2013 Interbike Dirt Demo – Part 2
This is part 2 of Krob’s bike tests from Interbike’s Outdoor Demo. Be sure to read Krob’s All Mountain Bike Tests at Interbike (part 1).
My normal riding buddy Craig (“Craigstr” in the Mtbr forums) was busy working a booth today so I was on my own for my bike testing on day two this year. I had two or three bikes that I HAD to get to so went to the booth where I thought it would be hardest to get bikes later in the day first thing. Turner had partnered up with Enve Composites in order to demo their bikes this year and showcase Enve wheels. Thanks to someone for tipping me off or I never would have found them.
I arrived at 8:45 am and Jarrett from Turner wasn’t there yet so I chatted with the guys from a Enve for a few minutes until he showed up. They have some cool high zoot stuff. I was able to check out this beautiful black Czar in a size large that was spec’ed out very nicely with Enve composite wheels and bar and a SRAM XX1 groupo. Weight must’ve been in the low twenties. I love the traditional, yet elegant lines and proportions of this carbon beauty– A very, very nice looking frame. Dave was able to stay with his simple, mostly straight tube industrial look but still update it. I suspect (hope) Dave is working on a similar looking carbon design for a 140-150mm 27.5”frame for next year.
Nice wide Enve composite bars and comfy ESI foam grips.
Jarrett got my pedals on, adjusted the sag, tightened a squeaky headset, and sent me on my way. Every time I pulled out of the paddock area with one of these stunningly expensive carbon bikes I just had to shake my head and smile at how cool this all is. The other thing that always stunned me was how these lightweight, efficient pedaling bikes practically ride themselves up hills. I saw a few guys on electric assist bikes heading up the road rapidly and with almost zero effort. The Czar felt a lot like that.
Sizing was perfect and I really appreciated Turner outfitting this bike with some decently wide bars and shortish (for XC) stem. It really does add to the bike’s capability and confidence level when attacking the trail. The climb up was very impressive. It seemed like so little effort was required to keep the Czar rolling forward and upward. It handled the occasional rocky outcropping and step up with ease and I had to keep reminding myself that this was a 100mm XC race bike. For the amount of travel (or lack thereof) I was surprised at how well it smoothed out the bumps in a controlled and efficient manner. I didn’t notice the bigger wheels really when maneuvering through a few tight spots but I’m sure they were at least partially responsible for getting me through some gaps in the trail surface without dropping down into holes and slowing forward progress.
Once at the top of this trail I peeled off and climbed up the loose, steep, techy entrance to Caldera. This is my favorite test of a bike’s tech climbing chops. I was only able to clean the whole thing on a couple bikes and the Czar was one of them: Very impressive climber. Pointing it back downhill displayed another Czar strength which I’d read about but about which I was somewhat skeptical. Well, call my skepticism erased. Tech chutes were handled with authority (once I got my multi-tool out and lowered the non-QR, non-dropper seat post. Points deducted!), and the flowy, bermy lower sections were just plain erased. I’m sure the ultra-stiff Enve carbon wheels add to this feeling of confidence both climbing and descending. No wobble or vagueness felt here at all. Good stuff.
Following this descent I took it out on the more XC Lakes Loops which are spiced up with a few Bootleg-esque features like booters, deep g-outs and the occasional rock garden. Wow. The Czar ruled on this stuff. My only gripe here was a very annoying crack/creak that originated from somewhere down near the bottom bracket area at the bottom of each G-out, landing hard off booters, and while cranking hard while pulling up steep standing sprints. I even stopped to check to make sure the rear triangle or lower mini-link wasn’t broken or something. When I got back to the tent, we were able to trace it to the SRAM clutch derailleur. After we figured that out I remembered a couple people mentioning this on earlier reports and I believe LeeL actually posted up a remedy for it.
I bottomed the front and rear suspension often and not delicately as I pushed the Czar hard through some tougher terrain but it didn’t falter. I would probably opt for a 120 fork and slightly stiffer setting or more bottom out ramp up on the shock if this were my bike, but overall I was very impressed with the Czar.
Yeah I used all 100mm no problem. This SID fork was surprisingly supple and not as flexy as I would’ve guessed.
Yep, smashed this O-ring clear to the stops several times as well. The compact, clean look of these dw-links is a testament to good design and clean aesthetics. No front derailleur FTW! Very nice.
These Crossmark tires had decent grip and rolled fast, but I did find their limit once in a bermy S-turn. I was able to get a foot down and push it into the berm more to save face but it was a close call. I was a little more respectful after that.
This metal plate on the chainstay near the yoke is a nice touch.
Good tire clearance.
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