Review: Scott Gambler DH20 2008

Sep 11, 2008 at 21:19
by Joel Ptree  
The Gambler DH and FR series bikes are arguably some of the most versatile aggressive riding bikes on the market. With head angle, and travel adjust options, it's easy to dial in your Gambler for whatever terrain you want to tackle. For this review, I'll be focusing on my own Gambler DH20 that I have ridden and raced all summer long.The Gambler DH20 appealed to me because of its amazing adjustability, stout frame, good looks, components, and overall affordable price point. After my very first ride, I knew I had made the right choice for my DH race rig.

First impressions and frame close ups:

Scott did a great job of properly wrapping and protecting the bike for shipping. The rear end was completely assembled and the front half of the bike went together with ease. After about an hour of assembling and tuning, the Gambler was ready to take her first steps. Rolling around the street in front of my house the Gambler felt nice and it pedaled better than most bikes of its type. After admiring the bike and snapping a few pictures, I threw on my old specialized road saddle and called it a night.


Stock set up:


Frame Info- Gambler Alloy 7005 hydroformed tubing, DH geometry, ISCG & ISCG05 tabs, adj. headtube for 11/8 and 1.5“, IDS interchangeable Dropout with 12mm thru axle, 190, 210, 230mm travel
Rear ShockFox Van R, rebound
ForkMarzocchi 888 RV
HeadsetVP Cr-Mo Monsta
CrankarmsTruvativ Hussefelt DH 1.1
ChainringsTruvativ 36t
Bottom BracketTruvativ Howitzer 83mm
PedalsShimano PD M545
ChainSram PC-951
CassetteSram PG-950, 9 Speed
Front DerailleurN/A
Rear DerailleurSram X-7, 9 Speed, Medium Cage
Shifter Cable/HousingJagwire
ShifterSram X-5 Trigger, 9 speed
HandlebarScott Pilot, 38mm rise, 750mm wide
StemMarzocchi Integrated Stem
GripsScott Signature Lock-ons
BrakesAvid Juicy Code 5's, 203mm
Front WheelAlex BH w/ Scott 20mm hub
Rear WheelAlex BH w/ Lawill 12mm hub, 150mm wide
TiresMaxxis Minion DHF 2.5 front and rear
TubesBontrager
SaddleScott Gambler Saddle, Cromo, 7mm
SeatpostScott RC 01-06, 34.9mm
ExtrasOwners Manual


Adjustments n' such:

The head angle can be changed from its stock 64 degree angle to a steeper 66 degree angle. Rear travel can range from a Deer Valley National tackling 9.5' setting, to a more conservative and efficient 7.5' to handle a course like the Sea Otter Classic Downhill. These adjustments completely change how the bike feels, so you can dial it in for whatever your needs may be.

The Ride / My set up:

The next day (after my initial build), I went up for some riding at Northstar at Tahoe to stretch her legs. Right away I was in love with the bike. It does everything that I need a downhill bike to do. It is very stable at high speeds, comfortable on the steeps, and it corners great. One thing I was surprisingly pleased with is how well this bike jumps! It's a blast to ride and very predictable / comfortable in the air.

After fiddling around with all the adjustments, I found that the bike rides best (for me) in the 66 degree / FR setting and at 8.2' in the rear. The tighter head angle shortens the wheelbase, allows for better cornering, and also makes the bike an even better jumper. The 8.2' setting was perfect for me since it provided decent pedaling efficiency while still maintaining big hit capabilities.


The cons:

While this bike is amazing, it does have a downside or two. First, out of the box, the DH20 weighs over 45 lbs (that's over 20 kilos for you folks across the pond). Second, a floating brake would not kill this bike considering 'brake jack' is very noticeable on steep rough terrain where braking is a necessity. And third, while the stock Marzocchi 888RV is a stout freeride fork, it is not the lightest or the most adjustable. Since I race downhill, I was in need for a lighter more race worthy fork.

Conclusion:

This is a killer ride. Coming in at a price point of about $3500 USD, it's not an unreasonable price for what you get. This is a great downhill racing / freeride rig that can do both with ease. While it is heavy out of the box, this bike can be built to be nice and light. My Gambler (pictured below in its most current state) is 42.5 lbs. Definitely check them out, you will not be disappointed!

Sincerely, jptothetree




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