The latest from Turner sees a return to form for the company with this hungry full suspension hardcore trailster, though the pricing is a little on the hefty side.
We've had nothing but love for Dave Turner's suspension bikes since the first Burner. However, the long travel Six Pack was a surprise disappointment when we tested it 18 months ago. So it's not surprising to find that we were keen to thrash its RFX replacement to see if it was a return to form.
The sloped top tube frame has dropped a serious amount of weight - Turner claim around 1.5lb. This is achieved by sharing the rear with the new 5.5in travel Spot frame and using an all-new rocker arm specific to the RFX. The machined head tube, bottom bracket block and rear end together with strategic gussets space out the custom-butted tubeset to complete a low-slung and purposeful-looking frame.
Turner are still sticking with their tried-and-tested grease-injected bushing system. Hard long-term users we know get through an average of a set of bushings per year, but they're cheap and easy to replace, with a squirt of grease keeping them sweet between times.
Tyre clearances are ample for 2.4in rubber and standover is excellent. But with several obvious competitors dropping prices recently, it's not a cheap option at around £1,600.
Turner bikes are supplied as a frame for you to build up to the limit of your wallet, but there are a few things worth noting...
Firstly, the Fox 36 fork is a great match in terms of seriously aggressive stiffness, travel and low weight. The wheel package will always be vital on bikes like this, and we were glad to have the ride underlined with reasonably sturdy WTB all-mountain style wheels and the new chunky 2.4in Advantage treads from Maxxis when the going got fast and loose.
The RFX is exactly what Turner say it is: a tough, trail hungry and thoroughly enjoyable bike to hammer all the way round hardcore trails. The relaxed - but not too slack - angles make it easy to shove weight onto either wheel too. This means easy poise, whether you're trying to chew front wheel traction out of fading trail grip, or you're off the back floating drop sequences. Despite its weight loss, the frame is stiff enough to stay locked together with the 36 fork and it feels really sharp and responsive all the time.
On very long climbs, where pedal efficiency really counts, the ProPedal compression damping helped to stabilise the RFX. It certainly scooted along very respectably considering its 32lb weight, with no obvious wobble or bob. Combined with a generous 14in BB height, you can keep the power on however rough it gets.
The flipside is a lack of rear wheel feel through your feet, and the back wheel occasionally gets caught out and stopped dead by flat-faced blocks. Accurate shock set-up is essential to get the bike riding well.
It looks like the 07 bikes will come with the lighter and more reliable RP23 shock though. A definite bonus after we limped back with a blown DHX can.