Sunday, January 1, 2006 12.00am
By Guy Kesteven
The Frisky is a new bike in Elan's range, aimed directly at the new 'do everything' All Mountain category.
It uses a very similar layout to the proven Able Freerider, but with an even more pronounced 'J bend' top tube so the shock can be mounted on the top tube rather than on the down tube. This enables Elan to get away with lighter walled tubes and even in our large sample sized frame 7.7lb is not a bad weight for a 140mm travel bike. Throat gussets mean it should have no trouble handling a 6in travel fork either, although geometry is based around 5in units.
Extra weight is also machined out of the windowed swingarm uprights which are braced with two welded pipes to resist 'yaw and twist' during cornering. The deep oval and rectangular stays are wide spaced for tyre clearance and vertically asymmetric for front mech and chain space on the drive side. Thick CNC cantilever dropouts keep the rear wheel solidly in place even if you get cross threaded in boulder gaps or deep ruts. The bike is fully disc compatible but there are no bottle mounts anywhere so you'll be drinking and powering off-road lights from a bag which will irritate some. The cartridge bearings are only part shielded too, so check them regularly for corrosion.
The Frisky is one of the only bikes here with adjustable travel though, using a simple two position rear shock mount to give a relatively straight rate 125mm setting or a falling rate 140mm stroke. Manitou's Swinger Air 4 Way piggyback shock gives plenty of options for tuning initial response and end of stroke compression to balance the bike to taste in either position. The air spring also makes rider weight adjustment easy and keeps overall mass down. There's enough stroke length to complement the Swinger's impressively accurate damping as well, leaving the Frisky feeling longer than its 125-140mm travel.
The 69 degree head/73 degree seat tube angles keeps the nose from being too nervous in slippery or high speed conditions, but it sharpens up the rear enough for quick 'flick and flare' direction changes that'll really appeal to aggressive riders who like taking the fight to the trail rather than just cruising along. Like the Able One, the Frisky is also available in various complete bike and frame & fork packages which increases overall value.
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