4 of the Best New 2020 Trail Bikes: Pole vs Norco vs Orbea vs Intense | Pinkbike Field Test

4 of the Best New 2020 Trail Bikes: Pole vs Norco vs Orbea vs Intense | Pinkbike Field Test


– Trail bike round table. (claps) (upbeat music) (laughing) (engine revs) – Hi everyone I’m James Huang I’m here at the Pinkbike Field Test here in Pemberton B.C., and it’s time after two weeks of testing to talk about our favorites, our least favorites in the trail category. So for the trail category
it’s kind of amorphous but we settled on front wheel travel of 130 to 150 millimeter. Rear travel of 125 to 140, and we ended up with 4 candidates. The Norco Optic, the Intense Primer S, the Pole Stamina 140, and the Orbea Occam. All these bikes have something to offer and maybe some weaknesses,
but what were your favorites? – I think it’s a hard one for me like to the standout it’s
obviously the Norco Optic and the Pole Stamina 140. – I broke the pole. – Man that’s my favorite one! (upbeat music) – Both of those bikes
they’re just a ton of fun. I don’t know, I have a hard
time picking between them. I think it would come down to where I live because the Norco with 125 in the rear and 140 up front, it’s probably the bike for
the majority of people. But goddamn that Pole
Stamina was so much fun down the hill. (laughs) – What is it about that
bike you love so much? – It is just so stable, Leos nailed the geo on that thing. All these bikes should have
much steeper seat tube angles, I think he’s on track there. You need that if it’s gonna be that long and the Pole is so good on the down because it is that long
and that head angle, but you need that seat
angle to go along with it. – Listen to you. Yeah just like last year the year before you were all about “the
bikes are getting too long,” “they’re too slack, they’re too sluggish,” “these are crazy numbers”. – I’ve been wrong before. – You’re wrong about this one. – You know what there’s still a place for bikes that use slightly
more traditional geometry for sure but there’s no arguing that a bike like Pole, it
is easily the fastest bike here in the trail bike
category down hills. – That’s good, yeah I think for me it wasn’t my
favorite because it almost didn’t feel like a trail bike. – Right? – That’s why I picked the Optic,
I like the Optic the best. 125 in back, 140 up front. It’s got this super sporty fun feel, but I can get in on some
of the gnarlier stuff and just feel fine. I snuck out for a ride out this morning. I had all those bikes lined up that I could’ve picked any
one and I grabbed that again because it just felt super good and even the techy stuff,
the suspension tune is great. That’d be the one that feels
like a new modern trail bike. Like if I was gonna have
something even multiple bikes, that’d be the one that’s
like kind of do it all. – That’s the one you’d
take home if you could? – Yeah I would take that one, yeah. The Pole is amazing and it’s super fun, but it felt too much like
an Enduro bike for me and with the Pole I’d probably just end up putting a 160 fork on it and that would be kind of my enduro bike. – You’d wreck it? – Well I’d be slacker
how’s that gonna wreck it? – You’re not gonna go any faster with another 10 mils up front. Just leave it alone, you know? But I just wanna say also that the Optic, it’s got 125 mils of travel so it’s the shortest travel
trail bike that’s here. It’s your favorite though
by far it sounds like. – Yes. – And it all comes down to geo like Norco. – Yeah the geo and the
suspension tune as well though. When I was riding today
I was thinking about that it only has 125 mils of travel. But it has this super well damped feel. Almost feels like the
difference between say like a light casing tire and
downhill casing tire if you’ve ever felt the difference it kind of feels like that hits the ground and kind of sticks. – I think Norco definitely
works some magic though like it’s supple on top, it’s plenty supportive,
but I mean Kazimer and I were riding like idiots and I didn’t smash onto the end of the travel. No clanging, it was pretty impressive. – All right well what
was your least favorite out of the 4 bikes you guys rode. – Kazimer? – Yeah, for me it’s gonna
be that Intense Primer. It’s all the other bikes are 29ers so this had the mixed wheel size which seems kind of cool on paper and I think the concept has some merit. I’m not a huge proponent
of that but it’s fun to experiment and play around and stuff. But with the Primer all they did is take their 29er frame and
stick a 27.5 wheel in back and that just compromises geometry. Climbing is a slacker seat tube angle, bottom bracket drops it just all felt like they were kind of have good idea or something that’d be kind
of fun to see in their lineup but it just kind of didn’t
come out the way I wanted it. – Sounds like you didn’t corner
hard enough on the way down. – I mean the cornering is fun, cornering is fun, but also it crapped when I hit my elbow on the thing. – Oh that also, that was neat. I didn’t do that, I
didn’t do any pedal kicks. – And then some of the spec on the bike. There’s just too many little factors that just wouldn’t be a bike that I would want to spend more time on. Like I said it has potential and we both loved the cornering on it, but they can make it better and it’d be fun that way, I think. – Mike what was your least favorite? – Well, I’m kind of
torn because the Intense is obviously a flawed bike the Primer S I mean it is flawed. I think if we had the 29er
here, 29 front and rear I think we’d probably like it more. It’s also an interesting bike and that’s something that
really stands out for me. The Occam on the other hand, it doesn’t do anything wrong but it’s also kind of boring. It’s light and relatively
light, it pedals well enough. The suspension is well sorted, but there’s nothing really that excites me about the Occam. – And we should maybe point out that you’re the guy who
drives an old Mini Cooper with a way big V-Tech engine in it and you’re gonna die in that
car, but it’s interesting. – You have a flawed vehicle so a flawed bike would be perfect for you. – Flaws are interesting. They’re not always flaws. That Intense is still far more capable than any trail bike from 3 or 4 years ago by far, definitely. But it’s just not as
capable or we didn’t feel quite as comfortable on
it as the other bikes. It’s not quite as dialed but it’s more interesting, whatever. – Well which bike did you
want to spend more time with, like which one did you want
to kind of get to know more? – I just want to like spend all my time with the Optic so that’s
kind of my answer. But the Pole is definitely
an intriguing bike and it’s a fun fast bike
and it’s interesting to try to really come to
terms with that handling and see how hard you can push it. I’d be happy spending more time on that and probably trying a
little longer travel fork to see if it kind of makes
it feel like just that. (laughs) You can’t do that. – I can do that. – He did do that. – I mean right now it’s a 150, 140. – Yeah.
– Yeah, so and it feels like an Enduro bike. – It’s so capable. – So the 160 you get a little more travel. – Why do you need more travel? – So I can smash things even harder. – You, okay, all right, it’s a trail bike. – That would make it
not a trail bike, yeah. 10 mil’s it’s all it takes and you’re in a new category. I’m an Enduro bike now. – Isn’t that how we do it? – I think so yeah. – I think my answer is the same as Kaz’s. I think it’s a bike that takes
time to learn how to ride because it is so capable. You know I was going faster
on it than any the other bikes and I wanna keep doing that. I wanna keep riding the
bike, the rear suspension is so interesting it’s not perfect. I wasn’t a huge fan of Cane Creek shock but I’d like to spend
more time setting it up and seeing what I can get out of it. – Yeah I think they
offer it with a coil shock? – I’m not sure if they do a coil shock but you can get it with a RockShox, air shock for sure. – Different shocks so yeah same thing like a little different
rear suspension on it. – I wouldn’t give up on that Cane Creek personally, I like dials and tuning and doing all the stupid things. – Yeah well just a different shock that has dials but maybe not that one. – Yeah okay, fair enough, okay. – How was it on the impossible climb? – Uh, it didn’t do so well on the impossible climb. I don’t know if you guys
have seen that video, I thought I would get higher up on that because of that holy seat tube angle. – The chain stays are this long. – Something about a 4 foot long rear end made it difficult and
it also felt quite long. You know I’m the guy that’s
always going on about like bikes need to climb
better, we give all these trail bikes, Enduro bikes free passes. – I gave that one a free pass. – With more time I think
I could add some changes I think I could live with that Pole on the climb and become very confident on the technical climbs,
it just didn’t happen during that impossible climb. – So what you’re saying is you want a few more
shots tomorrow on that bike. – I’m pretty tired. Maybe the next day. – Okay, all right, well those are our thoughts on the trail category from the Pinkbike Field Test, so stay tuned for some more videos and including some more
round table discussions of all the other categories. If you have a comment, leave it down below and we’ll do our best to answer them. (lo-fi music)