I’m splitting hairs here to a certain extent, but the BOS bike has SRAM Guide RSC brakes compared to the RC versions on the RockShox bike, the former is also rigged out with e*thirteen wheels which offer a lovely sound and speed, plus the venerable seven speed SRAM XO DH groupset, which we found never missed a beat on our rocky excursions… and the new Renthal bar and stem combination. It also sports an SDG seat and post and an e*thirteen chainset, which proved to be stiff and reliable. The less expensive bike was again SRAM shod but offered more traditional gearing and came with DT Swiss wheels, Race Face bar and stem. Like the BOS bike it’s a ready to rock machine with no faults.
If there is little to play for in the component stakes the same is not true of the suspension. At 2942g the BoXXer Team features their Charger Damper, low speed compression and rebound adjust. It’s a thousand pound fork compared to the £1300 World Cup version that comes in a few hundred grams lighter and with one extra rebound and compression adjustment – end stroke rebound and high speed compression. Both are good forks, reliable and pretty good value, but before I journeyed to Spain I found little to choose from between the two in damp UK conditions.
Meanwhile the new FCV BOS Idylle has had the task of filling some mighty fine footwear in what the French company have produced before, and comparing the Team BoXXer to the more expensive BOS is an unfair fight, for the Toulouse fork simply tramples all over the BoXXer in nearly every department: 35mm tubes against 37mm, a whole range more adjustability and infinitely more adjustable air spring playing against a relatively crude coil… and that’s before you drop off the hill.
The BOS is more sensitive, it’s faster and more accurate. It holds a straighter line where the BoXXer gets distracted, it grips where the other skitters, and when combined with the imperious Void out the back it means the ride is balanced, controlled and to be frank, so much more inspiring. It can be lively but it always has its eye on you. Yes it’s an unfair comparison but when the two bikes are so closely priced I cannot think of any reason why they actually bother making the RockShox version. The BoXXer
is good, the BOS is excellent.
Within a pedal stroke the ride feels totally neutral on the Tues. The wheelbase, chainstay, reach, bottom bracket and suspension are correct, inspired even, offering a good ride height in the recommended settings out of the box. The rider is certainly centred deeper into the bike than the previous 26″ version. The steering was crisp, the ride silent (once we’d adjusted the derailleur to give more clearance of the chainstay) and also lively. Under pedalling the power transfer was very good and always efficient.
As mentioned, back in the UK I had just come off the back of riding the new BOS forks against the BoXXer World Cup and Team, and even though there was a difference I didn’t find it to be that massive between all three forks. Out on faster, harder, rockier trails this was not the case, as damper sensitivity and speed became heightened, and it quickly became evident that money would be best spent on the BOS bike given the performance advantage on offer. The speed of the damping has a marked effect
on control out in such an environment and the ground conditions heighten any laziness in the damping.
For several reasons the BOS suspension also lends itself to a more systematic approach to set-up than the RockShox dials which, when swapping between bikes over the week, appeared to be continually being turned one way and the other with little consideration for the outcome. With the BOS you have to use a tool for making adjustments and it’s because of this that it makes a difference towards your attitude to set-up. Base set-up recommendations for both bikes were very good. The overall feeling of the BOS version was of a very, very settled bike that was in tune with the chassis.
When so many companies cannot even get past the basics it seems slightly unfair to pull up some minor detail here but it needs saying. The tolerance on the linkage with the coil shock fitted is pretty tight and I would like to see it operating in winter mud. The Guide adjuster is a fiddle for big fingers and in the BOS rear damper I would use 10 psi more pressure than recommended. Riders over six foot might also find the reach a touch short on the Tues but YT promise there is an extra large in the pipeline. And metal
collared bar ends are so yesterday and… I’m scraping the barrel here.
It’s easy to miss small details that make the YT a winner. The damper tune, the frame stiffness/flex balance, the beautiful feel to the brakes, the buzz and strength/flex qualities of the e*thirteen wheels, the paintwork, the build quality, the graphics. For bang on three thousand pounds this bike offers great times. On performance it will compete with any other bike out there. It has been said before.
I questioned the YT directors on their current choice of sponsored freeriders – Cam Zink, Kelly McGarry, Andreu Lacondeguy – over a full-blooded downhill outfit. Having considered and discussed this they are probably taking the best route at the minute, for nobody really seems to be showing their hand in the consistency stakes. If they were to employ a race team they’d want to win I’m sure,
it’s just that nobody seems to be putting their hand up. The sport in the men’s class at least seems a touch unsettled at the top. Maybe in a year or two it will be different. Their appearance at World Cup racing would ensure the world to be fully turned upside down, yet you cannot argue the worth of their charismatic and successful freeride team.
You might wonder why such non-bike related issues matter, well it seems that it does, for looks and race presence obviously matters to many people. YT have ticked the image box and produced a bike capable of winning at the highest level. It seems totally crazy that there are top racers reliant on nothing more than jalopies when there are bikes such as the Tues. We have indeed reached a point in time when a privateer racer can actually buy a bike that is better than many so-called factory rigs,and that going into 2015 you need to pay a lot of money for a good bike, but to get an excellent one you have topay considerably less.