Propain Bikes Spindrift Trail 2017

Reviews / FreeRide Bikes

At A Glance

I still haven't decided what to call bikes like the Spindrift. Propain have a few suggestions including such terms as SuperEnduro, Bike Park Enduro, or even Trail Freeride… Whatever you call them, these bikes are the new wave of long travel bikes with, for want of a better term, pedal-ability.

Buy Propain Bikes FreeRide Bikes on

As suspension has developed, riders have demanded more and more versatility in their bikes, and where once 120mm may have seemed like a lot of travel to pedal up a hill, we now consider 180mm to be 'big'. So is it possible to tame all that suspension into a bike, which can travel both with and against gravity?

Propain think so, and the Spindrift is their biggest bike (except their downhill bike) in the lineup. 180mm travel front and rear delivered by a Rockshox Lyric and a Super Deluxe RC3 Debonair shock give this a lot of capacity. We opted to run an air shock on the 'Trail' model to keep weight down and see what it could really do as a trail bike. The Propain website gives plenty of options for configuration if you are that way inclined.

The rest of our build is a refreshingly different mix of parts including standout pieces such as the Stans Flow Rims, Magura brakes and the Bikeyoke Revive dropper post. The drivetrain is SRAM GX, which keeps things functional rather than extravagant, allowing the budget to be spent on the more important things, such as massive suspension!

On The Trail

The first test was spent riding up at Innerleithen, in the Tweed Valley, home of super steep world class trails, but with big, non-technical climbs to test out the winching capabilities. What was immediately surprising was that it actually felt like it wanted to go uphill. Our tester on this day was given the challenge of keeping up with the enduro boys for a full day of 1500m of climbing. Even with the big and chunky Onza tyres, the Spindrift ploughed on, never like a rocket, but just kept on chugging.

Downhill the Spindrift inspires an incredible amount of confidence, very quiet, almost silent when charging through the rough stuff, which really makes you feel like the bike is working incredibly well underneath you. The rockier the terrain became, the better the bike felt.

With the Spindrift only going up to a size large, but with a 465mm reach, the bike was passed around testers to find the ideal size. For me well over six feet, it was somewhat short, giving a manoeuvrable feeling I would not expect of a big bike. Shorter (normal sized) riders found on tighter trails the bike's length was felt in the way it took more effort to shift around. The playfulness and agility were also directly linked to the steepness and the speed of the riding. At slow speeds it could feel very lethargic, as if it was bored, waiting for the terrain to get burly and wild again. The Spindrift needs to feed on a healthy diet of the biggest and nastiest trails you can find.

For such a long travel bike we never actually needed to lock out the rear shock much, as when seated the bike was efficient and pedalled with minimal bob. Those who like to mash the pedals could find it needed to be calmed down a bit, but the full travel is generally well controlled when spinning uphill.

The big tyres and proper sized chainstays give incredible traction on seated, technical climbs, the steep seat angle keeping the front easily in control.

Components-wise, the bike was a solid build focussing on the reliable and robust kit. The Bike Yoke dropper post worked flawlessly and smoothly until left for a week in the garage, at which point it decided to cause some issues. The cable operated cam at the base of the post rotates and pushes a button to release the post, and this needed greasing to keep things going, but was an easy fix. The other notable part of the post is the bleed valve, which allows any air to escape the oil and remove any 'bounce' that the post builds up over time.

The Magura brakes didn't dazzle us and the second ride in the wet; both brakes pulled to the bar. They settled down but never had a particular reliable lever-feel to them. The Chunky Onza Ibex tyres were a pleasant surprise, and gave exceptional grip; ideal for the steep terrain the Spindrift is good for, but less appreciated on the climbs!

The raw finish on the frame looks great, but the downtube cable routeing forces the cables dangerously close to the fork crown resulting in some rub.

With flexibility on the spec of each bike, it really is about tuning the tool for the intended job. Yes, light wheels and tyres would liven up the acceleration and climbing speed, but potentially at the expense of downhill reliability and grip. We thought that overall, the spec hit a pretty good sweet spot of strength and weight.

Sizing is an issue for those the wrong (or maybe right?) side of six foot, as this type of bike benefits from a long front centre. Tall riders will be comfortable, but an XL size would be a great edition as Propain have done on their Tyee enduro bike.

For a mix of pedal and uplift riding to access bike park or downhill trails, the Spindrift is the ideal tool. Alpine environments will be ideal, and the roughest of Enduro trails will be smoothed out with ease. This really is a bike that wants to turn your riding up to eleven.

It's worth remembering that the Spindrift comes in at prices starting at €2,399 for the complete bike, which is an incredible price for such a weapon.

Overall

This isn't a bike trying to do everything, it has a clear purpose in life, which is to go full-gas everywhere, providing you have the trails and skills to go with it. It will, however, happily find it's way back to the top of the hill without complaining. You will be hard-pressed to find a more capable descending bike and raises the question of whether you even need a downhill bike anymore...

Buy Propain Bikes FreeRide Bikes on

This review was in Issue 47 of IMB. For more information visit Propain Bikes.

Brand

By Ewen Turner
Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

Tried this? What did you think?

×

Subscribe it's Free!

Win a Complete Riding Outfit from Vaude this issue in our FREE subscriber prize draw.

By subscribing you will not only be first to read the mag but automatically entered into the prize draw every issue!

Draw closes on Sun 18th Jun, 2017
First name is required.
Subscribe Another
Complete Riding Outfit from Vaude

Issue 46 Mon 17th Apr, 2017

Rinsekit Black Pressurised Portable Washer

Mark

Issue 45 Wed 15th Feb, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera

Baz

Issue 44 Fri 16th Dec, 2016

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera

Steve

Issue 43 Thu 20th Oct, 2016

GoPro Hero 4 Session Camera

John

Issue 42 Mon 22nd Aug, 2016

Range of Top Riding Kit From Dainese

Phil

Issue 41 Sat 20th Aug, 2016

Set of LTR Boost Forks From Lauf

Deanne

Issue 40 Mon 20th Jun, 2016

Some Fantastic Riding Gear From Fox

Matthew

Issue 39 Fri 19th Feb, 2016

Set of Riding Gear from LEATT

Steve

Issue 38 Thu 17th Dec, 2015

Complete Night riding Setup from Exposure Lights

Todd

Issue 37 Fri 23rd Oct, 2015

Complete Riding Package From ION

Graham

Issue 36 Mon 24th Aug, 2015

One of Three Osprey Escapist Packs

Dan, Joe and Edgar

Issue 35 Thu 18th Jun, 2015

Complete Riding Kit from Endura

Robin

Issue 34 Sat 18th Apr, 2015

Pair of Adidas Evil Eye Evo Glasses

Stuart

Issue 33 Tue 17th Feb, 2015

GoPro Hero4 Silver Edition

Jon

Issue 32 Thu 18th Dec, 2014

Load of Riding Gear from Cube

Joe

Issue 31 Fri 17th Oct, 2014

Sweet Set Up from Deity Components

James

Issue 30 Mon 18th Aug, 2014

661 Recon Helmet, Gloves and T-Shirt

Sean

Issue 29 Thu 26th Jun, 2014

Set of DMR Accessories

Warren

Issue 28 Tue 15th Apr, 2014

Set of X-Fusion Sweep RL2 160mm 27.5 Forks!

Jim

Issue 27 Fri 14th Feb, 2014

Complete Set of Riding Kit from IXS

Graham

Issue 26 Mon 16th Dec, 2013

Bontrager Rhythm Elite TLR Disc Wheelset

Dave

Issue 25 Wed 16th Oct, 2013

Reflex Mk2 and a Diablo Mk5 Light from Exposure

Dennis

Issue 24 Mon 19th Aug, 2013

Pedros Apprentice Tool Kit

Chris

Issue 23 Sun 16th Jun, 2013

Superstar Components Wheels and Pedals

Matt

Issue 22 Mon 15th Apr, 2013

Brand New iPad Mini

Jason

Issue 21 Fri 15th Feb, 2013

Go Pro 3 and Goodies From One Industries

Craig

Issue 20 Sun 16th Dec, 2012

Box Full of Goodies From Cube

Mike

Issue 19 Mon 15th Oct, 2012

Complete O'neal Riding Kit

James

Issue 18 Tue 14th Aug, 2012

Osprey Raptor 14 Pack and Swann HD Freestyle Camera

Uwe

  1. The Promotion is organised by IMB and the participating brand stated on the subscribe page. You are providing your information to IMB, not the participating brand. The information you provide will only be used for the purpose of facilitating the Promotion and notifying you when new issues of our totally free magazine are released. We will never sell or supply your details to any 3rd parties.
  2. You can opt out of any future emails by clicking the unsubscribe link within the footer of the email at any time.
  3. The winner will be notified by email shortly after the closing date shown. Previous winners will not be eligible to win again until at least three new Promotions have run.
  4. Winners must reply to our email within two weeks or a new winner will be drawn. Please check all spam folders to avoid loosing out.
  5. Participants only need to enter once in order to be eligible for all future prize draws.
×