enabled us to snap out of each corner and right back into pedaling. The Continental MountainKing tires actually had a far narrower
width than their stated 2. 4 inches and left us hesitant to push the
bike’s limits in sweeping corners. We see the tires providing the
most traction on terrain with either loose or wet dirt.
Descending: We noticed how well the bike fit us as soon
as the trail pitched downward and allowed us to throw the bike
around like a Lab with a new chew toy. The 130 millimeters of
travel provided plenty of leeway for when the trail snuck up on
us; however, the design wasn’t keen on using the middle range of
its travel. Though it took us some time to get used to, we ended
up working with the strengths of the design and found it to be an
efficient system as long as we weren’t charging through endless
rock gardens. With the shock in Descend mode, the APS suspension still provided cranking efficiency and twitchy responsiveness
while throwing it around one obstacle after the next. On the other
end of the spectrum, if we chose to eat the obstacles rather than
avoid them, the Speedfox SF02 provided the most control when
we pushed deep into the travel. With a fairly conservative head
tube angle of 68. 5 degrees, we certainly found ourselves over the
rear tire for additional confidence on steep descents, but it simply
changed our riding style from “raging gorilla” to “nimble rabbit.”
Braking: The APS suspension platform, which utilizes a modified dw link design, does an excellent job of keeping the suspension fully active, even under handful-of-lever, “oh no!” braking.
SRAM Guide RS brakes enabled us to dial in the most comfortable
lever position with ease.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
It may be an excellent saddle for some riders, but the rounded
top of the Fizik Tundra saddle left our test riders completely numb
after any ride longer than an hour. For quick, speed-focused rides,
it may be a viable option, but it was a no-go for long trail rides.
Aggressive riders will notice the benefits of the stiffness of a Fox
34 Float fork, but the 32 will be sufficient for the majority of trail
Trail-ready travel: Lately, we’ve found 5.1 inches ( 130 millimeters) of travel to be the sweet spot for all our afternoon trail rides.
The Fox 32 Float fork matches up nicely with the Speedfox SF02
and creates a balanced ride for trail riding.
Bring on the foliage: With
early-season plants thriving
along the sides of the trail,
bike for such rides.