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ALUMINIUM. 36.5LB. £3300. 27.5 WHEELS

Great price, range of sizing, super light. What else do you want?

Great price, range of sizing, super light. What else do you want?

A definite whiff of unwillingness lingers in the air at the offer of slightly-larger-wheel bikes. On the one hand you can only agree that things could remain the same for the immediate future and nobody would bat an eyelid. Yet speed and image are unhappy room-mates in downhill, and image regularly gets the double bed. Was there really a skin suit ban or was I imagining it?

“26 ain’t dead” talk and conspiracy theory’s are a pretty popular theme, a mild rebellion exists from riders not particularly interested in making their bikes go faster. But I’d be very surprised if at least half the top ten racers don’t show up in Cairns next year on 27.5 wheels, simply because the time gains, albeit minimal are enough in certain races to take a rider from top twenty to top ten.



Production downhill 27.5 bikes are thin on the ground. One such company producing however is Solid Bikes from Germany. Peter Schmid offered to send us their new Strike 27.5 bike and we were keen as mustard to get some data in on timed runs against some top production 26” bikes.

Timing is one element however, and this slightly jumps the gun because first the bike has to be right in many other departments. No good running new size wheels with garbage damping and lack of sizing for example. Front and rear the Strike impressed. On the numbers the bike is available in three sizes but most importantly there’s a bike in there for a six-foot plus rider. A touch slack on the head angle all the other angles work out impressively on the hill.

Against the clock the Strike put in regular times between 0.5 and 1.0 per minute faster than our production 26” dh bike. It’s a crude test but the findings were pretty much identical to what Peter had found with his team riders. Much more interesting was the more poised ride characteristic and the fact that the body had less of a beating especially amongst breakers. I’m thinking week-long trips to Whistler and the Alps here not just racers. Every run I was left thinking that I should and could have pushed harder. I believe the effect of 27.5 wheels is more pronounced on downhill bikes than trail bikes. You simply are not limited by shallow suspension.

This bike covers ground impressively. The wheel size definitely aids it. But you have to consider the other factors here also. 35.06lb without pedals and at roughly £3300 its good money for a bike that is fully up to date in sizing, weight, price and performance. Solid have done a great job here. Full test in Dirt 144.


  1. LT

    I’ve definitely noticed my 650b rides better over braking bumps, but I have to wonder, will that sensation go away as soon as all the bumps are made by 650b wheels? Hmmmmm

    1. Tom KP

      I wondered the same thing when 29ers came out. What happens when all the breaking bumps are 29er sized?

      1. Gabe

        BMX pumptrack 😀

      2. Leon

        Once the 29ers have made the holes bigger there will be a 24″ wheel ” revolution ” …
        ” Tired of those braking bumps eating all your speed ? 24″ wheels are the answer , laugh at your big wheel friends as you double in and out of the braking bumps that hang them up “

    2. WAKi

      Before i say anything I wish to say that all wheelsizes ride great if attached to a good bike. Now, vast majority of marketing isolates the wheel diameter presenting dumb arguments like lower attack angle, increased contact patch – trolls do that as well but they are not the only to blame. It went under the radar, but bigger wheels minimize bumps that are under a certain threshold. Smaller attack angle bullshit works to a point when the wheel meets an obstacle of a size where you need suspension in order to roll over the obstacle efficiently. Simply put, if a rock or brake bump is big enough it is suspensions job and wheel diameter has no impact what so ever on how the wheel rolls over an obstacle. Then off course if we talk of several bumps in a row then a larger wheel has smaller chance to fall in between them as much as a smaller wheel. We are talking marginal gains here, if we were to consider the diameter alone. Horses for courses sure, but no one changes a bike completely depending on the track he rides, and going from 26″ in ValdiSole to 29″ in PMB is not going to happen for one rider.

      One last thing: believe in what you want, just keep it to yourself – this way smart people sit quiet and idiots run free

      Good night!

  2. Norbert P. Korzus

    Really curious to try it if the spec is as good as shown for that price.

  3. Jon Gregory

    What would happen if you use the 650b frame and run back to back tests with the two different wheel sizes in the same frame? or use a larger volume 26″ tire on 26″ rims in the same frame.

  4. Dirt dodger

    So is it £3300 good ol’ English pounds or 3900 of them daft euro things? So then, I was discussing with a ridin buddy the other day about 2014 and how many manufacturer 650b we would see, I am expecting a whole lot more. This looks like a good bargain but damn the linkage is making me look away.

  5. chris.m

    “…the fact that the body had less of a beating especially amongst breakers.”
    Sorry, but do you mean brakers? As in people who brake lots? I’m guessing you do rather than people who break lots of parts.
    And to clarify, is it 35.5 or 36.5lbs? The heading says 36.5 and the article says 35.5lbs. Cheers!
    They make some lovely looking bikes (especially their DJ bike) and they are flaming light for an alloy framed DH bike. If they can do it (make them light out of alloy), then surely other manufacturers can too?!

    1. chris.m

      Sorry, it actually says 36.5lbs and 35.06lbs, not the 35.5lbs & 36.5lbs as I said above. The difference can’t just be the pedals can it?
      As far as wheel size, I’m getting a bit bored of the “debate”. If the bike rides great irrespective of the wheel size, who really cares!?
      Take a look at the Dirt 100, there are some super nice bikes in there and lots of them aren’t 26″!

  6. gabe

    What tracks was this back to back testing on? I believe the whiff of resentment towards big wheel bikes is because people feel like they are having them shoved down their throats by the big bad marketting bods who outright refuse to admit that a 26 is faster anywhere. Can’t say I’ve tried this myself, but I’d be willing to put money on a 26 being faster than anything bigger down 423 at Aston Hill for example. Big wheels would almost certainly be faster down Surface to Air. Which is the more challenging of the two tracks? 423 by a huge margin. Perhaps you could have said “a mild rebellion exists from riders not particularly interested in making their bikes go faster on the really easy tracks”

    1. The head

      Lets face it Aston Hill is’t really a place to be testing any downhill bike! You are better of on a good AM bike. Therefore your point is mute.

      1. The+head


      2. GABE

        Indeed a full on dh rig is a bit too much bike for Aston Hill. It was just the first example that sprung to mind of a place that has two very different tracks, that I think the two different wheel sizes would be able to show their respective strengths/weaknesses on. I don’t really see how my point is invalid just cos I didnt choose a full on balls out 8 minute alpine dh run. If you know the names of two tracks that fit the bill that people on here will recognise, then feel free to suggest them.

  7. gabe

    Also…skin suits:
    I have a back to back test for you.
    1)Ride at rock garden at full tilt
    2)Fall off midway through
    3)Ragdoll through pointy sharp rocks

    Try once in lycra, once in MX baggies. I suggest doing the mx baggy run first, as the lycra one is quite likely to end with a trip to a&e to have all your skin stitched back on. Can’t win the race if you don’t even finish the run. Same goes for this stupid new trend of not wearing any armour but knee pads and a helmet. I’m looking at you Taylor Vernon!

  8. Dusty Horton


  9. Digger

    “a mild rebellion exists from riders not particularly interested in making their bikes go faster”. So if you don’t want 27.5 you don’t want to go fast? “between 0.5 and 1.0 per minute faster”. You could make that sort of time up by being a fitter rider or just trying harder on a 26″. Most people can’t be arsed with 27.5 because how many normal riders time themselves and care about saving 1 second by spending £several k to be a fashion victim. If they are so much bloody better why did the top 2 Enduro boys and all the top downhillers win everything on 26″ this year? Utter marketing drivel, probably completely untrue and completely useless to all but about 0.5% of the mountain bike population. It’s not a “mild rebellion” it’s most people being hacked off that the industry is trying to write off 26″ in order to con people out of money for something that is a total con job. Can’t wait for 2015 when we can put all this 27.5 bullshit to bed and get back to getting excited about real ground breaking developments for MTB.

    1. Morpheous

      @Digger So just where do you think 27.5 will go in 2015? If anything, it will be well established by then. A mechanical measurable change is not fashion or marketing. Totally agree that the rider is still key in the MTB equation, but these evolutionary equipment options are good. I continue to be astonished at the resistance to change with todays youth. I think your heads may explode when you see the new crop of full suspension fat tire bikes that are coming this spring. Jeepers.

      1. PumptrackTim

        Ha, exactly! I don’t get this ‘just train if you want to go faster’ argument against faster bikes. Right now you WILL go faster on a bigger wheeled bike on most tracks. If you train too you will go EVEN faster.

        Why are people so resistant to a change in wheel size? Luddites.

      2. GABE

        Why are people so resistant to wheel size change? Luddites? Maybe some, but there are some good reasons too. The one that hurts me the most is i strongly suspect that with bigger wheels will come more “Americanised” wide motorway tracks with nothing but sweeping open corners, that the big wheels excell on. These tracks can be fun, a nice break from the British style steep techy narrow skill testers, but if i had to chooose one to be the only track I could ride any more, it would be the tight narrow tech. And it just so happens that that is where 26ers shine.

  10. Dirt HQ

    Lads, the message here is clear – its simply a tool to do the job at the right price, right weight and in a material that most riders haven’t given up on. Yes it has larger wheels but i cant see this marketing some of you are simpering on about, i’m just offering up ideas for riders in the market for a bike. This is a good one, simple as that.

    1. Hancock

      So, where does it sit relative to the YT Tues Pro that’s a couple of hundred quid cheaper?

    2. GABE

      Sorry to be an arse, but you can’t see the marketting? This entire article focusses almost solely on the fact that this bike has slightly bigger wheels and that makes it awesome. Faster EVERYWHERE with no downsides. Oh yeah it also weighs 36lbs and has a slightly slack head angle. Sorry, I know the full test is coming soon, and will cover more of the details, but this particular article is a little one sided lets say. Looking forward to big test tho. Sure you’ll do a sterling job.xx

      1. GABE

        and “simpering”? Really? Theres no need to be a dick about it.

  11. crankrider

    Out of the top 2 endure boys the one on the yeti didn’t have access to a 27.5 bike did he? – Wait to see what they will be riding next year?

    Top DH boys the same – in a game where confidence is high on the agenda, changing bikes quite drastically may not be the best move mid-season.

    Plus, and this is a big one – You cant expect WC DH riders to use a wheel size not supported by sponsors forks, tyres and frames now can you?!

  12. Matthias Reichmann

    Hey guys,
    I just want to mention that there are 2 shock positions possible on the strike: by alternating the shock position, you adopt the geometry to either 650B or to 26″. Both settings have been tested extensively and work very well with the respective wheel size.

    1. WAKi

      Is the second position of the shock taking it out of the way of stones and mud fro the rear wheel? The air shock is particularly worried about his shaft in that subjcet. No hard feelings just dumb curiousity, because it seems that everyone went ape shit on the wheel size… I think I am goin to produce a bike with no bottom bracket, I will just put 650B wheels on it, talk about tests and no one will notice it hihi


  13. Ross

    If the glove fits……

    What a great looking bike it is though.

    I sometimes wonder if I personally would enjoy seeing more strict rules for the size of wheel etc. used on the DH and Enduro World circuit, like other strict rules they have in F1 for example.

    I don’t know.

    1. potteries pleaser

      what something like 26 inch for dh 26 inch for enduro and 26 inch for xc? yeah that would work, should of been done years ago before all this kooky big wheel bollox

  14. Eoin

    YYYaaayyyyy people are commenting on Dirt again!!!

  15. gayle platt

    27.5 is like driving a prius

  16. Barney

    In my experience 27.650b wheels can’t turn right…

  17. worthy

    This shite is turning me and a lot of people I ride with off the Mountain bike industry and especially the MB media. People can ride whatever they want but why would you make bikes less fun? It speaks volumes that the only inspiring edit I’ve seen on here for ages was the cotic hardtail video. Thats what we used to ride for…getting loose, railing tight corners and chucking the bike around. You can’t do decent cutties on a bike with big wheels and thats the basis of what makes a bike chuckable and it was that sort of ace riding that we used to see everywhere. We have got 29 edits that are making the riding of the top enduro pros look dull and dirt 100 is full of big wheels and carbon with TWO hardcore hardtails in the whole thing! They have opened out the corners and put cobbledy sections in at our local trail center so all the strava bellends on their 650bs can take a 1min28 off their PB. More than a couple of my mates are putting off buying new bikes this year and I’m stopping my mag subscription and sticking with my garage full of 26ers until it seems like everyone in the industry has got a fucking grip. Seriously what are we doing this for?…
    Seriously stop it

  18. jonesdirt

    No fun you say? You’ve ridden the Strike then?

  19. Pleasey

    Well done Solid for virtually copying a Propain! Why not copy something good?

    I am intrigued how you tested this bike against the ’26” production bike’ when you don’t produce that Strike in 26″ by the looks of the Solid site. So was the Strike tested against the Solid M9?

    So the 275 wheel size didn’t win the EWS overall or the DH world cup overall. But yet we still need this according to manufacturers!


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