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Why That Bike? | Privateer 141/161

If you've ever cruised our Bike Check section, the largest collection of badass bike builds on the internet, you know that Vital members spare no expense when it comes to radifying their rides. Always on the hunt for a backstory, we reached out to the owners of these seven sick schralpers to find out what went into each project. These rigs are all both drool-worthy and shred-worthy, so jump right in to get stoked.

About Privateer Bikes

Privateer bikes was founded on the idea of creating a bike that fits the needs and demands of its namesake. Progressive, race-ready geometry combined with rider-focused features ensures the bikes can handle seasons' worth of abuse. Originally released in April 2020 with 161 mms of travel in the rear, the first model was joined by a 141 mm travel version a few months later. Common to both bikes are modern numbers and a drive to deliver great value for money with the build options.

View Privateer Bikes in our Product Guide.


Camber's Privateer 161

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Age: 23

Where do you live? Dundee, Scotland.

Favorite local trail to ride? Rake and Ruin at Dunkeld.

Why did you pick the Privateer? I picked the Privateer because of the size of the bike. I’m 6’3 so the length of it is brilliant for me. Also the frame being such a good deal was another good reason. 

Is this Privateer your only bike? I also have a Calibre Astronaut jump bike.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? I had a Nukeproof Mega 290 before this.

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? I went for a custom build on this bike. I already had all the parts from my custom Mega which would fit onto this bike but also got a few new bits for it.

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? How it just plows going down rough stuff. The added weight of the bike makes it so planted.  Also the coil shock makes everything feel so smooth. 

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What would you change on it? I’d like to try a Shimano drivetrain but other than that the bike is pretty much perfect. 

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I’ll keep riding it until something goes wrong on it. That’s what I’ve done with my previous frames.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I’d like a short travel trail bike too but being a student at the moment I couldn’t afford to have both this and a trail bike.

View Camber's Bike Check.


Fahzure's Privateer 161

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Age: Often seems like 12

Where do you live? Utah, Arizona, Calderfornia (that's not a typo).

Favorite local trail to ride? The Bobsled.

Why did you pick the Privateer? I was looking for a daily driver for the type of terrain I ride, mostly in the SW US, kind of a cross between an enduro and freeride bike.

Is this Privateer your only bike? No, I acquired 18 in 2020 [sic!]. 

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? Kind of replaced a Nomad. I previously built up Daddy Long Legs  and the 161 has similar geo, effective reach, contact points and durability. 

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? It's fully custom parts pick, what I would consider a value and performance build, keeping in line with the Privateer theme. It has custom DuraRide Products fantastic plastic down tube and fork guards.

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? Probably the front and rear coils, they keep the bike tracking extra well. Combined with the tire liners and DH casings, it is a cornering machine.

What would you change on it? Tires and cassettes get changed around regularly, but I will probably move to an XT shifter to get multi-release and get a 210mm dropper. After riding for a couple months on 165mm cranks, I would consider them for this bike if I were building it again. 

How long do you plan on riding this bike? It's a keeper. The progressive geo, burly pivots and bearings, aluminum, Horstyness, ability to carry a bottle and blackness will never go out of style.   

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I've said it before: A heavy-duty, aluminum 120mm bike with an 80* ST angle, 64* HT angle, 420-450mm chainstays, 13.5mm BB height, 440mm ST length, 500mm long reach and a 250mm integrated dropper with multi-configurable dropouts or a black Bowden Spacelander and lately, I've been looking at Merlin e-stay softtails.

View Fahzure's Bike Check.


Pekis' Privateer 161

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Age: 25

Where do you live? Vantaa, Finland.

Favorite local trail to ride? Kivikko has some fun trails relatively close to home.

Why did you pick the Privateer? 161 offers geometry I was looking for and I didn't want to have a very common bike.

Is this Privateer your only bike? No, there is also a 24" dirt jumper for pump tracks and a fixie for commuting. The Privateer handles flat trails, enduro racing and even some dh races.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? Previously had 2018 YT Capra 27.5  but it was time to get bigger tires rolling!

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? I bought the frameset when the complete build wasn't yet released and built a custom bike with parts I really wanted to have. Also later on upgraded to coil shock. Building a custom bike feels good as there is no need to change any components right after you get the bike. Of course building custom gets easily more expensive than buying some OEM bike for example YT, Commencal or Propain.

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? It's mine. But more seriously it can handle all my MTB needs from trails to full-charge DH tracks.

What would you change on it? Nothing. Full season's worth of abuse and no signs of problems yet!

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I'm sure there is no need to change this bike for the next year. Feels like it's still new and there is no other same category bike I would like to get over the 161.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? If Propain would release a new Rage 29 I would be tempted to buy it.

View Pekis' Bike Check.


nollak's Privateer 141

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Age: 36

Where do you live? Linkenheim-Hochstetten (near Karlsruhe), Germany.

Favorite local trail to ride? Locally hard to tell but the trails around the Kalmit in the Palatine Forest are pretty good and nearby.

Why did you pick the Privateer? Well after a pretty awesome 3 1/2 weeks roadtrip around the Alps ending in Finale Ligure I figured that after 5 seasons with my bike it was time for something new. I had a 27.5" Bike with 160/150mm of travel and wanted to try a bike with a more progressive geometry and 29" wheels. I already was looking at the Raaw Madonna or Privateer 161 to replace the bike but both had a bit too much travel for the day-to-day riding I do. When Privateer introduced the 141 I was hooked as it had pretty much everything I wanted out of a new bike and the travel fit perfectly. So I ordered a frame when they launched the bike.

Is this Privateer your only bike? No I also own a Canyon Sender AL for bike park duties, a Brother Big Bro for training, Pumptrack bike for fun and a Kaffenback 2 as a commuter/daily driver.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? The Privateer replaced a Santa Cruz Bronson v2.

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Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? This one is fully custom as I wanted those sweet purple anodized parts. And I am pretty specific with the parts I use after trying a lot of stuff on the Bronson. Wheels are custom built with Hope hubs, Newmen rims and Sapim spokes. Bikeyoke Dropper Post because those are just awesome. Shimano/Magura Frankenstein brakes as I like the power of the MT5/7 and the levers of Shimano. GX drivetrain as it just works and if I break a derailleur it doesn't break the bank. Lastly the RockShox Yari fork with the FAST Suspension cartridge which rides awesome.

What’s your favorite part about the bike? Probably the Fast Suspension SC4 cartridge which was built specifically for me and works like a dream even in these cold conditions we currently have.

What would you change on it? I will probably get a Fast Suspension Fenix as a shock as this is the only part I had no great influence on.

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I've only got it for 2 weeks until now but probably 2-3 years.

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I think a downhill bike with geometry to match the Privateer is high on my wish list right now.

View nollak's Bike Check.


Aaron_B's Privateer 161

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Age: 45

Favorite local trail to ride? Slickrock, it’s a classic. Steep ups and steep downs with plenty of skatepark moves if you are creative. Plus it’s the closest which doesn’t hurt.

Why did you pick the Privateer? It has the right geometry in aluminum. 64 head angle, 80 seat tube angle, short TT for a modern bike, with a long wheelbase. It also has chainstays that lengthen between sizes for stability. It is also affordable, as an ex guide, mechanic, and racer bike prices these days are outrageous. Carbon bikes are nice but not worth it in Moab where the rocks fly. I also used to ride for Brooklyn Machine Works so I like a bike with a centered sweet spot, you get used to that on BMX.

Is this Privateer your only bike? No. I try not keep more than 4-5 bikes, I am a parent. I try to keep a dirt jumper, right now an Octane One. I have a Commencal Meta HT, a do it all hard tail that is a 29er. I keep a suspension trail bike, my Privateer is replacing a Banshee Rune v2. Also I like to have a dedicated DH rig which I am currently without and will be my next frame/fork purchase.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? My privateer is replacing my Banshee Rune v2, but most of the parts, with some upgrades, came from my hard tail.

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? I built mine from scratch, wheels too. I am particular about what I like on my bike. Lots of Race Face with some Hope hubs and always Shimano brakes. My drivetrains are mixed, SRAM is not my favorite though, I find the cages get crushed and you lose your top gears. I would rather fix the link on the Shimano. The DVO fork is my first DVO product, pretty happy with it. I normally prefer the longevity of RockShox, FOX forks have not been good to me. I still think their rear shocks are great. I also slowly upgrade my parts as I can afford. So it’s a work in progress still.

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? My favorite part on the bike is probably the 210 dropper post from OneUp Components combined with ample stand over clearance. I like having lots of room like on a DH bike and the full leg extension it provides. The stand over clearance is really important for the steep descents.

What would you change on it? Well, I like a more rearward axle path, the Privateer rear axle goes forward 10mm under full compression. When fully compressed the bike's wheelbase is 3-4 inches shorter. This would require a lot to change and it wouldn’t feel quite as nimble to some.

How long do you plan on riding this bike? I plan on keeping this one, or until it breaks. They all break in Moab eventually. 20 plus broken frames and counting...

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I will be getting a new bike soon, I ordered another Privateer, a 141 for more of an XC bike, I also have my first fat bike on the way for desert touring. I know I like bikes. If I could buy anything without cost restrictions, I would probably buy a custom Starling Sturn or a Commencal Supreme DH. I like rearward axle path, idler pulley dh bikes. They are amazing when gravity fed and the instant engagement from the idler pulley has a feel like no other on suspension bikes. 

Ggoing back to recovery now, double broke my femur this month on Slickrock of all places. Cheers, keep the stoke alive!

View Aaron_B's Bike Check.


FeelTheBerm's Privateer 161

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Age: 24

Where do you live? Columbus, OH, USA.

Favorite local trail to ride? Some lesser known spots about an hour outside of town :). I also enjoy riding various trails in western North Carolina when visiting family.

Why did you pick the Privateer? Forward thinking geometry at an unmatched price point. I was also considering a Knolly Fugitive LT and a Commencal Meta AM. But neither of those frames offer the kind of value that the Privateer frame has to offer. Not too big on the whole carbon thing after I kept getting paranoid every time I found a paint chip in my last FS trail bike. 

Is this Privateer your only bike? No. I switch off trail rides between the 161 and a Nukeproof Scout 275 frame that I built up. I also have a Pole Tomu DJ that I mess around with. 

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? A Yeti SB5. 

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Full custom. I really wanted to go with a new RS ZEB fork. That was the main reason why.

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? The stability at speed is unlike any trail bike I've ridden before. For me, it has an uncanny ability to make me feel like I'm going quite a bit slower than I actually am. Which is both good and bad. 

What would you change on it? This is me nitpicking, but the internal dropper routing could use some improvement. Also, the frame protection out of the factory is pretty cheap. But hey, if those are the only two things I have to complain about, I'd say it's a damn solid frame. 

How long do you plan on riding this bike? Until I feel that it's overwhelmed with new industry "standards."

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? Probably a fixie/track bike (yeah, I know). I'm pretty set when it comes to MTBs until I decide to replace one of them - I wouldn't mind moving up from a 27.5 to a 29er hardtail. So, maybe a Cotic BFeMAX or Chromag Rootdown is in my future. But, I don't have any reason to do that yet.

View FeelTheBerm's Bike Check.


JansonJanson's Privateer 161

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Age: 39

Where do you live? Bavaria, Germany.

Favorite local trail to ride? Bikepark Schöneck - Jumpline.

Why did you pick the Privateer? The geometry is in my opinion spot on, and I really wanted to know how the steep seat angle works. 

Is this Privateer your only bike? No, in total there are 5 bikes.

What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? The Privateer replaced an Orange Alpine 6. 

Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? I did a fully customized build, I like it personal.

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What’s your favorite part about the bike? If I have to pick one part, it's the OneUp dropper post v2 with a range of 210mm...so good for long legs.

What would you change on it? Honestly - nothing ... ^^

How long do you plan on riding this bike? At least 2 seasons...that´s my normal routine with bikes. 

If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? This would definitely be the Specialized Hotwalk Carbon for my little girl...even it's a little bit early :) 

View JansonJanson's Bike Check.


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