When we think back to our time aboard the Wolf Ridge Pro, it just makes us want to ride it more. Every time we set out to ride the Wolf Ridge we tried to find new terrain, conditions or trails to find its weakness. It’s not without flaw but we did have to work pretty damn hard to find them.
We’ll start with who this bike isn’t going to be ideal for.
If you watch 50to01 videos and live to slam-bang everything in sight while popping off every little nub, jibbing your way down the trail, this probably isn’t your dream bike. The traction and way the rear end hugs the ground makes it tough to break loose.
If you primarily ride “flow” trails that are groomed, smooth and full of smaller jumps and compressions, we think a shorter travel version may be the better option. Nudge, nudge – Marin, how about a 130/140 version!?
Are you a pro-level rider who is so finely in-tune with your bike and its every movement that having a bike turn the trail into a buttery dream will leave you feeling like Stevie Wonder lacing up ice skates? This bike will probably take you a while to warm up to. But we think you will.
If you are not any of the people listed above, then we can confidently say this bike will impress the shit out of you while improving your riding and confidence! This is mechanical doping without a battery. Whether you are new to the sport or an advanced level rider, Naild’s R3act 2Play system will take your riding to the next level, both up and down the mountain.
We’ve spent the better part of the last decade testing and riding just about every noteworthy (and some not) bike that has come out. We’ve found ways to describe and talk about every single one of them, until now. Even after being a part of the development and behind the scenes story of this bike, I struggle to find the words to convey just how the Wolf Ridge transcends description and comparable feel.
If we could paraphrase the introduction from MTV’s Diary show, “You think you know… but you have no idea,” it would be our parting words to armchair engineers talking about what this bike is and is not based on two dimensional charts and computer programs.
We’re not trying to be dicks, and we certainly aren’t smarter than anyone else out there, we’ve just been lucky enough to be along for the journey of Naild and Darrel Voss’s development of the R3act system. That exposure has given us a three-dimensional understanding to bits of the puzzle others aren’t taking into account while dissecting the design from home.
Climbing Climbing the Wolf Ridge back to back with anything else makes you feel like you’re cheating. The bike climbs incredibly well for a 160mm bike, hell it climbs great for a 130mm bike, but it doesn’t climb “like” a 130 bike, or anything else for that matter.
It is efficient and will propel the rider forward but what makes it stand out is the ability to remain efficient while simultaneously reacting to the smallest, or biggest, changes in terrain beneath you. Rocks, roots or obstacles that would slow any other bike go unnoticed. It makes you realize just how much efficiency is lost when other suspension designs encounter obstructions.
Much like it’s Polygon cousin, the Wolf Ridge climbs at it’s full potential when clipped in. The more even your pedal strokes, the more the bike plains out. If you stomp and jump on the pedals it will squish. Think of it like a boat hull accelerating in water until it comes up on plain. Total smoothness.
Descending A unique aspect of Naild’s design is the relatively undamped shock. This helps give the bike its effortless ground tracing ability. In the parking lot, that lack of damping feels strange, you could say soft. Even with the rebound circuits as slow as they go, rebound is on the quick side. However on the trail it was barely an issue. We do wish we could have slowed the rebound down just two more clicks for trails with steep jump lips, but the bike didn’t buck us unless we were totally gooning it.
Pointing the Wolf Ridge down hill was definitely one of our favorite things to do! It plowed anything in our path. One thing we did notice when throwing the bike around however, is the lack of stiffness in the rear end. Compared to a Pivot or Enve-equipped Santa Cruz, the Wolf Ridge feels a little wiggly, but we wouldn’t say it’s entirely a bad thing. That flex allows the rear end even more ability to move and work the terrain, increasing traction and minimizing feedback to the rider. Something that some styles of riders will not love.
When it comes to cornering, the ultra low BB, steeper head angle and superb traction come together to deliver stellar performance. This bike rewards riders who brake late, lay it over and get on the gas hard out of the corner.
While it still has the large, long feel of a 29er, this bike absolutely slays corners. When it comes to the Wolf Ridge, body positioning plays a massive role in the suspension’s performance. The more time you spend on the bike, the more you get out of it.