Sunday, January 1, 2006 12.00am
By Guy Kesteven
You don't have to look far to find some obvious parallels to Club Roost's overall layout - 'Santa Cruz, it ain't that far.' There's a hell of a lot of work gone into this bike considering the relatively low price though.
The double butted main tubes are reinforced with a neat open sided and open ended throat gusset, and the ovalised down tube is twisted through its axis for extra bottom bracket stiffness. There's a bridged gusset on the extended seat tube too and the main pivot sits on a big CNC block. There's plenty more machining in the big open web swingarm uprights and dropouts too. Super wide stays mean massive tyre clearance (although they can scuff big calves) and the back end can take V or disc brakes.
A quick release collar combines with an uninterrupted seat tube to make full seat height adjustment easy. The cartridge bearings are worryingly exposed to weather but they are clamped rather than pressed into place so replacement is easy when they die.
Despite the low price you also get touch up paint, a spare rear mech gear hanger and a 'free' seat post which makes it even more impressive value. There is only one colour, size and shock option though, but the 165mm shock length means there are plenty of aftermarket options available.
It's a bit heavy for a four-incher, but it's stiff and responsive under pedalling to give extra boost to acceleration and climbing feel.
Ride position and XC style (70 degree head angle, 73 degree seat tube angle) geometry mean well balanced trail manners for general trail riding too. A reasonably solid frame feel also generates confidence, although visual fl ex is accentuated by the tall swingarm uprights as it is on the Santa Cruz Superlight. Getting a proper Fox shock at this price is definitely a real coup in performance, reliability and tuneability terms though.
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