Breezer Supercell Team
It was only six months ago that Breezer, the oldest mountain-bike brand in the world, announced the Repack, a 27.5-inch wheeled all-mountain machine. Before we could even get our hands on one to test, we got an invite to head up to Marin to check out Breezer's next model, the Supercell.
The Supercell is a 120-millimeter 29er, utilizing Breezer's proprietary MLink suspension platform, short for mid-link. Designs such as VPP and DW-Link utilize two short links to mate the front and rear ends. There are a ton of bikes out there with these designs, and they work fantastically well. Rear-end stiffness is great because there are no pivots near the rear axle; and since the short links are such small parts, manufacturers can easily tune kinematics during development. The downside, however, is that by being so short they rotate a lot throughout the travel stroke, demanding a lot out of the pivot bearings.
This would be just fine if they weren't constantly changing directions. You see, bearings are great at turning one direction, but as soon as you ask them to suddenly stop and go the other way, they're not so stoked. I won't get into the science around why, but this concept led Sotto Group, the engineers behind MLink, to improve upon existing designs. For any given travel, the MLink pivot bearings rotate far less than a shorter dual-link design, supposedly creating a suppler ride and more durable, maintenance-free system. Large diameter thru-axles are used on every pivot, helping to make the Supercell chassis amazingly stiff.
That is good, because this bike hauls ass, both up and down. During my entire afternoon chasing Joe Breeze around Marin, I never once had to reach down for the fancy CTD knob on the Fox Float shock, opting to run it open. The rear end of the bike tracked super well, felt supple and active, yet offered plenty of support and traction on the climbs.
Handling was crisp and precise, even in tight terrain. Breeze likes building his bikes with steepish head angles, which is just fine by me. I grew up riding super-steep hardtails on super-steep hiking trails in the Northeast, so I appreciate a nimble handler. The steep head angle keeps the wheelbase at bay and enhances maneuverability, while the big wheels provide confidence and stability. The farther below the axles your feet are (BB drop), the less likely it is to get pitched over the bars. This is what Breeze likes to call "riding in a valley of confidence."
I had a blast up in Marin, riding great bikes with great people. I've only had one go on the Supercell, but I've been a mechanic my whole life and this seems like a bike that will provide years of worry-free service. I can't wait until we can get our hands on one for long-term testing.
The Supercell will be offered in three build options: XT, SLX and Deore.