So how did all this hype and theory actually behave on the trail?
A stumpy 43lb downhill bike on Blu Tak tyres was never going to fly up the
hill to the park, but what immediately strikes you is the way it pedals.
Stamping about out of the saddle sees the suspension swinging up and down in
time with rider weight, but stand up or sit down and there is no perceptible
feedback at all through the pedals. Whether it was little road ripples or
kerbs we added to into the route we just cranked away totally oblivious to
what the wheels were rolling over.
Then we got to the park and slipped the leash.
As soon as a slight downhill removes the inertia of the bike mass,
acceleration is astonishing. None of the squat that plagues fully active
bikes, but none of the loss of chatter absorption you get from higher pivot
rigs. You apply the power and the suspension just lays it into the ground
like hot butter. Pedalling through sequential step downs there is absolutely
no disturbance of pedalling whether the suspension is at full travel in the
base of the dip or nearly topped out at the lip. We were even pedalling
straight through the moped carcass after a couple of runs.
OK so it’s a downhill bike, enough about pedalling. All the big blunt things and small chatter alike just dissapears into the shock returning to the sweet sag spot before you even noticed you should have felt something. Landings and G-out bombhole compressions are dealt with equally easily, with potential to cope with really huge stuff if you increase the progressiveness and end stroke compression damping on the shock. The phrase ‘Totally floated’ gets used far too much in bike reviews, but if we had to pick a bike to act as a dictionary definition this is the beast. Never have we felt more like we were just watching the often disturbing view from the bars from the comfort of an armchair.
The bike was rigged to float the rear disc and we had no trouble braking hard through choppy sections and no hint of the front forcing down / rear coming up. If you want to rig up squat for looser conditions then the brake arm can be adjusted to suit.
Luckily for us, this uninterrupted suspension action combined with the huge
amount of negative travel also means that cornering traction is huge even on
‘wet leaf over rock’ off camber sections that we were fully expecting to
leave skin samples on.
The big back end and floated disc also keeps rear end slides super accurate
and crisp, a quick jab of the brake whipping the back end out and round
tight sections in fine Dukes of Hazzard style. The instant pedal pick up
means you’re not having to really dig yourself out of slow sections either
so you’ll be covering the faster bits a whole lot quicker.
The only aspect we’d note is that because of the lack of pedal feedback you
can’t kick down the back end for traction like a high pivot bike, which
meant the back wheel would occasionally spin on climbs like the old parallel
action Schwinn’s used to. We’re prepared to accept a flurry of blows for
even talking about the climbing performance of a 43lb bike, though the fact
we rode back up to the top of every section rather than pushing says a lot
about how well the V10 pedals. We never had any power application problems
on the flat or downslope though, even without tweaking all the many shock
So in short?
Ridiculously succulent travel and traction that refused to even get slightly
unsettled when we were riding it as hard as we could, coupled with instant
drive and pick up wherever you are in the stroke. We don’t generally ride
rigs this big purely because the invincible long travel amusement wears off
very quickly on slopes of less than 1 in 2 but the V10 was an absolute blast
even on flat and barely downhill sections. We simply haven’t ridden anything
near as sharp with this much travel, and the V10 genuinely has power
responses that would shame many XC bikes.
OK I’m convinced. Where, how much and when?
The V10 will be available from Jungle (0113 0113 2937703) dealers all round the
country from February. £2300 will get you a frame with bolt thru Hadley hub,
£1850 will get you a QR version (no hub).
The XC Blur – which we are now absolutely gagging to have a go on – will
hopefully arrive for summer, priced at £1299 painted, £1399 anodised.
You can order either (or both !!!!) of them now.