L’Inspired Skye sur le banc d’essai de Tribal Zine ! Partie 1 : exploration !

Tribal Zine tests the Inspired Skye! Part 1: examination

Thursday 20 June 2013
by Jebegood , Laurent
popularity : 53%

PNG - 114.6 kb Street trials has enjoyed a lot of success over the past few years, becoming a true discipline in its own right, thanks in no small part to British brand Inspired and their flagship rider Danny MacAskill. Street riding has even brought trials out of anonymity, giving it unprecedented media coverage thanks to a wealth of super-impressive videos and projects. The techniques and equipment have evolved from those used in copetition trials, drawing influence from other disciplines and incorporating them into a new style of riding, and the bikes and equipment have done much the same. It is the riders of Great Briatin who have been setting the standards as far as the riding is concerned, in much the same way as competition trials standards have been defined by French and Spanish riders. For a competition rider, getting onto a street bike is a bit of a journey into the unkown; short geo, low BB, high front end, a seat, a much heavier bike and techniques that draw as much from BMX as from trials... it’s all very different from what you’re used to. Tribal Zine’s Spanish administrator was the first to make the leap and he told us what he thought of the latest version of Inspired’s best seller, the Fourplay Pro. He was seduced by the quality and design of the bike, its aesthetics and attention to detail, the components and its complete suitability for ths new, more fluid and dynamic discipline and had a lot of fun while he was at it! Read his test here).

GIF - 138.7 kb Tribal Zine decided to take things further by doing some more in-depth tests of street trials bikes and equipment with a team comprising our Elite testers and some street specialists who recently joined our team, Mickael Dupont and Nicolas Moreau, two talented street riders whose styles cover everything from park riding and BMX-inspired tricks to more ’trialsy’ street riding. . Their addition to the team has allowed us to go much further in our investigations, both in the riding test and in the discussions that followed, and to complement the opinions of our equipment specialist Greg Soignon and our 26" riders Rémy Durville et Julien Parent. Over the course of a weekend we put the best street bikes available through their paces, in collaboration with Trial Magazine. You will be able to read the first ever street trials comparison in the pages of Issue 64 of the magazine, which will be out at the start of July. Perfect for some summer time reading before heading out on your bike!

Before that, however, we offer you this crash test of a bike that street riders the world over have dreamed about, THE street trials bike of the past few years, the Inspired Skye, developed and ridden by Danny MacAskill himself. It’s a full and in-depth test of the Imaginate star’s first signature bike, the new version of which he is riding in his incredible new video. We headed to Tours and Mickaël Dupont’s personal trials park to discover the bike and put it through its paces... Part 1 : examination

A Revolution from the Isle of Skye...

JPEG - 488.3 kb Unpacking and building...

Not only has Danny revolutionised the practice of street trials, but he has also revolutionised the tools of the trade, as this fantastic bike, named in honour of the small Scottish Island where Danny grew up, shows... We started with the unpacking and building of the bike and it was our in-house technician Greg Soignon who took care of this for us. A glance at the box tells us that the bike is produced on another island altogether: Taiwan. No surprises there; Taiwan is where most of the bike on the trials market are produced. The packaging is very professional: everything is carefully protected and all the parts are packaged in their own cardboard boxes and placed in the larger, Inspired branded bike box. The bike comes with the BB and fork already fitted, which meant that we didn’t have to buy the specific tool for fitting the BB and were able to avoid the often fiddly job of fitting the headset. As we fitted the pedals, we were pleased to see that they came supplied with washers to protect the cranks and prevent them from getting damaged over time, but were disppointed at the lack of spanner flats on the axles, which can only be fitted using an allen key. The Hope brakes came in their own box and were well protected. A nice feature that we were pleased to see is that fact that the post mounts on the frame are not painted on the face, meaning that the paint doesn’t crack when you fit the brakes. Nice touch. The fork’s top cap comes with a hole so that you can run your brake hose through the steerer, although you will need to remove the hose and olives to do so and rebleed your brake once reassembled. Please note, however, that when you buy your bike from an Inspired dealer, it will come fully set up, so the brakes etc. will be alreday fitted and you can specify your preferred hose routing. The braided hose is nice and long, meaning that plenty of fun can be had with barspins and tailwhips. The hose guide on the top of the fork is self-adhesive, a neat solution, but perhaps not the most long-lasting. The rear brake hose is a bit shorter; fine for one rotation, but any more and things will get a bit tight... No problem for us and our purposes, but more serious street riders may want a bit of extra length. The disc mounts on the wheels are also unpainted, which we were pleased to see. We’ll come back to the oversize bolt-through hubs, one of the unique features of the bike, later. Fitting the chain, we realised that its is quite short, such that it was only possible to fit using the quick link. To run a chain without a quick link (which we would recommend), you’ll need a new, longer chain! So, bike built and ready for action, we met up with the other testers to get stuck into the proper examination...

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A radical and exciting bike!

The whole team were speechless when they first saw the bike for the first time. The visual impact of the orange frame and fork is magnificent and fascinating. The bike’s image is one of its strong points; it really looks the part. We’re looking at the bike that ’belongs to’ the most famous rider of all time, a bike that we’d thought we’d only get to ride in our dreams. We’ve all seen Danny’s videos plenty of times and this bike will forever be associated with the genius that created it.

JPEG - 283.7 kb After our initial speechlessness, we got on with looking at the bike in more detail. The welds are very nice, particularly around the front end and headtube. The welding at the rear is not as clean, around the chainstay brace, for example, they are bigger. That could be to add more reinforcement to this area, however. At first glance, we notice that the BB is lower than that of the Fourplay. The geo of the Skye is more radical in general, with a +10mm BB rather than the standard plus +25mm and an ultra-short 990mm wheelbase (compared to the Fourplay’s 1020mm). Our street riders were champing at the bit already; "the geo will be amazing for spins and bunnyhops", said one. The frame retains, for the most part, the lines and structure of the Fourplay; the 7005 Aluminium tubing is the same and the BB yoke and reinforcements at key points (gussets at the headtube and brace at the disc mount) are there too. The stays are slightly different though, and look like more work has gone into them.

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The other main difference concerns the choice of bolt-through axles. The rear 12mm bolt-through makes taking the rear wheel out much easier. It is heald in place with a steel bolt, rather than being threaded into the frame, which should give the system more durability. The fron 20mm bolt-though axle has also had a lot of though put into it, but it does mean that you can only use this combination of fork and hub - other hubs will not fit. The fork is not available separately either, only with the frame kti... That said, the frame and fork both look indestructible. Everything is visibly designed to optimise strength, stiffness and durability and our street riders were impatient to see how that would feel in real riding terms.

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Tried and tested equipment!

JPEG - 254.6 kb The compnonents that the Skye comes kitted out with are well tested and commonplace on freeride and DH bikes, so they should be solid enough! The rear hub is another made-in-England classic with a reputation for quality and reliability: the Hope Pro 2 Trials Evo, which gives of a glorious clicking sound as its freehub spins, something every trials rider likes to hear! While it is, no doubt, reliable and efficient enough for street riding and makes servicing and maintanance much easier, it does engage less quickly than a classic freewheel (4 pawls and 48 engagement points as opposed to 9 x 108 in a top-end freewheel). We find the Truvativ Howitzer bottom bracket as on the Fourplay; a popular and respected BB in tghe DH world. It has internal bearings, similar to those seen in BMX, with two cartridges with oversize bearings that clamp both sides of the bototm bracket. "You can’t beat it for solidity" assures Nico’. Maintenance should be a bit simpler as well. The cranks attach to an axle that resembles the ISIS standard, but is, in actual fact, specific to Truvativ. The cranks themselves are the massive Holzfeller, again, as seen on the Fourplay. Forged from 7050 Aluminium, they are as good as any top trials cranks, and feature a 4-bolt Inspired bashring. The chain tensioner is the standard model found on all the bikes in the Inspired range, but the mount is bolted under the chainstay out of harm’s way. The established 22/16 gear ratio allows the speeds necessary for most street trials moves, while still allowing for the more classic trials moves as well. A happy medium.

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The pedals are Inspired’s large-platformed Team pedals, a benchmark on today’s market. Our street specialists tell us that you can’t get a better pedal for street trials; the position of your foot is perfect and the grip is incredible. Your foot is so stuck to the pedal that it simply does not move (even when you want it to, sometimes!).

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JPEG - 172.8 kb The brakes are specially-made Hope discs, with the well-known Trial Zone caliper and the fantastic Tech levers, allowing for powerful breaking and maximum adjustment.

The tyres are the ubiquitous 24" Maxxis Holy Rollers, the street trials equivalent to the Try-All Lights of competition - everyone runs them! The grip and rebond are perfect for street use and they remain the tyre of choice on the scene, even though the market is starting to diversify. And contrary to competition tyres, be sure to run them at high pressure! no squidgy tyres here... The rims are items of beauty and another of Danny’s personal choices - the Pimp rims from Californina brand Atomlab, who have made a name for themselves in BMX and dirt. They’re magnificent and have a definite top-of-the-range look, complemented by double butted Sapim Race spokes with a 1.8mm centre section and 2mm ends.

The cockpit is very particular as well. The big difference between a street trials bike and a comp bike is in the stem; street trials riders opt for short stem, and the Skye’s 90mm x 10° Hope stem is exactly that. It’s the shortest stem available on the street trials market as far as we know. Very street. The Inspired high riser bar is specially made for the Skye and has a much higher rise than the standard Inspired riser. Inspired Lock-On grips mke sure your hands stay frimly in place. It’s a shame the bar plugs are plastic; it would have been nice to see some aluminimum bar ends on a bike of this price.

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Last but not least, the seat and (tiny) seat tube, which will be a strange site to many trials riders of the new generation. It’s not just an aesthetic consideration - it plays a vital part in a lot of street trials tricks, including the ubiquitous footjam whip, for example. It also gives the bike a truly streety look and helps to connect street trials with the more mainstream MTB world that seems so far out of the reach of competition trials. It’s nice to be able to sit down from time to time as well! The large stitched logo on the rear of the saddle gives it a classy look suited to such a nice bit of kit.

Weight and price... not light on the scales or on your pockets!

We were interested to see what the bike would weigh in at when we put it on the scales... It’s bordering on 12kg (11.87kg to be precise), a weight that caused some consternation among the comp riders on the test team. That’s very, very heavy in comparison with a comp bike... What about the street riders? "It doesn’t bother me at all" says Nico’, "it’s the geometry and the hanlding of the bike that are important". Mickaël is more interested in the weight of bikes, but he didn’t ask what it weighed and was straight off to ride it instead... It will be interesting to see what he thinks afterwards.

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If the bike is heavy on the scales, it’s certainly not light on the wallet... With a retail price of almost £2,300, it is the most expensive street trials bike currently available. The frame and spec are not too dissimilar to that of a Fourplay, so the £1,000 price difference might seem excessive to some, even if, as we’ve seen, the Skye has a lot of features and components that reall set it apart from the rest of the market. Perhaps there is some price to pay for riding the same bike as Danny MacAskill ? You’d certainly be noticed riding through town on this bright orange machine... But the Skye is far from being a bike that it riding on the success of an extraordinarily talented rider. In part two of the test we’ll find out that it is an exceptional bike, fully deserving of the hype, praise and price tag that it has receieved! Our test continues here: Tribal Zine Tests The Inspired Skye! Partie 2: action!.

Technical characteristics

Frame and Forks
- Frame: Inspired Skye, 12mm bolt through axle
- Forks: Inspired Skye, 20mm bolt through axle

Wheels
- Front Hub: Hope Pro 2 EVO, 20mm bolt through axle, 32h, Black
- Rear Hub: Hope Pro 2 Trials EVO,12mm bolt through axle, 32h, Black (Custom made)
- Cassette Lockring: Trialtech
- Chain Tensioner: Trialtech Sport, Black
- Front Rim: Atomlab Pimp, Black
- Rear Rim: Atomlab Pimp, Black
- Spokes: Sapim Race DB, Black
- Rim Tape: Atomlab
- Inner Tube (front): Maxxis
- Inner Tube (rear): Maxxis
- Front Tyre: Maxxis Holy Roller 24 x 2.4"
- Rear Tyre: Maxxis Holy Roller 24 x 2.4"

Brakes
- Front Brake: Hope Tech 2-Trial 180mm Disc, Black (Custom made)
- Rear Brake: Hope Tech 2-Trial 180mm Disc, Black (Custom made)

Drivetrain
- Cranks: Truvativ Holzfeller, 175mm, Black
- Front Sprocket: Truvativ 22T
- Chain: KMC Z610
- Rear Sprocket: Trialtech Sport Splined, 16T
- Pedals: Inspired Team, Black
- Bottom Bracket: Truvativ Howitzer
- Bashring: Inspired

Seating
- Saddle: Inspired Pivotal, Black
- Seatpost: Inspired Pivotal
- Seat Clamp: Hope Bolted, Black

Steering
- Headset: Hope, 1-1/8", Black
- Stem: Hope, 90mm x 10˚, Black
- Grips: Inspired Lock-On, Black
- Handlebars: Inspired High-Rise Riser, Black (Custom made)

Geometry
- Wheelbase: 990mm
- Chainstay: 380mm
- BB Height: +10mm
- Head Angle: 73˚

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