Ride Review – Intense SS2:
We all know the bike’s capabilities when racing downhill, following Andy’s dominance of the WR Winter Series. So I thought this bike should be put through its paces on an enduro event where peddling and climbing is just as important as racing downhill. So I entered the Mondraker Exmoor Enduro and booked the SS2 for a demo ride.
When I collected it from the shop my initial thoughts were “this bike is a tank and I will struggle”. It is a meaty frame with large welds, and the 1X10 drive system had me worried. However Andy has done wonders stripping weight from the SS2 through the component choice, with the highlight for me being the E13 wheel set.
The first test was the relentless, and at times sharp pitched, climb up to Dunkery Beacon: a combination of slippery roots and loose sandy rock. Despite having a coil sprung rear shock, the SS2 has an incredibly stable and solid peddling platform; there was no noticeable bob while in the saddle and climbing; and the rear tyre held the ground and terrain well. Tweaking the low speed compression setting is key.
The format of the enduro was timed descents, which were attacked blind with no practice runs – in hindsight a slightly dodgy (but great fun) way to race. The SS2 soaked-up the rocks and roots at speed with no problems, and really held the corners well when dipped-in. Being a 160mm travel bike it is a bit twitchy and does keep you honest, meaning that you have to stay switched on. But for me this is brilliant because you have to think and choose you lines.
This is a great all-round bike, it ticks many boxes, and was a pleasure to ride up as well as down. For me, the only change I would make is with the drive system, upping it to a 2×10 with a granny ring. In the UK, riding trails on Dartmoor and Exmoor, as well as trail centres in Wales, the extra gearing option will make life easier.
Now – when can I use it again….?