Spanish brand BH Bikes are targeting the UK's more aggressive trail riders with their Lynx 6 range. BH's 150mm-travel bikes all use Dave Weagle's patented Split Link concentric pivot suspension system – they're the only European brand allowed to do so. For 2014 they've introduced 27.5in (650b) wheel options into their range, and we've been putting a BH Lynx 6 650b 8.5 Alu through its paces.
Ride and handling: grippy, trail-flattening performance
The Split Pivot rear suspension system is a high point on the Lynx 6. Its progressive spring rate provides supple grip to iron out trail chatter, while remaining resistant to bottoming-out on harder hits. Under hard braking from the powerful Magura MT4 stoppers, there was also a noticeable absence of skittering from the rear end.
With 650b (27.5in) wheels offering excellent grip, traction and support compared to 26in, you can push harder before the bike lets go. There is no noticeable downside in handling from the larger diameter rims through twisty sections. The Michelin Wildgrip'r 2.35in tyres are a return to form for the French company, providing impressive, confidence-inspiring bite and adhesion.
There is some flex in the skinny BH-branded wheelset, but not enough to compromise line choice when exiting high-G turns. The high-speed confidence available made us yearn for more length in the front to tune front-to-rear weight transfer and increase stability.
The seat tube kicks back at the point where it sprouts from the shock cradle. It gave us an excessively rearwards weight distribution on steeper seated climbs. The resulting lack of weight over the front tyre made it prone to wandering over more technical rises in the trail.
Frame and equipment: supple suspension and a quality frame
The Dave Weagle licensed Split Pivot design brings really impressive performance
The 650b Lynx 6 comes in two specs, sharing the same aluminium frame, which is a tour de force. This is the base model. The press-fit 92 bottom bracket and lower suspension pivot assembly is made from two halves, welded together. At the lower end, the low-slung, floating rear shock is actuated by the chainstays and an offset rocker link up top.
The frame's loaded with considered details like the rear gear cable passing inside the chainstay, reducing the chance of damage. The simple-to-adjust post-mount rear brake also fits using replaceable trunnions, preventing a crossed thread turning the frame into a write-off.
The rear end is similarly well built. The 142x12mm rear axle passes through the two sandwiched pivots. It is held together with nuts that use a standard cassette tool for easy disassembly. The system aims to stop braking forces from acting on the suspension. The 'anti-squat' helps prevent chain torque from stiffening up the bike.
The suspension manages to squeeze amazing performance out of the relatively basic, non-Boost Valve-equipped Performance series Fox Float rear shock. There's little in the way of climbing bob, even when ascending with the three-position CTD shock in fully-open Descend mode. It outclasses the Motion Control-damped RockShox Sektor fork. This is a reflection on how good the back end is, not a criticism of an excellent, reasonably stiff, supportive mid-range fork.
Shifting is taken care of by Shimano's flawless XT groupset. The non-series triple chainset is an unwelcome surprise at this sort of money. We'd prefer a lighter chainset matched to cheaper consumables such as cassette, rear mech and chain. The KS Supernatural dropper post is a high point, but the underseat adjuster was difficult to accurately operate on the fly.