Here is the Perp - a darn clever machine from John 'The Kid' Cramer and friends at Cannondale. Based on the bigger, more DH orientated Judge, the Perp is designed for freeride, downhill, slopestyle and generally having loads of fun on.
According to Cannondale, the Perp (short for Perpetrator in 2000AD/Judge Dredd speak) is a "single-pivot frame design with a leverage ratio manipulating linkage." Bit of a mouthful, but basically it's a linkage-activated single pivot: a kind of hybrid between single-pivot and four-bar linkage frame designs, to give the responsive feel of a single pivot with the stable pedalling capability of a four-bar linkage.
Made from 6061-T6 TIG-welded aluminium, it has a freeride-friendly OnePointFive (1.5in) head tube, the rear end sports a Thru 12 rear axle and the disc mounts are replaceable. The bottom bracket shell and pivot housing are machined from one chunk of alloy, giving the frame high torsional rigidity.
The main differences between the Perp and the Judge are length, head angle and rear travel: the wheelbase of our medium Perp 2 was 45.3in, which compared to that of the Judge at 45.8in, isn't much, but it makes a difference. The Perp has two rear travel settings: 180 and 200mm (7-7.8in) with a constant head angle of 66 degrees, and this is where the engineering is. When you flip the shock to increase the
travel, you re-fit the top tube linkage into the front eyelet to compensate for the increase in BB height (and the other way around to decrease the travel). 66 degrees is a little steeper than the Judge's head angle, but not so steep that it stops you racing downhill.
The Perp 2 features an impressive selection of kit for the money. Up front is a trusty RockShox Domain fork with 180mm (7in) of super plush, bottomless travel, matched at the rear by a Fox Vanilla R shock that gives the bike three-stage travel. Stage one is supple and fast-responding, for rumbling bumps and rocks, mid stroke is stable for efficient pedalling to transform that single-pivot design into a bob-free yet responsive suspension system, and the end stroke is ramped up for big hits, again giving bottomless travel.
At 180mm travel, this bike pedals awesomely - in fact, it's one of
the best pedalling freeride bikes, especially on climbs. The 66-degree head angle keeps things quicker than your average DH rig and it's easier to throw around, thanks to its very low weight.
In the 200mm rear travel setting there's slightly more sag, making the suspension feel more plush, which is ideal for DHing. This setting also makes the bike ride more like its big brother, but with a steeper head angle. A 20mm alteration doesn't seem much, but it translates to a totally different ride with the reassurance that your head angle hasn't got steeper with the increased travel.
Our bike tackled everything from fast DHs to big drops to stair sets and even dirt jumps, and we're pretty impressed.