Unfortunately I was only able to have three days of riding on this bike since it had to get down to Inter Bike. The four rides I did were on a classic North Shore XC loop, a more technical old school North Shore trail, a few runs in the Whistler Bike Park and a classic Whistler XC loop. As mentioned the bike looks big and my first thought was that it would be cumbersome. These thoughts were removed once I sat on the bike and I settled into the cockpit. It almost felt small but it wasn’t. I found the bike climbed very well. Not an active climber since the bike would only go as far as I pushed it, rather then accelerating ahead like a snappy climber. Tires, weight and plush suspension all contribute to its steady climbing ability. Even on rocky technical climbs the bike would easily push over rocks and roots. On smooth trails or the road with the pro pedal on max or min it was comfortable to climb and pedal with minimal bob.
Descending on the technical trails of the North Shore I felt this bike in its element. These trails are slow and technical and it rewards a bike that can slow down to almost a stop then accelerate over and down obstacles and hope the front tire doesn’t suddenly stop. This bike responded well to these technical trails since it remained balanced when you had to quickly change speed and direction.
The intermediate trails in the Whistler Bike Park allowed assessment on fast smooth and technical trails. This bike corners well. I was confident diving into the corners on this bike knowing that it would hook up and rail, then when the trail changed to a roll or a drop it would charge down and soak it up. The suspension was truly tested on the more technical rocky trails where it would soak up the bumps on all but the biggest rocks when it was near the bottom of the suspension. Even when the trail got rough the shock didn’t bottom out. Riding down a smooth rock face while braking to see how the suspension responded the bike acted predictably. Pumping the bike resulted in easy acceleration around corners and over rolling terrain.
The only issues I had with the bike were the uncomfortable seat and on the fast descents the chain would fall from the middle to the granny ring no matter how much it was adjusted.
North Shore Tech Gnar was handled with Verve!
Steeper then it looks! Sections like this you stop, look then go!