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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Chemical Adrenal

Electro Slam hits the ground running

 

By S. Jones Images: Callum Philpott

Few brands manage to combine the key elements to make the perfect bike. Whether it’s the component parts, the fine lines that enhance and embellish a chassis with good suspension integrity or simply the chemistry of angles; these are the basics that lead us to bond with a bike, a brand. Image and attitude might be the others.

Chemical is a new UK brand based in Derbyshire founded by Dan Lewis, a man with strong background in design and marketing. It’s interesting – and a little less delicate than with some one-man companies – to discuss Chemical with Dan, as he initiated the brand as he tells us “quite similarly to how I would have tackled it had someone come to me with a design brief.” He’s precious about it but not obsessed, eager to improve rather than quick to argue that what he has done is faultless. You don’t have to walk on tip toe through a conversation about this bike.

But then he’s got so many things right about Chemical, about this, the Adrenal 160mm. In fact I was convinced I’d been caught napping and that I’d missed a brand. Chemical have got everything in place it seems, it’s certainly not a company that have made a load of noise and had nothing ready to sell. With a range of colours and sizes at a good price they are offering a well presented bike. But does it deliver?

Shape and purpose.

A 150mm lightweight enduro bike with good angles. The Adrenal weighs in at 30lb give or take a few ounces, and shapes up with 447mm reach/439mm chainstay/335mm bottom bracket/1191mm wheelbase on a size large. Four sizes, a range of colours but with only 20 made. A modest number, and this the carbon raw electro slam is a great looking bike.

The bike has numbers pretty close to a YT Capra in this the size large. But it’s a little bit shorter in overall length, however it has a longer chainstay and shorter front centre. Bottom bracket is spot on at around 335mm depending on the head angle you choose. The bike has an option for altering the up-front angle. We’d have preferred an XL for six foot testers but it wasn’t too bad.

Suspension/Chassis.

The Rockshox Pike/Monarch combination is proven to be reliable and overall an easy pairing to ride for most riders. There are two links on the bike, VPP style to drive the rear damper with high strength bearings. During the test we did have one of the forward bearings work loose but an eight mil’ hex can be accessed without removing cranks as we’ve found on quite a few bikes recently.

Cable routing is good, a mix of internal and external although we did notice the rear brake runs on the outside of the chainstay and close to the crank, in use it caused no problems. The graphics are well made, there’s a super neat shroud on lower linkage which is a nifty touch and there’s bash protection on the downtube. It’s mostly all covered here.

Componentry. Fast wheels from France, Japanese shifting, a spot of Funn and some of the finest from Sram up front and out the back. This bike is decked out and ready for action. All proven, all reliable and altogether.

Feeling.

Out of the gate the Adrenal has good pace in its bones. The front/rear is well balanced and the suspension offers enough support to generate drive from the ground. Together with its 30lb weight the bike can be moved around easily on the hoof, the steering is good and the climbing ability is aided by a good amount of resistance in the rear can, keeping the bike high on the rear. It does most things well.

The overall balance of the chassis is very good, not too stiff, not too much flex however the noise will need to be addressed for their next creation as its simply too distracting and annoying. This is now a basic which every company should be addressing, but sadly the big percentage of brands still fail to tackle. The long rear chainstay was interesting, and having ridden several bikes with long stays I quite like the weight placement in certain conditions, however it does require the rider being aware of the transfer when dropping into steeper territory as the sudden shift forward can sometimes catch you out.

Limitations.

Maybe should have paid a bit more attention to the chain noise rather than protecting the bearings and one of the pivots needed keeping an eye on as it worked loose on occasions.

Verdict.

If this is Dan’s first creation then I cannot wait to see what’s in the pipeline for Chemical.

PRICE: £3600

chemicalbikes.co.uk

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