Fezzari’s first long travel 29er, the La Sal Peak, took a slightly different approach to creating a bike that could handle the ups, the downs, and everything in between. It has the somewhat-standard-for-the-category 150mm rear travel with a 160mm fork, and appropriately slack head angle. But as your eyes move backward, the geometry starts looking a little weird…until you ride it.

Video Overview

Watch to the end for a couple of slo-mo takes showing suspension movement.

Riding Impressions

first rider review of fezzari la sal peak long travel 29er enduro mountain bike

With an effective 78º seat tube angle before sag, the bike puts you in a very upright position with a very short reach figure. Sitting on it trail side, it’s very different. Uncomfortable, almost. And that’s with the saddle slid as far back as it could safely go, and a swap to a 60mm stem (it was set up for me with a 50mm stem based on the 23-point questionnaire they use for all customers to help customize the fit). Even so, it felt weird.

Normally, I enjoy and usually do keep my saddles sitting farther forward for XC and trail riding because it keeps me over the pedals for more powerful accelerations. It also helps with climbing. And those were the reasons behind the La Sal Peak’s design, to keep the rider in a better position for climbing. Paired with a super slack head angle, though, it definitely took some getting used to.

first rider review of fezzari la sal peak long travel 29er enduro mountain bike

We started the weekend with a shuttle to Deer Valley’s famed Wasatch Crest ride. Which basically starts with a climb as soon as you leave the parking lot. A climb that ends in a lung busting, super steep pitch affectionately known as Puke Hill. A climb that starts at sends you straight up about 400 vertical feet in a very short distance. Once you’ve reached 9,820 feet, the fun begins.

I’ve ridden it before, but this time felt shorter. I remembered it being much worse. Maybe I was having a good day, but I was literally on a bike within three hours of being picked up from the airport. The handling may have helped, it was easy to keep on the desired line. And I didn’t feel like I had to completely hunch over as much.

Then, on the last run of the last day, there was one final fire road climb before the single track. It was on this climb that it all came together for me and the geometry made perfect sense. A realization that could only happen after two full days of traversing and descending…

first rider review of fezzari la sal peak long travel 29er enduro mountain bike

The Wasatch Crest trail is a multi-hour ride that’s mostly a mild descending traverse with a few extended climbs and technical sections. A little bit of everything that requires plenty of pedaling and rewards with plenty of smooth, flowy descending. There are a few rocky sections that don’t flow or attempt to interrupt the flow, but the La Sal Peak’s suspension minimized the disruptions and kept the bike rolling forward.

first rider review of fezzari la sal peak long travel 29er enduro mountain bike
Photo c. Mark LeBlanc

One of the more impressive features was how efficiently it pedals for a full suspension bike. And especially for a Horst Link suspension bike with a light shock tune. Fezzari’s Tyler Cloward said they designed in enough anti-squat to limit pedal-induced bobbing, and it seems to work really well.

first rider review of fezzari la sal peak long travel 29er enduro mountain bike
Except where noted, all photos courtesy Fezzari / Chris Mabey.

The other designed-in suspension feature is a highly progressive curve. The idea is to keep small bump sensitivity and then prevent harsh bottom out. They had all of the bikes set up with zero volume spacers for the first day, and it felt pretty good. But I’m a fan of the super supple beginning stroke, so they added a spacer to both the fork and shock for me and the second day felt better. The bike tracked extremely well and seemed to keep the tires on the ground. The only issues I had with traction came from the dry, dusty, scrabble-rock covered terrain on which nothing could bite confidently.

first rider review of fezzari la sal peak long travel 29er enduro mountain bike
Photo c. Mark LeBlanc

On the big hits and drops, of which there are plenty to be had on Deer Valley’s trails like Fire Swamp and Alpine Slalom, the bike offered great support. The shock’s O-ring moved almost to the bottom, showing I’d used almost all available travel, but not once did it feel harsh. The landings and fast berms showed off its ability to cushion and control big, deep compressions.

first rider review of fezzari la sal peak long travel 29er enduro mountain bike
Photo c. Mark LeBlanc, literally one fraction of a second before I went arse over elbows.

Back to the geometry. Despite my initial concerns, I ended up really liking it. The bike fits the longest dropper seatposts, which gets the saddle way down and out of the way, making it very easy to drop your butt off the back. During normal riding, I was still sitting a bit more forward than I’d like, but on the climbs the design really shone.

The combing prowess also comes partly from the short fork offset, something more bikes are using because it allows the slack head angle without  causing sloppy, slow steering. Here, the overall combination is used to great effect, making the bike easy to whip around and control in the tight twisty stuff, very capable on the descents, and easy to climb. At risk of sounding too glowing about the bike, it’s not just that it can do all of these things, but it actually does all of them quite well.

This was my first time riding a Fezzari, which kinda makes me wonder if I’ve been missing something all these years.

Fezzari.com

9 COMMENTS

  1. See this is how you get traditional XC people onto long travel fun trail bikes. Make them really good at climbing and make them capable descenders so that the rider’s skills bump up a few notches from mediocre.

  2. curious if the lack of a seat stay bridge induced some flex at the rear wheel. specialized tried to go without this bridge but had to bring it back…

    • That is one thing that we did consider. We did add extra material to the seat stay in front of the seat tube, near where the rocker link connects. I don’t believe any of the photos show it, but it is a small hourglass shape that adds the strength and stiffness. We went through a couple of designs and different carbon layups to be sure there was adequate stiffness and the rear wheel flex was kept to a minimum. Let me know if you have any other questions regarding the design. Tyler – Product Manager – Fezzari Bicycles

  3. What didn’t you like about the bike? What was wrong with the setup? Can you quantify this a bit more? It’s pretty easy to come out and say you didn’t like something, but at least tell us why you didn’t like it. Maybe it’s just a personal preference and you are really looking for a different style bike all together?

  4. Tyler – It appears the Fox fork has a 44mm offset and the Rockshox has a 42mm offset. Is that enough to be discernible while riding? Is so, what would be the advantages of spec’ing the Rockshox (climbing vs descending, cornering)? What would be the advantages of the Fox? Any other thoughts on criteria to help decide between Rockshox bs Fox? Tunability? Also, where are your frames made and how much oversight do you have on the process? Have you spent time at the factory? How much time has your head engineer spent at the factory for the La Sal peak? Thank you.

    • Hey Jim – Sorry for the delay on this, I am just seeing your comment. For the offset there is not much discernible difference between the 44 and 42mm of the Fox and Rockshox. In my opinion the Forks feel very similar. The biggest difference is in the rear shock. The Fox X2 is more of a race shock. It is very active and hugs the ground. It begs you to ride faster. It has a ton of adjustment that you can dial in and get to behave just the way you want it. That said, it also has a ton of adjustment that can be tricky to get dialed in. If it is not dialed in it can feel rough and not how you would expect a shock of that clamber to behave. The Rockshox is fast and more playful. It has all the prowess to race, but also allows you to play around on the bike more. It is much easier to setup. This shock is used on everything from trail bikes, to Enduro race rigs and downhill sleds. It is very versatile. If you are looking for a race tuned ride the Fox is an excellent options. If you are looking for all around performance that can race, the Rockshox is a great way to go.

      We build our frames with contract manufacturing in Asia. We have huge amounts of QC on these frames. I personally am in the factories on the floors 6-8 times per year. I visit often to be sure the process we implemented in the layup, cleanrooms, molding, machining, testing, painting, and alignment are very strictly followed. I get weekly formal updates from the factory on the manufacturing. Between that there are usually informal reports and contact almost daily. I hope that helps.

  5. Do you think the X2 shock is better for climbing and flat pedally sections? Since its more adjustable can you make it not wallow if youre sprinting up towards an incline?

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