Joe’s Golden Graham LT

Goals

  • 140 / 110mm Travel Fork
  • 44mm headtube
  • 142×12 Rear Thru Axle
  • Big 2.4″ 29er Tires
  • Dropper Post Compatible
  • Short Chainstays
  • Slack Geo
  • Beefy and Stiff Frame
  • Top-Tube / Seatstay Alignment

Comments:

The Golden Graham LT (long-travel) is a new version of the Golden Graham that is designed to push the limits of what a hardtail can handle. The bike is an all-mountain 29er, it’s built for speed up and down, and simply put…it slays trails. This bike fits the needs of riders who enjoy technical trails with chunky downhills and drops; but still want the precision control and efficiency of a hardtail. After riding this bike for a week in Moab, I can say it is the most capable hardtail I’ve ever ridden.

The Golden really feels like two completely different bikes in one. I found that I was riding it in 2 modes, neither of which felt like diluted versions of their intended purpose. For climbing, I would drop the fork travel to 110mm and lockout if I was going to stand. In that setting, the bike climbed as good as anything I’ve ridden, which has included several top XC race bikes. For descending, pop the fork up to 140mm, drop the seat, and the fun begins. The combination of a slack headtube angle, and short stays is incredible. In this mode the bike feels (and looks) like a 29er dirt jumper. The rider has so much freedom to move around with the seat out of the way. The solid rear makes it easy to flick, pop, and manual, giving you predictable options as you come to obstacles and drops.

The Industry Nine wheels, over-sized tubeset, and compact rear triangle, make for a solid feeling frame. I wouldn’t describe it as harsh, thanks to the fork and tire volume. Having a stiff frame and flexy wheels, or visa versa, is pointless. This is a major reason why I picked I9 wheels with their hollow aluminum tube spokes. The stiffness led to razor fast, zero lag handling that made you feel like you could whip around obstacles at the last second. The other major benefit of I9 wheels is the 120 points (3 degrees) of engagement. This is several times more than most hubs and feels instant. That means power is instantly there when you need it for technical obstacles, or little kick boosts.

The Thomson dropper is everything you would expect from a company with such a stellar reputation. Its operation is silky smooth, and it doesn’t shoot up with excessive force. Covert routing was a new feature for me, and I was really happy with the result. A clean port exits the bottom of the seat tube and directs the cable to the bottom of the down tube.

The RockShox Revelation Fork ate up everything I could throw at it while I was in Moab. The small bump compliance was great, but more impressive to me was the “bottomless” feel. Even when I misjudged drops and plunged the front end hard, the fork would save me. As I mentioned above the travel adjust between 110mm and 140mm was very beneficial on long climbs. Remote lockout was another nice touch.

Race Face Next SL Cranks, Sram XX1/X01 drivetrain, Thomson Cockpit, and Sram Guide RS brakes are other parts that round out the build. I’m working on a review of the brakes, expect a blog post sometime soon. My initial feelings about them are very good. All in all this project was a great success; I can’t wait till the snow is gone here and I can start riding this bike again.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts!