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Privateer 141 Frame

Vital Rating: (Spectacular)
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Need more info? View our Enduro / All-Mountain Mountain Bike Frames or Trail Mountain Bike Frames buyer's guides.

Vital's Custom Privateer 141 Tested

First we built it, then we rode it. Now we are giving it away!

Rating: Vital Review
Vital's Custom Privateer 141 Tested

It seems like only yesterday we were wrapping up our custom build Privateer 141 project. As it turns out, that was February! Since then, the hills have thawed and as we've gotten a lot of projects off our plate, we've had time to enjoy a bike we've been so eager to ride - the Privateer 141. Privateer made waves when it launched the 161. An alloy frame with aggressive geometry and smart details had the enduro crowd going bananas. The 141 sought to bring all that real-world goodness to something more in the trail bike category. Privateer definitely delivered the goods.

Strengths

  • Confidently dominates downhills
  • Incredible climbing prowess
  • Suspension tracks in the rough without feeling overly plowish
  • Look and aim cornering qualities at speed
  • Price to performance ratio
  • Simple, smart frame details

Weaknesses

  • Not exactly a leisure cruiser
  • A bit long for dirt jump style parks


Highlights

  • Aluminum frame
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 141mm (5.5-inches) of rear wheel travel // 150mm (5.9-inches) fork travel
  • Four bar suspension design
  • External brake and shift routing
  • Internal dropper post routing
  • Rubber molded frame protection at bottom bracket and chainstay
  • 205x57.5 Trunnion Mounted Shock
  • Cable guides at the headtube
  • 73mm Threaded bottom bracket with ISCG05 mounts
  • Boost 148 rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size S2 frame with shock and rear axle): 9 pounds (4.08kg)
  • MSRP $1,759 USD (frame only)

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There isn't a whole lot to dislike about the 141 frame. It has many elements that commenters have been asking for. An affordable aluminum frame with geometry that is on point. All the threaded bits are there and it strikes a nice balance between utilitarian and stylish. The cable guides at the headtube are a simple solution that keep things running smooth. Our S2 frame somehow did not seem crowded even by the time we strapped a tube, water bottle, and pump in there. In all, there is something to please the keyboard warriors and the adventurers alike.

For riders not wanting to build their own bike, Privateer offers two complete builds at price points that are rather compelling. There is the Shimano SLX/XT build for $3,949 or the SRAM GX build for $4,379. Both builds offer the same FOX Performance Elite suspension (36 and DPX2) with the obvious difference being the drivetrains. The Shimano build uses Magura MT5 brakes, while the GX build features Hayes Dominion A4 brakes. Hunt wheels, Schwalbe tires and Race Face bits, along with a OneUp dropper round out the key parts on both bikes.

Geometry

Privateer's 141 is not a small bike, not for something with only 140mm of travel. When so many brands are keeping with chainstays in the 430-435mm range, the 440 chainstays on our P2 felt long-ish. That number gets longer as the 141 gets bigger - 446 and 452 on P3 and P4 sizes. Reach numbers are also longer than average, 465 for our P2. Mate that to a 64.5-degree head angle and you have yourself a bike that is definitely stretched out. Is the 141 the most extreme example? No. It is, however, interesting to see how a few mm here and there and some degrees over there equate to a big bike.

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Setup

We did a bit of experimenting with our 141. We started off with a few extra spacers under the stem to make the front taller for sessions at the local bike park. We found two things - running the 141 through the local rhythm set is like trying to jump a minivan. Second, keeping the front end properly weighted was easier (for our body type) with a lower front. We moved some spacers around and embraced the 141's trail smashing ways.

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Pressure setup went as follows - The Marzocchi Z1 (150mm travel) wound up with 70psi and one volume spacer. To get the recommended 30% sag in our FOX DPX2 shock, we went with 170psi and 8 clicks of compression damping (from closed). We toyed a little with tire pressure but did not get too crazy. Final numbers were 25psi in the front and 27 in the back tire.

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On The Trail

Our 141 was party to a few fun loops here and there but ultimately, we used it to embrace the big rides for which it was intended. From hellacious climbs to vision blurring descents, getting lost for hours and crossing frigid creeks, the 141 was the ultimate mountain bike for us.

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While we had a lackluster experience in trying to play and goof about on the dirt jumps, we were utterly bowled over when it came time to go downhill with the 141. That longish geometry we spoke about previously lent itself to a bike that was unflappable at speed. A 140mm bike does not have any business owning the downhill like this. Our 141 built speed in a hurry and did a tremendous job of holding it. Time and again, we had that magical sound as the Versus tires "whoosh" pumped trail rollers, helping us build more speed and charge through corners like no other.

We definitely found bottom on the FOX DPX2, more than a few times. That said, it was never harsh or gave us the sensation we wanted more ramp. We may chalk this up to the bike's overall capability outgunning the rear travel. Through chattering loose rocks, the back end soaked it all up and kept our bike in line. We also found the playful side of the 141 comes out in more natural terrain, particularly with a bit of speed and grade. You may not be doing sweet kick-outs at the jump park but you can sure as heck light up that fade-away roller to Never-Never Land.

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The sort of long-haul rides we enjoyed with the 141 can only come together with an honest day's work. What we mean is, you have to climb with this thing. Our custom build was a tad portly for a 140mm trail bike, 35-pounds to be more precise. On the trail though? The 141 never showed its weight. Perhaps it is because the Hunt Trail wide wheels aren't over-the-top heavy or we kept our tires in the trail casing category, but we would have never guessed our bike was this portly when on the trail.

To that end, we dubbed the 141 our escalator. Sure, by the numbers this thing should haul the mail downhill but dang does it climb. There is one particularly steep punch that we've never cleared. It's a wall of a climb, punctuated at the top by some brutal lava rocks that take both power and finesse to get over. Our first ever go at it with the 141, we motored right up and over. It was a relative non-event. From there it was up and up and up anything we desired, as well as things we didn't want to climb, but did so in the name of testing. This may be the best climbing bike we've tested. We have to imagine that if a rider threw some money at this bike and built something closer to the 30-pound mark, it would be an absolute weapon.

This is a bike that really shows what it's made of when running at the ragged edge

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Putting the 141 into corners requires the rider to move about the spacious cabin. As the trails flattened out, we needed to be mindful to weight the front end, lest it push through. As speeds increase along with grade, the 141 becomes more intuitive and we could even get a little in the back seat to make the Privateer dance. TLDR - the 141 is happiest at speed, on moderate to heavy terrain.

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Cornering may be the most telling characteristic of the Privateer 141. This is a bike that really shows what it's made of when running at the ragged edge, or even just a fun clip. The local lunch loop out our door just isn't quite enough for this bike. It is a bit like having a pissed-off rally car that you can't get out of second gear. It sure is cool but we just want to let that dog off the leash!

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Build Kit

The build kit for our Privateer 141 was hand selected by our editorial crew. Other than the frame and wheels, we've tested all of it.

Marzocchi Z1

The Z1 is more than a blunt instrument. We truly enjoyed how it mated to the 141's trail style. Just as comfortable on those long chugs as it is blitzing downhills, the Bomber was great. Any rider not caught up with fine-tuning their suspension needs to give this fork a look.

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Versus Trail Tires

Another excellent pairing, the Versus 29x2.4-inch tires mated well to our test bike. There is enough footprint there to let the 141 power through rough terrain but not so much meat as to be cumbersome on climbs. Standing and pedaling hard up steep bits of trail was aided by these tires' ability to dig in as well as the long nature of the 141.

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Wheel Performance

Hunt Trail Wide 30 - When unboxing and setting up the Hunt wheels, we really liked what we saw. The rim tape was solid and has been durable. The valve stems were pre-installed and snapping on our tires was a breeze. On the trail, the aggressive buzz of the rear hub let trail users know we were coming. Stomping into the gears gave a rapid engagement and never generated any sort of boing or noise as we've experienced with other "affordable" wheel options. Despite our bike's portly build, the Hunt wheels rolled quickly and kept their speed. We ran some questionable tire pressure at times but our rims never paid the price.

Drivetrain Performance

We combined Deore and XT for this build and the result is what we expected. Other than the added weight, we felt every bit the performance as if we had XT, despite the Deore derailleur and cranks. We did throw a 32T chainring on our bike, as the 30T that came with was a weak pairing for our trail network.

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Noise

A quiet alloy bike? Yes. Many times on trail, the only sounds we could hear were the buzz of our hub and gnashing of tire treads on the ground.

What would we change?

If we had it to do again, we would take the input of our readership into consideration. Downgrading the cassette to SLX would have saved us around $54 retail, while only gaining 64-grams. Applying that savings on some SLX cranks would have shed 141-grams off the bike but would have cost $90 at retail. In all, moving those two parts to SLX over their respective XT and Deore counterparts would have added a total of $36 and cut 77grams off the total weight. Earth shattering? Not really, but we'll get it where we can. Otherwise, every part on our bike worked expertly and this is something we could live with as our own bike. Instead, we are raffling it off to help build trails and hopefully, get someone new on a bike.

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Riders looking for the execution of an aggressive trail bike needn't look further, here it is.

Long Term Durability

We developed no odd creaks, squeaks or noises along the way. Privateer has built the 141 to live in the real world and withstand the long miles for which it was intended. Likewise, the Hunt wheels continue to roll effortlessly and true. The remaining parts on our bike once again, held up under testing, only further cementing their place as products upon which mountain bikers can rely.

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What's The Bottom Line?

Privateer's 141 is everything it proclaims to be and maybe a tad more. Riders looking for the execution of an aggressive trail bike needn't look further, here it is. Everything about the 141 makes you want to go faster, ride harder and not back off. We are honestly blown away by this bike's ability to blitz rowdy trails, yet still have enough character for bonus hits. Factor in the pricing on Privateer's complete builds and you have an undeniable package.

Visit Privateerbikes.com for more details.

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Do You Want This Bike?

How do you feel about helping to build more trails? Want to win a bike for a measly $10? Heck, even if this frame isn't the right size, any one of these parts is a solid return on your investment. We are working with Sky Tavern in Reno, Nevada to help build more community access trails. Head HERE to enter the raffle and for your chance to not only win a bike but build more trails for the community!


About the Tester

Brad Howell- Age: 41 // Years Riding: 26 // Height: 5'9" (1.75m) // Weight: 165-pounds (74.8kg)

Brad started mountain biking when a 2.25-inch tire was large, and despite having threads, bottom brackets sucked. Riding in the woods with friends eventually lead way to racing, trying to send it at the local gravel pits, and working in bike shops as a wrench to fix those bikes. Fortunate enough to have dug at six Rampages and become friends with some of the sport’s biggest talents, Brad has a broad perspective of what bikes can do and what it means to be a good rider. For a few years Brad worked in the bike industry and got to see the man behind the curtain. These days, though, he just likes riding his bike in the woods with friends.

Video by Steve Tenuto

Photos by Steve Tenuto and Shawn Spomer

Specifications

Product Privateer 141 Frame
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
P1, P2, P3, P4 View Geometry
Size P1 P2 P3 P4
Top Tube Length 559mm 590mm 612mm 639mm
Head Tube Angle 64.5° 64.5° 64.5° 64.5°
Head Tube Length 130mm 120mm 130mm 140mm
Seat Tube Angle 78.88° 78.76° 78.72° 78.67°
Seat Tube Length 400mm 420mm 450mm 480mm
Bottom Bracket Height 15mm (drop) 30mm (drop) 30mm (drop) 30mm (drop)
Chainstay Length 434mm 440mm 446mm 452mm
Wheelbase 1197mm 1236mm 1266mm 1301mm
Standover
Reach 440mm 465mm 485mm 510mm
Stack 607mm 628mm 637mm 646mm
* Additional Info P1 takes 27.5" wheels; P2/P3/P4 take 29" wheels
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29"
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details 6066-T6 alloy
Rear Travel 141mm
Rear Shock Custom FOX DPX2 Performance Elite, 205mm x 57.5mm, Trunnion upper mount, 8x30mm lower mount
Head Tube Diameter Tapered (ZS44/ZS56)
Bottom Bracket 73mm threaded
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148mm x 12mm Boost
Front Derailleur Size
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Max Tire Size 27.5"/29”x2.6"
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes (single)
Colors Charcoal Grey, Heritage Green, Satin Raw
Warranty 5 years frame
Weight 8 lb 2.4 oz (3,697 g)
Miscellaneous 2021 model year
Seat clamp, axle, and sealed cartridge bearing headset included
Size P1 takes 27.5" wheels; Size P2-P4 take 29" wheels
Max chainring size: Boost/3mm offset 34 tooth
Chainline: 52mm, minimum 168mm Q-factor
Approximate frame weight listed is for a size P1 without shock, axle, etc.
Compatible with both coil and air shocks
Headtube cable guides stop cable rub and keep rattling to a minimum
3 bearings in main pivot
One-piece rocker link
Price $1,759
More Info

The Bike You've Been Asking For - Privateer's 141 (press release)

Privateer Bikes website

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