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What's The Bottom Line? - Vital's 2022 DH Bike Test Sessions | Episode 3 9

With this year's Test Sessions drawing to a close, the time has come to sit down and discuss where each bike excelled, fell short, and what nuances set them apart.

What's The Bottom Line? - Vital's 2022 DH Bike Test Sessions | Episode 3

After a whirlwind 48-hours attempting to test four downhill bikes, we woke up Sunday morning and tossed around high-fives at the site of blue skies. We might have been down a test rider, but we had weathered Saturday’s thunderstorms, fixed up any and all mechanics, and were determined to make up for lost time on our last day at Mountain Creek Bike Park. In a mad-dash to finalize our ‘Bottom Line’ impressions, we banged out laps until the lifts closed and then sat down to discuss how each bike performed.

 


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Canfield Jedi 29

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Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Exceptional stability and composure in rocky, chunky sections make it easy to hold a line 
  • Responsive and maneuverable to ride input
  • Robust frame with excellent lateral stiffness
  • Fun to pop, pump, and move around on jump trails
  • Active and supportive suspension design keeps the bike planted and tracking the ground through compressions
  • TRP drivetrain 
  • Weight makes moving the bike around laborious as rider energy fades

Highlights

  • 7000 series aluminum with one-piece CNC upper and lower links
  • 203mm (7.9-inches) rear travel // 203mm (7.9-inches) fork travel
  • 29-inch wheels
  • Formula 1 high pivot, multi-link suspension design
  • 62.5-degree head tube angle
  • External cable routing
  • Sizes: medium, large (tested), X-large
  • MSRP: $6,699 USD (as tested)
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What's The Bottom Line?

The latest iteration of Canfield’s Jedi platform continues to be a hard-charging, hardcore downhill machine that is incredibly capable in various settings. The updated geometry, suspension kinematics, and the jump to 29-inch wheels all create a downhill bike that is stable and maneuverable. Its natural habitat will always be gnarly, chunky trails, but don’t let its raw and rugged looks fool you; the Jedi 29 is surprisingly agile and responsive to rider input. From bike park flow trails to sketchy pirate tracks, the Jedi can mold to your riding style. Confidence inspiring and planted in rough, daunting sections, or agile and poppy through jumps and berms - your choice. An ideal bike for weekend warriors, racers, or freerides, the Jedi 29 boasts a bulletproof frame and solid components capable of handling seasons of downhill thrashing. 

Read the full review - Canfield Jedi 29


Nukeproof Dissent 290

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Strengths

  • Exceptional composure and stability at speed and through rough sections promote a plowing mentality
  • Race-ready build kit
  • Robust frame 
  • Remains neutral and balanced through corners 

Weaknesses

  • Limited maneuverability in tight sections 
  • The size and weight of the bike can become cumbersome on flat sections or flow trails
  • Code R brakes

Highlights

  • Hydroformed 6061 T6 Triple-Butted frame
  • 190mm (7.4-inches) rear travel // 200mm (7.8-inches) fork travel
  • 29-inch wheels
  • Adjustable shock progression via main pivot flip chip
  • Adjustable chain stay length: 445/450/455mm
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Sizes: medium, large, X-large (tested)
  • MSRP: $6,499 USD (RS Build)

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What's The Bottom Line? 

Nukeproof’s Dissent 290 is ideal for racers looking to pick up a solid, low-maintenance race bike that is extremely stable and confidence-inspiring. Thanks to its planted, calm demeanor through demanding terrain, the Dissent promotes a carefree riding style, best suited for rough trails with lots of gravity-fed speed. Not our first choice for our next park bike, the Dissent is long and requires more energy to maintain or generate speed on flow trails and flatter terrain. With an adjustable suspension design that offers great support, predictability, and lateral stiffness, and a premium build kit that only leaves the brakes as a potential weak link, the Dissent 290 is a perfect ‘out of the box’ race bike. 

Read the full review - Nukeproof Dissent 290


Mondraker Summum Carbon MX

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Strengths

  • Stable, predictable, and confidence-inspiring the faster you go 
  • Rides with a light, playful demeanor that makes it easy to maneuver 
  • Forward geometry promotes neutral, comfortable body position thought 

Weaknesses

  • Expensive 
  • FOX Performance suspension is easily overridden 

Highlights

  • Stealth Carbon frame
  • 200mm (7.8-inches) rear travel // 203mm (7.9-inches) fork travel
  • Mixed wheel configuration (available with 29-inch wheels) 
  • ZERO suspension design
  • Forward geometry 
  • Optional headset cups adjust head angle +/- 1 degree 
  • Adjustable chain stay length: 450/455/460mm
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Sizes: medium, large (tested), X-large
  • MSRP: $7,999 USD (R Build)
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What's The Bottom Line?

Mondraker’s Summum Carbon is a finetuned machine ideal for riders wanting a bike that bolsters confidence, stability, and predictability. Getting used to the Forward Geometry might take a few runs, but once adjusted, the centered, neutral body position fosters aggressive, fast riding. On flow and jump trails, the Summum holds its own, riding with an impressive lightness, making it a versatile bike on various trails. Ideal for racers or weekend warriors alike, the only factor riders will have to consider is if the Summum’s performance and refined ride quality are worth the premium price tag for the mid-range build. 

Read the full review - Mondraker Summum Carbon MX


Propain Rage CF

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Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Playful, light and nimble demeanor creates a high ‘fun-factor’ on flow and jump trails
  • The rear suspension is highly supportive and allows the bike to maintain speed through compressions 
  • Great build kit for the price
  • Stiff frame diminished stability at higher speeds and in high-frequency chatter
  • Constantly loosening frame bolts 
  • Frame produces loud, hollow noise over bumps

Highlights

  • Blended carbon frame
  • 215mm (8.4-inches) rear travel // 200mm (7.8-inches) fork travel
  • 29-inch wheels 
  • PRO10 suspension design
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Adjustable geometry via flip chip (allows for mixed wheel setup)
  • Adjustable chain stay length: 445/460mm
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Sizes: medium, large (tested), X-large
  • MSRP: $6,029 USD (Performance Build)
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What's The Bottom Line? 

Out of the four bikes tested as part of our Downhill Bike Test Session, the Rage stood out as the best bike for ripping machine-built flow trails. With a light, snappy and playful demeanor, the Rage excels at popping off jumps and pumping corners, allowing riders to place the bike exactly where they want in various situations. The PRO10 suspension design easily manages repetitive, harsh compressions and offers a supportive platform that is responsive to rider input. However, the Rage's frame left us yearning for additional compliance. In demanding sections, the bike tended to deflect and bounce us off line, requiring additional energy to maintain composure. Additionally, the Rage was the loudest bike tested, and its linkage bolts demanded constant supervision to ensure they didn't loosen. While the Rage is not our first choice for a downhill race bike, it is a solid option for everyday riders looking to max out their stoke meter on flow trails and attack extreme lines at the bike park. 

Read the full review - Propain Rage CF 


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Thats a wrap on this year's Downhill Bike Test Sessions! Gravity-fed mountain biking will always be at the core of Vital, and we hope you enjoyed this year's crop of diverse and capable bikes as much as we did. Let us know which bike is your favorite and why in the comments below, and a huge thank you to Mountain Creek for the hospitality and Propain, Nukeproof, Canfield, and Mondraker for participating. Until next time! 

If you missed Episode 1 or Episode 2, make sure to check them out!

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