First Look - Propain Spindrift - Dirt

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Trail and Enduro Bikes

First Look – Propain Spindrift

Aluminium 180mm travel big hitter

With 180mm of travel and coil or air options for the rear shock, the aluminium Spindrift is yet another hard-hitting and well priced option from Europe.

Eight years ago we were moving away from the heavy and often overbuilt ‘Freeride’ bikes that had defined this category of long travel single crown forked bikes. The air sprung Orange Alpine 160 and Commencal Supreme showed promise and the way forward, but many builds were way over 35 pounds and still had the clatter of double chainsets. And there wasn’t a dropper post in sight. With a 170mm fork and 180mm of rear travel the Propain Spindrift, shows a nod towards those bikes. A combination of a coil rear shock (on our test bike), low slung aluminium frame, Fox 36 forks and a purposeful wheelset certainly brings back memories of the capable and much loved Specialized SX Trail – a defining bike in the ‘mini DH’ category of those times. That bike hit scales at 37.5 pounds (17Kg) though, whereas the Spindrift is around six pounds lighter and rolls on 27.5″ wheels. It goes straight up against bikes such as the incredibly capable Radon Swoop and latest generation Orange Alpine 6.

DESIGN DETAILS

Although Propain offer carbon frames on bikes such as the Rage, they stick to lightweight aluminium for the Spindrift. They’ve aimed to instil the ‘big hit capabilities of a true downhill bike’ into this 180mm travel frame and carry over the low centre of gravity Pro10 suspension system they use on the Rage Carbon DH. With the shock sitting behind the seat tube it would be easy to show concern for serious UK use, but an integrated mudguard helps keep the muck away. Models with coil or air shock are available along with Propain’s ‘Project Free’ custom colour and spec options. You’re buying direct from Propain in Europe, so pricing is keen – with built bikes currently starting at £2139.99.

GEOMETRY

Three sizes are available – S (16.5”), M (17.5”) and L (18.5”) – all sporting 445mm chainstays and a 64.5 deg headangle. A size Large measures 465mm for the reach and a length wheelbase of 1247mm. Those chainstays are longer than a Capra AL or Radon Swoop, but Propain keep the head tube and seat tube short (for a long stroke dropper). Maybe an XL frame size would be a good addition?

SPECIFICATION

The Spindrift comes in three specs (Comp, Trail or Race) with the option to choose from various colours/finishes and component upgrades – in a similar way to Orange bikes. Our test bike looks to be a ‘Trail spec’ with a Fox 36 fork upgrade. The spec list looks a winner to us with the Magura MT brakes, Stan’s Flow Mk3 wheels and SRAM GX all being picks in the 2017 Dirt 100.

STANDARD ‘TRAIL’ SPEC BELOW:

FRAME: 180mm travel, aluminium

FORK: RockShox Lyrik RCT3 180mm Solo Air

REAR SHOCK: Cane Creek Double Barrel Coil CS

TRANSMISSION: SRAM GX 1×11

CRANKSET: Truvativ Descendent Aluminium

BRAKES: Magura MT5 (203mm rotors F/R)

WHEELSET: Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK3

TYRES: Onza Ibex 27.5×2.4 FRC120

HANDLEBAR: Sixpack Kamikaze 780mm

STEM: Sixpack Leader 50mm

SADDLE: Selle Italia XR

SEATPOST: Bikeyoke Revive 125/160mm dropper

PRICE: £2,859.99

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