Editor's Note: As readers sink their teeth into the 2014 Bible of Bike Tests, we’ll keep churning out our ‘Roundtable Reels’ videos with highlights from our candid discussions about each of the 34 bikes we tested in Sedona, Arizona for this year’s gear guide.
Why did the 29-inch-wheeled Turner Czar, the company’s first foray into carbon, blur the lines between a trail bike and an XC race whip? And why did it make our testers feel like Superman?
Find out here:
Direct Link: http://www.turnerbikes.com/2013-turner-bike-models/czar
Final Take: Blurring the line between a cross-country race and trail bike, the Czar is perfect for short sprints or long days in the saddle.
We have a don't ask, don't tell policy at The Bible. There are already so many potential biases floating around in our heads before hearing our peers' thoughts on a bike, so we have to be tight-lipped during test sessions. It's hard to hide a smile though, so when tester after tester returned from a lap aboard the Turner Czar with a massive grin, we knew something was up. This bike, Turner's first foray into carbon, must have told some really great jokes because there's no way a purebred cross-country race bike would be that fun to ride. Racing bikes are meant to be fast and efficient suffer sleds, not trail- devouring grin factories. But that's exactly what this Czar is, all while still being incredibly fast and efficient. There wasn't any arguing during our roundtable discussion about the 100-millimeter 29er, just a sense of surprised elation. We all had great rides on the Czar.
Normally, the $8,145 XT build with Enve upgrade comes with a 100-millimeter Fox 32 Float, but Turner sent this bike with a 120-millimeter RockShox SID. The longer fork undoubtedly added to the fun factor, but didn't seem to have any negative effects on handling. The Czar handled quickly and precisely, even with the slightly-slacker-than-stock headtube.
Traction comes in spades, thanks to the DW-link suspension platform. When stomping climbs, it's possible to leave the Fox Float CTD shock fully open. Built-in anti-squat keeps the rear end from bobbing, while still allowing the wheel to conform to the trail. With these kinematics and resulting traction, acceleration is extraordinarily good.
The pivots use journal bearings, or bushings, which last a long time, but create more friction in the swingarm. We wonder if that can even be felt. –RYAN PALMER