Introducing… The DMR Sled
Rich just put the finishing touches to his new long term test bike, a custom DMR Sled with kit from Shimano, Vee and DMR.
The bike has DMR Deathgrips (read more on them here), Wingbars, a Defy stem, Zone wheels and Vault Midi pedals. There’s a full Shimano XT groupset and – a first for us – new Vee Tyres FlowSnap rubber.
Having placed 4th overall at THE EX Enduro, Rich couldn’t help but get one to spend a bit more time on DMR’s British designed long travel do-it-all.
With a big three-day race and some local laps in the bag it’s time to find out what he thinks so far.
- 27.5″ wheels with room for 2.4″ tyres
- 160mm rear travel
- Large frame weighs 3.85kg
- 6061 alloy frame
- Available at DMR Bikes or local bike shops.
- RRP £1599
“A fast, aggro, long and slack trail destroyer that’s best suited to big, rough, natural terrain.”
Rich’s Long Term DMR Sled first look
Words by Rich Thomas | Photos by Callum Philpott
Take it away Rich:
A few weeks back I got the opportunity to borrow a Sled for the DMR sponsored THE EX Enduro on Exmoor. You can check out my write up here. I placed 4th, had a blast and was buzzing to get one to ride long term.
DMR have done their homework with the Sled. There’s no carbon here, the frame is tough and dependable 6061 alloy and sports DMR’s unique Orbital Link, developed with David Earle from Sotto Design.
The link works really well. It rotates around the bottom bracket, allowing the bike to track the ground nicely. This does a very good job of holding the bike up in its travel on larger hits.
The Rock Shox Monarch DebonAir rear shock comes as standard and works well enough. It offers a nice mix of ease of setup, low weight and decent performance. I’m going to start off on that but switch it up for a coil shock in the near future, adding a bit of weight but making the bike even more aggressive.
The bike you can see here is a custom build. Full builds are available direct from DMR with GX Eagle and either a 160mm Pike or 170mm Lyrik (full spec here) for £3500.
I’ve built it up with an Ohlins RXF 36 out front (thanks Sprung Suspension Workshop), a full Shimano XT groupset, a Rock Shox Stealth Reverb, tyres from Vee and cockpit from DMR.
The build is aggressive and very ‘gravity’ focussed – built for the downhill tracks of South Wales that I used to uplift and ride on a DH bike. Big tyres for grip, soft suspension for the rocks and roots and big, light gearing for spinning back up the fire roads.
Modern but not mental
Digging into the geometry you can see some modern, though not mental numbers.
The Sled doesn’t do anything wild with the geometry but instead offers a pretty dependable size and shape that I’m sure most people will get on with.
The head angle is slack, but not crazy at 65.5d and the reach feels comfortable whilst staying clear of super sized numbers. There’s a good chance that if you ride a Sled, you won’t have to spend ages getting used to it.
No mincing on the downhills
There’s no need to mince words. The Sled descends really nicely. This is a bike that you can properly shred a downhill on.
I’m a retired downhill racer. I love bikes that are slack, roomy, plush and can plough rough terrain. The Sled does all of that and brings together a load of things to really make it fun to open up.
On the trail it has a really solid, stable and unhassled feeling. The wheel base, the reach and the head angle all work really nicely together to create a ride that doesn’t get kicked out of shape at speed.
Hand in hand with that is the 430mm chain stay which gives the Sled great cornering. It makes the bike feel nippy in tight corners whilst also being fun and easy to throw around. It feels playful and nimble whilst also handling big, rough, high-speed straights really well.
Sit, chat, spin
I’ve ridden some bikes that are sensational at climbing. The Sled isn’t one of those.
If you’re just spinning up the fire road, chatting away and not rushing to the top it’ll do a great job.
If you’re planning on riding laps of W2 every weekend, there’s bikes that will make your day easier. If you’re the least fit guy in your group, the Sled won’t boost you to the front of the pack on those long, draggy uphills.
But I did race the Sled at THE EX Enduro which was three big 30km+ days with some long and tough climbs in some horrible weather. I took the climbs at a steady pace and got round just fine.
I wasn’t fastest up the climbs and but I wasn’t slowest. At the top, I had a great bike that I scored 4th place overall and that didn’t cause me any problems all weekend. For me, that’s way more important than beating my mates up a fire road.
First look thoughts
It’s early days for me and the DMR Sled but I’m really excited to ride it more. Lots more.
The Sled is a properly good descender. It’s fast, it’s stable and it brings a good mix of stability at speed and good cornering. If you’re out riding steep, natural, technical trails every weekend then I reckon you’ll love it. If you’re at Bike Park Wales, the Forest of Dean or Windhill then it’s going to do you proud. Same goes for racers. It’ll do a great job on anything Steve Parr can throw at it.
I’m going to ride and race the DMR Sled through the winter and put a tonne of big rides and bike park laps in. We’ll be checking in every few weeks to let you know how it goes.