FEZZARI La Sal Peak – First Look

Even though I live 30 minutes down the road from Fezzari Bicycles HQ I had unfortunately never spent time at their offices or had the opportunity to meet their crew.   That changed a couple months ago when Tyler Cloward, their Director of Product hit me up and asked if I wanted to go out for a ride in American Fork Canyon.  I’m always game to go shred some trails so we made it happen.  He told me he’ll bring a bike out for me to ride and gave me a heads up it’s the bees knees.  My knowledge of Fezzari Bikes at the time was minimal so the jury was out.

Before we hit the hills he gave me a quick tour of their offices.  He explained that this bike we were going to ride has over a year of development into it and they were excited for it’s release in a couple months.  Here is the bike he showed up with:

PicsPre-Production Build

The La Sal Peak, Fezzari’s long travel (150 rear / 160 front) 29er that Cloward claimed shreds!   He gave me the full run down on the work they had put into it, the exhausting trips overseas, sleepless nights, probably a couple swear words getting molds right, etc.   I have got to say, pretty dang impressed and really surprised at this point.  After meeting the crew and getting the full rundown on the bike it was time to slay some trail!

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GEO That Seat Tube Angle Tho.

Climbing:

We had about a 1,000 foot climb before some rad DH we had to hammer out so it was a decent opportunity to get a feel for the bike.   At first, even though the reach numbers of 470 were respectable and modern, it felt much more compact on the climbs and at first it took some getting used too.   It wouldn’t be until I got out of the saddle and hammered down that I realized what was feeling different.  The bike has a 78 degree seat tube angle and a 65 degree head angle making the cockpit a bit more compact, but in a very good way.  Once you step out of the saddle you quickly get a feel for the longer reach and aggressive nature the bike has.   The steep seat tube puts you in an insanely efficient climbing position and I’d argue sneaks in a few extra watts with the extra leverage you have. This bike climbs amazing, there is no question.  So impressive that I’d put it up against any bike in its category.

LaSal3Olive Matte up close and personal

Cornering & Playfulness

This is why we ride bikes isn’t it?  There’s not a better feeling than effortlessly floating around corners and boosting over small undulations on the trail – it brings a grin to my face every single time.  That’s what brings me back for more and the La Sal delivered.  With the aggressive numbers you’d think this is a straight line brawler.  While it is very much that, it also felt snappy around corners.   I’ll never forget the first downhill segment I took it on.   It had been raining the day before and the dirt was drool worthy loam.  The kind of dirt where every slow mow video shows the tire carving through the dirt and leaving a perfect impression of the DHF treads.   Cloward led and I had a ridiculous grin from ear to ear the entire time blasting into corners, boosting over roots and splashing through puddles.  The ride could have been done by then and I would have been stoked.

LaSal5Highly approve of their Clean Catch cable  system offering a silent ride

Having only been on the La Sal for an hour at that point it felt completely natural already.  And, to my surprise the Horst-Link suspension offered a super planted feel to it.   While there are bikes out there that completely smooth out the trail in front of you and others so progressive where at times you feel like your teeth are going to rattle out I’d put the La Sal straight down the middle which made for a super well rounded ride quality.

LaSal4Factory Lyrik – don’t mind if I do

Downhill Prowess

The DH we chose is a six mile sprint to a reservoir that is a MTB playground, but also open to horses & motos that are often whizzing by.  It’s raw backcountry, technical and steep enough to make a killer enduro stage.

With primo conditions we were stoked to send it.  This is where the La Sal came to life and really surprised me.  We took some of the absolute silliest lines directly through rock gardens and were laughing the entire way down.   It was actually pretty wreckless, but the La Sal didn’t care.  One thing thing that really stood out was the pedaling platform in some of the flatter meadows.  The bike sprints effortlessly when you hammer down out of the saddle and makes for a fun experience through the flatter terrain.

LaSal

Bonus Laps

Since Cloward managed to create the perfect storm in American Fork Canyon and we got to experience once in a lifetime dirt, I talked him into letting me take his La Sal out for another hot date to make sure he wasn’t tricking me into liking the La Sal by taking me to perfect dirt.   This time he tossed a Grip 2 Fox 36 on so I got a feel for both the Lyrik & Grip 2.   Fezzari offers an X2 and Fox 36 upgrade for $200 more and after riding both I’d just say to chose which looks better because they’re both incredible.

I took the bike to Park City Mountain Resort and wasn’t so lucky with dirt this time – it was as crusty and loose as it gets.  I ended up riding the lifts for a few hours, lapping Red Bull and Empire, which are old school dh tracks several times each.  I got a really good feel for the bike and after almost 10,000ft of pure downhill dust bowl miles I was still a huge fan.

Once the lifts closed I pedaled over to Deer Valley resort so I could ride Tsunami and get a feel for how it handled bigger hits.  The bike felt right at home on the park trails and sent the thirty+ foot booters like a boss.   At the end of my second stint on the bike I had put well over 100 assorted miles on it and didn’t have plans to give it back, but eventually my hand was forced.

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Takeaways:

Fezzari not only introduced a modern enduro bike, but one that could set the standard as far as seat tube geometry goes.   While other brands are coming in at what we thought was steep at 75 degrees, Fezzari’s  leap to 78 is bold and I think a definite home run.  The water bottle thing, which may seem trivial to others sure comes in handy on longer more demanding days in the saddle.   Other brands making a claim they need to choose between performance or water bottle storage has me scratching my head because the La Sal is plenty capable.  The La Sal checks every box with an extremely large check mark and is a bike that should be considered if you’re in the market for an enduro sled.

https://www.fezzari.com/lasal

2019 Fezzari Signal Peak – First Look

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I had the opportunity to meet up with Tyler Cloward with Fezzari a few months ago at their office in Lindon, UT.   He showed me the Signal Peak in the form of a 3D print.  At that point it was pre-production and it was pretty rad to see all the blood, sweat and tears that has gone into this bike.   Tyler walked me through all the design as well as shared stories about some intense trips overseas to make this labor of love all come together.  At this point I knew that this was a bike that I needed to ride.  Running a group that brings members of the Utah MTB community together through social media, why not include local brands as well.

Build Kits

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The Signal Peak is a 120 front and rear all around trail shredder.  It’s compatible in 27.5 plus as well as 29.   Based on the 29er I’m running with 2.3 tires I feel pretty confident saying I’m sure this will fit up to 2.6 29er tires as well.  Quite the versatile machine.  I was feeling crazy and opted for their full on factory kitted XX1 Eagle build which goes for $6,399, but the Signal is offered at a comp build for $2,999 and pretty much anywhere in between.

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First Ride Impressions

With a Fox 34 Step Cast fork, XX1 components and it weighing in at only 25lbs, it seems the intended use leans towards the lycra clad XC crowd.   I opted to go with a tad wider 30mm internal width Reynolds 309tr wheels and a beefy DHF 2.3 front and DHR 2.3 rear tire combo – it still weighs in at only 26lbs.   Not too shabby.

For the bike nerds like myself, here are your GEO numbers.

29er

S M L XL
Top Tube 593 610 629 648
Seat Tube 406 432 483 520
Chainstay 430 430 430 430
Head Angle 68° 68° 68° 68°
Seat Angle 75° 75° 75° 75°
Head Tube 105 110 120 130
Bottom Bracket Height 341 341 341 341
Bottom Bracket Drop 35 35 35 35
Wheelbase 1144.8 1162.5 1182.7 1202.9
Fork Offset 51 51 51 51
Standover Height 777.3 784 788 792.3
Stack 606.2 610.9 620.2 629.4
Reach 430.4 446.3 462.7 479.1

27.5+

S M L XL
Top Tube 591.6 608.6 627.6 646.6
Seat Tube 403 429 480 517
Chainstay 430 430 430 430
Head Angle 68.5° 68.5° 68.5° 68.5°
Seat Angle 75.5° 75.5° 75.5° 75.5°
Head Tube 105 110 120 130
Bottom Bracket Height 335.5 335.5 335.5 335.5
Bottom Bracket Drop 28 28 28 28
Wheelbase 1144.6 1162.3 1182.5 1202.7
Fork Offset 51 51 51 51
Standover Height 775.8 782.4 786.5 790.8
Stack 602.2 606.8 616.1 625.4
Reach 435.8 451.7 468.1 484.5

Referenced at Fezzari.com. 

Also, not to be that guy, but the trail I took the Signal on I had ridden multiple times prior, all on some pretty dang top shelf brand name bikes. The numbers seem to speak for themselves.  It could have been the Monster I threw down beforehand, but the jury is still out:

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Climbing

Two water bottles?  Need I say more?  Anyway, coming from some oh so coveted DW link and Switch Infinity bikes most recently, which I have absolutely loved, I tried to remain neutral returning to Horst Link on the Signal.  I have to say I was beyond impressed with how it performed.  I kept the shock in the open position and pretty much forgot about it.  There was almost no bob and the traction was excellent.  As mentioned above, I definitely don’t have this setup as light as possible, but I was beyond impressed with how it performed uphill.   I’m looking forward to tossing some Maxxis Aspens on, maybe even some lycra and pounding out some climbs.  More on that later.

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Cornering

This is definitely where I was most impressed.   The trail I took it on was the iconic Bryce Canyon, Thunder Mountain Trail.  This trail has a great mix of cross country, rocky, flowy, tight, steep switchback DH and even some tarmac & gravel climbs.  My mind was absolutely blown with how well the bike corners in tight situations.  The Signal is insanely effortless to toss around, pop off small booters and navigate tight turns.  I had a blast.  Can’t wait to get it on some more familiar trails.

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DH 

I’ll admit when I first set out, with a step cast 34 and a 120mm bike I anticipated the typical XC feel.  While I see how you could set it up that way with a few small tweaks, this very much performed like an extremely capable trail bike.  I had a blast and found myself gravitating towards all the bonus lines I could find in my way.  It held a line like a boss through chunky rock gardens and was an absolute rocket when things opened up and got fast and flowy.   I wonder what this thing could do with a stubby 130mm or even 140mm Fox 36?  Fezzari hasn’t endorsed this yet, but I think it’s definitely an option I’ll try in the future.  Or if you are feeling like torturing yourself with some XC miles, Fezzari tells me you can run a 100mm fork, which will take the HT angle to 69 degrees.   This thing is like 4 bikes in one.

Fit & Finish

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One of the things that stood out most was how silent the bike rides.  There is nothing worse than a creaky bike or cables rattling all over the place.  Nothing to worry about here, with the exception of the Reynolds hubs all you could hear were the tires making sweet love to the dirt.   Fezzari has done a great job with minor details like a plate where cables exit holding them nice and snug. Super happy overall with the build and finish, it is worthy to stand among the giants in the industry.  Oh, and, thank heavens for a threaded bottom bracket.

At the end of the day, if you are looking for a ridiculously versatile bike that wont disappoint on a broad range of trails, this is a bike you should probably be looking at.  The price is right, the ride quality literally blew me away and they hang their hats right here in Lindon, UT.   Not only that, but the folks at Fezzari are some of the most humble and rad people that are extremely dedicated at their craft.  Looking forward to ripping around on this bike more.

LRG_DSC01401

Mountain Biking Sundance with Ski Utah

Take a ride through the trees at Sundance Mountain Resort. From lift rides, to amazing single track, to nachos—a day on the bike at Sundance is a day of mountain perfection.

Riders: Landon Boogaard, Micah Reiss, and Jen Riley

Cameras: Shane Hillyard and Tim Roberts

Additional Aerial Footage: Tom Lebsack

Edit: Shane Hillyard

Gear: Smith OpticsSanta CruzJuliana Bikes and G-Form Protective Wear

Music: Jonah & The Lion – “Kickin’ Da Leaves”

2018 Santa Cruz Nomad 4 – Review

About a week after they released the Nomad 4, I was in between bikes and thought I’d demo the Nomad 4 for a day at Deer Valley Resort.   I had a Nomad 3 back in the day and was wanting to try one anyway.  Total mistake.  That was without question the most fun I’ve had on a bike in recent memory.  I had to have one.  I literally ordered one the next day.

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I went with the X01 Coil + Reserve Build through Guthrie Bikes. I made a few minor tweaks with a new bar, stem as well as a some Saint Brakes.  My first ride was the usual Jacobs Ladder run in Corner Canyon.  This is a 2k ascent in about 5 miles and another 5 miles of mostly DH.  Pretty good test run for most bikes and where I generally gravitate too with a new bike.  The size large came with a 170mm dropper which was welcomed – out of the box this thing felt dialed.  That same grin on my face from Deer Valley was immediately back after the quick loop.

Shortly after picking up the Nomad I had a trip planned to Dublin, Ireland and I figured I may as well bring the bike along with me.  I planned in an extra 5 days just to shred bikes and really put the Nomad through it’s paces.

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Climbing:

Ireland ended up being an incredible place to put the bike to the test both in it’s climbing and DH prowess.   Climbs in Ireland are raw, steep, rooty, rocky and if it was smooth it was generally a steep fire road.  Needless to say it was a good place to hammer out some climbs.  The Nomad feels a little board uphill.  It wanders a bit as you’d expect, but the climbing position and pedal platform was surprisingly comfortable.  After 5 days straight, each day with at least 3k feet in climbs and one with 5k I was impressed at it’s capabilities.  Would you have more fun climbing a 100mm XC bike?  Maybe, but that’s not the the intended use of this weapon.

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Descending:

Having just come off a Hightower and previously a Yeti SB 5.5 I was used to the aggressive 29 and was excited to get back on a 27.5 bike.  A couple years prior I spent a lot of time on long travel 27.5 bikes, including the Nomad 3, Evil Insurgent, and YT Capra.  All fun bikes and I couldn’t wait to get to spend a bunch of time on the Nomad.

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This bike definitely takes any long travel trail bike I had tried to another level.  The best way to describe the bike is just fun.  I’ve never been on a more lively and hard charging bike, ever.  Having spent quite a bit of time on a V10 in Whistler, I couldn’t help but think how much more I would have rather been on a bike like this.  Having been on several other Santa Cruz bikes as of late, the reworked Kinematics of the suspension really stood out.  It was so plush and bottomless, it ate up anything I threw at it.  Ireland was interesting in descents as a majority of what I rode was completely raw trail and largely un-manicured.  The Nomad ate up anything thrown at it and put one heck of a smile on your face while at it.

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On the topic of coil vs. air, I spent time with the Nomad set up with a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil RCT as well as with a Super Deluxe Air RCT.  My demo bike had the air shock and I purchased the Coil.  When all was said and done, I preferred the Super Deluxe Coil. Yes, the air shock shock was probably plenty of shock for the bike, but the coil shock made the bike feel a little more glued to the ground and didn’t give up much in the way of liveliness.  A minor weight penalty was worthy of the benefits in my eyes.  Some may spring for the air shock for more of an all rounder, which would be just fine as well.

Its cornering ability is especially something to take note of – It’s low center of gravity makes slashing around turns something to remember.  It’s pretty hard to overlook that sensation of smsashing into a berm, feeling the side nobs hook up and catapulting you exactly where you are headed.  Those closest bike I’ve ridden to the Nomad would be the 2017, Specialized Enduro, which just did not have the same low bottom bracket feeling that gave you that incredible glued to the ground feeling.  While on the topic, the Nomad comes with a flip chip, a simple High / Low setting.

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I spent a day at Bike Park Ireland where I decided to flip the chip to the low setting.  I have felt flip chips before making minor tweaks, but this was a pretty dramatic change.  What was once a trail bike is a full on DH bike with this change.  To this day, one of the most fun days on a bike ever.

Final Impressions:

When all is said and done as I was headed home for the states I couldn’t help but be blown away with the abilities of that bike.  In that week I put over 150 miles on a 170mm trail bike with a coil, most of which with no uplift service.  If you want to go out with your DH bro’s for a weekend of shredding and pedal up while you watch them push then this is your bike.  If you want to head out with your XC bro’s and don’t mind climbing up last and they don’t mind eating your dust on the way back to the car than this is your bike.

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Thank you to Guthrie Bike for the support.

Guthrie

 

 

Santa Cruz Hightower LT – Review

If you’re at all familiar with the original Hightower this beauty is going to look wildly familiar, and for good reason.   Other than some minor tweaks to the rear triangle, post mount brakes, 15mm additional rear travel and some hot new paint the bike is all but the same, which is a very, very good thing.   I had been on the original Hightower for going on 6 months prior to owning the LT and couldn’t wait to get on this steed to compare the two.

Setup

I went with the X01 Reserve build through Guthrie Bikes.  I upgraded to a Factory X2 with climb switch out back and a Factory Fox 36 Rc2 set at 160mm.  This is pretty much the exact setup I had on my original Hightower.  I wanted these dialed with similar setups to compare any differences.

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Ride Impressions:

When I first stepped on the LT the bike felt pretty much exactly the same as the original Hightower.  It felt like home.  I headed over to Corner Canyon to ride Jacobs Ladder, which is my go-to every time I get a new steed.  It’s a good climb, fun descent and makes for a decent baseline for a new bike.

Halfway up the first climb I continued to have the same thoughts, this is the same bike.  No change.  Which, like I mentioned before is a very good thing!  Then I got to the descent.  The LT likes to party.  The original Hightower held it’s own, but the additional 15mm of travel on the LT was definitely noticed and welcomed.  Call it what you want, bottomless, plush, all I know is it was welcomed and I wanted more of it.   It was one of those rides where you get to the bottom and think to yourself how bad ass mountain biking is.  Then the data nerd in me looked at my stats and I realized I PR’d a majority of my climbs and decent.  New bike high?  Maybe.

Over the next couple of months I put the LT through it’s paces, logging several hundred miles on the tame trails in Corner Canyon, somewhat rowdy trails in Park City and the technical trails of St. George – the LT held it’s own.  Even after several ~30 mile rides with decent climbs I was incredibly surprised by how versatile it is.   You can take this bike anywhere.   One of my first high-end mountain bikes was an aluminum Bronson back in 2013.  I loved that thing and to this day it’s one of my favorites.  This bike reminds me of that, but the added 29 wheels turns this in to a bit rowdier of a steed.

I should note a couple months before putting a leg over the LT, I demoed the new Nomad 4.   What a mistake that was – I had to have it and bought it the next day.  Best mistake I ever made.  It was fun riding the Nomad back to back with the LT.  While I’d give the LT the upper hand on climbs, the Nomad was extremely manageable.  Downhill the Nomad takes the fun factor 8 days a week, but numbers don’t lie.  The LT is a pure-bread race bike and took the time trial wins the majority of the time.  More on the Nomad coming soon.

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I’m sure some of you are wondering what the consensus on the Reserve Wheels are.  I had them both on the LT and Nomad.   I’ve been on them all, ENVE, Ibis, Nobl, etc.  I think the selling point on the reserve wheels was when I smashed a square edge at mach chicken, blew the tire, but not even a blemish on the wheels.  I was probably running less pressure than I should have.  One of these impatient moments where you forget to check pressures.  Reserve wheels don’t care – they held up like champs.  I could really go on longer here, but let me just reference you to the Danny Mascaskill video where he ‘tests’ them.

Final Take:

If you’re looking to consolidate your herd of bikes and want a one bike quiver then you really should take a spin on the LT.   It’ll take you anywhere you want to go and even some places you probably shouldn’t go.  Like I experienced on my first run, hopefully you’ll be reminded how bad ass mountain biking is.

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Guthrie

A group of friends taking a selfie on the beach

Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

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