The brand new Propain Spindrift CF is available in three different wheel size configurations. We tried the bike with a 29″ and mullet set up and won’t just tell you which of the two we prefer, but also what else we noticed during the test and while comparing it with the competition.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2021 – 13 models in review

Propain Spindrift CF Mix Custom | 190/180 mm (f/r) | 15.70 kg in size L | € 4,519
Manufacturer’s website

Our first review of the Propain Spindrift CF at its official launch was extremely promising, but it also raised a few questions like how the mullet version of the bike would ride. Not to mention how it compares to the competition and how it would fare over a longer-term. Finally, we’ve got answers! With the RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork, the Spindrift offers an incredible 190 mm travel up front combined with a full 180 mm at the rear. The online configurator allows you to spec the bike with the components you want. Sound too good to be true? Unfortunately, there are some criticisms. Like the Tyee we reviewed a year ago, the chainstay protector is very hard and the cables rattle inside the sleeves in the frame, though Propain have announced that they will be addressing this. Should you ever want to remove the shock, the limited space in the rear end is sure to test your patience. None of these are deal-breakers, but we should expect more in 2021. We had both the 29er and the mullet bike in tow for this group test and we’ll tell you how they both fared.

The components of the Spindrift CF – The full house at a fair price

The spec of the Propain Spindrift CF, as tested here, is beyond reproach. For € 4,519 you get a dream bike that has only one weakness. The suspension consists of a RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork and a Super Deluxe Ultimate coil shock. Shifting is taken care of by a SRAM X01 drivetrain and you get a set of powerful and easy to modulate SRAM CODE RSC brakes for stopping duties. The SIXPACK cockpit and the BikeYoke dropper post are a good fit too. Due to the long seat tube, the latter only offers 160 mm travel. We also recommend cutting down the handlebar from 805 to around 780 mm. The light Super Trail casings of the Schwalbe tires can’t do justice to such a long-travel bike and we experienced several punctures. Of course, if you fit a more appropriate option, the bike’s weight will also increase. Unfortunately, there is no Super Gravity variant available in the configurator.

Removing the shock from the Spindrift takes the dexterity of a heart surgeon. On the other hand, the overall beefier construction of the Spindrift flexes less than the Tyee.
The Schwalbe Super Trail tires can’t do justice to a 180 mm travel bike. They’re bound to get punctured. With more appropriate tires, the weight naturally goes up and that comes at the cost of all-round capabilities.
Nothing is more annoying than having to constantly replace the bearings on the rear linkage. Propain therefore, fit an additional seal so that the bearings last longer. Brilliant!

Propain Spindrift CF Mix Custom

€ 4,519

Specifications

Fork RockShox ZEB Ultimate 190 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate 180 mm
Seatpost Bike Yoke Revive 160 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle 32/10-52
Stem Sixpack Millenium 35 35 mm
Handlebar Sixpack Millenium 805 805 mm
Wheelset Stans NoTubes ZTR Flow EX3
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Trail Addix Soft/Schwalbe Big Betty Super Trail Addix Soft 2.4"/2.4"

Technical Data

Size M L XL
Weight 15.70 kg
Wheelsize MX


The cables also rattled on the second Spindrift that we tested. Propain aim to remedy this with an additional clamp in the future but this solution isn’t yet available.
With the smaller rear wheel, the Spindrift is even more agile than the already agile 29er. However, the big wheels make more sense as an all-rounder and we would always opt for the 29er version.
The plastic of the chainstay protector is too hard. Propain used mastic tape to make improvements to our test bike. However, this is not a long-term solution.

The geometry of the Spindrift CF – Progressive but not extreme

Everything as it should be! On paper, the geometry of the Propain Spindrift CF Mix looks modern and balanced but not extreme. The reach is well-chosen at 475 mm in size large. The 64.5° head angle almost seems a bit too steep, especially combined with a 190 mm travel fork. The 78° steep seat tube angle should guarantee a central riding position and the short chainstays, in combination with the small rear wheel, promise to keep the handling agile.

Size M L XL
Seat tube 440 mm 460 mm 480 mm
Top tube 584 mm 612 mm 640 mm
Head tube 95 mm 110 mm 125 mm
Head angle 64.5° 64.5° 64.5°
Seat angle 78.0° 78.0° 78.0°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
BB Drop 23/10 mm 23/10 mm 23/10 mm
Wheelbase 1,224 mm 1,255 mm 1,284 mm
Reach 450 mm 475 mm 500 mm
Stack 633 mm 646 mm 660 mm
Helmet GIRO Switchblade | Glasses 100% Glendale | Trousers ION SCRUB Pants
Knee pads Scott Soldier | Shoes Specialized 2FO Clip

It might be at a leisurely pace, but the Propain Spindrift will comfortably get you up every ascent.

Not too long ago, it would have been impossible to pedal a 180 mm travel bike uphill without bursting an artery. However, it’s no problem with the Propain Spindrift. In direct comparison with the 29er, the mullet version is more work on the climbs and you can feel the poor rollover characteristics of the small rear wheel. The riding position is central aboard both variants and the suspension is surprisingly efficient despite all of its travel. Nevertheless, aboard the Spindrift, there’s no denying that you’re pedalling a lot of bike. The Spindrift is a leisurely yet capable climber.

The biggest surprise with the Spindrift is how agile a bike with so much travel can be on the descents. In the mullet setup, the bike changes direction just as quickly and nimbly as bikes with significantly less travel, which is certainly due in large part to the small rear wheel.

The Spindrift is agile, fun and has a lot of reserves.

However, as on the climbs, you will notice its smaller diameter. In contrast to the 29er, you have to work a lot harder to get your weight forward and generate an equal amount of grip on the front wheel. In addition, the small rear wheel gets unsettled by rock gardens more easily, which in turn reduces stability at high speeds. As an all-rounder, we liked the 29er Spindrift a lot more and the big wheels also make easier work of very rough trails. In our opinion, the mullet setup is a good choice for riders who spend a lot of time in the bike park, like jumping and blasting through berms at maximum speed. The extremely progressive chassis is supportive, but the Spindrift is easiest to get airborne by using speed to your advantage and preloading the suspension as you hit the lip – here, you’ll notice the huge amount of travel the bike has.

How does the Propain Spindrift CF compare to the competition?

Although the Nukeproof Mega has significantly less travel, it easily leaves the Spindrift behind on demanding trails. Its rear suspension provides more traction and the geometry is more balanced. The Spindrift excels at dealing with the really big impacts (landings, drops, etc.) that you’ll find in bike parks. Compared to the Specialized Enduro, the Spindrift is more agile, though it becomes much more restless at speed. While the rear axle path of the Enduro moves backwards, out of the way of obstacles, you get the impression of getting hung up on roots with the Spindrift.

Tuning tips: secure the cables | fit appropriately sturdy tires

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1
  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2
  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3
  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4
  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Suspension

5
  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6
  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7
  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use

XC

8

Trail

9

Enduro

10

Downhill

11

Conclusion

The Propain Spindrift CF is a great bike for those who really want to let rip in the bikepark or on rough trails. We would always go for the pure 29er, as it is more balanced to ride both uphill and downhill. The small 27.5″ rear wheel only offers advantages when changing direction quickly but it comes at the cost of composure. If Propain sort out the details on the frame, this makes for a hot bike at a fair price.

Tops

  • excellent value for money
  • very balanced and fun in the 29er setup
  • pleasantly agile despite huge reserves

Flops

  • annoying rattling on the frame
  • tires not up to the task
  • mullet version is less balanced

You can find out more about at propain-bikes.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2021 – 13 models in review

All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR (Click for review) | COMMENCAL Meta AM 29 Öhlins (Click for review) | GIANT Reign Advanced Pro 0 (Click for review) | Ibis Ripmo V2 (Click for review) | Nukeproof Mega 290 Alloy Pro (Click for review) | Propain Spindrift CF Mix Custom | Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 90 Rally Edition (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Megatower CC X01 Coil RSV (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Nomad CC X01 RSV (Click for review) | Specialized Enduro Expert (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper EVO (Click for review) | Transition Sentinel XT (Click for review) | Trek Slash 9.8 XT (Click for review)

Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer, Valentin Rühl, Markus Frühmann

About the author

Christoph Bayer

When work doesn't feel like work, then you've probably done everything right. Luckily, that’s exactly what Christoph did. He loves biking and the tech talk surrounding it (to the detriment of his girlfriend Toni), photography and travelling the world. He has been with ENDURO almost from the start and as editor-in-chief, he's responsible for making ENDURO the most progressive and exciting magazine in the industry. Of course, he still writes a lot of content himself, reviews almost 100 bikes a year and rides his bike almost every day. The alpine trails around his hometown serve as the perfect testing grounds. He doesn't have a classic 9 to 5 routine – sometimes he's in the office, sometimes he'll take his laptop to sit in the garden and sometimes you'll even find him working remotely from his van parked at one the best riding spots in the world. For Christoph, work-life boundaries are fluid and he likes it that way.