2011 Turner 5.Spot

So what would I change? As is the case with just about every single suspension bike I’ve ever owned in the last few years (except my Turner DHR—it’s great as is), I’d lower the bottom bracket if I could. My bike, as it sits with a 2.5 Maxxis front tire, a 2.35 Maxxis rear tire, the slacker headset, and a 160mm fork, sits around 13.6-13.7” off the ground. Given that I’ve got a longer fork on there than the bike was designed for, with a big fat front tire, I know why it’s higher than published, but even the published spec number is the same as my 8” travel DH bike. There’s no reason for this.

Turner 5.spot, Blister Gear Review
Kevin Bazar on the Turner 5.Spot

“But you climb on these things, it has to be higher,” one might say. No. Those people need better aim. I’ve had XC bikes with 12” BB measurements and pedaled up the same trails I’m riding now. They flexed like crazy and generally sucked in most respects, but they’re also the frames I learned to go fast on, and there’s a reason for that (Thank you, Specialized model year 2000, go back there, dammit!). There’s no reason for a company to produce trail bikes with 5-6” of travel with higher bottom brackets than their 8-inch-travel DH bikes. There just isn’t. Low BB DH bikes like the Turner DHR and the Specialized Demo are very well liked for their low center of gravity. If a longer wheelbase frame with a 13.5” bottom bracket can function better in decidedly rougher terrain than your average trail bike rides, there’s no reason to go over that same number on a shorter-travel frame. And it would similarly benefit high speed stability—a lot.

There’s also the issue of these frames coming spec’d with Fox air shocks. I don’t know what tune Turner is getting for these frames, but there’s no reason for any appreciable compression damping on a bike Dave Weagle has designed, in my opinion. He builds frames that work like they’re supposed to, so you don’t need a shock to tune out pedal bobbing. I think it detracts from some of the the suppleness over chatter that these frames are capable of. I’m not talking about the leverage curve, but the speed at which the shock reacts.

I’ve had two different RP23 tunes on my bike, and there’s a certain amount of low-speed compression damping that you’ll never get away from with standard Fox tunes (Yes, even on “1” and “off”). I’ve got a RockShox Monarch+ coming soon, so I’ll post an update on the bike with that little guy.

Turner 5.spot, Blister Gear Review
The 2011 Turner 5.Spot

Last but not least, this ain’t no featherweight frame. I didn’t weigh the frame by itself when it got here, but I think it’s around 7 pounds, which is noticeably heavier than a lot of its counterparts. With the build listed up top, my bike is just a touch over 31 pounds.

Most of that is tires. I have DH tires on my trail bike coupled with completely reasonable specs for everything else. I’ve destroyed so many tires trying to run them tubeless, I kind of just gave up on anything but DH casings. I love them on this bike, and I haven’t punctured them, but I’ve got an extra two pounds of rotating mass on my bike just to run tubeless. What can I say, tubeless and heavier tires are worth it to me.

Sub-30-pound builds with these frames are all over the place; mine just isn’t one of them. It can be had, but this still isn’t the lightest 140mm frame out there. But it is among the burliest, so if you know you want to go fast and can treat a 5.5-inch-travel frame like it’s among the 7-inch crowd, it’s a contender. I’ll be holding onto mine for a while. And I don’t hold on to sub-par bike parts very long any more.

6 comments on “2011 Turner 5.Spot”

  1. Kevin,
    What an epic review! Thanks for sharing your experiences on what is easily the most informative bike review I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Stoked!

  2. Great review. I will be coming back to this review once I get a few rides in on the one I am building to review your comments or suggestions on the tuning of the shock.

  3. Another great review Kevin, very good read. Curious as to what tune you were going to try with the Monarch+.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. One of the best most relevant reviews I’ve ever read. I am a long time Turner rider coming from a 5.5 rocker HL spot and 160mm fork with the Monarch plus custom tuned to that. Let me say I am over 200lbs and it feels so consistent over tech dh runs, at the bottom I felt slower at first, not having to deal with and rip at the bars to overcome a too fast rear shock that was just overheated and faded. The shock just works and w 3 settings I had 3 bikes. With my Lyrik DH it was a happy package. Now upgrading to a ’11 DW I can’t wait. Especially with the new headtube freedom of setup I can’t go wrong

  5. How’d the 5.Spot hold up in the long term with the “big hit” setup? Planning on getting a Lyrik RC2DH Solo Air fork for my 5 Spot but was advised it might be too stiff and burly for the frame and thus sacrifice its reliability…

  6. Juan: It held up just fine. I owned that bike for about 4 years and didn’t treat it nicely as far as riding. I sold it still working flawlessly and in good shape.

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