The name Morewood has represented single pivot suspension systems and massive square tubes for many years now. 2013 will be the year the South African bike manufacturer introduces its first and long-awaited split pivot design to the market
In cooperation with kinematics guru Dave Weagle, Morewood developed the Jabula, a bike completely different from the usual designs of the company. The Jabula utilizes extensive hydro-forming, carbon fiber seatstays, and split pivot design – just a few of its many fundamental innovations. The split pivot design is supposed to minimize pedaling influences during acceleration. So much for theory – how does the Jabula perform in practice?
Plug & play: as soon as we held the Jabula in our hands, we took it out for a spontaneous enduro race in bike park Beerfelden in southern Germany. In the end, second place marked a successful debut for the Jabula.
One of the keys to its success are the high-quality components of the 5000-Euro bike, including highlights like the BOS Deville fork and a Cane Creek Double Barrel Air shock which provides 170 mm of rear wheel travel. All the other features, like the DT Swiss EX 1750 wheels, light Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires, Formula’s snappy The One brakes, the SRAM X0 crankset, the telescopic RockShox Reverb seatpost, and the Spank cockpit parts complete the overall package.
“Jabula” is Zulu and basically means “to be happy.” It seemed like we had a little less luck with our second test ride – but let’s start at the beginning. The slightly high but central seating position provides a solid feel-good factor. The balanced geometry, made up of a 66.5° head tube angle and other solid numbers, shows that the bike is designed for fun on enduro tours and in the bike park, rather than for the absolute extreme. The 433mm short chainstays equip the Jabula with sufficient agility and friskiness, but at the same time offer a solid smoothness in high-speed sections. The Jabula only requires little effort in fast curvy sections or to get onto the rear wheel.
The crew had to face unexpected complications with the BOS fork and the Cane Creek suspension. In fact, the BOS Deville failed after only one day due to a defective damping unit. Thanks to the fast reaction of the German distributor Sports Nut, we were provided with an exchange fork in no time, which then managed to win us over with its familiar and particularly sensitive response characteristics. According to Sports Nut, the French BOS headquarters detected the cause of the defective damping in the inside of the fork and rectified the flaws of all the affected forks.
The Morewood’s suspension setup proved to be quite demanding regarding its handling at the beginning of the test rides. The cause for this was the Double Barrel Air shock, which is equipped with five external setup options, allowing the Jabula to be adjusted to any imaginable requirement. This is possible because of the high- and low-speed compression, high- and low-speed rebound, and the air spring adjustment. However, even after countless adjustment trials, the Cane Creek tuning seemed inappropriate for Jabula’s kinematics: we found it was too progressive and it was not possible to take advantage of the entire travel, even with extreme levels of sag.
After consultation with Cane Creek, we established that the shock was from a faulty batch and was equipped with too little air capacity. After fitting a flawless exchange shock, the suspension was able to fully exploit its performance. The time-consuming basic setup paid off: the rear suspension has been impressive ever since, and with its lush damping performance the rear wheel was basically glued to the ground.
Despite its great downhill performance, we noticed some pedaling influences on the rear suspension during uphills. This was mainly noticeable in the small chainring and during out-of-saddle pedaling. While pedaling in the saddle, the bobbing was hardly noticeable.
One thing is certain: the rear suspension is especially designed for ideal downhill performances, and that’s why we have to lower our expectations slightly regarding pedaling
The rather neatly equipped Jabula was not able to completely meet the high expectations of the test crew in practice. One of the reasons might have been the numerous attempts until the Morewood was able to show off its performance abilities and qualities. With its 170mm of suspension travel and masterful handling, it definitely has a focus on heading downhill. Bike park, home track, or alpine freeride trails constitute the Jabula’s expertise. This is where the Jabula lives up to its name!
FACTS Morewood Jabula
Frame: Alu, Carbon-Sitzstreben, 170mm Federweg
Fork: Bos Deville 170mm Federweg
Rear Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel Air
Brakes: Formula The One, 203mm / 180mm
Drive Train: Sram X0/ 2×10
Handlebar / Stem: Spank Subrose 747mm / Oozy
Wheels: DT EX1750
Telescopic Seatpost: RockShox Reverb
Tires: Schwalbe Hans-Dampf 2.25″ Pacestar Compound
Sizes: S / M (getestet) / L / XL
Price: 4.999,- €
Weight: 14,10 kg
Words: Fabian Scholz Photography: Fabian Rapp Translation: Lisa Gretemeier
This review was published in ENDURO issue #002 which can be downloaded here.
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