I wanted to ride the new BH Lynx 5 LT version, and the folks at the demo tent knew it. But so did everyone else, so I opted for ride time over standing-around-and-waiting time and set up the standard 130mm travel Lynx 5 and hopped on the lift at Bike Park Serfaus-Fisse-Ladis in Tirol, Austria.
For 2019, BH offers the Lynx 5 in two types, one with a 130mm Fox 34 on the front for “trail” riding, and one with a 150mm Fox 36 for “enduro”. They share the same frame, but do see different tire, wheel and shock spec to match the intended use. But for the privateer looking to get maximum grins per dollar, all you really need to do is swap the fork and you’ll get most of the benefits. For my ride, I enjoyed how capable the bike was in Trail mode, but was surprised at how nimble it was for a 130mm full suspension bike that’s designed to be aggressive.
BH Lynx 5 frame & tech details
The BH Lynx 5 gets their top-level carbon construction to keep the frame light, then adds a tough outer layer on key areas to prevent impact damage. As such, it feels very much like whipping an XC bike between the trees, with the added bonus of extra travel.
Above, the LT version with a bigger Fox Float DPX2 shock and 36 fork, but ships with the same 29×2.35 Michelin Wild and Force tires as the standard Lynx 5, shown below and reviewed in this story. The head angle difference between the two is 1.5º, going from 65º (LT) to 66.5º.
What sets the Lynx apart is the floating rear shock and Split Pivot combo. In our experience, a floating shock (meaning, both upper and lower mounting points move as the suspension moves) produces smoother movement. Combine that with the Split Pivot’s claims for efficient power transfer and braking force isolation and you have the potential for a great bike.
The Split Pivot design puts the rear pivot concentric with the rear axle, which makes it so any braking forces can’t torque the suspension.
A one-piece, oversized rocker arm and thick tubes keep everything stiff. On the bottom of the downtube is a reinforced frame guard with access panel. That provides easier cable routing and service. Check out the launch coverage of this bike for full tech details.
One ride review
Years ago, I rode the first generation (to come to the USA, anyway) BH Lynx 29er, which had almost 5″ of travel. The suspension design has changed since then, with the lower shock mount moving in front of the lower main pivot. It’s still a floating system with the shock completely captured between two moving bolts. What I remember from that bike was how efficiently it pedaled and smooth it was over the braking bumps, and mostly that carries over, but this new bike did seem like it have more pedal-induced bobbing when standing and hammering. To be fair, the shock was in wide-open Descend mode, but part of the draw of the Split Pivot system is that it’s supposed to drastically eliminate such things.
My recollection of the Lynx from before was that it had a little better pedaling force isolation, but that memory could easily be contrived. What does remain clear is just how good the bike is over repeated bumps. Whether it’s root or rock gardens or the dreaded braking bumps that plague bike parks weeks after they open for the season, the Lynx turns them into glass.
The effect that suspension performance has on overall comfort, handling and control can’t be understated. Yes, it gives the fork a lot to live up to, but when you dial the front end to your liking, it’s very confidence inspiring to have solid traction over some of the worst terrain. And the braking is stellar because the rear wheel is tracking the ground so well.
Helping things out were the Michelin 2.35 Wild AM and Force AM tires, both of which hooked up really well. This was my first time on Michelin’s rebooted mountain bike tires, and they were impressive. The bikes come with solid spec across the range, with SRAM Eagle drivetrains paired with Shimano brakes and a few surprises like a Bike Yoke dropper post and Prologo saddles.
While it might be hard to find these in every country, if your able to demo one, they’re worth throwing a leg over if you seek one bike to handle most of your big mountain days.