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Turner Sultan 29er Review

by Dion Retief

I have had the privilege of taking the new Turner Sultan 29er on a few rides recently thanks to Rush Sports and Bicicletta

The Sultan is one of the new breed of bikes out of the legendry Turner stable. After a few years in the doldrums thanks to some patent disputes Turner has adopted and licensed Dave Weagleís DW Link and produced an entirely new line of once more highly rated bikes The Sultan is one of these and the first to adopt 29 inch wheels at that.

At first glance the bike is huge a bit of a farm gate actually. Much of it has to do with the larger diameter wheels, which seem a bit odd. The large frame has some extremely beefy tubing including a 1.5inch head tube. But swing your leg of the top tube and all of that disappears and the Sultan feels just right, all that bulk becomes a well-proportioned and nimble steed.

The Sultan came built with some fine kit. The bike is driven by the new 10 speed XT which shifted flawlessly even when bogged down with muck after a very wet first ride. Bicicletta has kitted out the cockpit with Crank Brotherís Cobalt bar, 90mm stem and seat tube and a Ritchey seat. All contact points work really well and the low rise bar was just the right width and rise.

One of the real highlights of the ride must be the Formula RX brakes these must be some of the best stoppers around. The only down side was the 160mm front rotor, this bike could really do with at least 180mm rotor to take control of stopping those big wheels.

Upfront the Sultan is suspended by a 120 mm Fox 32 F29 RLC with 15mm thru axle and tapered steerer. with a Fox RP23 on the rear. Not that the pro pedal switch was necessary, the DW Link really pedals well no matter what the terrain.

This Sultan rolled on Kenda Nevegal tyres on DT Swiss X470 rims and SLX hubs altogether a faultless package if not the lightest.

Once you start riding you immediately forget the initial shock of the size of this bike, it feels neutral and completely comfortable. You donít quite sit inside the frame but you arenít perched on top of it either, it just feels right.

The Sultan and I did two rides together the first a sedate get to know you on the very un-technical upper reaches of the Braamfontein spruit and Albertís Farm area, a gentle introduction and in all it was a pleasant ride.

The second ride was a mind blowing rip around Groenkloof nature reserve south of Pretoria. This is one of my favourite local trails and the Sultan loved it just as much as I do. The Sultan came to life on the technical trails on the hills of the nature reserve, and a love, hate relationship was developed with the tyres, they both make the ride and make it hard work. The Sultan is a drag on jeep track climbs a combination of the aggressive tyres and big wheels make it task to get the bike going but once rolling the momentum is easily maintained. The Sultan completely changes its character on technical singletrack, it loves single track whether it goes up or down and the more technical the better. You just need to point and shoot and the Sultan makes its own lines. The big wheels and tyres make a meal of the rocky climbs and descents floating over any obstacles both up and down. Despite the look of this bike you can whip around the single track as if it were a BMX.

I am not about to open the debate on VPP vs. DW Link but I know which one I like. The suspension on the Sultan is amazing I never used the pro pedal, it was completely unnecessary this bike pedals unbelievably wellboth in and out of the saddle. Where the DW Link is really impressive is ontechnical climbs it is fully active and maintains traction while pedalling like a dream rushing up short technical climbs despite its sluggishness on smoother terrain.

The Sultan has a surprisingly low BB height which is great at speed keeping the bike stable and hugging the trail on the downhill but a curse trying to traverse rocks where the pedals got clipped and the big chain ring sheared a few teeth over rocks, if you are going to be riding very technical trails then a double and bash is highly recommended.

The Sultan is an amazing trail bike with a huge grin factor and it loves whatever you throw at it, itís the kind of bike that makes you start rechecking your budget to see how you could afford one.

The build on the test bike is pretty aggressive and perfectly suited to the way I love to ride but build up some lighter wheelswith a set of marathon tyres and this bike will make for a double wow Sani2C, great for the dirt roads but even better on the single track.

Turner Sultan 29er specs
Turner Sultan Reviews
Turner Sultan 29er review
Dual suspension 29er Review - Turner Sultan




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