Crash-Test of the 2011 FANS Evo
Tuesday 13 September 2011
by Ben Swales

PNG - 114.6 kb Tribalzine periodically offers you the best tests of the most recent bikes and gear, and this time it was the turn of the new 2011 FANS Evo, one of the ‘new generation’ bikes with a radical geometry.

We wanted to perform the test in a few locations, to put it through its paces on street and on the rocks, and to offer you the opinions of a few Elite riders, to give you as clear a picture of the bike as possible.

Specification:

Headset Tioga
Stem Try-all 3d
Handlebar Monty
Fork Grasshopper
Fron wheel Monty rim/Monty hub/Monty Slick tyre
Front brake Hope mono trial/Avid Disc
Frame Fans Evo 2011
Cranks Trialtech
Pedals Wellgo magnesium
BB FSA
chain BONZ
Rear Wheel TMS rim/TMS hub/Monty Slick tyre
Front brake Hope mono trial/Hope Trial original version
Bash ring Chorrillas/Try-all
Weight 8.1kg

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CRASH TEST

JPEG - 289.1 kb The 2011 Fans Evo, as mentioned, has a fairly radical geometry, but one that makes it a pleasure to ride. It has a short wheelbase, very short actually. At just 991mm it will fit on even the smallest rock or in the smallest gap. It’s bottom bracket, at +65mm, is neither very high, nor very low, and the chainstays are quite short at just 345mm. The overall feel of the bike, thanks to these measurements, is quite nice. Were the bottom bracket any higher, it might feel a bit uncomfortable, but the length, height and chainstays work very well together.

This bike feels a bit like a plane, so easy is it to make it take off! You barely have to put any effort in to make it fly when going to front wheel, the short distance between the axles means that throwing the bike forward is child’s play. The bottom bracket, in my opinion, is the perfect height: not high enough to feel strange, but, even when riding natural, you never feel as though it is too low either. The short chainstays give a lot of “feeling” on the back wheel and allow for millimetric precision. All of this adds up to give a bike that is incredibly flicky and easily manageable, which helps keep tiredness at bay on those long rides.

JPEG - 238.4 kb The bike felt very comfortable for street riding, especially, as mentioned before, for front wheel moves, and is probably the easiest bike to ride that I have ever tried. Pedalling up to front is a bit trickier however, as, although it jumps easily, you have to be careful with your pedal strokes; being so short, it loops out easily. With sidehops and static moves, there is not much to complain about, although a slightly longer frame would give more leverage. That said, the bike is very stable and light, as mentioned previously, which makes things much easier. Planting the front wheel first is so easy, you can put it where you want and the rest of the bike follows. Wheelswaps are a doddle as well, you can do them so quickly and, as the bike is so light and short, with almost no effort at all.

The EVO is a joy to ride on rocks as well. It seems just as at home on the rear wheel, jumping from rock to rock with millimetric precision, as it does on two wheels, which means that you can get it pretty much anywhere and are able to move through a section with the greatest of ease. The ‘low’ bottom bracket causes no problems here, thanks in part to the short stays. JPEG - 249.6 kb We didn’t catch it on the rocks as much as other low BB bikes, although we did have to be careful of our toes on hooks.

We were lucky enough to have one of the best riders in the world with us to test the bike on the natural sections: Monty rider Javi Alonso. Javi was very surprised by how well the bike rode, although he did say he thought it was a bit too short. It should be noted that his usual bike is 2cm longer, so that may just be a question of familiarity. Despite that minor complaint, the Asturian had a lot of fun on the bike and remarked on how easy it was to throw around under him.

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TECHNICAL AND AESTHETIC CONSIDERATIONS

JPEG - 177.7 kb Fans offer this frame in three colours: red, green and orange (the model used for our test). From a technical and aesthetic point of view, the EVO has plenty of well-thought out features. For starters, the headtube has been cut away to save a bit of weight (a common feature on modern trials frames), and has been welded solidly to the top and down tubes, which meet at the point of contact, meaning that the join should be solid and sturdy. The top tube ‘flattens’ along its length so that it is oval shaped when it meets the braced chainstays that lend the frame so much stiffness. The down tube no longer features a bash plate mount, eliminating one of the most critical stress points on modern trials frames, which is a nice touch. The seat stays also feature a pair of braces on the oustide, improving both the stiffness and the look of the frame, while the chainstays have a crossbrace supporting them which also has two holes that allow you, if you want, to bolt on modified bashplate, which is what we did, as you can see in the photo. The stays are very thin, which saves a considerable amount of weight. They finish in a very minimalistic fine point, which we like a lot as it gives the bike a very clean aesthetic at the rear end. The disc mount, which can be a problem area for many frames, has been machined from a single piece and does not feature any holes, so it should hold up fine. Overall the frame, which weighs in at 1,400g, is a triumph: light, strong and great looking!

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THE LAST WORD

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This is a frame that would be a good choice for any kind of rider, whether they prefer street or natural, especially if they like a nice, short bike or are a bit shorter than average. We really noticed how easy it was to throw around and how well it lent itself to big, static moves. It is a really nice looking frame too, and all of the critical points (bashplate mount, disc mount, etc.) have been taken care of effectively. All of this combined makes for a manageable, good looking and lightweight bike.

I’d like to quickly thank Tribalzine, Ribo, PBS Racing and Racingtrials for making this test possible and to all of the riders, photographers and friends who helped with the test.