DSC06363With the OOB here and the First Impressions here, we have had the 2015 Breezer Supercell Team out on trail enough to have a good idea what we do and do not like.  Now JeffJ has it in the bear-like paws and he will be wrapping things up in the next post.

Now remember that we had a good initial impression and found it to be quite a fine pedaling bike with a pretty snappy, XC sort of vibe to it.  We also found it to be heavier than the typical bike in its’ class.  Let’s talk about the first part…the ride.

The long 110mm stem and steep 74.5° seat tube angle, combined with a moderate for an XL 625mm/24.6″, top tube and 70° head tube angle, keeps you well forward as far as the weight distribution goes.  That seems to be a theme of bikes that Joe Breeze has a hand in designing.  It offers some really good results in that the bike feels great on slow to fast speeds over rolling singletrack/doubletrack, placing you right up and over the crank for fast pedaling.  It reminds me of a longer travel Specialized Epic.  Steep in-the-saddle climbs are helped by that chassis geometry set up as well, and you need less of a forward weight shift to get up some really steep climbs.  There is a decent amount of anti-squat built into the suspension and so it tends to ride high in its travel on a steep grinder ascent, letting you concentrate on keeping the pedals going around.  The moderate HT angle and 51mm fork offset keeps the steering light and there is no hint of wheel flop, etc.

The 120mms of travel gives you just a bit more than a typical XC 29er FS and it feels great on the  Breezer Supercell Team, but my impression remains of a firmer rather than a super plush ride.  I have been running it with the platform on for longer smooth climbs, but leaving it open does not really show any bad habits, so the Supercell leaves that decision up to you.

IMG_2522However, I did notice one odd characteristic of the MLink rear suspension…pedal kick-back.  I first noticed an odd feeling while seated pedaling up a gently sloping bumpy trail while in the small chainring.  I could feel the suspension working under my feet.  It took me a bit to figure out what it was.  It has been years since I have ridden a bike that did this.  In fact, you can place the bike in the small ring, stand next to it, and with tension on the chain, press down on the saddle top, actuating the rear shock and moving the crank arm backwards.  In the big ring it does not do this.  Is this a big deal?  Well not to me as I typically do not spend much time in the small ring pedaling up bumpy, ledgy terrain.  If I did, then it might be much more than just curiously annoying although I cannot say that I felt any loss of performance due to this reaction.

The weight:  Just for fun I dropped by a local bike shop that has the Specialized line of bikes in stock (I also dropped by another one or two that carried different brands, but they did not have the models I was looking for).  I grabbed a Camber that was a smaller frame (Med) and was also made from aluminum.  This was a 2014 Camber Evo, a cheaper spec’d bike that was sticker’d at $2.899.00, about a grand less than the Breezer Supercell Team, but still a decent bike overall.  Taking into account a bit smaller frame, the Camber weighed 29.4 pounds with flat pedals and a dropper post.  The 31.5lbs (with no pedals and no dropper post) of the $4199.00 Supercell is out of bounds and you can feel it when you stand to carry your speed over a rise in the trail or any time you are pointed uphill.

Does it matter?  Good question.  In a general sense, lighter is better.  It just is.  But unless I was fighting gravity in earnest, I had a great time riding the Supercell.  the good pedaling manners (with that one exception), the dialed for swoopy trails handling and the weight-forward position worked to keep me happy.  And when the hills came up, it just meant I sat and spun along in a low gear and enjoyed the day, much like you would if you were stoking along on your bigger trail bike.  No doubt it was stealing a bit of energy from me though, and if I was heading out for a fast paced trail ride with the boys, I would hesitate to grab the Supercell.  Bummer to say that, but there it is.  As well as the bike works for me, i cannot imagine that a lighter version of this scoot would not be better overall.

IMG_2523None of the components have let me down.  It’s all Shimano XT and that is never an issue.  The House brand Oval items have been fine too.  I really miss a dropper post, but the frame is set-up for the exterior cable routing so you could add one.  The WTB Trail Boss tires have been really good, although we have had a lot of hero dirt lately around here.  The WTB Volt saddle has a great overall shape but is really narrow for my tastes.  I never did add a water bottle under the down tube as I could not reach it while riding and that would just annoy me.  Still, you can add one and after all, one you cannot get to easily is better than none at all.

My last ride on the Breezer Supercell Team was a multi hour series of loops around my local trails and is a mix of steep climbs on winding single track, long fire road and paved climbs, fast open double track and some off the back of the saddle descents.  As the raindrops fell around me, I just forgot about the weight and rode the Supercell…just the two of us…and I had a great time.  It really does a wide variety of things well and I was loving the full XT spec and the WTB Trail Boss tires as it was just working everywhere…until one section of the ride.  ‘Bobsled’ trail begins on what used to be a dirt road, but now is a twisting, bermed doubletrack.  But then it opens up again, begins to drop in earnest, and enters a rough section that I like to take bikes down to see what they will do.  Not too radical, it is a series of moderate drops with harder, rutted soil and exposed rocks laying at odd angles so that it tends to twist a bike up as you find the line you want.  A bigger travel bike with a slacker geo set can just pick any line it wants, but on something like the Supercell, you need to pay attention and make good choices.

I was certainly using all the 120mms of travel as I came through and it was less than confidence inspiring in this type of terrain.  Part of it is the forward weight balance and 70° head tube angle I bet.  What feels so good on flowy trail was not so good here.  And something else was going on too, although I am not sure what it was.  For sure a Fox 32 fork is not the stiffest chassis around and the WTB i19 rims are a bit narrow, but I had not felt anything like this up till this point.  I have to speculate a bit here, but I wonder if the suspension was doing something as it cycled through its full travel at speed?  It felt like I had a hinge somewhere, but the frame has not impressed me as anything less than pretty stout soooo…..not sure.  In any case, I did NOT want to go faster through there on the Supercell.

And there is the conundrum.  At 120mms of travel, which seems to be defining itself as the new ‘sweet spot’ for 29″ers, the Breezer Supercell offers more than the typical 100mm suspensions of many 29″ers in this class.  And the ‘fast forward’ cockpit and snappy pedaling suspension points toward a bike that begs for all day endurance/trail rides.  Yet it weighs what a typically slacker and longer travel 29″er would weigh but does not have the chops to run with the bigger dog on trail.

We are going to see what JeffJ has to say, as after his first ride, he was pretty stoked about the Breezer Supercell Team.  However, his riding style and mine are much different so what will he think?  Come back and see as I am just as curious as you are.

Note: Breezer sent over their Supercell Team  for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.