Canfield Brothers Riot 29er trail bike review

Capable climber that's hell on wheels when pointed downhill

29er All Mountain Trail
Though it excelled in all manner of terrain, the Riot was most at home in rough and rowdy, such as this section of the Avery Trail at Crested Butte's Evolution Bike Park. Photo by Dave Kozlowski

Though it excelled in all manner of terrain, the Riot was most at home in rough and rowdy, such as this section of the Avery Trail at Crested Butte’s Evolution Bike Park. Photo by Dave Kozlowski

Lowdown: Canfield Brothers Riot 29er Trail Bike

Crested Butte’s Green Lake Trail is not a place for piggish bikes. Yes, the rip down is classic Colorado rowdy, with a mix of steep, high speed chunder, plus a few tight techy turns, all of it littered with ruts, roots, and loose rocks. But to enjoy the descent, you must first conquer the climb. And that means ascending that same precipitous trail, as this adventure is a simple up and back that starts on the southwest side of town, and gains 1700 feet in just 4.4 miles. Peak elevation is 10,629 feet. It’s a magical spot with a stunning high mountain lake as backdrop, but not a place I expected to visit aboard the Canfield Brothers Riot. With its super slack 66.5-degree head angle, 140mm of front and rear suspension, toothy Maxxis tires, and chunky 32-pound weight (size large), the Riot appears better suited for less climbing-heavy excursions. Then I tried it anyway… Read the full review below to see how things turned out.

Stat Box
Frame: 7005 series aluminum Bars: RaceFace 6C 800mm
Fork: DVO Diamond 140mm Grips: ODI lock-on
Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel Air 140mm Headset: Cane Creek
Wheels: Canfield Brothers 29er Dropper post: RaceFace Turbine
Hubs: Canfield Brothers 2 (142x12mm rear) Saddle: SDG Bel-Air
Tires: Maxxis Ikon 2.35 rear/Minion DHF 2.3 front Bottom bracket: 73mm threaded
Brakes: Shimano XT Headtube angle: 66.5 degrees
Rotors: Shimano 180mm front/rear Chainstay length: 414mm
Shifter: Shimano XT Seat tube angle: Effective 77 degrees, actual 69.8
Front Derailleur: Not applicable Standover: 719mm (size L)
Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT Sizes: Small, medium, large, XL
Cable routing: External Weight: 31.9 pounds (size L)
Crankset: Canfield Brothers 30t narrow/wide Frame colors: Raw (tested) or Ano Black
Cassette: Shimano 11-36 Link colors: 7 options including green (tested)
Chain: Shimano MSRP: $2100 (frame and shock)
Stem: RaceFace Atlas 60mm Upgrade option: Push ElevenSix shock ($900)
Rating: 4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 out of 5

  • Exceptional descender
  • Heavy
  • Stable at speed
  • Tall gearing
  • Eats up rough terrain
  • Complex rear shock
  • Snaps through turns
  • Abundant pivot points
  • Slot car feel
  • No topside water bottle cage
  • Awesome head badge
  • Not boost spacing
  • Durable construction
  • Very wide bars
  • Great braking
  • Minor wheel flex
  • Reliable dropper post
  • Can develop creaking
  • Reliable shifting
  • Front derailleur not possible
  • Highly tunable suspension
  • Not currently sold as complete bike
  • Climbs better than you’d expect
  • No carbon frame option
  • 27.5+ compatibility (2.8” max tire width)
  • External cable routing
  • ISCG tabs
  • Bike park capable
  • Backcountry ready
  • Push ElevenSix upgrade available
  • Short and fun 414mm chainstays
  • Built-in frame protector
  • Tapered headtube
  • 15mm pivot bearings
  • No lateral flex
  • Anodized and factory raw frame options

Review: Canfield Brothers Riot 29er Trail Bike

You don’t buy a bike like the Canfield Riot because it climbs well. Or… maybe you do. Here’s the reasoning: Most would agree that there are two primary beefs with aggressive trail-oriented 29ers, which the Riot most certainly is. No. 1, the chainstays (and wheelbase in general) are too long, making it hard to get the front wheel off the ground or whip the bike through turns. No. 2, the bike climbs like sh*t because the head angle is so slack it’s nearly impossible to keep the front wheel planted during steep ascents, especially slow speed, techy affairs.

The reward for suffering up the Green Lake Trail is a spectacular view of Green Lake, and one seriously awesome rip back down to Crested Butte.

The reward for suffering up the Green Lake Trail is a spectacular view of Green Lake, and one seriously awesome rip back down to Crested Butte.

But the Riot is a different animal. Its 414mm chainstays are about as short as you’ll find among the current class of playful 29ers, while the seat tube angle is a steep 77-degrees (69.8 actual), which helps keep your center of gravity further forward, and thus the front wheel planted when climbing in the seated position. If you think that’s too steep, remember that when you sag into the travel the seat angle slackens a couple degrees. This modern take on trail bike geometry delivers a ride that is about as close to best-of-both worlds as I’ve experienced on a longer travel 29er. Here’s the complete geometry chart (click image to enlarge).

Canfield Brothers Riot Geo Chart

That trip up to Green Lake? I can’t say I cleared everything on the way up. But that was more the fault of tall test bike gearing (11-36 cassette paired with a 30t chainring). In fact, before the legs got overcooked from pushing such a big gear, I cleared several steep, techy sections that I hadn’t previously, which included attempts on a 27.5 Pivot Mach 6 and Specialized Stumpjumper 29er. And because of the steep seat tube angle and forward cockpit, I didn’t have to slide onto the tip of the saddle.

On the way down? Segment PRs across the board. This bike rips. Period.

Continue to page 2 for more of our Canfield Brothers Riot 29er trail bike review »

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About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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