by Justin Schroth
With endless options for trail bikes, and seemingly ever-increasing price of high end components, it is rare to find a bike with a higher end build kit that does not require a second mortgage on your home. Fezzari hopes to make a impact in this market with the Nebo Peak, offering a build that rivals bikes almost twice its price, all while proposing a customized hands-on approach to the purchasing process. Cutting corners or simply a smart new business concept? We were about to find out, and now so are you!
2015 Fezzari Nebo Peak Highlights
- 6061 Hydroformed Alloy Fezzari Racing Design HL675 frame
- 27.5-inch wheels
- 150-mm (5.9-inches) rear wheel travel
- Tapered headtube
- Internal cable routing for drivetrain, brake and optional dropper post
- Single pass smooth welding
- ISCG mounts
- Direct mount rear brake
- 142x12-mm rear axle
- Full sealed cartridge bearings
- Replaceable derailleur hanger with threads in the hanger
- Water bottle bosses
- RockShox Pike RC Solo Air, 150-mm travel fork
- Custom tuned Fox Float CTD rear shock with handlebar mounted remote
- SRAM X1 1x11 drivetrain
- Shimano XT brakes with Ice-Tech rotors
- Oversized RaceFace Evolve bar and stem
- Ergon GE1 grips
- Stan's tubeless ready Flow EX rims
- Maxxis Ardent 2.25-inch tires
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL (15", 17", 19", 21")
- MSRP: $3,199 USD
When purchasing a bike directly from Fezzari, you not only save money but you can also take advantage of their 23-point custom setup. So before the Nebo Peak shipped, I exchanged a handful of emails with the guys at Fezzari in order to set the bike up to my riding style and height/weight, as well as add a few upgrades such as a tubeless set-up and a dropper post. As a result of this process, not only did Fezzari install the mentioned upgrades, but they also adjusted the saddle position, set the air pressure in the shock/fork/tires, adjusted the handlebar height/angle and brake lever position, among many other tweaks.
Upon receiving the bike, putting the Nebo Peak together was pretty straightforward and way easier than the typical “build from the box” process that most of us are used to from other manufacturers. A once over found no loose bolts, a properly dialed derailleur, and no major adjustments required to the cockpit. The only thing I had to do was install the fork, reroute the front brake housing to my taste, and dial in the position of the dropper post lever to accommodate my smaller-than-average hands.
The Nebo Peak is crafted from a 6061 Hydroformed Alloy, utilizing a Horstlink suspension design with the shock attaching to the downtube. The frame includes internal cable routing for shifting and braking, as well as internal dropper post cable routing that is new for 2015, giving the bike an overall clean look. Closer inspection reveals large sealed bearings for the linkage and very clean welds. On the subject of manufacturing, Fezzari claims their single pass smooth welding adds strength and reduces frame weight. In regards to geo, with a 67 degree head angle, 13.5 BB height, 17.1" Chainstays, and 45" wheelbase, the Nebo Peak is pretty much in line with most bikes in the same category.
On The Trail
I was very curious to see if the adjustments Fezzari made to the cockpit and saddle position were in fact accurate to measurements I sent them. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the riding position, reach, and brake lever position all felt super comfortable, to the point that it actually made me realize that my current setup on my personal bike might be a bit off and in need of a little tweaking. I will note that I added a few extra PSI to the fork and rear shock for a little extra stiffness. My only conclusion here is that I should have factored in my weight with gear, as my first ride was with 2.5L of water in the pack.
Once hitting the trails I quickly found out where the bike shines and where it could see some improvements. With the aluminum frame and the 27.5" wheels, I did notice a weight/rolling penalty compared to my 26” carbon fiber trail bike. On the longer climbs, I often found myself switching into either the ‘trail’ or full lock-out mode of the CTD shock to save some energy. Fire road climbs in the saddle felt smooth with minimal bob, but once charging out of the saddle I found myself quickly reaching for the CTD remote to reduce unwanted suspension movement and save some energy.
The Nebo Peak felt balanced and planted on short fast technical climbs, but a little sluggish and awkward on the slower climbs and switchbacks. Once pointed downhill though, the Nebo Peak really came into form and showed that it loves to go fast and get airborne, feeling quite stable at speed and super balanced when in the air and railing corners.
With it's 27.5" wheels, the Nebo Peak rolled with ease over everything from small bumps to big rocky sections and square edge hits with no major issues, inspiring me to let off the brakes more often than once and giving the suspension a chance to do all the work. Even though it is "only" a 150-mm travel frame, it felt like it had an extra 10- to 15-mm of travel on the bit hits. Finally, the Nebo Peak has plenty of stiffness with a 142-mm rear end combined with a one-piece forged rocker.
The first thing most will notice about the Nebo Peak is the amazing list of parts that are included in the $3199 price tag. Up front, the Rock Shox Pike is the current fan-favorite trail fork on the market (and probably mine too). Light, stiff, and with smooth and plush action it handles the challenging and varied terrain we see on the East Coast with ease. Combined with the RaceFace Evolve bar & stem cockpit, the steering felt direct and precise throughout testing.
Slowing down was always easy with the Shimano XT brakes paired with Ice Tech rotors. The custom-tuned Fox Float CTD rear shock worked well with the frame, and having the 3 'modes' was helpful with this linkage design (see the On The Trail section). The Sram X1 1x11 drivetrain worked flawlessly, even during an 18-mile mudfest ride. Trickle-down tech at its best.
The Stans ZTR Flow EX wheels are a solid choice for the bike. Although they are slightly heavier than some comparable wheels on the market, they provided a stiff feeling to the front and rear end and didn't require trueing nor tensioning even after a few months of testing. The Maxxis Ardents are a good all-around option, providing plenty of traction in a wide range of conditions.
Lastly, the Rock Shox Reverb is one of the current top choices for dropper posts (note that this was ordered as an upgrade, it is not included in the standard build kit of the Nebo Peak). Unfortunately for me my post decided to act up on the first ride in the cold, requiring some 'coaxing' to return to the top position, and often taking about 15-20 seconds to return to full height after pumping the dropper release button. With internal routing remedying the issue with a fresh bleed does take some additional work, but it is a relatively straightforward fix nevertheless.
Things That Could Be Improved
As previously mentioned, the obvious area where I could see potential for improvement is in the weight, to make climbing a bit easier. Of course, it is impossible not to take the incredibly low price into account whenever discussing improvements here, as you could argue that this point is unfair - it is worth mentioning, nevertheless. Although the Nebo Peak is far from a stout pig (I got my test bike down to 29 lbs with the tubeless set-up, excl pedals), the overall ride experience would benefit from the frame or the wheels going on a slight diet. Aside from this issue, I couldn’t find many negatives regarding the ride, especially with the excellent stock build.
Long Term Durability
My first ride was a 100% rain and mud affair, and the paint showed some substantial signs of cable-rub and wear on the head tube and top tube afterwards. I would suggest some clear 3M tape in the typical wear areas. As with most Hydroformed 6061 aluminum frames, you really shouldn't expect to see any issues with the frame, especially with the solid and clean welds of the Nebo Peak. But to put your precious dollars at ease, Fezzari includes a limited lifetime warranty on the frame, and a one year warranty for paint finish and original components. Speaking of components, as previously mentioned, they are of high standard throughout and we would expect years of loyal service from most of them.
What's The Bottom Line?
For those who ride fast and hard and are looking for a versatile 150-mm trail bike with an amazing build that won’t break the bank, the Fezzari Nebo Peak is a great option. Yes, it feels a little heavier than its weight might suggest, but looking at it from a parts-for-dollar point of view there is very little actual competition out there right now in this price bracket. And not only will you spend less to buy the bike, since you most likely won't find yourself looking to upgrade components mid-season either, you’ll have some extra cash for post-ride beers too!
For more information, head on over to www.fezzari.com.
About The Reviewer
Justin Schroth has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years, experiencing first hand the evolution of the industry from thumb shifters and MCU cartridge forks to carbon fiber frames and single-ring all mountain bikes. As an East Coast rider, he loves trails with a combination of jumps, technical downhills, and the occasional loose corner for some foot out action. With a Mechanical Engineering degree, Justin's instinct is to always consider how it works over how it looks. After many years of racing the Northeast Norba and Collegiate series, Justin hung up the race plate and his diploma to go behind the camera at Lucent Productions, creating mountain bike video content for several clients such as Highland Mountain Bike Park.