not getting along with it. The S3 is perfect, although I have to run a 200mm dropper.
  • 4 1
 Cannot help but wonder how it would have gone if Knolly had sent Henry a 167. Because of the longer fork, it would have had a slightly shorter reach. I looked at purchasing this bike as I had a Fugitive LT previously, and the Fugi was on og my all time favorite trail bikes, but the long reach veered me away and to a Canfield Lithium. The Lithium had more balanced geometry, similar technical climbing chops, and an industrial look. Still can't help but drool over that Chilcotin though....
  • 5 1
 I was thinking the same. The new Chilcotin was introduced as a 167 with a shorter travel option. I also think it’s weird that bike reviewers (not just on this website) can’t seem to “get it right” with this company, but they gloss over a lot of issues with other brands’ bikes.
  • 5 0
 @whateverbr0: bigger brands have deeper pockets for perks and other kickbacks for submitting glowing reviews
  • 3 0
 Disagree with the reviewer on reach and chainstay length. I looked hard for a long reach, short cs, steep seat tube burly bike. I love my Patrol, if anything I would only like a steeper seat tube. This Knolly seems similar but probably needs more StraightUp geometry
  • 7 1
 I stopped reading when I read 438mm chainstays were too short... completely lost me there.
  • 1 0
 I love my Banshee Titan but honestly, I was afraid of that 452mm chainstay and would be so happy to have something around 435-440mm!! I had a V1 and V2 warden before.
  • 9 4
 I find the looks of the bottom bracket being far behind the seat tube kinda weird.
  • 5 2
 “Spaghetti junction of welds and tubing”

Knolly is pronounced like cannoli.
  • 3 0
 I'm a similar size and the reach/stack would be very hard for me to ride. 50mm rise bars and 20-30mm of spacer would probably be the only thing that night solve it, but then the front wheel might start feeling pretty light..
  • 13 11
 "the drawbacks of the Knolly come down to fit and dimensions"

Come on, you can do better than this Henry.

The fit is especific to each rider, to the point it is a science, and a service offered to every rider.
The bike should be tested after the fit is good. I personally love high bars and extra long chainstays.
We are also seeing lots of professional riders going for shorter reach because of this extra short chainstay combined with extra long reach gives an unbalanced feel.
I's all a can of worms.
  • 21 2
 Well, yes and no. I mean if you isolate that statement then yes - it sounds like I'm talking shit. However, in the context of the review I do try and explain my reasoning, as well as how fit is interwoven with other important factors. I hope I did it justice, anyway.
  • 4 1
 @henryquinney:

Sir, you are an excellent reviewer with excellent writting skills. I love reading your insights, especially nerdy ones.

I know we spend a lot of money to get good bikes, and the need to change a handlebar or a stem might be a burden some are not willing to take, but fit is tailoring the instrument to your body.

I'd suggest to give the note that you had to change those parts to suit your body, but I sincerely can't see that as a drawback, just a minor inconvenience.

Cheers mate!

Ps: what happend to the nerding out about tire inserts? Could we get more testing on those?
Maybe nerding out about tire carcass too? the marriage between inserts and tires? The force needed to reach the rim at 22 psi?

Just some ideas...
  • 12 3
 Really the review reads like "I should have been on a Medium and so a bunch of stuff sucked on the too large bike..." Seems like you should have held off on the review and got a smaller frame.
  • 2 1
 @vikb: Some of these bike manufacturers need to rethink their sizing. Either that...or the bikes are really getting too long.
  • 3 0
 @vikb: This is the size Knolly told him he should ride.
  • 3 0
 @Notmeatall: The impression I got from the article was that despite changing a number of things, he was never able to get the fit right. This suggests that he was on the wrong size, or the balance of this bike just doesn't suit his body type/style/location/whatever.
  • 7 2
 Downvote me all you wish but I'm still waiting patiently for the knolly knarly to drop.
  • 3 0
 It sounds like this is a good bike for people with short legs, but long torso and arms. So not for me. Not for Henry either apparently even though his leg-torso ratio is lower than mine. Very useful to know.
  • 6 0
 I fit your description to a T, own this bike and have none of the issues Henry described in the article. Also 183cm and ride a Large. However I run the bars much lower (20mm rise, only 7mm spacers). I think that allows a bit more weight over the front end and better balance. I agree that the reach is pushing it and I also did need to go to a 35mm stem to make the the bike feel right. Would have been interesting for Henry to raise the bars via spacers rather than a higher riser as that would have reduced the reach and perhaps helped with some of his issues.
  • 3 0
 @coachphillip: I am just a hair shorter than you are and have a very similar setup...800mm bars, 20mm rise and 35mm stem..rides like a dream up and down. This bike will be in my stable for a long time.
  • 6 1
 I like it. Seems like a very sturdy, no-nonsense kinda bike. Also, look a those welds! DreamySmile
  • 4 0
 I love my Knolly. My only real beef is that the medium feels a touch too small, and I've heard that for us 5'10"ers, the large feels too large. Perhaps a M/L in the future?
  • 2 0
 I'm 5'11 on my Large warden which has 500mm reach and it took me a bit to dial in my cockpit setup to be comfortable. Took a 31mm stem, some spacers under the stem, and my seat fairly forward on the rails. It's now pretty well setup and comfortable.
  • 2 0
 This article and comments aren't helping me decide on updating my V1 Warden! I'm 163cm on a small and honestly perfectly happy with it as my go to bike for my local trails, my same height wife finds it too small in the cockpit and friends like to comment on my tiny bike. I finally did my first 29er ride (Spartan and we have an V1 Spartan in our collection) on Whistler xc trails, which don't compare to my usual local trails very well, but I do love the performance of the Warden for the home trail fast rough situations. Don't feel like I need the 160/168 of the new Warden though. Will try to get a ride in on a Chilcotin and Warden (mullet?) while I'm here. Glad I'm content with my old Warden and have other bikes in the quiver. Interesting how the Chilcotin can be run 151 or 167 but not the Warden. And yes to updated Podium, we still have one and looking to modernize the DH bike as well. It sure is nice when your wife and child all ride the same size bikes!
  • 5 0
 The Warden can be ran 160, 168, 175 depending on stroke (just like the Chilcotin at 151, 158, or 167).
  • 1 0
 @whateverbr0: Yep, and if the Warden had the 151 option it would be a done deal.
  • 3 0
 @dirtpedaler: I don’t have any inside info, but I keep hearing about a new Endorphin. I wonder if they’ll do the same thing with that bike as they have with the the Warden & Chilcotin with the different travel options, and give it a 135-150mm travel options?

Edit: I will also say the 160mm Warden rides like a much smaller bike, but has the extra travel. It’s a fun (big) little jibber

Edit2: Now I understand what you were saying. Damn, I can be dense sometimes…
  • 4 0
 @whateverbr0: Hoping to get a ride in with Noel soon.
  • 2 0
 @dirtpedaler: But you just have to ride you Warden with less sag... I thought that 160mm was perfect after having a hard bottom out on my 150mm V1 Warden but decided to go with 168 and 175mm but 26 27% of sag instead of 30. It saved my life once and it would pedal as good as a 160mm V2, which was wayyyyyy better than the V1!! The was liking the V1 but not that more than that....the V2 oh wowww, soooo much better for everything!! It was a bit long vs the V1 though so it took me a long time to adapt but after I was faster in both climbing and descending.

Had a big bottom out on my V1 that I didn't like but not once on V2... that was perfect!
  • 6 1
 "I was riding the wrong size knolly and the fit was really weird"

-pinkbike
  • 2 3
 Yeah, but the manufacturer doesn't really help here. I remember a few years ago all Knollys did run small, especially the ETT measurement is NOT what you think (this is what I call a stubborn engineer syndrome, maybe they measure it better than others, but the fact they do it differently and call it the same does not help anyone, just boosts someones ego). Then something happened and now they run too large. In fact from the numbers M is tad too small and L i too big for me being 180cm. The other thing is unbalanced geometry and if someone like 190cm would get L then it would also feel weird because too short chainstays. They have a very good suspension and great frame quality, but they stagnated a bit and geo is not spot on.
  • 1 4
 Theres no one to blame except Knolly for this
  • 3 0
 @lkubica: I'm 190 and the L fits like a glove.
  • 11 9
 "They do this because they feel it offers a greater level of tuning rather than including the shock within the four bar layout,"

They did this because america has stupid patent laws
  • 12 7
 How dare the US protect IP. -signed by the People's Republic of China gang.
  • 1 0
 What patent are you talking about?
  • 4 3
 @HankDamage: Specialized horst link. Was knocked back in Europe.
  • 3 2
 Indeed a browse through Antonio Osuna's analyses of Knollys shows there's nothing special in the curves and nothing that hasn't been done without the extra linkages.
  • 4 0
 @boozed: I saw that a while back. That review was 2019... they may have made some geo changes since then. Given the burliness of Knolly's frames, it's interesting to see Henry complain about the lack of stiffness. Previous analyses of Knolly frame design noted their high anti-squat values to reduce pedal kickback and more rear susp engagement when climbing, so Henry's comment on the Chilcotin's good climbing ability is a pleasant surprise. Sizing and fitment for one's own proportions can be a tricky business - a friend who's a similar size to me just got one so I'm curious to see if it fits well or not!
  • 4 3
 I am 6 feet tall and I would have 100% gone with the medium instead of the large, but I guess it was up to Knolly on which size frame to send for review. Also, quite the criticism on braking characteristics given it's only 16% lower anti-rise than the Stumpjumper. I would have expected harsh criticism on the horrendous leverage ratio curve going regressive past 120mm travel.
  • 2 1
 The sizing at least in the reach department seems strange to me. If I typically rode a modern reach of 475mm (and it felt comfy), I'd probably size down to the medium for better balance and only 9mm less reach (with a 50mm stem), vs the 18mm MORE reach on the large. None of this matters for me anyway since I like a 450 reach being 5'9", and the medium is even 16mm over that. But if it had adjustable chainstays (like the RM Instinct) I would strongly consider it to dial in a more balanced ride. Seems like it would be almost a necessity to feel comfortable on this bike due to the braking behavior and already stretched out cockpit... And also not unsuitable for its plowy nature on the jank...

All that being said, it's still a sweet bike, and Knolly seem like a supportive company, so lots to love about this thing (especially if you hit the sizing right).
  • 2 0
 As a theoretical defender of a short chainstay, this review made me quite interested in checking out this bike, to see if it's really too little chainstay, or if it's something that one gets used to and rewarded from.
  • 1 0
 Just swapped most of the parts over from a '21 S4 Enduro to a LG Chilcotin 167 frame. It should have 7mm shorter CS and 3mm longer reach, though after riding it for a week, it feels more balanced, less work to weight the front tire, and harder to manual, backwards from what the numbers say. I'm 6'2 with short legs, 20 mm of spacers and 30 mm rise bars.
  • 6 3
 I used to ride large bikes now i size down to small in some cases (if thats even offered)
What the hell is going on?
  • 4 2
 532mm top tube length on a M is enormous. That's bigger than a lot of L frames from other manufacturers. It is only slightly shorter than a new stumpy evo S5, for example
  • 1 1
 Long and low geometry
  • 2 2
 @twonsarelli It's really not enormous though...
  • 4 0
 @Muscovir: ok, choose a different word. my S3 evo is roughly a M and the ETT is 588mm, so 44mm shorter. That's quite a difference.
  • 4 0
 Jack Moir burner account?
  • 2 2
 Stoopid shite of course, same issue with low BB's, time for a correction ....
  • 1 0
 Yep. I’m a down sizer too. I’m really grateful I have the option to do it and still be comfortable. Especially now lots of 27.5 wheeled bikes top out at size L. With about 470-485mm reach, that’s just perfect for me. A XL with 500mm plus just feels silly underneath me, even on fast and technical trails. I would appreciate a bit more BB height in general, but I don’t find it to be as much of an issue as silly actual seat tube angles.
  • 4 0
 @henryquinney Great piece! I really enjoyed it. Keep it up!
  • 3 0
 Great writing and useful review. @henryquinney you got me with the Instagram link. Thanks for that.
  • 2 0
 Yep, the Rick Astley easter egg was a good laugh Smile
  • 1 0
 "As a reviewer, I think it’s important to listen to a brand, how they size their bikes and how you fit into their size chart."

And you thought Pinkbike staff don't read the comments...
  • 1 1
 Make me understand that i suddenly understand shock progressivity and curve rate, while keeping the front slightly open and sharp and strong. well designed in my opinion , i ll take this bike anyday for the megavalanche.
  • 16 14
 $6k aluminum bike… nice parts spec but 6k seems kinda high.
  • 16 5
 I'd take a nice, high-quality alloy bike with decent parts over a plastic Santa or Yeti seven days a week.
  • 5 2
 @Muscovir: I just switched back to aluminum recently, new frame with a good shock was around 2k, parts are pretty nice on this but 6k still seems steep for a complete.
  • 3 2
 I think if Specialized came up with the design first, there'd probably a lawsuit already.
  • 2 0
 "antipodal", Wow Henry, bringing the heat!!
  • 1 0
 He got that word from the other side of the earth!
  • 1 1
 Pretty light bike. Not a fan of the look but if I had one, I’d throw on some we r one unions wheels some carbon bars, and Magura brakes.
  • 1 0
 I think all the gx builds come with magura brakes now
  • 2 0
 Them glasses makes him look like Remi.
  • 2 3
 I'm intrigued how this bike can allegedly pedal well with such a low main pivot point? Would like to see what the anti-squat values are here, they would seem to be very low...
  • 1 0
 around 50%! So yes
  • 2 0
 Time for adjustable swingarm length like my old Delirium T?
  • 1 1
 Interesting, the original G2 process was noted as being hard to ride front-rear balance wise
  • 3 1
 The current AL Process 153 is updated geometry compared to the "G2" carbon and AL frames.
  • 1 0
 @ScandiumRider: affirmative
  • 4 7
 "If you need thicker casings or the latest, biggest, baddest fork, you’re probably well on your way to just changing the shock stroke and going for the bigger bike all round"

Strong disagree. Some riders and some terrain conditions (sharpness, frequency, etc) just lends themselves towards strong tires and stiff forks, but maybe don't need more travel because the speeds and terrain size don't rate.
  • 2 0
 I’m a big guy and yes I do like a lot of travel, but I also enjoy riding short travel bikes without feeling like I’m riding a wet noodle or am about to snap them. E13 rims and 2019 fox 36, I’m looking at you.
  • 3 6
 This long reach thing is definitely not for me. At 5-10 a size L from 3-4 years ago always fit me well. The current M bikes are just L from 3-4 years ago. I tried 2 bikes with the longer reach (475-485) and they just don’t fit me. I’ve gone to M, or S3 frames including DH bikes and I’m much more comfortable.
Still, a well done review Mr Quinney.
  • 2 1
 Yo Yo Yo wheres my podium bruh???
  • 2 0
 Great review!
  • 1 0
 Some long armed mountain bikers round here.
  • 1 0
 Great review!
  • 2 5
 TL,DR: Chainstays too short.

Yes, you could say that's a matter of personal preference, but I could have come to the same conclusion as Henry from looking at the geo chart and referencing my previous experiences.
  • 3 5
 492mm reach and 630 stack for a large... is a little too big IMO. Large reach should be 480 max at 630 stack. And the reviewer isn't that tall, in between sizes.
  • 2 0
 The Canyon Torque is very similar with an even higher stack, but the reviews didn't blow up like this, maybe because Kaz reviewed it and didn't focus on the sizing so much, just said it didn't feel balanced and was hard to weight properly I think
  • 1 0
 @Dogl0rd: Kaz likes a long reach. He said the bike didn’t feel balanced because the chain stays were comparatively short and he would have wanted longer ones. Not because the reach was too long.
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir: not disagreeing
  • 2 3
 That looks Knolly, dude!
  • 2 5
 Not for me, Clive.
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