BH bikes may not be a common sight on UK and US trails at present, but for those looking for a 150mm trail bike, the new Lynx 6 is an option that should be taken very seriously.
Branded as an aggressive trail bike, the 150mm Lynx 6 design is based on the same platform as BH’s existing 100mm bike, the Lynx 4. The 6 will soon be available in both the UK and US, where it will be pitched against competitors such as Trek’s Remedy Carbon and the Lapierre Zesty 914. Crucially, the Lynx 6 will be available in multiple carbon and alloy builds. BikeRadar tested the top-of-the-range model on a recent trip to the Basque Country, Spain.
Ride & handling: Quick to adapt and immensely capable on any terrain
While trying out a trail bike such as the Lynx 6, it's important to be riding in an environment that tests all aspects of the ride. Fortunately, our test route along a stretch of the Pyrenees offered just that, with everything from sandy terrain to boulder-littered descents and gruelling climbs.
Climbing aboard the BH you're confronted with a handlebar boasting no less than seven levers, and more cables than you’ll find at the back of most computers. These are for the KS seatpost and Fox’s 2013 CTD system, which is in full effect on the Lynx 6. It offers a new way of controlling the damping on both the front fork and rear shock, via a handlebar-mounted lever. This means the ride of both the 32 TALAS 150 fork and Float rear shock can be adjusted simultaneously on the fly. The acronym stands for the three different suspension modes available: Climb, Trail and Descend.
Although the extra wires and options are daunting at first there were no issues out on the trail. The CTD lever is an odd-looking bit of hardware – its position and sheer size brought doubts about its durability. This was eventually put to the test when we ran out of talent on a rocky descent and plowed the lever into a rock – to our surprise, it emerged unscathed.
Fox's CTD lever looks vulnerable but passed our crash test
A large bike was a near-perfect fit for our 6ft 3in rider, while a relatively short stem and wide bar helped give a familiar feel and buck the euro trends. The first trail we hit on the Lynx was almost entirely made up of long, fast downhill sections, and from here it was obvious the Lynx is a talented piece of kit for descending duties.
The rear suspension seemed to get better and better with speed, and never felt of its depth despite harsh and fast compressions. There was an overall level of plushness that felt comparable to descending on an underinflated rear tyre, except the bike didn’t slow down. When it did come to scrubbing speed, however, Magura’s MT8 brakes were up to the task – performance was consistent and feel was good but overall power left a little to be desired.
DT Swiss Tricon XM 1550 hoops boasted both the stiffness and pace they’re renowned for, while grip levels were never an issue thanks to a 2.4in Continental Mountain King and X King front and rear rubber combo.
Toying with the three modes of the CTD lever over several hours of riding gave us mixed impressions. BH were particularly keen to show off the bike’s ability to climb, and then we found out why – in Climb mode the bike is superb. The stiffness of the chassis can really be felt and the only limits to your uphill ability are your legs and lungs. An impressive overall weight of 12kg/26.46lb is no doubt a major factor in this, too.
The Fox 32 TALAS fork offered 150mm of goodness but we never felt the need to adjust the front suspension travel. We think the TALAS system is one lever too far for this bike.
Once the trail flattened back out we dialled the bike into Trail mode. Despite trying really hard to like this setting, it simply wasn’t to our taste. We felt that it added a little too much low-speed compression to the ride, leaving the suspension stroke feeling somewhat choked.
Switching the bike into Descend mode was a relief – suddenly, everything made a lot more sense. With the suspension fully open the benefits of the Split-Pivot design became apparent, with almost completely bob-free pedalling and a responsive rear end even with the rear anchor on.
When pushing hard on supportive areas of trail the suspension sat up and refused to blow through its travel unless it was completely necessary. At the same time, it kept our DT Tricon hoops from losing valuable momentum. Cornering on the Lynx was always a joy – a slack 66.7-degree head angle combined with a low 13.38in bottom bracket height can certainly take some credit for this.
Our test bike featured a Shimano XT 2x10 transmission fitted as a temporary measure. Customer bikes will feature a full 38/24 Shimano XTR setup.
Frame & equipment: A looker with features to frighten the opposition
An all-carbon construction means a medium Lynx 6 frame, complete with shock, balances the scales at an impressive 2.55kg/5.62lb. The bottom bracket shell accommodates a 92mm press-fit unit while the front end requires no alloy inserts for its tapered head tube.
The rear end is kept stiff yet convenient with a DT Swiss RWS 140x12mm axle. Above that sits a 160mm post mount for the rear brake. All bearings supplied with the frame are mountain bike specific and produced by reputable manufacturer Enduro Bearings.
Cable routing is an internal affair, and that covers the wire for the KS LEV dropper seatpost. The Lynx 6 is a smart-looking bike, the beautiful carbon curves and subtle colour scheme adding up to something special. We also think BH were wise to have used such an inoffensive paint job, as the 6 is only available in the colour scheme you see here – that is until the alloy version arrives, available in two more liveries.
The suspension on the Lynx 6 is something to be very excited about – its design was headed by suspension guru and industry pioneer Dave Weagle, while long relationships between Fox and both Weagle and BH mean the Lynx 6 is a showcase of new technology. Data acquisition equipment from motorsport legends Cosworth was even used to make sense of findings from real-world testing.
The Lynx 6 uses Weagle’s Split-Pivot design. This consists of a concentric rear axle pivot that’s used to reduce the undesired effects of braking forces acting on the rear suspension. The Split-Pivot also works in unison with the all-new Fox Float CTD rear shock to reduce pedal-induced suspension movement.
In Climb mode the bike closes off all the damper circuits in both the fork and shock, resulting in the brutally efficient climbing ride we detailed above. Switch the lever one position and you enter Trail mode. Similar to ProPedal systems of old, this adds sufficient low-speed compression damping to both ends in order to create a firmer ride but with enough comfort to smooth out the worst of the track. Knock the lever one step further and you’ll be in Descend mode – this fully open setting allows for use of maximum suspension travel and plushness.
The Lynx 6 is due to be available later this year. Prices and names are subject to change, but here are the details we have so far:
- Lynx 6 9.8, £6,999 / 6,999 euros (carbon, Shimano XTR Trail, Fox 32 TALAS 150mm CTD Factory)
- Lynx 6 9.7, £5,299 / 5,299 euros (carbon, Shimano XT, Fox 32 TALAS O/C CTD Evolution)
- Lynx 6 9.6, £4,199 / 4,199 euros (carbon, SRAM X.9, RockShox Sektor Solo Air 150mm)
- Lynx 6 8.9, £3,699 / 3,699 euros (aluminium, Shimano XT, Fox 32 O/C 150mm CTD Evolution)
- Lynx 6 8.8, £2,699 / 2,699 euros (aluminium, Shimano XT 10V, RockShox Sektor 150mm coil)
We’ve also heard that there are plans to build an even higher spec carbon Lynx 6, and a lower spec aluminium model. These details are yet to be confirmed but we’ll keep you updated with any news.
We tested the top-end carbon Lynx 6 in the Basque Country