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DirtTV: Carbon Downhill Bike Test Intro

16:42 29th May 2013 by Billy Thackray
28 Comments
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We loaded up the Dirt van with the top four production carbon downhill bikes, the Santa Cruz V10, Trek Session 9.9, Specialized S-Works Demo and the Devinci Wilson, filled up with travel sweets and set the satnav for the Italian Riveria.

43 minutes later after arriving at the “Italian Riveria Restaurant” in Newport, we swore at Barry the co-driver, recalibrated the satelite guidance system, paid for the three large stuffed crust margherita pizzas with side order of garlic bread, unwrapped a boiled sweet and set off again.

We did get to Italy. Honest. You can read the full test is in this months issue of Dirt Magazine, that’s number #136.
The Parkin Bros got there too. With their cameras aswell. And filmed the whole caboodle. Here’s the intro.

  1. Big+Bird

    Dirt’s gone and got their own Stig! Suit’s a bit flashy thought.

  2. mmendes888

    dirt found a Stig to test bikes!!! Some say…

  3. gabe

    Woohoo!!!! Articles like this are the reason I read dirt every month. That and the tech articles they used to do. They kinda died a death tho when DH got fashionable and suddenly all anyone was interested in was how “sexy” a bike was. Have read the carbon rig article and don’t wish to ruin it for anyone but…kinda feel like the result may have been different if they had picked test riders that had fitted the bikes? I’ll say no more.

  4. jonesdirt

    Hi Gabe, I’m six foot. What size should I ride? We also had two other six foot riders, one five nine, two five ten. why would the conclusion be different?

    1. gabe

      SPOILER ALERT! Dont read this if you want read the article before I give away the winner!

      Right…To be honest J. Mcknight looks taller than 6′ to me, but I’ve never met him in the flesh so I’m only guessing. Jonesy, you are 6 ft? Then based on current sizing trends and a bit of guess work I would reckon you should ride a large. If you are a particularily fast rider (and without wanting to kiss your probably muddy arse too much, I reckon you must be pretty fast. Faster than me.) you might want to push up to an XL for a bit of extra high speed stability. If you are riding long tracks where the speeds will be higher and fatigue will be more of an issue you may want to push up to an XL. If you are riding steep, rocky, gnarly bastard terrain (ie proper tracks), again you prob want to push up to an XL. In this review you tick all three of those boxes, so I reckon XL is starting to sound like the way to go. Where does this leave the 6’4″ riders? Without a bike unfortunately. Especially if XL isn’t even an option. This is indeed a ridiculous state of affairs, and thoroughly deserves some serious complaining about. In the review you consistently complain throughout that three of the four bikes are simply too small for your test riders, and I get why. DH race bikes should be sized to account for fast riders, on long tracks, on hardcore terrain. On the flip side I also understand why big companies hedge their bets and size the frame for average joes riding easy tracks. Thats probably who they’ll sell most bikes too. It sucks, and I’m glad you are making a point of it. However, I am 5’8″. I get the feeling from your review I would probably feel right at home on any of the three smaller “Large” bikes, and probably a bit disconnected from the front wheel on the Large Demo. What I’m trying to say is that if your test riders had all been 3-4 inches shorter, and you had a large v-10,trek and wilson, along with a medium demo, then the demo would lose its main performance advantage, the feeling of security in big terrain, as all four bikes would be correctly sized for the riders. In the conclusion of the article it seems to be this extra stability that swings it for the Demo. If sized correctly would the better suspension systems of the trek and v-10 and the better frame construction of the trek then have overtaken the Demo? What if your test riders shrunk another 5′and you got sent a load of small bikes. Would the review have then read that the Demo felt “just too big” and the other three easier to weight the wheel you wanted to and less of a job to persuade to change direction? I understand its not only the sizing that gives the demo its stability, but when you say it was the only bike big enough, that certainly points towards the sizing being a big player. You even say so yourself. It seems to me that the fair thing to do would be ignore the size written on the box, and find a group of riders that each felt comfortable on each frame (as i said earlier, probably with the Demo 1 size smaller than the rest for consistancy) then do the review. Saying that three of the four bikes were too small and then pointing them down some seriously taxing terrain surely made it a foregone conclusion? Still I would like to compliment you on the review. I loved the detail and column inches regarding the suspension systems, frame design, ride feel etc. It was brilliant. I don’t really care about the looks comments. I suppose if I’m happy with the way my bike looks I might be a bit more eager to ride it, but looks are subjective. Just cos you think it looks better doesn’t mean I will. Suspension performance is quantifiable. In short, I loved the review, just thought it was a bit unfair to discount three of the bikes straight away by putting them under riders that were too tall for them.

      1. gabe

        holy crap thats long. Sorry :s

      2. Craig

        So what you’re saying is jonesy should saw about 4 inches off his legs to be able to continue reviewing dh bikes? :) One thing I took from the test (having FINALLY found somewhere selling the damn thing – c’mon Smiths, it’s meant to be out on the 28th!) is that I would need an XL (6’2″), my large Kalula really is too small for me, and at prices upwards of £7k the only bikes in the test that are available in a big enough size are too expensive! But what’s that Lassie? The large YT Tues has the same reach as an XL session or large Demo? And only costs about £2.7k with full BOS? Haha, that’ll be that then, you can shove your overpriced carbon exotica!

  5. alex

    I’m guessing that the test rider is Corrado Herin…

  6. dirt dodger

    @ 5’11 the size large Wilson for me is perfect I have to say, oh and anybody not riding one across UK root and soil is missing out big time. Glad to see you guys agree. When is the full vid coming out? and when will we see Finally?? arrrrggghh the new season is on us damnit

  7. barebackrider

    Jonesy add your email I want some advice on a bike for the fod but don’t want to waste the small amount of cash I have ! cheers

  8. leon

    EVIL UNDEAD ???

  9. Leon

    Nice name Leon !

  10. WAKi

    Stig in MTB, finaly! Get him a white POC lego race kit to that face covering TLD Full face and off you go!

  11. Gay

    Make your mind up Steve, about a month back you seemed to think you were the same height as Chris Porter. No wonder no-one with any sense pays any attention to your bike reviews.

  12. Mez Eldridge-Tull

    Ali you lied to me you said you were testing bikes but really you were sat in the coffee shop!! :-P

    1. Ali

      Sorry Mez, the coffee was just too good!

      1. Luca Masserini

        Hey Ali… I’m your hair cutter… you should write to me very soon because you never did! and promises are holy for me!

      2. Ali

        Luca! Ciao fratello! There’s a copy of the magazine on its way to you. Hair cut if looking good though – thanks!

      3. Luca+Masserini

        molto bene! will u come to chatel to hair dress again? I have a new pair of scissors….

        I remember those days very well and i miss all the magic moments. it was so funny!! ciao bello! let me know if you come to italy

  13. fanboy

    Great intro video, makes me want to read the mag (haven’t got it yet).

    Oh, and that Wilson is daaaamn hot!

  14. jonesdirt

    Gay, come on if you’re going to engage in the discussion let’s have your thoughts on the bikes then…rather than such inept crap.

    1. WAKi

      Will there be a star on a bike for a reasonable price? Throw in some old Big Hit or Kona Stinky with Fox Van and Marzocchi drop off tripples! Put Fabien on it! But if you want an actual current production DH bike that does resemble the speed and handling of Suzuki Liana, Cube Two15 or Rose Beef Cake won’t disappoint you!

  15. Christiano

    Craig that’s pretty much it, the YT was last years Dh bike of year in dirt and would mix it with these expensive d bikes easily. Just compare the numbers

    1. burns

      There will be a carbon YT. Full build for around 3000€ they say. If they really do this the big guys will look really dumb.

  16. Johnny

    If you’re comparing most popular carbon DH bikes why you don’t add anything about Antidote Lifeline DH Carbon? http://www.antidotebikes.com or https://www.facebook.com/AntidoteBikes

    That’s exactly what we can called “HiEnd Carbon DH frame”

  17. Johnny

    If you’re comparing best carbon bikes, why you don’t say anything about Antidote Lifeline DH Carbon? Just take a look: http://www.antidotebikes.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/AntidoteBikes
    What’s exactly what we can name “hiend dh composite frame”.

    1. Ali

      Johnny – because the test wasn’t just “carbon bikes” – it was the most successful carbon downhill bikes. Otherwise we’d have a lot more bikes!

    2. GABE

      that antidote sure is pretty. It also wins the award for possibly the muddiest/shortest lifespan rear shock EVER!

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