At a glance
Well the Superbow is certainly eye catching, the question is does that unique frame design do more than just look good?Buy XC Bikes on
Corratec’s Superbow has been around a while and has some staunch fans in Europe and beyond which backs up its German designers claims that ‘it is different but not just for being different sake, it is for efficiency’.
This is the entry level model but shares its frame with models higher up the range so that should mean that the frame will be worth upgrading when the rather basic components wear out.
The frame is made from 7005 Aluminium and utilises the Biometric Bow System.
This means that the top tube splits into two just behind the headtube and then the two tubes sweep in a curve either side of the seat post and continue down to the drop outs. This creates a very stiff frame with small frame triangles, power transfer is direct. All this stiffness hints at a harsh ride but this is offset by the long seat post that offers some flex and damping. Bike weight is a fairly hefty 29.5lbs.
Our 49cm frames virtual top tube length came in at 600mm which makes it comparable to a medium size frame. The angles point towards the bikes race pedigree with the seat angle at 73º and the head angle at 71º.
Up front is a RST Gila TnL 100mm Lockout fork, running gear comes in the shape of Shimano Deore throughout. When getting a frame that matches that of models further up the range you have to expect to miss out somewhere and in this case it is the brakes where money has been saved, Shimano V-brakes do a job and actually work very well in the dry but will prove to be an irritation on the wet muddy rides of winter. Corratec have an in house company based over in California that provide the finishing kit for there bikes and it is no different on this bike, ZZYZX riser bars, stem and seat post all do a job.
Own brand hubs are laced via DT spokes to Rigida Sniper rims and these are finished off with light fast Continental Speed King 2,3 tyres.
On the trail
Feelings were mixed with regards to the looks of the Superbow, some loving it and some turning their noses up but the fact is that once on board how it looks quickly becomes irrelevant.
The initial feeling is one of a very stable bike that is capable and self assured. The engineering philosophy behind the design seems sound as it is a very solid, rigid pedalling platform and responds well to a quick burst of power, you do feel the weight though but once up to speed the fast rolling tyres mean it is easy to maintain your speed and it goes where you aim it with a minimum of fuss.
The fork is a little on the harsh side but that may well bed in over time, it also has a proper lockout, in other words its like riding a rigid fork when locked out, which made riding to and from the trails on the road a breeze.
The gears shifted without complaint and the brakes were fine until the weather turned and then they bought back all the old memories.
The tyres are super fast and do offer up enough grip for the summer months but they will need to be changed if you intend to ride throughout the winter.
This is a very strong frame that while it is not light it does transfer your pedalling efforts directly into forward momentum which makes it a good climber despite its portly build.
On singletrack it has impeccable manners and does exactly what is asked of it. The story is pretty much the same when you head downhill, no nasty surprises and that long seat tube does take the kick out of the trail.
The obvious problems are in the shape of the specification on this bike, the moment the rain came the Superbow suddenly became the kid that was rubbish at football, no one wanted to pick it and it found itself one of the last two bikes to be chosen and was then forced to go in goal!
This is all down to the V-brakes, in some areas they will not present such a problem but in our chalk and clay based region it meant time spent digging the clag out of the brake arms with a stick!
The only other niggle is the near 30lbs weight which just manages to rob this bike of is get up and go.
There is an underlying theme with this bike and it will be considered a major plus point by some and a negative point by others.
The fact is that everything about this bike, its looks, quality and ride are all underpinned by the unusual yet efficient design which delivers a stable, well mannered and surefooted ride.
By going up the range you could drop some weight and release more of the frames potential but the Superbow will never be an exciting trail play.
If you are in the market for a faithful trail bike that will never let you down and will only improve as you upgrade the components over the years then the Superbow offers just that with the added bonus of being just that little bit different.
For more information go to http://www.corratec.com
UK RRP: £549Buy XC Bikes on
This review was in Issue 2 of IMB.For more information visit Corratec
By Nigel GarroodNigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!