Identiti 666S Comp review£599.00

Superb hardcore airborne assault machine

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The 666S Comp’s aggressive stance and beautifully balanced handling makes for totally intuitive ‘automatic’ jump action on the trails. The frame is monster strong but feels surprisingly forgiving. ADS dropouts mean total wheel and gear versatility too. On top of all that you get an excellent fork and proven jump kit which keeps strength high but weight surprisingly low at a great price. It’s geared high so you’ll have to grow some pretty big legs - or buy some gears.

The 666S is an aggressively committed bike. Its natural flair in the air and surprising smoothness meant even novice jumpers felt at home. Add a flawless spec and you’ve got an outstanding all-round dirt bike.

Identiti have a superb reputation for innovative and nigh-on indestructible bikes for those riders who need last man-standing strength. The new 666S keeps all the essential strength and versatility but loses weight to deliver an addictive ‘do it all’ dirt package.

Ride & handling: spot-on manners on dirt or air

With rock solid front end, bars down low and a big singlespeed gear, the 666 is a properly intimidating beast at first. It wants speed and it wants commitment. But as soon as you’re on the trails, this aggression loses its threatening edge and becomes as close to an automatic jump machine as you could want.

Even when you’re rolling in from a ramp not shoving the big gear round, it seems to come in faster and smoother than many others. There’s no nerves in the final metres or hesitation even on the first launch – just fire, fly, arc over the jump and a smooth transition into the backside. By the time it took us to adjust to the other bikes and dial them into each jump, the 666S was already begging us to hit the bigger stuff.

Even when we pushed it too far – which was a lot – the fork and surprisingly forgiving frame just rolled out straight and safe, no questions asked.

For a bike that feels so solidly connected to the ground it’s great in the air too. Whatever tricks you’ve got it’ll make it feel easier and better balanced, with even our novice jump testers starting to whip and work the 666 far sooner than the other bikes.

The steering accuracy, posture, balance and superb ground connection mean it’s no slouch when it comes to gate racing. Its spot-on handling means it tackles slopestyle, street or even a bit of freeride styling with the same consistent confidence.

Frame: tough as …

Much of the beauty of the 666S beast is in the detail and that starts with the tubing. Double-butted TAF chromoly main tubes (work it out yourself, this is a family website) are subtly shaped for extra stiffness at either end. Monster throat gusset and sturdy top tube tie the ends together tightly with an externally butted head tube to stop stretching. The slim down tube means it won’t break your wrists on big landings and the short, low-slung frame never gets in your way in the air.

Lloyd and Matt from Ison have really showcased their considerable cunning in the back end. Thick, CNC machined twin bolt ADS dropouts with built-in chain tugs slide forward and back to keep the singlespeed chainline tight. Frame and dropouts are fully rigged for gears while QR, bolted and super short 24in wheel dropouts (equivalent to a 15in chainstay) are also available for truly universal upgrading.

Equipment: no weak links

As well as a great frame, the Identiti also comes totally rammed with a component selection that’s completely free from weak links.

The Society fork blows away anything else for similar money. It’s notchy at first, but once you’ve pumped some oil through it, it’s a smooth shock absorber with air pressure assist and proper, consistent and controlled rebound. Fat legs mean stiffness and strength and it can handle the QR wheel-compatible Allen bolted skewer used here or a 20mm through-axle.

The rest of the build is a parade of Ison’s proven jump gear. The bashguard built into the chainring means it can take some street/ trials hammer without trashing the chunky chain and the three-piece 4Jeri cranks are seriously solid. The 13t rear gearing is definitely high, but changing ratios is as simple as slipping on a new sprocket sleeve.

The Halo Combat wheels are about as jump proven as you could get and the full knobbly Choir Boy front, semi slick Twin Rail rear tyres mean easy speed and flow without losing it on the first loose/dirty corner. You can get the 666S specced with 24in wheels from new if you want an even more responsive ride.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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