Adam's Fifty Mile Revved Review
- Trail Pistola Size 2
- Fox DPX2 (130mm)
- Rockshox Lyrik RC2 (150mm)
- XO1 Eagle Drivetrain
- SRAM Code R Brakes
- Industry Nine 305 Wheels
- Maxxis DHF 29 x 2.5
- Maxxis Aggressor 29 x 2.3
- SDG Dropper (125mm)
- Next R bars
- Turbine Stem
About The Rider
The author (Adam Bensman) is an avid, aggressive mountain biker living in Estes Park, CO. He rides 3-5x/week and favors high-alpine rides, backcountry epics, and the rowdiest descents that Colorado has to offer. His riding style includes a masochistic love of technical climbing, jibbing every bonus line possible, and rippin’ fast descents.
This Review in Context
This review compares the new Revved Trail Pistola to his 2018 Shred Dogg which has been set up in virtually every configuration imaginable including: 27.5, 27.5+ (with a 29er fork set to 150 mm), 27.5+ front/27.5 rear, and converted to a “MeatPistol” with a 29er fork set to 150 mm (MRP Ribbon) and run in Gravity Mode.
Pistola Initial Ride Impressions
On the first climb (N. Sourdough for the Colorado riders) it was evident that the pedaling platform is very, very different from the aluminum brethren. The Revved bike feels like a race bike in all the best ways, and the pedaling platform feels more responsive and much livelier (and that says a lot because the aluminum bikes pedaled great).
This bike is a climber’s (and especially a technical climber’s) dream. Glue-like traction is the only way to describe it. Over loose baby heads and chunky step-ups (which N. Sourdough has plenty of), the Revved rear end stays planted and responsive. Imagine the efficiency of a hardtail with the rock-gobbling traction of a coil bike - well that’s how the rear end of the Trail Pistola feels. (NOTE: All of these miles have been in Plush mode). On the 3rd trail ride on this bike, technical climbs that required a few sessions to clean on my Shred Dogg were cleaned with ease. Not only were technical climbs easier, the bike felt more balanced (more on that below), step-ups were easier, and most notably was the efficiency improvement.
On the 2018 Shred Dogg, this particular climb required a much higher level of perceived effort to maintain momentum while climbing over the chunky terrain, but the new Revved pedaling platform made it feel so much easier and notably faster (all with less perceived effort). In short, the Trail Pistola is a real climbing machine.
Most Notable Differences
Incredible Out-of-the-Saddle Pedaling Performance
The Trail Pistola’s rear end feels very responsive, firm, and lively on the top of the stroke. For punchy sections, I could stand up and crank out-of-the-saddle and the bike would respond with laser-like precision, transmitting the power straight to the rear wheel. On the 2018 Shred Dogg (set up with a Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil), the rear end felt like it bobbed. That particular bike performed best with a “sit-spin” pedaling style whereas the Revved platform doesn’t seem to have a preference. Stand up and crank or sit and spin - either way the glue-like rear end will transmit power and maintain traction like a boss.
Waaaaaay Stiffer Rear End
With an affinity for boosting, jibbing, and sloppy-tail-whipping my way down the trail, this frame enhancement is notably obvious. The rear end is stiff and responsive. Holy smokes. Not only do you notice the stiffer rear end when landing a jump with your ass end out, you’ll feel it when pushing into corners, pumping, and feeling the rear end deflect off of rocks. Will this result in going faster? Probably not. Will it help you feel more confident, in control, and have more fun on your bike? F*ck yeah.
If you dig nose-wheeling your way around tight corners, you’ll notice that if the rear end comes down while your back end is still pivoting, it comes to a dead stop the second it hits the dirt and propels you forward with what feels like zero flex. Again, will this make you faster? Eh, probably not, but it sure as shit feels boss-like when you nose-wheely a switch back and feel the rear end plant ready to roll.
>Looong Front End (and why it works so well)
This is the only thing that took some getting used to. With a 150 mm fork and being a shorter rider (5’3”), the front end felt way out there. It required a bit of getting used to since it requires the rider to more consciously weight the front end. This could be a result of the “over forked” set up (which I wouldn’t change by the way), or being a shorter rider who sized up to a Size 2. Once settling into the bike after 20 miles, the long front end actually became a comfort and confidence booster. Rolling (and hucking) drops and steep trail features were purely confidence inspiring (even more so than the 2018 29er Shred Dogg setup).
Corners Like a MUCH Shorter Bike
The geo numbers don’t tell the whole story. With a long wheelbase and long front end, one might expect a “big bike” feel that would excel on the fully pinned straight-line descents and suffer on the corners, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Climbing switchbacks was even easier than the shorter 2018 Shred Dogg (surprisingly). The front end was very easy to “float” up and around corners, and the steep seat angle and long wheel base gives the rider a very planted feel in the cockpit and more “in the bike” as opposed to on top. The responsive rear end tracked nicely, and loose baby heads do not make the rear end skip or wander resulting in a loss of traction. Damn this Revved bike feels glued on the climbs.
Descending through switch backs is the same story. The newer geometry makes you feel very centered on the bike making it easy to rip into corners. Even with the long wheelbase, once you initiate the turn-in, the rear end tracks predictably and precisely, making the bike feel much shorter in these scenarios. Not gonna lie, I was pleasantly surprised to experience this and truly didn’t expect it.
Descending with Only 130mm? Had Me Fooled
The DPX2 set up with ease and the Fox recommendations were darn-close to spot on. Once the rear-end air pressure was dialed, the Revved bike came alive. It maintained a similar off-the-top butteryness to absorb trail chatter while maintaining a firm and responsive mid stroke that responds very nicely to rider inputs.
If you like to pump, jib, and shred your way down a trail, you’ll love the Trail Pistol(a). Bigger hits took a bit of adjustment when compared to the 145 mm coiled rear end of the 29er converted Shred Dogg. That particular set up let’s you ride with reckless abandonment as you smash through big rocks. For 95% of trail time (climbing and descending), the 130 mm rear end was actually more fun, responsive, and playful than the Shred Dogg coiled monster. It felt faster, livelier, and racier. Even when hucking drops or jumping trail features, the 130 mm rear end felt near bottomless and the landings on both bikes were very comparable.
Conclusion: GG Trail Pistol, the Ultimate “Do It All” Trail Bike
After a 3-hour ride in some of the most demanding terrain of N. Sourdough, Wapiti, Coney Flats, and Buchanan pass that’s littered with techy, loose climbs, boulder-ridden descents, and ripping-fast straight aways, it was clear that this shorter travel trail bike felt like a better all-around trail bike for the job. The energy saved climbing left more reserves for the descents.
The responsiveness and liveliness of the pedaling platform made climbing even more fun (and faster). Once acclimated to the new geometry, jumping and hucking ledges felt wicked confident and even more fun. The only “drawback” (if you could call it that) was losing the ability to smash through giant boulder fields like a dumbass. When you look at it objectively, this type of trail feature is literally a fraction of a percent of any trail ride, so I’ll happily make the compromise to ride a more well-rounded and wicked-fun bike.
Plus, the shorter travel, shorter rear end, and pumpier platform made the rest of the trail features (and especially flowy parts) way more fun whereas the 145 mm coiled Shred Dogg felt numb and over-biked.
Reflecting on 50 miles of Strava, it became clear that the majority of time spent on the bike was climbing or pedaling, and having a more responsive and more efficient pedaling platform made me want to keep going and going and going. What a great bike for epic rides.
After dialing the suspension and tire pressure and getting accustomed to the new geometry, the confidence this bike brings is insane. The geo makes you feel “in the bike,” the longer wheelbase allows you to roll steep features with less body english, and the stiffer rear end helps you ride with laser precision.
The only place I felt a bit slower was in the chunkiest of chunk. On the flip side, after adapting to the bike, I felt faster everywhere else. Lose a few seconds in the gnarliest of gnar where you have to pick your line choice a bit more wisely while gaining efficiency, speed, and playfulness for the remaining 97% of trail features and ride time? That’s a compromise I’ll happily make, and never once did it feel “under biked.”
If you’re an aggressive rider who likes longer rides, technical climbing, or back-country epics and still like to let loose and party your way down, then definitely take a look at building up a Trail Pistol or Pistola.