Note: These are not reviews but are simple ride impressions based on the demo tech set-up. All bikes were ridden on the same 15 minute loop to keep things even-steven. I focused this Demo Day event on 130mm-ish 29er Trail bikes from smaller companies and added one ringer from one of the big guys in the biz.
The next bike up on the test course was the Turner Sultan, a stated 125mm rear travel trail bike made right here in the US of A, and one that has been refined a bit since I rode the DW version when it first debuted. From the Turner website:
With twenty nine inch wheels and 125mm of travel, the Sultan is already marking the benchmark for distinction. Then the Sultan gained the dw-link and now with a number of other refinements it has been honed to perfection. Finally a 29er that lives up to promises of not only pedaling efficiency and travel plushness but with a fine-tuned trail geometry that will inspire talent. Forget the twitchy unforgiving handling of other 29ers since the Sultan is redefining the expectations of its class.
Bold words, indeed. Will it show out on this short ride impression over the moonscape of Dirt Demo? The XL Sultan rolled out onto the paved road and immediately impressed me. It felt very snappy and responsive to pedaling input and just rolled out like an XC bike. Nice! The impression of a stiff frame lasted on the standing paved section and no amount of grabbing, wiggling, twisting or pedaling showed any real weakness here. This is a stoutly built ride.
A 69.5* HT angle was one of the recent changes to the frame and the bike felt very stable in the first few deep roll ins and drops of Bootleg. The DW link rear sus felt firmer than the ICT Ellsworth did and as an XC guy, I very much liked the responsive pedaling in or out of the saddle. Down through the heavier chunk and rock drops of trail #3, the DW link Sultan was steady and rock solid. When I was just cruising the swoopies it did take a high amount of effort to get it to turn…lots of shoulder english. I suspect the slightly out of date 18.2″ chain stays here…not sure, but most likely. However, the DW link does not allow much room for tucking that all in there, at least it appears that way to me.
The DW link Sultan is a fine pedaling, firmer riding, very solid bike from Turner and seems like a great choice for bigger riders as well as those looking for a solid trail bike that still pedals like an XC scooter. I cannot help to think that the end result of shaving just a little bit off the back end would not make it even better.