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Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail Frame

Average User Rating: (Spectacular)
Vital Rating: (Excellent)
Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail Frame 2014 Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail Frame
C70_2014_guerrilla_gravity_megatrail_frame C70_2014_guerrilla_gravity_megatrail_frame C70_2014_guerrilla_gravity_megatrail_frame C70_2014_guerrilla_gravity_megatrail_frame C70_2014_guerrilla_gravity_megatrail_frame C70_2014_guerrilla_gravity_megatrail_frame
Vital MTB Retail Partners:
Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry

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    Vital Review

    “First Ride: Guerilla Gravity MEGATRAIL”

    by Dave Trumpore

    We recently had a chance to visit the folks at Guerrilla Gravity in Denver, Colorado for a tour of the shop and to take a look at their newest trail bike project, the Megatrail. In a day and age where most manufacturing, welding, and assembly happens far overseas, it was quite refreshing to see the inner workings of a more homegrown operation right here in our backyard. Guerrilla Gravity truly keeps it local by doing all of the work in house. The only exception being the CNC bits that are contracted out, but even those are produced just down the road.

    While I toured the shop, Matt Giaraffa, 1/3 of Guerrilla Gravity's ownership and the lead engineer, prepped my ride for the day. All winter long he has been designing and tweaking the Megatrail, and with most of the design finalized it was time for Vital to get an exclusive first ride.

    Megatrail Highlights

    • 150mm (5.9-inches) or 160mm (6.3-inches) rear wheel travel
    • 26 or 27.5-inch wheels
    • 16.8-inch (w/ 26-inch wheels) or 17.3-inch (w/ 27.5-inch wheels) chainstay
    • 66.5 or 65.5-degree head angle
    • 13.2 or 12.7-inch bottom bracket height
    • 73.3-degree seat tube angle
    • 1.5-inch headtube
    • 12x142mm rear axle
    • 73mm threaded bottom bracket
    • Weight: 7-pounds (size Medium, with hardware but without shock)
    • Frames start at $1,925 (without shock) // Complete builds start at $3,495 with some customization options
    • 10 different powder coat paint options
    • All bikes come with the the GG Rider Program

    The Guerrilla Gravity shop itself is pretty simple and straight forward, with a small retail storefront as you walk in the door and a mechanic's bench and service center towards the rear. It looks almost like any small Mom and Pop bike shop when standing in the showroom, and it isn't until you venture through the door adjacent to the repair shop that things take on a new light.

    Behind closed doors is where things begin to come alive at Guerrilla Gravity. There are racks of aluminum neatly stacked and divided between 6000 and 7000 series, massive blocks of stock waiting to be machined, welding tables, jigs, presses, and frame components in various states of production. It may not be glamorous, but it's a living and breathing bicycle factory right here in the USA, which in this day and age is a rare and wonderful sight to see.

    At first glance the Megatrail almost looks like its big brother, the GGDH downhill bike, that Guerrilla Gravity has been producing for some time. The idea here is to keep the designs similar to give some brand identity and to share production processes and materials to keep the cost down and the manufacturing streamlined.

    The basic concept of the bike itself is pretty straightforward, and the folks at GG aren't trying to reinvent the wheel - they're just trying to do it well and affordably. The frame employs a single-pivot, linkage-driven suspension layout which has been developed together with Cane Creek for the DBair CS and optimized for air shocks in general. The tried and true linkage is mated to a conventional front triangle that gives the bike a clean and efficient look. High quality Enduro Maxx bearings are used at all pivot locations.

    Upon closer inspection (and mind you this is only a prototype), the machining, finish work and welding all look top notch and it is evident that these guys know what they are doing when it comes to metal work and production. Nothing really looks out of place or cobbled together, and other than moving a brace on the swingarm forward for more tire clearance and tweaking a few cable guide positions, I was told the bike I was to ride would be pretty much identical to the production version.

    On The Trail

    Of course I wasn't there just to look at and talk about the Megatrail, I was there to ride it. So off we went to my favorite test loop at Hall Ranch just outside Boulder. If you are not familiar with this particular trail, I use it as a go-to for product testing due to the sheer variety of terrain found on a rather small loop. I can ride it multiple times a day while changing setups to get a good feel for what a bike is doing. With a mix of long climbs, tech climbs, twisty descents, and a mile long rough and rowdy rock garden DH, it has just about everything.

    To start I set the bike in the 150mm travel Trail Mode (there is also a Gravity Mode I will get back to later) and sagged in the Cane Creek DBair CS shock. Having ridden this shock extensively the past few months I can't say enough good things about it, so I definitely gave the Megatrail two thumbs up for that spec alone. Up front the bike was sporting a 160mm travel Rockshox Pike set to 25% sag.

    I chose to ride the Medium sized frame which felt spot on for my 5'9" height. The 25-inch top tube is very much on the longer side for a Medium frame, but I much prefer a little extra room coupled with a short stem over a short frame with a long stem. The setup felt quite similar to that of my personal bike, a Yeti SB66. The phrase I would use to describe the fit was "just right." The bar height, reach and weight distribution between the wheels made me feel right at home immediately.

    Seeing as it's 2014, the other big choice I had to make was wheel size. The Megatrail is available in frames specific to 26 or 27.5-inch wheels (or a 27.5 front/26 rear combo), where both the front and rear triangles are specific to each wheel size in order to keep the bottom bracket and headtube heights constant. For this test I chose to ride the 27.5-inch offering exclusively. Guerrilla Gravity hand builds the wheels that come on the Megatrail, and the wheels are customizable. So, with suspension set and wheel size properly debated it was finally time to get dirty.

    In Trail mode things felt fairly predictable and dare I say "normal." That's not a bad thing as there are so many awesome bikes on the market now that it really is hard to be unique or different, and to say this bike felt like the bikes I have grown accustomed to is really quite a compliment. I don't ride poor bikes.

    It did have a bit of firmness in the mid-stroke that helped while hammering on the pedals, but it came at the expense of plushness when the going got rougher. There was not spiking or harshness, just a bit more feedback than I really like on some bits of trail. I will note that sprinting, climbing, and smashing on the pedals did very little to upset the suspension, and there is little to no power robbing motion.

    The bikes come equipped with 1X drivetrains and a 42-tooth cassette add-on dubbed the "BFC" that provides more range than the typical single ring drivetrain at a fraction of the cost of SRAM's XX1 system. This proved to be plenty of gear for the trail.

    Next up was the 160mm Gravity Mode, which I will leave to the bike's design engineer, Matt, to explain:

    "When we started talking about the idea of making an aggressive trail/all mountain/enduro/ride everything bike, we started with the thought that the current crop of those bikes were making too much compromise. They either climbed well, or descended well, but not really both. Turning the gears on that idea for a while, and learning from the performance of the GG/DH, we came up the idea that this sort of bike needed an adjustment to cover the bases instead of making an "all season tire." It should have one mode that's more trail and climb friendly that makes the bike very efficient, yet still very shreddable, and a second mode that cranks the Shred Knob up to 11 for gnarly Enduro race stages, bike park laps, long routes that are mostly descending (i.e. Moab's Whole Enchilada), etc. We also wanted the physical change to be something the average rider could do in 30 seconds or less with a multi-tool, with no small pieces to lose."

    "What became the hardest part of designing the Megatrail was getting the kinematics of Trail and Gravity mode to both make sense to accomplish what we wanted, while making the physical change between them a simple shock bolt swap. While it may look simple, it took a huge amount of effort to make it work without a glaring issue in one of the modes, such as weird geometry, amount of travel that didn't make sense, or leverage curves that wouldn't work well."

    Trail Mode

    • 150mm travel
    • 13.2-inch BB height
    • 66.5-degree head angle
    • Leverage curve tuned with more mid-stroke support for climbing efficiency, yet still without a harsh top stroke or blowing through the travel.

    Gravity Mode

    • 160mm travel
    • 12.7-inch BB height
    • 65.5-degree head angle
    • Leverage curve tuned for more bump compliance and grip to feel like a shorter travel GG/DH.

    On the trail, Gravity Mode can be summarized with two words... SIMPLY AMAZING.

    To be honest this is the bike I have been waiting for someone to make for years. After riding and racing DH for 10+ years I have always wished my trail bikes mimicked the low, stable, slack and fast feeling of a DH racer. While many bikes come close, very few hit the mark. However the Megatrail, with the simple turn of one bolt, becomes that bike. You don't need to make any pressure or adjustment changes to the shock when switching between settings. The sag as a percentage of travel stays the same. With a bottom bracket height that is the same as a DH bike at sag, a long top tube and a 65.5-degree head angle, the bike just begged to be ridden harder and faster.

    What of the suspension? Gone was the firm mid-stroke of Trail mode, and the bike began to really come alive with grip in spades at the rear wheel and a light, stable and playful feeling even in the roughest of terrain. The Megatrail is based around the same concept as the DH bike, putting fun first with a roomy cockpit, low bottom bracket, relatively short chainstays, and a slack head angle. For me this was a win, win, win, win situation.

    With the Cane Creek DBair shock mounted there was no major drawback to climbing with the bike set in Gravity mode either. The Climb Switch feature on the shock is a game changer and really allows a bike's suspension be optimized for descending with little to no compromise while climbing. If I had a different shock mounted I may go between the bike's Trail and Gravity mode depending on what riding was in store, but with the DBair I don't think I would ever take it out of Gravity Mode. Yes, it's that good.

    Things That Could Be Improved

    I would like to see a bit more standover on the Medium frame (something the Small has plenty of), and while I like a long top tube, anyone in the 5'8" - 5'10" range may struggle a bit with which size to pick. If you have never ridden a bike with a slightly longer top tube, shorter stays and a short stem, I say try it before you shake your head. Chances are you will realize that you have been missing out all along.

    Long Term Durability

    Obviously this is still a prototype, and one ride won't yield definitive answers about long term durability, but there is nothing about the design that I question. If the long term durability of Guerrilla Gravity's DH bike is any indication then there should be no troubles.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    I have to say I am very impressed. The folks at Guerrilla Gravity have done their homework on this one and I didn't want to give the bike back at the end of the day. While it may not feature a complicated linkage design or be covered in marketing acronyms, the Megatrail dishes up a very capable, inspiring, and well-balanced ride.

    Pricing and weight are competitive, if not a bargain compared to much of the high end equipment out there these days. My $5,295 "Trail 1" build test bike came in at 30-pounds, and Guerrilla Gravity also offers a more budget-oriented "Trail 2" build that comes in lighter at 29.8-pounds with a price tag of $3,495. With several comparable bikes in the $6,000 to $10,000 price range, it's refreshing to ride something so good at an attainable price. Even more impressive is that this is achieved while designing and manufacturing 100% in downtown Denver, Colorado.

    Visit www.ridegg.com for more details. The Megatrail is available for pre-order now, with limited availability starting April 1, 2014. If you're in the area, you're welcome to go visit the shop to see where the bikes are made and pedal the prototypes around.

    Bonus Gallery: 39 photos of the Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail up close and in action


    About The Reviewer

    Dave Trumpore's 20-year riding career has seen him sling a leg over the best and the worst the mountain bike industry has produced during that time. From Junior Expert XC in his early racing days to Pro DH from 1998-2009, a handful of World Cup finals take pride of place on Dave's resume. Not being the biggest guy out there he has a smooth style focused on carrying speed rather than smashing his way down the trail. He has always taken a very technical approach to bike setup, in particular with suspension and brakes. After trading number plates for a camera, Dave can now be found chasing the fastest riders on the planet when he's not out racking up thousands of feet climbing and descending while exploring the vast high alpine trail networks of the Rocky Mountains.

    “Guerrilla Gravity: Megatrail”

    The Good: Dialed geometry, amazing suspension performance, efficient pedaling, wheel size choice, priced competitively and backed by an awesome company who hand makes them in the USA.

    The Bad: On the heavier end of the spectrum when compared to some of the carbon bikes on the market.

    Overall Review:


    When I caught my first glimpse of Guerrilla Gravity's new Megatrail, its unique styling and the fact that it was hand built in the USA caught my attention. When all the details were released I knew that this bike would be right up my alley. By coincidence I happened to break my old frame days after the original glowing review from Vitalmtb was released and I knew I had to have it.

    I immediately put down a deposit on a frame and was contacted by Will, one of the co-owners thanking me for my purchase and offering any help along the way. The crew at Guerrilla Gravity went above and beyond to get me all the informationI needed to get me on the correct size bike and wheel size for my type of riding.

    Originally I was slightly concerned about the length of the front end compared to my old bike. At 5'10" I could have gone with a small or a medium. Will assured me that the extra length in the cockpit would make for a better riding position but at almost 2" longer than my last frame I was still a little leery. The GG guys offered to meet me at Sea Otter to let me take it for a test ride. Within a few seconds of sitting on the bike I knew that he was right, their sizing is spot on. The extra length felt perfect and the bike was actually easier to throw around than my old Giant Reign X.

    Fast forward a few months and I had a shiny new Megatrail in my garage. I went about building up my dream bike, sporting a Pike up front, Cane Creek DBA Cs in the rear and a Renthal cockpit. I decided to go with 650b wheels as allot of my local trails have big square edge rocks and the extra stability and roll over seemed like a benefit. From the moment I got on the thing I couldn't believe I actually rode a bike with such a short front end. The Megatrail feels so balanced with a much more natural riding position both climbing and descending. On the climbs I can finally stand up and hammer without fear of hitting my knees on the bars. Descending is a whole different ball game now. The ability to move around on the bike is night and day better, now I can really weight the front end in turns without the rear end feeling like its going to step out. With the short chainstays the bike manuals with ease and pumping through little downsides on the trail is much easier with the roomy cockpit.

    Because my area mostly consists of DH bike worthy trails I have elected to ride the bike in "Gravity Mode" exclusively, yielding a 12.7bb height and 65.5deg head angle. (I am running a -.5 Angleset so my head angle is actually 65deg) I initially had some reservations on climbing technical terrain with such a low bb height but once again my concerns were unfounded. After the first few rides I adjusted my pedal strokes accordingly and crank strikes aren't something I'm concerned with. The bike pedals exceptionally well, better in fact than my old Maestro equipped Reign X. On my old bike I felt like I was struggling to climb anytime the Propedal was turned off. The Megatrail, even in Gravity Mode motors right up climbs even with the shock wide open. For long extended climbs I do utilize the Climb Switch but for short punchy climbs mid descent, I don't even bother to flip it on. Naturally any bike with such a slack head angle isn't going to like going slow so there is a bit of front wheel wonder when in the granny gear spinning it out. For me it's not an issue as I try to keep my momentum up and a simple switch to Trail Mode would put the geometry in the ballpark of the majority of bikes on the market. In the limited time I have in Trail Mode the bike feels extremely efficient pedaling and the steering response at low speed is noticeably quicker. If I was riding more rolling terrain I would most likely be using Trail mode more often but my trails are a big climb to the top and then pretty much all burly downhill after that.

    Every time I ride this bike I am blown away by its ability to slay rock sections and rough terrain. It feels so stable at speed yet is very agile in the corners. It definitely rewards an aggressive riding style, it seems like the harder you push it the better it works. One of the main differences I've found is the incredible amount of traction at the rear wheel. The rear wheel stays hooked up far longer than anything I've ridden before, with the Ardent I had on originally I never even found the limits of it's traction. I actually switched to a less aggressive rear tire (Continental X-king) as I was used to drifting loose turns and switchbacks. Basically the Megatrail will allow you to push it as hard as you want/are able to.

    Frame stiffness was also something that was very important to me when selecting a new bike. My old Giant's flimsy rear end wasn't cutting it and I actually snapped both chain stays railing turns. The GG guys hit it out of the park as far as frame stiffness goes, this thing is beefy. No matter how hard you blast a berm the thing feels solid and tracks strait and true. It makes for a very predictable, confidence inspiring ride that makes you want to attack every section of trail as hard as you can.

    If I had to say something negative about this frame it would have to be that it is slightly heavier than some of the bikes in it's category. Mine built up to 31lbs which for me is totally acceptable. To get a bike this stiff and strong you have to give up a little in the weight department or allot more $ for a carbon bike. To me the trade off of an extra pound or two is well worth the fact that it feels like you are riding a mini downhill bike that still pedals very well. After testing one of the newest 27lbs 160mm carbon bikes from a major manufacture I am even more happy that I went with the Megatrail. While that bike definitely felt a little easier going up the difference on the way down was astonishing. The Guerrilla Gravity guys made a very, very good bike, I honestly don't see myself ever riding anything else.

    Vital MTB Retail Partners:
    Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry

    Specifications

    Riding Type Trail
    Sizes and Geometry

    S, M, L View Geometry

    Size S M L
    Top Tube Length 24 25 26
    Head Tube Angle 65.5° or 66.5° 65.5° or 66.5° 65.5° or 66.5°
    Head Tube Length
    Seat Tube Angle 73.3° 73.3° 73.3°
    Seat Tube Length
    Bottom Bracket Height 12.7 or 13.2 12.7 or 13.2 12.7 or 13.2
    Chainstay Length 16.8 (26"), 17.3 (27.5") 16.8 (26"), 17.3 (27.5") 16.8 (26"), 17.3 (27.5")
    Wheelbase 45.7, Adjustable 46.7, Adjustable 47.7, Adjustable
    Standover
    Reach
    Stack
    Frame Material Aluminum Alloy
    Rear Travel 150/160mm
    Rear Shock (Frame Price Does Not Include Shock)
    Head Tube Diameter 1.5", Cane Creek Angleset Compatible
    Bottom Bracket 73mm, Threaded
    Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12mm x 142mm Syntace
    Front Derailleur Size Direct Mount
    Seat Post Diameter 30.9mm
    Max Tire Size 26" or 27.5" Wheelsizes
    ISCG Tabs Optional, Replaceable ISCG05 Chainguide Mount
    Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
    Colors Raw
    Warranty
    Weight

    7 lb 0 oz (3.2 kg)

    Miscellaneous
    Price $1925.00
    More Info Guerrilla Gravity Website
    Vital MTB Retail Partners:
    Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry