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DH Bike Review: Nukeproof's Dissent 297 is a Versatile Park Shredder

Feb 27, 2023 at 6:24
by Matt Beer  

When you think of Nukeproof, Sam Hill is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but before the Australian legend swung a leg over the Dissent 297 downhill bike it appeared in another form. The 26” wheeled Scalp used a similar linkage-driven, single-pivot suspension design, and was made from aluminum with a swooping top tube.

Today, three Dissent models exist in all wheel variations; two good old 27.5” wheels, a full 29er, and the mixed wheeled version we have here on test. Nukeproof denotes the frames’ wheel configurations with three numbers tailing the Dissent name; 275, 290, and 297.
Nukeproof Dissent 297 Details

• Frame: Aluminium
• Wheel sizes: 29/27.5
• Travel: 200mm
• Linkage driven single-pivot suspension design
• 4-position progression adjustment
• 63-degree head angle
• Reach: 425, 440, 460, 480
• Chainstays: 435, 440, 445mm
• Weight: 16.57 kg / 37.3 lb
• Price: $6,499 ($2,699 - frame w/shock)

The 297 model squeezes out 200mm of rear wheel travel from a coil shock and is dedicated to the specified wheel size, but there are plenty of geometry and suspension tweaks to be made.


bigquotesNukeproof has put together a versatile downhill bike for racers and bike park shredders alike. The adjustable progression and chainstay length should let just about any rider have a blast on the Dissent 297, provided they prefer a smaller-fitting bike. Matt Beer


Frame Details

The tube shapes in the Dissent front triangle sets it apart from other downhill bikes on the market. A slender top tube bends upwards, still providing ample standover clearance, yet avoiding the “gas tank” bulge. The down tube takes the opposite approach, curving upwards from the bottom bracket to the head tube. Thick rubber pads protect the underside of the shock basement and the inner faces of the rear triangle.

Both the brake hose and derailleur housing run internally, entering the downtube just below the welds and exiting underneath the shock before flowing into the seatstays. Threaded ports at the headtube junction allow for a clean option to run the rear brake on either side of the handlebars.

On the lower shock mount, a bearing eyelet is used to overcome friction and reduce wear from the high articulation at this point. Changing the spring isn’t daunting and can be done in a flash by removing the two shock bolts. There’s no need to remove extra hardware or use special tools.

We’ve seen a carbon prototype floating around the World Cup races over the last year. Although there’s no word on its details just yet, the suspension design remains the same and the rear triangle still uses a chip system for variable chainstay lengths.



Typically, a single pivot swing arm, like Orange’s 279, achieves minimal progression. The Dissent series runs on a single pivot near the chainring as well, but a push rod moves the inverted swing-link through the 75mm stroke shock. This rotating link begins with a slightly regressive curve and flattens through the middle, before ramping up at the end.

Two offset main pivot inserts can be flipped to yield 4 different progression settings; 17, 21, 26, and 30%. All of the Dissent models come with coil shocks and most of Nukeproof’s factory riders seem to prefer those as well.




The brushed alloy frame, modified single-pivot suspension, and a SRAM/RockShox parts kit all seem normal, and for the most part, the geometry is standard issue too, except for the reach numbers. The Dissent 297 is undersized in terms of length, even by yesterday’s standards. This size large bike has a reach of 460mm, whereas most other brands are at least 15 mm longer than that. Even the largest of the four sizes tops out at 480mm on the XL frame.

The chainstays also aren’t the longest out there at 440mm, plus or minus 5 mm with that flip chip dropout. In total, the front and rear centers add up to a wheelbase of 1274 mm under the 63-degree head tube angle.

Price $6499
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate DH RC, Custom Tune Compression LIN, Rebound L, 250x75mm, Bearing End
Fork RockShox Boxxer Ultimate, Charger 2 RC2, 46mm offset
Headset Nukeproof, 49IITS
Cassette SRAM PG720 DH 7-Speed, XG795 11-25T
Crankarms SRAM XO1 DH Carbon X-Sync, 165mm, 34T
Chainguide MRP Mini G4 32-36T ISCG-05
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB BSA 83mm
Chain SRAM PC-1110 11-Speed
Rear Derailleur SRAM XO1 7-Speed, Red
Shifter Pods SRAM XO1 7-Speed, Red
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon 800x25mm
Stem Nukeproof Horizon Direct Mount, 45mm, black
Grips Nukeproof Sam Hill Signature
Brakes SRAM Code R, 220/200mm rotors
Wheelset Nukeproof Horizon V2 DH
Tires Michelin DH22 2.4" TLR
Seat Nukeproof
Seatpost Nukeproof Neutron, 30.9mm, 300mm, 0 Offset.




Nukeproof’s resurgence as a brand in the early 2000’s began with componentry and that’s prevalent on the Dissent 297. The $6,499 USD RS build kit features the Horizon series of wheels and cockpit controls. Sam Hill’s signature is stamped on the oddly sweeping alloy handlebars and cushy grips.

As for the bread and butter of the build, SRAM and RockShox’s finest takes care of the drivetrain, brakes, and suspension, excluding the one exception; Code R brakes. Although a 220mm rotor is spec’d up front, I’d prefer to spend my dough on the power and modulation of the RSC models instead of carbon cranks.

Lastly, MRP takes care of the chain device, and Michelin DH 22 Racing Line tires are fitted to give the best in the biz a run for their money. With the control tires installed, the large Dissent 297 RS landed near the middle of the spectrum at a respectable weight of 16.57 kg / 37.31 lb for an alloy frame.

Test Bike Setup

Coming to terms with the 460mm reach wasn’t an issue and was actually in the realm of how I prefer a downhill bike to fit - on the smaller side, compared to a trail or enduro bike. Building the bike from the massive box took no time, but I did have to cut the full-length seat post.

Before going anywhere, I knew I'd have to swap out the rear shock spring for a heavier coil to gain the support I was looking for. Providing enough springs to suit all riders with each bike is a large ask. Given my weight and size, the 400 seemed far from correct spring for the size large frame.

Next, I took time to rotate the bars into the sweet spot. Like many bars with a 9-degree backsweep, I struggled to find a balance between having my elbows tucked too far inward, or my wrists off plane - either too much backsweep or too much upsweep. Cutting them down to 780mm eliminated some of my elbow pronation woes.

Nukeproof ships the main pivot in the second most progressive setting and the chainstay in the central slot at 440mm long. This seemed short on paper, but I decided to start there. As for the Boxxer fork, I went with 155 psi and two volume spacers and didn’t stray too far from there throughout the testing.
Matt Beer
Location: Squamish, BC, Canada
Age: 36
Height: 5'10" / 178 cm
Weight: 170 lb / 77 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mattb33r



From the first lap on the Dissent 297, I felt comfortable and in control, gaining more confidence as the lap counter ticked over. Everything about the Dissent is active; the shorter wheelbase, cushy suspension, and 27.5” rear wheel.

The suspension sags quickly into the stroke to give a slack feeling with a sizable chunk of front wheel ahead of you for tackling obstacles head on. In the 21% progression setting, I was surprised to learn how plush the Dissent remained off the top, yet still progressive at the bottom end. The amount of movement at the beginning of the travel seemed a little imbalanced and too reactive for my liking, primarily due to the slight regression leading into the sag zone. Bumping up the low-speed compression slowed this down, although it can’t totally overcome that leverage curve.

I liked how well that slight regression kept the rear wheel hugging the ground at low speeds, however, I would trade that forgiveness if I could settle down the balance of the bike. For that reason, I switched to the 17% progression setting and preferred the added composure, never needing more ramp on heavy landings. This switch calmed down its eagerness to dive into the first part of the travel and worked more efficiently for trucking through the upper reaches of the Garbanzo trails.

When it came time to slow down the Dissent, I was impressed with how active the single pivot remained and the lack of suspension rise. Of all the bikes in the test, the Nukeproof weaved in and out of corners on command, needing less encouragement to whip it sideways. For riders who focus on splitting their time between honing all-out speed and goofing around on machine-made trails, the Dissent caters well to either. I wouldn’t peg it as a freeride bike, nor does it require as much muscle to ride as the Orange 279 or Antidote Darkmatter. The shorter wheelbase is compensated in terms of stability by that initial squish the Dissent relaxes into, yet doesn’t feel laborious to pump your way through flow trails.

If you’re looking to add some stability and racer influence to the Dissent, there is the chainstay length adjustment. Primarily, I stuck with the 440mm rear center, although I experimented by stretching that 5mm to 445. No doubt the extra wheelbase brought in more traction and straight line capabilities, but lengthening the chainstay increased the leverage ratio and brought back that very independent, eager rear shock movement I found at the 23% progression setting.

Despite the dusty conditions and constant punishment, those two modular hardware chips never creaked or wiggled loose once. They’re easy to swap in the parking lot and a single brake adaptor takes care of all three chainstay lengths. Changing the progression can be accomplished without removing the rear wheel or crankset too.

Besides the nature of the leverage curve that didn’t quite align with my tastes - although it’s simple to react to - there were only two minor quibbles with the Dissent. First was the chainstay protector that lost its adhesion near the chainring, and the second was a strange pedal kickback sensation felt in deeper bowl berms. The best I can do to explain that predicament is by describing the sound that the drivetrain made. You could hear the cassette spin across the pawls as the chain and derailleur recoiled back into position. This only happened a handful of times in particular corners, and thankfully never caused any ride disruptions.


Technical Report

Nukeproof Horizon Handlebars: Controls can be a combination of personal setup and fit. If you prefer a straighter handlebar, you'll want to swap these out. These Horizon bars use a 5-degree upsweep and 9-degree backsweep, but felt more drastic to me. I originally thought they were bent in shipping when I built the bike, except they were bent on both sides, evenly. To each their own.

Nukeproof Horizon Rims: Having never seen these rims in person before, I knew they’d either sink or swim, given the torture that awaited them. I like to think I ride lightly, although I’ve cased a jump or dinged a rock over the years. The alloy Horizon rims performed exceptionally well, remaining dent free and barely needing any attention.

SRAM Code R Brakes:I’d give these a pass if they were spec’d on the less expensive Dissent Comp, but when you pair Code Rs with a full XO1 DH drivetrain, you start to question what should be prioritized. After the handlebar, and yes, it’s a substantial change, they’d be the second part to find a new home. At least there is a powerful 220mm rotor up front.

Nukeproof 297
Antidote Darkmatter - photos Satchel Cronk
Antidote Darkmatter

How Does It Compare?

Overall, the Dissent held its own on our test track and was the “easiest bike to ride”. What does that mean? Well, it’s a combination of comfort, predictability, and response to rider inputs. It’s not the lightest, longest, or slackest bike, but hands down was the most enjoyable to ride. Riding a healthy mix of tech, jump, and fast single track in the bike park wasn’t as demanding, both physically and mentally, as the rest of the test fleet.

Across stutter bumps, the Dissent soaked those up with ease compared to the Orange 279 and more so than the Antidote, at least at lower speeds. Somewhere in between the highly active initial suspension rate of the Dissent and the taught top end of the Orange is what I’d settle for. Still, nothing came close to the Canfield Jedi, which seemingly erased anything in its path.



+ Frame versatility works for racers and park rats alike
+ Intuitive to ride
+ A smart blend of comfort and control


- Sizing limits taller riders: XL = 480mm reach
- Some riders may look for more support from the suspension
- Brakes fall short of the build kit

Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesLike going fast and having fun? The Nukeproof Dissent 297 is a blast to ride on jump tracks and weaves through corners naturally. If you're on the clock, there's enough adaptability in the suspension design and chainstay length to prioritize stability.

There's also something to be said for how quickly you can come to terms with a bike. Even with that slightly softer, but comfortable initial suspension actuation, the Dissent was one of the more enjoyable downhill rigs to ride in the park. Swapping out the brakes to align with the rest of the build would boost the overall performance, otherwise, Nukeproof has put together a solid downhill package.
Matt Beer

Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
380 articles

  • 106 3
 That thing is sick, good to see quality alloy bikes making a comeback. Overpriced carbon with shit builds needs to end.
  • 21 1
 And it comes in at ~37lb
  • 16 0
 Amen, especially for DH and park bikes.
  • 19 0
 Great to see a company which custom tunes shocks and bothers to prove it with tune names. Properly tuned suspension and frame adjustability > carbon & bling.
  • 9 0
 There's enough options out there. Just break free of PB once in a while.
  • 7 0
 @aarong133: Less than Henry's trail bike. lol
  • 1 7
flag rivercitycycles FL (Mar 9, 2023 at 10:28) (Below Threshold)
 This is shockingly close to the Grim Donut!
  • 1 0
 get it while u can, the carbon Dissent will be dropping any minute
  • 62 0
 I don't own a dh bike, and probably never will, but I do appreciate that we're getting reviews for them now.
  • 9 0
 I just bought my first modern DH bike. I rode DH bikes 10 years ago and then went to enduro bikes. I can't wait for the first lap on a modern DH rig! Another 2 months of skiing and snow to go though.
  • 1 0
 @powderhoundbrr: Another 2 months?? We just came back from our last ski trip and everyone is saying like this is it for this season
  • 3 0
 @pakleni: Canadian Rockies, trails will be covered with snow until late May. The bike parks here usually open at the end of June.
  • 33 1
 aluminum bikes need more love
  • 23 1
 "easiest bike to ride" "most enjoyable". As a 48 yr old who plateaued a few years ago and looking to buy a dh bike for shuttle days those words definitely caught my eye. Thanks Matt for the great review.
  • 3 3
 How do you know you've plateaued if you are willing to keep trying?
  • 27 0
 @YukonMog: great question I struggle with often. I remember "pushing" more and crashing occasionally. I haven't crashed seriously in some time. So probably not pushing either. Maybe priorities have changed to enjoy a fast 80% ride with less chance of life changing injury. Not going to get all my problems worked out in the comment section, what will I tell my psychologist? Thanks mate
  • 5 0
 @HughBonero: We kinda hit a flow. Of knowing our limits and staying in them. Also, I don't bounce back from big hits like I used to. A few of them are having permanent impacts. Kids, never wear gloves without armor on your pinky. I've broken my patella, hip, ribs, but nothing hurt more than shattering a pinky.
  • 3 2
 @HughBonero: pushing more and crashing is kind of plateauing too.

You can become a better rider in more ways than just feeling to need to push it to a speed you can't control.

Maybe you noticed you were crashing less because you are getting better and better?
  • 3 0
 @YukonMog: He's 48 mate, nothing wrong with plateauing at any age let alone that age. We age, that's how it is.
  • 1 0
 Still, nothing came close to the Canfield Jedi, which seemingly erased anything in its path.
  • 9 1
 In reading the description of the suspension feel and looking at the leverage curves, it seems to me that they've designed kinematics that are optimized for air shocks, but spec a coil shock, especially for the lower progression settings. The regressive leverage ratio at the beginning of the travel is a classic idea for overcoming the lack of small bump sensitivity in air shocks due to seal friction, with rapid progression in the middle to keep the air shock from feeling wallowy, and the regressive end stroke nets a more linear feel as the air pressure ramps up.

@mattbeer, did you get the chance to try this with an air shock? It seems to me that moving to the 30% progression setting would make the coil feel better, rather than the 17%...
  • 3 2
 I think it will depend to a degree on the rider's weight. Less progression is better suited to lighter people because they don't generate as much force on average. Seems like a pretty versatile rig.
  • 2 3
 @ashmtb85: I don't buy that at all. Why wouldn't you want the same kinematics, offset by a different spring rate to account for rider weight? If anything, as you decrease the progression here, you move to a lower leverage ratio, which makes the suspension more impacted by damping tune, so a lighter rider with a lighter spring would be even more impacted by the tune - meaning the more progressive setting would potentially feel better for the lighter rider, holding the tune constant.
  • 2 0
 @emarquar: in my experience you have to run more sag as a light weight person if the frame is too progression. Travel becomes limited otherwise. You can achieve only so much by opening up the clickers.
  • 6 1
 @emarquar In my experience with bikes that use an inverted rocker link (ie: Nukeproof, Rocky Mountain, Fezarri, etc), I agree that an air shock can pair well with this style of leverage curve. The caveat is that this combo can become very progressive at the end of the travel. I didn't have a chance to try the Dissent with an air shock, but I noticed that their team rider, Dan Booker, has tried that in the past: www.pinkbike.com/news/getting-to-know-dan-booker-tasmanias-flat-pedal-wonderboy.html

I found the most linear 17% position to offer tons of small bump sensitivity and enough progression. As you move to the more progressive settings, you increase the leverage ratio at the start too. That makes the suspension dive into the travel quickly - a feeling I don't gel with.
  • 2 1
 @emarquar, @mattbeer:

It's simple: they've done the calculation incorrectly. They've taken the change and divided by the initial rate, not the final rate. Do it properly and the numbers are significantly different.
  • 1 1
 @emarquar: I had the Giga before with a coil and even in the progressive setting at 29% I didn't feel like it was enough. 30+% with an Oring would be the one. I'm a 90kg rider for reference. You want it to be as supple as possible off the top but still not bottom out. I've got no idea how Matt can ride at 17%, must be like Legolas.
  • 1 0
 @Jordmackay: I'm willing to bet has to do with rider weight. Matt is 30lbs lighter than you
  • 8 1
 Canfield for the win!
  • 3 1
 no small, I could just about stretch to 425 reach with a 10mm stem in a mullet.
  • 4 3
 @bat-fastard: So? Looks like the Canfield is just not for you. Just as the Nukeproof isn't for me. 480mm reach on size XL is just too short.
  • 1 0
 @bat-fastard: call them and see if they have any plans! it's likely a demand issue, they offer smalls in all their trail bikes.
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: did do, no plans but tora will make me custom size Smile . I like my darkcycles scarab too much is problem. The rear is soo plush my problem is getting forks as good lol
  • 1 0
 @bat-fastard: lol, good problem to have!
  • 3 1
 If Matt Beer says Code Rs aren't as strong and don't offer the same level of modulation as Code RSCs, I'm inclined to believe it. However, I always thought these two brakesets were similar but with more adjustability, some weight savings, and better bearings on the brake lever pivot. None of those would really affect power or modulation, so what else has SRAM done to the RSCs to bump those traits up?
  • 9 1
 The leverage rate of the lever throw is different between the two The difference is more than just simply the adjustability
  • 3 0
 Big up. I’d love to see a comparison review of R’s and RSC’s in a straightforward manner.

Marketing take on that is clear, but what’s the real difference? From my perspective it’s as well only about that additional adjustability which is indeed a benefit, but to what extent (price gap)?

Reading all the reviews across the web it seems like these two brakes are sooo different.
  • 2 0
 @stormracing: Well that'd certainly do it. Weird that they did it that way as, like geometry, leverage rates don't cost more money. Just seems like a manufactured need to upgrade. Unless perhaps it's some sort of additional complexity that would actually cost something to manufacture like Shimano's servo-wave levers?
  • 4 0
 RS / RSC models have the swing-link lever. The R's don't. That's what drives the difference in feel (and potentially the perception of power for given brake lever input).
  • 3 0
 As a mtb'er doomed to tinker forever I have a Code RSC on the rear for the Swinglink and quicker bite point to account for the longer length of hose's flex. I have a Code R on the front for better modulation without the swinglink. The shorter hose makes them feel about the same bite-wise. I feel like out of the box there is a difference--but if you prep the pistons and bleed an R and RSC well it is hard to tell the difference in terms of performance. As you go through pads the RSC do feel better for longer though, that's the only difference I can tell.
  • 9 17
flag skimtb1 FL (Mar 9, 2023 at 11:27) (Below Threshold)
 Friends don't let friends ride Codes, R's or RSC's. While they are probably suitable if you ride short flat hills, they completely lack power and heat dissipation on proper tracks in proper mountains. If your bike comes with Codes, do yourself a favor - take them off and resell and put that cash towards a proper set of brakes. There are tons of good options out there such as Saint, MT7 and Hope v4.
  • 1 0
 @McKai: I built my latest bike on a semi-budget, which meant connecting my new Code front caliper to my mostly new Guide RSC levers.
They say it’s an e-bike specific combo. I was afraid I was gonna get too much lever throw, didn’t happen. Feels solid!
Only problem is my pads bedded in all wrong, and might have cooked the rotor. I gotta swap both.
  • 3 5
 @skimtb1: Hopes are nice but better than RSC they are not lol
  • 6 2
 @skimtb1: this is truly the dumbest take. I weigh 200 lbs, and ride Colorado bike parks on code RSCs. they are more than enough. certainly more reliable than weepy, wandering shimanos. no hate for maguras or Hope, though.

perhaps you're blaming a brake when it's your setup, maintenance, and/or riding technique.
  • 3 2

I haven't ridden the new Hopes but my friends all say they are flawless.

I'm talking the new Hope Tech 4 V4
  • 1 0
 @TheRamma: I have codes on mine and had no brake fade at winter park, and I'm heavier than you. And I rode the brakes a ton.
  • 6 8

Codes performance drops off the radar after about half a run. Not to mention outright power is only 60-70% of the others noted. Codes are a laughing stock in my neck of the woods and an immediate take-off on new bikes. Historically Saints have been the only brakes up to snuff, but now magura and hope have stepped up as contenders.

I weigh 200 lbs kitted and ride arguably some of the steepest trails out there. Turns out I'm pretty dialed on maintenance and no slouch on a bike either. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Colorado bike parks are not the most comprehensive test for a DH brake lol
  • 3 0
 @big-red: It seems reasonable to propose simply increasing the leverage of brakes without leverage curve modifiers (ex. Swinglink or ServoWave). The problem with a constantly high leverage ratio (low motion ratio) is that it doesn't push much fluid, so pad clearance is reduced.

The purpose of these leverage modifiers is to use a high motion ratio to push more fluid prior to pad contact, then transition to a low motion ratio for more force after pad contact.

These features add several cents to the manufacturing cost, hence the near doubling of the MSRP. (Sarcasm, of course; higher margins on upper tier parts are unavoidable elements of sales and marketing.)
  • 2 1
 @TheRamma: I had nothing but problems with xt, zee and Saint brakes. My Code R, RSC and Guide RSC have been excellent and never lacking power for me at 220lbs.
  • 10 1
 @skimtb1: watch out, we got a bad ass over here.
  • 3 1
 @fruitsd79: yeah, seriously. extra cringe on that post. speaking for "everyone in his neck of the woods," throwing shade at Colorado bike parks not testing your brakes.

Not sure if Mr. Badass is going to try and pull some Whistler cred next, but that's my prediction (I can imagine the sudden halt of fingerless gloves and the nervous adjusting of a duster jacket as he reads this)

Codes, top brakes since they started surveying opening day at Whistler. If you can't ride well-set up and maintained code RSCs, it's on you as a rider. Maybe try not dragging the brakes the whole way down. The More You Know!
  • 2 1
 @als802: yeah, I've had much better luck with SRAM brakes than anything else. Shimanos tend to get weepy and need bleeds every two weeks after 1 or 2 seasons (except an almost frustratingly faultless set of Deore 2 pistons on my wife's trail bikes, in full disclosure).

Got some TRP quadiems, and the rears have been trouble with stuck pistons. About to warranty them if some weird bleed to remove air trapped in the caliper doesn't work.

I did manage of overheat my first gen Guide RSs, either on 100 degree days on descents like gunny loop, or at the bike park when I was a totally, hand cramping, brake hold newb.
  • 4 0
 @TheRamma: just because SRAM has a strangle hold on the OEM market doesn't make them good brakes. If they're all you've known and work for you that's great. But that doesn't mean their aren't other brakes that perform way better like the new hopes.
  • 1 1
 @spicysparkes: for sure, haven't ridden any hopes. they are purty. always open to somebody making something better, no particular love for SRAM.

I'm responding to someone else's specific, ridiculous claims.
  • 2 1
 @TheRamma: As somebody who lives in Colorado I'd say skimtb1 is right about the parks in general.
Keystone has trails that require some heavy breaking, Trestle is the most brakeless park I've ever ridden, Snowmass has a couple of runs but also a bunch of brakeless stuff. Granby and Vail both require hitting lots of precise braking points but aside from old nine line don't require much heavy braking. Can we claim Angelfire even though it's hours into New Mexico?
  • 2 0
 @Velosexualist: the rsc has the swing link where as the r doesn’t . The link increases leverage in the stroke. I’ve used soooo many DH breaks over the years and I love my rsc over all I’ve tried. 3 years old and only ever changed pads. Most reliable brakes I’ve used in terms of consistent feel and power.
  • 1 0
 @spicysparkes: i like my Code R's for east coast bike parks, but wow do I miss the Hope Mono M4's with Dangerboy levers and factory braided SS lines that I had back in 2006-2007. Just a baddddd mutha brake set all around.
  • 2 1

Whistler is 11 hours away from me, so no affiliation here. That park is generally not super steep and taxing from a braking perspective though. Also, do you really think the punters in the Whistler lift line reflect ultimate performance in their component selection? No. That survey reflects which components have had OEM dominance in the last 5-6 years of gravity bike sales.

Ya sure I could ride and survive on codes, but I certainly wouldn't be thriving. They are probably totally suitable in a hurting Colorado bike park, but they aren't even close to suitable on my local DH tracks. Based on me and my crew's experience, it's Saint, MT7's, or Tech 4's. That hold water. Codes are underwhelming brake, simple as that. See blister review link for corroboration.

  • 1 0
 @skimtb1: cool. these super steep trails, that would blow my tiny Colorado mind, got some names?

As to blisterreview, it's not a particularly objective test. It also doesn't say the brakes fail halfway down one of these amazing Canadian runs that you do.

Sadly, this one has aged a bit, but it's the best approach to getting objective info. You'll never guess what brakes beat Saints, Deores, and XTs...
  • 1 0
 @catweasel: yeah, not a Front Range resort guy, out on the Westslope. A natural park like Powderhorn is way more taxing on the brakes than one with lots of machined flow. So is riding the slab on the Ribbon on a 90+ day. I've had other brakes overheat or have performance issues in those scenarios.

Still, dude is claiming he rides such steep lines that his Codes overheat halfway down. Still waiting to hear what these lines are.
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: There's more to a brake's performance than whether they overheat. We could put the master cylinder from a Chevy Suburban and some cooling fins on a Hayes El Camino and it wouldn't overheat, but it wouldn't be a good brake.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: that's true. if you look back at the exchange, I'm responding to someone who says his Code RSCs give out halfway through one of these magical ultrasteep nameless runs that only Canadians have. he also claims those brakes should just be immediately taken off, which is dumb.
  • 1 0
 @TheRamma: Yes, I'm limiting my interactions to people who seem reasonable.
  • 1 0
 @TheRamma: HA the bottom of the wine glass is a brake burner for sure I'll give you that.
I'd agree that those code comments are a bit OTT but it's annoying that the big S's only make the 5th or 6th? best brakes on the market yet they come on nearly every bike.
I don't doubt that Canada has stuff that would make any brakes beg for mercy, the mount 7 phycosis stuff surely would?
Brake burners are 10 a penny in the Alps, one ridden stuff that drops 1500' in a mile and 3500' in 4, amazing stuff.
You should get yourself up to Vail sometime, crap park overall but TNT and Magic Forest to Old Nine Line are some of the best runs in the state. The dirt is magical after rain.
If you ever had east Ore Chute at Maryland Mountain and lots of the Lefthand stuff are properly steep especially for CO.
  • 1 0
 @catweasel: "it's annoying that the big S's only make the 5th or 6th? best brakes on the market yet they come on nearly every bike." it's a value proposition for bike companies. They can say they offer a big name brake that has four piston calipers and big rotors. On the surface this is acceptable to probably 90% of their target customer base.

-someone whos local bike park has maybe 900 feet of vert.
  • 2 0
 @mca896: I understand the reasons manufacturers spec them. The problem with the OEM packaging deals is that we effectively have a duopoly when it comes to brakes and that is never good for the consumer.
The big S's brakes are good enough that speccing an alternative isn't a big enough selling point. With the resources they have these companies should have the best brakes out there but here we are still dealing with shimanos wandering bite point, srams fade, the ridiculous dead space in the code r lever throw and reviewers constantly complaining that G2s aren't powerful enough for modern trail bikes.
With smaller companies offering better performance at a similar after market price point the OEM duopoly is definitely annoying.
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: I'm fine with him taking them off immediately, I'll buy them and be happy with them.
  • 1 0
 @catweasel: agreed, but i think the similar price point of smaller manufacturers disappears once they go wholesale. the big S's are able to offer such huge volume discounts and are okay with likely razor thin OEM profit margins as a tradeoff for ensuring their products are on every bike in the $0-$4000 range. Once you go bespoke or super high spec you start to see more of the other manufacturers.

tell me more about this dead space in code R lever throw. I swapped over to Code R's at the very tail end of last season and haven't had enough seat time to notice that yet apparently.
  • 2 0
 @mca896: type code r lever throw in Google and you'll see its a common issue.
Basically you have to pull the lever a long way before you get any actual engagement. If you have small hands it really sucks as the lever gets really close to the bar at full engagement.
This guy makes a cheap simple solution that has been a game changer for me, though it should never be an issue in the first place IMO.
  • 3 1

Ya they've got names. If you're ever in the kootenays, hit me up and I'll take you on a tour.

Both blister and enduro show Saints out-classing Codes on the one stat that matters when it comes to riding steep rowdy terrain: power. I personally don't care about modulation. Raw power and heat management are all I'm really looking for
  • 2 2

The fundamental problem with Codes is that they lack power. Since they lack power, they overheat like the bejesus as you've got to use them so f*cking much. They also require completely reinventing your braking points by like 5 metres upslope. Between me and riding crew, we all run Saints, mt7's, or Hope Tech 4's. Those brakes can handle our local trails. And no, we're not shitty brake draggers. We just have big mountains and steep, fall line, wide-open DH tracks.
  • 2 2

Codes are probably fine if you're riding small hills that are relatively flat. For downhill on big, steep mountains, codes don't stack up to the competition. Friends don't let friends ride Codes.
  • 2 0
 @skimtb1: I got codes on my ebike which I either ride long and not that steep or steep and not that long. Now I've got the slackerizers on I don't mind them, I'm sure they would fade in long steep stuff SRAM always do.
I've got tech 4s on my enduro rig, had em 6 years on 3 bikes. Love the fast engagement combined with fine control that they give but find them a little fatiguing on really long steep stuff. Would love a set of the new ones!
My wife has a set of the new XTs that seem to be unicorns in not developing wandering bite. Don't like the feel as much as my hopes but they are great for hands fatigue. Just dont trust shimano for reliability, wish they'd up their game.
All my friends love their TRPs.
  • 1 1
 @spicysparkes: not as powerful as saints or RSC and cost loads more. I was a Hope fanboy at one point as well, and cooked my V4's on one Fort William run.
  • 1 0
 @asdfg3: Did you read any of the articles I linked above?. My new tech 4's are significantly more power full than my previous full saint and shigura setups.
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: I moved from bc to Colorado. Although there is plenty of fun to be had in Colorado bike parks, a test of brake performance they are not. @skimtb1 has a point about the average bc trail being steeper, faster and gnarlier than the average Colorado trail. I have yet to ride something here where I feel a dh bike is justified, likewise I feel any 4 pot brake will do just fine in Colorado whereas in bc I was constantly on the hunt for for power and more heat dissipation.
  • 1 0
 @ivemadeahugemistake: Are you telling me you stick to the Front Range?

I'm not going to start measuring gnarly cred, not been to BC, but if you're saying Boulder Gulch doesn't test brakes, I'm just walking away laughing. Sort of like I do with the guy who swears that stronger brakes generate less heat...
  • 1 2

Stronger brakes inherently generate less heat because you don't need to use them as much.

Short blitzes of heavy/powerful braking are much better from a heat perspective than long, drawn out periods of moderate braking. More powerful brakes allow you to be more precise with your braking points equating to less dragging.

It's just like pumping your brakes in a car vs riding them consistently down a long mountain pass.
  • 2 0
 @skimtb1: so my life could get significantly better if i toss my codes in favor of MT7's? Hmm. my wallet isn't too happy with you right now. i guess i didn't know what i've been missing this whole time.
  • 2 0
How long ago was it that Codes and a 200mm rotor were found on many full DH rigs? Did we all get faster than that? On our trail bikes..?
  • 2 0
 @Untgrad: still are as evidenced by this article. i see tons of rental bikes at bikeparks with them, including SB160's. I don't think we got faster, i think we just became more "pinkbike"-ier. The placebo effect is strong and once the codes are soured in the mind, you start picking up on every little potential shortcoming out on the trail.
  • 2 0
 @mca896: antidote darkmatter review just dropped.
Code rsc.
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: proper
  • 1 0
 @mca896: oh noes! how did he ride on those? I mean, Matt Beer is even Canadian!!!!!
  • 1 1

It's truly mind bottling that they'd spec such turd of a brake on a $10,000+ super bike. That being said, the mainstream mtb SRAM nutswingers will voraciously eat it up, so you might as well give it to them!
  • 1 0
Thank you. I didn’t have the nutsack to put it like that..
  • 2 0
 It's funny he doesn't like the backsweep on the NP bars, the wider bars have been getting, the more I enjoy additional backsweep. I run 12° on my trail bike and I'm tempted to try 16°
  • 1 0
 Horses for courses I think - I agree with you, but I also am completely useless downhill
  • 1 0
 Jeeze and here i was thinking my 37 lb. Capra "wasn't that heavy". Also why don't more companies supply the Rockshox bolt on fender?? Looks so much cleaner and more integrated than the zip tie mudguards. From a retail pricing standpoint, the costs are very similar. Not sure about wholesale cost.
  • 2 0
 Hats off to the designer, that's a very pretty bike. If I could afford it, I'd buy one to ride occasionally and ogle the rest of the time!
  • 4 0
 Thank you Matt and Pinkbike for giving us DH bike reviews!
  • 2 0
 I would like to do 27,5 front, is there a way you could put some sort of spacer at the bottom of the headtube so the bottom bracket height remains the same?
  • 3 0
 Nukeproof makes a 27.5 version of the Dissent, however it is frame only (and apparently not available online.)
  • 2 0
 They definitely sell them, jack mior is known to run a spacer to jack his front end up.
  • 1 0
 I spent about 2 weeks of evenings stripping the paint off my Dissent 290, 2 years ago, and now they've brought out a raw frame. WHY COULDN'T YOU HAVE DONE THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE NUKEPROOF
  • 5 2
 Feels like Levy made Matt do the video at knifepoint
  • 1 0
 Second DH bike review with a DD tire on the back...... whats going on here? More compliance? Lack of availability? Pedal Laps?
  • 4 0
 @ianz2 Yes, that's what was provided.
  • 1 0
 And the harder dual compound up front
  • 2 0
 That's a really nice looking bike. It's good to see dh bike reviews and good to read its fun to ride.
  • 2 0
 Park bikes rule, if I were to offer one piece of advice, make a single speed option.
  • 1 0
 Wow. Bike review becomes brake and crank arm review in the forum..
I can’t help but feel partly responsible..
Good feedback on brake preferences though!
  • 2 0
 That is one well rounded solid rig. It sounding too supple sounds like a great candidate for a big DH air shock.
  • 2 0
 Come on Kokanee...Matt BEEEEEEEEEER needs a legit sponsor.
  • 3 0
 Or deal with Dale's to do a "Matt's Beer"
  • 1 0
 There is a brewery in North Vancouver called Beere, Head brewer and co-owner is called Matt Beere.... www.beerebrewing.com
  • 2 0
 Photo on the big jump on Dirty is siiiiiiick @mattbeer
  • 1 0
 @wolftwenty1 It's just typical photo magic by @satchscratch
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer: sick shapes though.
  • 2 0
 How does it climb? Missing that from the review.
  • 1 0
 Like a goat. Perfect anti squat. You'd think that you were on a hardtail.
  • 1 0
 This reminds me a little of the original Grim Donut.
  • 2 0
 Intuitive to ride??
  • 2 1
 Probably because it has a smart blend of comfort and control.
  • 1 0
 You receive insights from the gods about whats around the next corner
  • 1 0
 I was wating for this review. Thx PB ! And more DH content please =)
  • 1 0
 Ah the classic Sram centerline rotor discoloration!
  • 1 0
 I’m kind of convinced that discoloration cases braking issues. My previous SRAM brakes needed a bed in after every ride! After years of that I concluded it must be the burnished looking rotor.
  • 1 0
 @Untgrad: discoloration usually indicates that rotor has been ‘over’ heated. While all my rotors eventually look like those centerline do it awfully quick, not a fan of them but their plentiful and cheap
  • 1 0
Yeah it doesn’t take much..
I’m going for the HS2 is it? The thick one.
Or another brand..
  • 1 0
 @Untgrad: with my formulas I’m running their specific rotors which are 2mm, they’re fantastic. My Shimano running 2 piece ice rotors now, actually really impressed. Ran sram a bunch with Shimano brakes and it seems just those centerlines get discolored fast, and noisy too. I just avoid them now.
  • 1 1
There’s really isn’t anything there- just laser cut whatever steel.
I ruined a front rotor riding down a ski hill road. Yeah it was fast, but even rim brakes would have been the same by the bottom.
I assumed there might be a compatibility issue between stock SRAM pads and different brand rotor. I think I’ve proven I’ve already got that with all stock SRAM!
I gonna look hard at Formula.
  • 1 0
 I'm running Hopes on my Dissent and wow what a difference!
  • 1 4
 Hey Matt, could I bother you for an opinion?
You’d prefer aluminum cranks over carbon, am I to assume it just because of the added flex from aluminum, or is there another reason?
Thank you.
  • 15 1
 Carbon cranks are great on light builds, and can be quite strong, but I don't think any of us likes running carbon cranks on bikes that are going to see lots of strikes. The failure more on a carbon crank can be pretty catastrophic.

(That said, when I was a kid racing BMX I watched someone shear an aluminum crank the long way and it went through his calf. Gross.)
  • 3 0
 I can't speak for all carbon cranks but the XO's have ridiculous good balance of strength, durability and weight in my experience. Run in my dh bike last yr no issues along with my old GXP set on the trail bike. However the bench mark for cranks not breaking has to be Saints
  • 2 0
Right, that’s what I’m running. I have little plastic booties over the ends for pedal strikes.
Mine are Blackbox from a SRAM employee, and say “Prototype- Not For Use” right on them.
No issues, just wondering if I could get more cush out of aluminum.
  • 1 0
 @Woody25: Thank you. The results were pretty promising.
  • 7 0
 The way I understood it is that he would rather the extra money for the carbon cranks be applied to spec'ing RSC level brakes.
  • 3 0
 @Untgrad I've never had any issues with SRAM XO1 DH carbon cranks, but @NealWood explained it best.
  • 1 0
Ok, so just swap carbon cranks for better brakes. Nothing about ride quality of aluminum vs carbon crank arms.
Thank you!
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: To be fair to carbon cranks - or carbon anything - the carbon parts are usually a lot lighter. What we're usually saying is "parts of a certain weight can be sketchy", more than "carbon is sketchy". A carbon part that weighs the same as an aluminum equivalent - assuming good design and manufacturing for both - is usually a lot stronger. There are cases where certain metals are more efficient, but carbon wins on specific strength more often than not.

It's more a question of how much weight matters to the rider. If a rider is chasing grams, carbon parts are usually the safe(ish) way to do it. Of course, that raises questions of whether the weight-focused rider is allocating their dollars most efficiently for performance ROI, but that's a whole new discussion.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: so you have a BMX background?
  • 1 0
 Tore out the pedal inserts on 2 of these. First set came on bike. Next set was a replacement. Won’t run carbon cranks on a trail bike let alone my dh rig.
  • 3 0
 I read it that Matt was saying carbon cranks are a pointless "upgrade" when they've specced relatively basic brakes at the same time. I've had Code Rs and they aren't powerful enough for a much slower rider on an enduro bike.
I wonder if there was a bit of post-Covid parts shortage speccing going on with this bike?
  • 1 0
So there was a hole in supply due to COVID, then production ramps up ASAP, and now we have new bikes and parts again. Or so it looks.
Post COVID shortage is excellent question!
I’m wondering if we’re seeing some older parts that haven’t seen an upgrade for 2023- nothing more than “bold new graphics”.
Don’t remember when the Codes were last updated, but could these be maybe 2021 model year parts?
I think my question is- when production was able to kick on again, were manufacturers focused on filling the lack of current stock first, or sacrificing that for next year’s model. Or the year after that?
And, did COVID cause a delay in upgrades.
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