You cannot hide good D.N.A. As you wrap your fingers around the superb moto-feeling DMR Deathgrips, the 35 mm alloy DMR Wing bar stretches your arms out to a full 800 mm. You sense the spirit of DMRs of old channeling through you, a brand that encouraged a generation to head into the woods wielding spades. The new DMR SLED feels grown up, sophisticated even, but quietly it whispers, “Send it, I’ve got your back,” like any DMR should.
This January, the DMR SLED dropped like a bolt from the blue. With roots firmly in hardcore steel hardtails and niche full-suspension bikes built for theatrical airtime, nobody was expecting DMR to drop a hard-hitting 160 mm enduro bike. Cutting a sleek figure in its loud Infrared paint (black is also available, but why would you?), the DMR SLED looks all business, predatory almost. The hard numbers back up the low and aggressive silhouette too: a 65.5 degree head angle is well chosen, and the progressive 462.3 mm reach (in large) is right in the sweet spot. The low standover of the bike allows riders to safely size up if they want more reach. 430 mm chainstays balance the bike well, making manuals and slashed turns effortless while retaining enough stability for warp-speed blasts. At 14.7 kg it’s not featherweight, but the 74 degree seat angle and spacious reach provide a good position for long days of climbing.
The DMR SLED build spec
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 160 mm
Shock: RockShox Monarch RT3 Debonair 160 mm
Brakes: SRAM Guide-R
Drivetrain: SRAM GX
Seatpost: X-Fusion 125 mm
Stem: DMR Defy50+
Handlebar: DMR Wingbar 780
Wheels: DMR Zone 275
Tires: WTB Convict 2.5 TCS Light / WTB Trailboss 2.4 TCS Light FR
Looking at the build, it’s clear to see DMR’s focus is on fun and durability. The aluminum frame includes thick linkage plates, industrial-sized bearings, and collet pivot hardware so huge it would not be out of place on a supermoto bike; this is a bike for those who want to ride, not repair. A standard 73 mm bottom bracket is a very welcome sight for someone who rides a lot. The burliness continues to the cockpit, where a 35 mm DMR Defy stem grips a wide 20 mm rise bar to produce a muscled-up feeling, especially with the DMR AXE crank that shows as much flex as a builder’s pry bar. While not as sexy as the more exotic groupsets, the SRAM GX drivetrain performs without fault, and costs less to replace after you have ridden the life out of it. We also like that at the checkout buyers can choose between a 160 mm travel Rockshox PIKE or 170 mm LYRIK fork with no price difference.
The DMR SLED in Detail
The Geometry of the DMR SLED
|Top tube||595 mm||615 mm||635 mm||650 mm|
|Head tube||115 mmm||115 mm||115 mm||125 mm|
|Seat tube||375 mm||425 mm||450 mm||470 mm|
|Head angle||65.5 °||65.5 °||65.5 °||65.5 °|
|Seat angle||74 °||74 °||74 °||74 °|
|BB Drop||10 mm||10 mm||10 mm||10 mm|
|Chainstays||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm||430 mm|
|Wheelbase||1169 mm||1189 mm||1209 mm||1225.5 mm|
|Reach||422.3 mm||442.3 mm||462.3 mm||473.7 mm|
|Stack||592.2 mm||592.2 mm||592.2 mm||601.2 mm|
Riding the DMR SLED
The real highlight of the 6051 series aluminium frame is the distinctive Orbit Link suspension. Designed in consultation between DMR and David Earle from Sotto Design, The virtual pivot design features a huge concentric orbit link around the BB, boosting stiffness and allowing the designers to finely tune the suspension curve – and my, what a great job they did! The kinematics and the custom Rockshox Monarch RT3 Debonair shock are perfectly in tune with the bike’s D.N.A.: the suspension is initially plough-like for mopping up chatter in rock gardens before a firm ramp-up so you can pop and glide over the big hits. The low-slung top tube allows you to really throw the SLED into turns, giving ample room to bust some moves. The rear end provides face-bending traction through flat turns, velcroed to the ground as it thunders through. Even under “oh-shit” braking from the basic SRAM GUIDE R brakes, we could not unsettle the rear end. The ride feeling is like a Range Rover running a supercharged V12: totally confident and planted, boasting excellent anti-squat properties and acceleration as hit the gas out of corners. Those who enjoy theatrical riding and racking up the air miles will fall in love with the DMR SLED’s effortless air skills. Grip from the WTB Convict / Trail Boss pairing was never in doubt.
For £3,499, there is very little not to like about the DMR SLED. It is a little heavier than some, but climbs with purpose and enthusiasm, well capable of long mountain rides. We did think that the large and extra-large models would benefit from a longer seatpost than the 125 mm X-Fusion Manic, though we hear a 150 mm Manic is on the way so expect a rolling change. At the time of testing the production DMR ZONE rear hub was not available, but we would hope it has a faster pick-up than our test model. Those with deeper pockets may be interested in the REYNOLDS Black Label Carbon Trail upgrade, bringing the price to £4899 and featuring the superb Industry Nine Torch hubs with instantaneous three degree pick up. For bike park enthusiasts (who we think would love the SLED), we would have liked to have seen a piggyback shock too, especially as the frame offers ample space. Luckily, metric sizing means that choices are many, and the supplied Rockshox Monarch puts in a solid performance for most situations.
The best brands retain an iconic design language: sitting inside a Ferrari or a Porsche, you would be able to tell which you were in without looking at the outside. It’s the same with the DMR SLED – it’s a thoroughly modern enduro bike, but it retains enough D.N.A to distinguish itself as a DMR. It’s a bike for sophisticated hooligans, refined enough for big mountain missions, while burly enough to satisfy even the most air-hungry inner child.
+ Exceptional suspension kinematics
+ Easy-to-love handling
– Seat post too short
– Bombproof build not the lightest
For more info head to: dmrbikes.com
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Words & Photos: Trev Worsey