Turner Burner review£3,690.00

Classic frame goes 650b

BikeRadar score4/5

One of the first well-sorted and widely accepted full-suspension bikes, the Burner was also a proper all-rounder – it invariably enabled riders to do a lot more than their previous bike, and without fuss. That same calm competence makes the new Burner one of the first 650bs worth putting on your Most Wanted list.

Ride and handling

Dave Turner spends as much time honing the ride of his bikes as he does the fine structural details, and the result is a bike that’s unlikely to age in character. The custom DW Link suspension is controlled with a lightly damped Fox rear shock, to offset the slight stiction of the pivots. Add the smoother roll of mid-sized wheels and the Burner floats cleanly over the rough stuff without compromising consistent traction.

It tells you little through the pedals or brakes, preferring instead to just get on with sucking up the ground – it won’t suit riders after an obviously interactive ride like that of the Superlight, but if you like to just get on with riding it’s spot on. We’d go for the double-chainset option though, because granny rings induce an excessive mushiness.

We’d also avoid the 160mm Fox 34 fork option our sample bike came with. It reduces the pedal clearance issues of the low bottom bracket, true, but jacks the front end up and highlights the slight flex in the rear more obviously than a lighter, shorter fork.

The Burners we’ve ridden with 140mm or even 150mm fronts feel far more balanced and composed in all situations short of full-on DH runs. We also swapped the ill-matched 90mm stem to stop the slack steering lurching at low speeds, and tried hard to level the pedals to dodge rock strikes thanks to the still-low bottom bracket. On less grabby trails the low-slung ride is brilliant for your sense of security, and handling is as neutral and natural as the suspension, giving you a blank canvas to paint whatever sort of ride you want – whether you’re climbing, slamming and snapping through singletrack, or smoothly shooting the descents.

Frame and equipment

While the tubeset is largely the same as the 26in-wheeled 5 Spot, the Burner frame is loaded with detail, something only made more prominent by the raw finish of our sample. The industrial look saves £200 over the colour-anodised models, and the recent switch to Oregon-based Zen Fabrications is yielding better-looking build quality at a Far Eastern-built price.

Add Turner’s trademark grease-injected, solid-state pivots and the Burner is a proper ‘bike for life’ design. We know several Turners with over a decade of almost daily riding under their belts, and more to come.

Cockpit aside, the XT-based spec is generally a great match for this high-control versatility too, but we can see a lot of frames (£1695) being built to proper custom spec.

With the right fork the new Burner isn’t just a super-detailed alloy sculpture – it’s a really well sorted all-rounder with unmatched longevity. Its impeccably balanced handling and neutral suspension are well suited to those who prefer to concentrate on the ride, not what they’re riding.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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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