Knolly Delirium first ride review£2,200.00

Long-travel rig from the home of freeride

Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, the chunky build of Knolly’s bikes is a reflection of the burly trails they’re designed to ride. The Delirium has 170mm out back and the capability to be fitted with either a triple-clamp or single-crown fork. It’s billed as a do-it-all-machine for the more extreme end of mountain biking.

Knolly Delirium spec overview

  • Frame: Hydroformed 6066 aluminium, 170mm (6.7in) travel
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik RCT3, 180mm (7.1in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX with MRP SXg chain guide (1x11)
  • Wheels: Mavic Crossmax
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary Bike Park 27.5x2.35in
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RS
  • Bar: Kore OCD, 800mm
  • Stem: Kore Repute, 35mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth 125mm dropper
  • Saddle: Kore Durox
  • Weight: 15.88kg (35lb), medium size without pedals

Knolly Delirium frame and kit

Once you’ve taken in the multitude of suspension links, what strikes you next about the Delirium is how small the front triangle is. This is due to the seat tube being positioned in front of the bottom bracket, though, and the reach is actually on the longer side of average (445mm on the medium frame).

At 64 degrees, the head angle is fairly slack. In contrast, the bottom bracket is pretty high — I measured it at 355mm in the ‘low’ geometry setting and 372mm in ‘high’, which is quite a lot taller than stated in the geometry charts.

Knolly’s own ‘Fourby4’ linkage controls the suspension. Used across its four-bike range, it’s basically a traditional four-bar Horst Link style design but with an additional rocker link that’s used to alter the shock’s leverage ratio.

The Fourby4 suspension looks complex but is basically a four-bar design
The Fourby4 suspension looks complex but is basically a four-bar design

With the Delirium only being sold as a frame (including rear shock) in the UK, I won’t dwell on the parts spec, but my test bike came fitted with some fairly high-end kit.

The frame is designed around a 180mm fork and a top-of-the-range RockShox Lyrik RCT3 provided perfect damping up front. At the back, I found I had to run the Fox Float X2 shock considerably harder than Knolly suggest in order to give me a balanced set-up.

The Delirium has a low stack height and was supplied with a low-rise bar, so I ran 25mm of spacers under the stem to compensate for this and raise the front end a bit.

Knolly Delirium ride impression

When I first swung a leg over the Knolly I expected its long travel and burly build to make me feel invincible. But the tall bottom bracket and low front end created a rather ‘tipped forward’ riding position that didn’t inspire confidence and was at odds with the Canadian company’s claim to have created a bike that would “take you to the next level.”

Although this felt a bit unnerving on the steeps, I liked the snappy handling that the shortish 429mm chainstays provided. The suspension impressed too, smoothing out the chatter and helping me to carry speed on flatter trails, even with slow-rolling Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres fitted (albeit the harder and more durable dual-compound Bike Park version).

Designed as a playful freeride machine, the Knolly feels a bit out of place on most UK trails
Designed as a playful freeride machine, the Knolly feels a bit out of place on most UK trails

Point the Delirium uphill and you’re definitely in for a workout. While the 1x11 SRAM NX transmission suggests pedalling is on the agenda, the slack seat angle and overall weight nearing that of a DH rig make this a bike that’s better suited to shuttle runs.

The whole package left me feeling a bit confused about when I’d actually ride this bike. I felt that unless I was taking on Canadian-style freeride stunts, I’d most likely reach for a shorter-travel enduro bike — or, for more testing terrain, a full-on downhill rig — over the Delirium.

Knolly Delirium early verdict

A bike with hard-hitting credentials, but maybe one there isn’t much of a niche for in the UK.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Related Articles

Back to top