Earlier this year we had a good stomp about on Silverback’s gracefully curved Storm carbon hardtail 29er. It was high time we got acquainted with the company’s whole MTB range, and the team were at Eurobike to show off their 2013 bikes. They’ve also just released UK prices exclusively to BikeRadar.
650b, 26in or 29er?
Silverback’s MTB range includes all three wheel sizes.
As with other brands, it’s interesting to see how wholeheartedly Silverback appear to have embraced the 650b (27.5in) platform, favouring its blend of comfort, stability and agility. Head of innovations Raoul de Villiers says the format has impressed their test team.
There’s a full-susser, an undeniably attractive carbon hardtail and three entry-level alloy-framed mountain bikes in the 27.5in wheel size for 2013.
The Slider 275 is the only full-sus 650b bike in the new Silverback range.
It runs 130mm travel RockShox Revelation forks on a new carbon frame featuring Silverback’s IDS – Intelligent Design System. This has a floating pivot point and a lower linkage that makes for a 2.5:1 suspension movement ratio – optimum according to Fox, who supply the 130mm Float CTD shock.
With a smattering of Shimano XT – including a 24/32/42t chainset mated to a 11-34t block, and Stan’s Arch EX wheels with 15mm axle, it’s a nicely specced bike.
The Slider 275 weighs in at 12.8kg (28.2lb) and costs £1,899 (2,399 Euros).
Syncra 1 and 2
We’re taken with the looks of the 650b Syncra carbon hardtails, and keen to see how they perform on the trails. The signature fat, tapered head tube is there, with a low, stiff front end, and the long top tube runs into vertically flexible and laterally stiff seatstays.
The lighter, racier black-and-red Syncra 1 runs a 100m travel RockShox Revelation fork and Stan’s Crest 650b hoops with Shimano XTR in a double chainring. A 69.5-degree head tube angle and 73.5-degree seat tube angle help add up to a 1,105mm wheelbase on the medium sized model. The Syncra 1 weighs 9.5kg (20.9lb) and costs £2,789 (3,519 Euros).
The white Syncra 2 has a 130mm RockShox Revelation fork. A 68-degree head angle, 72-degree seat tube angle and short, tough, agile-looking chainstays deliver a 1,120mm wheelbase on the medium. The bike weighs 11.3kg (24.9lb) and costs £2,169 (2,739 Euros).
The syncra 1 is from the new 650b platform – or 27.5 as the silverback team refer to it. it borrows that long clean line from the more established storm, but in an all-new size: Robin Wilmott/Future Publishing
Long, clean lines on the Syncra 1
Three more 650b Silverbacks come in the form of the 6061 alloy-framed Slade series.
The 130mm travel Slade 1 weighs 11.8kg (26lb), wears a mixture of Shimano SLX and XT, and costs £1,279 (3,519 Euros).
The Slade 2 runs a 100mm RockShox Revelation fork and pushes its wheelbase down to 1,112mm for the medium. It weighs 12.3kg (27.1lb) and costs £1,029 (1,299 Euros).
The Slade 3 shares the frame, gets a 110mm X-Fusion Enix fork with lockout and puts up with 9-speed Shimano transmission. If the Polar Silver/Lemon Cyprus colourway doesn’t catch your eye, the £709 (899 Euros) price tag might.
The 29er sisters to the Slider 275 sit on the Sprada full-sus platform. There are two models that have an alloy frame, with 110mm of rear travel from a Fox Float CTD unit complementing 120mm forks. The frame shape and IDS principles echo those of the 650b Slider 275, as do the forged seatstays, which promise a stiff back end.
The Sprada 1 has a Fox Float 32 fork and Shimano XT/SLX componentry. It weighs 12.7kg (28lb) and costs £2,179 (2,749 Euros).
The Sprada 2 gets a RockShox Recon Gold TK Air up front, weighs 13.3kg (29.3lb) and costs £1,579 (1,999 Euros).
The Storm 29er carbon race hardtail remains largely unchanged from the 2012 model, staying nimble at 10.7kg (23.5lb), with wide bars and a 100mm travel fork. Seeing the UK price drop a little to £2,229 (2,819 Euros) is always welcome.
What’s exciting and new is the Storm Race variant. Unusually for Silverback it gets SRAM XX 10-speed transmission, ditching the Storm’s triple in favour of a 26/39t chainring mated to a 11-36t cassette.
A few more nips and tucks bring the claimed weight down to 10.1kg (22.2lb). And we’re told that if you lose the tubes it sneaks under 10kg.
We’re looking beyond the £3,089 (3,899 Euro) price tag for the time being.
Storm race head tube detail: storm race head tube detail Robin Wilmott/Future Publishing
Head tube detail on the Storm Race
Also in the Silverback 29er stable is a quartet of alloy-framed offerings under the name Vida. The Vida 1 and 2 get tapered head tubes, and all the bikes have 100mm travel forks on a sliding scale of weight and quality.
We like the RockShox Reba, 10-speed Shimano XT and Stan’s Crest on the Vida 1, which weighs 11.3kg (22.7lb) and costs £1,189 (1,449 Euros).
At the entry level, the £529 (669 Euro) Vida 4 gets an 8-speed Shimano transmission and a Suntour XCR fork.
24in, 26in and more
Silverback haven’t forgotten the 26in platform, either – there are two alloy-framed hardtails in the ‘performance’ Spectra range. Both are fitted with 100mm travel forks but the finishing kit and weights vary, resulting in £639 (799 Euro) and £539 (699 Euro) prices.
There are four models in the Stride range, with weights upwards of 13kg and prices starting at £339 (429 Euros).
Women’s-specific, 26in-wheeled Senzas and 24in-wheeled children’s hardtails are there too, along with a complement of city bikes – the 26in-wheeled Starkes are now joined by the Starke Subs, which run 700c wheels, belt drives and Tektro disc brakes.
Rob Spedding, editor of Cycling Plus, spoke to Silverback head of innovations Raoul de Villiers at Eurobike. Watch the video below to hear what he had to say about the Syncra 1:
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