Sunn Sham­man S1 Finest


Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents -

Hav­ing started moun­tain bik­ing in the late 90s, I am fa­mil­iar with see­ing Sunn al­ready right there at the top. They had a stacked team of pro­fes­sion­als that came across from BMX and ski­ing. The Sunn team had great names like Anne-Carolin Chaus­son, Nico Vouil­loz and Cedric Gracia – they all be­gan with Sunn and were an un­stop­pable force of cal­cu­lated, and cap­ti­vat­ing char­ac­ters that dom­i­nated the down­hill cir­cuit from the early 90s to the early 2000s.

Apart from Sunn’s name pop­ping up in some vin­tage and retro MTB pages, it wasn’t un­til 2016 that I saw Is­abeau Cour­durier take the name to 2nd place in the En­duro World Se­ries.

Never be­ing a com­pany to go with the grain, the Sunn Shamann is an eye catcher jam packed with tech and tube shapes that bog­gle the mind. From a down­tube that shares the width of BB shells to an al­most hid­den shock that makes the frame look like that of a hard­tail from some an­gles.

The Shamann is an XC race spe­cific 100mm dual sus­pen­sion race bike, with the S1 Finest (the model on test) the top tier model as its name sug­gests.

Cur­rently there are many 100mm 29ers avail­able in the market, most of which are highly ca­pa­ble cross-coun­try race bikes, some that dip their tyres into the realm of trail rid­ing. Bikes like the Yeti SB100 or even the Santa Cruz Blur CC tested re­cently in the pages of AMB. The Shamann sits slightly on the other side of this fence, it’s a se­ri­ous racer, and that’s a good thing, nail­ing what Sunn set out to cre­ate.


It is easy to see that the Shamann is con­structed of car­bon fi­bre, with its wild con­i­cal head­tube and stays that ex­tend well past the rear axle. No other ma­te­rial could be as neatly moulded this way. Sunn has used a mix of both To­ray 800 and 900 se­ries high mod­u­lus car­bon fi­bre for the main­frame and rear stays. This helps keep the weight down and the stiff­ness up.

The ben­e­fit of all the elab­o­rate moulded car­bon is strength where it needs to be, weight sav­ings where pos­si­ble and a very clev­erly placed shock po­si­tion low­er­ing the cen­tral mass of the bike. The link­age is smooth and nearly in­vis­i­ble align­ing the seat­stay per­fectly with the top tube and giv­ing the il­lu­sion that this bike is a hard­tail.

With the Rock­Shox Deluxe RL Met­ric shock sit­ting low and rear­ward it has been lo­cated very close to the rear tyres de­bris. Sunn have a neat roost guard so­lu­tion that clips onto the shock it­self which worked ef­fec­tively on both dusty and wet rides we tested the bike on. An­other wel­comed fea­ture in­cluded on the Shamann is the in­te­grated top chain guide, and we ex­pe­ri­enced zero rub­bing, noise or fuss dur­ing the test. It is great to see com­pa­nies ex­plor­ing link­age de­sign in con­junc­tion with the de­ci­sion to elim­i­nate the front de­railleur and of­fer­ing 1 x spe­cific fuse­lages.

The ob­vi­ous choice for a 1x spe­cific race bike was no doubt SRAM’s XX1 12 speed Ea­gle and to pull it up, SRAM Level TLs. A light­weight and durable per­former that needs no in­tro­duc­tions.

Setup of the Shamann as a pack­age is su­per sim­ple, start­ing with the Mavic Cross­max UST wheels. Mavic’s UST sys­tem is by far the eas­i­est sys­tem to in­stall tyres on es­pe­cially when paired with French tyre man­u­fac­turer Hutchin­son, no levers, no fuss and no need for a fancy pump.

With a dual cable ac­tu­ated lock­ing sys­tem paired to the Rock­Shox Deluxe RL shock and SID World Cup fork we knew the in­tended use of this bike was rac­ing. All the num­bers add up to sup­port this, es­pe­cially the small 110mm head tube, 69 de­gree head an­gle, and 450mm reach (size large on test). The low and long front end com­bined with the 74 de­gree seat tube an­gle re­ally help you get on and over the cen­tre and drive the bike for­ward ef­fi­ciently. With a huge rec­tan­gu­lar down­tube and the ab­sence of a rear pivot, the Shamann acts just like a hard­tail

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