2021 Warden 175 DH/Freeride Mullet bike check:
Rider: Jeff Hartsough
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Rides: Downhill / dh racing / freeride
Favorite Trail: That's a hard one.. I'd say overall favorite is a local trail we call Freya, that I built as a memorial trail for my late wife. It is my favorite for obvious reasons.. but it is also many of the local's favorite, with a good mix of flowy, Steep, and freeride flavor. Depending on what I want to ride though.. I have a favorite chunky rough dh trail, and a favorite big mountain freeride line, all here in my local hills, but also spend a lot of time at Trestle Bike Park too.
Specs and what makes your set up special:
This bike was built for the 2021 race season, specifically to compete in the USAC National Championships Downhill. So there's a few things that make this bike unique. First, being a mullet. second, being suspension travel. I knew I needed both to be competitive in the DH at Nationals, but also to be up to par for the freeride stuff I like to ride for fun.. so a lot of nerding out on suspension and geometry with the guys at Knolly went into this bike on the front end.
How Tall are you?:
I am 6ft tall, with a 34" inseam, so I opted for a large frame. It is perfect for my size. I weigh 190lbs on a good day, so I also went with a 450-500lb progressive spring. I figured that would be the perfect setup to compensate for big hits and drops with only 175mm of travel. It did not disappoint. this bike soaks up everything.. feels plush on the rough bits, but still haven't bottomed it out on the big hucks.
- FRAME: Knolly Warden 168
- FORK: DVO Onyx DC 29
- SHOCK: DVO Jade Coil (205x65 to get that 175mm of travel) w/ Progressive spring
- WHEELSET: E-thirteen LG1+ 29 front/27.5 rear w/ integrated 7sp DH cassette
- TIRES: Maxxis Assegai up front / Dissector in the rear
- DRIVETRAIN: SRAM XO1
- BRAKES: Hope Tech3 V4 brakes / rotors
- E-thirteen TRS+ cranks / E-thirteen composite pedals
- E-thirteen LG1 chain guide / bash guard
- Sensus Meaty Paw grips
- Sensus Radar SDG Saddle
- Azonic Bars (cut to 768mm) 25mm rise / Azonic direct mount stem
- Mynesweepers tire inserts and valve stems
I've also put extra high end wheel bearings in my hubs and a high end BB
When I set out on this quest to build my ultimate dh / freeride bike, I knew I wanted to build a mullet for the added roll speed and leverage to roll over rough stuff with the 29 up front, with the cornering and flickability benefits of the 27.5 rear wheel. After some lengthy conversations with the guys at Knolly, and lots of research and comparison on bike geometry's, I decided on the Warden, and boy am I glad I did. My Warden has been absolutely amazing. It monster-trucks over anything, rolls insanely fast, and is still surgically precise and nimble. I have never felt a bike that is as planted and in control at such high speeds. It is a total rocket ship. It made it to the podium 6 out of 7 races for the 2021 season, and I'm excited to see where this bad ma'ama jamma takes me this year.