Turner Burner 650b 27_5 build (14)

After months of sitting in my workshop unassembled, our Turner Burner project build has finally come to life. The hold up? That would be sourcing a 44mm headset for a tapered steerer, until Token stepped in and offered up one of their new TK036A headsets along with their matching bottom bracket. With the delivery of a few bearings the entire project came together with parts from Turner, Rockshox, Sram, Token, Enve, Maxxis, Shimano, Absolute Black and more.

Check out the build weight, details, and first impressions after the break!

Turner Burner 650b 27_5 build (9) Turner Burner 650b 27_5 build 3

Up front the Turner is all business with the new Rockshox Pike. Out of the box the Pike is one of the most plush forks I’ve encountered and incredibly easy to set up. As long as the fork proves to be durable, Rockshox has a winner on their hands in this fork.

Holding the mighty Pike in place is Token’s TK036A 44mm tapered headset. To run a tapered fork on a 44mm head tube you need a 1.5″ external lower cup, and a 1.125″ internal upper which is currently offered by Cane Creek and Chris king in the US, though the Token runs quite a bit cheaper at $37.50 for the set. Currently Tufo North America is the distributor for Token, though the TK036A is not yet listed for sale on their site since it is new.

Turner Burner 650b 27_5 build (4

Token Headset Bottom Bracket (6) Token Headset Bottom Bracket (1)

Considering the cost for both the headset and bottom bracket ($27), the quality is pretty impressive. The headset is nicely sealed and includes stainless bearings which are incredibly smooth.

Turner Burner 650b 27_5 build 5

Token Headset Bottom Bracket (4) Token Headset Bottom Bracket (3) Token Headset Bottom Bracket (2)

The bottom bracket bearings may be the smoothest steel bearings I’ve ever used. Installing the crank was a little tough since the seals were so tight, but that should result in better performance from keeping the gunk out. Once installed, the crankset spun freely like no other external bottom bracket I’ve seen. Will this result in decreased longevity? We’ll have to see, but for now the bearings in both the headset and bottom bracket feel fantastic. Weight isn’t bad for the two, either.

It should be noted that if you are purchasing a Turner Burner frame, Turner stocks the necessary headsets so you don’t have to source one for yourself or your dealer.

Turner Burner 650b 27_5 build 1

Absolute Black XX1 Ring (1) Absolute Black XX1 Ring (4)

Absolute Black XX1 Ring (2)

Originally, I had planned on running a 2×10 drivetrain but it turns out I didn’t have the right front derailleur on hand. On a side note, if you are using a derailleur with dual pull capabilities, you will definitely want to check out Turner’s Front Derailleur Modification Guide which is necessary to keep the swingarm from hitting the unused arm on the derailleur. Basically, you can just use a hack saw to cut off the offending member and you’re good to go. Turner offers a great tutorial on exactly what to do, just click the above link and open the fr.der.mod.guide PDF.

Without a double front derailleur at my disposal, I decided to use an Absolute Black chainring we just got in for review. The XX1 style ring is anti-drop like the other rings from third party manufacturers that have popped up and is just one of the many anti-drop chainrings they offer. This one happens to be a 32t, 104 BCD ring that bolted up nicely to an XT double crankset. At 36g, the ring is nice an light, and has proven so far to be drop free – even when I forgot to turn on the clutch for the XTR Shadow Plus derailleur. I still would like more gearing than the 11-36×32 provides, but the more I ride 1x systems, the more I like them.

Turner Burner 650b 27_5 build (2)

Currently as it sits, the Burner weighs in at 26.81 pounds (12.16kg) with XTR trail pedals. There are a few spots like the crankset that you could lose some weight, but it’s light enough that you don’t think about the weight at all out on the trail. The Maxxis Ardent 27.5×2.25 tires are set up tubeless on the Enve AM carbon wheels. I would prefer to have a dropper post on the bike, but currently all my posts happen to be 31.6, not the necessary 30.9. We’ll see what we can line up in the future.

Turner Burner 650b 27_5 build (5)

First Impressions:

Wow. This bike rips. Whether it’s the wheelsize, the carbon hoops, or the bike, the entire package results in one of the most lively, fun bikes I’ve had the fortune to ride. An interesting bit about the wheels, is that they weigh almost the exact amount as the 26″ wheels I was riding previously. So comparatively, I’m just on bigger wheels that weigh the same with the same tires and the benefits are hard to deny. Compared to 29ers with less travel than the burner, I can get the handlebar lower on the Burner without resorting to crazy drop handlebars and super negative stems.

I’ll wait for some long term riding to make a final call, but for now the Burner is certainly living up to its name.




  1. Al, I keep hearing these comments about Turners looking like nineties bikes but which bikes are you talking about? The Trek Y bikes or the Specialized FSR of the late nineties? There is nothing wrong with round tubing and I like a company that designs a bike for the ride and not to be looked at. Hydro forming is just an industrial designer wet dream; they’re the only one that gets any thing out of it and the fell ashamed when it over.

  2. Great looking bike. Looks like it means business.

    You’d have to be working hard to get any chainslap on that! Looking forward to hearing more of your ride impressions down the line………

  3. How are you finding the chain-line when up the big end of the cassette using single-ring on the 2X specific cranks? I do want to give 1X10 a go but I have those same 2X specific cranks. I find if I cross up big/big on my 2X setup while I don’t really get chain on derailleur rub, it still does run pretty noisy and rough. Turner for life, love my 5.Spot.

  4. Sorry but am i missing something? Why would you buy a frame where you have to extensively source a special headset, have a weird seat tube diameter and have to hacksaw away on a FD??
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for locally built frames myself, but this seems taking it just a bit to far, no? Also that rear construction looks pretty unprofessional compared to the lovely shapes of the front.
    But, alas, taste is luckily still subjective.

  5. Source a special headset? ya, cane creek and chris king are *really* hard to come by. And if you are spending this much on a frame I think you can afford the right diameter seat post.. or if not, by a $10 shim.

    I don’t know what is “unprofessional” about the rear, but Turner’s have always been about function over form. The asymmetrical rear combined with a clutch derailleur will make a silent drive train. Stop looking at your bikes and start riding them!

  6. @Hannes

    You kinda are. Any bike with a full 44mm head tube would require the same type of headset. King and Cane Creek make them, and they are easily to get but “sourced” aka “free for demo” is a different thing. On top of that 30.9 is not a weird seat post size, Giant has them on almost all their MTBs and so do a number of brands.

    You obviously have not ridden or seen a Turner up close as a little cutting on a FD tab is totally worth the quality, ride and US made purchase. Check out a couple reviews from the big mags and you will see the same response.

  7. @Zach
    Exactly what effect do you expect a clutch R/D to have on chainslap on a bike with an elevated chainstay.

    44 mm headtubes are very widely adopted. An external 1.5″ lower cup is not a very arcane component.

    • @ham-planet, it’s not chainslap I’m concerned about, but keeping tension on the chain to prevent it from coming off the chain ring. Most anti drop chainring manufacturers state you need a clutched derailleur to guarantee chain retention, though the Absolute Black and WTC rings I have used seem to work pretty well without one.

  8. No Hannes, I don’t think you’re missing anything. Not to take anything away from the Turner, but these are the things that factor directly into my purchase decisions, as well as my recommendations to others. I’ll chose simple, durable and proven over new, ultralight, and proprietary any day. I think these add up to less money, less headaches, and more fun over the long run, and those are the things that matter most to me.

  9. Zach, how much would the bike weight if you weren’t using Enve wheels? Can you put on Stan’s wheelset and re weight the bike? I love my Turner as well.

  10. Turners don’t require “extensively searched and sourced” headsets. The description of why Zach used the Token headset is misleading. Most headset mfrs sell headsets that will work on a Turner frame. 44 is not an odd or bizarre standardized size, and it actually gives you more flexibility for steerer tube sizes and slackening headsets like Works Components.

    The front der mod is not required for every front der, but it is required for several. It takes all of 10 mins moving slowly and carefully. Probably not recommended, however, if you’re hamfisted or think 10 mins of your time for a simple hacksaw & file job is a headache best avoided.

    I’d be quick to say if you’re armchair-whinging about Turners in any performance-related way, you’ve probably never ridden one. The allegedly retro design (90s? seriously?) is irrelevant to how it rides — as Saddle Sniffer already said, hydroformed may be cool for you lot who consider bikes as trophies to be put on a wall and admired, but it doesn’t help a bike perform better.

    1×10 is fine if you live in the flats or have Cat 1 to Pro fitness/power, or if you need to have the trendy choice to keep on-line e-rider credibility.

    Enve wheels = lawyer/dentist/architect/doctor stuff. Look best when roof racked on a BMW SUV with oversized rims that have fake beadlocks.

    • sorry guys, didn’t mean for it to sound like a 44mm headset was hard to come by, just that I didn’t have one in my possession. I have a ton of parts sitting around for many bikes over, but that was the one piece I didn’t have readily available. And 30.9 is not an odd size, just one that I don’t have a dropper post in currently.

  11. Ha Ha! Turners are one of the best mountain bikes ever. I owned one for many years. It was a hand me down, from my son Colin Bailey, who was sponsored by Dave Turner after he left YETI. I have yet to ride a bike that handles as well, or is as comfortable (and does not have the weird shit modern tubing manipulation of all the gee gaw bikes). Every rider I have really respected, has never dissed a Turner. I have been in the mountain bike industry since ’85. I have been YETI’s race team mechanic, bike shop manager in Big Bear Lake during Snow Summits heydey, invented and designed and developed mountain bikes and products. In other words, I have been around….I am one of Turners many fans. Is it the best bike? Who really knows, but I have great respect for Dave, his bikes and the company. When I see a rider on a Turner, with it’s straight tubes, my respect for the rider makes me want to introduce myself, because THEY KNOW.

  12. So Zach, to summarize, the Burner is the bomb, comes highly recommended and would have been even better with a dropper post? Got it!

  13. BTW, the Turner FD mod removes the arm that allows the Shimano FD to be produced as dual pull. If Shimano still made pull specific (top pull/bottom pull) FD versions, this wouldn’t even be necessary. Hacksaw/file touch-up/Black Sharpie=10 minutes.

  14. This is a sweet looking bike. I wish there was a way to DEMO one in my area. I think it is funny how people criticize the asthetics of Turners. They must have never seen one up close. I have never seen a frame in recent years with so much machining. They are a work of art for a mass produced bike. The fact that they are made in the USA is just icing on the cake.

  15. [deleted], heaven forbid someone criticize a turner!
    In my opinion (am I entitled to one or does it have to pass a vote from you guys first?) that’s an ugly bike. I’ve no idea how it rides, I’ve no idea how amazing the manufacturing of it is. So far I’ve never had an opportunity to ride one but having ridden a myriad of bikes over the years I’m pretty confident it’ll ride like most other well designed bikes. Sure, if you convince yourself it rides amazingly, better than all the rest, then that’s what you’ll think. However, in my experience of riding bikes, good bikes all ride well. Not the same, just well.

    Personally, I wouldn’t buy a frame that looked like that. It’s not to my taste, I do prefer the shape of a nicely hydroformed frame or hand layered carbon job, I think they look much nicer and sleeker. It makes me prouder of it, for being a good riding bike that looks nice, I put more effort into looking after it.

    No doubt, function over form, but you can have both these days. (The idea that you have to bodge a front mech to make it fit on the frame does make me question the function and form of the bike though, as I’m sure many others will too.)

    Let the fury begin!

  16. Love the comments. I’m the owner of a 2012 Turner 5 Spot. Wound up with the bike after breaking my 2007 TNT Flux. If I’d known that the Burner was coming at the end of the Summer of 2012 I might have done something differently. I do have big wheel envy and am looking toward a 650B wheeled bike in the future. Still, by 5 Spot is the best bike I have ever had. Love the comments about looking like something from the 90’s. Someone please point the bikes that the Burner is reminding you of. It was exactly because of the way suspension bikes from the 1990s looked that I rode a hard tail until 2007. The Burner, spawn of 5 Spot, looks like a Turner. Thanks.

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