Morewood first showed us the prototype Sukuma (then unnamed) a couple of years ago. After some significant alterations, it’s now ready to hit the trails. Note: the Sukuma is available as a frame only in the US, for US$2,195.
Ride & handling: Best heading downhill
Although the frame looks quite compact, there’s ample cockpit room, creating a comfortable climbing position with just enough stretch to keep the front wheel from wandering on steep ascents.
It’s when climbing or really hammering at the pedals that a couple of things become apparent. When seated, the suspension remains neutral and bob-free, letting you just spin a gear happily all the way up the hill. Stand up and start punching at the pedals, though, and there’s an odd, out-of-sync bob that’s noticeable straight away.
According to the guys at Morewood, the Sukuma was actually designed around a dual ring setup, not a triple, which helps explain this. This odd bob leaves you feeling that your efforts aren’t being used as effectively as they could be and, when really powering along, means the Sukuma doesn’t feel as sprightly as other 12.7kg (28lb) bikes.
Point the Sukuma downwards, though, and it comes alive. The suspension is smooth, controlled and tracks the ground well, giving you the confidence to really attack the trail hard.
In rougher, steeper sections you’ll notice a bit of flex from the Fox 32 fork but the back end stays planted as you clout through the chatter while managing to maintain good speed. In the turns, the Sukuma feels balanced and low enough to corner with confidence.
Frame & equipment: Minimalist design with Split Pivot suspension
The 6061 aluminium tubeset is subtly hydroformed, creating clean lines that are easy on the eye. Speaking of subtle, the graphics are very low key – it’ll take a second look to even spot the branding here.
The carbon seatstays offer up a 160mm post-mount rear brake fitting and help keep the frame’s overall weight down. Essentials include a tapered head tube, a custom Syntace X12 12x142mm rear axle and ISCG tabs.
What’s really exciting is Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot suspension design. It features a concentric dropout pivot that helps dictate how the 150mm (5.9in) of rear wheel travel behaves.
The main pivot shares the same bolt assembly as the lower shock mount, which Morewood have named the Dual Concentric Design (DCD). They claim this helps to dissipate forces exerted on the shock as well as shed a little more weight.
The Fox Kashima-coated RP23 shock on our test sample provided a smooth, controlled 150mm (5.9in) of rear travel.
SRAM’s X0 Type 2 rear mech helps take the edge off any chain slap and the Spank bar and stem are a nice finishing touch. That said, we’d switch to a slightly wider bar than the 710mm one supplied to get the most out of the Sukuma.