PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
13 Bikes VS The Impossible Climb
Pseudoscience in the name of climbing
While yesterday's 1000 FPS bottom-out bonanza
is the Christmas gift we were all hoping for, it wasn't the only pseudoscience at this year's Field Test. A lot of us want to do our climbing before we do our bottoming, so an evaluation of all thirteen bikes' ascending abilities in a tightly controlled lab setting was in order. Enter the Impossible Climb.
Sure, our "tightly controlled lab setting" was really just a steep section of trail, and the "evaluation" was just me trying to get up the climb without falling over more than a few times, but there were still some interesting takeaways from this afternoon of bro-science and tired legs. To keep things somewhat fair, all bikes were still on their equivalent Maxxis control tires, and I had my unpaid intern @mikekazimer
get pressures the same all around. Each bike's suspension was left fully open, of course, and adjusted to suit.
If you're going to call it the Impossible Climb, it should probably be pretty hard? At a few hundred feet long, and with some roots at the bottom half and smooth, wet rock up top, it was tricky to begin with... But not tricky enough to be impossible until some adjustments were made. We stacked up some cans to create switchbacks so tight they'd be hard to clean even with a unicycle's turning radius. Logs were laid down across my route, the wet rock face was made even wetter, and some banana peels showed up out of nowhere because that happens all the time. Oh, and who would have thought that Kazimer could throw? You'd have thought wrong.
After a long day of falling over, the results were interesting. The spritely, quick handling Trek was the only bike that made it to the top (yeah I'm counting it), while the bright orange Mondraker came oh-so-close. Also impressing was the Orbea Occam. The enduro bikes floundered for the most part, although the Specialized felt the most capable, and with the exception of the Occam, the trail bikes didn't really feel any more capable than the enduro rigs.