We’ve been keen to leap on the Phoenix DH since ﬁrst eyeballing it. With Dave Weagle’s well established DW-Link suspension design and a host of other World Cup worthy features, on paper it’s a hard bike to fault. But how well does this translate to the hill?
Ride & handling: Solid, confidence inspiring downhill bike
Hit rugged sections hard and fast and you soon see what the Phoenix revels in. It’ll carry speed well in some of the ugliest situations possible, meaning you can stick the sort of lines that other bikes simply shy away from.
The balanced suspension action and well-proportioned geometry bolster the bike’s composure and help create a neutral ride position, from where controlling this beast rapidly becomes second nature.
We only really noticed the raked out, super slack 62.5-degree head angle on ﬂatter, slower trails where cornering wasn’t quite as snappy – but thanks to the AngleSet, it’s easy to tweak to suit whatever track you’re riding. That said though, with the bulk of the weight sitting so low in the frame, if you add a bit more speed to the mix this thing absolutely rails turns while keeping its tyres planted.
One thing we did notice early on was the chain slap. You’ll need to devote some time to getting the chainstay suitably padded in order to hush things up a bit.
When it comes to getting airborne, although we’ll be the ﬁrst to admit that the Phoenix isn’t lightening quick to manoeuvre, its stability as soon as it leaves the lip is massively conﬁdence inspiring.
Frame & equipment: Solid spec to match the price tag
Essential to the Phoenix’s performance is the DW-Link suspension design, famous (partly) thanks to the success of the Iron Horse Sunday – the rear triangle pivots on an upper and lower link.
Taking care of the 207mm (8.15in) is the Fox DHX RC4 rear shock with adjustable high- and low-speed compression, bottom-out progressiveness, as well as rebound. Our test bike came with a regular RC4, but the Phoenix will ship with a Kashima-coated RC4.
The rear axle is 150mm wide to keep things nice and stiff out back, while the bottom bracket shell measures in at 83mm and is surrounded with the crucial ISCG mounts. Interchangeable rear dropouts help tailor the wheelbase length should you want to tweak it, and head angle adjustments come courtesy of the Cane Creek AngleSet.
As you can imagine for this sort of money, there’s no messing about when it comes to spec. The Kashima-coated Fox 40 fork offers up a solid chassis and plenty of adjustment.
The combination of the Truvativ Descendant crankset and e*thirteen LG1+ chainguide provides a good mix of strength and security. The Kenda Nevegal tyres are reasonable all-rounders but slow rollers – we’d like to see something more exciting for this kind of cash.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.