Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 11
Long Term Review

Knolly Chilcotin 155

Photos Deniz Merdano & Tim Coleman
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New Generation of Knollys

Last year around Crankworx Whistler, Knolly started teasing the world with a new generation of bikes with much improved aesthetics and some tweaks to the geometry. If you are coming here after reading Uncle Dave's sweet introspective piece about the collapse of society and the humanity as a whole, keep your previous gen Chilcotin. It is a fine bike and you really do not need to upgrade to the straight top tube one. If you are in the market for a new bike with extreme seat post insertion and made out of metal, The Knolly Chilcotin should be on your list.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 8

Knolly rides smoothly and allows you to focus on the corners instead.

chilcotin 155 geo

Geometry chart for the Chilcotin 155 upon the arrival of the test bike

knolly chilcotin 155 geo chart V2

Geometry chart for the Chilcotin 155 AFTER the first look went live.. not the rolling naming change. Soon there will be no more shirt sizing...

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin orbea rallon sizing

Size S2 (formerly known as Small) Chilcotin

The Fit

There was a comment on the first look article about the sizing recommendations of the new generation Knollys. The critique was that I should have tested the Knolly recommended size bike. I stand at 174cm tall with extremely long arms for my stature. Knolly's chart puts me on the S3 sizing squarely. I can appreciate that. But I also practice free will and can choose what is appropriate for me and my riding style. I based my decisions on my daily driver. The 2023 Orbea Rallon. The Knolly and the Rallon have very similar geometry when compared on paper.

Knolly Chilcotin 155 - Orbea Rallon 167

Wheelbase Reach Rear Center Head Angle Effective Top Tube Stack
Knolly Chilcotin 1224 462 438 64.25 (slack) 596 619
Orbea Rallon 1231 460 440 64 (slack) 599 628
Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin orbea rallon sizing 1

Comfortable pedaling position, it could be many things but my elbows appear less relaxed than on the Rallon, perhaps the difference in Stack is the cause here.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin orbea rallon sizing 3

I can comfortably sit on top of this bike and pedal it all day, go to sleep, wake up and do it again. It fits me like an extension of my body, my old, achy, plywood body.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 2

Technical uphills are Chilcotin territory

I found a comfortable position on top of the Chilcotin. It was easy to set up and start the journey. I put 170 psi of air in the Rockshox Super Deluxe for around 25% sag and 85 psi of air in the Marzocchi Z1 for a well balanced feel. Rebound was set to 4 Clicks from closed on the Z1 and 6 Clicks from closed on the Super Deluxe. Fast but not unique. I generally prefer my rebound speeds on the faster side for on trail maneuverability and quick suspension recovery. It makes the chassis feel lighter and gives it more appetite to nibble on the trail. A nibble here and a nibble there, jumping over roots and airing anything in sight.

On the uphills, the Chilcotin chugs along. With a slight bob to the rhythm of Staying Alive, you get to the top of the trail without much fuss. Size S2 Chilcotin weighs 36.6 lbs (16.6kg) on my scale and it feels like it when pedaling uphill. With an EXO+ Casing MaxxTerra DHR II on the drive wheel and an EXO+ casing Assegai MaxxGrip on the front, there is no denying that the Chilcotin does not want to sprint up the hill. Slow and steady with an immense amount of uphill traction. The Four by 4 suspension actively pushes the rear wheel to the ground and puts a ton of technical climbing prowess at your feet. I found myself grabbing a harder gear than I normally do on my Rallon while getting up onto ledges. Harder gear translates to a more forward propulsion as the very active rear end tends to sink into the ground otherwise.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin orbea rallon sizing 2

Standing up on flat ground, 462 reach, 438 Rear Center at 1224 Wheelbase creates a 39 / 61% Front / Rear Weight bias with the bars at highest position.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin orbea rallon sizing 4

The Orbea has a 38.9 / 61.1 % weight split, I'd consider that almost identical with a margin of error in my calculations.

If you are going to be pedaling around a bit more, dial in a couple of more clicks of LSC on the Super Deluxe or fully lock it out for a more efficient pedaling platform. The benefits of the suspension layout puts the climb switch at a very accessible location while pedaling. I appreciated the lever's location on this bike more than others.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 3

Knolly performs its best when the ground turns into a chunky mess

160mm of Marzocchi Z1 Air up front and 155mm of Rockshox Super Deluxe from a couple of years ago seem like an odd spec choice. The shock is the same one from the 2020 Chilcotin and it performs extremely well. Knolly managed to squeeze out two different travel numbers from the same frame by using different stroke shocks. The 155 gets its suppleness from a 60mm stroke shock and the 170 uses a 65mm shock in the same spot with a slightly longer fork. While it may not be a kitchen table job, the stroke of the super deluxe can be changed by your local suspension service center for the right amount of moneys. I have a hard time figuring out why one would buy the 155 bike and want to change it to 170 afterwards; just buy the longer travel bike to begin with.

DSC01046 deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 2024

205x60mm Super Deluxe from a few years ago.. Still works fine, do you need the newest version? Probably not

DSC01057 deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 2024

Stouter than Fox 36 , not as burly as the Fox 38, the Marzocchi Z1 Air is a perfect in between fork.

Couch Potato

Well the Knolly Couchcotin is one of the most plush feeling bikes I've ever strapped myself to when it comes to getting to the bottom of the trail. The feedback through the feet and legs is muted the moment you point the ship towards some rough trail. The Four by 4 suspension wants to erase all chatter between the ground and the rider. There is very little transferred through the chassis even on the roughest tracks. This feeling was odd to get used to after riding bikes with a lot more trail feedback. My feet were securely planted on my pedals and I could concentrate on the corners ahead instead of worrying if I picked the right line to begin with. Even at 25% sag in the shock, I found the suspension platform to perform flawlessly. It is when the trail slowed down and the rocks remained I found the Chilcotin to have a heavier foot trying to maintain speed. The active suspension made for more work trying to carry the rear end over the rocks and gain speed. It felt like I was hanging up. But as soon as the speeds picked back up, I was back to enjoying chatter-erasing suspension feel.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 12

I may have over-cornered this one

When It comes to going around corners, the aforementioned 39/61 Weight balance helps you drive through your feet. The full 29er bike carves a predictable and wide arc and finds traction all throughout the corner. When you really load the bike into the corner, you can break the rear end loose and oversteer. I found the Chilcotin to resist oversteering more than some of the other bikes I have been on. The Rallon will snap in and out of the corner a little more spritely. It has same geometry but the stiff carbon wheels and the less active suspension break traction a little easier. One is not better than the other, but be aware that the Chilcotin is more business, and less party when it comes to going around corners. If you are in the business of going around corners safe and fast, you'll love the Chilcotin's behaviour. The Z1 fork does a great job at staying composed while helping out with the trail chatter. There are better dampers out there than the Grip that comes in the Z1 but overall I really like the "budget" fork from Fox/Marzocchi family. It has burlier stanchions than the 36 but it's not as stiff as the 38, filling a gap that didn't need to be filled. For how much this bike costs it does not take anything away from the performance.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 5

Ned's Atomic Riverbed is an excellent trail for wet weather hooning. It is multiple kms long and will test the body and the bike until the very bottom. I really like what Ted and Company did to it with NSMBA's efforts.

Travel Insurance

When I asked head of Knolly Bikes, Noel Buckley why the two different Chilcotins exist, the answer was not super clear. The 155 has almost all the trail chops of the 170 and the 170 climbs just as well as the 155 so why not just have both? I think the secret sauce would be the 155 paired with a 170 fork to slacken out the bike another half degree and allow the fork to catch up to the suppleness of the Four by 4 system. I will go as far as saying the 65mm stroke shock on the 170 will be too progressive unless you were freeriding with the bike. The 60mm stroke shock cuts off the ultra progressive portion of the travel and provides a usable, supple and surprisingly supportive platform. If I running 25% sag for the 155 seems appropriate, the 170 bike could use 30% sag to utilize the whole 170mm.

So in my opinion the Chilcotin should be a 170/155 bike with an option to run mullet and 170mm for more freeride chops. That might just be the new Warden I described. We'll have to wait and see if that is the case.

DSC01056 deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 2024

Shimano M6100 series Deore brakes have been excellent

Parts Breakdown

I had zero issues with any of the parts that came strapped to this bike. SDG Tellis V2 at 170mm was immediately swapped for the 200mm version to test and I think it is the post that should be specced on the bike to begin with. There is plenty of room on the seat mast and we want longer droppers or else! The BelAir III saddle is comfortable too. I can sit on it all day and no problems for my derriere. Yours might differ.

The biggest surprise was the brake system on the Chilcotin. The Shimano Deore M6100 brakes have not only been flawless but also the best performing brakes in the house. Topping my XTRs and XTs for feel and stopping power. They may not last forever, but the performance is unapologetic. Metal pads and RT66 rotors mate well. Big summertime descents may overwhelm them a little but they lack nothing when it comes to power. Nice one Shimano!

DSC01041 deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 2024

Deore Cassette and Derailleur shifts at a reasonable pace

Shifting the Chilcotin through its 12 gears is an uneventful affair. The all-steel Deore cassette is a great choice and while heavy, it will never wear down. You can run 3-4 chains through it and it won't complain much at the end. The Quality of shifting with the Deore chain and cassette however is nothing to get excited about. I prefer shimano's higher-end chains with Hyperglide+ and extra nickel coating. My XT cassette and XTR chain bike shift noticeably smoother, especially under load. It's not a big complaint if you are the purchaser of this bike. Upgrade later if you feel like you need smoother transitions between gears.

Deore cranks are solid and the 170mm length works well for me. The bottom bracket is not overly low on this bike which results in fewer pedal strikes.

DSC01034 deniz merdano knolly chilcotin 2024

DT Swiss wheels and Maxxis tires are workhorses, except they are actually dogs.

DT Swiss M1900 wheelset is beefy and runs the excellent 370 Hub in the rear. The engagement is not very high with the 18T rachet system but it's almost bombproof. Running quietly you will enjoy an extremely quiet operating bike while pedaling or cruising down the trail. Knolly made a near-silent bike. Thank you.

The Maxxis rubber Knolly chose for this bike is also very appropriate. The EXO+ casing is fine considering how active the rear suspension is and the MaxxGrip Assegai on the front is just the icing on the cake.

After muddy rides I found the Chilcotin to wash very well. There are no tight crannies on the frame to trap dirt. A quick blast with the hose and everything falls off the raw alum frame. The exposed bearing seals did their job and kept the water I intentionally sprayed at them every week at bay.

Deniz merdano knolly chilcotin orbea rallon sizing

Good looking bike and great performing suspension.

In The End

Knolly made another fine bike with an upgrade in the looks department. The marketing team is stoked and the engineers are happy too. If you are 5'5" and taller, you can look at the new Chilcotin as your new ride. It is plush, it goes fast downhill and it will get you to the top if you keep at it.

The 6000 CAD/4500 USD Deore spec bike leaves little reason to swap parts. You can start throwing some carbon at it if you want it lighter but the 36lbs bike is happy where it is. While It may not be the bike I reach for every time I want to go for a spin on my local trails due to its less energetic climbing feel, It is one of the most fun rides when things point downhill. I would personally opt for the 155mm model with a 170mm fork but If you are a big rider or like to go bigger than I do, reach for the 170/170mm build right away.

Knolly Chilcotin 155 4500USD / 6000CAD

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano

5'8"

162lbs

Playful, lively riding style

Photographer and Story Teller

Lenticular Aesthetician

www.blackbirdworks.ca

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Comments

andy-eunson
+10 BarryW paradox@Goet solar_evolution Jerry Willows Konrad jrouellet Tjaard Breeuwer Emma Le Rossignol Pete Roggeman bishopsmike

I really appreciate the photos of you on your bikes from the side. It gives an excellent perspective for how the bikes fit you.

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knollybikes.com
+8 Deniz Merdano IslandLife hotlapz dhr999 Abies Pete Roggeman bishopsmike mwmanuel

Hey everyone.  A few comments :)

Chilcotin 155 is for those customers who KNOW they don't want a Chilcotin 170 and the added weight that comes with a 38 / Zeb.  Climbing wise, the 155 is a little nicer with the shorter fork, slightly steeper angles and less suspension sag out back.  We sell the Chilcotin 170 about 2:1 over the Chilcotin 155, but both customers tend to know exactly what they are getting into.  The Chilcotin 155 customer is typically someone who wants something more than a trail bike (i.e. Fugitive for us), but wants a bike that can still climb, while handling a mix of terrain, including being burly enough to handle reasonably serious descending.

NSMB asked specifically for a "budget" version of this bike, so we happily obliged.  We have tried to spec this bike with parts that we would all be happy riding, and focusing on realible componets with as much performance as we can pack into the product for the price.  EVERY component selection is geared to get as much performance from the bike as possible while keeping the price as reasonably low as we can get it to.  

The Chilcotin is our Race model and it's designed for higher speed riding.  It's nice that Deniz picked this up in terms of the cornering stability and that its performance is tailored to higher speed riding.  As he mentioned, the new Warden MX is right around the corner and is designed for play, extremely terrain, park, etc...  Both models are super fun on The 'Shore (everything from Cypress to Vedder), Squamish slabs, and in Whistler, even climbing up to valley trails such as Dark Crystal and such.  They are however, designed for slightly different riding styles and the beauty is that we can do this with similar - but different - bike models.  

Please let me know if there are any other questions - I'd be stoked to answer them!

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Jotegir
+5 Deniz Merdano Cr4w Lynx . Morgan Heater Pete Roggeman

"I have a hard time figuring out why one would buy the 155 bike and want to change it to 170 afterwards; just buy the longer travel bike to begin with."

________________________________________________________________________________________________

I could see someone like myself getting the 155mm bike and enjoying it for 9 months a year in all mountain/enduro/whatever you wanna call it mode as a long legged but manageable bike, and then pulling out the travel spacer spacer and a volume token or two (if fox) or swapping to a used coil/full stroke shock (if rockshox or something else) for bike park season. You could even chuck in a longer air spring in the fork - and we should all be doing our lowers services more often - at the same time, if you weren't happy with a permanent 170mm fork out front.

As for what bike you buy first, the 155 or the 170 version, that's up to the individual user. 

Pair the above do-it-all long travel bike with something around the trail bike category  and you've got yourself a really versatile two bike garage.

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denomerdano
0

It was a bit of a shit disturbing comment I wanted to make in there. I knew that someone would chime in with a perfectly fine explanation as to why they would buy the 155 and then change it into 170 afterwards. Your argument makes perfect sense.

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Jotegir
0

Damn, you got me then and almost right away because I had this comment typed out in my head when I saw the article last night. 

Just be glad that I did not once again talk about the 2018-2020 Rocky Mountain Instinct's adjustability. It was close.

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IslandLife
+3 Mungbeanz Abies Pete Roggeman

Great review!  As good as the previous gen was, I am actually genuinely surprised by how good this bike this… like you mention, how composed it is and how well it tracks through the steep and deep stuff?  Like… whoa! I’m not one to put a lot of stock in my Strava times… but my first few rides have me already beating quite a few of my old times… by quite a bit! 

I’m on the Fox Factory (X2/36), GX, Magura equipped bike and have to say I haven’t been found wanting for anything more in the handling department from the bike.  Haven’t noticed much in the way of any issues with slow speed handling… actually finding it a little better than my previous… but something to think about for my next ride.  I have only ridden it in the "steep" mode so far... wonder if slack mode makes slow speed slightly more challenging... that would make sense.

One of the features of the tweaked kinematics I can’t get over is just how easily it dips into the first bit of travel and just makes high frequency and chatter disappear, yet there’s still so much mid stroke and bottom out support. I’m going to throw a ShockWiz on it to see what else I can get out of it but it’s feeling unbelievable right now!  That 4x4 suspension has always had a special feel, but on this bike, it feels like Noel unlocked some kind of cheat code, it’s nuts  

As for sizing, I’ve been on a number of Knolly bikes over the past few years and at 5’11”, I’ve always been on a size Large and they felt great. For the 155, I went down to a Medium and think I feel even better.  I’m running a 210 OneUp post and have an about 4 cm’s of post sticking out (but these new seat tubes are very short so I feel like I’m in a great climbing position).

With the new frame design along with the “Laguna Blue” colourway I chose… I’ve never had so many random people chat me up and ogle my bike before.  The new design has looked great in photos, but in person it’s even more striking. I feel like Knolly quality fabrication and attention to detail finally has the design language it deserves!  Congrats Knolly on putting out what is a truly wonderful bike!

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BarryW
+2 Abies hardtailhersh

Good review Deniz, and I am flattered to be not named in the article as the shit-stirrer. 

There are a few points I wanted to mention.

1. Why are straight top tubes betterer than non straight top tubes? We talk about efficiency of shapes, but then don't seem to care about any other tubes with shaping except the top tube. And can we all agree that this is the current 'style' rather than some objective statement?

2. I just want to restate my point regarding sizing. Sure, you might not design a bike sized like Knolly, but a fair review would be to review the intended size, not the reviewers sizing preference. Kind of like a reviewer saying they like off-road driving better so they take the 911 GT3 around some logging roads. Sure, that's the reviewers preferred 'thing' but it doesn't speak to the design intent of the vehicle and therefore not the best review. 

3. "Rebound was set to 4 Clicks from closed on the Z1 and 6 Clicks from closed on the Super Deluxe. Fast but not unique." I always thought 'closed' meant slowest speeds and this is how suspension manufacturers describe the speeds, closed = slow. Do you perhaps mean the opposite of what you stated? I am also on a Z1 and Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil and those seem like slower rebounds to my understanding. I might be confused on this.  

4. "It has burlier stanchions than the 36 but it's not as stiff as the 38" I believe the claim is that the Z1 is heavier than the same stiffness 36, not stiffer. They use a lower grade of alloy to keep costs down and wight up, not making it stiffer. 

5. "SDG Tellis V2 at 170mm was immediately swapped for the 200mm version to test and I think it is the post that should be specced on the bike to begin with." Doesn't this speak to the sizing element? Knolly doesn't intend for riders as tall as you to be riding this bike . . .

6. "I prefer shimano's higher-end chains with Hyperglide+ and extra nickel coating. My XT cassette and XTR chain bike shift noticeably smoother, especially under load." Shimano doesn't even claim this. And a Deore chain has all the exact same shaping as the higher spec chains, but either doesn't have hollow pins (which make no difference in performance) or more expensive coatings for wear purposes, not shifting quality.  EDIT: I might be oncorrect about the Deore chain, but from SLX on up they have no performance difference in shift quality. Deore might be the exception to that. 

I want to note I enjoyed your review and first look, and the discussion regarding sizing on the first look. And the bike sounds like something right up my alley for how it feels/rides.

Reply

Jotegir
+1 BarryW

4. "It has burlier stanchions than the 36 but it's not as stiff as the 38" I believe the claim is that the Z1 is heavier than the same stiffness 36, not stiffer. They use a lower grade of alloy to keep costs down and wight up, not making it stiffer. 

If I recall from my shop days, the Z1 (and rhythm fox forks, as well as, trigger warning, 'e-bike approved' fox forks) do in fact use a thicker sidewall stanchion than the factory/performance elite versions. The result is cheaper to manufacture and is indeed stiffer, and as you've noted, heavier. 

I agree with your 5. though, I don't know why a size small (even a huge 'small') should come with a 200mm post.

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BarryW
0

The thicker stanchions are because of using 6000 series aluminum, instead of the 7000 series on the Elite and higher level forks. You are correct that the Z1 is just a Rhythm chassis with reshaped arch. 

Not stiffer. Just cheaper and heavier with claimed same stiffness. If it was stiffer they would go ahead and mill out more material to make it lighter ;-)

Reply

LoamtoHome
0

a 462 reach isn't really a Small.  The new Trek Slash Medium has a reach under 450. I think a 200mm would be a fair spec.  Can't really have it too low for going DH imo.

Reply

denomerdano
+6 Abies Jerry Willows BarryW Koelschejung Pete Roggeman bishopsmike

Man.. so many questions. Ok here we go.

1. Shortest distance between two points is a straight line. It also happens to be the most aesthetically pleasing shape. So thats Where I stand on that.

2. Nothing is better than the other when it comes to bikes. My partner who is the same height as me prefers different bike geometry to me. We ride differently so we set our bikes up differently.

I rode many size large Rocky's and pick them over mediums even though that's where they put me for sizing. Again, my opinion and wish and I'll stick to it. If Knolly had not asked my opinion on sizing and sent me a medium after I told them my stats, i would have tested a S3. And maybe happily so. But since they asked my sizing, maybe they are not so sure either? Who knows, nobody will admit to it. 

3. I ran the rebound slower than other bikes I have. Mostly to keep it from moving around. The measurements are from closed. Which is where the circuit is fully closed, so I'm told this is the point where one should start their measurements.

4. Z1 has thicker inner stanchion diameter and perhaps the M arch is stiffer than the U arch of Fox. I notice a small difference between fox 36 and a Z1. Not much, but noticable.

5. I was not going to swap the seatpost but I got asked to review the SDG V2 at 200mm. And after the swap I enjoyed the bike alot more. And I could fit a 230 post in there easily. I have 30" inseam. This bike could easily come with a 200mm post for every user!

6. Deore chain does not shift like SLX XT and XTR. I  don't notice a difference between xt and xtr but they all rust immediately after a wash. I hate that about them. 

Thanks for the questions. Happy to discuss further.

Reply

BarryW
0

On point #3 I was more curious if you meant you ran slower rebound than faster rebound. Due to the way you had explained the clicks. But we agree that clicks are from closed on rebound :-)

And compared to me you do run your setup a lot slower than I do. Even though you might ride faster!

Reply

denomerdano
+1 BarryW

If Knolly is running size specific shock.tunes on these bikes, i may have been on too light of a tune for choosing the size small. So I ran more rebound damping than I normally would due to higher shock pressures I am running in comparison. 

I am speculating, maybe Knolly can chime in

Reply

knollybikes.com
+2 IslandLife bishopsmike

Hey Deniz:

We ensured that the shock on the bike has a medium rebound tune which should be appropriate for your weight.  The Super Deluxe in general does run higher pressures than a compareable Float X2, but rebound circuits on both shocks are obviously proportional to their air springs.

Not sure if that helps anything :)

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pete@nsmb.com
0

Deniz is plenty fast but we all notice our setups are different on the shore than most other places. You can still hit high speeds on certain trails but the average pitch is steeper across the board so just about everyone's 'shore' setup is slower than most other places.

Reply

CaMKii
+1 mwmanuel

Wait, the math isn't math-ing. The overall motion ratio is 2.58 for the 155mm/60mm stroke and 2.61 for the 170/65mm stroke but the final 5mm of stroke is a 3:1, adding 15mm of travel? That would mean that the linkage is digressive at the very end?

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mwmanuel
0

That's a good catch. The previous generation had consistent ratios between the 151/167.
I bet Noel will chime in here, but I wonder if they are rounding up to 170 for ease? Although that would be a bit of a deviation from their ultra-accurate numbers and charts.

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knollybikes.com
+4 mwmanuel UMichael IslandLife Pete Roggeman

You guys are being very literal.  :)

170mm is accurate.  155 is close to accurate :)  And yes, the very end of the curve is very slightly digressive, but honestly, we're being overly acedemic for travel numbers that can be +/- 1mm or so.  

I have the better part of a math degree - hopefully no mathy people are offended :)

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mwmanuel
+3 UMichael BarryW Pete Roggeman

Haha. Thanks for the reply. I think Knolly tends to attract the engineers and physics nerds!

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DanL
+1 BarryW

One of your best, Deniz. If you can try the Knolly platform with a coil fork, it's transformative

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BarryW
+1 bushtrucker

Need that Z1 Coil on there . . .

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denomerdano
+3 BarryW DanL Konrad

Z1 coil with grip 2 damper is a beauty snd would be match the front of the bike to the rear nicely

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DanL
+1 BarryW

Lyrik Ultimate with smashpot....

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Tjaardbreeuwer
+3 IslandLife mwmanuel BarryW

That’s what I was coming to say. It already has a Marzocchi fork. It has supple, traction rich rear suspension, sounds like a Z1 coil would have been a great spec match?

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mwmanuel
+2 IslandLife BarryW

This thread inspired me to do a coil conversion on the Z1 I have on my Fugitive.
Rode it last night with the coil installed (still GRIP damper) and over-forked to 170mm. Great improvement. I'm stoked I did it, and it surprisingly feels quite good in slack mode with the extra travel!

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BarryW
+1 mwmanuel

Welcome to the dark side.

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roil
+1 BarryW

I like that you're looking at position on the bike and weight distribution, but you can take it one step further by having it reflect the slope of the terrain when you're in that position on the bike.

In short, you're seated going uphill and standing going downhill. Set up your bike to be comfortable in those positions on an incline and decline respectively. You can put a brick under your front or rear tire to simulate.

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Lynx
0

Good, honest review Deniz thanks. Also thank you for choosing a reasonableish size for a person your height, a lot of people don't take Stack into account when looking at Reach and you have to, because if you have to add 25mm of spacers to get your bar to the height you like on one bike and 5mm on another and both have the same Reach, then in the end they won't have the same effective reach. Personally I think that Knolly and most of the others have gone a bit bat shit crazy with the Reach and fully agree, anyone under 5', I would say 7" is going to want to look elsewhere, because there's nothing even remotely close to a size Small. Curious if you measured the STA at your extension, would be interesting to know? 

Reading through your feedback, this doesn't sound like the bike for anyone who rides super tight, techy stuff, likes to really move a bike around popping off of stuff, or does lots of climbing, definitely sounds geared strictly to the enduro racer crowd where they want to get to the bottom as fast as possible, not as fun as possible.

Curious how you finished off that corner in the photo you used as the main title image? :-D

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BarryW
+1 Andy Eunson

Isn't the 'popping off stuff' at some level due to the spring rate and rebound shaft speeds? I see this over and over but then we all discuss in other places how much suspension setup matters that I wonder how true this all really is that some frames are 'planted' and others are 'poppy' when it is the design intent and tuning of the shock that makes all the difference. 

Really suspension design only really matters regarding anti-squat, anti-rise, and leverage curve. The rebound speed is always 100% down to the shock. Same with compression speeds. 

Now the geometry of the bike would certainly matter for different riding, that I would agree with.

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knollybikes.com
+3 IslandLife Abies bishopsmike

In regards to sizin, I can say that our customer base on this bike is really liking the sizing adjustments.  We are not the only ones moving this way and ultimately with our short and full length seat tubes, you just purchase the bike length you want and run a long dropper post...

In terms of speed vs fun: the Chilcotin IS our Enduro race bike.  It's 10/10 for Race and maybe 8.5/10 for play / extreme terrain.  Note that 8.5/10 for extreme terrain is "Knolly extreme" so you can easily go ride this down Gouranga slabs or send that Marvin drop if you wish :)

The upcoming Warden MX is skewed in the opposite direction: 10/10 for play & extreme terrain and 8/10 for race, maybe 9/10 for racing if you're a smaller rider.  

We can have options that offer the best of both worlds!

:)

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pntfive
0

Thanks for a great review Deniz.

How does the bike feel under braking?  Did you notice the rear wheel hanging up, especially over square edges under braking?

Speaking of hanging up, you mentioned you noticed that the bike was hanging up on rocks when going slowly.  What sort of trails did you notice this on?  Would this be noticeable on a trail like 7th Secret when going around tight armored corners?

Did you notice a big difference between slack and neutral settings for the lower shock bolt?  Did you have a preference?

How does the bike compare to other bikes you've ridden?  Which did you prefer?

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denomerdano
+2 mwmanuel Koelschejung

I noticed the hang up the most on riding Ned's when the speeds were slow and I wanted to get going again but when the speeds picked back up the bike was extremely plush and fast and I didn't notice much hang up. 

Under breaking bike remains very compose and the suspension is extremely active. There is nothing weird to get used to. 

I think seventh secret would be a great Trail to take this bike on, manageable and plush. Steep and rough is where the bike shines the most

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pntfive
0

Thanks Deniz!

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Jotegir
+3 Kyle Dixon BarryW Pete Roggeman

If the Knolly 155 were to attend an emotional support group, do you think it would have hangups? And finally, could you hang the bike up by the rear wheel for storage purposes?

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IslandLife
+1 pntfive

To piggy back on Deniz comments... I'm on the new 155 in size medium and I'm 5'11".  I'm only a few rides in and have been riding it exclusively in the neutral mode, and haven't noticed any of the hanging up that Deniz mentioned.  My local is similar to the shore with a good mix of slower tech, fast tech and fast flow-tech.

There was another review that mentioned hanging up braking issues over square edges.  I'm beginning to think that was a set-up issue?  Last weekend I rode a trail called Flying Dutchman, which is fast, steep, committing, and chunky... it has lots of opportunity for hard braking over square edges... over all kinds of edges actually, ha!

The best thing I can say is that I haven't been on a bike that I felt this confident on before.  Whether that was on the brakes or off them, over any kind of terrain, I felt like I could just charge.

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pntfive
0

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pntfive
0

Did you need to spend a lot of time setting up your suspension?

How do you find the progression with an air shock?

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IslandLife
+1 pntfive

I’ve actually had a lot of success over the past couple of years using Norco’s Ride Aligned system for their previous gen Sight with the same shock and fork. Works great as a baseline.  I tweak from there.  But I was easily and quickly able to get a setup that feels great even though I think I can probably get more from it. Will keep playing.  So far progression in the neutral mode on the air shock has felt perfect. I’m at 30% sag, small bump is fantastic, and I’ve only had a couple full travel events which deserved using full travel… so about where I think I should be.  As I said, I’m going to tweak some more, and I’m going to try Slack mode as well… but I have a sneaking suspision I’ll just end up right back at my current settings:

I’m 185 lbs (190 with gear):

HSC: 5 out

LSC: 12 out

HSR: 5 out

LSR: 11 out (all from closed)

Pressure: 199psi (Fox Factory X2)

I haven’t opened it up yet to see how many tokens are installed.

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pntfive
+1 IslandLife

This is really helpful information!  Thank you IslandLife!

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mwmanuel
0

I would love to see a back-to-back comparison review between the Fugitive and Chilcotin. I love my Gen5 Fugitive, but I'm often thinking about what it might be like to swap over to a Chilcotin- especially for someone who doesn't shuttle and rides mostly Fromme/Seymour.

I'm a large on the previous generation, but I'm not sure if I would want a large or a medium on the new ones. They've gotten so long!

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IslandLife
+1 mwmanuel

As a previous “Large” Knolly rider (last 5 bikes), I’m now on a Medium Chilcotin 155 and feel like it fits me perfectly. Even better than my previous Large Chilcotin 151.. or the Fugitive 138 I had before these two bikes.  I’m 5’11”.

I bounced between a Chilcotin 167 to a Fugitive 138 to the Chilcotin 151 and now the Chilcotin 155.  I feel like this category of "aggressive trail" or "enduro light" in the 150-ish range, is the perfect quiver killer bike.  As someone who leans more toward the "steep and deep", I felt like the Fugitive held me back a little.  Although it was in very few situations, I did get in over my head a couple times.  The 151, and now 155 has that little bit extra and seems to have my back when the trail gets extra spicy or I take maybe a little too much speed into a chute/line/drop.  I may have given up a little in the "spritely handling" department, but not so much that it's been a noticeble negative, and for me and what I like to ride, the benefits have outweighed any negatives in that regard.

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knollybikes.com
+4 IslandLife Abies Tjaard Breeuwer Pete Roggeman

hey mwmanuel

One thing that happened between our previous Gen 5 and new Gen 6 bikes, is that we moved the transition height between sizes.  This used to be (for Gen 5) between 5'10" and 5'11" (medium to large respectively).  For Gen 6 bikes, this is now 5'11" to 6'0".  This was done so that we could squeeze in an XS frame size in the new Endorphin (launched last fall) AND the upcoming Warden (yes, the new Warden will feature five sizes!).  So, it would depend upon your height, which size we would recommend.  If you are 6'0 or taller, we would strongly suggest that you keep your S4 (Large) size fitment for the new bikes.  If you are 5'11", you might be better off going with the new S3 (Medium) size.

If you look at our website here and compare measusements for the new Fugitive and Chilcotin, you'll see that reach numbers are different for a size large of each model.  But seat tube angle is steeper on the Chilcotin, so to achieve the same fitment (ETT) you need a longer reach.  Our new Gen 6 bikes have - by far - the most consistent sizing across the entire range of product, much more so than our Gen 5 bikes where models were introduced a year apart.  If you own a Tyaughton, Fugitive or Chilcotin, they'll now all fit similarly for a given frame size.

"Reach" has become the default measurement that customers are looking at, but bike fit has a lot more to do than just with reach.  We have been pretty successful sizing outgoing Gen 5 customers onto Gen 6 bikes the past several months: we are also transitioning our sizing away from "named sizes" such as small, medium & large and are instead moving to "numbered sizes" such as 1, 2, 3, etc... which makes a lot of sense.

Bigger companies tend to be more conservative with their geo.  However, if you look at a few of our local competitors, you'll see - if you put the "sizing name" aside, that we all have similar geo.  It's quite surpring actually, that three different companies all within a 100km of each other, have enduro bikes that have naturally evolved with very, very similar geo for their largest size, their second largest size, their third largest size, etc...

Cheers,

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mwmanuel
0

Thanks for the very detailed reply! I can certainly appreciate that there is a lot more to fitting than stack/reach numbers. Having direct replies fron you folks is a big part of why I'm a knolly fan.

Very stoked and excited to check out the new Warden mx when it's out! I'll be sure to stick to the large!

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pete@nsmb.com
+2 Lynx . pntfive

Lots of good stuff in here. Just want to add that it's important to know the impact of leg length (inseam) for your height as well. Every bike manufacturer makes size recommendations based on height, and no matter where they draw their dimensions from, those are usually going to be based on average proportions. So, if you have longer or shorter legs than average for your height, with correspondingly longer or shorter torso and arms, that can affect your bike fit greatly (keeping in mind that women have proportionately longer legs than men). I would propose that longer torso/arms have an even greater impact since BOTH the length of your torso and arms are contributing to being able to accommodate a longer front end. All that, plus personal preference.

I'm 6'1 but have a 31" inseam which is 1-2" shorter than 'average' for a man of my height. I'm often happiest on bikes one size up from the manufacturer's recommendation.

There are tons of variables and the only way to be sure is to know what you like, pay attention to measurements (yes, more than just reach) and if possible, do more than just sit on a bike if you're unsure about sizing - try to ride it.

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LWK
0

The bike gained 3.6lb since your initial first look?

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denomerdano
+1 DanL

I will weigh the bike again this evening. But i did notice it got heavier throughout the review period. :)

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DanL
+1 BarryW

like moving a pile of bricks, the last one is always the heaviest

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rigidjunkie
-1 Carlos Matutes

Could you tell us more about the difference in stack? The pics it actually looks like the Knolly has a taller stack.  I usually add spacers and use a riser bar to get to a comfortable position.  That was one of the things I didn't like about the Knolly. 

It would also be very interesting to get you on the bike Knolly recommends for a weekend to see what you think.  Choosing the one that almost exactly matches your current bike feels a bit odd / safe.  I totally agree if you were buying one go with what you like, but for a review it feels like the perfect opportunity to help people in the same situation figure out what to do.

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denomerdano
+1 Jotegir

The chart I inserted doesn't work really well in vertical mode on the phone. If you turn your phone sideways, you can see the stack difference between the knolly and the orbea. The orbea has 10 mm taller stack. But looks like the fork is sagging a little bit more to make it appear that it has lower stack. 

As far as sizing goes, I think I could do just fine on a size medium. But, life is too short to ride bikes that are too big for fun.

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Lynx
0

Hard to read the charts how they show up for me, side by side, so how about for us ol fuddy duddies who still use actual computers to do computer type stuff, like browse the WWW etc, any solution for us. 

[Edit to add] Seems to me this has been optimized for viewing on a phone/really small screen resolution, because just tried narrowing my window down to somewhere around 1024 and then the charts were stacked and legible.

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pete@nsmb.com
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If anything, Deniz demonstrated the value in knowing what you like and sticking with it. Blindly following manufacturer's recommendations is, I think we've shown here, not the best course of action. Those are rough guides. You're spending thousands of dollars on a bike - you owe it to yourself to do the work to figure out the right size and not rely on a chart that's been generated based on a bunch of average dimensions. This is also where a well-staffed shop can help out (and a big advantage to buying in a shop vs direct if you're unsure).

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BarryW
0

That's really where testing of a size preference AND a recommended size and doing some timed laps would be interesting. 

Otherwise it's hard to know if you're just confirming preconceived bias or actual testing of data points. And yes, I realise these all take time, and in my hypothetical Knolly needs to provide two bikes for testing. But like the blind, back to back testing Dave did with Buttercups was incredibly informative and not as some of us expected I would wonder about sizing. 

Afterall, the wheelbase difference in only 2.5 inches longer from a small to a large. So dividing that into front and rear it equals 0.3 inches further behind your feet, and 2.2 total length in front of your hands. I wonder if that is a different as we all like to think. 

Personally I ride a size large that's 480, my wife has a small at 440. Sure, mine is quite a bit bigger, but it's also 29 vs 27.5, and a lot taller stack. If I only consider the length it's not really that meaningful. It's only 1.57 inches longer. But when we consider stems, bar sweet, crank length it seems not so consequential. 

But that's just my thoughts.

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