It’s a long drive from Wiggle HQ in Cosham, all the way down to Silverfish HQ in Saltash. A drive I’ve made twice since becoming a buyer 8 short months ago. Silverfish are suppliers of prolific MTB brands such as Race Face, e.thirteen, SDG, Formula, Evoc and more.
I look forward to the trip for a number of reasons. It’s partly because it’s a group of guys, led by one passionate individual, who are all 110% in love with mountain biking as a sport. It’s also partly because of Managing Director Darren’s love for Yeti, which is evident when seeing the multiple examples of Yeti history strewn across his office, such as more Cooks Bros Cranks than you can imagine, a few Tioga disc drive wheels and one in particular is attached to John Tomac’s famous Yeti C-26! There is much more besides!
This trip was slightly different as we found time to hit Silverfish’s local trails which they sponsor – Cardinham Trails. A relatively short trail, filled with climbs, down hills, berms, jumps, rock gardens…it’s an ideal proving ground for a new bike. Which bike did Darren prepare for me? The Turner Burner of course!
Lucky for me, this was the second 650b bike I have ridden. Six months ago I had the pleasure of an Intense Tracer 275 for a weekend in Wales. I wasn’t enthralled by the ride, but that could have had much to do with the weather and as my first experience of 650b wheels, was perhaps more of an orientation exercise. Riding this Turner Burner however, really did impress.
The DW-Link suspension was incredibly active, soaking up every bump but was incredibly well behaved at the same time. As always, I ride with all ProPedal features switched off. I don’t think a GOOD bike should demand a clever shock to ride well. Clever shocks, should only make a bike ride better. Despite the suspension being very active on the downs, it was very active, yet very well behaved on the climbs. It was very efficient, felt light and was incredibly nimble. My Large test bike was well grounded, never loosing grip on the climbs. Considering the tyres were laden with Kenda Nevegal’s, that was a success right there!
On the downhills I longed for a dropper post. My test-bike had a conventional post which I had to manually lower. So with that, I simply hauled as much ass as I could without dropping the saddle which almost made me realise regret on a number of occasions. In the end however, I stayed upright (unlike my riding companion Steve Kitchin on his Forward Geometry Mondraker who fell off twice) and enjoyed the flowing swoops, berms and mini rollers that Cardinham trails were dishing out. It was a very lively and exciting ride.
Compared to my 29er, this bike felt very nimble and maneuverable. Indeed, I wondered if I could tell much of a difference between the 650b wheels on this bike Vs the 26″ wheels on my own full suspension bike. The wheel size certainly gave me uphill benefit but didn’t seem to make much of a difference on the downs. The perfect trail bike? Pretty much. 5″ travel was plenty, soaking up the biggest bumps and taking everything my large stature and body weight could throw at it.
But is it for me? Not quite. This bike really can do it all for most riders. And while I think in the real world it would also do everything I want, sometimes I push my full suspension bike to extremes. I like to jump big, ride it like a DH rig and generally ride very ‘enthusiastically’. I have a 29er hardtail for most of my riding, so I want a bike to go large on and still come back for more. I also want a bike to enjoy the climbs on. So while the Turner would be a very good option, it isn’t quite my ideal option.
All-in-all, if you want one full-sus rig to do it all very well with no complaints and give you that buzz every time you throw a leg over…this is your dream bike!