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Seb’s Privateer 161 long-term review

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Seb’s Privateer 161 long-term evaluation

When the folks behind Hunt wheels confirmed BikeRadar the designs for a motorbike it was growing below the Privateer model with radical geometry and a modest worth, I knew it could be very fascinating in the event that they pulled it off. Now I’ve spent 4 months driving the Privateer 161 and I’m something however upset.

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 identical to charging laborious 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 stable parts used (the RRP of the parts alone provides as much as round £2,400). The body solely possibility is nice worth too, at £1,489, should you’ve acquired particular tastes or components mendacity round.

Privateer 161

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

I’ve constructed up a motorbike with a mixture of well-proven components and cutting-edge parts, too. The bike can be my take a look at rig for a slew of various parts over the approaching months, my common trip and, Covid-willing, one thing I’m hoping to race on.

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

Privateer Bikes 161 body particulars

The burly body weighs a fairly hefty 4.6kg (that’s with shock and {hardware} however not the headset) but it surely 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 absolutely 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 principally exterior cable routing, it’s simple to work on too – though putting in the inner dropper submit cable was tough and it depends on the top tube cable information to maintain it from rattling within the body. Personally, I’d fairly preserve the dropper cable out of the down tube altogether.

Privateer 161 cables

These head tube cable guides are a crude however efficient approach to cease the dropper submit cable rattling contained in the down tube.
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 aspect 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, but it surely’s not excellent.

Privateer 161 frame protection

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

For now, I’ve addressed this by eradicating the bushing sleeves and manually aligning the shock completely with the rocker hyperlink. This works simply wonderful, however you can use washers to take care of good alignment.

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

Privateer 161 shock alignment

Discover how the shock sits nearer to 1 aspect 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

Privateer’s response

Right here’s what Privateer’s Sam Meegan needed to say on the problems with my take a look at 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 better take a look at yours when it’s again…

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

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

As in your shock alignment, that’s odd. I’ve not seen something comparable but, however this might be lined below guarantee and we’d change this body for a buyer.

Once more, I don’t need to sound dismissive of your points, it’s actually priceless suggestions, so can be dissecting your bike to search out out what’s inflicting the alignment situation.

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’ve got 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 help… At all times eager to listen to your ideas because it’s one of the simplest ways for us to get higher.”

Privateer Bikes 161 suspension particulars

The 161 makes use of a Horst-link suspension design (that 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 set decrease shock mount utilizing an ordinary 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 pleased with 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 numerous anti-squat.
Ady Lloyd

Anti-squat is decidedly on the excessive aspect, which implies 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 larger 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 worth. The tuning choices, ease of setup and reliability have impressed on this bike and others, and whereas the lockout isn’t precisely mandatory on this bike, it’s nonetheless good to have.

Privateer Bikes 161 geometry

The 161 is accessible 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 measurement 1 to 452mm in measurement 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 suits in with a great deal of room to spare.

The under geometry numbers are measured from my measurement 4 bike with the parts 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 prime 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 parts are always being swapped out to check new components 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 an extended bike.

I spent a number of time final 12 months driving the Pole Machine TR and I actually preferred the form of that bike. In the actual world, the 161 measures up very intently by way of geometry. However, should you examine Privateer’s full-build choice to the Machine TR, it’s over two grand cheaper and comes with nicer components.

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 (because of 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 may well make the suspension much less lively when pedalling over bumps, but the 161 pedals over bumps surprisingly nicely. I put this right 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 subsequently isolates the rider from bumps.

The 161 will not be designed for flat rides – the steep seat angle places extra weight in your palms, which might 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 driving the occasional flat part.

Descending efficiency

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

Pulling a handbook or bunny hop takes a extra deliberate method 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 scale 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 hold 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’ll be able to 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 lets you nook extra aggressively and requires you to – when you perceive this, even the tightest turns aren’t any drawback.

Privateer 161 manual

*Fully gratuitous handbook out of a nook shot.* Though it’s lengthy and steady, you’ll be able to 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 probably the most hectic terrain.

It encourages you to look additional forward, brake much less and benefit from the feeling of rallying by way of chunky terrain. The rear suspension does stand up a bit of greater than some bikes when laborious on the brakes, however this isn’t sufficient to upset the stability of the bike, it simply makes it much more vital 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 help all through the journey, but full journey stays accessible when touchdown laborious and it sucks up massive hits brilliantly.

There’s simply sufficient help to pump and push by way of 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 mild, and winding on the low-speed compression doesn’t do a complete lot so as to add help, so those that need a significantly agency suspension setup could need a firmer compression tune put in.

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

Privateer 161 corner

Though the compression tune is mild, there’s a lot to push in opposition to within the turns.
Andy Lloyd

When hitting kicky jumps or touchdown laborious, the suspension rebounds from deep within the stroke fairly quick until the rebound is ready to really feel barely too sluggish within the automotive park. I’m going to strive a linear rebound tune (rather than the digressive one which comes inventory), which ought to make it extra predictable on massive 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 driving 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 take a look at body are irritating and cease it getting 5 stars for now, nothing I’ve ridden to this point comes near this stage of efficiency at this kind of worth. In actual fact, for the steep, quick enduro-style driving it’s designed for, it’s an outstanding bike whatever the worth.

This isn’t only a nice enduro bike for the cash, it’s an ideal 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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