Turner are showing a prototype version of their previously mothballed Burner platform. The main feature of the new bike is its 650b/27.5in wheel. Company reps say it should be ready for sale around the time of the fall trade shows.
Turner brought six of the first prototypes to a press event in Utah to showcase Enve’s 650b cross-country and trail carbon wheels. David Turner, the brand’s founder and owner, allowed rides, but was careful to offer the ‘prototype’ caveat. He was also interested in what the media thought of the bike.
Though David Turner played with the 650b wheel size previously, back when Kirk Pacenti created the 23 and his rim, it wasn’t until this past October that he really started working on it. “We bought two sets,” said Turner of his previous experience. “The other guys and I at the shop all liked it… at that time White Brothers was the only company making a fork, and it wasn’t enough to build a batch. Turner bikes is not a custom frame builder, we’re limited production. So that means if there’s only one fork, one tire, and one rim available that’s a big gamble.”
In fact, it was a specific ask from Enve Composites that put him back on the project last fall. “One of the engineers at Enve contacted me and asked if I wanted to trade a pair of wheels for a frame,” said Turner. “So I’ve been riding them pretty steady for the last six months; it’s been my go-to mountain bike wheel size.”
Turner rode the wheels on the 125mm travel Sultan a standard 29in bike as well as a couple of aggressively modified 5.Spot frames, which pack 140mm of travel. “That’s when I realized that having the extra travel was really cool,” he said
The proto Burner has a low bottom bracket, around 13in, which is similar to the previous Burner, however, this new version has 140mm (5.5in) of DW-Link travel, where as the older generation topped out at 100mm (4in). The test bike is slack up front, and slightly longer in the top tube when compared to the 5.Spot. But with all of the angles, Turner was quick reiterate that the bike is a prototype as he asked for feedback on the feel of the bike.
Enve made the phone call, but RockShox and Fox really made 650b wheeled bikes possible
The DW-Link suspension design is supremely sorted and rides as excellently as any of Turner’s other bikes. While many of the forged parts are repurposed from both 5.Spot and Sultan, the end product is completely new and not interchangeable between models. “They share a lot of the parts, but it has a totally unique rocker,” said Turner. “They’re non-identical triplets.”
The suspension is also new, designed and approved by Dave Weagle. “Kinematically this is a DW-Link bike; Dave engineered these pivots for the 650b wheel,” he said. “I’ve been getting some emails from people saying, ‘why can’t I just do bolt on dropouts?’ And, it’s like, well, you can, but you cannot optimize the suspension system for anti-squat and the braking personality that I would like, and that Dave Weagle demands. Weagle demands a particular type of anti-squat.”
Turner plans on another two weeks of testing before building up tooling and heading into production to hit his fall on-sale target.
We spent an hour and a half out on the new Burner on the loose singletrack trails of Deer Valley, and the bike rode flawlessly. With the Enve AM carbon clinchers it weighs about 25lbs and pedals like a dream. The overall feel seemed racier than the 5.Spot, like it will easily be able to compete in long format cross-country races. It’s perfectly poised as an all-day backcountry machine.
The bike weighs under 26lbs with Enve’s AM 650b carbon wheelset
The bottom bracket was noticeably low, which we loved, but might catch furious cross-country pedalers off guard. Pretty much everything seemed well sorted, but we felt the head angle was steeper than it measures. A function of the wheel? We’re not sure, but it will surely be interesting to see where the production geometry ends up.
This article was originally published in bikeradar