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Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol 2018 Frame (discontinued)

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Discontinued
Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol
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Always up for a good time, the Trail Pistol will never let you down

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

American-made aluminum will leave you grinning form ear to ear- the speed and stability of this bike cannot be mentioned enough. This is now my go-to bike, hands down.

The Bad:

Some might overlook this speed machine because it's not the wonder plastic, and 25 lbs. Too bad, you'll really be missing out.

Overall Review:

Let me make one thing clear - I hate this bike. I hate how an aluminum, slack-ass trail carver puts my old carbon 29er to shame. I hate how this steed looks like it would take a country mile to turn, but pushes through switchbacks more ferociously than I am comfortable with at times.  I hate a rear suspension design that lets me pedal faster up climbs than I ever have before.  I hate how my face hurts after two hours of smiling like a one year old after their first taste of cake.  I hate how line choice is pretty much out the window; it’s all just point and shoot from here on out.  I hate this bike- and you can’t go buy one, because I don’t want my ass kicked by everyone else shredding a Made-in-the-USA, 29er death machine- this ‘Trail pistol’.  

Set-up

I wanted to order a black bike.  I wanted matte black-black on black.  Darker than black- Yeah, that’s what the cool kids run.  I wanted to email Guerrilla Gravity and ask if their printer could muster up decals that wouldn’t let light escape they’re so dark. Except, when it came time to order, I clicked on the drop-down menu and chose “Pepto Shred-All”, with white decals.  Maybe I was feeling extra cheery that day.  Maybe I saw it as a sly tongue-in-cheek to all of the comments on a certain website that didn’t appreciate the owner’s dry humor of BS naming-logic of established technologies…  Maybe all I wanted was a wolf in sheep’s clothing- and that’s exactly what I got.  Being brought on as a BAMF (Brand Ambassador and Motivated Free-seller), I was told to make my bike a color that stands out.  Oh boy, does she stand out.

I’m sure if you’re reading the review of some amateur, you’ve already started your homework on the specs that make up this bike.  29/27 Plus trail bike with 120mm of rear travel,  sporting a 148mm Boost rear-end, with the possibility of running a 120-140mm fork on the front.  A modern take on geometry, with a short chainstay, a long front-center, and a head angle slack enough to be found on a chopper in an issue of Hot Bike Mag.  Guerrilla Gravity has engineered in an adjustable ‘flip chip’ on the Trail Pistol to be able to tweak the geometry and BB height of the bike to cater to both wheel sizes.  Some of you might smell a compromise-which we’ll talk about further down.  I sighted in on a Large frame, as my 6’3” body seemed like it would be at home on the numbers presented (For you to fall further down the rabbit hole, follow this link for all the specific frame specs- http://ridegg.com/trailpistol).  To help you understand further where I’m coming from, a list of my build:

  • Large Frame
  • Fox Factory Series 34 fork, 130mm, four spacers in air chamber
  • RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 rear shock
  • I9 Enduro 305 29” wheelset (alternate-WTB Scraper i45  rims, SRAM X7 hubs)
  • Sram X.01 11spd drivetrain
  • SRAM Guide RSC brakes, 180mm rotors front & rear
  • Race Face Next SL crankset, Wolftooth C.A.M.O. Elliptical system
  • Fox Transfer 150mm dropper post, 30.9mm
  • WTB Volt Pro saddle, wrapped in ‘Murica color scheme
  • Race Face Six C 800mm carbon bar, 35mm dia.
  • Easton Haven 60mm stem, 35mm bar clamp
  • ODI Vans Grips-Gum, because f*** yeah!
  • Bontrager SE4 29x2.4” (front), SE5 29x2.3” (Rear)
  • Soulrun Tool Roll- stashed under the saddle
  • NUTS System to get as much out of my hydration pack as I could

My initial thought once I sat down was that my cockpit is too short.  For reference, my current, all-mountain bike has a longer butt-to-seat measurement than my Trail Pistol.  Not being familiar with this caliber of wide bars on a short stem- and knowing my body proportions are little off, I decided to keep an open mind and give it a go.  I’m glad I did, because as I put in some saddle time, I realized I was much more comfortable than the numbers led me to believe.  I wasn’t smacking my knees with bars,  I wasn’t cramping my back or shoulders, and I certainly wasn’t over analyzing my body position when I was riding.  One thing that I was doing, was shredding.  

Riding The Weapon

This bike wants to be pushed, so much so that while it never felt harsh backing off the gas for a while, you could just feel that the Trail Pistol wanted to move faster.  And when you pushed yourself to go faster, The Trail Pistol delivered unholy amounts of traction coupled with even more unholy amounts of speed.  I’m not one to try and pick the preferred line as it is, but the bike allowed me throw any thought of lines out the window and say “We’re gonna smash off this rock- and that rock- and that one!  We will ride all of the rocks!  

To say that the Trail Pistol was comfortable with descents would be a disservice, I never once felt my any hesitation or anxiety when I plowed my way downhill.  And this bike has the numbers that would lead you to believe that you’re investing in a frame without enough travel, that is going to be stable on high speed tracks, and steer like a pig everywhere else.  You would be wrong.  I easily obliterated switchbacks and tight sections of singletrack- if I trusted the front wheel and kept my weight forward, I was rewarded by gobs of traction.  I do credit the Bontrager SE4, and i9 Enduro 305 wheels a bit for this, but a lot has to do with how this bike is set-up.  On more than one occasion, I noticed that I had used all of the travel on the rear shock (I am a heavy rider, so I’ll be adding a volume spacer inside the air can), but never experienced any harsh bottom-outs.  When riding the downs, I felt like I had more than 120mm of travel-and while I didn’t ride in actual mountains during my time, I wasn’t left wanting more in the squish department.

The biggest surprise that the Trail Pistol delivered to me?  It can climb like a beast as well.  With the lever on the shock in full open, the Trail Pistol was able to confidently scramble its way up any technical incline.  We have a number of loose rock climbs combined with rock shelves that absolutely require you to keep up your momentum, and the rear wheel never hung up on me once while pedaling in the saddle.  Flip the lever on the shock into trail, and your effort is rewarded with even quicker climbing.  If I could help it, I did leave the shock in the full open setting, and climbed away, with the lever only being used when I was already starting to feel fatigued.  With the ridiculously steep seat angle, I was able to just lay down the hammer, and pedal over any obstacle- the Trail Pistol delivered great mid-stroke support, and never beat me up- even after hours of riding.  

The other main notable here is the 27+ set-up.  My alternate wheelset employs mega-wide WTB Scraper rims, with a 3” WTB Bridger in front, followed by a 3” Trail Boss in the rear.  Setting the flip chip from ‘Crush’ to ‘Plush’ and swapping the wheels yielded a completely different feeling bike; one that tracked well, but missed matching the feeling that you were moving at “warp chicken” like the 29er, by just a smidge.  I think weight is a big factor here, as the Plus wheels are noticeably more portly.  Do I think that the frame makes a compromise by offering the ability to run both wheel sizes?  I absolutely do not. The Trail Pistol is very well executed on both fronts- and if I have to make a choice for one or the other, it’s the 29” wheels.  Having typed that, most of the reasoning behind this is just more time on that wheel size,  I’m still getting comfy with Plus.  

Random Details

I briefly make mention of the NUTS (Necessities Under the Saddle) in my spec list above, but the welded-on bracket does couple nicely with the optional gear kit that Guerrilla Gravity has available as an add-on.  This system allows you to stow your tube, CO2 cartridges, inflator and lever on the bike, thus lightening your load a bit.  I paired this with a custom-made tool roll from Soulrun to hold even more gear, and hopefully eliminate the hydration pack for some rides.  One other bonus with the frame/NUTS?  The optional kit includes a bottle cage and bottle- with enough room on the frame to fit inside the front triangle!

At the time I sat down to write this, Push Industries has not made their Eleven.Six shock available for this bike- but they reassure me that it will be developed in the near future.  I also have the great luck of being able to ride carbon wheels from NOX Composites, but I haven’t received them yet to slap on.  Once each upgrade has been beaten, I’ll make an update to my review.  

My Verdict

All in all, the Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol is a well thought-out design.  The construction and welding on this frame display some serious skills as well (Bonus points that I hear the fabricator also works in NASCAR).  Sure, the technology isn’t revolutionary- or even a completely ground-breaking design, but it’s one that doesn’t have to be.  Execution is the key here, and I feel the team in Denver did their homework-and made a truly great bike.  I tend to be the type of rider that doesn’t linger on one bike too long, but with the Trail Pistol, I may have already chosen my weapon.  Do I still hate this bike?  Nah… How can you hate something this fun?

A proper trail bike for the progressive geometry crowd.

Rating:
The Good:

A lightweight trail bike made from proper materials that has resulted in a reliable daily driver. Forward geometry pushes you to go faster and the progressive horst link suspension provides a lively feel on trail.

The Bad:

I'm still waiting for a bike that performs as well as a proper DH bike when it comes to repetitive square edge hits, but the rearward axle path of a DH bike is hard to achieve with a bike that is this light and pedals this well. I feel like this is a global problem with current trail bikes, but shock technology is helping.

Overall Review:

Guerrilla Gravity wasn't conservative with this bikes geometry. They jumped right in and gave it some proper dimensions on the first go. I think many are starting to realize that a longer reach, steep seat tube angle, and "slack" head angle bundled in one package can result in a bike that is DH worthy and can still climb with the best of them. The head angle makes plowing over rocks easier whether it is on steep or flat terrain. Front wheel traction is increased by the steep seat tube and extended reach, forcing you to ride in a more forward position.

The horst link design has good mid stroke support and a leverage ratio that is progressive enough to make the 120mm feel bottomless. The pivot location provides some good anti-squat while pedaling, allowing the bike to feel solid while climbing and mashing on the pedals.

This combination has been spot on for my riding style and the speed difference was instantly noticeable.  I felt every bit as comfortable on this as I did my 160mm bike when the trail got rough. A shorter travel 29er with modern geometry is the way forward for me. 

Specifications

Product Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol 2018 Frame
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
SM (Crush, Plush), MD (Crush, Plush), LG (Crush, Plush), XL (Crush, Plush) View Geometry
Size SM (Crush, Plush) MD (Crush, Plush) LG (Crush, Plush) XL (Crush, Plush)
Top Tube Length 584mm 617mm 648mm 679mm
Head Tube Angle 66.6°, 67.4° 66.6°, 67.4° 66.6°, 67.4° 66.6°, 67.4°
Head Tube Length 100mm 120mm 140mm 160mm
Seat Tube Angle 75.8°, 76.6° 75.8°, 76.6° 75.8°, 76.6° 75.8°, 76.6°
Seat Tube Length 419mm 457mm 495mm 533mm
Bottom Bracket Height 338mm 338mm 338mm 338mm
Chainstay Length 429mm 429mm 429mm 429mm
Wheelbase 1173mm 1207mm 1240mm 1274mm
Standover 686mm 719mm 757mm 793mm
Reach 440mm 465mm 490mm 515mm
Stack 617mm 635mm 650mm 673mm
* Additional Info All specifications listed are with 130mm fork
Wheel Size 27.5+
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details
Rear Travel 120mm
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe R, 210mm x 50mm
Upgrade options: RockShox Deluxe RT, RockShox Super Deluxe RCT Coil, Cane Creek DBCoil [IL], Push ElevenSix
Head Tube Diameter 49mm
Bottom Bracket 73mm threaded
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148x12mm Boost
Front Derailleur Size N/A (1x-specific)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Max Tire Size 27.5" x 3.0" or 29" x 2.6"
ISCG Tabs ISCG05
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes (single)
Colors Raw, F* Yeah Blue, Radiation, Safety Third, Purple Drank, Guerrilla Green, None More Black, Black and Blue
Warranty Lifetime Frame Support
Weight 6 lb 8.1 oz (2,950 g)
Miscellaneous Freedom Linkage using proprietary Horst Link implementation
Crush Mode & Plush Mode choices via rear shock mount adjustment
"Necessities Under The Saddle" frame storage bracket
IS brake mount
Universal Syntace axle and derailleur hanger
Maximum fork travel: 150mm
Hand-welded in Denver, Colorado
Price $2,095
More Info

Guerrilla Gravity website

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