We rode two versions of the Sled, one large the other extra large. Both yielded very different results. On the large there was an outstanding grip character to the bike in many, many situations. Through root and rock the bike keeps its line and feels as if you have has an ability to drive hard into corners, it’s a quiet bike as well. The standover is low to give room and the shape of the bike up front together with ample 170mm fork is pretty combative. These factors alone drives confidence upwards.
It’s pretty hard to keep your momentum when your body is being forced backwards on the bike due to rear collapsing in its travel all too easily. This was quite different to what the nice man on the DMR video described and it certainly does not maintain good shape to the geometry when braking into corners. There are two things at work in such situations which make paper analysis limited but what’s probably at fault here is the damper which as the nice man had already highlighted needs packing full of spacers. I just think it would be nice if brands did this for the rider when paying so much cash. The weak rear is compounded by a slightly high bottom bracket which forces the rider into a slightly cramped riding position, this leads to a quite tiring ride on longer stages.
To try and remedy this we sized up on the Sled to the extra large size and it gave a totally different ride. The suppleness was gone but the support was improved. The front still had a tendency to wander and the ride was quite unforgiving. In short, the suspension needs refining a touch on this bike.
The conundrum is that the extra large Sled is pretty close in geometry to the large Pivot Firebird which we rate very highly and which looks set for a shoot out with the Radon Swoop. The problem is that the Sled rides totally differently to the Firebird and highlights why you cannot ever just go by numbers. The Sled is an inspiring bike in many ways but one that will need attention by many riders in the shock absorber to achieve the best balance for them. Still the grip and shape are excellent, the componentry is solid, and apart from it needing a longer seat post it’s good to go.