We’ve already reported on Turner’s wholesale move to DW-Link rear suspension for 2009, and speculated then that it would be an attention-grabbing move. The fact that the Turner booth at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo was persistently bereft of bikes for most of the two days would seem to suggest that the curiosity of the bike industry had indeed been engaged. I managed to grab a suitably-sized Turner Flux for a spin, pausing only to stand on Turner’s scales. Most companies at Outdoor Demo expect you to know what you weigh so they can get their suspension setups in the ballpark, but such is Turner’s attention to detail that all riders got weighed. As an aside, I found out that I was within 2lb of the weight that I’d been telling everyone, which was fairly reassuring.
The Flux is Turner’s XC bike, offering 4in of travel and a 5.5lb frame weight. While the front end is very familiar Turner – and these days quite distinctive in its total lack of hydroforming – the rear is entirely different. DW-Link is a short-link system, so there’s a rigid rear triangle that floats off the main triangle via a pair of links, the upper of which also drives the shock.
Constructionally it’s classic Turner, with a single forging carrying the BB, lower link pivot and shock mount. The rear end is still square-section tubing, and the link pivots are high-load bushings in traditional Turner style. There are also grease injection points at all of them – previous Turners have gone on for years with occasional squirts of grease, and we’ve no reason to assume that this one will be any different.
There’s a post-mount caliper bracket at the back, a feature which is starting to gain ground (although it’s not the most user-friendly when it comes to changing rotor sizes). Yet another neat detail is that the threads in the mount are in steel inserts, both more robust than cutting them into the aluminium mount itself and also easily replaced if they do get chewed up.
First impressions out on the trail are that the great qualities of the Flux are still here in spades. The handling is simply inspirational, and gets better the faster you go. And the suspension? DW-Link designer Dave Weagle has spent a lot of time working with Turner, and it shows – this back end is completely vice-free, delivering gobs of traction and laughing in the face of rocks, but staying steady under anything short of gibbon-like pedalling. The Flux feels ready to go at the merest hint of a pedal stroke, and there’s no hint of pedal feedback.
The bike’s also superbly balanced front to rear, which all adds up a reassuringly poised and confident stance. Chuck in the great handling and you’ve got the recipe for a fantastic ride. We like this one a lot…