|Yeah it is...|
Fox suspension with a dual remote lockout. Awesome. The Evol rear shock runs a very low pressure and so is supple and responsive. The Maestro suspension means there is limited bob under power and you get heaps of tyre contact when braking. The forks do as they should be expected to on a bike of this level. They track well and are smooth through the travel. Being able to lock both out on one lever means that for long climbs and sections of smooth fire road you can get every bit of efficiency through the pedals and I have to admit to using it heaps.
|Evol shock with remote lockout.|
|Step Cast to save weight.|
The last time I rode a 29er was 2014. It was a previous incarnation of the Anthem and I loved it. It was a great bike to race marathons on and long days in the saddle seemed made for it. In tight singletrack and on more technical descents though it was a little less capable. The 2018 version has gone a long way to making these shortcomings a thing of the past. The cockpit is longer, the stem shorter, the head angle slacker and the rear wheel tucked up more under the rider. This gives a very confident feel when ripping through rough trails and lets you turn faster than I would have expected possible. One of my favourite bits of singletrack has a long section of off camber roots and broken shale that drops following a sharp left hander. The run in always presents a moment of hesitation as the right line takes you through the roots before setting you up to launch the shale and land in a corner. The bike cruised through the roots with barely any loss of speed or control and then easily flicked the tail to get the correct line into the shale. The stability of the 29er coupled with the very forgiving suspension made me feel a bit pro as I dusted my mates through the section. So yeah, descending is good!
|Contact SLR cockpit|
What about going up I hear you say? The cockpit feels nicely stretched out so no worries there. Having the rear wheel tucked in tight under the rider gives shed loads of traction whether you are locked out or negotiating tricky ascents over obstacles. My local trails are very loose at the moment with very fine dust over hard pack. While I can break traction if I stand and stomp, while seated there is great transfer of power to the rear wheel. Couple this with the lockout and you have a very fast bike when the trail goes up. I'm liking it.