At the start of every year the MBUK test crew are each given a bike that they have to ride/test over the course of the following 12 months. Some have a say in what sort of bike they’re going to be testing. Others don’t, in a bid to try out different bikes away from their normal riding. We’ve tried to cover as broad a range as possible with these mountain bikes so we can share our thoughts with you as to what works and what doesn’t.
The idea is to find out more about how well the bikes perform through the different seasons and the changing terrain and to look for ways to improve the experience with component swaps or upgrades. The guys also use the rigs as their test bench for other products they need to test throughout MBUK.
First up we catch up with Technical Editor in Chief Robin Weaver and Features Editor Alex Evans to find out more about the bikes they’re riding this year.
Robin Weaver Technical Editor in Chief
Mojo/Nicolai Geometron G16 £2,600 (frame and shock)
The shift to longer, lower and slacker trail bike geometry is happening, though in some cases, pretty slowly. But how long and slack do you go? Mojo’s Nicolai Geometron is possibly the most extreme example sporting a longer wheelbase and slacker head angle than almost anyone else out there. For someone of just 5ft 8in I was keen to see just how I coped at the jump up in reach and just how the downhill bike slack head angle felt on a trail bike.
So far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time aboard the G16. OK, every time I swing a leg over it after riding bikes with more sedate geometry it takes a while to get used to again. And that’s down to how long it is as I’m really into the 485mm reach my bike comes with, but more the slack head angle which now sits at a shade under 63-degrees. Don’t get me wrong though, as soon as the trails steepen up, the G16 absolutely hauls thanks to all that stability and after a bit of time tweaking shock settings, manages to still feel nicely playful.
- Incredibly planted and stable when riding terrifying terrain
- Steep seat angle makes climbing much easier going
- Boosts confidence when it counts
- The slack head angle takes time to get used on, especially on mellow trails
Fork: Fox 36 Float RC2 2018 with 170mm of travel
Shock: Fox DPX2
Brakes: SRAM Guide RE (180mm rotors)
Drivetrain: SRAM Eagle X01 (32T ring)
Wheels: SRAM Roam 60 with Maxxis Shorty 2.5in WT tyres
Alex Evans Features Editor
Orange Segment Pro £3540
The 110mm travel 29er Orange Segment was a bit of a left field choice for me – I love riding downhill and that’s where my adventure in this sport begun, so to end up with a sole short travel bike came as a bit of a shock.
But, as over the years I’ve ridden a lot of bikes and owned more than I care to count (mostly at the same time!), more recently it’s become clear that a ‘one bike does it all’ or one bike quiver was a real possibility. When choosing the Segment I knew there was going to be a compromise, but I wanted to give the bike a fair shake of the stick and prove that it could be everything I am after for descending, all day epics and general hacking about in the woods. And it’ll be a real money-saving exercise – last year my XC bike and enduro bikes cost nigh on £8k combined, so this year’s £3,540 price tag seems reasonable if the Segment proves it can do everything I want it to.
So far I’ve had a bit of a topsy-turvy relationship with the diminutive bright orange Segment, mostly thanks to its suspension. It’s left me underwhelmed at times, proving that it can get out of its depth pretty quickly when provoked, partly down to its linear suspension curve and partly thanks to its basic rear shock.
But this has also lead to some inspired moments of riding flat out through pretty dodgy terrain on a bike you wouldn’t normally consider when the going gets tough. The bike really comes into its element when you’re riding off piste, freshly cut trails or you’ve found a lovely smooth section of bike park to hammer down and that’s a pretty redeeming feeling regardless of all the crappy compromises that go with it.
• Super fun bike on the right terrain
• Its bite can be bigger than its bark but…
• …that’ll get you into trouble if you’re not expecting it
• Components are starting to wear out after 6 months of riding
Fork: Fox 34 Performance 120mm travel
Shock: Fox DPS Performance
Mech: Shimano XT 11 speed
Casette: Shimano SLX 11 – 42
Bar: RaceFace Chester 780mm wide
Seat post: Reverb Stealth 150mm
Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate brakes 180mm front, 160mm rear £238 each
Next time find out more about Art Editor Jimmer’s Giant Trance Advanced 2 and Deputy Editor JCW’s Norco Optic.
You can keep up to date with Rob, Alex and the rest of the team’s long term test bikes every month in Mountain Biking UK by taking out a subscription here.
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