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Value Bike Field Test: Fezzari Cascade Peak - The Classic Trail Bike

Mar 30, 2022 at 12:32
by Mike Levy  



VALUE BIKE FIELD TEST

Fezzari Cascade Peak



Words by Mike Levy, photography by Tom Richards


The Cascade Peak is Fezzari's aluminum trail bike that's designed to do all the things, with the direct-to-consumer brand saying their, ''mid-travel alloy line has been designed to be adaptable for a wide range of riders, budgets, and skills levels.'' The 130mm-travel 29er gets a 140mm fork from DVO, adjustable geometry, compatibility with 27.5" wheels, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.

The Cascade Peak's frame is actually used across three different models; the 29er with 130mm of travel and a 140mm fork that's reviewed here, a less expensive version with a 130mm fork called the Wiki, and the Abajo that comes on 27.5" wheels and tires. You'll spot internal routing, chain guide tabs, and room for a single bottle inside the front triangle, but like many value-oriented machines, it's lacking proper chainstay protection.

Fezzari Cascade Peak Details

Fezzari Cascade Peak
• Travel: 130mm rear, 140mm front
• 29" wheels
• 66.4° head-tube angle
• 75° seat-tube angle
• Reach: 463mm (large)
• Weight: 32.9 lb / 14.92 kg
• $2,999 USD
www.fezzari.com

For the rear suspension, Fezzari went with a basic but proven Horst Link layout with a toptube mounted rocker arm compressing a Fox Float DPS shock. A flip-chip at the seatstay / rocker arm junction lets riders adjust the handling slightly and also compensate if they choose to run smaller wheels. As for the geometry, the Cascade Peak's numbers aren't out of date but they're also not exactly up to date compared to some brands. Our large-sized test bike sports a 463mm reach and 619mm toptube length, as well as a long-ish 457mm seat tube. The head and seat angles are at 66.4° and 75°.

The big component standout has to be the Cascade's 140mm-travel DVO Diamond fork, not something we see often and especially not on a value-priced trail bike. As long as the Diamond works well, Fezzari should get kudos for taking a different route and choosing a fork that stands out compared to what we're used to seeing. Other bits include SRAM's 12-speed GX doing drivetrain duties, there's an X-Fusion Manic dropper post, and a set of SRAM G2 R brakes to slow you down. All that adds up to $2,999 USD and 32.9lb.




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Climbing

The Fezzari's shorter reach, relatively relaxed seat angle, as well as the slightly longer stem, come together to make a bike that doesn't feel nearly as modern as some others on the market. Seated, I was a bit farther behind the bottom bracket than I would have preferred, even with the saddle pushed forward on its rails. This showed itself on tighter switchbacks or frumpy, slow-speed sections of trail when the Cascade Peak would sometimes act like it's longer than it actually is; then again, I've cleaned some absolutely heinously tricky climbs on machines with far less contemporary numbers than the Fezzari, a reminder to think about performance rather than geo charts.

Besides, compared to how the Process 134 climbs, the Fez is practically the two-wheeled version of Reinhold Messner. It's also relatively active, with the rear wheel doing a good job of sticking the ground and helping with traction. The flip-side is, of course, that you'll want to firm up the Fox shock for longer, smoother climbs, but that's a fair strategy for a category of bike intended to be ridden nearly anywhere and everywhere by all sorts of people.

With middle-of-the-road climbing manners, the Cascade Peak probably isn't your jam if you put more value on going up than descending or all-around performance, that latter being the bike's main strength.


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Descending

The Fezzari spent a lot of its time with us on chunky, rough trails that were often covered in either loose rock or loose rock on top of pointier rocks. It's the kind of place where half the time I found myself wanting a long, stable bike with the front wheel way out in front of me, while the other times I was wishing I had a short, quick-handling rig for the tight stuff and awkward moves. The Cascade Peak is better matched to the latter, with its strengths shining through when faced with pokey sections of trail that are more of a mind game than eye-wateringly fast. Picture that stereotypical East Coast singletrack, the kind with not much elevation gain or loss but more roots and rocks than anyone knows what to do with - that's exactly where the Fezzari is going to shine.

Timed Testing

Our timed lap consisted of steep, technical climbs full of ledges and hard efforts, and a rough descent littered with rocks that lead into a fast, loose section of trail. Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.

With a 1:44 versus the Izzo's winning 1:39, the Fez posted the third quickest climbing time of all the full-suspension bikes. On the way back down, its 1:03 saw it tied with the Stumpy for the win. Added up, the Cascade Peak's 2:47 saw it finish third overall, one second back from the Stumpy and Izzo that had matching total times.
It's those settings where the Fezzari does a good job of feeling easier to live with than a longer, slacker machine, happily getting around impossibly tight corners and picking its way through chunk that would slow other bikes more. Every bike has (or hopefully has) its own set of strengths, and while the Cascade is a hoot when the speeds are relatively slow, it definitely doesn't suit the trail rider who likes to pretend to be an enduro racer.

When things start coming at you quicker, or if it gets steep or rough, the Fezzari is going to give up some ground to other bikes. In those moments, it felt like my weight was being pushed too far forward, especially when I was on the brakes hard or just hoping to come out the other side still holding onto the handlebar. There are trail bikes that love that kind of riding, but they don't have 60mm stems or 463mm reach numbers, even if there is mostly no "wrong" way to do geometry. The Fez feels closer to the edge, and when you do cross the line between fast fun and falling down, I didn't have as much confidence that I could stop the latter from happening.

Onto the suspension, which did its job in a quiet, no-fuss kind of way that's always good to see. For having 130mm of travel, the back of the Cascade Peak is well-balanced with loads of traction and an active feel; it was never too harsh, wallowy, or gave up a hard bottom-out.

Moving on from the riding, the frame doesn't seem as nice compared to the more expensive Canyon Spectral, or the less expensive Specialized, and I kinda get the impression that it's already a few seasons old if I'm being blunt about it. The geometry numbers say the same thing, too, but Fezzari has chosen a bunch of solid components to hang off it that might make it one of the better spec'd bikes for the price.

Let's start with the 140mm DVO Diamond fork that worked very well. It offers externally adjustable low-speed and high-speed compression, as well as the OTT adjuster to tweak the fork's sensitivity, but does it ride better because of them? Maybe, depending on what you do with the dials, but it's neat to see on the front of a $3,000 bike. The Fox shock did shock things, too, but for some reason, the pedal-assist switch was loose and rattly when set to open or closed, but not in the middle mode.

SRAM does the going and stopping duties on the Fezzari, and its 12-speed GX drivetrain shifts well and has far better ergonomics than their lower-priced offerings. Brake feel is always going to be a subjective thing, of course, but I seem to get on better with the four-piston G2s on this bike than I did with the Shimano brakes on some others; I like the initial bite, control, and lever feel, and it's nice to see a dial instead of having to reach for a micro-sized hex key to adjust reach. Other standouts include the Maxxis DHF and Aggressor EXO+ tire combo (perfect for this bike), the X-Fusion dropper (proven reliability), and the always easy to live with Stan's rims.


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Pros

+ Great components, DVO fork
+ Not a specialist, but decent at everything
+ Best suited to slow speed trails

Cons

- Doesn't feel as modern as some other bikes
- Decent but not great at everything
- Not confidence inspiring at speed





The 2022 Value Bike Field Test was made possible thanks to Visit Tucson and Norrona clothing.





Want early access to all of the Field Test content, along with other exclusive articles and videos? The enduro bike Field Test is happening soon - to make sure you don't miss any content sign up for Beta MTB.

These tests take a lot of time and money to make happen, and we genuinely try to give riders useful, honest feedback about the bikes we review. We appreciate everyone's support!


Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

215 Comments
  • 228 12
 Buy this. Put an Angleset on it. Go ride your modern slack bike. Buy me a beer.
  • 127 4
 SOMEONE GET THIS MAN A BEER
  • 37 5
 Long seat tubes mean you can't size up, and that reach is pretty short.
  • 23 6
 Yep 457mm L and 495mm XL seat tube lengths. Those are some 2016 looking numbers. Not much room there. An angleset doesn't solve that and the reach is too short.
  • 6 8
 Wow comment of the day!
  • 7 10
 @redrook: the seat tube is the height of the tire? If it's too tall a 29er probably isn't for you in the first place.
  • 6 3
 mic drop of the century
  • 25 1
 @Bro-LanDog: It's not a deal breaker for me but the seat tube could be a lot shorter, which would let people up-size for a longer reach if they wanted, or at least run a much longer dropper post Smile
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy: was thinking up-sizing could be nice work around for the geo but you make a good point that the seat tube could throw that off. Maybe the perfect bike for someone who falls in that M/L fitting around 5' 10" by going with a large.
  • 6 0
 An angleset does reduce the height of the head tube slightly, which in turn steepens the STA and increases the reach. Not huge changes, but still does improve the three weaknesses with this bikes Geo.
  • 3 32
flag carlwheezer69 (Apr 27, 2022 at 12:35) (Below Threshold)
 Fezzzari? more like gross pal who in their right mind would get this? I personally think the trek liquid from 2003 is the best bike to exist #staywokepal
  • 6 2
 @Jackaboo: My XL bike has 510 seat tube and the dropper sticks out above that by about 100mm. Cut my ST to 457 and I would be forced to buy a longer dropper because I wouldn't make it to min insertion. People are very different in their body proportions, fortunately not all bikes are the same. And FWIW, I test rode several bikes and preferred the shorter steeper one. The terrain I ride most of the time is not so steep or chunky.
  • 3 2
 @ak-77: Exactly. I've been looking at bikes in size large, and many of them (e.g. Ibis Ripley) wouldn't allow me to get the saddle high enough for my long legs without buying a longer dropper.
  • 6 0
 @Bro-LanDog: Hardly, I'm 5'11 with a 32" inseam. Current ride a 469mm ST and find it a little too tall on steeps and jumps. Progressive brands (e.g. Bird) have realised that ST lengths like this are needless, and shorter ones allow you to slam the seat out the way. Seems the PB staff agree with me. We need to ditch road bike proportions.
  • 3 0
 @ak-77: Haha what? Not sure what you mean but if your dropper is only 100mm that's one problem, and if it's sticking out by 100mm before you've even extended it then you must be a giant. Either way, you're an anomaly. If you only have a 100mm dropper get a new damn dropper. They go to 200mm these days, it's not a big deal. And if you read my comment properly, the XL of this is 495 not 457.
  • 7 0
 @sideshowmel: So buy a longer dropper ya lanky freak Wink
  • 2 2
 @Bro-LanDog: What has tire size got to do with the seat tube? Whether it's too tall depends on what you're doing, but if you're getting active on the bike you don't want a long seat tube.

@ak-77 Dude, you're either a freak or your dropper is too short. And the XL is 495 so less than an inch different than what you currently ride (which I presume is a penny farthing).
  • 2 0
 @rbeach: because if the seattube is the height of the tire, and it's too tall, you're gonna buzz your ass on the tire anyway if the seattube is lower.
  • 3 0
 @Jackaboo: I thought you said 495 is too long, so I sort of assumed you thought 457 would be OK for an XL. I have 150mm Fox Transfer now, it works fine, no need to replace it just yet. I'm not a giant, I'm 186 cm ( in between 6'1 and 6'2 for the imperialists out there). That's only 2cm longer than the average Dutchman my age. The only 'anomaly' is my 92 cm (36") inseam. My usual pedal ride height is 790mm from the saddle rail to the BB. So with a 457 seatpost and a 240mm dropper my saddle rails would still be > 9cm above the post when fully down. If I got the OneUp 240 dropper, which has a stack height of 273 mm, the optimal seat tube length would be around 510, so I could slam the post and have it optimally supported.
  • 2 1
 @ak-77: 36" inseam is like 1% of the adult population. Thats extremely rare. Get a 220mm dropper.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: If you buy me one I will use it. But in the past three years of riding I have had only a handful of 1s moments that a saddle further down would be useful. Doesn't justify the expense for me. Why should I get a different dropper? I have a bike that works for me, there are other bikes available that work for other people. Life is peachy.
  • 4 0
 @rbeach: You don't know me so don't call me a freak. 495 on the XL would work for me. But people were saying it's too long. All I wanted to add was: much shorter ST on the XL and it would be too short for me. Different people have different needs so it's good there are different bikes.
  • 2 0
 @redrook: you could get angle set with reach adjust as well.

Your welcome.

Case of beer?
  • 2 0
 @ak-77: hypothetically If you were to get a new bike in size XL or larger, it would come with a longer dropper and a shorter seat tube.
  • 8 0
 Long reach is overrated, I drank the koolaid and all I got was uncomfortable, now I’m riding a more moderate reach and I’m a happier camper.

Watch how folks start to retrace their steps, folks dropping down a frame size whereas pre-long and low geo, more folks were going up a size.

Riding a plow bike on trails sucks balz, if you read between the lines on this review, you’ll hear the authors saying the same.

What’s old is new!
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: If I buy a complete bike, yes. But look eg at the Polygon siskiu that many people mention as a great value bike. 430 seat tube on the xl, and a 170mm dropper. That adds up to 600, so I would worry about the insertion. Even with an aftermarket post I would worry about forces on the post. Reach is plenty long enough for me at 500. I never had to worry about too short seat tubes when buying a bike, but with modern geometry, it is becoming a problem.
  • 1 0
 @Jackaboo: The large size is just about do-able for short-legged people like me, IF the frame allows full insertion of a low-stack height post (such as a One-Up). I could get 180mm drop on the large.
I know this because all my current bikes are size large (from a few years ago) and I have a 28in inside leg.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: it depends on how much of the post you have sticking out from the ST. I'm in between 6'1" and 6'2" and my 170mm dropper feels too short with the post slammed into the ST. I reckon the 240mm will be a touch too long and the 210mm OneUp will be just fine. A new dropper will be my next upgrade. I also have a fox transfer and with the removal of the additional stack the transfer has the 210mm should be perfect.
  • 152 13
 I don't care about the geometry, because, if we're being honest, most people don't need a 64°/63° HTA. The mere fact that the bike comes with a DVO fork and GX drivetrain at this price point blows my mind and other companies, particularly larger ones, should take note.
  • 50 2
 I really wish more companies would spec DVO suspension. The DVO stuff rides great, easily user serviceable and DVO has awesome support.
  • 34 0
 Fezzari's Delano and La Sal bikes are contemporary and have great components. What their lineup is lacking is contemporary-geo aluminum bikes. If this bike gets updated geo, and has the same components, it would absolutely kill this mountain bike segment.
  • 12 1
 @FrankS29: I was a little unsure of DVO, with plans to upgrade. Since having the ONYX D1 fork and Jade X coil(after getting the PR Spring) I'm sold. Great stuff and every interaction with them has been solid.
  • 18 23
flag nickfranko (Apr 27, 2022 at 9:40) (Below Threshold)
 I'd rather have cheaper fork and drivetrain with a better frame than vice-versa.
  • 28 4
 You mean people in Florida don’t need modern geometry.

Technically nobody “needs” modern geometry, but for mountain biking on actual mountains it sure does work better.
  • 12 5
 Doesn't matter how good the components are if the geometry isn't good. You can see how squashed the tester is on that bike, but the ST length doesn't give him any room to size up. Frame should always be the priority, because everything else can be changed incrementally.
  • 4 1
 @nickfranko: I'm with you on that. I feel like the fork spec has been included so people will overlook this frame.
  • 5 1
 @wyorider: agreed. We could rock 71 degree head angles down here and not be too put out by it.
  • 4 0
 Alafia!! Good fun in the swamps for sure.
  • 11 0
 @wyorider: I understand that, but I've ridden out of state before on bikes with "out of date geometry" and still had fun. All I'm trying to say is that the article appears to emphasize the geometry over the components, when in reality the geo isn't terribly out of date.
  • 18 0
 The DVO suspension and GX are a HUGE plus here. Most bikes at this pricepoint have a crappy RS Recon or 35 and NX or SX...
  • 11 1
 @Quartz: This bike tied the Spesh Stumpy, with outdated geo. Not repeated averages, not scientific, but for it to be able to reach the S speeds shows that "good components", in this case, good tires and that DVO fork, do make up a lot for "bad" geo
  • 8 0
 @FrankS29: 100%, my experience with DVO has been great, best customer service out there.
  • 25 2
 @FloridaHasMTBToo: yeah I feel like people are talking about the geo like it's some 2012 frame with 69 degree HTA... when in reality it's fairly similar to some pretty great current bikes (Ripley/Switchblade/etc). It's a budget all-arounder, not an enduro race bike.

Maybe it's on the more conservative side of modern geo but it's crazy to act like it's out of date IMO. It's like buying a bike from 2-3 years ago, but with up to date components. For the same price, I would 100% take this bike over one with more aggressive geo and worse suspension (like that stumpy alloy they just reviewed).
  • 4 6
 @Quartz: No. If you are shopping for "budget" bikes, which still totally blow most peoples budget, there is no option of "changing everything except for the frame".

Buying components aftermarket is much more expensive than the stuff that comes with the bike. If someone had the money to change everything incrementally, they would just straight up buy the 5k bike right now.
  • 7 0
 @Ttimer: You don't seem to know what incrementally means. It means you would change things gradually over time, so you don't need the budget all at once, and that's exactly what most people do as parts wear out and break over time.
  • 6 0
 @Ttimer: Your logic is moronic. If budget bikes blow your budget then you don't have the budget to get into mountain biking full stop.

The word "budget" is entirely relative. What you're doing is like going onto an article about budget sports cars, or budget houses, and then bitching that they're out of most people's budget. Of course they are, but they are budget relative to other similar items/products.
  • 5 0
 @Ttimer: No, if you are shopping for "budget" bikes then you're still looking to spend several thousand $ on a bike and you WILL need money to maintain it, buy parts etc. I don't know anyone who has a bike older than 6 months who hasn't changed out a part or two. It's not unusual to do it as soon as you get it.

@Quartz said everything else CAN be changed incrementally, he didn't say you should change everything else on the bike dumbass. The implication is that any given part can be changed out, but the frame is the most important thing, and I would completely agree with that.
  • 57 0
 "Out dated GEO and probably not going to be that great on descents."
**Proceeds to tie the fastest downhill time of all the tested bikes**
  • 13 0
 that's what's funny to me about the complaints about geometry.
  • 23 3
 @svenjamsa, as always, those timed testing results should be taken with a giant grain of salt. They're a way to see if the clock matches our perceptions, but they're also specific to that one particular track, which in this case had some tighter, chunkier sections that might have favored the shorter bikes. Or maybe my horchata levels were better on that lap than on the others.
  • 11 0
 the components could easier have played roll in the faster time - particularly the DVO fork
  • 9 0
 @rad8: Especially that DVO fork
  • 7 0
 @mikekazimer: Horchata should be a controlled substance
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: So would you say that for tight and chunky terrain this geometry is better? And what constitutes 'tight and chunky'? My favorite places to ride are 'natural' (hiking) trails in the Alps, which have lots of tight corners and chunky stuff. I don't get to the Alps too often, but I would still say I ride tight chunky hiking trails more often than groomed bike park jump trails. What geometry do you prefer for those kind of trails?
  • 5 2
 To be fair, that Stumpy was severely hampered by its fork. I can replace a fork for a few hundred dollars, and then my guess is the differences in performance become more obvious. Apparently the adage of our era is “cheap, good geo, good parts: pick two”
  • 3 0
 Haha exactly, so funny to see this
  • 7 1
 @mikekazimer: so pretty much timed testing is random and only useful when it supports your preconceived ideas on how the bike should ride. Good to know.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: Or maybe good suspension makes bikes faster. Those DH guys, who spend insane amounts of time, effort and money on optimized suspension, might be on to something.
  • 3 1
 @mikekazimer: so basically aside from the facts like components and frame dimensions, which on paper, are not up there with other 2022 bikes, the test lap times should be ignored?
  • 4 1
 @mikekazimer: It's probably worth reconsidering this aspect of the testing, if you have to say the same thing every time.
  • 3 0
 @Mike-Jay: Exactly. It's pretty funny about how people go on and on about 5 mm on a geo chart making a massive difference (mildly by the reviewers and fervently in the comments) and then they have to eat crow when any testing is done. Don't mention the YT from the enduro field test last year!
  • 46 0
 66.4 hta is perfectly fine for a trail bike at this price point. That is a 2018 Enduro hta lol!
  • 1 3
 Nope its not, why make stuff up? A 2018 Enduro has a 65 HTA in low. A 2011 Enduro had 66.5 HTA and worked damn well despite that "major" drawback.
  • 1 0
 @headshot: We are talking about the Enduro 29er
  • 36 0
 Mike used the term "confidence-inspiring"... Everyone take a shot!
  • 29 1
 That one should be two shots haha
  • 16 0
 Technically he used the term "not confidence inspiring".
  • 5 0
 “…all the things.” Drink again!
  • 28 0
 @mikelevy A question for the podcast about this: If you were product manager for a day, how would you spec a $3,000 bike?

I haven't done the math because I'm lazy but I feel like you could build a Chiner frame with Deore 11 speed and MT5s within budget. I know this isn't really an option for beginners, but there are plenty of us who have been riding forever and can't or don't want to spend bajillions on a bike.

Think of it as a Grim Donut Basic... a Grim Timbit? The GrimBit?
  • 39 0
 Added to the list. We're going to have a product manager on at some point soon as well.
  • 3 25
flag seraph (Apr 27, 2022 at 9:44) (Below Threshold)
 Ditch the MT4 for some non-series 4-pot Shimano brakes and you could run GX Eagle instead of Deore. Maybe even GX AXS if you played your cards right.
  • 17 0
 @seraph: I just ditched my non-series Shimano 4 pots because... surprise! Wandering bite point. I was thinking Deore 11 speed because it uses HG freehub... which means cheap hub options. Plus, I am a Shimano fan boy when it comes to gears. I picked my brand, now I'll be a dick about it ;p
  • 1 0
 Or call it Mike Bits. Kinda like Tim Horton's Beaver Bits.
  • 1 0
 @Sethsg: Yes! Then we could also have Mike Bits fanny pack merch. The Brits may appreciate that...
  • 21 0
 Here we go... assuming some of these could be saved on $ wise but:
AL frame, thinking similar to Commencal Meta or Clash ~1200
Bomber Z2 front fork ~520
Bomber CR shock ~350
Microshift Advent X or Deore 12 speed ~200
Magura MT5 brakes ~250 ish w rotors and hardware
Trans-X Dropper ~140
Shimano or WTB wheelset ~400
Shimano Crankset/BB $80
Maxxis Rubber ~160
WTB saddle ~40
House brand stem/bars ~60
Grips ~20

That's around $3360 assuming retail prices on a lot, would think with industry pricing that could come in under $3k.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: pick me
  • 9 0
 Well first of all, we need 50% margin minimum.
  • 4 0
 @rowdyhonzo: That's an interesting proposition. just for reference the meta and clash frames are now $1700 without shock, so your retail price would be closer to 3800+. Then if you wanted a bike shop to put it together for you (since complete bikes from a brand come built) they would charge around $150 depending on where you live, so really that parts list is close to $4K.

All that said, assuming someone is comfortable building bikes, and has the correct tools, there is a strong argument here for completely overhauling a bike/frame that is 3-5 years old. Lots of people ditch their rides around 2 years of ownership, picking one up used and putting all of this on it would be pretty awesome. If the frame is made from Aluminum getting it sandblasted and powder-coated a single color can cost as little as $200, making it look brand new.
  • 3 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: I know this was a joke, but that's probably pretty accurate. Keep in mind gross margin and net profits are not the same. Clothes in a retail shop tend to have a margin of around 30-35%, but operating costs are higher than that, so really the markup does not make as much money as you would think.
  • 3 0
 @dpars63: I was more trying to ballpark actual "cost" to spec a new, manufactured bike which is tough not knowing the margins on each part, or what margin a company like Commencal would make on a frame that they sell for $1700. I would think the discount off retail of most parts sold from manufacturers to bike companies would be at least 15%, maybe more - will definitely be interesting if this comes out in the podcast. Clearly, it's not as easy as it would appear to be given the famous Allhonga's on the Process 134.
  • 4 0
 @rowdyhonzo: the discount from part manufactures to bike companies is probably a lot higher than 15%, I've worked in bike shops and the margin for retail shops is bigger than that. the challenge is only 50% "what do the parts cost the OEM" the other 50% is overhead. in the case of Kona and the 134, they sell to dealers for (just an educated guess) probably 25 percent less than retail. Kona's "cost" on parts and materials is probably 40-50% of the retail price. the cost of running Kona as a business comes in to play which is why they charge the dealers what they do. the dealers in turn need to keep the lights on too, thus a $2600 bike with parts that consumers clearly have concerns about.

I too am interested in the referenced podcast. It's clear a lot of people think bike companies are intentionally trying to rip people off, but I doubt thats the case. Sure they want to get the most out of their product, but from everything I've seen it is also an industry where most companies are ran by people who are passionate about the sport and are fairly empathetic to their customers.
  • 5 0
 @rowdyhonzo: You are missing some stuff and these add up more than you might think:
* chain ring
* head set
* seat clamp
* various adapters, housings, spacers, chain say protector
apples to apples - you don't need to count these
* pedals
* sealant
* tire inserts
* chain retention
  • 2 0
 @rowdyhonzo: Solid build right there!
  • 1 2
 @rowdyhonzo: solid list, the bomber cr is bad though it has always had massive compression problems and needs a reshim almost always, better get a suntour triair where you can do everything on your own. 160 $ for tires has to be too much, in Germany you get Schwalbes or Vitorias for 39- 45 € so tires schould be 100$ max.
  • 1 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: Yeah, I listed retail for quite a few of the items as I didn't know exactly what the margins would be. In reality, part 'cost' of that build or a similar build would be closer to $2k with discounts, so a 3k retail point seems reasonable. Really just looking to illustrate that it SEEMS like you could build a bomber bike for 3k that would fit the needs of pretty much any rider.
  • 41 10
 That frame is so unattractive.
  • 16 2
 Really the frame is the only drawback to this bike. Such a good spec for the price, but the frame makes you think twice.
  • 2 0
 Maybe. Until you ride it. It's a fun bike.
  • 23 1
 Remember when Cecile Ravenel and Antoine Vidal were winning EWS races on a bike with geometry within millimeters of this as recently as 2019? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

2019 Commencal Meta AM 29, Large
Seat tube 465 (Fezzari 457)
Reach 460 (Fezzari 463)
Headangle 65.5º (Fezzari 66.4º)
Chainstay 432 (Fezzari 434)
  • 19 0
 This 100%. People are talking about the geo like it's 10 years out of date when it's like... *slightly* on the conservative side of modern geo. The level of geo nitpicking is crazy IMO.
  • 7 0
 @bkm303: Yeah, out of control with geo on this site. One of the video (not written) reviews on this site recently admitted that their whole STA obsession is because they're all long-legged. I'm a very long torsoed 6 ft tall person, and don't like a reach above 475. I certainly don't need a steep seat tube angle.

The number of people who think they need an ultra-progressive 1300mm wheelbase bike to ride is just crazy to me. Nothing feels like a challenge, and I feel trapped in the bike. I bet the cascade peak is way more fun on the trails most people are riding.
  • 1 3
 @bkm303: But to have that more conservative geo with a tall seat tube.. the bike looks 15 yrs old, and not in a good way.
  • 4 1
 @emptybe-er: I agree it's not a looker (looks exactly like the old Kona satori), but there's nothing wrong with the geo. Everyone is talking about the seat tube but that looks like a 150mm dropper in the photo... plenty of travel for most people on most trails. Never really saw the point of going much lower personally.
  • 3 0
 @bkm303: I remember working in bike shops in the early 2000’s. I don’t remember a single discussion with a customer about geometry apart from getting the right size which boiled down to ETT and ST lengths. You wanted a trail bike, you bought a trail bike.
  • 1 1
 @bkm303: But ST length IS geo, that’s why it’s on the chart. Saddle height changes how a bike feels because having a higher than average dropped saddle position on a shorter/steeper than average bike isn’t fun. It’s really not fun on any bike. We have 200+mm droppers so why have a long ST
  • 1 2
 @bkm303: I agree though, 66.4 is plenty slack for me although 463 is short for a L imo. I ride typically ride larges and prefer 475-485. The problem with this bike: a noob buys it because the reach feels ok on the test ride, then soon they want a shorter stem so they can learn to jump and all the sudden their knees are in the bars and their bike feels too short. Nobody wants a 60mm stem anymore.
  • 6 0
 @emptybe-er: just a quick sanity check here... the difference between the Stumpy, Izzo, and this bike was **ONE SECOND** on the downhill. All these supposedly massive geo differences amounted to virtually nothing. Yes, I know it's not scientific etc etc but if you have this bike, your equally fit/skilled buddies are not gonna be dropping you on the descents because your stem is 15mm longer than theirs.

If it fits a 150mm dropper, ST length is not an issue IMO. A 60mm stem is not going to keep anyone from learning to jump, that's ridiculous. Some people like the way shorter bikes handle. Whatever stem puts your body in a position that's comfortable for the style of riding you do, that's the right stem to use. If you want to straightline rock gardens, race the clock, and hit big jump lines, you're probably not looking at this category of bike in the first place.

The days of 100mm stems and super short wheelbases are long gone - this bike vs one with longer reach / shorter stem is just a matter of taste. This bike is not going to hold anyone back for general trail riding.
  • 2 0
 @Mike-Jay: 100%. If we take a water/snack break out on a ride and someone mentions reach or head angle that means it's time to start pedaling again lol.

It's good to have a general idea what all these numbers mean but it's silly to get too hung up on them. This bike is way closer to a progressive bike like the Izzo (Cascade Peak is 9mm shorter reach, 0.5deg steeper) than it is to virtually any trail bike from 5-10 years ago (comparing to a 2017 Stumpy, it's a 30mm longer reach and 1deg slacker). Horses for courses.
  • 19 1
 I've had my Cascade Peak for about two months now. It was a great upgrade from my hardtail and you get some great components at this price point.
  • 17 3
 The geo is pretty close to the Pivot Switchblade, which is an incredible aggro-ish trail bike that was a clone of the Ripmo V1 which was also sick. This bike is also butt-ugly. Could almost pass for a Motobecane. If you want a cheap D2C bike with a great spec, the modern geo'd Polygon Siksui T8 is it with Fox/SLX for like 2500$. And its a looker too. This being a whopping 500$ more isn't what you want, despite likely having better wheels and a similarly solid spec.
  • 23 1
 That Siskiu T8 won everyone over, great bike.
  • 5 1
 @mikelevy: Indeed, its about the perfect entry-level bike (aside from being a bit heavy). I could spend a season on that, leaving my fancy bike behind, and be OK with that. I'd love to see every manufacturer forced to compete with that. The only ones doing that are maybe:

1- Giant with their 120/130mm Trance 2600$-2700$ build that's Deore, Marzocchi Z2 (I wish the value model Trance X didn't have a junk spec)
2- Vitus's Mythic 130/140mm at around 2600$ too with Deore/Z2 (their new one even looks on par with the T8 as the old one is behind the times a bit and kinda ugly).

That's it tho for that 2600$ price range. They all have decent forks (none of the RS 35/Recon junk) and decent drivetrains. Geo is an issue but getting better with this next round I think. But we need more solid bikes like that and for those companies nailing it to be rewarded with industry marketing and sales. The beauty is that great bikes like the T8 as lower-prices...they turn into amazing used bikes because their spec isn't junk. Now we've got entry riders on used bikes that are built to last and serviced well...not just have parts going to the Landfill whilst screaming "Alllohongaaa" (your review was a classic one there lol).
  • 17 0
 > Not a specialist, but decent at everything

sounds perfect for people looking for a "Value Bike"
  • 11 0
 i'm curious why mike kazimer seems reluctant to concede to Levy that lots of people only ride terrain for which a shorter bike actually makes more sense? does he (do you, if you're reading this) believe that longer and slacker is better even on shitty trails?
  • 2 1
 Yes-if you ride shitty trails up to 65% of the time and then take a drive or road trip to more gnarly trails or a bike park and don't have another bike, can't afford another bike, or hit jumps and drops, etc.. You can have shit trails but big features on em...
  • 15 1
 There are obviously limits to the long and slack trend, and I'm not trying to advocate that XC bikes have Grim Donut-esque geometry numbers. I do think that this bike would still work well pretty much everywhere even if it had a longer reach and slightly slacker head angle. Take the YT Izzo, for example (that review is coming soon) - it blew the Fezzari out of the water when it comes to climbing performance, and it has a longer reach, slacker head angle, and steeper seat angle.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: You just lost a BETA subscription sir. I was just about to pay money to get that review early.
  • 3 0
 Blown out of the water by a grain of salt
  • 15 1
 To bad every bike isn’t spec’d like this
  • 11 0
 Too indeed
  • 2 0
 ya many $3k bikes now come with xfusion suspension and Sram SX.
  • 3 0
 @stumphumper92: Have you ever ridden XFusion McQueen HLR? Ridiculously underrated fork.
  • 2 0
 @SlavikChris: I don't disagree that they're bad components. It's just they are seen as a lesser value and cost significantly less and to most people are less desirable. So cheaper components for more money.
  • 11 1
 Pros: components. Cons: frame. Basically the opposite of the Stumpy. It would be nice to find a happy medium, but those seem to be getting rarer and rarer at the sub 3k full suspension price point.
  • 1 0
 I like what Ferrum Bikes is doing. They are basically rebranded Marino Steel Bikes, but with already optimized geometry, Quality control, and inventory in place so you don't have to wait 9 months. Since its steel it is both cheap and easy to keep up with geometry trends, so you don't get stuck on a bike with outdated geometry simply because the brand can't toss their old molds and designs without wringing every last dollar of profit out of them.
  • 3 0
 EDIT: I just checked their website; they've raised prices and I don't blame them. They used to have a frame, shock, and fork for a reasonable enough price you could build out the rest for about $3k
  • 4 0
 The aluminum ibis bikes are awesome, and can be had for 3k, or just a hair over. Granted you have to actually find one in stock.

edit:// I guess that's really just for the RIpley AF, the Ripmo is more. But the Ripley AF is awesome.

edit part two:// I'm just wrong
  • 2 0
 I don't know wheter the frame on the Stumpy is a pro. The geometry is, but Specialized hasn't had a stellar track record when it comes to frame quality and durability in the last couple of years.
  • 2 0
 @grnmachine02: Unfortunately they have always been a lot more expensive in Europe, even the AF models. My friend recently bought a Ripmo AF for 4k € and at that price I wouldn't consider it great value. Although, after borrowing it for an afternoon, I can confidently say that I now understand the hype around it.
  • 8 0
 If "dated" geometry is one of the cons - how come that this doesn't show in the tests?

The bike was tied for a win with the Stumpy on the descending, and in the middle when climbing.

It looks like the geometry (if we don't go to extremes) is just a fashion.
  • 1 2
 I'd argue that timed testing should always be taken with a grain of salt, especially on the trails we were using. Fast doesn't mean best, and besides, I think the results would be different had we been somewhere else. I think I could sometimes go slower on the bikes I like the most Smile
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: Should we take the timed results with a grain of salt or you with a grain of salt Wink
  • 5 1
 @Kyleponga: I like to add grains of salt to everything in life Wink
  • 3 0
 So its basically all down to "feel" and personal preference. We don't really need reviews then do we?
  • 11 0
 Remember when $3k used to get you an Ibis Ripmo AF w/ DVO and Deore?

We had it good back then.
  • 3 0
 Where are the economies of scale? Covid, supply chain disruptions, too many full moons et al. There's always a "good" reason for emptying consumer's wallets.
  • 9 1
 So slap a 1.5 degree angleset, or the highest that will fit in the frame, upsize, and put an offset dropper post on backwards.
  • 8 1
 That's a possibility, but the seat tube length will likely become an issue - it's not that short, at 457mm for a large and 495mm for an XL. That means that if someone went up a size they may not be able to run that long of a dropper post.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: It was a joke more than anything, you obviously can't put a dropper on backwards ('cause the seat angle).

It does suck that the seat tube is that long. its frustrating because I don't think this is a catalog frame, so Fezzari should be able to do minor tweaks with the existing tubeset with simple adjustments to length and mitering angles. A few small changes would make a great improvement. If you really wanted to customize the bike you could take a hack saw to the top of the seat tube, gain back 5-10mm or so of length.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Tall people can't upsize. They don't do XXL
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: 9point8 offers 3 different dropper post heads, inline and 25mm back or forward.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: running a Reverse Mullet could be an option to steepen up that seat angle?
  • 6 0
 The super short seat tube long dropper post thing confuses the f##ck out of me. I'm 5'11" with a 33" inseam and my dropper is only 150 but on steep tech stuff my ass never gets close to the saddle but will hit the tire at times. I can't help but think this short seat tube long dropper thing is another "update" pushed to get people to think they need a new bike.
  • 3 0
 Same height and inseam, I can't really notice any meaningful difference beyond 150. Probably wouldn't even consider seat tube length when choosing a new bike.
  • 1 0
 @bkm303: I am also 5'11" with a 33.5 inseam. I use a oneup 210. My dropper needed service recently and I had a fox transfer 150 loaner for a weekend in Moab. I noticed the difference. It wouldn't be a deal breaker, but I do like having the 210 over the 150. Maybe that has to do a little with the type of riding in Moab where you are moving your body around a lot with all the ledges and drops and bunny hops up rocks. Just my experience.
  • 10 1
 @mikelevy, bike is solid for 95% of riders looking at this price point!
  • 8 0
 Getting my popcorn ready for a fezzari comment section...
  • 7 0
 Utahns incoming
  • 4 0
 As a Utahn, I was genuinely excited to see all the Fezzari fanboys in the comments. Some interesting folks on fezzaris
  • 3 0
 @ConMan05 It looks and is spec'ed pretty decent but it's no Lamborgheezi.
  • 1 0
 @chrisclifford: I'm from Utah, but I can't really decide about them. I think their bikes are decent, they don't look great but they are good value, which is why I think the thing holding me back is the people associated with the brand. Mostly talking about the 12/13 year olds on strava convinced they are the greatest bikes to touch the dirt of this earth.
  • 7 0
 Does the cascade peak peak with a cascade link?
  • 6 0
 Man that's a pricey pizza
  • 3 0
 They must be speaking in $CAD because up here pizza doesn’t run cheap.
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: Yeah, this bike ain’t for me. But where do I get one of those 20-foot-long jobbies with the 30-degree head angles? Are you teasing the Grim Donut 3.0?
  • 6 0
 Reinhold Messner mention. nice.
  • 2 0
 Seems like this would be a good bike on MOST of the trails I typically ride. On those trails where it isn't the right bike, it will survive just fine. Seems ideal for an "entry" bike while you learn what your "style" of riding really is. Could probably swap over a bunch of components to that new frame too instead of getting a whole new bike.
  • 2 1
 on those trails where it isn’t the right bike, it will survive.. on a strict diet of friday fails
  • 1 0
 just ride sat and sun
  • 4 3
 The designer gave it a significant beating with an ugly stick, another Hideous Offering (HO) - it almost makes a YT look good.

But ... standard disclaimer: If they're a decent value, have available stock and ride well–kudos to them.
  • 4 0
 Same silhouette as the old Kona Satori (identical actually, but with slacker HTA). That being said, mountain bikers are a weird clique bunch. On any given day I can ride through Vancouver seeing superbikes, shit bikes, road bikes, retro bikes, et etc etc. But hell no at the trailhead, it's a requirement to fork out X amount of cash to quell fashion anxiety and the fear of being un-rad haha
  • 1 1
 @ukr77: My last bike was a Gary Fisher Sugar 4+ (2002), also ugly. I was commenting on what I like and don't in frame styles. Norco, Transition and the Last Tarvo has good uniform lines and looks clean.

www.pinkbike.com/news/reviews-last-tarvo-a-sub-30-pound-enduro-bike-2022.html
  • 4 3
 fyi.. I'm riding just fine on my 2020 FS w/ 69 HTA, 100/90, and no dropper. Sure its an XC bike but it'll handle those test trails just fine. Not sure the hate on Fezzari's geo is warranted. For that price point, the bike is a solid buy with those components and works perfectly for a rider wanting to buy a "budget" FS that they don't need to upgrade out of the box.
  • 4 1
 "handle" given trails is one thing, but enjoyment, adaptability, comfort, so many other things are also important. I can, and did, ride my 2006-era-geometry bike on the same trails I do right now, and it "handled" it, but a modern bike is just so much more flexible and allows for a longer and more comfortable ride while also opening up new options to experiment on.

Although I _can_ ride a short and steep bike on all the same terrain, I don't _want to_ because having to shift so far back to prevent OTBs that it's like doing a wall-sit for 80% of the descents leaves me with melted legs that then makes the punchy climbs way tougher. With a modern bike, and mine's not even in the crazy long and slack category, it's ridiculous how much shit I can ride into at speed and blind and not only survive but find fun lines. I could do all the same stuff on an old bike after a couple looks and slower, but doing it blind would likely result in devastation because the window of adaptability is so much smaller.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: fair points but I have to assume the target audience for this bike isn't used to progressive geo, thus it wouldn't feel like a step backwards in design, though you make a good point that a slacker HTA and longer profile would help compensate for poorer line choices and the what not
  • 1 1
 @SATN-XC: just because a newbie isn't "used to" something good doesn't mean they don't deserve it.
  • 4 0
 I took one of those personality tests....somehow got the exact same pros and cons
  • 1 0
 Outdated geometry, but good components?
  • 2 0
 For the love of god please please please put the goddamn caps on the valve stems. We aren’t roadies counting grams, and there are some badass caps out there that double as a valve core removal/tightening tool.
  • 3 1
 Nah, these are just plastic caps that we toss into the ocean.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy:
I run these on the MTB because they look cool, and the cap functions as a valve core tightening tool:
www.peatysusa.com/pages/peatys-x-chris-king-tubeless-valves

I run these on the road bike (which still has tubes) for the same reasons as above:
granite-design.com/products/juicynipple
  • 3 0
 Arent these bikes designed and spec'ed for new, less seasoned riders who would likely benefit from some of the "old" geometry"
  • 2 2
 Why would anyone new "benefit" from the "old" geometry?

Modern geo provides a larger "comfort zone" where the rider can move around to adjust traction and balance which much less risk of getting out of sorts and into high potential for OTB or loop-out. "Slow steering" can also be useful for a newb, since they won't end up off the trail when they sneeze/twitch while riding an "old" short and steep bike. Bigger wheels and longer wheelbases increase stability at medium for high speeds, and a "new less seasoned" rider likely doesn't care about "flickability" yet, they just want a bike that helps them have fun on the trails while trying to keep up with their seasoned buddies.

Longer and slacker bikes allow people to do more "riding" the bike, looking ahead and finding the fun while the bike deals with some of the minutiae; as opposed to older short and steep bikes that basically _required_ riders to "drive" the bikes, with full attention full-time, or risk getting tossed by an unnoticed root or loose rock. Modern bikes can also be "driven" by a strong experienced rider (and still need to be as speeds get really fast, as with everything) but they are more adaptable on both ends of the experience spectrum, which is good.
  • 1 0
 Watched the vid but had to comment here that @mikelevy and I are ear-squeaking brothers separated at birth apparently…Ive been squeaking my ears since I can recall. Its soothing technique, but I have to fold my ear over to do it: slightly different but related nonetheless

LOVED that the vid for this startsw/ Kaz & Levy farting ears & knees with Palmer looking at them - apparently unfazed - then back to his laptop as if this is normal… so good.
  • 1 0
 Buy the Fezzari and the low end Stumpjumper. Swap parts, sell the Fezzari, keep the upgraded Stumpjumper. Haven't checked if things like the rear shock size allow this, if it works you would end up with one great trailbike.
  • 1 0
 No, IF you do the math (2650 + 3000 - 1850), the resultant low-end Fezzari is basically the $1850 Fezzari. Factor in the tax and the fact that people aren't going to pay full price for it because of lack of warranty, you are better off getting the Stumpjumper Comp or Ripley AF.Deore
  • 3 4
 frame and geo would make me think this bike is years old if i had just seen it out and about one day. every review so far has made me think that for whoever is looking at these options seriously - its probably worth taking the time to save another grand and move up a spec level, or total bike level. in this case, the delano. anyone else?
  • 1 1
 Great spec, angle set and shorter stem would get the front wheel and bars where they need to be-just needs a steeper STA.

Guessing it’s in the works-probably wouldn’t be a problem in the flatlands.
  • 2 0
 Yup, those would be good upgrades for sure. Too bad about the long-ish seat tube, though.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: considering their recent updates to the La Sal Peak, guessing this thing will rip when they introduce a new version.
  • 5 0
 who are budget MTB's for and would they be held back by 20mm shorter reach or a bit extra seat tube as they discover the enhanced joy of mountain biking on their first fully or are all these budget bikes designed for editors who can never be satisfied?
  • 2 0
 Question, where is Mike Levy buying Pizza? Sounds about as inflated as yetis prices!
  • 3 0
 Typical Squamish food prices tbh haha
  • 4 0
 Zeffari sounds better
  • 3 0
 Rastafezzarian. High as a mf seat tube
  • 3 0
 Get points for being a trail bike. Loses points for being a trail bike
  • 2 0
 @Wthomas: exactly! You can tell that all the reviewers tend to prefer enduro bikes and tend to use them as the measuring stick when evaluating any bike. "Good" geo and parts are what you would find on an enduro bike, even if it's a downcountry bike. In his defense, Levy tends to do a good job playing devil's advocate, but it seems he's just playing with them.
  • 2 0
 "Not confidence inspiring at speed" and "best suited to slower speed trails" yet wins the descending contest?!
  • 11 10
 super cool to see gx and the diamond at this price point now if it only had geo that is not 4 years old....
  • 27 0
 4 years ago, bikes were practically unrideable. A 66 degree HTA on a trail bike?! Oh, the horror!
  • 2 0
 "The two-wheel version of Reinhold Messner"... LOL! Sorry Kona!
  • 1 0
 What does Reinhardt have to do with this?
  • 4 2
 This is the bike you pass up when you feel the need to be "overbiked".
  • 1 0
 or don’t want to run a long xc stem
  • 1 0
 Curious how much would it help the "outdated" geometry to just spend $100 and put in an angle shift headset?
  • 1 0
 "The 2021 Value Bike Field Test was made possible thanks to ..." - is this a typo?

Shouldn't be 2022?
  • 2 0
 Levy looks like an Astro Pop.
  • 3 0
 Thanks...?
  • 1 0
 Finally a "value" bike without Sram SX or a RockShox 35! Good work on the build spec Fezzari.
  • 2 1
 So is the trend now to make 130 mm rear travel 29er bikes that suck at climbing?
  • 13 14
 Fezzari just seems like a cheap influencer brand to me, basically every mtb social media account with more than 10k followers has one. It's hard for me to take them seriously
  • 7 1
 Not true, I don't have anywhere near 10k followers.
  • 1 0
 @NoahColorado: to be fair I'm basing this off of their tiktok account... which they are known for giving away bikes to acc's with 10k+ followers
  • 1 0
 What is actually wrong with the geometry?
  • 4 3
 $3k is now value. That's a big laugh right there.
  • 6 0
 3k for those parts was a decent deal pre-COVID.

Cost of decent bikes IS an issue but this one’s got a spec that’s a lot better than just about anything at the price.
  • 1 0
 Saving the best for last?
  • 1 0
 Offset bushings and ready to go
  • 3 4
 All the money went on the components rather than designing a frame with post-2016 geometry.
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