Editor’s Note: Mtbr welcomes longtime forum member Kent Robertson to the front page. Kent — or KRob — has been riding and evaluating bikes for two decades. This year, he and testing partner Ben Slabaugh headed to Moab, Utah, for the annual Outerbike consumer demo event where they rode as many bikes as possible. These posts are first ride impressions only — not full reviews. However, they stand by their opinions, and feel like they are good at feeling out the true identity, strengths, weaknesses, and soul of any given bike. For each session, they attempted to get set-up and suspension as dialed as possible. Test rides usually last 30-60 minutes. All bikes are then rated on a scale of 1-5 for visual impression/looks, climbing ability, descending, cornering, general agility, fit, and an intangible factor. Lowest possible score is 7. Highest is 35.
Dave Turner from Turner bikes has been working on this carbon Flux for awhile and it shows…. in good ways and bad. The short travel 27.5 Flux was one of our favorites when we rode it a couple years ago, but the aluminum frame looked dated and was falling behind the times. We clamored for a carbon version with Czar-like styling and that is exactly what Turner delivered. The quickly changing geometry and wheel spacing “standards” has left small frame companies like Turner struggling to keep up.
When this Flux went to carbon molds, 142mm rear wheel spacing was the standard and reach numbers for a large frame were only just starting to approach the 17″ range for most manufacturers. Rather than scrap the process and start over Turner forged ahead with the older standards, but they have those numbers dialed whether by inability to keep up with the new standards or by design, I don’t know.
But knowing Dave, changes would’ve had to make a discernable difference for him to start over just to keep up with the Joneses. Turner makes bikes with a no-nonsense, no marketing BS approach and according to how he feels a bike should ride. Many riders, may in fact appreciate a new carbon frame with more traditional geometry and with the same 142mm wheel spacing as their $1500 carbon wheels that still have plenty of life left in them.
Never been to Outerbike? Find out what this consumer demo event is all about.
After riding several bikes with longer reach I did notice the Flux felt comparatively short and compact. Not necessarily a bad thing, but different from the direction most are going these days. Again, many may really like that fact. It felt nimble in the tight stuff and easily exploded off every small bump and booter in the trail. Standing and pumping and popping was definitely a hoot and where the Flux felt most in its happy place.
It didn’t have the momentum-carrying gyroscopic effect of the larger 29er wheeled bikes I’d just stepped off, but it wasn’t hard to keep it up to pace either. The beautiful carbon frame was laterally stiff and showed an obvious attention to detail. The DW-link 120mm rear snapped to attention when the power was applied, yet still felt relatively active as it encountered trail obstacles. The seated position was centered and comfortable though a bit cramped with a short stem. Even so, one could easily climb all day on this bike then still enjoy a fun, fast, semi-rowdy descent without missing their big bike too much on the way down.
If you like a non-wagon wheeled, fun, fast, stiff, responsive carbon bike with more traditional (or more moderately updated) geometry the Flux should be high on your list. Just know that as with the Orbea Occam, the Fox 32 did its job admirably. But if you choose to delve deeper into rougher terrain, or are on the heavy side you may want to opt for a stiffer fork.
Outerbike Test Session Score: 29 out of 35
For more information visit www.turnerbikes.com.