In 2012, the forum community of MTB-News.de and Carver started a crowdsourcing project which resulted in the Carver ICB (Internet Community Bike). The ICB has replaceable dropouts, which means you can also buy it with 27.5” wheels or convert it later.
The 26” Carver ICB 2.0 supplied for the test is no lightweight, and looks at first glance more like a genuine freeride bike with its 170mm Lyrik, thick Schwalbe Magic Mary tires and Shimano Zee brakes. This made us even more surprised at how enjoyable the “heavyweight” was to pedal uphill; of course the 15.6kg weight can certainly be felt, but the steep seat tube angle and the long top tube create a good, if slightly tail-heavy, pedaling position. The short 40mm stem means the rider still sits in a compact position on the bike.
Climbs are merely a means to an end for the ICB. The spec clearly indicates a strong focus on downhill performance; one look at the big RockShox Vivid Air shock confirms this. The very slack 65° head angle creates stability. To keep the bike lively, it gets short 425mm chainstays, a design which mostly works well. On steep and fast trails especially the Carver is a real trail weapon. On flatter ground, the slightly rearward riding position takes pressure off the front wheel. A more active riding style is needed to compensate for this and hit the exact line you want.
The suspension is nice and plush with good progression at the back, and it provides great feedback from the trail below. Under pressure it tends to dive a bit too much, especially in the first third of the travel, which makes playful riding more difficult. A Flip-Chip at the back lets you vary the travel by 20mm ‒ between 150mm and 170mm ‒ and adjust the geometry by 1°. Moreover, the frame can be made compatible for 27.5” wheels by swapping the dropouts. These are included when you buy the frame: nice touch, Carver!
The spec of the Carver ICB lived up to its promise. This is a bike which likes it hard. It’s made for races like the Megavalanche. For “everyday use” on moderate trails we recommend the reduced travel version with 150mm; the performance is best in this setting. For 27.5” fans, there are two other models in the Carver 2014 ICB range starting at 2,599 euros.
Go back to the article: “Grouptest Trailbikes: Eight Entry-level Trailbikes”
You can read an in-depth feature about the group test and our conclusions in the actual ENDURO issue #009! As usual it’s free & only digital for iPad, Android-Tablets and Online-Viewer: Issue #009.
Text & Pictures: Christoph Bayer