Interbike 2009 – Outdoor Demo Day 1

by Brian Mullin on September 22, 2009

I arrived in Las Vegas on Sunday to some unfriendly 100 degree stifling heat. The next day I ventured up to the first day of the Outdoor Demo for Interbike 2009 in Bootleg Canyon. The temperature died down to a moderate 90 with wind gusts up to 30 mph, so it was a dusty, hot and bone rattling dry.

Yeti ASR 5 C

Yeti ASR 5 C
The ASR 5 (5 inch suspension) is a brand new bike for Yeti, and this was the first time I had seen this model. The ASR 5 comes in an aluminum version, and a full carbon version, which is what I tested. The moment I started pedaling this bike, I felt its instant acceleration and laser like steering and handling. Its suspension was very compliant, and the resiliency of the carbon material was paramount in the feel of the bike.

 

Carbon!

I found myself sitting in almost all the terrain, and was amazed at how well the suspension just sort of floated along the undulations and rocky sections of the trail. This did not feel like a 5 inch travel bike. On one of the very steep and very loose climbs the bike went up it effortlessly, and needed very little pedaling to get to the top. This was an excellent bike, that has a carefully thought out suspension system, with an incredible amount of compliancy. It is very neutral, climbs like a demon and makes the most of what the carbon fiber feel and material can do for a bike.

 

Very nicely done cable layout

ASR 5C Specs:

Travel – 5 inch
Weight – 4.75lbs
Sizes – small. medium, large
Colors – black/turquoise or white/black
Rear shock – RP23 (7.875 x 2)
Bottom Bracket – 73mm
Rear wheel – 135mm with QR or 142mm with 12mm
Front Derailleur – 34.9mm with traditional mount
Seapost – 30.9mm
Kits Enduro, Race, Pro

Features:
– High Modulus, hand laid-up carbon front and rear triangles
– Tapered headtube 1 1/8 to 1 1/5
– Gravity dropper cable guide
– Interchange droputs
– Titanium hardware
– Internal cable routing on swingarm

 

Gary Fisher Rumblefish

Gary Fisher Rumblefish 29er
I was thinking of trying the new Gary Fisher Superfly 100 29er after hearing some really good things about it, but while I was looking at the display model, I saw the Gary Fisher Rumblefish sitting right next to it. It has 110 mm of travel in the rear and 120 mm in the front, and it is made to Rumble. Are You Ready To Rumble? So I got in the queue and took it out for a spin.


I demoed the top of the line Rumblefish II version, and it had a Fox F120 FIT RLC 29 fork with a 15mm axle, a Shimano drivetrain, Avid brakes and a custom Fox RP23 shock. Some of the special features of the Rumblefish are the 6011 hydroformed butted aluminum mainframe, a E2 tapered headtube, the BB95 bottom bracket, a direct mount front derailleur, the ABP (Active Braking Pivot) rear suspension and a DRCV (Direct Rate Control Valve) Fox RP23 rear shock.

 

DRCV Fox RP23

I was really impressed how well this bike handled. It still has the big 29er wheels that still take a bit of cranking to get their inertia going, but it sure felt more like a 26er when I was climbing. The bike has a very short wheelbase, cockpit and trail for a 29er. Those geometry characteristics really showed itself in its quick and nimble handling, and its neutral weighting while climbing. While railing and flying down the trail those big wheels were a treat, and the suspension did really well in g-outs. On spirited sprints while standing the rear suspension squatted just a tad, and I felt some flex in the Fox fork.

Overall I have to give the Rumblefish high marks for a successfully engineered long travel 29er. It climbs and handles well, and is a really nice rough terrain full suspension 29er. Let it eat some rocks!

 

Titus FTM Carbon

Titus FTM Carbon
I had read a lot about the new Titus FTM (Full Tilt Moto) product line, but I was surprised to see this full carbon version. The current aluminum, Ti and Exogrid versions are now joined by this carbon compatriot. The Titus FTM series has 135mm of travel in the rear and 140mm in the front. This carbon frame is decidedly on the stiff side of things, which means that any sort of pedaling has a prominent side effect of getting the power to the trail. Unfortunately, it also made the ride stiff and somewhat deadened. This frameset might appeal to a racer, but I wish it had a more lively carbon feel to it. The FTM Carbon was a nicely done and light bike, that just misses the mark by not having the attributes that I like from carbon fiber. The internal cable routing really was a nice touch, and added to the nice swooping lines of the frame.

Titus Carbon
Internal cable routing

 

Ibis Mojo HD

Ibis Mojo HD
Although I didn’t get to ride the new prototype Mojo HD, it was pretty impressive just sitting there. The Mojo HD will be the Ibis foray into the 6 inch All Mountain world, and promises to be quite a bike. Brian Lopes has already been racing it, and only time will tell how it all well the end product will be? Since it is a prototype the linkages are a bit crude, but they are pretty beefy and will hopefully tighten up the somewhat current sloppy feeling in the Mojo rearend. I spoke briefly to Brian about the bike and his recent trip to the worlds down in Australia, he is a real decent and nice guy.



The cables have been re-routed to the down tube, to facilitate the inherent issues with the newer geometry of the bike. For a lot of Mojo riders that are a welcome change from the current somewhat disliked top tube arrangement.

Pivot Firebird

Pivot Firebird
The Firebird was new to 2009, but I missed getting to try it out last year. The Firebird has 167mm of travel in the rear and 160mm in the front. This long travel bike eats up terrain, and allows you to fly down anything, soaking up terrain, rocks and undulations like crazy. It rails around the berms, and flies through the air with ease.

On steep loose climbs the suspension would drop out on me, which meant an immediate unloading of the rear end and all lose of traction. It happened a couple of times on the circuit I did, and it was a bit unnerving. All in all, the Firebird was a nice bike, and it ate any terrain I could throw at it for lunch, albeit with the occasional unloading rear end.

 

Innovative linkage

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

EmmEss September 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

How does the ASR 5C compare to your Ibis? Non-DW vs. DW?

Reply

Anonymous September 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Does the new Yeti have a stiffer feel and better tracking than the current Mojo SL ?

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet September 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm

It is slightly stiffer, especially at the rear end, it tracks about the same. The Yeti suspension is very good, still not quite as good as the DW, but pretty darn close, but it brings different attributes to the table. I need more saddle time with the Yeti, I am hoping to get a long term test going asap with the ASR 5C.

Reply

Jay October 6, 2009 at 5:21 am

More info on the Rumlefish……

did it feel good for a 29er trail bike? or did it feel good for any style of trailbike?….like can you compare it to a Yeti 575 or similar?

Heard some folks think it feels little sluggish going up and riding rolling stuff, while it feels amazing going down. Is this your synopsis too? Seems to be more of an up/down bike vs do everything design.

Really appreciate more insight!

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet October 13, 2009 at 5:21 am

I really liked the Rumblefish, I thought it was a fine bike, that would really like rough and tumble terrain. Not really much of a comparison to a 575, the big 29er wheels keep that from happening. I didn't feel any sluggish issues (other than dealing with big 29er wheels). For a 29er, I thought it was compact and was decently maneuverable, and I am going to try and get a long term test and review of one (if possible).

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