£3,499.99 Full-on fun ma­chine that’s packed with prom­ise

Mountain Biking UK - - FIRST RIDES - ROB WEAVER www.up­grade­

While DMR are bet­ter known for all things dirt jump re­lated, they know a thing or two about well­con­sid­ered bike and prod­uct de­sign. The Sled, which is their sec­ond full­sus­pen­sion bike, but the first made from alu­minium, is proof of this.

The frame

The Sled’s 160mm (6.3in) of travel is de­liv­ered via DMR’s ‘Or­bit Link’ sus­pen­sion sys­tem, which uses a pair of coun­ter­ro­tat­ing links to con­nect the swingarm to the main­frame. What sets this apart from many other ‘vir­tual pivot point’ sys­tems is that the lower link ro­tates around the Sled’s bot­tom bracket (BB). Con­trol­ling all of that travel is a Rock­Shox Monarch RT3 shock, with a three-po­si­tion lever that lets you lock it out for long climbs.

An up­per chain guide from Praxis Works is at­tached to the lower link and ro­tates around the chain­ring as the Sled moves through its travel. Other no­table frame de­tails in­clude a threaded BB, col­let-style pivot hard­ware and 148mm rear axle spac­ing. There’s room for a 2.4in tyre in the rear tri­an­gle. Ca­bles are routed in­ter­nally through the front tri­an­gle and loop out around the head tube – so you may find your knees clip­ping them when climb­ing out of the sad­dle.

The kit

The bar, stem, cranks and sad­dle all come from DMR and are great bits of kit. We did swap the slide-on DMR Sect grips for non-mush­room lockon al­ter­na­tives though. X-Fu­sion sup­ply the drop­per post, which comes with a neat, easy-to-reach re­mote. While we had no is­sues drop­ping the post, it oc­ca­sion­ally needed as­sis­tance to re­turn to full ex­ten­sion. We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the mas­sive 2.5in WTB Con­vict front tyre in their ‘High Grip’ com­pound, when tack­ling rough ter­rain.

The ride

Con­sid­er­ing its 14.8kg weight, the Sled ped­als re­ally quite well, thanks to the way in which the Or­bit Link sus­pen­sion works. In fact, we never once felt the need to reach for the shock’s lock­out lever when climb­ing. Get grav­ity be­hind the Sled and it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble not to have a huge grin on your face. Though it feels re­as­sur­ingly solid, it’s still ag­ile and in­cred­i­bly lively when it counts, and ea­ger to make the most out of ev­ery take-off or trail ob­sta­cle you en­counter. The BB may not be the low­est, but the DMR is no slouch through the turns, where the only lim­it­ing fac­tor is the low-treaded Trail Boss rear tyre, which strug­gles when things get a bit boggy.

When it comes to the sus­pen­sion, we ended up adding three vol­ume spac­ers to the shock to in­crease the pro­gres­sion to­wards the end of the stroke. This left the bike feel­ing sup­ple on less de­mand­ing trails, where it de­liv­ered grip, con­fi­dence and just enough ram­pup to swal­low big land­ings when it counted. Dive into some­thing a lit­tle more rugged, though, and things aren’t quite as straight­for­ward. Over re­peated big hits, the rear end can get a lit­tle over­whelmed at times. This forces your weight over the front of the bike, which be­comes tir­ing on long runs.

Thank­fully, DMR say this is some­thing they’re al­ready look­ing to rec­tify. The Sled is still a blast to ride, and they’ve done a good job with the an­gles and over­all siz­ing.

While DMR’s orig­i­nal Bolt full-susser was steel, the Sled’s frame is alu­minium

The Sled is a good shape but the sus­pen­sion needs tweak­ing to get the best from it

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