Growler 40
FIRST IMPRESSIONS | EDITORIAL

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 - FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Feb 15, 2019

Goldilocks Growler

Introducing the Rocky Mountain Growler hardtail series. Backing up the theory that good geometry is a matter of giving a sh*t rather than a matter of budget, these thoughtfully arranged bikes are available at three price levels with 26+ tires on the XS and Small sizes and 27+ on the Medium, Large, and XL models. 

The base, at 900 USD, is the Growler 20 which lacks a dropper post and clutch derailleur. The flashy-framed Growler 50, mainly separated from the 40-level bike by a thru-axle back end, is the top spec at 1850 USD. Making a solid attempt at the Goldilocks Award for the best overall mountain bike (period) is the Growler 40 with its Deore clutch derailleur, 130mm travel, 34mm-stanchioned Suntour fork, Shimano MT400 brakes, X-Fusion Manic dropper post, and 67° head tube angle. It's a lot of bike for 1360 USD | 1550 CAD. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

The almost glorious external cable routing. If the rear brake joined the other cables coming up the downtube I'd call this perfection. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

Rear exit stealth dropper post routing rocks. Maximum dropper travel thanks to the stealth actuator being low and clean under the downtube routing. 

Frame details, especially the cable routing, are excellent. Tire clearance is massive, rear-centre is nicely balanced, and the colour pallet is actually interesting. I think in Rocky Mountain's entire 2019 lineup the only scheme I like better is the yellow-on-orange Element Aluminum

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

Clean cable routing and a compelling colourway. First impressions say a lot of thought went into this bike. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

The SR Suntour Raidon's chassis stiffness is impressive for the price level. It's simple to service which is good because it needs some Slickoleum love right out of the box. 

As I'll note below, the Growler 40 needs a couple of upgrades to make it North Shore friendly, but aside from Shimano's Pox on riders everywhere (aka 'Resin Only' rotors) all that's needed is a pair of pedals* and it looks ready for real mountain biking most places it'll be purchased.

Whether you're a parent looking to help your kid buy a real mountain bike, a new rider who wants a machine that won't hold them back, a regular rider who wants a high quality all around package, or a veteran looking for a current geometry experience on a tight budget, from XS to XL, Rocky has all but the tallest** riders covered. 

*The Growler comes with some basic metal flat pedals but I wouldn't call them trail-ready. Buy some good resin flats or a great min-maxed clipless pedal like the Shimano M-540 or LOOK X-Track alloy. 
**I'd love to see Rocky Mountain offer an XXL and make the two largest sizes 29+. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

A Deore 10-spd clutch derailleur, shifter, and SunRace 11-46t cassette. This is the drivetrain all higher end options should be compared against. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

As Morgan said in 2014, we're All For One (By) and that's especially true for less advanced riders. Retention on the narrow-wide ring seems good. 

Build Wins

I'm going to start with the frame. Awesome tire clearance, good geometry, and a nice finish. The frame on the upstream Growler 50 has a thru-axle and more modern, organic tube shapes, but this Growler 40 looks good on paper and in person. 

The cable routing is almost perfect. I wish the rear brake routing followed the rear derailleur and dropper line up the bottom of the downtube but even so, routing is cleaner than many high-end bikes of yore and there are plenty of stealth-routed super sleds with ugly exit ports that could learn something from this basic aluminum bike. Yes, I'm saying the cable routing is better than bikes that cost fortunes more. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

Tire clearance with the chain in the 30x46t lowest gear. Weld quality is really good. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

There's a 2.8 WTB Vigilante on the way for winter Shore riding. It'll be a bit tighter than the 2.8 WTB Ranger. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

The Ranger is a great almost-everywhere tire and a fine rear option for Shore XC. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

Non-drive side clearance is a non-issue. The unbranded pinch-bolt crankset is heavy but totally serviceable. 

Often drivetrain discussions come down to how close to XTR or XX1 level shifting a drivetrain can come, but I'd flip that on its head. I think it's more prudent to compare shifting and longevity against this Deore shifter and derailleur setup. 

Deore does not perform like high-end drivetrains but I'd be spending money all over my bike - brakes, rear hub, rims, suspension, cranks, dropper post, cockpit, saddle, tires - before I'd bother upgrading from this Deore setup. If anything I'd watch the Buy-&-Sell for a used XT or XTR 10-spd shifter for sale from someone suffering upgradeitis. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

The X-Fusion Manic is a better dropper post than what comes on many bikes that are 2, 3, or 4 times more expensive. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

The remote action is light and it's highly adjustable for preferred position and angle. Check out my  review for more info. 

I've previously reviewed the X-Fusion Manic dropper post and it's excellent. The Large and XL-sized Growler 40 bikes should come with a 150mm dropper but I still salute this choice. It's easy to spend a lot more on a mountain bike and get a far inferior dropper post and remote. 

Likewise, the SR Suntour Raidon is a great fork that's easy to service and has the stiffest chassis that riders will see in this price range. Out of the box it doesn't feel as good as it should but 5 minutes of labour and a couple dollops of Slickoleum are going to make things much more buttery. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

The MT400 brakes are my favourites from Shimano after the Saint and Zee/XT. Shimano sells the B01S pads in a sintered metal version. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

Feel at the lever is way better than the 2-piston Servowave systems and power is solid with a rotor swap. 

Shimano's MT400 brakes are awesome, assuming you swap the rotors on day zero. Both Shimano and aftermarket pad makers manufacture sintered versions of the B01S pads which, combined with good rotors, make the brakes even better. It makes perfect sense that these brakes are also coming on the more expensive Growler 50. Feel, modulation, power curve; they're that good. 

Build Loses

Starting with the small nitpicks, in the name of longterm ownership I'd really like to see the Growler 40 come with a Race Face Ride Cinch crankset or, if sticking with something unbranded, then at least give me a standard 104 BCD spider to maximize options for less expensive aftermarket narrow-wide chainrings. 

The beauty of Cinch is the quick and easy ability to swap to a different ring size, and the any-shop-in-town replaceability factor. Race Face's inexpensive steel narrow-wide rings are anchors but they're cheerfully cheap at replacement time for the rider who doesn't want to upgrade to aluminum.

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

This would be the perfect place for the new Race Face Ride Cinch budget cranks. I’d also take 104 BCD for the any shop, any time, replacement factor. There are a range of aftermarket ring options for the stock 76 BCD cranks.

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

I actually can't believe Shimano still sells this 'Resin Only' crap. If you're actually planning to ride offroad, replace these before leaving the shop. 

The USA has banned Kinder Surprise but somehow Shimano is still allowed to sell 'Resin Only' rotors‽ Anyone who plans to ride this bike off road should replace these before leaving the shop. Shops shouldn't even resell these to commuters. As good as the MT400 brakes are, bike companies would be doing a service to their customers to spec Tektro options on budget bikes until Shimano ceases pushing the charade that is these rotors. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

I quite like the Center Lock system in principle. But, it does restrict the Growler 40 customer into limited replacement options - or expensive adapters. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

This one will be more controversial, but I'd like to see a basic cartridge bearing hub in place of the Shimano cup-and-cone setup. 

There's going to be two ways of thinking about this, but I'd like to see the cup-and-cone Shimano hubs replaced with a sealed cartridge setup. I know they come as a cheap package with the Center Lock rotors and MT400 brakes, but while we're ditching the 'Resin Only' rotors for some Tektro 6-bolts, let's hit the hubs as well. There's a reason you see almost no one, at any price level of mountain bike, riding Shimano hubs anymore. Make it easy on everyone. 

Shore Upgrades

I think that most places folks will be riding the Growler 40, it's beautiful right out of the box. Ditch the stock pedals and go ride the bike. The WTB Volt saddle also won't be for everyone but a good shop is going to help fit the bike before you roll out the door. But, the Growler 40 has the geometry and componentry to tackle some aggressive terrain with a couple of key upgrades. Start with recycling the rotors and there's really not much to change from there. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

For Shore XC riding, the 2.8" WTB Ranger is a great rear tire. Surprisingly similar in both uphill and downhill traction to the 2.6" SE2

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

Upfront the Ranger is probably a great tire for many Growler buyers but for local use, something knobbier is in order. 

First off it's time for tires. For Shore XC riding, the WTB Ranger actually makes a great rear tire with surprising traction up and down, and the large air volume makes for a more comfortable hardtail experience. Long term this works out to a no-cost upgrade - remove the front tire, put it aside for when the rear wears out, and buy a more aggressive front tire. 

For more aggressive hardtail ragging, especially in the winter, I'll be replacing both tires. In a nod to performance-for-dollars with a 27+ tire, I'll be running 2.8" WTB Vigilantes front and rear. Tough casings are the only way to go and I'll run a fast rear and grippy front. While I'm swapping tires, the wheels are a bit of Gorilla Tape, sealant, and a couple of valve stems away from being Tubeless so I'll do the conversion. I've aired up the Alex MD35 tubeless before and don't expect any challenge. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

The stem hardware is cheesy feeling when I tighten it. I'm sure it's fine, but for south of $10 at the local shop I'd replace it with some nice graded steel bolts. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

One thing I have no issue with is the rear 10mm QR vs a thru-axle. The frame is plenty stiff and a basic Shimano QR will be problem free. 

The last thing I'll change is the grips. They aren't particularly uncomfortable for a basic lock-on grip but when you're used to running super sticky Push-On

https://nsmb.com/articles/renthal-ultra-tacky-push-grips/

grips it's hard to adapt to much else. You might also want to jump from the stock 760mm bar to a wider one but other than grips, rotors, and rubber, I'm expecting the Growler 40 to be ready to rock out of the box. 

Ride Time

I have some rotor adapters kicking around so going from Center Lock to six bolt is no problem. At 5'9" I'm riding a Large Growler with a 50mm stem and I'm happy with the fit. The Reach (and top tube) are not long by any estimation but pair well with the hardtail-friendly 73° seat tube angle. Some folks will complain about the 440mm rear center but after a few quick pedals, I'm really happy with my weight balance between the wheels, both when seated and standing. 

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

It's not an XC Race whippet and it's not a Doctahawk. On paper, the Growler has geometry that will be capable on most terrain.

Rocky Mountain Growler 40 AndrewM

The complete bike out of the box minus the cheap stock flats swapped for some LOOK clip-ins. Other than tires I don't expect the appearance to change over the course of the test. 

I'll be able to comment more thoroughly on trail manners once I get the tires swapped but in the meantime, it's an understatement to say I'm excited to log hours on the great looking Growler. I know this is not a bike that everybody wants. Hey, that aluminum Instinct BC Edition is an awesome machine. I also know that the potential for the Growler, with a couple of upgrades, makes it all the bike that a lot of folks need. 

You can check out the whole Growler series, including the 1360 USD | 1550 CAD Growler 40, at bikes.com

Trending on NSMB

Comments

zigak
+1 Absolut-M
ZigaK  - Feb. 15, 2019, 1:26 a.m.

You mentioned that raidon is simple to service. Link?

Maybe an article on the subject in the near future?

The resin only rotors really bother me too. The proper rotors and pads would increase the price of the bike like 5€. On the other hand, after the fact it will cost 50€ to replace.

Btw excellent clearance pics :)

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 ZigaK
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 6:32 a.m.

I’ll be dropping the lowers as part of the review, so I can include some pics. If you check out my Durolux 29 RC2 review the process is the same. 

Ha! Those pics were just for you. Thanks for noticing!

Reply

heckler
0
heckler  - Feb. 16, 2019, 6:48 a.m.

So what happens to resin only rotors when you put on metal pads?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2019, 7:17 a.m.

There’s a few experiences noted in the comments here. Presumably being not-heat treated the sintered pads will eat them quickly.

The folks I’ve seen try it (by accident - it is small writing) had crazy brake howl and switch right away.

Brad ran sintered pads on his rotors on his fat bike and says they worked but were only a very slight improvement over resin (so braking still sucked).

Reply

Lynx
+1 Andrew Major
MountainBikeBarbados .  - Feb. 15, 2019, 5:29 a.m.

Another great looking offering that's not in the flock following all the rest of the mountain dew/red bull sheep. This is a sensible trail HT that will have wide appeal, my only question is on the sizing/reach, why so short? A 463mm reach for an XL, is quite short/small, it was small/short 5 years ago, that's the only thing I can see wrong about this.

Have you tried to fit regular 2.3" 29ers wheels/tyres in there yet? Agree they should offer an XXL if they stick to those reach numbers and also they should go 29+ : people just don't understand how awesome it is until they actually try it, love my 29+ Unit.

As to the resin only rotors, don't see the issue, I have them on several bikes, with resin pads and they work absolutely fine, have had no issues at all running with Deore and SLX brakes - mine are the 6 bolt though. Granted no severely aggressive riding on the bikes with them, but I've given them a go and pushed them a bit to try them out and as said, no issues.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 6:38 a.m.

I will be able to comment on 29” clearance as part of the review.

We’ll have to disagree on the rotors. In my experience, they’re especially awful in the wet and anytime I really need brakes but they’re also not good, comparatively, any other time. 

As Quixotic as it is, I’ll continue calling them out until they disappear.

Reply

UFO
+1 Andrew Major
UFO  - Feb. 15, 2019, 12:46 p.m.

With the slack for today seat angle, the reach is probably on the shorter side of ok.

I recently started riding a Specialized Fuse which is fundamentally very similar to this, with a 420mm reach. It did not feel out of place even though I had been riding bikes with a 435mm reach the last couple of years.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 1:03 p.m.

My thought exactly. The seated pedaling position is good (and doesn't change going uphill thanks to the fact it's a hardtail) and the Reach is long enough ("on the shorter side of ok") when descending. 

A bike at this price level will be used for a lot of things by a lot of people of various physical conditioning and ability. One issue of riding super-current bikes (when not going up really steep climbs) is that the steep seat angles move a lot more weight onto your arms/upper body - that's not for everyone and I think for the casual rider this is going to be much more comfortable while also being usable by a stronger more advanced rider on a budget - it's more universal.

Reply

Timer
+1 Andrew Major
Timer  - Feb. 18, 2019, 9:15 a.m.

One thing to note, the stack on the Growler is quite tall, which to some extent makes up for the short reach.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Feb. 18, 2019, 9:27 a.m.

It's not a particularly long travel hardtail compared to what I'd been riding (170mm fork) but even so by nature of it being a hardtail, with the 30mm of sag, the neutral position on the bike has a notably longer reach (and shorter stack) compared to the static position.

Reply

GladePlayboy
+1 Andrew Major
Rob Gretchen  - Feb. 15, 2019, 6:05 a.m.

Shimano spec.. definitely the"Resin Only" crap award is well earned... as are the lack of proper ratio cassettes for 11 speed (enter Sunrace)...  sigh Shimano...  and I won't mention anything about the inability to deploy a complete 12 speed drivetrain yet...

But overall the bike looks great!!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Rob Gretchen
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 7:02 a.m.

At least with 6x bolt Resin Only it was a relatively quick/easy swap. If these rotors were my only Center Lock experience I wouldn’t be a fan of the system. 

I know that’s a lot of bitching over one small component swap but it just keeps coming up again (thanks Shimano). This is a great looking package otherwise and I have really high expectations for it.

Reply

Brocklanders
0
yahs  - Feb. 15, 2019, 8:52 a.m.

Looks like for the price it's a good buy. Just needs a couple things swapped.

It's the same colour as my old Rocky Oxygen. Nice throwback.

Good honest review Andrew.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 8:59 a.m.

Thank you. The real “honest” part will be grabbing the bike and getting it out on the trails when there’s a boutique machine sitting next to it. 

love the possibilities the Growler offers per $ so I’ll carry on in the name of great budget bikes.

Reply

brad-sedola
0
Brad Sedola  - Feb. 15, 2019, 8:52 a.m.

I rode resin only rotors for the better part of a year with sintered pads. They grabbed a bit better. Is the problem that the rotors will wear out faster or something?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 9:04 a.m.

My personal experiences have all been resin on resin only - and as brief as possible (with the exception of the Wozo where they were okay enough for the application and I left them).

I’ve had more than one customer through shops I’ve worked in who put sintered pads on the resin only rotors and they all had intense and unresolveable brake howl - so while I think the concern is the sintered pads will eat whatever coating/finish Shimano uses on these I don’t know anyone whose gotten that far.

You were using Shimano sintered pads with the resin only rotors with no issues?

Reply

brad-sedola
+1 Andrew Major
Brad Sedola  - Feb. 15, 2019, 9:27 a.m.

Finned Shimano sintered pads on XTR brakes. Those crap rotors came stock on my RM Blizzard. I stopped riding my other higher spec'd bikes in favor of my fatbike, eventually robbing better parts from them. I wouldn't call their performance great by any means, but they worked without issue.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 11:12 a.m.

Interesting, I've swapped the rotors but maybe I'll throw one back on with some sintered pads so I can comment for the review. They're worth $0.00 to the shop selling the bike so maybe burning them out on the rear would be a worthwhile cost savings. 

Thanks!

Reply

twk
+1 Andrew Major
twk  - Feb. 15, 2019, 9:18 a.m.

I cannot stress enough how much I agree with your sentiment that a Deore ten speed is a sweetspot in Shimano's drivetrain lineup. I currently ride a RaceFace Aeffect with a Deore RD, and the Deore cassette, makes for a pretty cheap and bombproof setup. The only gripe is the riveted cassette, which causes a bit more freehub body scarring than I'd like, so I'll replace that with a SunRace at some point.

That said, doesn't the Deore RD only have capacity for a 42 tooth?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 twk
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 11:18 a.m.

I can definitely confirm this is a 10spd Deore clutch RD with an 11-46t SunRace cassette and shifting is good. On some full suspension platforms with a lot of chain growth maybe the derailleur can't handle the range? Certainly not an issue here. 

I'd keep my eye out for a higher end 10-spd shifter on the used market (where I 'feel' the shifting difference) but I'm impressed with where Shimano is at with Deore for sure.

Reply

UFO
+1 Andrew Major
UFO  - Feb. 15, 2019, 12:43 p.m.

As an added bonus IMO the 10 speed XTR/XT shifters feel way smoother and better than the more positive and clicky 11 speed equivalents. Too bad when I upgraded to an 11-46 the 10spd Sunrace option wasn't yet available.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 15, 2019, 1:08 p.m.

Agreed. My wife has a 10-spd XTR shifter driving an 11-spd XT clutch mech on an 11-46t SunRace cassette with a top-end SRAM 10-spd chain. I detuned the clutch quite a bit (still a bit more hold than an SRAM clutch) and it's one of the nicest feeling and shifting setups I've ridden. 

It doesn't bang out hard shifts quite as well as the newest top-end stuff but I'd happily ride the setup up over most current drivetrains.

Reply

twk
+1 Andrew Major
twk  - Feb. 15, 2019, 2:04 p.m.

Good to know in case I run across shifters like that for cheap. Then again, most of my drivetrains tend to be detuned and not exactly crisp most of the time and I don't seem to care.

Reply

UFO
0
UFO  - Feb. 21, 2019, 7:57 p.m.

I also like that the 10 speed xt and xtr shifters can up shift 2 gears in either direction, as opposed to just the forefinger pull on the 11 speed equivalents

Lynx
+1 Andrew Major
MountainBikeBarbados .  - Feb. 16, 2019, 4:27 a.m.

Yup, will have to agree, love my 10spd Shimano, Deore, SLX, XT or XTR over the newer 11spd stuff. Heck I only switched to 10spd middle of 2016 to get the clutch feature, that's really all I wanted, so can't see moving to anything more until I can no longer buy 10spd stuff at a reasonable price. All my personal and loaner/rental bikes run it, everyone who rides one of my bikes is always impressed.

Running the same setup as Andrew's wife, 10spd XT shifter with 11spd XT RD, but only running a 42 extender cog on an XT 11-36 cassette with 11t dropped. Needed a new RD, no sense buying a 10spd when 11spd is about same price and when I'm forced (maybe) to 11spd, I'll already have that.

Reply

twk
0
twk  - Feb. 16, 2019, 4:38 a.m.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's possible to make a 10 speed Deore RD-M7000 work with an 11spd shifter reasonably well. But I haven't tried it and I also have not checked the pull ratios.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2019, 7:21 a.m.

10/11 Shimano are interchangeable in the real world but not on paper (apparently slightly different ratio).

Reply

sandy-james-oates
0
Sandy James Oates  - Feb. 15, 2019, 5:14 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

kekoa
0
kekoa  - Feb. 15, 2019, 10:42 p.m.

We can get Kinder Eggs. Not as cool as the Canadian ones, the egg is plastic and one side holds the toy and the other side holds a goopy mess you eat with an included spoon. Pretty gross to be honest. One of the prizes was a mountain bike so I forced fed the kids several in a vain attempt to get one. Didn't happen. 

The ten speed XTR shifter is nice. Much prefer it to my 11 speed (which feels lighter and more SRAM like...)

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Timer
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2019, 11:38 a.m.

I don’t think those really count as Kinder Eggs?!

It makes me think of the “mountain bikes” in the Canadian Tire catalogue with their forks mounted backwards. Close but...

Reply

gdharries
+1 Andrew Major
Geof Harries  - Feb. 16, 2019, 7:06 a.m.

I also own a bike in this genre, a Norco Torrent HT 2. It was reasonably priced at CAD $2,199 and out-of-the-box includes a few of the upgrades you mention in the article: more capable tires (Maxxis Minions), Tektro brakes and a Race Face crankset.

Regardless of the competition's merits, I love the fact that Rocky Mountain is simply making and selling this bike. Far too many people think they need to spend a lot of money on a mountain bike in order for it to be capable and for them to have fun. This is not the case.

Bikes like the Rocky Growler, Norco Torrent, Specialized Fuse and Kona Big Honzo all prove that manufacturers today have models available that are extremely capable...and still allow you to feed your children.

Reply

scrubangle
+1 Geof Harries
scrubangle  - Feb. 17, 2019, 10:39 a.m.

I have to say the Norco Torrent is an absolute ripper on trail! I have the 7.1 with upgrades from the quiver. Running the DVO Diamond at 160mm and 2.8 Maxxis it rivals the speed of many FS bikes out there. 

Simply put, those that have R&D in PNW know how to make fun bikes.

Reply

double_fat
+3 Tjaard Breeuwer Skyler dave_f
double_fat  - Feb. 16, 2019, 1:20 p.m.

I actually think the shimano hub spec is a win. In the last 5 years of working at a shop, we have been plagued by broken hub axles, failing freehub bodies and loose press-fit interfaces on pretty much all of the basic cartridge bearing hubs that come on bikes even up to $6000 Canadian. These unbranded/rebranded/low cost brands often don't have Canadian distributors, and when they do, they rarely have parts for those hubs. Warranty is also challenging with the lack of distribution and lack of replacement parts, often forcing our shop to eat the labour cost of relacing the wheel with a new hub, when we can even manage to get one on . The basic Shimano hubs may not have a perfect reliability record, but at least they have a distributor in Canada, who has a decent warranty system, and has most parts available for the last 7 years of hubs. Also, if home mechanics want to get into it, they just need some cone wrenches, rags, grease, time and cheap ball bearings to freshen up their hubs.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2019, 11:41 a.m.

Cheers for presenting the other side! I’ll take basic Formula cartridge bearing hub - but as I mentioned there’s definitely two distinct opinions folks will have on that spec choice.

Reply

trumpstinyhands
+1 Andrew Major
trumpstinyhands  - Feb. 17, 2019, 11:08 a.m.

"Goldilocks growler" - that creates a whole different image for a British person :)

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2019, 11:44 a.m.

Hahaha. Yeah, we had a Facebook comment to the same effect. I’d never heard that... slang before. I assumed they went Growler like a bear (not a beer receptacle or...) but it’s a pretty funny word vs meaning.

Reply

Vikb
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 17, 2019, 5:10 p.m.

Nice that you can stuff a large water bottle in your Growler and carry the rest of your kit stuffed in a fanny pack. ;)

Reply

jt
+1 Andrew Major
JT  - Feb. 18, 2019, 6:31 a.m.

Agreed with so much written here I couldn't respond to everybody's posts. Buddy had horrible howling with the resin only rotors/sintered pads. Swapped em to SLX jobbers and the problem was eliminated with a kick up in brake power to boot. Shimano really does IMO offer the best tactile feel at the shifter. Having gone from a Zee to XT unit the feel is just night and day. The Zee was good, but damn does the XT just feel positive in pick up and release. Keeping on the Shimano trip, I'd take one of their cheaper hubs over an unknown rebranded jobber simply due to parts availability. most any shop can order up a freehub body if/when necessary, and most of their hubs fit their 29" specific freehub bodies, boosting durability. I am curious to see what the Sunrace drivetrain offerings provide, but def have no reason to replace yet nor do I want to be a guinea pig. Pricing seems on point and finish looks well thought out. But in my area there's really no need for a 50t low gear.

Reply

UFO
0
UFO  - Feb. 21, 2019, 8:56 p.m.

One thing to note when I was researching the class of bikes, I didn't even know that boost 141mm qr axle standard was a thing. 

I found this on Norco's Fluid HT, Trek Roscoe, and Specialized Fuse 6Fattie (the low end Fuses). Presumably the Growler is the same?

For me, as an avid tinkerer and upgrader, I think this is a significant limiting factor.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 21, 2019, 9:51 p.m.

GAH! You're foreshadowing my review material ;-).

So I have two responses to this and couldn't pick a delivery order so here goes:

1) 141mm QR shouldn't be a big deal. It's just the QR version of a 148mm Boost hub (the same as 135x10 and 142x12 are the same hub QR vs. Thru-Axle). Now it's true, most the options on the market right now for 141x10 are low-end but with the increasing number of frames coming with the 141mm setup it's entirely conceivable that with demand many companies will offer this as an axle option with higher performance hubs.

For example, it would cost DT Swiss ~ nothing to put out a 141x10 version of the Boost 350 hub and it's a sure thing they'd sell some.

------

2) One of the things I like about the Growler 40 is it uses a 135x10mm QR rear end. A thru-axle setup would use up valuable spec dollars for a questionable (if any) performance return and by using the 135mm a savvy Growler 20 or 40 customer will be able to massively upgrade their rear hub for a minimum outlay when the time comes.

Buy used 26" x 135mm wheel with high-end hub for peanuts in buy-and-sell. Lace hub into a rim of choice. Enjoy!

Reply

UFO
0
UFO  - Feb. 22, 2019, 1:20 p.m.

It has been literally years since I've looked for a quality qr rear hub. 

With DT Swiss, boost 141 qr is easy, just the old 135 qr end caps in place of the 148x12 end caps. I have no idea which quality hubs available today are qr end cap compatible still. Another concern is with cheaper (and more expensive) rear hubs, free hub failures aren't uncommon eapecially in the advent of 28x46+t gearing options. So how readily available is the relabelled Formula/Joytec/whatever freehub when the time comes?

So Rocky gets around this with using old school 135mm spacing, good for prospective owners to know.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Feb. 22, 2019, 1:37 p.m.

The ‘negative’ of using 135mm and standard crank spacing is the stays are fairly long to accomplish this kind of tire clearance with this kind of frame construction. 

I put it in quotes because I’m very happy with the untrendy 440mm rear.

Reply

UFO
0
UFO  - Feb. 22, 2019, 7:17 p.m.

+1 on the longer rear stays. Yeah, 415mm stays are playful and easier to whip around. I've tried 425-435mm RC on hardtails and found they work better for what I ride -- better on the steep climbs, less rear wheel tuck on the steep downs, basically better all around at the expense of a small percentage of playfulness. It's still very playful overall, whatever you take that to mean

Reply

UFO
0
UFO  - Feb. 21, 2019, 8:56 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

assen2000
0
assen2000  - April 30, 2019, 9:33 a.m.

Thanks for the thorough review. How much does the bike weights?

Cheers,

Reply

aluminumhorserider
0
aluminumhorserider  - May 8, 2019, 5:18 a.m.

hi, I am new to this site,very very good content and
very detaild first impression of this bike written.

How does this compare to Honzo?
I am looking at both bikes,as second,afterwork/winter-snow riding.

I now Honzo is benchmark hardtail,but currently 2019 model Of big honzo AL and this machine have similar spec but in my country honzo is 385 US $ more expensive,so I am interested is it worth the difference for a second bike?

Intended use,primarily,bit more agressive xc/trail during afterwork hours and mud,snow(winter months) as I am fed up with maintaining my allmountain bike in these conditions. occasional backpacking(maybe once a year couple of days)

second question is about the brakes. wich alternative brake pads can I use with these MT400 brakes if I upgrade to say Slx rotors? I am sram user so could not find :-)

cheers from Croatia

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.