Although I am a relatively tall guy at 6’2”, my preferences led me to requesting the shorter of the two options of The Full Moxie – the long size sporting a 470mm reach. This was equipped with a 45mm stem, and in my eyes was only slightly shorter than what I would consider optimal for general mountain biking. The 510mm reach figure on the longer size would represent the joint-longest bike I have tested, and my regularly frequented trails combined with my bike preferences negates the need for this kind of stability-enhancing length. Pipedream kindly supplied a full bike although they only sell the frameset, which was equipped with a DVO Diamond fork to accompany the Topaz T3 out back; featured a Shimano SLX 12spd groupset; some Pacenti wheels I hadn’t previously heard of; and some 2.6” Schwalbe Super Trail rubber. On my scales, the full build tipped the scales at 33.5lbs (15.2kg) without pedals, which is certainly on the portly side, but more understandable looking at the no-nonsense build, of which it would be sensible to suggest a few pounds could be knocked off if so desired. Inspecting the frame in the flesh, it all looks tidy and well put together, with no glaring defects in the paint nor welds, and nicely machined aluminum accoutrements that tie together the high-quality fabrication. And that color…it pops! A serious eye-catcher on the trails.
Hopping onto the Pipedream for the first time had me eager to raise the initially supplied 15mm rise bar higher than the steerer would allow for, due to the relatively low stack height that is produced by the 110mm headtube and 20mm bb drop combination. Thankfully a 38mm rise Nukeproof Horizon bar was supplied to me for testing at the same time, which left me in a more comfortable position. 270psi in the DVO Topaz out back gave my 95kg mass 30% of sag. The shock on this particular test bike required all of the rebound damping to be wound on, and still resulted in a rate that was slightly faster than I would have liked to have had the option for. Whether this was a nuance of this specific unit, or a general valving issue is not clear, but Pipedream indicated they had not experienced this with any customers previously. In the bladder I began with the recommended 200psi for my weight, and after some experimentation at slightly lower pressures, decided that the recommended value provided the best supportive feeling in the mid-stroke. In the DVO Diamond I opted for 135psi, at the upper end of my weight bracket in the recommended settings in the user manual. I opted to run the OTT cranked fully on to provide the most supple initial stroke, and settled on 4 rotations of HSC and the recommended 10 clicks of rebound from closed to produce a slightly faster setting that matched the highly active rear end. I would then tailor the 6-position LSC dial to the trail and conditions, opting to use position 2 or 3 for the majority of the time which yielded a nicely supportive platform from which to attack the terrain ahead. Airing up the 2.6” Magic Mary up front to 23psi, and the Gravity casing Kenda Pinner Pro I opted to fit in the rear to 24psi had me ready and raring to take The Full Moxie to the trail.
Pedaling the Full Moxie, the mild amount of Anti-squat keeps the 146mm travel rear end from feeling dreadfully soft, but the sensitive initial stroke of the DVO Topaz shock fitted in the rear was eager to prove exactly how sensitive it was, with some noticeable movement both seated and when stood on the pedals. Thankfully, the compression switch on the Topaz is easy to access, and a quick flick into the “traversing” mode on the T3 switch creates a firm, but not fully locked platform, that makes climbing pleasant on smoother terrain. The even firmer “climbing” setup leaves the rear end essentially fully locked, which is great on smooth dirt climbs or on the road, but certainly reduces seated comfort and rear wheel grip. When left in the “descending” mode, the rear end’s sensitivity leads to a healthy amount of grip, but it can become difficult to time pedal strokes in technical terrain due to the bb height dropping under dynamic movements. The climbing angles are comfortable, with the reasonably steep seat angle keeping a good amount of weight on the front wheel on all but the steepest, granny-ring demanding climbs.
On flatter sections of trail, it’s certainly nice to have the option to utilize the DVO’s “traversing” mode, which produces a more efficient platform to mash on the pedals and gives a bit more of a wall to push against to generate speed through pumping trail features, with additional agility produced by a higher dynamic position in the rear end that leads to a steeper head angle and higher bb. When left off, the slackened dynamic geometry offers increased stability, whilst the rear end is more reactive and smooths the trail. There are two very distinct personalities on offer at the flick of the switch, which is very useful for a varied ride. I found myself matching the fork to the rear end setting, flicking between position 2 and 3 of the LSC to maintain a balanced ride.
Taking The Full Moxie down some properly challenging terrain, there is no mistaking that this is an all-round machine. Whilst it is certainly capable of nearly any typical enduro style descent, it does not lose its trail-bike liveliness, and favors an active riding approach with some selective line choice, opposed to holding on tight and plowing through anything ahead. The 470mm reach and 440mm rear end is well balanced, with the 20mm bb drop and 30% sag giving a dynamic position that is still eager to pop and play on the trail. The front end will happily lift for a manual without too much of a fuss, yet there is enough weight on the front wheel to keep the steering from being too light in the flatter turns. A shorter rear end and higher bb would yield a further element of playfulness sure, but the figures present here strike a nice balance for an all-rounder. Riders seeking for a more stable and speed-seeking ride could of course size up to the “Longer” model, with a great increase in the spread between the wheels. When deciding which size to opt for, I would be wary of choosing this larger size unless you are of an appropriately gigantic size to justify it.
The 146mm of travel out back is well behaved, taking the sting out of the trail as you would expect without being overly eager to approach the bottom out bumper. The biggest hits do find their way to the end of the travel, and at times my ankles were made aware of this with the subtle knocking of the bottom out bumper, but this was only ever the case on the kind of hits where a bottom out seems inevitable. In the initial stroke the Topaz is effective in ironing out the chatter and hugs the terrain surprisingly well for what is otherwise a sporty feeling bike. Through successive big hits, or particularly big g-outs, there were times when the otherwise quite stable and planted pink machine would become a bit unsettled, nudging you to ease off the charge a touch to bring things back into The Full Moxie’s capability range. This was only felt on flat out downhill trails, for which I think the Pipedream can be forgiven, and it may have been a different story with a touch slower rebound. Under heavy braking it was a similar story, with the rear end feeling a touch firm and breaking traction at times when deploying the anchors hard. This falls a touch short of “all the courage and guts you could ever need”, but then perhaps the more stable demeanor of the longer frame (that Pipedream would recommend for me) and a slightly “calmer” suspension setup would bring things closer to fulfilling this namesake. There is no mistaking that The Full Moxie is a capable bike for its intended class.
As steel frames go, the Pipedream falls on the slightly stiffer end of the spectrum, providing quite a direct and connected feel with the trail opposed to generating the absolute most mechanical grip possible, which is quite in keeping with its all-rounder nature. The bike certainly feels active and peppy, but if this is a factor of the steel tubing or the suspension setup is hard to know for sure. Up at the yoke you can see a bit of lateral flex when pushing on the rear wheel when off the bike, but it is not particularly apparent when on the trail. Over the two-month test period, I checked the pivot bolts periodically expecting them to need cinching up as most do, but everything held tight without so much of a wobble or creak from the frame throughout. Popping the rear shock out, the rear end cycled very smoothly throughout its range of motion even after countless muddy rides and washes on a test bike that had come to me directly from another media outlet. The rear axle had a tendency to loosen from time to time, until I applied a dab of Loctite to the threads instead of grease, after which there were no further concerns. Cable routing is basic but purposeful, presenting no issues through the testing period. Mud clearance in the rear triangle was more than ample with the 2.4” rubber the bike was tested with, showing no signs of buildup in even the gloopiest conditions. The frame is generally quite open and easy to keep clean also, avoiding any particularly difficult areas to get in about with a brush.
At £1749.99 with a high-quality shock, The Full Moxie undercuts many of the competitors by a considerable margin. Though the tubeset does not have a fancy brand name to go with it, it is still a custom butted tubeset and as such could be considered of equal or perhaps even better quality than taking an off-the-shelf branded tubeset. It is hard to argue with the overall value on offer by the Pipedream here, and what’s even better is they’re in stock at the time of writing, which is especially rare in the current climate, and available to ship worldwide.