PREVIEW: 2012 Knolly Chilcotin

Knolly Chilcotin, Blister Gear ReviewBike: 2012 Knolly Chilcotin

Size: Medium

Intended Use: All Mountain and Freeride


  • Chain Stay Length: 16.9″
  • Head Tube Length: 4.6″
  • Stand Over Height: 28.7″
  • Seat Tube Length: 16.9″
  • Effective Top Tube Length: 23.5″
  • Wheel Base Length: 21.9″
  • Stack: 23.0″
  • Reach: 16.5″

When it was time for me to send my trusty Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon out to pasture earlier this season, I struggled with choosing its replacement. I wanted to try something different. My first choice was the Knolly Endorphin, a slimmed down 140mm-travel machine with aggressive geometry and a weight that would cooperate with long days at high altitude. As a new model from a small company, however, production on the Endorphin was a bit of a crapshoot, and I needed a bike now. There happened to be a medium black Chilcotin available at that moment, so I said, “Send it!”

Joe Hanrahan, Knolly Chilcotin, Blister Gear Review
Joe Hanrahan on the Knolly Chilcotin, Moab, Utah.

A little background…

I first laid eyes (and hands, butt, and feet) on the Knolly Chilcotin in September 2010 at the Interbike tradeshow. As a 160mm-travel bike with good looking geometry and a beefiness that comes with its North Vancouver pedigree, I couldn’t wait until they were in full production and available. So I waited…and waited…and waited some more.

After their North American contract welder (SAPA in Oregon) got out of the bicycle business altogether, Knolly made the tough decision to take their production overseas. And after months of searching for a satisfactory manufacturer in Taiwan, Knolly was able to find the right manufacturing partner, and has been able to take advantage of the top-shelf tubing and shaping technology available in this facility to improve the tubesets of their frames. So more than a year after their introduction, the first batch of Chilcotins finally hit North America.

8 comments on “PREVIEW: 2012 Knolly Chilcotin”

  1. Would love to see the complete review – has the tester of the Chilcotin had enough time on it? I am thinking seriously about a Chilcotin and would love further information on your impressions.

  2. Hey guys, I won’t be writing a long-format followup because I sold the Chilcotin last fall, not too long after writing the above review. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the Chili. That bike was a blast. Stiff, low, good geometry; but as I mentioned in my writeup, the suspension was tuned for traction, not pedaling speed and efficiency. The Chili is a great All-Mountain bike with a bias towards downhill manners (and some low speed uphill techy climbing). I climb a lot on fairly smooth Park City trails and I race Enduros and some worthy SuperDs, so I need a frame that has a little more pep in its step. I’m willing to give up a little squish for that.
    All that said, I just built up a Knolly Endorphin with the kit that was on the Chilcotin. Its got 140mm rear travel and Konlly tuned the 4×4 on it to ride more efficiently. It suits my needs a lot better for an everyday ride, as well as something I can take racing. I’ll have a good long-term writeup on the Endo later this summer. If you have some more specific Chili or Endo questions let me know.

  3. Hey Joe,

    How did you find the sizing? I’m 5’11” also and debating between a medium and a large for the Chilcotin.


  4. How’d you find the descending capabilities of the Chili vs. the MK2 Nomad? Maybe throw in your opinion of the Endorphin compared to both as well? I have an old MK1 coiled Nomad that I love, and have an eye on my next bike at some point in the near future.

  5. To be more specific, did you find the descending capabilities through rough chunky terrain without being bogged down to be evenly matched, or did you find one to be better than the other?

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