Here is an updated version of my previous article regarding the Knolly Delirium 27.5. The first part of the article includes my first ride impressions, followed by my updates after riding for 5 weeks in Whistler.
First ride review:
I took out my Delirium for its first ride today (February 2016), so I thought I’d share my first impressions of this surprise package of a bike. A few pics of the bike as I initially set it up are below.
Current Build (different from what is shown in photos):
FRAME 2016 Delirium 27.5 alloy 170 mm rear travel (large size)
FORK MRP Stage 170mm travel
REAR SHOCK Cane Creek DB Air - CS (Also have been running the Coil version in Whistler)
SEAT POST Race Face Dropper post - 125mm
SEAT POST CLAMP Chromag Bolt On
SADDLE Chromag Trailmaster DT
HEADSET Cane Creek 40 series
STEM Chromag Ranger 50mm
HANDLEBAR Chromag Fubars OSX Polished Alloy 780mm
GRIPS Chromag Squarewave XL
FRONT BRAKE Shimano Zee 180mm rotor
REAR BRAKE Shimano Zee 160mm rotor
SHIFTER FRONT None
SHIFTER REAR SRAM X01 11 speed Gripshift
REAR DERAILLEUR SRAM X01 X-Horizontal rear 11 speed
CASSETTE SRAM XG 1175 10-42 11 speed cassette
BOTTOM BRACKET Race Face
PEDALS Shimano XTR
CHAIN Sram PC X01 11 speed chain
WHEELS Nextie 40mm wide carbon rims with Hope Pro 2 hubs, DT Competition spokes
TYRES Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35 Front and Maxxis High Roller II 2.4 rear
Overall Weight 31.2lb or 14.2kg.
First ride report:
The ride consisted of mostly technical rocky singletrack with a lot of short punchy climbs and was about 30km in length.
I'd just come off a Banshee Rune (moved all the parts across to the Delirium) and the Delirium is a completely different animal despite having a similar target market. I had no idea how versatile this bike would be considering the 170mm travel and what the geometry numbers indicate.
I started riding with the Cane Creek base tune settings on the rear shock, but it became apparent very quickly that for the sandstone rocky technical riding of the Northern Beaches of Sydney, the low speed and high speed compression needed to be backed off slightly to give the suspension more sensitivity.
What struck me immediately with the Delirium is that labelling this bike a “Park Bike” gives the misconception that this is a heavy, unwieldy beast and undersells the versatility and playfulness this bike provides. With the Banshee Rune, you knew you were riding a “big boned” bike – stable at high speed over rough terrain but with limited handling in twisty singletrack. The Delirium seemed to handle both very well. Admittedly my build kit was more trail riding focused than downhill, but I’d been running exactly the same build on the Rune so it was an “apples for apples” comparison.
The claimed superior traction of the Knolly patented 4x4 design is immediately noticeable. This has advantages for fast cornering and downhill technical riding. Compared to the Banshee KS and Santa Cruz VPP designs, there is no skipping of the rear wheel over square edged obstacles with the Knolly suspension. The compromise is that you can feel the traction on fire road climbs as being less efficient than other suspension designs. I also ride a Lenz Behemoth 29er, which is a simple single pivot design with 5” travel, and it definitely feels snappier on the climbs…but then again, so it should!
The Knolly Delirium is intended to be my bike for my upcoming 5 week trip to Whistler. With a few strategic component changes (wider bars, shorter stem and bigger tyres) it will be perfect for the job. But with my current build, this bike will become my all day trail bike as it is well suited to Australian trails.
Review Update - after 5 weeks at Whistler
I've just completed a 5 week trip to Whistler which consisted of 12 days in the Bike Park and a backcountry ride on every other day of the trip. 2 weeks into the trip I visited Knolly HQ in Vancouver, where I met the Knolly crew and picked up a Cane Creek DB Coil Shock to try on the Delirium.
The Delirium was the perfect bike for the trip. Black diamond technical climbs were handled with ease, and then the 170mm travel and great traction of the 4x4 suspension got me out of trouble on many occasions on sketchy, rocky, rooty downhills. In the bike park, the DB Air CS shock struggled over roots and braking ruts, leading me to switch it out for the DB Coil CS. This transformed the suspension performance to be superb in the park. The small bump sensitivity offered by the coil version of the shock, coupled with backing off the low speed compression and rebound, provided a much smoother ride on the technical runs. The flow runs (not my specialty!) also were a lot of fun and I definitely became more comfortable in the air over the 5 week trip.
I've left the coil shock on the bike for regular trail riding. The performance of the suspension with the coil shock way outweighs the weight penalty of the shock (it adds ~400g over the air shock) even on standard trail rides. It just goes to show that bike weight is not a factor if the suspension design and frame geometry is spot on!