2013 Turner Burner

Bike: 2013 Turner Burner, version 3.0

Size Tested: Medium (17” seat tube, 23.4” top tube)

Weight (with pedals): 29.6lbs—see build for details

Geometry: Check it out here

Intended Use: Turner says the Burner is an ‘All-Mountain/Enduro’ bike. Since no one knows what that means anymore, read on to see what I did with it.

The Build:

Turner Burner, Blister Gear Review.
Turner Burner
  • Fox 34 CTD Kashima-coated 15 QR fork 150mm
  • Fox CTD
  • Shimano XT 3×10 drive train
  • Shimano XT brakes
  • Stan’s No Tubes Arch EX wheels
  • Thomson 90mm stem
  • ENVE RSR Carbon bar
  • ODI Turner-branded Ruffian lock-on grips
  • Thomson 30.9mmx410mm post
  • Selle Italia Flight saddle (not stock)
  • Kenda Nevegal 2.1 tubeless tires
  • Cane Creek 40 headset
  • Shimano SPD XT pedals (not stock)


$2195.00: Frame Only

$4999.00: As Tested – Expert XT+ Build Kit

Test Location: Sun Valley, Idaho on trails like Warm Springs Ridge (alpine and buff), Red Fish Lake loop (loose decomposed granite with plenty of sharp rocks and steep descents), Adams Gulch (buff, generally, but kinda loose over hard), and one 7-hour sufferfest featuring loose over hard dirt, and off-camber narrow trails with plenty of climbing over 33 miles and 4600 vertical feet.

Rider: 5’10”, 185 lbs. Got into riding in Vermont (wet roots, tight trails), fell in love with riding in Crested Butte, CO (buff to chundery single tracks, easy access to Moab, Fruita, etc), now shredding in Vermont again (still wet and rooty). Likes to go fast, still working on really railing every berm, leaves no possible pump in the trail un-pumped. Loves to point it through technical sections.

Days on the Bike: 7

The Burner is Dave Turner’s entry into the world of 650b.

I really liked this bike. Not everyone will, of course, but here’s why I did:

I like to actively ride a bike—pumping little rollers, finding creative little doubles, leaning the bike into corners. I like to get out of the saddle, whether climbing or descending, and a bike with a high center of gravity with geometry and wheels meant to just roll over trail obstacles doesn’t do it for me.

The Turner Burner has a bottom bracket height of 13.25”, short chainstays at 17.6”, slack-ish head angle of 67 degrees, and surprisingly nimble 27.5” wheels, and it performed like a champ at all the things I wanted to do while riding single track.

The Burner will make tight-radius turns pretty easily if you set up for them a little earlier than you would with 26” wheels. It doesn’t feel tall, so it doesn’t feel tippy.

The dw-link suspension is very efficient—if you want to pump it through rollers or pop over something in the trail, it will respond quickly and crisply, using its travel without feeling sluggish.

If you are thinking about making the jump to a 27.5” wheeled bike, or are simply looking for an extremely capable all-day, every-day  mountain bike, the Burner should probably end up on your shortlist.

The Fit

My day-to-day steed is a Trek Fuel EX 9 in what Trek calls a virtual 18.5” frame, which has a top tube length of 23.8”. Since this bike fits me well at 5’10”, I tried the Turner in size medium with a 17” seat tube and a 23.4” top tube. The Large Burner frame comes in with a 19” seat tube and a 24.4” top tube, so my Trek is somewhere in the middle.

Turner’s sizing break point for the medium and large falls at—you guessed it—5’ 10”. I figured I’d take out the medium, since, given the bigger wheel size, I wanted the bike to feel more nimble and hoped to accomplish this through an ever-so-slight downsizing of the frame.

I felt like this bike felt right, size-wise, from the get-go, if a tiny bit shorter than my Trek Fuel EX 9. A quick comparison of sizes confirms that this is more or less true (with some caveats).

Turner Burner:

Top Tube (cm) Stem Length (mm) Seat Tube Angle (degrees) Head Tube Angle (degrees)
59.40 90 73 67

Total Center Seat to Center Bar Length: 60.3cm


Trek Fuel EX 9:

Top Tube (cm) Stem Length (mm) Seat Tube Angle (degrees) Head Tube Angle (degrees)
60.5 50 73 68

Total Center Seat to Center Bar Length: 61cm

Caveats: Okay, the exact length depends on the height of the saddle above the seat tube, and the difference between a 67 and 68 degree head tube angle will affect the cockpit length. Additionally, the bars used (ENVE Carbon Riser on the Turner; RaceFace Atlas Freeride on the Trek) are different but similar in rise / sweep, and slightly different in width (740mm vs. 780mm respectively). But the point is this: as set up, the difference in cockpit length was only 0.7cm.

Sitting on the Turner felt very much like sitting ‘in’ the Turner. I felt centered and low, which allowed me to really lean the bike over. This is probably due to the nearly identical BB heights of 13.25” on the Turner and 13.31” on the Trek. I did have to get farther back behind the seat on some descents than I would have on my Trek. This is possibly due to the shorter cockpit length but also possibly due to the slightly longer rear triangle of the Turner with its larger wheels and 17.6” chainstays versus the Trek’s smaller wheels and 16.73” chainstays.

I like the feel of shorter cockpits – quicker handling, faster turning, etc. I feel that I can generally overcome the considerations associated with a shorter cockpit (the potential for that dreaded “over the bars” scenario) with body position and technique. The Burner rewarded the use of body position and good technique admirably – I would say that its handling with respect to size felt on par with my Fuel EX.

Turner Burner, Blister Gear Review.
Dana Allen on the Turner Burner, Sun Valley, Idaho.

The Build

What can I say? Shimano XT is solid in pretty much every way. It shifts great, though the 3×10 on my particular test model is something I wouldn’t necessarily recommend. By the end of the test, I’d flattened some of the teeth on the big ring going over rocks. I’d opt to set it up 2×10 and get a bash.

Also, make sure you get the Shadow+ rear derailleur. I’ve used both the XT Shadow+ and the SRAM XO Type 2—as far as I’m concerned there are very few reasons to buy a traditional-style non-clutchless derailleur. Yes, the clutches can wear out and break. But unless you really like the sound of chain slap, buy the new generation and kiss chain slap—and dropped chains—goodbye.

XT brakes are excellent. I normally ride Avid Elixir CR and Code; they are brakes and they work. Shimano’s feel great with exceptional modulation and control. I like the levers for one finger braking far better than Avid’s version.

Stan’s Arch EX 650b (can we all agree that saying 27.5” makes way more sense?) are great wheels—21 mm internal rim width will let you run fat tires and a 32 hole three-cross pattern, while not light, is going to be pretty stiff. Plus, they’re Stan’s NoTubes, so tubeless setup is a snap. They come stock with Stan’s SpeedTuned 3.30 series hubs front and rear – your basic cartridge-bearing spinners. If you want to play with this and get some Gucci-style hubs like Hopes or Kings, you’ll have to buy the frame with the Upgrade kit from Turner, which comes with the fork, shock, and headset for $3,157.00.

I ran the tires at 27psi for the whole week, and only once did I feel like I hit the rim. Granted, the trails I was riding were pretty smooth, but that is another benefit of a larger wheel size with larger-volume tires—you can get away with running slightly lower pressures in some situations.

Two things were missing on this bike that I really wanted: (1) a remote lever for the Fox CTD system, because fumbling around for two different levers is annoying and dangerous at times and (2) some sort of dropper post with remote lever.

Fox does make the D.O.S.S. dropper post that can be integrated into the CTD system, which might be a nice add-on. So if you are going to buy this bad Larry, spend a little extra on those two things and set it up to shred.

5 comments on “2013 Turner Burner”

  1. soooo- i have been lusting after a burner. and i am a sv loc

    does pete lanes have demos?

    thanks for the great write up. i am thinking ccdb air, lowered lyrik dh up from. 2×10 shimano drivetrain, saint breaks, and dropper . 30 ish lb trail killa

    • mb –
      Pete Lane’s does have Turner Burner demos. When we were there (mid-June) they hadn’t yet received their size large frame but were waiting for it. So they should have the full run from S to L now. They’re set up pretty sweet, but you’ll be bummed there’s no dropper (hard thing to put on a demo/rental). Go talk to Greg (shop manager) – mention that you saw this review, he helped me out.
      Have fun out in SV – missing those trails already. I still have daydreams about Oregon Gulch.

  2. Dana – this is absolutely the most useful and informative bike test I’ve ever read. Ever. Dave T should have you do tests on ALL of his bikes! Hell – EVERYBODY should have you do their reviews!! And Blister owes you a raise. Kudos, in a big way. I’d been shopping for awhile. Was all about a 5.Spot. Saw the Burner on the website – and until I saw your review, couldn’t find flying monkey poop strings about it. Nothing that was particularly useful, anyway. I went ahead with the 5.Spot. Even after reading Bazar’s test of the 2011 edition (kidding – it was also very helpful). It’ll work better for me and where we ride. Chomping at the bits to get it in some mud. The decision sure didn’t reflect on your Burner review, though. You kick the proverbial butt with this stuff. Well done! And no disrespect to Bazar’s 5.Spot review. He did a helluva job with it. Better in every way than any of the glossy-page MTB magazine-rack tomes can do. But you just busted this one up in a big way. Ho yea.

    • Thanks, Jimicarl. I had a lot of fun riding that thing, and I think it’s definitely a bike worth considering for anyone considering making the 27.5 jump – which I think is a jump many people might just want to consider.

  3. I have about 3 months logged on my Burner and this review is very accurate. Everything I would say to describe the Burner is summed up with this review. Nice job.

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