Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er REVIEW

Words by Robert Johnston  |  Photos by Adam McGuire

If you were going to choose a location to base a mountain bike company, you’d be hard pressed to find a more desirable location than in the heart of the Pyrenees mountain range. Not far from the well-known brand Commencal is a smaller yet equally dedicated mountain bike company called, Production Privée. The company with its origins firmly in the Andorran portion of the Pyrenees, live at the foot of a world famous mountain bike destination, Vallnord Bike Park.

THE LAB
The Shan No.5 29er is Production Privée’s latest full suspension model. This is another company that has taken “Classic” steel tubing, and modernized it with proper design and construction. As with all of Production Privée’s steel offerings, it’s a triple-butted 4130-MCS Cromo tube set, promised to deliver a “Good blend of grip, stiffness and compliance.” Offering 140mm travel out back with a 140-160mm fork, the Shan No.5 is designed to be an all-around trail and all mountain machine – not purely a race-bred bike, rather a bike designed for maximum fun.

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

The Shan No.5 uses a linkage driven, single pivot system they call R.KTP, chosen to minimize the maintenance required, whilst still providing the end of stroke ramp up they desired. Production Privée recommends an air shock for further ramp up, but the frame will also accept a coil shock if you are that way inclined. The bike is designed to be run at 25% sag, a little less than standard, which is important to note when setting up the rear shock.

The geometry is bang up to date for a 2019 enduro bike, with a 64.5-degree head angle, 76-degree effective seat angle, 437mm chainstays, and a 475mm reach for the size large, as tested. The bottom bracket on the Shan No.5 is a ground hugging 36mm below the axles, which should create a real “In the bike” feeling.

Production Privée’s designs take a lot of inspiration from motorsport history, as can be seen on all of their paint jobs. This model sports the 037 limited edition paint, inspired by the iconic Lancia Group B rally car driven by the Martini Racing Team, and looks stunning in the flesh, attracting a load of compliments on the trail.

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

The Shan No.5 is available in two different build options. The Classic comes in at 4,000 Euros and is equipped with DVO suspension, a Sram GX Eagle drivetrain, and Magura and Crank Brothers finishing kit. The 037 Limited Edition build comes in at 5,400 Euros and features Cane Creek suspension, XX1 Eagle drivetrain and carbon Crank Brothers wheels. A frame only option is also available starting from 1,500 Euros without a shock. The build I’m testing here is custom and would fall somewhere in between the two build levels offered for sale.

Beginning with the recommended settings for the Cane Creek DB air CS rear shock, I added a click more high speed compression and 2 clicks more high speed rebound, to end up with: 195 PSI, 2HSC, 11LSC, 3HSR, 17LSR. I found this to produce the best balance of traction and efficiency, though with so many adjustments to be made, I’m sure it could be further improved as terrain and tracks change.

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

THE DIRT
Climbing the Shan No.5 is a fairly pleasant affair, with the relatively steep seat angle providing a neutral position between the wheels, and the suspension having adequate anti-squat to minimize bobbing when pedaling and keeping the pedals off of the floor. The mid-length chainstays and relatively steep seat angle means there is minimal rider input needed to stop the front end from becoming light under power, which helps to reduce the wandering effect of the slack head tube angle. The weight of the bike, at 36.1lbs for this reasonably burly build, does become apparent quickly though. It is definitely not as spirited as other bikes in the class.

On relatively flat descents, there’s enough support in the rear end to allow for any back-side to be pumped to generate speed. The low bottom bracket necessitates this approach through flat rock gardens, where pedaling puts the pedals at real risk of catching due to the reduced anti-squat in the higher gears. On fast sections of track, the low BB and slack head angle combine to produce a healthy amount of straight-line stability, making it easy to hold her wide open.

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

Where the Shan No.5 really shines is through the turns. Whether it’s flat out open turns, or tight switchbacks in quick succession, the low bottom bracket and standover make this bike an absolute animal. I’ve never taken quite so much pleasure in riding super twisty tracks – this thing is absolutely on rails, with the subtle flex in the rear end giving it incredible grip and the geometry allowing for quick direction changes on a dime.

As steel rear ends go, this bike is on the stiffer side, but still provides that little bit of give that helps the tires conform to the terrain below, especially in the wet slop. Throughout the testing period there were multiple instances where I’d come out of a set of corners in amazement of just how well I’d gone through them. For me this bike has set a new standard in cornering prowess.

Through rough terrain, there’s not as much control or momentum carrying ability as some others in the class, perhaps due to the reduced negative travel that the lower-than-average 25% sag produces. That’s not to say it shies away from chunky terrain, just that it transmits a little more feedback to the rider and requires a little more attention to be paid to line choice and avoiding the square edges where possible. Speed can instead be found through a more pumptrack style approach, clearing the square edges and pumping any backsides rather than plowing through.

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

Big hits are handled fairly well given the 140mm rear travel, with the bottom out bumper only being felt on the harshest of flat landings. I’d even say the geometry and feel of the base tune on the CC rear shock feels more like there’s 160 millimeters out back, which does encourage some rowdiness that perhaps the bike should not see; but it never presented any real issues. Given its ability to tackle near enough any trail, it does result in more rider fatigue over the course of time than its longer legged counterparts, but this is to be expected.

There were a few minor points to note regarding the operation of the bike as a system. Firstly, the bike was initially fitted with a Fox DPS rear shock with a Production Privée custom tune. With this out back, the limited set up options meant that finding a balance between comfort and efficiency was a real struggle, and I never felt as if the rear end was performing quite like it should. Swapping this out for the Cane Creek Double Barrel air shock instantly transformed the rear end, sacrificing a small amount of pedaling support for oodles of traction and sensitivity that really did the Shan No.5 justice. Maybe some more time on board the Fox shock could have improved the set up to an acceptable level, but I’d certainly suggest the linkage driven, single pivot rear end deserves a high quality suspension unit to eek out the best from it.

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

The 2.4” Michelin tires fitted are quite tall in their profile, and as such on full compression on the muddiest of days, there was a little rubbing on the backside of the seat tube. Nothing that was ever felt when riding, but a rub mark was there to be seen. Under hard cornering forces, which were very frequent on this cornering animal, the combined flex of the Spank custom-tuned rear wheel and sum of the frame parts around the rear axle allowed the rear tire to contact the inside of the stays, producing a “Brrrp” noise that lets you know that you created some G’s. Again, not a huge cause for concern in my eyes, and to be fair there’s few bikes that don’t rub in the corners with my 200lb mass piloting them, but it’s worth pointing out. Clearance around the 32t front chainring is also quite tight, but didn’t manifest as any wear on the frame.

The final critique was the lack of a bashguard fitted to the bike I reviewed. A significant quantity of my riding involves navigating janky rock gardens, and the low bottom bracket puts that exposed chainring at a serious risk of damage. The final ride on board the bike saw this omission manifest in the ugliest manner, as the chainring met a pointy rock under a harsh bottom out, warping the ring enough for it to jam against the chainstay. Given the aggressive feeling of this bike, and its’ low BB, I’d consider it a necessity to equip it with a bash, especially since the ISCG tabs are provided to do so.

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

The Wolf’s Last Word

Overall, the Shan No.5 29er is a seriously fun bike, blending a sufficiently stable and controlled ride to tackle nearly any track, with enough pop and agility to find entertainment on tamer trails. Users will benefit from the use of a high quality rear suspension damper to really get the most out of the rear end, and should be prepared for a slight amount of tire rub on the frame, but as a whole the Shan is a fairly dialed ride for those looking for a fun bike to ride in the mountains. It is worth noting however that the fun, corner slaying abilities and hard charging ride do come at a cost with the low-slung mass and bottom bracket height. Nevertheless, this bike was a memorable one and I’ll surely be missing my corner-slashing rides.

Price: Frames starting at 1,332.50
Website: Production-privee.com

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

CUSTOM BUILD SPECS

CHASSIS
Frame: Steel; 140mm
Fork: Cane Creek Helm 150mm, Boost
Shock: Cane Creek DB Air CS, 210x55mm

COCKPIT
Brakes: Shimano XT M8020 4 pot, 180mm Icetech rotors
Handlebar: Production Privée LG, 1″ rise, 31.8mm clamp
Headset: Production Privée Integrated
Saddle: SDG Fly MTN 2, CrMo
Seatpost: Bikeyoke Revive 160mm, Triggy remote
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle; 12s
Stem: Production Privée R2R, 50mm, 31.8mm clamp

WHEELS
Wheelset: Spank 29″ Custom Tuned 350/359, boost
Front tire: Michelin Wild Enduro front gum-x
Rear tire: Michelin Wild Enduro rear gum-x

DRIVETRAIN
Bottom Bracket: SRAM GXP Threaded
Cassette: SRAM XG 1275; 10-50T
Cranks: SRAM GX Eagle 7k, Boost, 32T, 175mm
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle; 12s

Production Privee Shan No. 5 29er

We Dig

Cornering prowess
Stability/Agility Blend
Beautiful Paint Job
Fun Factor

We Don’t

Tire Rub
High Weight
Not as Forgiving as Some
Pedaling the Low BB in Rocky Terrain

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