Ari Cascade Peak Elite Review



Words by Robert Johnston  |  Photos by Dusten Ryen & Brian Niles
Sponsored by Leatt & Tifosi Optics

Ari Bikes (formerly Fezzari) have been producing bikes with a solid value proposition for a while, including a range of more budget-conscious full suspension mountain bikes. For 2024, they updated their affordable trail mountain bike offerings, introducing the new Cascade Peak in a range of builds beginning at $1,999. We were excited to see what Ari’s new trail MTB was capable of, and how its value would stack up against a competitive field of bikes below $2,500.


• 135mm Tetralink Suspension
• GA-Link Geometry Adjustment
• HTA 65
• STA 78
• REACH 480


  • High Quality Frame

  • Solid Overall Build Spec

  • Great All Rounder

  • Efficient Pedaling


  • Suspension Issues


The Cascade Peak sits in Ari’s mountain bike range in the lower price point zone, without sacrificing on features and capability. That’s to say, the new Cascade Peak shares many similarities to their much-loved Delano Peak, but features an aluminum alloy frame and typically more affordable componentry to shave some dollars off the price tag.

Ari Cascade Peak Elite Review


The Cascade Peak features an air-formed and hydro-formed custom butted tubeset to bring the weight of their aluminum alloy frame down without sacrificing strength where it’s required. They reworked their frame design in order to offer a lower standover height for improved descending confidence, and boosted dropper post insertion depths in the process to allow riders to get the saddle slammed out of the way. By infusing the paint with epoxy, Ari hopes to reduce chips and scratches to keep the bike looking fresh for longer.

As standard, the Cascade Peak comes with 29” wheels on both ends regardless of the size selected. Ari says the bike is optimized to work with these larger wheels. However, by using the GA-Link geometry adjusting Flip Chip in the upper link, the bottom bracket can be raised. This ensures compatibility with a 27.5” rear wheel for riders who demand it. Alternatively, for riders remaining on 29” wheels, they can use the GA-Link to increase the agility of the geometry.

You will find many of the features you would expect to see on a modern premium mountain bike on the Cascade Peak. The chainstays are protected by custom-molded rubber protectors to minimize noise and damage from chain slap. There’s mounts for two water bottles in the front triangle. Cables are routed internally through the front triangle and externally on the chainstays to give a good blend of serviceability and clean looks. The frame is equipped with the SRAM UDH, for easy maintenance and service. As with all Ari bikes, there’s even an impressive Lifetime Warranty on the frame.

Ari Cascade Peak Elite Review


Ari uses their Tetra-Link, Four Bar suspension design to deliver the 135mm rear travel to the Cascade Peak. They claim to have tuned Anti Squat and Anti Rise (the suspension characteristics when pedaling and braking, respectively) to offer stability and traction when climbing and descending.


The Ari Cascade Peak’s geometry is well rounded and shares many similarities with their Delano Peak, which is a bike we’ve enjoyed a lot in the past. Ari offers it in a size range from Small to Extra-Large. In the standard setting of the GA-Link with the stock 29” wheels, you get a proven 65° Head Tube Angle and 78° Effective Seat Tube Angle.

Reach lengths go from 430mm to 500mm, and Stack Heights from 604mm to 636mm. The size Large tested measured in at 480mm and 622mm respectively. The Chainstays are 434mm long, and the Bottom Bracket is low at 345mm. Wheelbase on our Large came in at 1239mm.

Ari Cascade Peak Elite Review


Ari is launching the Cascade Peak in a choice of three builds, from the Comp at $1,999 to the Pro at $2,999. We tested the mid-level Elite build, with a retail of $2,499 that let it sneak into this group test. It is equipped with a decidedly solid and well-considered build for that price tag. All of these builds are being released with discounted introductory prices, with the Elite build offered for $2,299.

The Ari Cascade Peak Elite features suspension by DVO, with their Diamond D3 140mm fork and an Opal T2 rear shock. These offer air pressure and Rebound and Compression damping adjustments, though the adjustment ranges were questionable on our units.

The drivetrain is the lesser-seen but dependable Shimano CUES 11spd, featuring LINKGLIDE technology for long-lasting performance. A pair of Tektro 4-piston Gemini SL brakes stops on 180mm rotors.

The wheelset comprises WTB i30 rims laced to unbranded hubs. They are wrapped in an excellent Maxxis tire combination in the form of the Minion DHF EXO 2.5” up front and Aggressor EXO 2.4” in the rear. This was our favorite tire combo in this group test, thanks to its combination of dependable grip and respectable rolling speed.

As with all bikes in the group test, the cockpit is an aluminum in-house offering. Great to see are the Ergon grips, adding notable comfort and quality feeling to this contact point. Rounding out this 36.2lbs/16.4kg build is a 170mm travel X-Fusion Manic dropper post topped with a WTB Volt saddle.

Ari Cascade Peak Elite Review


Our crew was excited to get on board Ari’s latest trail mountain bike, thanks to its premium looks and well-considered build specs, at least on paper. With the notion that the Cascade Peak could be a slightly heavier version of their Delano Peak, we expected a lot from its performance. It delivered on most fronts, but it was let down by a couple of key components as we’ll explain.

From the outset of this short but intense testing period, the DVO Opal T2 shock produced a “chirp” upon compression, and generally didn’t feel quite as smooth as we anticipated. We pulled the air can off to inspect within and found nothing to note. Up front, the lighter riders in our group suffered from overly slow rebound, even when set to the fastest setting. This led the fork to “pack down” on successive compressions on faster sections of trail, reducing comfort and control. We’re unsure if these issues were isolated to our test bike, and were sadly unable to remedy the issue before we concluded our intense testing period for this group test. Our time on other DVO products in the past has been mostly enjoyable, so we’re hoping this was an isolated issue.

Ari Cascade Peak Elite Review

As with all of the bikes in our 2024 Budget Bike Group Test, the weight is notably higher than more expensive spec levels, impacting the overall agility and acceleration. However, the geometry and pedaling platform meant the Ari ranked highly for covering ground in this group test, ranking as Travis’ top climbing machine.

On the way down the hill, the Cascade Peak performed well, with well-balanced geometry that made for intuitive handling and avoided being unnervingly twitchy or boringly stable. Though some testers struggled with the suspension performance, all agreed that it was an enjoyable bike to descend on regardless. A traction-rich and predictable tire set combined with some of the better brakes on test allowed for trail speeds to climb higher without feeling sketchy.

Aside from the suspension issues – which Robert didn’t suffer from due to his higher weight – the spec on the Cascade Peak Elite performed impressively and felt to be of high quality. Combining a high-quality frame with some of the best componentry on test, we’d likely run this sub-$2,500 trail mountain bike as it came, provided the suspension issues were addressed.

The Wolf’s Last Word

The Ari Cascade Peak Elite is a welcome new offering to the budget full suspension mountain bike space, offering impressive quality for its price tag and solid on-trail performance to go with it. The only let down for our test bike was its DVO suspension, which had some issues that we’re hoping were isolated to our particular bike.

Price: $2,499.99


Leatt Logo
Tifosi Logo


Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack and get the latest news and read the latest reviews on the top mountain and electric mountain bikes.