[Editor’s Note: When our reviewers aren’t out testing various frames and forks and whatnot, what do their own personal builds look like? The Bike Check series asks some of our riders to detail their setups, and explain why they’ve chosen these particular frames and components. First up were Marshal Olson and Noah Bodman. Now it’s Kevin Bazar’s turn.]
Kevin Bazar: 5’9” 160 lbs.
Ride Style: former DH and XC racer, hates slow, loves fast
Frame: 2011 Turner 5.Spot, medium, 140mm travel, aluminum.
Turner makes some damn stiff trail frames since the DW-link design. With -2 degree headset, this thing regularly says “on your left” to many of the more high profile 6”+ bikes everyone lusts over these days. (OK, it’s me that actually says that. The frame doesn’t talk.)
But this thing stays level without bobbing during climbs and moves when you hit stuff. That sounds simplistic, but most frames don’t actually accomplish this. Did I mention it’s stiff? It corners like a champ. Love it.
Mavic finally got their hubs figured out by removing the goofy bushing that made their old Crossmax wheels drag and fall apart. These things are lighter than any comparable-strength wheel built with an aftermarket hub. Outside of some ENVE wheels, these are about the best strength-to-weight ratio out there. I’ve trued them once in a full season, which is pretty damn good considering the pounding I give them.
Both of these pieces just flat out work. With the silly head angle on this bike, the Talas adjust is almost mandatory, and I use it on a regular basis. With what RockShox calls a “light” compression tune, the rear shock makes the stock Fox RP23 that comes with the Turner frame seem way over damped. It’s pretty easy to run this setup so that you’d almost swear you were on a 7/7” bike. The Monarch has three compression damping settings, but with as well as the 5.spot behaves while sprinting and climbing, I just leave it wide open.
You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard how insanely good the upper-end Shimano brakes are these days. It’s all true. A little stabby at first before you’re used to them, these brakes equate to almost zero hand fatigue, even on the nastiest sustained erosion nightmares that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. And I like not having to keep a bottle of DOT fluid around anymore.