2018 Guerrilla Gravity The Smash - Ride 1 Build

Views:
2018 Guerrilla Gravity The Smash - Ride 1 Build  Guerrilla Gravity The Smash
C70_the_smash_complete_2 C70_the_smash_complete_1 C70_the_smash_detail_1 C70_the_smash_detail_2 C70_smash_detail_2 C70_smash_detail_1 C70_smash_detail_3
Create New Tag

Compare to other Bikes

Need more info? View our Trail Mountain Bikes buyer's guide.

THE SMASH! Riding Guerrilla Gravity's New Rock Crusher

Given the right terrain, this American made 29er is a monster truckin' good time.

THE SMASH! Riding Guerrilla Gravity's New Rock Crusher

What began as a friendship within Colorado's once thriving downhill racing scene has since turned into a full-time bike building endeavor, and the partners heading up the Denver-based Guerrilla Gravity bike brand continue to push ahead with interesting new designs. Month after month they keep exceeding projections, and we're certain a good portion of their continued organic growth is a result of listening to the people.

Their latest creation, The Smash, is about as true to their roots as a trail bike can be. "Guerrilla" is a community driven effort to spark change, and "Gravity" is the funnest part of mountain biking. Read More »

What began as a friendship within Colorado's once thriving downhill racing scene has since turned into a full-time bike building endeavor, and the partners heading up the Denver-based Guerrilla Gravity bike brand continue to push ahead with interesting new designs. Month after month they keep exceeding projections, and we're certain a good portion of their continued organic growth is a result of listening to the people.

Their latest creation, The Smash, is about as true to their roots as a trail bike can be. "Guerrilla" is a community driven effort to spark change, and "Gravity" is the funnest part of mountain biking. This 140mm travel 29er came about by taking feedback from existing Guerrilla Gravity riders who wanted more compliance and more travel than the 29-inch Trail Pistol mixed with the DNA of the ultra-capable 27.5 Megatrail. With a goal of making a ride anything type of bike with a balanced overall feel, this rig is meant to be equally at home crushing big backcountry descents and ripping bike park laps. The best part? It's like two bikes in one thanks to a clever suspension feature.

Highlights

  • 29-inch wheels
  • Handmade in Colorado
  • 140mm (5.5-inches) front and rear wheel travel // Max fork travel of 160mm (6.3-inches)
  • Crush Mode (strong mid-stroke support) and Plush Mode (softer top stroke) suspension settings
  • Freedom Linkage suspension using proprietary Horst Link implementation
  • 230x57.5mm metric shock
  • Angular contact bearings in key locations
  • External brake and cable routing // Stealth dropper routing
  • 49mm headtube, fits tapered steerer tubes
  • Threaded 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket shell
  • ISCG05 chainguide mounts
  • 55mm chainline
  • ISO brake caliper mount
  • 12x148mm Boost rear axle offset 3mm to the driveside
  • Universal Syntace axle and derailleur hanger
  • NUTS (Necessities Under the Saddle) bracket
  • Bottle mount in front triangle
  • 6.6-pound (3.0kg) frame weight with hardware (size medium)
  • Available in eight colors

During the five years Guerrilla Gravity has been in business, clawing away at making a name for themselves and a dent in the bike industry, it almost goes without saying that they've learned a lot. From how to make their business more efficient to how to narrow in on increasingly tight tolerances, in many ways their latest crop of bikes are the company's next generation of designs. Not only have they improved various usability aspects, but their new designs are also more modular and easier to manufacture. Like many larger brands they are able to carry consistent features (and sometimes tubing, etc) from bike to bike, creating a more cohesive package.

The Smash has been in the idea bin for around two years, and four months ago they decided to pull the trigger and make it happen. With frames available starting this month, the short timetable is a testament to how quickly the small brand can move. The bikes are designed and manufactured in-house, and their "holistic structure allows them to maintain tight quality controls, have a short and efficient supply chain, and offer riders extensive customization options."

Their no-nonsense approach is evident when looking at the finer details. Things like external cable routing, a threaded bottom bracket, large diameter headtube, easily accessible frame hardware, a bottle mount, and the clever spare tube/tool NUTS bracket will make it appeal to many. Opt for the raw color and you can simply whip out a Scotch Brite pad the next time you lay it over to restore the finish.

Compared to the Trail Pistol, which we previously noted had a slightly flexy rear end, this new ride features a significantly beefier and stiffer back half thanks to the use of the same seatstay tubing as the burlier Megatrail.

You'll also find ample tire clearance, even when sporting some proper 29x2.5-inch tires, but unlike the Trail Pistol this one isn't a plus-size tire compatible ride. Why? Simply because it's a more aggressive bike and Guerrilla Gravity didn't feel it made sense.

Crush & Plush Suspension Modes

One bike, multiple personalities? That's definitely the case this time around depending on the shock choice and suspension configuration. The Smash has both "Crush" and "Plush" suspension modes that you can select by flipping a chip in the rear shock mount. As with all Guerrilla Gravity bikes, The Smash was designed with versatility in mind. Changing modes impacts the suspension leverage curve and how the bike rides, but has no impact on the available travel.

Riders can choose between Crush Mode and Plush Mode to dial in the suspension platform that’s ideal for their local terrain. Crush mode has a more supportive mid-stroke for flow trails and all day trail rides, while Plush mode is softest off the top, making it the go-to for plowing into rocks at mach-chicken.

For those that have yet to taste mach-chicken, it's damn good, especially with some Guerrilla Gravity seasoning. Plush mode's added compliance allows the rear wheel to get up and out of the way in a hurry to prevent you from getting jarred to bits. Those searching for an efficient, supportive, poppy ride that you have to push harder into to get to bottom may find Crush mode to be preferable on big rides, fast and smooth singletrack, or flow trails.

"Compared to our other models, The Smash’s leverage curve is tuned to be softer off the top, where most of 'the smashing' occurs, and then have more ramp up for hard hits."

Switching from Crush to Plush is a one minute job that can be executed on the side of the trail when conditions call for it. An o-ring around the flip chip ensures they don't go flying when you push them out of the frame and keeps everything secure.

The dual mode feature stems from Guerrilla Gravity engineer Matt Giaraffa's time in the car racing world. Similar to how you can swap dampers or any number of settings in a race vehicle to suit course conditions better, they wanted to work something similar into this (and every Guerrilla Gravity) bike.

"We all want our bikes to be dialed in exactly for what we're doing. Your preferences are going to be different than mine and mine from yours, so we always try to incorporate that into our bikes. That, plus bikes are expensive. We're not trying to get someone to buy a whole new bike because they want it to ride slightly different, so it makes the ownership more valuable if the bike can be adjusted to different preferences. Creating versatile bikes is important to us."

Air & Coil Shock Options

From the get-go The Smash was designed to work with both air and coil shocks, though all but one Guerrilla Gravity employee runs the coil.

Riders can also choose between an air shock and coil shock. Designing a platform that works well with a coil shock was a priority given the bike’s intended use: smashing whatever is in front of you.

"As a general guideline, we recommend running an air shock for a lighter weight trail setup and for those that don’t have exceptionally rocky or loose terrain, while a coil shock is ideal for those that prioritize small bump compliance and traction over weight."

By carefully considering the suspension kinematics, all shocks were able to be tuned to the middle of the adjustment range to allow the bike to work for a wide range of riders. The RockShox Super Deluxe air shock comes with one volume spacer installed which allows room for more or less ramp on a rider-by-rider basis.

Guerrilla Gravity's Engineer, Matt Giaraffa, putting the bike to good use on Colorado's Front Range.

Also interesting is the use of a relatively long 57.5mm shock stroke for the bike's 140mm of travel. This is neat because the low leverage ratio results in a 180-pound rider needing a 350 pound-per-inch coil spring rate, which has a lower weight penalty than the beefier springs required for many bikes when swapping from air to coil.

Geometry

*The Smash accepts forks between 140 and 160mm of travel. Changing the travel +/- 10mm creates a head angle (HA) change of +/- .4º and bottom bracket height change of 3mm (0.1-inch).

Looking the numbers over you're bound to see a few things jump out at you, including the longer than normal reach values, sizable wheelbases, and steep actual seat tube angle. That steep seat angle is key to their creation, allowing you to ride a longer and more stable bike that doesn't feel cumbersome when seated.

"The Smash utilizes the same steep actual seat tube angle geometry found on Guerrilla Gravity’s other models. It’s important to note that it's the actual seat tube angle, as effective seat tube angles can be misleading. A steep actual seat tube angle allows for an upright, efficient climbing position at any saddle height."

Compared to a bike with a "bent nail shape" seat tube, Guerrilla Gravity's take maintains more consistent geometry as the saddle is raised and lowered. This improves climbing efficiency for all riders, especially the long-legged ones among us.

On The Trail

Not long ago we tested the shorter-travel Trail Pistol during Vital's 2017 Test Sessions. While awesome in its own right, the bike required us to pretty much pin it non-stop to really make the suspension work for us. That's fine when you've got the energy to keep up the pace, but as you tire it can become more difficult to hang onto. Knowing that The Smash was designed to be a bit more supple but with added bottom-out support, we were eager to see how it'd translate to the trail. Combined with Guerrilla Gravity's lengthy chassis and a name like "The Smash" we hoped for good things as we set off on two days of testing on four very different types of trail areas in Durango, Colorado.

Setting our size medium test bike to 30% sag while seated, the bike provided a similar amount of rear wheel sag as the Megatrail to help with that off the top feel. We had the opportunity to ride in both suspension modes using both an air and coil shock for a total of four combinations:

Crush Mode / Air Shock

We kicked things off with a warm up in the high country with a lap on Engineer Mountain Trail, which features big views, a relentless climb to the top, and a ripping high-speed descent at a moderate grade. The bike was sporting a 140mm RockShox Pike fork and Super Deluxe RCT air shock.

The upright seat tube makes it feel as though you're on a bike that fits you, even though you have a longer and more stable wheelbase than you're likely accustomed to.

This suspension combination felt very efficient pointed uphill. With a small 28-tooth chainring, wide-range e*thirteen cassette, an a distinct lack of unnecessary chassis motion as we motored our way up, we never felt the need to use the shock's climbing platform. The upright seat tube makes it feel as though you're on a bike that fits you, even though you have a longer and more stable wheelbase than you're likely accustomed to. Being further in front of the bottom bracket kept that front wheel nicely planted, and at no point did it seem like a struggle to navigate any of the tight uphill turns.

Will Montague and Matt Giaraffa, creators of The Smash, near the summit of Engineer Mountain.

Dropping into the descent, that efficient feel quickly turned into a bumpy ride. Remember what riding dad's bike was like when you were young? Same story here. Despite the trail not being incredibly rough, high-speed chatter and small roots litter the ground and every one of them was directly communicated. Man, could you pump though! While not forgiving or compliant on this terrain, the potential for the Crush mode and air shock combination on very smooth, fast, flowy terrain was readily apparent. It'd be a rocket ship.

While not forgiving or compliant on this terrain, the potential for the Crush mode and air shock combination on very smooth, fast, flowy terrain was readily apparent. It'd be a rocket ship.

Plush Mode / Air Shock

Half way down Engineer we pulled aside and made the first swap from Crush to Plush. Within fifty feet it was game on. Due to added compliance at the rear wheel, traction was far better, the bike felt more composed through the rough, and alternate line possibilities opened up left, right, and center as we motored and doubled our way down the trail. Confidence? In spades.

The bike's length worked well on the trail's many wide, sweeping turns and wide-open sections, remaining ultra stable as we raced to the bottom.

Pressing into jump lips we were met with a good response, and The Smash proved to be more than just a heavy hand as we leapt from side to side of the trail.

We rushed to beat the impending summer monsoons to nearby Purgatory Resort for a few hot laps on the flow trail. As the heavens opened up conditions got greasy, but even over off-camber roots the bike tracked like a champ. Pressing into jump lips we were met with a good response, and The Smash proved to be more than just a heavy hand as we leapt from side to side of the trail. Brake bumps and rocky fire roads were of little concern and did little to disrupt our speed or flow.

Plush Mode / Coil Shock

Before heading to some of the rockiest trails in the area, we mounted up the Super Deluxe Coil RCT shock, a 10mm longer travel 150mm RockShox Lyrik fork, and a slightly bigger Maxxis Wide Trail Minion DHF front tire. Just how much could The Smash transform?

The Plush mode and coil shock was the combo we'd been waiting for. Smash, smash, SMASH! Its ability to quiet down the gnar and carry speed through very unforgiving terrain was truly admirable.

Pedaling up a technical and steep rocky road to access Ridge Trail, Snake Charmer, and Medicine Man we noted a big increase in rear wheel traction on the loose soil. The added suppleness of the coil shock kept the wheel glued to ground. Switching to the shock's firmer climb setting was too firm, however, and it lost the compliance that made it so good. Settling back in the open mode we adopted a spin-to-win climbing strategy and it worked well with the bike's relatively high 345mm (13.6-inch) bottom bracket helping to avoid any crank spikes as we ascended through the chunk.

Dropping into our first ultra rocky descent is where we really got a taste for where this bike excels. The Plush mode and coil shock was the combo we'd been waiting for. Smash, smash, SMASH! Its ability to quiet down the gnar and carry speed through very unforgiving terrain was truly admirable. Optional double lines from rock to rock came more naturally than any other bike we've descended these trails on, which includes a wide assortment of the latest and greatest enduro race rigs.

Don’t be scared of anything that stands in your way: the punk rock spirit of Joe Strummer lives on in The Smash, inspiring riders to assail anything in their path.

The rear wheel was able to get up and out of the way so quickly it was never jarring, yet bottom-out support was great on the trail's assorted drops and jumps. The combination of 140mm of travel, the coil shock, and big hoops make this bike feel as though it has more in reserve.

Crush Mode / Coil Shock

As the ride continued we pedaled back up for a rip down Cuchillo, a fast, flowy, smoother descent with occasional rough features that you can often jump over. A quick swap to Crush mode would reveal an intriguing suspension feel that could be ideal for many riders. The added compliance of the coil shock plus the added mid-stroke support of Crush mode provided good traction and a quicker response when pumping or jumping. This allowed us to look far ahead, and before we knew it we were airborne over multiple natural step downs we'd previously never even seen as an option.

Curious if Crush mode with a coil shock and a slightly deeper sag point could be the hot ticket, we made the swap in anticipation of our final ride. The next day we pedaled several miles up to Haflin trail, a high-speed mid-country descent that will eat your lunch if you're not on it. With a substantial amount of chunk added back into the equation we once again felt that Crush mode harshness in the bumpy bits and ultimately made the switch back to Plush mode.

Its length makes it quite hard to turn around tight corners. While this is an area where many bikes struggle, it was readily evident that this was a big shortcoming. Riders with trails covered in switchbacks will want to look elsewhere.

It was on this trail that we also experienced the only major downside to The Smash – its length makes it quite hard to turn around tight corners. While this is an area where many bikes struggle, it was readily evident that this was a big shortcoming. Riders with trails covered in switchbacks will want to look elsewhere. Never in the last several years have we had to adopt such an odd technique to get a bike to come around a turn. Provided you have wide sweeping corners, bermed or otherwise, it works well however.

Build Kits, Pricing & Availability

Being a small company, Guerrilla Gravity is able to offer various build options to suit your needs. You can start off with one of three base builds ranging from approximately 28.5 to 31-pounds or go completely custom, cherry-picking parts so you get exactly what you want out of the box. Build kits feature components from SRAM, Shimano, RockShox, Race Face, e*thirteen, DT Swiss, Industry Nine, SR Suntour, MRP, and Maxxis. The Super Deluxe Coil and Super Deluxe Air shocks cost the same price.

  • Frameset: $2,095 USD
  • Ride 2 build: $3,295
  • Ride 1 build: $4,295
  • Race build: $5,295
  • Price as shown: ~$5,200

The Smash is available now.

What's The Bottom Line?

Part monster truck, part bicycle, The Smash delivers a highly tunable ride to suit a variety of trail types thanks to two suspension modes and customizable build options. As the name suggests, it'll shine brightest for the person who loves going all out in ugly, rough, and rocky terrain with an excellent ability to carry speed through the chunky bits. Our suggestion? Embrace the true nature of The Smash. Opt for a longer travel fork, wider front tire, and coil shock, then drop it in Plush mode and let the real fun commence.

Visit www.ridegg.com for more details.


About The Tester

Brandon Turman - Age: 31 // Years Riding MTB: 17 // Height: 5'10" (1.78m) // Weight: 175-pounds (79.4kg)

"I like to have fun, pop off the bonus lines on the sides of the trail, get aggressive when I feel in tune with a bike, and really mash on the pedals and open it up when pointed downhill." Formerly a Mechanical Engineer and Pro downhill racer, Brandon brings a unique perspective to the testing game as Vital MTB's resident product guy. He has on-trail familiarity with nearly every new innovation in our sport from the past several years and a really good feel for what’s what.

Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member bturman
109 bturman https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/109/avatar/c50_profile_1487817150.jpg?1487816891 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/bturman,109/all 08/01/09 1116 96 6155 939 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/bturman,109/setup 280 1361 2353 169 41

Specifications

Product Guerrilla Gravity The Smash - Ride 1 Build
Model Year 2018
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
Small, Medium, Large, XL View Geometry
Size Small Medium Large XL
Top Tube Length 584mm 617mm 648mm 679mm
Head Tube Angle 66° 66° 66° 66°
Head Tube Length 100mm 120mm 140mm 160mm
Seat Tube Angle 75.8° 75.8° 75.8° 75.8°
Seat Tube Length 419mm 457mm 495mm 533mm
Bottom Bracket Height 345mm 345mm 345mm 345mm
Chainstay Length 429mm 429mm 429mm 429mm
Wheelbase 1178mm 1212mm 1245mm 1279mm
Standover 686mm 719mm 757mm 793mm
Reach 440mm 465mm 490mm 515mm
Stack 617mm 635mm 650mm 673mm
* Additional Info Geometry with 140mm travel fork
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details
Rear Travel 140mm
Rear Shock 230 x 57.5mm RockShox Super Deluxe RCT
Fork RockShox Pike RC
Fork Travel 140mm stock // Max fork travel: 160mm
Head Tube Diameter 49mm headtube, fits tapered steerer tubes
Headset FSA DX Pro
Handlebar Race Face Aeffect R - 780mm
Stem Race Face Aeffect R - 50mm
Grips Race Face Half Nelson - Black
Brakes SRAM Guide RS with Centerline 180mm rotors
Brake Levers SRAM Guide RS
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM GX
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX
ISCG Tabs ISCG05 chainguide mount
Chainguide MRP XCg
Cranks Race Face Aeffect
Chainrings 28-tooth Race Face Narrow/Wide
Bottom Bracket Threaded 73mm BSA threaded BB shell
Pedals N/A
Chain KMC X11.93
Cassette SRAM 1150 10-42t
Rims DT Swiss M 1700
Hubs i30
Spokes DT Swiss
Tires Maxxis 2.3 DHF/HR2 3C/EXO/TR
Saddle WTB Volt - Comp
Seatpost KS LEV Integra - 125mm with stealth dropper routing
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Guerrilla Gravity
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12x148 rear axle, offset 3mm to the driveside
Max. Tire Size 29 x 2.5"
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Eight color options
Warranty Lifetime frame support program
Weight 30 lb 3.2 oz (13698 g)
Miscellaneous 6.6-pound (3.0g) frame weight with hardware (size Medium)
Freedom Linkage using proprietary Horst Link implementation with Crush and Plush modes
Crush Mode: Strong mid-stroke support
Plush Mode: Softer top stroke
NUTS (Necessities Under the Saddle) bracket
Bottle mount in front triangle
ISO brake caliper mount
55mm chainline
Universal Syntace axle and derailleur hanger
Price $4,295
More Info

www.ridegg.com

More Products