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Reviews > New Bike: Cove GSpot

I have just built up my new bike for 2011, a new Cove Gspot. I have had a few rides on the bike now, and have got an initial feel for it, so I thought I’d share my build and some very early opinions on it. I will be updating this throughout the year so at the moment this is just my initial thoughts, rather than my usual “ridden to death” review. I paid for this bike, and am not ‘sponsored’ by Cove so this is my unbiased opinion, the same goes for everything I review… you get my opinion nothing more or less!

Summary: Better than my Hustler up, mini STD going down, I’m totally blown away by this bike at the moment.  

For a bit of background to this article, I tested the old Cove Gspot, back in 2007, and ended up buying a STD and a Hustler instead. The old Gspot was also a 6″ travel bike, aimed at being a do anything type machine. The bike had a huge pivot around the bottom bracket, giving it zero chain growth for a very active ride, and because of this it relied heavily on the shock’s pro-pedal to subdue bobbing. My thoughts on the bike at the time were that it didn’t pedal well enough to be my one bike, and I also felt that I could build a STD to be not much heavier. That coupled with the fact that the GSpot was on it’s way out of the range put me off buying it. I bought the STD to be used as my play bike and also bought a Hustler to be used as my day-to-day guiding bike. I don’t want to review those bikes here but just very briefly, the STD pedalled incredibly well for such a big bike, (it weights about 20kg with coil Totems and Diabolous kit), but the suspension still felt amazing downhill. When I saw that Cove were brining out the new Gspot, based on the same suspension design as the STD, I was very interested.

My STD ~ 40-42lbsMy Hustler ~ 32-35lbs

A lot of stuff has been carried over from the Hustler but I’ve got some new stuff too. Where I’ve already reviewed a part I’ve added in a link to the reveiw.

Frame:Cove GSpot, medium and white. (new) See the GSpot on the Cove Website or on Silverfish’s Cove GSpot page.

Forks: 2009 Fox Van RC36. (new).

Shock: Fox DHX Air 5.0. (new)

Wheel (F): 819 on Chris King ISO hub.

Wheel (R): 823 on Hope Pro II.

Cranks:Shimano Saint, 22, 36, with Raceface Atlas light bashgaurd.

Cassette:Shimano LX 10 speed 11-34. (new)

Pedals: Superstar Nanotech Thrupins.

Headset:Chris King 1.5, blue, sotto voce. (new)

Bars:Raceface Atlas Lo-Rise, blue. (new)

Stem:Raceface Atlas 50mm, blue. (new)

Grips:Raceface Sniper, blue. (new)

Shifters: SRAM X9 2×10 on Avid Matchmakers. (new)

Front Mech: Avid X9, 2008 (see below).

Rear Mech: SRAM X9 Med Cage.

Brakes: Avid Elixr R.

Rotor (F):Avid Cleansweep, 203mm.

Rotor (R): Superstar, 203mm.

Tyres (F): Maxxis Swampthing, 2.5, ST, UST.

Tyres (R): Maxxis Swampthing, 2.35, Dual Ply, ST, ran tubless.

Cables:Clarks, full lenth outers, white. (new)

The frame weighs about 3800g (8.5lbs) compared to my Hustler which weighs 3300g (7.2lbs), both those weights are including the shock and seatpost collar. With the build as above it weighs in at just a whisker over 16kg, on my bathroom scales, which makes it about 35-36lbs. I’ll drop 1-2 lbs from that by changing my tyres to my usual summer combo of Maxxis Minion 2.5 ST, Singleply on the front and Maxxis Advantage 2.35 on the back. Obviously I could drop some more weight from my build, and a set of lighter forks would be the obvious choice. I might think about a set of the Marzochi 55 Ti’s but I know the Vans will feel really nice so we’ll have to see how that goes.

This is a very early opinion on the bike, I have ridden it in anger a few times and am probably still suffering from “new bike syndrome”! It goes uphill really well, far better than the Hustler which it replaces, although it feels a little bit short so I might stick a 70mm stem on there. It isn’t holding me back at the moment, it feels like I’m not in the most efficient position for going up but I’m still getting up all the stuff I normally can. The bike doesn’t bob at all, I knew that would be the case after having ridden my STD extensively, the suspension just moves enough to keep huge levels of traction but it all feels taught underneath me and it feels like each pedal stroke, no matter how brutish, moves the bike forward instead of up and down. The Hustler was never a problem and climbed well enough with pro-pedal on, but this is a different beast and a far more refined climber! Pro-pedal is only really needed for standing up and mashing the pedals. I wish I had a lock-down on the fork, it bobs a fair bit, and I might look into using a poor man’s travel adjust, (more on that in a different post).

The same tautness in the suspension seems to give a great ride along and down, the bike seems to suck up the terrain without ever getting bogged down or feeling wallowy. It also seems really responsive to rider input through the pedals on the descents, making it really lively and letting me pump corners and pop off things to my hearts content! That isn’t the case with the STD, it sucks everything up and at normal trail speeds the STD is quite hard to pop off stuff or float over obstacles with a bit of weighting / unweighting. The STD comes into it’s own when it is going really fast or the ground is very rough, and then it seems to shed it’s 42lbs and become more playful, but the Gspot is like this all the time. I’m not sure at the moment if that’s because of the lighter weight or the suspension but what I am sure of is that I like it. A lot. I guess another way of explaining is that the STD pretty much isolates you from the small to medium sized bumps on the ground but with the GSpot you are really aware of what’s going on under the wheels, in a good way though! I’ve found I’m getting a LOT of pop and am easily clearing “trail gaps” which I often hooked my back wheel up on with the Hustler.

 

I was worried that the fact the bike feels short on the climbs would translate into a twitchy feeling on the downs but so far, despite some very fast flat out sections, it hasn’t felt like that at all. Cove claims a 67 degree head angle, and I thought that seemed a bit steep but the bike looks really slack so I’m not sure if the head angle is 67 degrees or not. What I am sure of is that it seems pretty sweet for the trail, there is lots of front wheel grip but for the steep stuff it feels just right. I even conquered the “Steps of Death” on it, and I’m the only person I know of who has ridden them all and until now I’d only managed on my STD. If you’re intrigued by the “Steps of Death”, they are at 1:17 in the video above!

A quick mention for the other stuff on the bike. The Fox Van has been sitting in a box for 2 years, although it’s brand new, so still feels like it hasn’t opened up properly. A few more rides I think before I give an opinion on that. The Raceface cockpit is awesome, the bars are perfectly shaped for me and the blue is v. nice. I’ve used Diabolous grips before but these Snipers are just as nice.  The 2×10 shifting? I’m a big sceptic as anyone who will have talked to me about it will know but I’m going to have to eat my words… it was very easy to set up, shifts very cleanly and the extra ratios are quite nice with the 2×10 rather than the 2×9. I’m a big fan. Watch this space for how they last though, that’s going to be the telltale for me, and I’ll be putting a lot of miles on in the next few weeks. The Chris King 1.5 Headset, is a weighty bugger, at 230g, and it feels solid, but the new system is easy to install and so far hasn’t needed any adjusting. I also bought some Helitape from Helitape.co.uk which was really easy to put on and stuck nicely, it’s fairly cheap from them and comes with great instructions and a pile of IPA wipes which is a beautiful touch. The Avid Matchmakers I’m in two minds about… they definitely look cool and the bars look less cluttered, but they don’t give quite the range of adjustment I’d like and I’m finding that the shifters are moving about a bit during a ride. The jury is definitely out on them so we’ll see how I get on over the next few weeks.

So, my thoughts just now are that the Gspot goes up better than the Hustler and on the way back down, it’s like a mini STD but more responsive and ‘flickable’.

I hope that reads all right. It’s hard to write words about a bike without resorting to horrible cliches! Basically it goes up really well and going down is even better 🙂 I’ll be updating my reviews on all the stuff on the bike, and the bike itself over the coming season. For now I’m off out for another play on it!

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