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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Avanti Torrent 2 trail bike review

Avanti originally started in New Zealand and have released over 80 models since they began back in 1985. The brand currently offer full suspension xc and trail, xc hard tails 26' and 29', road and time trial, kids and women's specific, and a separate BMX brand ABD (Avanti Bmx Dept).

As far as I am aware, Avanti are a relatively unheard of brand in the UK and I was so impressed with the bike I rode I thought it deserved a write up.

My initial opinion of Avanti as a brand was perhaps hindered by a fleet of budget hire bikes which the park has to offer. The park has around 150 hire bikes that have always been ridden by gear crunching, chain snapping beginners; the bikes tell a story of torture and relentless abuse. I assumed that the brand was a relatively unheard of budget bicycle company and I therefore took little notice.
 Tim one of the managers at Woohill mountain bike park bike later introduced me to his bike which he called a Torrent. I assumed that Torrent was the brand as I completly missed that it was an Avanti. As I stood there in my gormless bicycle perving gaze I looked over the bike, the components, the frame quality and most importantly the suspension linkage. The bike was kitted out with an Easton wheel set, Fox suspension, Avid brakes and sram drivetrain setup as a 2 x 10 and chain retension system. Tim Has replaced the stem for a shorter one and he is also trying out a prototype hydraulic seat post.

One of the most interesting features of the Torrent is the suspension link, It is exactly the same as Specialized's patented Horst link pivot (take a look at the Specialized pitch). The patent obiously restricts bicycle manufacturers from utilising the pivot on their suspension designs and has only been licenced to a very few companies. The few companies that have been licenced have been obliged to include Specialized FSR suspension technology written by their borrowed patent. Avanti call their link a Tru 4 with no such mention of the horst link! The characteristics of a four bar horst link is a great linear response, it combats brake jack, pedal suck and axle curvature. The defining pivot lies about an inch in behind the rear drop outs on the chain stay, while the main pivot sits just above the BB. The way in which this converts on the trail is by effectively decoupling braking and chain loads from the suspension allowing for maximum efficiency power transfer and maintaining traction more effectively. 

Tim kindly lent me his pride and joy to get around the park on a rather miserable Saturday afternoon and when I say miserable I mean it rained all day. After watching Tim Ride the day before I realised how amateur my riding really is, I watched him repetitively hurl himself off big north shore ladders and then climb to the top of the park with no sweat. I should mention that Tim is a ABD sponsored rider and rides almost every day. By the time I was riding It had rained all night and there was huge puddles and slippery roots everywhere. Retrospectively concluding this was perhaps the best weather to fully realise the potential of the bike.

The Torrent climbed with absolute traction in the wet and was very compliant with small bumps. The Fox RP2 rear shock with custom Avanti tuning worked a treat, a factory set medium pro pedal really tightened the rear end up to the extent that it was too hard for the trails I was climbing. I found that the slight give aided the traction greatly. It decended in true FSR style, tracking over wet roots, rocks and sucking up all the drops I was able to throw at it. The bikes feel in terms of geometry is a tad longer than what you may expect from a trail bike but it seems to feel tight once you drop the seat. The head tube angle has a fair compromise making it super nippy around trees. In terms of componentry with my slightly biased opinion I didn't quite get on with the sram 2x10 set up I found shifting while climbing to be a bit slower than what I am used to. between  For me the bike really is one of the those bikes that I just can't ride fast enough. I belive this bike to be the best compromise between a Trek remedy and a Specialized Stumpjumper, it would easily find a place at the Mega avalanche competition.
 
 Avanti torrent 2
"Feel the flow of the trail through the 4-bar independent (AKA stolen horst link) suspension system matched with Fox shock and fork as you push yourself to tackle new terrain aboard the Torrent 2."

The Avanti Torrent 2 (The upgraded better version of the Stumpjumper)


The suspension that Avanti have stolen and made better.

4 comments:

  1. Its the sepcialized pitch not the stunt jumper fool

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  2. Good review - looking to get the Torrent 1 myself.

    On the Specialized/Horst patent... It looks like the patent in question is just about to come out of patent^ (est. Jan 2012). Also note this patent was only filed in the US so does not affect sales of bikes in Europe, NZ or Australia.

    ^ http://www.patentlens.net/patentlens/patents.html?patnums=US_5678837

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  3. Most full suspension bikes designed in Europe feature Horst Link design. It has not been invented or developed by Specialized, simply patented quickly enough...

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