electric mountain bike

Seb’s Privateer 161 long-term review

Seb’s Privateer 161 long-term review 2020-09-10Leave a comment

electrical bike Seb’s Privateer 161 long-term overview

When the individuals behind Hunt wheels confirmed BikeRadar the designs for a motorcycle it was growing below the Privateer model with radical geometry and a modest value, I knew it will be very fascinating in the event that they pulled it off. Now I’ve spent 4 months using the Privateer 161 and I’m something however disenchanted.

The Privateer 161 is the first bike from the UK-based company and sports activities 161mm of journey with genuinely vanguard geometry that’s geared toward enduro racers, or those that similar to charging onerous over tough terrain and don’t need to lay our a fortune.

You should purchase the 161 as an entire bike for £2,989 – nice worth given the strong elements used (the RRP of the elements alone provides as much as round £2,400). The body solely possibility is nice worth too, at £1,489, in the event you’ve obtained particular tastes or elements mendacity round.

Privateer 161

I’ve constructed up a body with gravity-focused elements.
Andy Lloyd

I’ve constructed up a motorcycle with a mixture of well-proven elements and cutting-edge elements. The bike shall be my check rig for a slew of various elements over the approaching months, my common trip and, Covid-willing, one thing I’m hoping to race on.

I’ve already been using this bike for 4 months as I write this, so learn on to learn the way it performs.

Privateer Bikes 161 body particulars

The burly body (in XL) weighs a  hefty 4.6kg (that’s with shock and {hardware} however not the headset) however it seems constructed to final. Though it’s Privateer’s first bike, it’s designed by the person behind the Nukeproof Mega, Alastair Beckett, and made in Taiwan by Genio, a manufacturing facility that produces frames for a lot of established manufacturers together with Pivot and RAAW.

Privateer 161 linkage

The primary pivot homes three bearings. The water bottle solely clears the shock when positioned totally forwards.
Andy LLoyd

The primary pivot homes not two however three bearings; the additional one reinforces the driveside as a result of it sees extra load because of the asymmetry attributable to the chainring.

With a threaded backside bracket and largely exterior cable routing, it’s straightforward to work on too – though putting in the inner dropper submit cable is hard and it depends on the pinnacle tube cable information to maintain it from rattling within the body. Personally, I’d relatively hold the dropper cable out of the down tube altogether.

Privateer 161 cables

These head tube cable guides are a crude however efficient method to cease the dropper submit cable rattling contained in the down tube.
Andy LLoyd

Privateer 161 frame protection

In depth body safety, particularly across the chainstay and seatstay, is a really good contact and helps hold the bike quiet.
Andy Lloyd

Thus far the one reliability drawback I’ve skilled has been some persistent creaking from the decrease shock bushing. Sanding down the bushing pin has put a cease to this for now, although.

I additionally discovered the underside of the shock wasn’t completely aligned with the rocker hyperlink, so the shock naturally sat nearer to 1 facet of the rocker hyperlink. That is surprisingly frequent even on high-end bikes and it doesn’t appear to have an effect on suspension efficiency on this case, however it’s not very best.

Privateer 161 shock alignment

Discover how the shock sits nearer to 1 facet of the rocker hyperlink? That’s not nice for shock longevity or sensitivity. I’ve seen far worse although, and it doesn’t appear to have an effect on efficiency.
Seb Stott

For now, I’ve addressed this by eradicating the decrease bushing spacers and manually aligning the shock completely with the rocker hyperlink. This works simply advantageous, however I would attempt washers or mismatched spacers to keep up good alignment.

Privateer says it’s trying into each of those points.

Privateer’s response

Right here’s what Privateer’s Sam Meegan needed to say on the problems with my check body:

“In truth I’ve not had a lot likelihood to analyze too deeply, none of our bikes right here do it, so will prefer to take a more in-depth have a look at yours when it’s again…

We’re within the strategy of taking over an in-house engineer to concentrate on Privateer. This can give us a lot extra functionality to check and drawback clear up, plus prototype, which’ll be nice.

Ali Beckett will nonetheless be our fundamental engineer and designer, however the brand new colleague will work intently to assist push improvement ahead.

As on your shock alignment, that’s odd. I’ve not seen something comparable but, however this is able to be coated below guarantee and we’d exchange this body for a buyer.

Once more, I don’t need to sound dismissive of your points, it’s actually helpful suggestions, so shall be dissecting your bike to seek out out what’s inflicting the alignment problem.

I do know in your suspension podcast you weren’t a fan of the RS tune usually, which is one thing we’re engaged on. We now have a brand new compression tune and piston, plus a linear rebound arrange. We’re nonetheless in early days of testing, however indicators are good. It ought to give us a bit extra sensitivity and reactiveness, while nonetheless providing good mid to finish stroke assist… At all times eager to listen to your ideas because it’s the easiest way for us to get higher.”

Privateer Bikes 161 suspension particulars

The 161 makes use of a Horst-link suspension design (which means it has a pivot on the chainstay) to ship 161mm of journey. A one-piece rocker hyperlink drives a trunnion-mounted shock by way of bearings, with a hard and fast decrease shock mount utilizing a typical RockShox bushing.

The linkage is reasonably progressive (there’s round 18 per cent development from sag to bottom-out). Meaning it ought to work nicely with a coil shock, though I used to be proud of the inventory air shock and most well-liked the 2 quantity spacers that include it.

Privateer 161 linkage R

The primary pivot placement above the chainline ends in a number of anti-squat.
Ady Lloyd

Anti-squat is decidedly on the excessive facet, which suggests it stays excessive in its journey and feels agency below energy.

Because of the Horst-link structure and the lengthy rocker hyperlink, the anti-rise (the impact of braking on the suspension) stays low, topping out at below 50 per cent.

This implies the rear suspension extends and rides greater in its journey whereas braking relative to some suspension designs, significantly these with single-pivot or VPP layouts.

Privateer 161 anti squat/rise
Privateer 161 leverage

The leverage ratio is progressive all through the journey.

The RockShox SuperDeluxe Final shock makes use of a medium rebound tune and a light-weight compression tune. Whereas this labored fairly nicely for me, I hope to experiment with totally different damping tunes earlier than the following replace to see if I could make it work even higher.

It’s value remembering that the top-tier Tremendous Deluxe Final shock is an actual deal with on a body at this value. The tuning choices, ease of setup and reliability have impressed on this bike and others, and whereas the lockout isn’t precisely obligatory on this bike, it’s nonetheless good to have.

Privateer Bikes 161 geometry

The 161 is offered in 4 sizes, the smallest of which makes use of 650b wheels whereas the remaining are 29ers. The chainstay size grows by 6mm between sizes, from 434mm in dimension 1 to 452mm in dimension 4 (examined).

This helps all sizes to have an analogous entrance to rear weight distribution. As a bonus, the dimensions 4 has buckets of tyre clearance – a 29 x 2.6in tyre matches in with a great deal of room to spare.

The under geometry numbers are measured from my dimension 4 bike with the elements I’ve fitted (see additional down), therefore there are just a few variations relative to the above chart from Privateer’s web site. Most notably, the wheelbase with a 170mm RockShox Zeb is about 15mm longer than marketed.

Measured geometry (Dimension S4 / XL):

  • Head angle: 64.1 levels
  • Seat angle: 80 levels
  • Chainstay: 454mm
  • Seat tube: 480mm
  • Efficient high tube: 630mm
  • Head tube: 130mm
  • Backside bracket top: 344mm
  • Wheelbase: 1,330mm
  • Attain: 515mm

Privateer Bikes 161 specification

I initially constructed a burly bike with the new RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork (170mm journey), 2.6in Schwalbe Eddy Present tyres, mismatched alloy wheels, MRP chainguide, SRAM’s latest GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain and SRAM Code RSC brakes.

These elements are consistently being swapped out to check new elements and I’ve already examined the bike with the 2020 and 2021 variations of the RockShox Lyrik in addition to the Fox 38 and RockShox Zeb. Evaluations of these are within the pipeline.

Why did I select this bike?

I really like a cut price and I really like a protracted bike.

I spent a number of time final 12 months using the Pole Machine TR and I actually preferred the form of that bike. In the true world, the 161 measures up very intently when it comes to geometry. However, in the event you evaluate Privateer’s full-build choice to the Machine TR, it’s over two grand cheaper and comes with nicer elements.

Privateer Bikes 161 trip impressions

Climbing efficiency

The very first thing you’ll discover hopping on the 161 is the very steep (80-degree) efficient seat tube angle, which places your hips very far ahead and your again into an upright place. Regardless of the whopping 515mm attain, the bars sit fairly near your legs, however as soon as the path factors upwards this place makes good sense.

It’s relaxed and environment friendly even on the steepest climbs, and since the rear suspension stays excessive in its journey and barely bobs below energy (due to excessive ranges of anti-squat) it’s surprisingly spritely for an enduro bike, regardless of the 16.5kg weight of this construct.

It’s supportive below energy and doesn’t collapse into its suspension even on the steepest climbs, so the good thing about that 80-degree seat angle isn’t diminished while you want it most. If there’s one bike worthy of the “doesn’t want a lockout” cliché it’s this one, however I nonetheless use it for steep tarmac slogs the place each Watt helps.

The theoretical draw back of excessive anti-squat is that it might make the suspension much less energetic when pedalling over bumps, but the 161 pedals over bumps surprisingly nicely. I put this all the way down to the central seated place. When the rear wheel hits a bump, the bike pivots across the entrance axle. Sitting additional forwards places you nearer to that pivot and due to this fact isolates the rider from bumps.

The 161 shouldn’t be designed for flat rides – the steep seat angle places extra weight in your palms, which may get tiring after some time – and whereas I haven’t taken the 161 on a tour of Holland, I’ve not discovered the place uncomfortable or inefficient when using the occasional flat part.

Descending efficiency

The lengthy and slack geometry might take some getting used to in the event you’re conversant in a extra conventional mountain bike form. Due to the lengthy front-centre, it pays to place stress on the bar in flat turns so the entrance wheel is correctly loaded.

Pulling a guide or bunny hop takes a extra deliberate strategy than a shorter bike too. Elevating the bar helps the lengthy attain to really feel extra manageable on steep descents and makes the bike simpler to throw round – it additionally helps to cut back the burden in your palms when pedalling seated.

Privateer 161 drift

Longer bikes require a extra rider-forward place to nook at their greatest.
Andy Lloyd

When you get the dangle of it, the Privateer can actually rail turns. The lengthy front-centre, low backside bracket and slack head angle imply there’s no hazard of the entrance wheel tucking below or spitting you over the bars, so you may actually throw your weight round and assault the corners, particularly in the event that they’re tough or steep.

The lengthy wheelbase (1,330mm) each means that you can nook extra aggressively and requires you to – when you perceive this, even the tightest turns are not any drawback.

Privateer 161 manual

*Fully gratuitous guide out of a nook shot.* Although it’s lengthy and steady, you may throw your weight round within the corners exactly due to that stability.
Andy LLoyd

That lengthy wheelbase additionally means there’s much less diving and tripping when slamming into bumps and holes, so it’s steady and settled in essentially the most hectic terrain.

It encourages you to look additional forward, brake much less and benefit from the feeling of rallying via chunky terrain. The rear suspension does stand up a bit of greater than some bikes when onerous on the brakes, however this isn’t sufficient to upset the steadiness of the bike, it simply makes it much more essential to drop the heels and push into the pedals to maintain the rear wheel gripping.

Setup with 28 per cent sag (measured seated, not standing) and with two quantity spacers put in, the suspension gives a predictable build-up of assist all through the journey, but full journey stays accessible when touchdown onerous and it sucks up huge hits brilliantly.

There’s simply sufficient assist to pump and push via corners with out the bike feeling lazy, however I’d say it’s barely biased in direction of swallowing bumps than staying excessive within the journey.

The compression damping is gentle, and winding on the low-speed compression doesn’t do an entire lot so as to add assist, so those that desire a significantly agency suspension setup might desire a firmer compression tune put in.

Personally, I just like the suspension to maneuver freely over bumps to assist keep momentum and scale back fatigue, so I’m proud of the inventory compression tune for now.

Privateer 161 corner

Though the compression tune is gentle, there’s loads to push in opposition to within the turns.
Andy Lloyd

When hitting kicky jumps or touchdown onerous, the suspension rebounds from deep within the stroke fairly quick except the rebound is about to really feel barely too sluggish within the automobile park. I’m going to attempt a linear rebound tune (instead of the digressive one which comes inventory), which ought to make it extra predictable on huge hits whereas serving to it observe the bottom higher on small chatter.

That is extra of an experiment than a criticism, although. I’ve no points using flat-out with the inventory setup, the place the supple suspension contributes to the 161’s surefooted dealing with in rowdy terrain.

Whereas the problems with my check body are irritating and cease it getting 5 stars for now, nothing I’ve ridden thus far comes near this stage of efficiency at this kind of value. The truth is, for the steep, quick enduro-style using it’s designed for, it’s an outstanding bike whatever the value.

This isn’t only a nice enduro bike for the cash, it’s a fantastic enduro bike full cease. Regardless of a few niggles with the body, Privateer appears to have pulled off a giant-killer. I’ll report again as soon as I’ve spent much more time on the Privateer Bikes 161, so keep tuned!

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