|Fork||RockShox Pike 454 U-Turn Coil, 20mm axle|
|Handlebar||Truvativ TEAM OS 50mm rise 710mm width|
|Grips||Lock-on with CHUMBA logo|
|Rear Brake||Avid Juicy 5 160mm|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM X.9 Mid-cage|
|Cassette||SRAM PG-970 11-34|
|Rear Tire||Maxxis Minion 2.35″|
|Saddle||CHUMBA VL-1205 black kevlar chromoly rails|
|Seat Clamp||CHUMBA design 38.1mm|
No, not Chumba Wumba, Chumba Racing! Chumba has been known for producing high-quality, downhill rigs. But finally, they’ve created a bike for the rest of us XC riders and freeriders who want to climb as well as descend what the trail has to offer.
First impression is ‘Wow, this thing is beefy!” It looks like an XC bike but the tubes are big. The machining is precise. The gussets are supportive. The welds are generous and consistent. The pivot bearings keep the suspension action free and smooth. The shock mounts seem extra large to prevent any unwanted lateral movement. This whole frame seems to be designed to prevent any lateral motion yet deliver 5 inches of smooth vertical travel.
The bike comes with a Fox DHX Air and a Rockshox Pike 454. This seems to be the key component combination. The Fox DHX Air is very plush yet has a very effective and adjustable stable platform. The Pike is smooth, laterally solid and has a dial-in travel adjustment feature.
How does it Ride?
It descends like a dream! Wow, this is a confidence inspiring ride. It goes where you point it as the front and rear track exactly where you point it at. The front fork is stiff and the 20mm thru-axle ensures that is not bothered by ruts and rocks. The rear is where the magic is at. It is very laterally stiff so there is no wallowing or correcting as it hits trail obstacles. It just goes straight. As you steer and give some body english, the bike responds with no hesitation.
Maneuverability is good too. I tested a small frame and that works out for my 5’8″ size since I can actually manhandle this bike and throw it around. It is 33 lbs but an agile 33. The head angle takes no getting used to. It just feels natural. When the trail got smooth and extra twisty, I dialed in the Pike fork and shortened up the travel. This made the head angle steeper and the bike was a bit quicker through the trees.
Oh btw, the ride is very plush. The rear suspension action is very active and it is complemented well by the front shock. Rock and ruts were handled with easy. It jumps very well too. Now if I can just learn to jump higher…
Oh no, here comes the climb and I have a 33 lb. bike. Actually, it climbs amazingly well. The DHX air rear shock keeps the rear suspension stable under hard pedaling. Shortening the front shock travel got my upper body lower and enabled me to get more power to the pedals. When I hit rocks and root steps, the suspension worked well and gave me good traction. Of course this bike is heavy and the tires are very sticky. So I won’t be entering any XC races with it. But for what it is, it climbs well.
So there you have the Chumba XCL. It’s a great bike and it’s going to give a lot of boutique dream bikes a run for their money. This would be a good frame at $2000. At $1400, it’s an incredible value.
In the fall, Chumba is sending us a 28 lb. XCL. That could be very interesting and would be a good match for our local trails. Expect a follow-on review featuring that bike.
5 out of 5 stars
Chumba Racing: http://www.chumbaracing.com/