The new rigs from South African brand Morewood have been eagerly awaited. Having already thrown a leg over the shorter-travel Sukuma, we were keen to see just how the longer-travel, Split Pivot design Jabula handles.
Ride & handling: Pedalling is a problem
We took the 170mm (6.7in) travel Jabula straight to our local enduro loop, to test it out on some gruelling climbs, steep gnarly descents and pretty much everything in between.
Our medium test bike’s 585mm top tube gave us ample room to move around in the cockpit, while the 66-degree head angle helped to provide some stability on the descents. The 360mm bottom bracket height felt comfortable and allowed adequate ground clearance, but we never really got that feeling of really being sat ‘into’ the bike.
The Bos Deville is one of the top performing forks on the market and, although it took a little time to set it up right, it’s superb when it comes to the support it gives.
After spending a lot of time trying to get an optimum setting on the Cane Creek shock, we couldn’t help but feel that the frame would be better matched to a different rear damper.
Morewood Jabula (European build)
Although we could set up the Cane Creek for downhill riding, the rear of the bike felt sluggish going uphill. It was as though it was reluctant to convert pedalling effort into forward movement, meaning the Jabula was difficult to drive forward when we stamped on the pedals. Unfortunately, the 2x10 setup didn’t help – the 24T small ring felt very inefficient. Pedalling isn’t one of the Jabula’s strong points.
It translates into pedal kickback when riding rough downhills too. This is a shame because, with a 1x drivetrain and a change of shock, we think this Morewood could be ideal for enduro.
Frame & equipment: Hardcore chassis with great kit
The front triangle and chainstays are constructed from specially formed 6061 aluminium tubing, while the rocker link is machined aluminium and the seatstays are lightweight carbon, with an integrated post mount for the rear brake.
A tapered head tube up front, along with a 12x142mm rear end and ISCG 05 mounts, show up the Jabula’s hardcore intentions. There’s a BB92 press-fit bottom bracket too.
The Jabula is built with top notch kit. The Cane Creek DB Air shock and Bos Deville fork are top of the list, along with an impressive SRAM package with X0 carbon cranks, 2x10 X0 mechs and X9 shifters.
The Bos Deville is one of the best 160mm travel forks we’ve tried
There’s a Reverb seatpost thrown in for good measure, too – dropper posts are almost a necessity for all-mountain riding these days. The DT Swiss EX1750 enduro wheelset is shod with Schwalbe Hans Dampf tyres, and stopping is taken care of by a set of Formula The One brakes.