We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (6)
Short Term Review

We Are One Arrival 152 SP1

Words Andrew Major
Photos The Clairebarian (Unless Noted)
Date Oct 24, 2022
Reading time

Full On

I'm gasping for air as I pull over to the side of the trail, reach for my water bottle, stumble, manage to not fall over, and then calm my breathing while I uncross my eyes. It's a unique experience. Not the gasping for air part. My conditioning isn't great and I'm too middle-aged to just fake it until I make it anymore when the Shore delivers a steep and sustained climb but in this story, I'm going downhill. The We Are One and I are out for a getting-to-know-you ride but it's going a little bit too Eddie Brock for my tastes. I have my hands on the bar and my fingers on the brake levers, but it feels like the Arrival is in control.

This feeling never goes away over my weeks on the Kamloopsian carbon rocket. On the right rides, it's a thoroughbred demanding every ounce of my attention as I ride familiar trails significantly faster than I have before. In these instances, I'm rewarded when I fully focus and find a way to accelerate my terrain processing. On the wrong trails, it's a stubborn jackass that fights my every input and leaves me feeling inept. Since many of my favourite loops include the 'wrong' trails, my true obsession with the Arrival is what I would change provided the right amount of time and treasure.

Before I dig in further I want to congratulate the folks at We Are One for making a mountain bike that is anything but boring. Words like neutral, forgiving, easy, and universal do not apply even if those are the characteristics that most of us need in a mountain bike at any price level. This is fine because there are plenty of those bikes on the market. The Arrival 152 is sleek, challenging, and demanding. You need to actively ride it or it's going to actively f*** up your ride, and maybe you at the same time. It's a bike for folks who are passionate about bikes and if you own one and want to loudly disagree with my assessment then know that I accept that.

We Are One Arrival NSMB Jaclyn Delacroix Andrew Major (9)

The stock Arrival 152 is not the right machine for me on many of my favourite janky trails but it's impressively fast any time I can open it up. Photo: JacAttack

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (4)

From the headtube to the dropouts the shapes are both angular and organic. The Kamloops, BC-made carbon frame is unique.

We Are One Arrival NSMB Jaclyn Delacroix Andrew Major (2)

The faster you're willing to ride the We Are One both into and through the gnar the more in control you feel. Photo: JacAttack

When asked to compare the Arrival 152 to other bikes I've ridden the first rig that comes to mind is the 2018 Intense Carbine 29'er. There are obvious reasons like the dual-link suspension layout, the easily recognizable silhouettes, the similar travel, and the unapologetic focus on speed. But more specifically, both bikes scream to me that I should over-fork them by 10-20mm, and both machines are constantly creating forward momentum, even if sometimes you'd really rather they weren't. Jeff Steber of Intense and Dustin Adams of We Are One both share a passion for DH racing that's obvious in their rigs.

While Intense bikes have been made overseas since they went carbon, there's also a parallel between Jeff and Dustin's desire to have design and production in their hands. There have been persistent rumours about Intense onshoring, and in-housing, some frame production - whether using Revved Carbon like Guerilla Gravity or a more traditional carbon layup process only time will tell. I bring it up because I think what the Arrival, more than anything, is missing is a rivalry to drive progression. Another unapologetically fast small-batch North American-made carbon superbike from an owner-designer-manufacturer who is more concerned with whether they like how their bike rides than your opinion. Better, in some instances, to be interesting to a few folks than to be putting out a watered-down something for everyone.

We Are One Arrival Severd NSMB Andrew Major

As long as I stay seated and on the gas, the Arrival 152 climbs remarkably like the short travel Canyon Lux Trail. I had some of my fastest climbs up to Severed Dick and absolutely my fastest descents on the We Are One. Photo: Andrew

we are one arrival spec 2023

If you're interested in a more in-depth look at the spec. and discussion of geo please check out my first look at the Arrival 152.

Rim Notes

As I keep getting asked again and again, no, I do not know anything about We Are One's pending 'Convergence' rims that come as spec. on this bike. I've heard that they'll come in over the top of the current models on price, which will surprise no one, and also that at first they'll only be available built into complete wheels featuring Industry Nine's excellent highest-end hub the Hydra. They're also apparently more environmentally friendly to manufacture, more compliant, and sport less weight compared to the Union rims.

None of this is official. It may all be the opposite of true. Please, stop asking me. Keeping in mind that before the Arrival was released, there were two competing rumours that it was a high-single-pivot frame - a Kamloops-made Forbidden if you will - and a high-pivot Horst-link frame with an idler. This bike is neither of those machines by a long stretch.

We Are One Arrival Rim NSMB Andrew Major

All I know for certain about the We Are One Convergence rims at this time is they have an interestingly shaped external and angled spoke nipple drilling. Photo: Andrew

Up, Up, Up

The Arrival pedals so well for a 6" travel bike, when seated, that I actually found there to be quite a learning curve. The design doesn't mind if you want to quickly spin along or push a harder gear or where you sit in recommended sag range, it just goes. That is until it's time to attack that one steep technical climb and I'd find myself jumping out of the saddle like I was riding the Lux or my hardtail, only to be reminded instantly that this is a 150mm Enduro machine. For what it is, the We Are One goes up impressively well in all circumstances, but the dual link design rewards seated pedaling foremost.

A couple of riders have told me that the Arrival is a "clipped-in rider's bike" and I can see where the sentiment comes from as both up and down I've had to be a bit more focused to keep my feet on the pedals compared to, for example, the much more forgiving Banshee Titan. Even so, all my rides on this bike have been using flat pedals - NSBillet's Daemon pedals specifically - so this is more a curiosity for consideration than a concern.

I hate being right, but when it came time to shift into low gears and spin up steep climbs the Arrival was so audibly superior to every other Eagle rig I've pedaled that it's impossible to be mad about the combination of Super Boost 157mm spacing and the narrower 52mm chainline from a Boost 148mm setup. Yes, we're being slowly boiled into Super Boost, and the water's really nice. Based on what I can hear and feel, I'm positive the chain and cassette will both significantly outlast the same units being put through the 55mm chainline Boost 148mm setups on other bikes being sold this year.

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (11)

From up close they've taken a sh*t kicking but take one step back and they're brand new. The power of polished silver pedals! The Arrival isn't as flat-pedal-forgiving as some other rigs, but the NSBillet Daemons and I really did fine with it.

152 We Are One Arrival NSMB Andrew Major (9)

Pedaling forward or backward, and especially when grinding up steep pitches, the superiority of the We Are One's mix of the 52mm chainline from a Boost-148 setup and the rear hub spacing of the Boost-157 setup is noticeable from the first climb. Photo: Andrew

Plunk To Kathunk

In its stock guise, the Arrival 152 is not a good plunking mountain bike. It doesn't do casual riding and if you try to force it, the experience isn't something you'd find me willing to fork out 10K CAD to ride. I hit my chainring countless times but that's not because the bottom bracket is too low, it's because I was going much too slow. I'm out there trying to slowly pop over rock features and the We Are One is screaming at me to just hover above the ground.

Like the Intense Carbine, everything I do on this bike creates momentum. Pump the bike, it shoots forward. Land a little drop, and it rockets forward. Slam a corner, it teleports forward. It's fun in a slightly frantic sort of way on trails that are open enough to take advantage of it. Severed Dick was my go-to on the Arrival 152 and it's just a dreaded series of kathunk-kathunk-kathunk moments on trails where my skillset and risk tolerance had me fighting the bike to slow down.

Examples of three trails I love on Mt Fromme are Karen's Boundary, Pipeline, and Lower Crippler, and this bike wasn't really fun on any of them. Riding mountain bikes on trails you love is always fun, but it's never good when you're daydreaming about all the other bikes you'd rather be on in the middle of your ride.

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (20)

It clears when the Arrival is static, but with a bit of sag, I smoked this rock enough times to learn two things...

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (22)

First, SRAM's high-end X-Sync 2 rings are TOUGH. Also, if this was my bike I'd be running crank mounted bash ring.

I was fully prepared to write this off as a combination of my inability to process the trail fast enough to take advantage of a bike like this, and also the compromised setup from optimizing a stock bike versus a frame-up build like the Banshee, but I've talked to enough Arrival owners that I know I'm not alone here. Everyone I've talked to whose been on the Arrival on the North Shore for a while loves their bike and also falls into one of two categories. They're either a really, really fast rider or they've set theirs up with a boutique coil shock (PUSH or EXT), over-forked it by at least 10mm, and are currently waiting for the 170mm linkage they ordered.

Even as dry and dusty and Kamloops-like as our trails have been lately, there are still elements of being optimized for cruising around at the speed of sound on the fastest trails that don't translate directly to our janky local terrain.

We Are One Arrival NSMB Jaclyn Delacroix Andrew Major (4)

Teetering... Photo: JacAttack

We Are One Arrival NSMB Jaclyn Delacroix Andrew Major (15)

…crawling along, and... Photo: JacAttack

We Are One Arrival NSMB Jaclyn Delacroix Andrew Major (1)

…Tottering. Photo: JacAttack

Stacking Up

The folks at We Are One are not alone in their philosophy about stack height. Many other companies also point out that it's easier to get a bar higher from a low Stack height than it is to get your bar lower from a tall one. Me? I'd take the 130mm headtube on a large Banshee Titan over the 100mm on this large We Are One Arrival every minute, of every hour, of every day. I ran the stem as high as it would go with the steerer cut and I was in the ballpark of what works for me when combined with the lower-rise, 27.5mm, option of their house-made Da Package bar. I would have loved to have a bit more adjustment though to be certain my fit was optimized for me. A taller bar would have made the difference here.

I think the complimentary term is 'precise' but either way, the 27.5mm Da Package bar is not as compliant as I'd suspected based on other riders' experiences. I've heard it compared favourably with the OneUp Composite bar but I'll go on record as saying that my experience has the OneUp bar being more compliant to an extent that I suspect most riders would notice it over a long outing - in the realm of an SQlab 30x or 31.8 Renthal aluminum bar. This could clearly be down to a number of factors including my hearing voices, but it's something I'm interested in corroborating with other riders who've ridden both bars with the same setup otherwise.

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (1)

The 100mm head tube seems tiny on a large frame, even if it is more a medium-large frame. Even if it is a 29'er. I think We Are One could add 20mm here and receive zero complaints from riders who couldn't get their bar low enough.

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (14)

All the spacers below the stem. The white one above is just to keep the stem cap from restricting the stem from being tight. This is high enough for me, but I'd still choose a taller bar to give me some margin of error if I change my mind.

Coil-Over | Over-Fork

It's really too bad that the MY23 Lyrik can't be bumped up to 170mm travel like the previous generation, because the Arrival 152, at least with this pilot, is screaming to be over-forked. It would raise the Stack, raise the bottom bracket, and slacken out that 77° effective seat tube angle. Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I'm imagining a bike that is still fast as hell but just a little more forgiving for a pilot that's not.

At the same time, I'm not looking for any more stiffness from the front end than I'm getting from Da Package, the Arrival frame, the carbon hoops, and the Lyrik Ultimate, so I'd rather save weight, and money, by bumping up this 35mm chassis rather than running a 38mm Zeb. I know We Are One has gone to the full-SRAM program for drivetrain, brakes, and suspension this year but I'd love to see a special edition that sports the Magura brake spec from last year with a less mainstream suspension spec, maybe an Ohlins or DVO package.

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (9)

I would love to read a back-to-back review where someone rides two identical, fully-serviced, MY23 Lyrik Ultimate forks but one has ButterCups and the other one doesn't. And the reviewer isn't told which is which and the forks are identical externally and they aren't allowed to open them.

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (8)

The Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate is that brand's top-end 600 USD air shock and it suits the Arrival very well in its current guise. On fast trails and bike is a combination of speed and efficiency in every inclination - up, down, and across.

In addition to over-forking the Arrival, I'd love to try a coil-over shock on the rear. One trip around a flat gravel parking lot on my friend Andy's bike - sporting a 170mm Ohlins fork and PUSH coil shock - and I knew that the experience I'm writing about here is Arrival-lite. With the EXO+ tires, no inserts, carbon wheels, XO1 drivetrain, carbon cranks, Da Package, and the RockShox Super Deluxe air shock and Lyrik fork it is light in terms of weight but I'm talking about a performance perspective. The bike rips downhill but I could afford to give up more than a little bit of the max speed for some extra margin of error, a confidence boost on janky trails, and some increased traction at slower speeds.

I'm not expecting the coil shock to fundamentally change the bike - the Arrival isn't going to become the Titan - just to dull the edges enough that I can have more fun with it on more trails.

We Are One Arrival Andy NSMB Andrew Major (1)

My friend Andy AKA The Prettiest Muddbunny rides and builds the sort of trails I love. His Arrival 152 is over-forked by 10mm and running a PUSH coil shock and even just cruising around the parking lot, his Arrival feels like a completely different machine. Photo: Andrew

The Creakening

On my first ride on this Arrival, there developed an awful multi-stage creak somewhere in the linkage area. It was so bad I wouldn't ride the bike again before resolving it. Chasing creaks when it's dry and dusty is hard enough but then add in the way that sound travels in carbon frames and the crick-crick-CRACK could have come down to anything. I put in over two hours of my time greasing bolts and shafts, taking measurements, re-packing bearings, swapping the upper link with another one that we had, and in a final act of desperation I actually pulled out my press tool to be certain all the bearings were seated.

I've problem-solved a fair few creaks working in shops and this was one of the more violent ones. Nothing I tried made an iota of difference so I sent a video of it to We Are One and they decided to get the bike back to sort it out. According to We Are One, to my embarrassment as someone who gets paid in a shop to resolve such issues, it ended up being a very quick and simple fix: "the air can needed 1/16 turn with a strap wrench."

This is something I've only heard of in rare cases with Fox Float DHX2 shocks where the inner can is not tight from the factory, and even then the creaking is not as intense as what I experienced. Further proof that there's always something new to learn about fixing bicycles. If your RockShox Super Deluxe equipped bike is creaking, let out the O² and give the air can a good grunt with a strap wrench to make certain it's tight before you try anything else.

We Are One Arrival Creaking NSMB Andrew Major

In my couple of hours chasing the dreaded creaking, I went as far as making certain all the bearings were properly pressed into place. According to We Are One it all came down to a RockShox Super Deluxe air can that was 1/16th of a turn loose. Photo: Andrew

Gripping Asides

If there was an opportunity to do a long-long term review of the Arrival the first thing I'd be swapping out is the front tire. I actually don't understand why Maxxis bothers with a MaxxTerra compound version of the Assegai; either you want full traction on the way down - MaxxGrip Assegai - or your more well-rounded rig is going to be better served with a DHR2 or DHF. I think a pair of 2.4" DHR2 MaxxTerra EXO+ tires would be the perfect blend of rolling and braking for all-day loops with steep, fast, and loose sections but a DHF would be fine too. For winter on the North Shore, a more tacky rubber option, even in a lighter casing, would be optimal. It hasn't rained a drop over this short-term test so the MaxxTerra Assegai has been good, but I've ridden enough tires to know what's coming.

Also as an aside, the near-instant (0.52°) engagement of the Hydra rear hub is lovely when hitting technical uphill sections in or out of the saddle. I'd have been happy with the Industry Nine 1/1 that comes on the lower-end Arrival build, and I'm aware the wheelset on this rig costs more than the other bike I've been reviewing, but fast engaging hubs are my favourite weakness for luxury on the trail. The Hydra is also loud enough to alert other trail users - and bears - to your presence without having the annoying rin-tin-tin of the old Industry Nine Torch hubs unless you lubed them just so. I find the super-fast engagement also really helps with pedal strikes. I can climb technical trails with almost zero contact despite the low bottom bracket setup.

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (7)

Only some of the single-clamp lock-on grips that I tried work with Da Package. I measured the bar and it's perfect to size, so I'm putting it down to the ultra-smooth finish on the bars.

We Are One Arrival Grip NSMB Andrew Major

I had no problem with the Ergon GE1 and Wolf Tooth Echo, or with any dual-clamp ODI grips. Just make certain that you're giving a full grip-strength throttle-twist on anything you install to make sure it's staying put.

One more gripping gripe I have, or maybe it's just a PSA, is to give your lock-on handles a proper twist when installing them on the Kamloops-made Da Package bar. I had a couple of different pairs of single-clamp locking grips that even if tightened way past torque would slip on this carbon steer stick, which does measure perfectly to spec. The grips in question were no issue with the aluminum bars I've tried them with.

I had no problems with dual-clamp ODI grips, including the stock SDG option, as well as the Ergon and Wolf Tooth grips I rode for this review since the stock SDG units didn't work well for me. Spinning grips are bad, and it's something I come across with alarming frequency in the shop, so there's a general PSA factor here as well but generally, in those cases, the grips just need to be tightened more. That wasn't the case here.

We Are One Arrival Clairebarian NSMB Andrew Major (19)

If you like the lock-on version of the Sensus Swayze and have always wished they make a slightly fatter, squishier, single-clamp version then the Wolf Tooth Echo lock-on grip is meant for you. It's very nice, but not nice enough to get me off the glued-and-wired push-on bandwagon.

Shifted

You've read plenty about AXS shifting at this point, and no, I'm still not over the economics of it, especially of replacing a rear derailleur that has a misadventure. But something remarkable has happened all the same. Where the last AXS bike I spent time on, only a year ago, garnered many questions about the wireless shifting system from other riders, it's so mainstream now that I didn't have one person ask about it. That is the pace of change in the world of mountain bike technology.

Expect a few frames to be wireless-specific next year - i.e. no routing for shifting - although, yes, you can always stick on your own cable guides. Note that doesn't mean SRAM-specific as Shimano should have their new Di2 systems out by then and there are perpetual rumours that FSA will still be bringing their WE wireless shifting to mountain bikes. Also in the rumour mill is a wireless electronic version of Campagnolo's Ekar groupset, which is a shifter away from being a mountain bike drivetrain as is thanks to the clutch derailleur and 13-speed 10-44t cassette.

152 We Are One Arrival NSMB Andrew Major (21)

I punched this X0 AXS rear derailleur into a rock on my very first ride and every other ride after that, including stopping myself twice. It's like every immovable object has a magnetic attraction to the expensive dangle. And yet, it still shifts like new.

We Are One Arrival Shifter NSMB Andrew Major

You don't need to see leaked photographs on Instagram to know that AXS shifters are still a work in progress. The derailleur moves as if by magic but the actual shifter paddle action still doesn't rival SRAM's best indexing cable clickers.

Time & Treasure

As it sits now, this machine taunts me. I enjoy riding it on specific trails and it absolutely pushes me to be the best, fastest, version of myself as it rockets out of corners, and out of landings, and every time I pump it a little bit, and is always ready for take-off. I'm certain it's a treat to ride on the fast trails around Kamloops and as I understand it Dustin installed a 180mm fork on an Arrival 170mm, raced it in a number of DH events, and declared it ridiculously fast. I believe it.

The thing is, my favourite trails aren't particularly fast, and neither am I. Is this bike simply wasted on me? Probably. Justifiable though the price may be, right from my first look I've noted that 11,500 CAD is a heck of a lot of money for a mountain bicycle and now I'm talking about spending even more on upgrades. At the same time, as long as I focus 100% on riding, I do have some amazing moments on the Arrival that make me think that if the option for a long-term review existed with a coil shock, longer fork, sticky front tire, and taller riser bar - basically what my friend Andy is riding - that my conclusions on who this bike is for would be much more universal.

We Are One Arrival NSMB Jaclyn Delacroix Andrew Major (13)

A bit taller fork would raise my bars, and the bottom bracket, and relax the seat tube angle (STA) some. Photo: JacAttack

We Are One Arrival NSMB Andrew Major

In a long-term review, I'd swap out Da Package for my own NSB stem and SQlab riser bar. Photo: Andrew

We Are One Arrival NSMB Jaclyn Delacroix Andrew Major (14)

Even on rock waterfall on Pipeline, the Arrival likes to rip rather than be ridden. Photo: JacAttack

I'm at the point now where I have to put my imagination aside and wrap up this experience. I know it sounds negative but I'm really not sorry to see this bike go home. Who needs the constant reminder that they aren't fast at riding bikes? Certainly not me. At the same time, I understand why there are so many riders out there who also aren't fast (sorry) who've bought the We Are One and have spent money chasing a more all-around experience with a coil shock, taller fork, and higher bar. It's a bike that it's very easy to be passionate about.

So go ahead, fall in love, and find out if you have the skills to control the Arrival or if it's going to control you. It's made in Kamloops, BC, and it has a great story. Just be warned that as much as 11,500 CAD sounds like a lot of money, if you don't have the skills and sense of speed to truly own this bike as it comes you are going to find yourself spending serious coin to claim victory. Or, you could just go to an Arrival 170 upfront and save yourself from being weighed and measured by your own bicycle.

Frame or complete, for all things Arrival check out We Are One.

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Comments

gubbinalia
gubbinalia
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Blofeld Andrew Major We_Are_One_Composites Tyler Maine vantanclub

Such an engrossing and thorough review... this sort of informed bike-dissection on NSMB is the best stuff on the internet by my lights! I've had a totally different experience of riding the Arrival thus far but (and?) that doesn't stop me mulling over/being delighted about AM's review.

I wish I knew the Shore at all so I could understand the trails that were bringing out this less-amenable side of the Arrival. Just taking a glance at the Trailforks pg. for Severed D, it looks steep as heck - clearly not a low-speed meandering descent - but it's tough to know what the features look like and how the corners ride. (Maybe Simmons and Gully can do a Severed D video along with the Boogieman feature!) Is it the sharp up-and-over stuff that's not meshing with the low BB, or is it something more nuanced about the speed of the impacts or the turning radius of the corners, etc?

I associate the "plunk-kathunk" feeling with slow speed ledgy stuff where the fork drops into a hole and rebounds before the back wheel drops down... which does feel weird on the Arrival, but doesn't it feel ungainly on any bike? I've been finding the Arrival a LOT more manageable on brake-control-oriented tech than the current crop of gravity-adjacent all-mountain bikes (e.g. Sentinel, Stumpy Evo, Sight), partly because that low sag number means a less pitch-y feel under deceleration. For a 191cm rider, too, the SZ3/"XL" Arrival also feels considerably shorter and more maneuverable than some other longer-wheelbase XLs. 

I'm sure my rock-roll skills don't hold a candle to Andrew's and that the WAO folks would drop me in a matter of seconds on any descent. But I wouldn't put the Arrival on a pedestal as some 'experts-only' fire-breathing demon of a mini-DH bike. If anything it's a relief to ride an enduro-class bike that's so taut and energetic on low-angle, pumpy terrain.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 gubbinalia

Cheers!

"I associate the "plunk-kathunk" feeling with slow speed ledgy stuff where the fork drops into a hole and rebounds before the back wheel drops down... which does feel weird on the Arrival, but doesn't it feel ungainly on any bike?"

Exactly. Think of tight and steep corners with little drop-offs or up-and-over roots or rocks. Think awkwardly stepped roll-ins with tight turns at the bottom. 

I find the Arrival is much more of a fight - ungainly - than other bikes. Partially because it's so great at creating momentum. Partially because of how the front and rear suspension play together in plunk-kathunk moments. My example of a bike with similar travel that's much more natural to ride in these situations was the Banshee Titan but you could insert any number of more mainstream rigs - Trek Slash, Kona Process, Rocky Slayer. 

Actually, the Slayer is a magical bike in my mind - even compared to the other Rocky Mountains - in its combination of being very reasonable to climb and fun descending every type of trail. 

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The Arrival is quick in pumpy terrain, particularly so for the travel it brings, but my angleset-equipped Rifty and most other 120mm-ish bikes are too while also being better in slow-speed jank. 

The place that it blows the Rifty out of the water is steeper more open DH tracks. It's not that it isn't great lots of places - certainly, it would be ridiculously fun in Cumberland - but I wanted to highlight where it's better than other bikes. 

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Just a note on the wheelbase versus other XL Enduro bikes. This is always a challenge with brands making limited frame sizes, but I think it would be more fair/exact for We Are One to call the sizes Small-Medium, Medium-Large, and Large-XL. Especially if riders are piling spacers under their stem. 

This is one of the smaller larges I've ridden recently - I'm 5'9" and thought the fit was excellent.

Reply

gubbinalia
gubbinalia
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That's a fascinating comparison of the Slayer v. other "all-mountain" bikes (I know that's an outdated term, but it seems appropriate to what WAO was trying to design with the Arrival 152). I've been more comfortable with the Instinct/Instinct BC among the Rocky lineup -- Slayer is more often a bike-park choice here in the Northeast US. Given the Shore-based reasons to run the Arrival in a higher-sag, higher-front-end guise, the Slayer makes sense as a point of reference.

Maybe getting into the speculative, "time-and-treasure"-required category too much, but I wonder about the Arrival specc'ed with an air shock with a 2-position lockout (SuperDeluxe, X2) versus setup with a 3-pos. climb/trail/descend-style shock. I'm really happy with how the middle "trail" mode on the DB Kitsuma shock keeps things pretty controlled on traverse-y, techy stuff. If I were running a SuperDeluxe I'd be searching out a Tractive tune that would retain some of that control even in Open mode. 

Your sizing point is spot-on and it's exactly why I thought WAO didn't want to do "M/L/XL" sizes at first -- they were shooting for middle-points between the conventional sizes. I originally had heard they would make an Sz4 as well, for the Cr4w types, with a 525ish reach, and I was bummed that I'd have to "settle" for 500... but after the initial adjustment process and putting on a higher-rise bar, I'm liking the "short" feel of the Sz3. (My anglesetted Surface Voyager has about an inch more wheelbase and is FAR less graceful on the plunky-thunky stuff!)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

In what situations do you find you need additional platform support from the shock? Or is it so you can run the Kitsuma more 'open' for descents?

With recommended sag, I never touched the platform settings on the Super Deluxe. The Arrival pedals incredibly well, even up steep and sustained pitches, with the shock wide open.

Reply

gubbinalia
gubbinalia
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Fully agree that the Arrival needs no added compression support for pedaling. I'm more than happy pedaling the bike wide-open. Mostly I use the middle mode on the Kitsuma so I can get the rear end to engage less on lower speed traverses. Once it's wide-open and I'm pumping the bike, it wants to shoot forward and gain speed quickly. The "trail" mode is like a check on that. My sense is that the dual tuned damper circuits on the Eleven-Six shock function similarly, while cutting out the initial harshness that some folks perceive when running low sag numbers on an air shock.

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 4Runner1 Vik Banerjee Todd Hellinga Mammal

Hey Andrew, good to see action shots (on the bike) again.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Cheers! It’s been an adventure.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Niels van Kampenhout Andrew Major Blofeld

I enjoy the not in any way paradoxical take (and you can correct me if I've interpreted this wrong) that the 152mm Arrival is a bit too much bike, but the 170mm version, which conventional wisdom would place as "more bike", might be just right. I guess that's what happens when you don't have big geometry changes between travel versions, rather than two totally different platforms between a ~150mm and ~170mm bike. 

I understand how a really talented rider would get more out of the smaller travel bike, even on the same terrain.  See, by way of oft-quoted example, all the enduro pros who pick the mid travel bike rather than the out-and-out DH-adjacent bike brands seem to be pushing as their "enduro" weapons now.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lu Kz

I think this is a good summary. The 152 goes FAST and I anticipate the 170 (over over-forked/coil-shocked 152) would go nearly as fast but bring in a significant margin of error for riders at my level.

Put another way, my own 120/120mm FS bike ‘feels’ fast and gets me in trouble when I’m not on it 100%, without the travel to get me out… but in actual terms the speed is much, much slower than the 152 but I feel the margin of error is similar.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major AndrewR

This is a good comparison for me. I like my bikes and trails to feel faster than they are, but not like things would work better if I was going faster.

Whakarewarewa (Rotorua, NZ) has this problem for me - the trails are excellent, but constantly remind me I'm slow. Similar to riding a DH bike slowly - it just reminds me I'm the weakest link.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Blofeld Velocipedestrian

This is where I find the Arrival experience least agreeable - it's like promising your child ice cream and then being reminded every five minutes that you promised your child ice cream. "YES ARRIVAL, I KNOW I'M SLOW. THANK YOU. $#*!"

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davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I think the key here is the increase in sag.  The 152 requires a pretty aggressive level of sag, while the 170 works with a more traditional amount.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This was already a 15–min read but one interesting thing about the 152 I could have added is that the suspension itself works well (support / efficiency) with much more sag that the recommended window. I climbed it up single track with a range from 22% to an extreme of 40% sag in playing with the suspension setup.

Where there comes an issue is BB height. I suspect that some combination of over-forking and an external headset cup and maxing tire size could have folks enjoying this machine in the 30% sag range. I ended up running 25% rear with 20% front.

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davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I found the bike rode fine down the hill with a bit more sag (low 30's).  It was at slow speeds and climbing that I hated it with anything more than recommended sag.

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JSW07
JSW07
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I would say the consensus would be that it's not about the travel rather about how the bike behaves as speced from the factory. 

With a coil shock in the rear (same travel) and over forking by 10 or 20mm it sounds like the bike would be a little easier to ride and better behaved and more confidence inspiring in a sense on the trails he likes.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That’s certainly the feedback from multiple folks running the 152 with PUSH or EXT coil shocks and 170mm forks. I’d have loved to try this bike setup as such.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Niels van Kampenhout Cr4w

That concluding paragraph is low key genius. I don't want to be judged and found wanting by a bike, thanks. Very very cool machine though.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thank you. 

It’s a very cool (very hot) machine.

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earleb
earle.b
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 DMVancouver Ryan Walters

Hey Drew, can you give some more information on those new wheels? :)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 kcy4130 GB

I did think about going all out with some BS about wind tunnel testing the shape…

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major kcy4130 Niels van Kampenhout Pete Roggeman Graham Driedger Andy Eunson

the alternating chamfers create a turbulent boundary area (like dimples on a golf ball) creating lift = bigger air. science!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Bikeryder85

Hadn’t considered they create lift!!! No wonder this bike flies… all down to the wheels.

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earleb
earle.b
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Andy Eunson

You heard it here first folks, WAO is working on hover tech for bikes. Every trail is a smooth blue trail when your bike literally floats over every root and rock. Smooth.

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We_Are_One_Composites
We_Are_One_Composites
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major earle.b

Clearly, you did not read the fine print on that NDA, Brian!!! LOL

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

No they don’t. Clearly the chamfers provide cooling to the brakes. As an added bonus the extra cooling wind keeps your legs cool too so we can wear the latest trendy pants.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Andrew - great review (as usual).  I really appreciate your honesty about the Arrival.  

Are you looking to do a long term review with a few parts swaps?  It would be interesting to see where you get to with it cf the original spec.  I wonder with time would you drift back to the original spec once you got used to the bike?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I pitched the idea of a longer term review using the bike as a test platform but running it with a coil and a longer fork and a taller bar - as I noted my friend Andy’s bike is very different to pedal around.

I’ve ridden enough bikes on enough trails to say that where/what I prefer to ride I wouldn’t be “drifting” back to the stock 152 setup. I’m not that fast and focused or motivated to be that fast and focused all the time. But, as I noted at the end, it’s an easy bike to be passionate about so with time and treasure I’m certain there’s a version of this rig that could work for me and be an exciting Canadian-made Super Bike.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

The Arrival has had  decent amount of press on NSMB with Cam / Uncle Dave's recent reviews - completely understandably as a "made in Canada" carbon bike.  I'm surprised I don't see more press on the Hope and Atherton bikes over this side of the pond (I do like the Arrival a lot more tho).  Hence your time would be better spent on reviewing something else.

I understand about not wanting to "drift" back to the stock setup but as you're well aware once you get to know a bike it unlocks your riding to the point where you are going faster and can "regress" as you are comfortable with the bike.  It's the 100% focus that I wouldn't be able to get on with - you can't be riding at 100% all the time.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Blofeld

The Atherton bikes are very interesting (something like 22x stock sizes?). Total nerd bikes from manufacturing to the custom options. My understanding is they’re selling them as fast as they make them. They’re also comparatively (travel/usage/price) heavy for what they are. That doesn’t bother me at all, but it seems to come up in everything I’ve read about them?

Hope is doing interesting stuff too. There too I understand they are selling as fast as they make them and most of them stay in the UK. 

There are plenty of interesting bikes being made in interesting ways (GG too as referenced above) but sometimes the stars don’t alone review-wise. 

———

I’m not sure what to say other than a parking lot test on the same rig with a longer fork and coil shock was enough to convince me that the Arrival and I would get along better everywhere with that setup.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I like the clean looks of the Atherton bikes.  Not sure how all those pivot would fare in the UK mud...

If were going down the bike nerd route I do like what Acto Five and Pole are doing altho it would be interesting if they were additive rather than machined.

---

I'd agree that it's a lot of coin to put down for a bike (Arrival) that needs more coin spent on it.  It interests me as a bike tho but maybe a bit too "race" specific for my needs.

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pedalhound
pedalhound
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Check out Ministry Cycles too....he's just in the proto phase right now...but it looks super promising, also a machined bike.

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
3 months, 1 week ago
0

and machina bikes out of whistler (i believe) - utilizing all the neat tech - cnc, additive, carbon AND gearboxes. 

love what all the aforementioned companies are up to. nerding hard.

kos
Kos
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Dogl0rd

Great review of "too much bike for me", but a somewhat related question: Can you recommend a good strap wrench for air cans? My old one is, well, old, and there are so many choices out there......

Also, kill superboost with fire. Sorry.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

No apology necessary. I don’t like SB-157 either, I just care more about a better chain line than I do about hub spacing - and there are a growing number of 55mm/B-148 bikes.

I’ve never used a ‘good’ strap wrench. They’re all pretty basic and die the same death. I just use a Canadian Tire special. I’d be interested if anyone has a brand/model that they’re eager to recommend.

I like the idea of air cans using a wrench for removal and install - or at least the option. Yes, it’s another proprietary tool where a strap wrench is universal but maybe companies could design them to work well with Knipex parallel pliers. Then there’s an option. The Manitou Mara I’m testing has two different volume air cans and the wrench makes swapping them much more pleasant.

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cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 dolface

"I’d be interested if anyone has a brand/model that they’re eager to recommend."

Paging Dave Rome...

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Onawalk
Onawalk
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Ridgid plumbers strap wrench,

I use it for plumbing purposes, removal of automotive oil filters, and air cans on bikes….

https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/strap-wrenches

Friggin Knipex pliers, they are not for me

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I’ll check that out next time mine snaps; thanks!

I use my Knipex in the shop all day. I press some linkage bearings in with them, install and remove shock hardware instead of walking over to the vice, they’re regular instrumental in dropper post rebuilds. To each their own but they’re a great time saver when I’m turning wrenches.

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

These are a bit expensive, but so much better than the standard hardware store ones: https://www.gates.com/us/en/power-transmission/power-transmission-tools-and-merchandisers/power-transmission-tools.p.7468-000000-000013.html

I got one because I run a belt drive, but it's great for anything strappy.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 DadStillRides

I’ve had this thought about skis. It’s easier to make a "lower performance" ski go fast than make a "higher performance" ski go slow. Your review sounds a bit like that. Fortunately for me this bike doesn’t come small enough for me (164cm) despite what their fit chart says. So I’m not tempted. I’m needing a new chainring on my hardtail so I think I’ll replace it with a non boost ring on my normal boost bike. It came set up that way and worked very well for me. I think it’s smart of WAO to spec that chain line.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I’ve heard the ski analogy from other folks and, as a non-skier, it makes perfect sense but felt disingenuous to use.

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I felt this way at first when i got my Blizzard Cochise, but once I got used to them it's hard to ski anything else.

I wonder if this bike would be the same.

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Gdreej
Graham Driedger
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Cochise certainly has a minimum operating speed, and turns crud into dust when you get there. It doesn't feel energetic though.

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davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Ya.  I don't think this analogy holds.  I can duff around blue runs on just about anything.  No way I want to be skiing fast on short noodles.

Perhaps mogul skiing could be an analogy.  Nobody this side of Glen Plake wants to be caught in a mogul field on DH boards.

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cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Metacomet

Ya, disagree. I think its a great analog to WC GS skis, or something like a pair of Legend Pro F-Teams which are... well they're awful if you're tired or aren't able to put enough energy into the ski for whatever reason. They just don't work. 

Fantastic weapons when you're on it. Uncomfortable garbage if you're not.

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D_C_
DMVancouver
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Except in a racing setting, where equipment choices are dictated by FIS rules, there seems to be a move away from punishing, ‘high performance’ skis. For example, Dynastar FWT athletes are choosing the 192 M-Free 108 over the M-Pro/Legend Pro 105, which is the purpose-built comp ski. I would guess that having a ski that responds when pushed hard but also won’t kill you makes it easier to push it even harder.

There is certainly something to be said for pulling out the GS skis on empty runs with hard snow, though.

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Brule
Tyler Maine
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Andy, the chainline is so good and worth experimenting on your bike with. Having gotten used to "regular" intervals for swapping chainrings, chains, and cassettes, I was pleasantly surprised when I went to swap out my first chainring and see that it was still in amazing condition, despite the timeline on the parts being similar. A narrow/wide ring typically is half worn out in terms of tooth width but now there's minimal signs of wear. This is my experience from standard boost set ups on popular brands. I do know of a number of riders in the 5'3"-5'4" range on the Arrival and can help with their set ups should you want to look further at an Arrival.

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andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Been speccing non boost chain rings on my boost bikes since the industry started selling boost bikes. 

Time and torque in the lower gears means the chain line optimised around the 4th/5th gear rather than the 7th/8th gear is totally worth it.

And it is easy to sell one boost chain rings.

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andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

1. Bikes with short head tubes need to be ordered with "leave steerer at XX cm" or uncut so that the taller rise rider has the room to fit the bike properly. 

2. A lot of the feel difference between Da Bar and the SQ-Lab 30X (lots and lots of time on both) is due to the 9º sweep on the wrist rather than any flex or vibration damping deficiency in the Da Bar. The 35 mm rise version feels better at the wrist even though the 9º sweep is still an issue. I think, in a pool of 35 mm handlebars (that are too stiff for most riders - but that is a separate story) with 9º sweep We Are One could do well to add a 10º/ 35 mm rise bar to their production quiver.

3. Chain line - well known by sensible riders and great to see it executed properly by a bike company (I have been running non-boost chain rings on my boost bikes for 4-5 years. Less lateral deflection and load on the chain. Also one has to bank the ego and run a chain ring that allows the alloy 1/ 50-52T gear to be a "I'm too tired for this sh*t at the moment" bail out gear and the steel 2/42T is a the 95% first gear.

4. Bash guard - mandatory for most riders who do not have Dustin levels of talent (or Bryn Atkinson - the two bolts rather than three on the Norco Optic being one of my specific design peeves. )

5. Carbon finish - shiny is great and it does show that they are rolling out a quality product but they could do with a slightly rougher finish in contact areas and wheel rim inners as I have spent the last five years replacing rim tape far more frequently than I used to do, especially if running stiffer/ stronger tyres. LoamLab's single lock ring grips stay on Da Bar perfectly.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, my sweep preference is why I compared the Da Package to the OneUp and Renthal. I’m always going to prefer the bar with more sweep, but compared to those bars (Renthal has the least back sweep) the WR1 bar still feels more harsh/precise to enough of an extent that I don’t think you need to be super-sensitive to notice it back to back.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 AverageAdventurer

And, 100% to the alloy cog being strictly for bailout. This bike is lighter than my rigid single speed and very efficient so I didn’t have any issue with the stock gearing.

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4Runner1
4Runner1
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Excellent review Andrew. Other reviewers have also alluded to the narrow focus nature of this bike. It does sound like it would be an absolute weapon in a place like Cumby, though. 

That said, it’s not the bike for me. I do admire WAO for building the bike they wanted and it is gorgeous to look at.

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DaveSmith
Dave Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 We_Are_One_Composites

I'm on the 152. It rails and rides much larger than that number suggests. I can't imagine needing the 170mm version on much more than the most heinous of lines.  

I swapped out the Float X2 for the RS deluxe Ultimate and the bike has really come alive.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Ultimate air or coil? What model/travel of fork? 

I’d guess the 170 is no faster than the 152. The 152 is wicked fast. The longer travel bike delivers an increased margin of error and additional millimeters of sag that should make the 170 more forgiving on slower trails.

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DaveSmith
Dave Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 gubbinalia

I'm on the RS Deluxe Ultimate Air. I air up and down constantly because of the camera bag weight and I like to maintain some ride quality rather than wallowing around in the mid-travel when I'm carrying the pack.  I don't think this bike demands a coil but I'd love to try one at some point 'cause I'm a gear whore. 

FWIW: The RS Deluxe Ultimate Air has been great and was highly recco'd to me by a few of the SRAM folks who have been rolling around on them on their personal bikes for a while including a few Arrivals. The settings took a bit dial in but it's been amazing since iI added a click of low-speed. 

As far as the slower trail comment...I don't really know what to do with that. Yes, the bike likes to go fast but it's been just fine on the classic jank and I haven't ever felt under-gunned.

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phil-szczepaniak
Phil Szczepaniak
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

The slow-tech speed thing on the 152 was one of my only criticisms. Having switched to the 170 recently, I can confirm that the additional sag helps keep the bike planted in slow technical riding situations. The 152 just wants to go balls to the walls fast. And that's okay!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Did you notice much change in seated climbing proficiency? The 170mm feedback I've heard thus far is probably too heavily biased to use as a data point but either way it's that the bike still goes like stink on the climbs.

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phil-szczepaniak
Phil Szczepaniak
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major AndrewR

I have not noticed much difference in seated climb efficiency at all to be honest. But I guess I also don't focus on it too much? I'm more of a 'I get to the top when I get to the top' kinda guy. But I froth over tech climbing, and I didn't think it could get any better than the 152 for that. I have to say the 170 is even better for milking that last bit of grip on a square edge. Surprising at times.

We_Are_One_Composites
We_Are_One_Composites
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Phil Szczepaniak Andrew Major 4Runner1

"Balls to the walls" has always made me wonder what that would look like. What do you think AC/DC was trying to show us with that one??? Classic!!

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 AndrewR

The RS Deluxe Ultimate Air took my Sentinel from a place I liked to a place I love. Complete transformation vs the X2 I had on there. It's a winner.

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LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

and out of the service center.

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DaveSmith
Dave Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

That reminds me to call and see if that X2 has been serviced so I can officially move it to back up shock status.

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Ripbro
Ripbro
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

This bike would benefit from something like a Mezzer Pro. One air spring, and adjustable from 150mm - 180mm using spacers. Interested to read the 170 arrival review in the future.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Absolutely. The Mezzer up front is both a fantastic performer and it opens up easy 5mm travel adjust with extra cost in parts. A great option for a bike where folks want to experiment with setup.

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Gdreej
Graham Driedger
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Drew-Bob, both you and @Ryan Walters prefer a crank-mounted bash guard. Have you seen many frames with compromised ISCG05 mounts from impacts lately? Maybe Len Ferrous can chime in, too? Honest question.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

A North Van friend of mine wrote off his carbon front triangle for this exact reason just last week.

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cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Velocipedestrian Ryan Walters Timer Metacomet

Chainrings/cranks are a lot cheaper to replace than frames.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Graham Driedger

Let’s say for a moment I’d seen equal numbers of broken ISCG tabs and crank spiders. NSBillet sells a 4/104 Spider for SRAM cranks for $75 CAD. Race Face sells theirs for Cinch for about the same, plus a bash-guard in either case. Wolf Tooth’s CAMO bash spider is ~$150 CAD for ring + spider including bash, and will fit those options and Shimano.

Any of those options is significantly less money than the best crash replacement deal I’ve ever seen on a front triangle (carbon or aluminum). So just from a dollars perspective you have to love the crank mounted bash.

———

Yes, I’ve seen a fair number of broken ISCG tabs. I suspect the only reason it’s fewer now than in past years is that so many companies have ditched them… also, I suspect that’s why so many companies ditched them.

“Hi, I need to submit a warranty claim. My ISCG tabs fell off. It’s an obvious defect in manufacturing.”

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Gdreej
Graham Driedger
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Fair enough fellas! I'll admit the look of the Camo is growing on me, and upholds the aesthetic of an OG Damage Control Ring. Knocking on wood here that the current taco guard stays safe.

Also looks like SRAM has an inbound bash guard over the next while, which could be cool.

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trumpstinyhands
trumpstinyhands
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Interesting review, and reminds me of binge-watching old episodes of the UK version of Top Gear recently. James May had a piece on why car manufacturers' infatuation with Nürburgring lap times leads to cars that don't work so well in the real world, unless you want to put up with what feels like a track car when getting the groceries!    

My favourite bikes in recent years have probably been my slowest. i.e. my Chromag and Trek Remedy. Something like my Norco Sight was certainly faster, but no amount of speed gratification could take away from the fact that I didn't like the handling. If one doesn't race or Strava, there's a lot to be said for just riding a bike that you gel with and puts the biggest smile on your face.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lu Kz

As I mentioned in a comment somewhere, this was already long by about 5-minutes from my general goal for a bike review but I would have loved to include a more in-depth comparison to other bikes I've ridden as a way to further explain that Top Gear v. Fun Daily Driver dynamic. 

The 27" Remedy from a few years back is a great example of an everybody mountain bike. I rode it a bunch of times, I had fun, end of the story. So easy to set up. So easy to ride. I ended up recommending it to a couple of folks I know who don't get out riding much - it's not a bike you need to relearn to ride if you've been off it for a couple of months. Just jump on and pedal. That's an underrated characteristic when you think about how many mountain bikes only get out a few times a month a few months of the year.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Smiles per hour is the metric for us non-racers.

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DogVet
Hugo Williamson
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

The linkage looks uncommonly like the Giant Maestro, or is that a trick of the light?!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

A couple folks have said this. I don’t really see it - at least not anymore than any almost-DW Link dual-link bike. The overall aesthetic is so unique maybe I’m too focused  on the whole forest.

I’ve ridden a fair few Giants and I can say without equivocation they don’t ride like the Arrival.

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niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Have you every ridden a Reign 29? For some reason both your and Dave's review of the Arrival made me think "sounds like a more expensive, more extreme version of the Reign 29". I have never ridden an Arrival so I have no idea how they compare but the Reign 29 rides very differently from previous Reigns. Much less plush but wants to go fast. And indeed, feels a bit out of place on the more awkward Shore trails.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I have ridden the latest generation of Reign 29 and I agree it rides differently from all past iterations of the Reign (I’ve ridden quite a few of those too). Whether it’s fit or suspension function I find it much harder to get along with.

I wouldn’t personally compare it to the Arrival beyond the short headtube and basic suspension layout. I find there are trails/scenarios where the We Are One is really alive I don’t find the Reign 29 particularly works for me anywhere. I’ll be interested to see where Giant goes with the next iteration as my experience is not uncommon.

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niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I feel like Giant custom designed the R29 for me, that's how much I feel at home on it, but I can definitely see how others may not like it. Mine has a 160 fork though, Giant sells them stock with 170 up front now which I think takes it even further outside of where it shines. It's supposed to be their EWS bruiser but it's really more a trail rocket. For the next generation I suppose they'll bring it more in line with the expectations from an EWS rig and away from what I like about the current design.

Anyway, I'm Arrival-curious for what you don't like about it, not because I'm that fast rider you describe (I'm not) but just to know how it rides because it sounds different and interesting.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

I think that’s the key feature I’d like to/tried to highlight. The Arrival 152, at least as it’s built, isn’t trying to be for everyone and that’s awesome. 

It’s a bike that anyone who’s ridden a few bikes in the category should try if the opportunity presents itself simply because it’s interesting to ride. Very happy to have had the chance to review it.

pedalhound
pedalhound
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Closer to Banshee's KS2 linkage than the Maestro IMO.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Showing the versatility of dual short link bikes I suppose, the Arrival rides very differently from a similar travel Banshee (Titan).

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IslandLife
IslandLife
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Excellent, well thought-out, well written review.

That is a really short head tube.  Usually, that short of a head tube would be paired with a longer reach to give riders more flexibility.  Similarly, my bike (size large) has a head tube of 103mm.  But it also starts out with a reach of 491... so adding 15mm of spacers (on my 63.5 HA) gives me an effective reach 484.5.  Adding that many spacers to a size Large with a reach of 475, with a 64 degree HA, means you end up with an effective reach of more like 465.  Perhaps a taller rise bar would have been a better option as they tend to preserve more reach than just adding spacers.  Or a longer stem in addition to the spacers?  Do you think this shortened effective reach had any effect on your your perceptions on the handling?

Note on chain line, I know you've been banging this drum for a while and it's a big reason why I decided to try it out!  I ride a 157 bike, use a SB+ SRAM DUB crankset/bottom bracket, but switched to GXP spacing (6mm) and now have a 54mm chainline. Thank you.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

At 5’9” the more medium-large sizing of the large Arrival works really well for me even with the stack of spacers. I’ve been running my bars quite a bit higher on my personal bikes (including my custom rig) lately for a bit of a confidence boost on steeper terrain and the stays are long enough in the Arrival that it’s still well balanced as you see it here.

A taller rise bar (and lower stem) would claim back some effective Reach but I’d also cut the bar a bit narrower so my actual weight distribution might not change. 

Either way, I would have, as noted, like to find ‘too high’ and work lower to see where I’d end up but the setup here was totally okay for me.

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jt
JT
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Only a couple comments/questions:

1. Might seem a wee silly, but did you by chance think of trying some carbon paste on the grips? Real question as I haven't had this issue on any carbo bar myself. This may be a point where (the right) grease on grips is good.

2. This may be the first time in ages where I've read someone hyping an Intense. Weird. Saw my first one in well, well over a decade this past weekend, but it was one of the Costco units.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

You’re not the first person to suggest carbon paste. No, I didn’t/wouldn’t consider it. I just switched grips out until I found some that worked.

The Carbine 29’er was a ripping fast bike. I know a couple people who hurt themselves properly on their first ride on one either overshooting a jump or coming into a corner way too hot. They pedaled supremely well for the travel too. Fast, fast, fast on the way down. Not anywhere near the top of my list for a bike for me around here, but I appreciate why folks love/loved them in more open terrain. 

Actually, a -2* headset in a Carbine 29’er with an extra 10mm of fork travel - assuming it’s all serviced and running well - could probably hold it’s own racing any of the current Enduro rigs. Maybe that’s a bit bold, but with some racers sizing down now the geo numbers aren’t that out there.

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Jotegir
Lu Kz
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Blofeld Andrew Major JVP

I have a recent experience that might lean some tangential, anecdotal weight towards your theory being correct. I raced the sun peaks enduro on my Instinct this year with a -1.5 degree Angleset, mostly because my longer travel stuff was either a. broken b. not ready or c. a dual crown bike with a 7 speed cassette. For comparison, my Instinct is a 2018, like the Carbine.

I think it was both one of the lower travel and older bikes there. The last race I attended at the 'Peaks was in 2016, and the difference in bikes is remarkably different. Back in 2016, localish enduros were certainly a lot more "run what ya brung", with bikes like the Thunderbolt and fuel ex making appearances. Now it's all Megatower this, Slash that. Well done bike media and marketing departments there, I suppose. Mission accomplished.

By most accounts, Sun peaks was one of the more demanding stops of the series, with 5 top to bottom stages and one straight line and steep shorter stage.

Bike wise, I didn't think the geometry held me back. With the angleset, increased fork travel, and higher stack than I normally run (compared to my 140mm fork), I didn't feel like I wanted for much. Maybe a bit longer rear end - I mostly ride a pretty modern DH bike there, for comparison.

If anything, the thing I noticed was suspension design/travel. The Rocky just isn't all that on the ultra high speed, square edged hits (whether in BC mode or not). I'll cut it some slack as the bike was certainly a bit out of its element.

Funnily enough, I think the slack seat tube angles of this slightly older generation of bikes (say, 74-75.5 or so) might be the least relevant part of the modern geometry shift for actual race days. Its counterintuitive too. A lot of Enduro races have riders going up stupid steep gravel roads and other stuff that you'd often dodge and hit up climb trails on most other days - you'd expect the super steep seat angles to be a big help here.

Except they don't. Why? Because the vast majority of riders walked up the steepest sections on race day to avoid spiking their heart rate. I know lots of people like steeper seat tube angles these days, particularly if they go up steep gravel roads all day, but the fact it didn't actually matter on the days you were between the tape? Amusing.

The thing that really struck me racing my outdated instinct is that while it was certainly not the best tool for the job, the smaller side of XL geometry let me stay in a competent body position for longer. When I rode the new range for most of last year, it was a consistent effort to stay on top of the proper position, and when I got tired, it was tough. On the substantially smaller Rocky, when I'm gassed, I'm still in the optimal position. This issue probably goes away if you're a fitness enthusiast or pro, but as decidedly middle of the pack, age-category rider, a bike with a fit closer to the Rocky is one I could ride at close to my best all day for several days. When I was gassed after a pedal section of a 7 minute stage, I was still in a body position to control the bike and corner effectively and safely.

Looking at the carbine specifically, the glaring issue with Intense bikes is that people want big Santa Cruz used bike money for them, despite lacking the decade of support commitment you see from the 'Cruz.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Velocipedestrian Lu Kz

Interesting stuff! For sure one thing you're pointing out there is that - shocker - there's a pretty big difference between racing (even at a non-pro level) and trail riding. The fatigue aspect you point out and being more comfortable on slightly more conservative geometry is insightful.

I heard a bit of chatter last week about Moir and his famous use of smaller frames for racing, especially for such a big guy. What I heard was that he determined that there is more time to be made up in slow/tight corners in EWS courses - favouring a smaller/tighter bike - than there is to be lost in fast sections that favour a longer bike. Furthermore, as a strong pro rider who's comfortable with speed, he apparently is less concerned about front center length and stability than the average rider (at least compared to the advantages of a shorter bike). So for him, a shorter bike has advantages that may not be applicable outside of the EWS pro use case. Thought that was interesting as I hadn't heard it put that way before.

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Timer
Timer
3 months, 1 week ago
0

There is also the fact that the pros suspension is much better set up and serviced than that of normal riders, which gives their bikes very good straight line stability even with shorter wheelbase.

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Blofeld
Blofeld
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I started reading the ‘creak hunt’ section of this article and was half-hoping you’d found a trunnion shock issue, but was half-relieved you were only half-right…this time. I did go so far as to enquire with Cascade Components if they’d considered detrunnion kits for this or other popular bikes, but they were clear that The Issue has been contained to bikes with bad alignment, and is a non starter as a product.

A great review in any case - if the five other tirades I feel like starting are any indication! Please commend your little person on her photos as well.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Blofeld Lu Kz Timer

When you look at how brands like RockShox and DVO are beefing up their shocks to manage wear caused by Trunnion and yoke-equipped bikes saying "the issue has been contained to bikes with bad alignment" is sort of like saying you only need fire sprinklers in buildings that contain flammable stuff. Still, most sizes of most bikes that use a Trunnion mount shock don't have room for a regular one with the same stroke so I'm not surprised they aren't chasing down that path. 

The air can stayed tight and the bike didn't creak from that area for the remainder of my rides but I wouldn't declare it issue-free without taking the shock apart after 100hrs or so of riding. 

Cheers! She's at the age where she loves to help and is actually helpful. I'm certainly enjoying it.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Blofeld ElBrendo JVP

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Blofeld
Blofeld
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I agree with the assessment of the trunnion shock fire risk, but also can’t fault Cascade for rolling with products that don’t require an additional $600 investment. What I’m not sure about is the extra inch of clearance required for a non- trunnion shock. I think I could squish one in on a lot of bikes!

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WalrusRider
WalrusRider
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I wish they weren't using such a high leverage suspension design. Can a rider over 200lbs get a shock to the recommended sag without exceeding most air shock's maximum pressure?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Based on the We Are One's suspension chart having a 190lb rider at 290psi, and the Super Deluxe Ultimate having a max pressure of 325psi you don't have much room to play even with the shock being valved for the bike by RockShox. Maybe a 215-220lb rider if you're running recommended sag. 

Certainly worth noting.

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sr_34
sr_34
3 months ago
0

Really nice article. @Andrew can you tell us which colorway this is? Growers Green?

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ybsurf
ybsurf
1 week ago
0

Hi Andrew! How would you compare the arrival 152 to the druid? I ride the mullet druid at 130mm?

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 Deniz Merdano IslandLife Andrew Major

Didn't those earlier builds come with Magura MT5s? Choosing those over ANY level of Code is a special form of masochism!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 IslandLife BadNudes

I regularly recommend the MT5 (with HC levers for small hands / regular levers for large hands) over the Code series for both power and feel. I’ve installed many sets and feedback has always been good.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Crazy. My own experience (and that of fellow riders) has always been the exact opposite. Not to mention all the Magura "quirks". 

I've heard the MT7's are a different beast though.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

MT7 is the identical caliper.

The master cylinders on the less expensive systems (MT5, Trail Sport) are a bit trickier to get a good bleed, maybe, but it’s not rocket surgery.

What ‘quirks’ exactly?

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Mainly, not slowing my bicycle down when I pulled on the brake levers, lol.

And to get into pads that actually worked, you're looking at twice the price of Code pads (or something like that).

I would have liked to try the MT5's with MTX pads, as I think most of my woes were caused by the Magura pads.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 BadNudes Phil Szczepaniak

I've been using Magura Performance pads year-round for years now on my mountain bikes - I like the four separate pads for the front and the long one-piece pads for the rear but either way the compound is the same. I've used the Race compound as well and also Galfer pads (who, as I understand it, manufacture pads and rotors for Magura) but Performance is what's in my brakes right now.

The MT-7 comes stock with the four separate pads setup whereas the MT-5 comes stock with the two long pads setup but they're the same compound.

I've also run MT5 brakes with Performance pads on my bakfiets cargo bike, fully loaded, in all conditions on the North Shore. I bring it up because on this tank/bike going down hills like Keith Rd. I'm constantly dragging brakes wet or dry. The heat is intense even with 8" rotors and it's the worst possible life for a brake pad. 

I also couldn't tell you how many of these systems (MT5, MT7, MT Trail, Trail Sport, etc) I've installed for folks while turning wrenches, and I know a lot of people personally who use them - generally running four separate pads in the front with a mix of setups rear (four separate, four-piston w/ two long pads, two-piston).

I won't comment on your particular experience except to say it is not widely shared, or indeed a complaint that I've ever come across, in my experience.

Timer
Timer
3 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I'm not sure what you mean by "pads that actually worked". Ive run Magura Performance and Trickstuff Power pads and both are working fine in the wet or below zero temperatures. Both cost the same as SRAM OE pads and are cheaper than Shimano finned.

In pouring rain the power is a bit less but that is true for every brake i ever ran. It is much more pronounced on the sram guides on my other bike.

The only two real drawbacks of the MT Trail Sport are a slightly more tricky bleed process and a certain fragility of the master cylinder assembly. The fiber reinforced plastic is more vulnerable to damage from crashes than a metal one.

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 BadNudes

MT5s on the e-bikes I rode recently worked really well. High speed, lower angle trails. No moisture. 

That's my review.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, my experience was in winter - the Magura pads certainly didn't feel great when wet or cold.

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davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

My experience mirrors this one.  They worked well in the dry.  They were terrifying in the rain.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

If either of you still has the pads kicking around I'd be keen to have a look at them.

davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Well, there was definitely something wrong with the pads, I just don't think it was contamination.  Either way, I no longer have them.  They were the stock brakes on the Arrival test bike.  I followed the Magura bed in procedure and everything.  They worked just fine in the dry, but they honestly scared me my first ride in the wet.  10-15 seconds of the worst braking I've experienced in the modern bicycling era, and then okay once they warmed up.  I assumed that there was some sort of contamination, but then they were back to what they were in the dry.  That would be the first time I've experienced contamination that only showed up in the wet...and afflicted another user in a similar manner under roughly the same conditions.  My solution was to not ride the bike in wet weather.

I also didn't like how difficult it was to even figure out what pads and rotors that I had, and which ones I should buy to replace them.  It just all seemed so needlessly complicated.  My conclusion was that they seem like good brakes (based on the dry weather performance), but something was off in the wet and with Ryan having a similar experience you should prepare for some potential pad experimentation if you ride in wet weather.  Bad batch?  Some kind of north shore specific contamination?  Mushroom induced hallucination?  Maybe.  I'm not writing them off entirely but I would certainly approach another set with hesitation.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 1 week ago
0

@Dave, if the hydraulic pressure is unchanged then it is clearly a friction issue related to either the pads or rotors. Or, sometimes alignment issues with the caliper where limited pad contact is more obvious when the brakes are wet.

I would have started with cleaning and surfacing your brake rotors and surfacing the pads and bedding in the brakes again.

Barring that, you wouldn't be the first person with a contaminated set of brake pads that needed to be replaced - see all bike brands, including brand new bikes out of the box. Replace pads, clean and surface rotors, and bed in new pads.

I've installed many of these systems at work, never mind having used them extensively myself and I've now heard of two cases of this 'quirk' - you and Ryan - which maybe warrants further examination. I would have liked to have seen the pads just for my own knowledge.

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Yeah, my experience was basically the same as Dave's when using performance pads. I had one cold, dry day that was about -5*C, and the brakes had next to zero stopping power when first applied.

Pads and rotors were not contaminated to the best of my knowledge, and I've installed and bled countless other systems without any problems like this. I also followed the rather onerous Magura bedding in procedure to a T.

davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
3 months, 1 week ago
0

Fair enough.  I did start looking at new pads, but it was a bit of an investment.  Had the bike hung around for longer, I definitely would have gone that route, but it probably wouldn't have been stock pads from Magura.  I don't think it was alignment or something like that.  I was quite happy with how they worked in the dry, but there was remarkably terrible performance in the wet...and cold.  It was probably cold.  I'm not totally writing off the brakes.

IslandLife
IslandLife
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

From my experience, going from Code RSC's last year to MT5's (with upgraded pads and levers) this year has been an amazing upgrade in power and feel... along with zero issues over 700kms of hard riding.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

What pads are you running? I found the stock "performance" pads terrifying. The "race" pads were definitely better, but they cost a fortune.

My experience with the MT5's was in winter, and they just didn't deliver in the cold and wet for me.

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IslandLife
IslandLife
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Original Performance pads were fine... (still more power than RSC's with stock pads), after wearing those out, went with the Loam Goat metallic pads and they were even better.  Gave me more confidence for Mount Prevost blasting than my previous Code RSC's.

I have heard the lever choice can have a large impact on these brakes performance.  If you weren't using the "one-finger HC levers" and using the stock version... that could be the issue?  MT7's come stock with a similar lever and I believe that is often why people claim such a difference between the two.  I then added the MDR-P 220 and 203 rotors... expensive, but holy fuck... the stopping power is ridiculous.  Took my riding to another level.  Being able to lightly touch my brakes to get supreme power is a game changer.  Especially for long enduro race stages, way less arm pump/fatigue.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I was using HC levers and MDR-P rotors - 220mm on the front.

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LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0 Ryan Walters IslandLife

If you are complaining about power with Codes, they probably aren't bled properly or have contaminated pads.  No issue with power with mine and rarely get arm pump.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Timer IslandLife

@Jerry I don’t see anyone complaining about Codes. They’re excellent, fully serviceable brakes. 

But in my experience the Magura MT 4-piston system brings a better power band and feel to the trail. I don’t think that’s an out there opinion, it’s the reason Hayes had team riders on Magura brakes as part of developing their Dominion A4 system (arguably the best brake on the market right now). 

I’m happy to ride Code brakes. But there are plenty of other systems worthy of consideration.

D_C_
DMVancouver
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0 Jerry Willows IslandLife

@Jerry sticky pistons are a common overlooked issue as well that impact performance on Codes.

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
3 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 IslandLife

problem with the other brands is getting parts....  lots of unknown.  I would like to try the Trickstuff though

BadNudes
BadNudes
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

I Like the MT5s, but they've not been problem free for me. On ride #2, one lever had a leak past the master cylinder meaning a slow and steady pull on the brakes would pull to the bar. Boxing and shipping them off for warranty was the same cost as a new Shimano lever... so bye bye warranty. A little tougher to set up rub-free, but worth it for high-leverage without some silly servo-wonky leverage curve. Ample and intuitive, predictable braking power for me. Curious to try TRP, Formula or Hayes, but might still go for the MT5 again because even with imperfections I think it's competitive in the price:performance metric.

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LWK
LWK
3 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 Karl Fitzpatrick

Why would NSMB review the same bike twice within a few months - this and Dave Tolnai's piece back in the spring?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+8 Phil Szczepaniak Vik Banerjee Cooper Quinn Niels van Kampenhout gubbinalia Blofeld Karl Fitzpatrick Todd Hellinga

Why not? I’d love to read more individual bike reviews of the same rigs by more different writers. 

Also, new build kit, one was available, and I was excited for the chance to get some hours on the bike. It’s a really unique machine.

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