Turner Czar – The Carbon Bling Machine
David Turner does it again. Time and time and time his genius results in rideable bike art.. The difference this time of course is that the Turner Czar is carbon; and what a start!
The Czar is a 100mm travel 29er full-suspension bike. Frame construction is Toray carbon and made in Taiwan. It’s billed as a XC bike (in the pure racing sense of the word) but also with some Marathon chops; which presumably means that it’s somewhat optimized for comfort in longer distance/time rides. While its light weight (5.3lbs measured with fasteners and stock Fox CTD shock) and xc geometry numbers might lead one to pigeonhole the Czar into categories my experience showed that numbers and e-speculation, once again, could not tell the true story. Indeed the Czar displayed an insane amount of range such that I ran out of superlatives very early in my Czar ride experience. Onward to the review…
Video: The carbon bling machine – North Vancouver June 13, 2013
Lee Lau’s Biases
I’m 160 lbs, 5’11″ and have had over 15 years experience riding bikes in North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, the Chilcotins and many other areas in B.C. and Alberta. I’ve also made many bike trips to Switzerland, South Tyrol, Utah, Washington, Oregon, California and the Yukon (for example) so I’ve had some experience biking in a variety of terrain. My bias is towards pedalling up and unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, I actually enjoy riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.
My personal bikes are a Santa Cruz Tallboy, Pivot Mach 5, and a Specialized Demo 7. I am not sponsored by Turner and have no commercial association with Turner.
Video: BC XC – Pemberton June 2013
Highlights of the Czar’s frame include a DW-link suspension of compact design custom-engineered to suit the Czar’s short travel and racing-oriented aspirations. Journal bearings/bushings are used in all pivots along with kevlar composite bearings for longevity and tight tolerances. Zerk grease fittings are standard fare on the Czar as a nod to hassle-free maintenance. Other nice touches one would expect of a small company boutique bike abound eg. elegant cable routing and replaceable post mount rear brake fittings.
Turner Czar at Alpine Lake.
The main thing most prospective customers will notice is that the Czar’s entire frame is sculpted out of carbon. Undeniably beautiful the square-tubing aesthetics remind you of Turner’s functional design philosophy and Dave Turner’s focus on dependability, durability and quality. While perhaps better addressed in the portions of this review devoted to ride quality I found the Czar to also be a remarkably stiff frame. According to DT the Czar was 2.5 years from drawing board/CAD to production. This was 2.5 years of shape after shape and layup schedules working closely with factory and industrial designers. Turner/factory collaboration was very close; Turner provided the factory with benchmarks to which the factory designed and created samples. A test lab was created in Turner’s SoCal facilities to test samples. Testing was carried out dynamically (eg via front and rear end twisting and weight loading). Lots of hair was no doubt pulled out but the results speak for themselves in the finished product.
Continue reading for components, riding impressions and full photo gallery.