At 3,300 Euros, the Last Herb 160 has a huge amount to offer. Quality welding, tough paint and colour-matched anodising are just the tip of the iceberg – there’s an awful lot of thought gone into this bike.
Ride & handling: Incredible traction and smoothness on any trail
The Herb soon has you gritting your teeth and slamming into every berm at warp speed. The slack head angle and downhill-sized wheelbase complement the supple yet progressive suspension setup. A lofty bottom bracket seems a little out of place with this race-ready geometry, but on the trail the bike feels precise, grounded and in control.
Blasting through the roughest rock sections then pumping through almost impenetrable boulder fields gets pretty exciting on this machine, and it’s backed up by the Herb’s ability to climb back to the top in a composed and efficient manner – for a 15kg (33lb) plus bike. The DT Swiss E2000 wheels are a little beefy for all-day riding, but in keeping with the full-on nature of the Last.
While the Herb is a bit of a beast to lug around all day, its roomy geometry and efficient suspension platform make it comfortable. That said, it really only comes to life when either gravity is on your side or you put serious power through the pedals. Pedalling is efficient and there’s little energy lost in the linkage; it just takes a bit more effort to get the extra weight to accelerate. Once up to speed, there’s confidence to stay off the brakes and there’s little to slow the hard-hitting Herb down.
The Herb sits closer to the downhill end of enduro, and with that comes disadvantages in the form of excess weight and a lack of all-day capability. However, this is far outweighed by its efficient sprint performance and ability to confidently cruise through even the roughest of trails at full throttle. And in the UK, there’s little need for anything bigger.
Last herb 160: Joby Sessions/Future Publishing
Frame & equipment: Geometry and suspension let down by weight and tyres
The stealth-looking frame is built to last and ticks the stiffness box from the overbuilt rear end to the tough head tube. With a precisely tuned linkage-operated shock combined with a single pivot rear triangle, it benefits from some smooth yet powerful characteristics.
The rear end feels supple through the initial stroke; sensitive enough to track through the sketchiest of corners, but on bigger hits it ramps up progressively and predictably, offering support when needed.
The low-speed compression adjustments on the RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 shock are effective at switching the back end to a firmer climbing mode. You can also change the linkage to give a huge 180mm of suspension travel out back.
The Herb features a tapered head tube, internal dropper post routing, chain device mounts and a bolt-thru rear axle (5mm Allen key rather than quick release). The dropouts can be switched so it takes a 150mm wide rear hub.
High-end components such as powerful Avid Elixir 9s, SRAM X9 drivetrain and that chain device keep it running through the craziest conditions.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.