Solid Strike EVO Factory first ride review

Rock-crushing rig for battling the hardest DH tracks

If you remember Solid’s original downhill bike, the Mission 9, then a big, green chunk of heavy metal is probably what springs to mind. Well, not any more. The only heavy metal associated with this new EVO version of its successor, the Strike, is the soundtrack to the DH tracks you’ll be slaying aboard it!

Solid Strike EVO Factory spec overview

  • Frame: Aluminium, 203mm (8in) travel
  • Fork: Fox 40 Float Factory, 203mm (8in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 DH with Reverse Legend cranks (1x7)
  • Wheelset: Reverse DH rims on Reverse EVO and EFS DH hubs
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary VertStar 27.5x2.35in
  • Brakes: Magura MT7, 203mm rotors
  • Bar: Reverse Base, 790mm
  • Stem: Reverse Black One direct-mount, 48mm
  • Seatpost: Reverse Black Line rigid
  • Saddle: Reverse Fort Will
  • Weight: 15.5kg (34.2lb), L/XL without pedals

Solid Strike EVO Factory frame

Solid is one of the few brands still using aluminium for its top-of-the-range DH machine, but the complete bike still tips the scales at 15.5kg (L/XL). When you consider the capability of the frame and build, that’s an impressive figure.

The super-slack and low geometry of the original Strike (introduced in 2014) is carried over to the EVO, but the designers have shed 300g and made the rear end stiffer by using single-piece linkages.

The German brand’s ‘Center Force System’ twin-link suspension design gives the bike 203mm of rear wheel travel. Both shock and linkage are positioned directly above the heel-draggingly low 8mm-drop bottom bracket, which keeps the weight nice and central. This does mean that the vertically-positioned shock gets covered in mud from the back wheel, though.

With a super-slack head angle and long wheelbase, the Solid is ready to tackle the roughest tracks
With a super-slack head angle and long wheelbase, the Solid is ready to tackle the roughest tracks

Solid Strike EVO Factory kit

A top-of-the-range Factory series Fox 40 Float fork and Float X2 shock are the standout parts, and as expected, the performance from this pairing was bang on.

Braking is taken care of by Magura’s MT7s, and the four pistons in each caliper give almost unrivalled stopping power. Most of the rest of the kit is Solid’s own Reverse gear, which has impressed me so far.

The wheels, in particular, are light and stiff, particularly at the rear, thanks to the wide, 7-speed-specific hub spacing. The limited gear range of SRAM’s X01 DH drivetrain is ideal for racing, but not so practical for everyday riding.

Solid Strike EVO Factory ride impression

The super-slack 62-degree head angle, long 448mm chainstays and low centre of gravity give the Strike EVO a really planted feel. Combine this with the ground-hugging performance of the Fox shock and the exceptional grip of the soft-compound Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres, and you’ve got a set-up that inspires you to hammer the rough and no-brake the turns. What I did find, though, is that it takes a lot of effort to get the bike up to the kind of speeds where its true colours shine.

The Solid’s length and the way its suspension isolates you from the ground means that it requires considerably more effort to negotiate tight turns and pick the bike up at slow speeds than with some of its rivals.

I found myself running the suspension progressively harder and the rebound faster to make it feel livelier. The combination of a low bottom bracket, slack head angle and tall cockpit also means that on flatter trails the bike has a tendency to understeer. Swapping the 35mm-rise bar for a lower model and dropping the fork stanchions through the crowns helped us to weight the front end more and improved cornering.

This is a bike that’s designed to be ridden flat out, on the toughest tracks in the world. I'm sure that at a place like Mont-Sainte-Anne it would blow my mind, but UK trails favour a more nimble-handling steed and this isn’t one of the Solid’s strong suits.

Solid Strike EVO Factory early verdict

Like an F1 car, it’s incredible at what it’s designed to do but needs the right track and pilot to shine.

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

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