The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

Reviewers’ Rides, Part 4

[Editor’s Note: When our reviewers aren’t out testing various frames and forks and whatnot, what do their own personal builds look like? The Bike Check series asks some of our riders to detail their setups, and explain why they’ve chosen these particular frames and components. We’ve heard from Marshal Olson, Noah Bodman, and Kevin Bazar. Now it’s Joe Hanrahan’s turn.]

Joe Hanrahan: 5’11″, 165 lbs.

Ride Style: I have a downhill racing habit with a bizarre penchant for pedal-driven suffering. I’ll ride just about anything, I just have to be in the right mood. And that doesn’t take much.

Frame: Knolly Chilcotin, medium, 160mm travel, aluminum

Knolly Chilcotin, Blister Gear Review

My favorite thing about this frame is its stiffness. I love being able to pick the good—if chundery—line through a turn and have the bike go exactly where I need it to go while the suspension moves in line and stays hooked up. It’s a magical feeling. All Knolly bikes use their own 4×4 suspension. It’s very active, and creates great traction both climbing and braking.

The Chilcotin also has adjustable geometry. By moving the lower shock mount, the rider can change the headtube angle from 67 degrees to 66 degrees, while also dropping the bottom bracket for maximum shred-ability.

 

WTB Frequency i23, Blister Gear Review

 

Wheels: Currently testing ENVE AM wheels; bike was built with DT Swiss 350 hubs laced to WTB Frequency i23 rims

The 350s are one of the best deals going for performance, weight, and dolla bills. The WTB i23 is an acceptable weight, modern width, and has well thought-out construction with beveled nipple holes and the I-beam for added stiffness.

 

 

Fox 36 Float FIT RC2, Blister Gear ReviewSuspension: 2012 Fox Float 36 FIT RC2 Fork, 2012 Float RP23HV Shock

I went full Fox with this bike, as my last bike was full RockShox, and figured I’d give it a go. I’m 20 or so rides in and still tweaking things. It’s working OK. I think I might just like RockShox’s damping a little more, there seems to be a little more mid-stroke support. Ultimately, the jury is still out.

 

 

Brakes: 2012 Shimano XT, 180mm front, 160mm rear

Always a little shocking how much power results from such light lever feel, but once you get used to it, they can’t be beat.

 

 

Shimano XT Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur, Blister Gear ReviewDrivetrain: 2012 Shimano XT 2×10 with Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur

I like big gears and small gears, so 2×10 is it for me (unless SRAM wants to give me some XX1 to try). 26/38 with a 12-36 cassette works well for massive climbs and long days and also hauling ass. The Shadow Plus is a new addition, installed right before the Enchilada Enduro, so I left my MRP 2x guide on, but have had mixed results with that guide, so I will likely be ditching it to see if the clutch rear derailleur can hang on its own.

 

 

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