ALUMINIUM. 36.5LB. £3300. 27.5 WHEELS
- 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.