This is part 2 of Krob’s bike tests from Outerbike in Moab, Utah. Be sure to read KRob’s Outerbike 2013 Bike Demo Reviews – Part 1.
I’d stopped by the SRAM tent several times looking for this size large on the first day but was never successful so it was high on my list for the mad scramble at the bell. Our team had a game plan for Saturday morning and with a little serendipity and dropping of names we were able to score three very comparable and desirable 650b bikes for the Mag 7 shuttle that would leave at 10:00. Everyone we passed on the trail envied our trifecta.
After arriving less than 30 seconds after opening, the Santa Cruz booth had a line of 20 people in it so I waited a minute then headed for the SRAM booth where I picked up this beautiful flo green/yellow Norco Sight. By 10:30 or so we were at the top of Mag 7 clipping in for what would be a spectacular ride on three very good bikes.
The first thing you do on Mag 7 is roll about a half mile down a dirt road to the trail head so I had a good chance to just assess the fit, shift through the gears and generally just get acquainted with the bike. I liked the fit though it felt slightly short in the top tube for a large while seated but I didn’t notice that at all when standing. The all SRAM suspension I could tell was set up stiff like most bikes but it didn’t feel harsh. It stayed up in its stroke well with a nice firm feel when mashing and ramped up a bit abruptly when just bouncing on it rolling down the hill.
Once on the rolling, mostly down, rocky, ledgy, Bull Run portion of the trail this bike absolutely came alive for me. It loved to be thrown around and had the chops to feel solid while doing it. It felt light, controlled, and responsive to pedal input. (After switching to the FB I realized it wasn’t quite as responsive to pedal input as a dw-link bike but for an FSR it was very good). Flowing, carving and pumping off and on stuff was a riot although I did notice it took just a little more effort to pull up the front end (longer chain stays?). Once adapted to throwing my weight back and yanking harder on the bars, all was well.
Descending rough sections of slick rock I could feel the rear wheel skipping and not quite keeping up with the consecutive hits, but after speeding up the rebound and letting some air out of the tires (40 lbs? Really?) it settled down quite a bit. It still had a very solid, damped feeling to it overall that both Ben and Dietrich mentioned after first getting on the Norco. On this type of terrain where you’re bombing through rolling slick rock and off little booters and popping up onto small rollers and ledges, and wheelying through multiple small g-outs it was the right set up. I would want it a bit plusher in the initial stroke for the stuff around where I live but overall I though it worked really well. The 150 Pike felt stiff laterally and fore and aft and the stellar RC3 Plus shock worked very well. I’d describe both ends as firm/plush. More BMW than old Cadillac. Whether they can be made to feel more plush in the initial stroke remains to be seen.
The parts spec was nice and these were some of the few AVID brakes that felt pretty good for me and one of the two or three 1×11 set ups that shifted really well. The guy at the SRAM booth suggested that some folks weren’t routing the cable correctly after the rollamajig thingy on the XX derailleur.
Not a bad back drop for photos, eh? Weather was perfect this day. I was kinda reluctant to give this bike up even with a Firebird and Carbine waiting in the wings.
I like beefy stanchions and I was loving this new Pike. I also really liked this High Roller II/Ardent Front/Rear tire combo. The HRII really dug in in the corners and the Ardent provided decent traction for climbing and braking while still rolling well.
Next Bike: Pivot Firebird 27.5 »