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Morewood Bicycles Makulu Frame

Average User Rating: (Spectacular)
Morewood Bicycles Makulu Frame Makulu Black White
C70_makulu_black_white C70_malulu_black_red
Vital MTB Retail Partners:
Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry

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Featured Review

“First Impressions of the 2011 Morewood Makulu”

The Good: Perfect for race and aggressive downhill applications Lives in the stable of long low slack downhill geometry bikes MSRP of $3199 is ballpark and competitive for a high end race bike with Double Barrel shock, axle, rear fender, and seatpost clamp Natural well balanced ride No significant suspension dysfunction or weird feedback such as brake jack or squat Excels and thrives at high speed in rough terrain Requires an aggressive riding position Very efficient machine Very stiff frame with excellent traction Build quality is excellent Subtle understated design

The Bad: Double Barrel can be difficult to tune requiring patience, time and effort, but it gets the best from the low leverage suspension design Price, if you're on a budget

Overall Review:

Rider Overview
I'm an intermediate-aggressive DH rider coming into my fifth full season. The Makulu has been tested for flavour on 60,000 vertical feet of fast flowy and technical downhill riding in Kelowna, Kamloops and Vernon, British Columbia over 11 days. That amount of riding has been done in a very short space of time, allowing me little opportunity for suspension testing and tuning. That process will be the next step of my life with the Makulu.

Fit for Purpose
The Makulu is a downhill race bike. If you're looking for a cushy DH sled, this isn't it. It will work for more aggressive intermediate riders, but if you're looking for something to soak up the rough gnar to make your furrow smoother and more comfortable, I would suggest this isn't the bike for that purpose. It needs to be fed speed, challenging terrain, and vertical to make the most of all that gravity offers us. As for any full DH race bike, if you don't have the trails to provide a feed of gravity and technical challenge, you won't be able to make use of what the Makulu has to offer.

The Makulu is in the new breed of DH bike category, leaning towards a longer wheelbase, solid platform, and very low centre of gravity with a very flat and long "squished" feel to it, long, low and slack. I found the sizing to be perfect for a 6' rider on a medium frame. An aggressive body position gets the best out of the Makulu.

The Ride Experience
The bike is very stiff, as any full race bike should be. You can feel the stiffness in the back end the first time it gets opened up on a rough fast technical line. It does a couple of remarkable things. Firstly it remains stiff when needed, for example when getting a bit wild and needing a little extra edge to keep you on track to hold a line. Yet when the suspension needs to be more forgiving and veer towards a natural plusher feel, it seems to deliver that too. I can only describe the feel as "naturally reactive" in terms of the suspension adjusting to the speed and terrain and the amount you are pushing towards the limits of the rider. I found that I could either pick a line and hold it confidently with a fair amount of rider input, or stay loose and let the bike choose the path through rougher lines. Either approach works, but the latter technique seems to require less rider input and effort and gets the best from the bike.

The Makulu tracks terrain tremendously well. I've tried a couple of suspension setups so far. Initially running quite a lot of low speed compression and low speed rebound. I found that this tracked very well in terms of jabbing and kicking at anything in the path of the rear of the bike, reacting really quickly to every single change in terrain. Running less low speed, I wasn't getting quite the response I wanted, and I think this would be a better initial base setup for a race speed rider on a full world cup level DH track.

Going back to my initial settings (more high speed compression and rebound) I was able to keep traction even when coming into two big clusters of baby head rocks at 45 degrees. The back end kicked and jabbed and fought with the rocks but retained traction even though I was deliberately trying to push it too far. On square edge dragon head rock clusters, I found that the back end skips around and works hard to find whatever traction it can, it feels "busy" but once I let my mind stop worrying about what was happening at the back of the bike, it gave me a better more relaxed attitude on the bike. At one point I got a bit too rowdy on a fast rough line and thought I was going in a different direction to the bike into the rhubarb. Instead, the back end just snapped back into line and I carried on without much loss of speed. It feels very natural and confidence inspiring.

Initially I felt that the bike rode quite heavy, which was odd given the build weight was 37lbs 12oz, but this was put to sleep after a few days on the bike. The "heavy" feel was actually caused by the bike tracking the changes in terrain so well. Once I started to play around with unweighting and manualling over roots and rocks I quickly found a whole new dimension to the bike. I was easily able to move over objects without losing speed. That's a new edge to my riding that will help me ride at a faster smoother more effortless overall pace. I had heard that the Makulu doesn't pop very well, so maybe the 2011 revision with more progression has fixed that, but I found no problem with the bike responding well to my unweighting when required. Also worth mentioning is that the remarkable combination of being able to track the terrain so well yet able to manual and air over small to medium obstacles is a big strength of the Makulu. We installed a Cane Creek 40 headset and the front end was extremely light, smooth, and responsive, not at all like a DH plow bike and initially it was quite easy to overcompensate on the steering input. The steering only got klunky at very low speeds, and that's not really a situation you want the Makulu to be in. This is built for pure speed.

Initially, I was phased by the cornering on loose, flat or off camber corners. Thinking it was due to a combination of the (new to me) longer front end and slacker geometry which typically reduces cornering capability in longer slacker DH bikes, I was put into a weird place experiencing some front end wash out. I needn't have worried. Mountain biking 101 would have told me to push down through the axle into the corner from the bars, also forcing a bit more of my weight to the front. This technique worked really well and allowed me to corner much more confidently. Though it does reinforce another point - rider position has to be aggressive on this bike to get the most of it. You can't sit back and relax otherwise you'll get a surprise. Similarly with smaller drops and stepdowns, I had mixed success unless I remembered to balance the rear with an "ass back" riding position to balance the bike. One mental note to myself is to always ride aggressively. I'm not much of a freerider, but the bike is so natural and well-balanced front to rear, I've found myself hitting new features just for the fun of it.

Unlike a lot of full DH bikes, I found the BB height to be excellent in terms of helping me to avoid hitting rocks and roots, and another distraction removed from the rider, allowing them to focus on nothing but going faster. We measured the height at 14.5" static, which is impressive given how long and low the frame is. Actual ride height will be lower as the suspension runs 40% sag, so even more of an impressive detail of the Makulu.

The bike rides very quietly, with less distraction to the rider. I was getting noise from the coil rubbing the plastic protective sleeve on the Double Barrel, but that will be resolved by removing the sleeve.

The Makulu pedals very efficiently, in fact it is overall, a very efficient race machine that doesn't require much rider input to maintain speed, allowing the rider to use their overall strength and upper body input to actually go faster. It's a cliche to say the bike pedals like an 8" hardtail, so all I will say is it's a very efficient machine and I found it easy to lay down power quickly when needed or when pedaling flat sections between trails. With the low centre of gravity, it corners like crazy, a simple lean in and drop of the shoulders or elbow provides an instant reaction which is extremely responsive and confidence inspiring. I found the acceleration to be very impressive, especially through rougher techy rocky rooty lines. The Makulu seems to actually accelerate through rough terrain, with no fear of getting slowed down, in fact for less aggressive riders this could be somewhat disconcerting at first and could get cautious defensive riders into trouble. I'd advise anyone moving to a Makulu or similar DH race frame with serious intent of progressing from a bike that isn't a flat out DH race bike, or something more freeride orientated, to spend plenty of time getting a feel for just how much faster this bike can make you. The sense of accelerating through terrain that by rights, should be slowing you down takes a little getting used to at first but is an exhilarating feature of the Makulu and another way of effortlessly maintaining speed. Since getting on the Makulu my speed has increased, effortlessly. What it's revealed to be is a new requirement for an extra level of faster reaction in rapid response to new situations I wouldn't have got into before, and that's a great challenge to have for someone who just wants to get faster and smoother, and it's the Makulu, not me as a rider, that is getting me into that new zone. It might be a cliche to say that like all DH race bikes the Makulu comes alive at speed, and rides better faster, but frankly it does, and to experience this is exhilarating.

The build quality of the Makulu is excellent. The translucent red is a very subtle colour. It's not the type of bike that people ogle at. It's not the supermodel that would be a big disappointment if you got your paws on her after the bar closes. Rather, it's the simmering girl next door that's actually smoking hot but you never smelled the coffee and she married that boring accountant guy from down the road. The frame comes with a Morewood seatpost clamp that is another well designed and solidly engineered feature, nothing blingy but it works really well in a functional, understated manner with excellent clamping ability. The subtle graphics under clearcoat look really nice and the pivots, linkage and mudguard all have excellent design and production quality. As mentioned everything bolts together very solidly and stiff in nature. Following a buddy into a rough section, he dislodged a 12" boulder, which I managed to jam into the bottom of the downtube. Expecting a big dent at very least, all I suffered was a small gouge, testament to the strength of the bike. This isn't a tin-can boutique disposable race frame. That huge downtube is built like a steel girder able to absorb some serious high-speed abuse. The rear fender was tested in near-swamp like conditions, and it functions very well and keeps the majority of mud, loam, and crud out of the linkage and shock.

Summary
In terms of what I was looking for, my expectations were matched 100% to everything Makulu owners said about ride feel and performance and I think all the comments taken from my significant amount of research stands up to scrutiny. Nobody had to exaggerate and all the comments from Makulu riders were spot on.

I think the main reason for the really good vibe and feel about the bike is that it's just a hell of a lot of fun on the Makulu and I'm stoked every time I get a ride on her. Overall I'm convinced the bike has added about 15% to my overall speed almost immediately, just through the nature of the bike and it's design and geometry, and I can already feel the tangible significant progression. After just a few days, I'm hitting things harder, picking faster lines, boosting and popping over rough terrain without losing speed, hitting new features that I never bothered with before.

As with my previous bike from the stable of pure DH race breeds, all summer and into the fall I'll be seeking out steep rough fast trails to test the Makulu on to see how much further I can push myself, and to see how the Makulu stands up to 500,000' of downhill riding.

Makulu Highlights
· Perfect for race and aggressive downhill applications
· Lives in the stable of long low slack downhill geometry bikes
· MSRP of $3199 is ballpark and competitive for a high end race bike with Double Barrel shock, axle, rear fender, and seatpost clamp
· Natural well balanced ride
· No significant suspension dysfunction or weird feedback such as brake jack or squat
· Excels and thrives at high speed in rough terrain
· Requires an aggressive riding position
· Very efficient machine
· Very stiff frame with excellent traction
· Build quality is excellent
· Subtle understated design
· Double Barrel can be difficult to tune requiring patience, time and effort, but it gets the best from the low leverage suspension design

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“Makulu, is it Zulu for "Wicked Ride"??”

The Good: Small company = Attention to detail Low, Slack, spot on weight, predictable in the air and on the ground Killer Looks Innovative "Single Pivot" design Loves to go sideways in the air Will rail corners like a slot car Can hug the ground in the snotty stuff like a cop holding his donut (with the correct shock set up)

The Bad: Weak stickers (more durable custom stickers being made to replicate originals) Seat Clamp design - not a fan Getting the right shock tune can be a little tricky not enough dealers in Oz

Overall Review:

For someone who has not raced a DH bike in nearly a decade and a half, I brought mine "newish"in mid 2012 and is a 2012 model. The guy who brought it initially and built it up only owned the bike for a month, he wasn't a fan nd decided to sell it on. The price was almost criminal for the build spec he had on it. All reasonably high end parts, he just wanted a quick sale. Score for me. I have only had the pleasure of 1 race meet and a shuttle day on the bike, but the bike is super stable in the air, isnt afraid of being thrown sideways, is predicatable in corners and loves to hug the ground through the snotty stuff. Compared to what DH bikes I had previously, this bike has proved that the sport and discipline has come along in leaps and bounds in my time away from it. My only regret is that I cannot ride the bike as fast as it wants to go, it rails corners perfectly and there are not too many of them around where I live (although I race with 2 other Makulu owners with mine being the newer bike. One of my few gripes with the bike is that it can be tricky setting up the shock, an issue I have now sorted through speaking with another Makulu owner and tinkering with the LBS owner while on our shuttle day, now the things rips and I need to take a break from work to go riding!

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“Serious case of stoke!”

The Good: neutral handling, excellent feed back from suspension, plush, stiff, inspiring

The Bad: Only goes as fast as I can but begs to go faster

Overall Review: This bike hauls! I've never ridden a bike that instantly felt so comfortable going fast on. The suspension is plush but still gives you enough feedback to let you change direction and launch off of anything you see fit. At 220 pounds I can feel the flex in just about any frame and there is none to report out of this. The CCDB is a marvel! It does take some time to set up but is 100% worth it. With a Ti spring on it next year it'll be even better. If you can afford one of these don't bother looking anywhere else because this is it!

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“Makulu translated is "Big Momma"”

The Good: Slack HA Comes in varied lengths (S,M,Long) Perfect leverage ratio STIFF Jumps amazingly Tracks tracks and tracks some more Low leverage advantage etc...

The Bad: It doesn't come in carbon...yet

Overall Review: I have ridden Commencials, Gamblers, M9's, V10's, Glory's, Kona's, Demo's...allot of bikes and the first 10m I rode on a Makulu was when I diced to get one. It was probably the easiest and best decision I have ever made. Hand made in South Africa. O and BTW it was a choice between a Makulu and a Car!...cant say much more

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“WC Wet Dreams”

The Good: -Low Leverage Ratio -Slack Head Angle -Supple Suspension -Tracks like a dream. -Flickable -Super Stiff -Looks Sick

The Bad: -Doesn't come in Purple?

Overall Review: I was loaned a Makulu for a Gravity East race. The bike I rode was a custom sized frame, with a full degree slacker HA than stock. The first thing I noticed was how confidence inspiring the bike was. I could immediately put the bike where I wanted and it tracked like a dream. Pedal feedback was virtually non-existent. It was extremely stable through the air and and really stuck to the ground. Fast, fast, and faster. It carries speed so effortlessly that you find yourself coming into sections a lot faster than normal. The 2.1:1 leverage ratio is fantastic, coming off a Commencal Supreme DH with a much higher ratio the Makulu blows the Supreme away. Small bump sensitivity and big hit plushness makes it flow down the trail like its on rails. But its not so soft that you lose contact and feel with the trail. I must reiterate the fact that this bike just simply makes you go faster. I was riding sections of the track faster than i should've and was still comfortable enough to go faster. I could push this bike and keep pushing. The more time spent on it the faster it gets. I cant wait to build mine this weekend. WOOOOOOO!!!!!

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“Morewood Makulu”

The Good: This bike is incredible. fast, stable, reactive, smooth, pedals well.

The Bad: sticker decals are sorta weak on a $3k frame

Overall Review: I have ridden a lot of downhill bikes as a manager of a high end mountain bike shop, from all the big players (trek, specialized, commencal, yeti etc). the makulu is legitimately the cream of the crop. It corners perfectly, pedals like a 6" trail bike, is totally smooth in the heavy chop yet super reactive when you need it. truly an incredible bike. it does everything as well as you could ever guess. so so much fun. folks always want the "latest and greatest" suspension designs, headtube angles, etc, and while the makulu does not re-invent the wheel with ultra progressive designs, its perforamance and all around high ride quality marginalize all of this. a 14.25" BB and 65deg head angle work. and if you want to change that, then drop an angleset in there. linkage driven single pivots that are this well designed simply work. i would strongly suggest optting for the nicer shock. while the fox is totally fine, a custom valved shock like a cane creek or avalanche really maximize this bike's potential. long story short this is without question the best riding, most dialer DH frame on the market, bar none. it is a pleasure to ride that will simply make DH riding more fun. simple as that.

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“Morewood Makulu”

The Good: The bike tracks the ground better than anything else out there. It is great through berms, jumps, rock gardens, and corners. It absorbs small bumps and big drops with ease.

The Bad: Finding the proper spring can be a bit tough for lighter riders.

Overall Review: Before picking up the 2011 Morewood Makulu, I was previously riding a 2008 Morewood Izimu. Even though the Makulu is considered a single-pivot, it is quite a different beast than the Izimu. Out of the box, the frame looks amazing. The sleek decals are perfect for this downhill race steed. The BB and head tube come faced, something that has come to be expected with a frame of this caliber, but it's still nice to see. Setting the bike up is a breeze. It uses a 150mm rear axle and a 83mm bb which is standard for this type of frame. It also uses a tapered head tube. One issue I came across was the spring rate. On this frame, the spring rate you use is slightly greater than the rider weight. This makes finding the proper spring a bit difficult for lighter riders. DSP makes them in small batches so they aren't impossible to find, but there is a wait. However, I was told that lower spring rates are becoming more common and should catch on. My maiden voyage on the Makulu was at Seven Springs Bike Park in Pennsylvania. The first thing I noticed on this bike is how well it tracks the ground. Even after spending some time on it, it still blows me away. The amazing traction helps you rail through berms and eat up rock gardens. I was a bit worried about how if would feel through the jumpy sections of trails, but it didn't disappoint. In order to achieve the ideal suspension, Morewood recommends running 50% sag on the Makulu. This might concern some people at first, but the linkage really helps keep the Makulu from blowing through the travel. The bike handles drops and big hits really well. It gave me the confidence to land drops lower than I ever dared to on my Izimu. When it comes time to crank up the Makulu, it responds quite well. It pedals efficiently and is very stable at high speeds. Braking forces are also handled well by the Makulu. I am the type of rider who always likes to tinker with my bikes. I am always changing parts and trying different frames. I must say that after riding the Makulu I am 100% satisfied with it. I am now considering selling my SX trail frame for the Makulu's little brother, the Kalula. The current Morewood dealer in the U.S. is a great guy to deal with. He shipped the frame quickly and answers my questions in a flash. I haven't had any issues with the frame yet, but should anything come up I know that the customer service is top notch. If you are looking for a top of the line downhill race frame, the Makulu might be the best decision you can make.

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“SIMPLY RAD”

The Good: Suspension, Stability, Cornering, Speed

The Bad: Nothing...n/a

Overall Review: Let me begin by stating that I have ridden/owned alot of bikes, always searching for the next best thing...the Makulu is it. The suspension is incredible. The super low leverage allows the rear to feel unlike anything else I've ridden. Although this is a full-on dh race sled with about 40% sag, it doesn't feel mushy as many bikes often do, but at the same time it eats up terrain with ease. My riding style tends to be more jibby and slopestyle-esque, so I generally to do not like dh rigs that feel like plows or monster trucks. While the Makulu has no problem running over anything in your path, it is also nimble enough to allow quick line changes and great manueverability. The bike accelerates incredibly quickly and holds a line with ease. It constantly begs to go faster. The rear is quite stiff, which only adds to the bike's ability to slay corners and retain amazing rear-end traction. I'd also like to echo the previous poster's sentiments about the way the Makulu pedals...it is better than anything I've ever been on. No pedal bob, at all. This is one of the first things I noticed in the lot on the way to the lift. The Makulu jumps well to boot. After some runs on the dh track, we popped over to a few more jumpy trails and I was stoked at the ease of getting the bike off the ground. This leads back to the greatness of the suspension...it seems to adjust to your needs without you having to ride differently for different types of terrain. All in all, the Makulu is amazing. That said, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Kalula early next week! Cheers to the guys at Morewood for putting out some amazing products and continuing to improve bike design!

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“Perfection”

The Good: Suspension, light yet durable

The Bad: None that comes to mind

Overall Review: The perspective of a Joe Bloggs rider: It's hard trying to give a unbiased review of the bike. I'm sure 99% of people who have spent a large amount of money will recommend what they bought to someone else, purely I guess to justify money spent. I'll try and give you as many facts as possible. After a year's worth of use, the bike is in absolute top notch condition. Linkages, bearings, pivots etc are all sweet. The stickers and decals are peeling here and there, but that's it. It's super low maintenance and do not need for a service at all yet. Given that I spent a few weeks in the Alps and rode it as much as I possibly could, there is still no sign of it looking and acting like a second hand bike. I'm 5.9' and got the small, as it's quite a long bike to begin with. As a point of reference, I always ride "Medium" bikes and this fits me perfectly. I'm heavier than what is classified I guess as a rider who rides a size small, so needed to get a heavier spring that came with it. I weigh 80 Kilograms without gear on (178 Pounds ) - the spring I have is the 200lbs spring. The ride is hard to put your finger on, as it's neither the skippy bike nor is it a plough that is the Commencal. I wouldn't say that it's an inbetweener either. It has a different feel to it which can has been best described by Dirt mag as "it seperates you, the rider, from the ground" What I mean and interpret Dirts words is that the suspension works so very efficiently and only gives you the travel you need for the current situation you find yourself in, it just doesnt over or under react at any point The bike tracks the ground so well and the back wheel sticks to the ground like poop to a woollen blanket. Losing traction in your rear is just a worry of the past. One thing that I can unequivocally say, is that this bike pedals better than any other downhill bike. This is the very first thing every single person who had a bit of a car park bounce on my bike said. There is Zero pedal bob, none. All in all, there is no other bike would rather ride and I dont see myself gettin anything else any time soon. I would recommend getting the BOS shock with it or the CCDB to get the most out of it (can't comment on the RC4). The low leverage is insane. the small bumps and the big bumps just completely get smoothed out and corners are minced meat with this badboy. So in summary... it's light, it's strong, it's fun, it's low maintenance, it's rare and not many people around you will be on the same thing, the guys at Morewood are Ace to deal with. I couldnt be happier with my Makulu purchase ... but like I said... im baised.

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

Specifications

Riding Type Downhill
Sizes and Geometry

Small, Medium, Large View Geometry

Size Small Medium Large
Top Tube Length 580mm 605mm 635mm
Head Tube Angle 64 64 64
Head Tube Length 120mm 120mm 120mm
Seat Tube Angle 71 (65) 71 (65) 71 (65)
Seat Tube Length 414mm 414mm 414mm
Bottom Bracket Height +22mm +22mm +22mm
Chainstay Length 438mm 438mm 438mm
Wheelbase 1158mm 1183mm 1213mm
Standover
Reach 380mm 405mm 435mm
Stack 581mm 581mm 581mm
Frame Material Custom Drawn AL 6082 T6, (2.3:1) Leverage ratio linkage with full compliment Enduro Max bearings
Rear Travel 203mm (8")
Rear Shock 267mm x 89mm (10.5" x 3.5") Fox RC4 or Cane Creek Double Barrel
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, Semi Integrated 44mm Top
Bottom Bracket 83mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12mm x 150mm
Front Derailleur Size n/a
Seat Post Diameter 30.9mm
Max Tire Size
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05
Bottle Cage Mounts n/a
Colors Black/White or Black/Red
Warranty
Weight

N/A

Miscellaneous Syntace X12 Axle
Price $3100.00
More Info Morewood Bicycles website
Vital MTB Retail Partners:
Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry