I ride road during the week and long marathon mtb rides on the weekends. After riding my 29er hardtail on everything from local So Cal trails, long drawn out climbs in the Cleveland National Forest, and pushing my limits on the trails in Sedona where I only saw one other hardtail on I decided I needed a trail bike that I could do 50+ miles on regularly and handle some chunky terrain.
I demo'd a 4.5 and initially wasn't super impressed but I decided to pull the trigger anyway when they were clearing out the 2016s. I love building bikes from the wheels up and Zach Lassek helped me out a ton.
Now about the bike. First time out I put about 30 miles on it with 5,000 feet of climbing with steep, and rocky descents in between. I immediately noticed the slack front end on the steep stuff and how well the suspension took the edge off rock gardens, and allowed me to pop the bike around in switchback and little jumps. KEEP IN MIND I'M COMING FROM A HARDTAIL. It didn't feel like I was using all the rear end suspension but after looking down I in fact did use it all. In comparison to an full suspension bike I had 2 years ago that had 140mm of travel in the rear I felt way more confident on the bike but did realize that there are limits to the rear suspension.
Second outing worth mentioning was another 30 mile ride with 20 miles of fire road and a quick loose, rocky descent back. After my first outing I decided to put the suspension on firm and see how the bike handled. AMAZING. It made me understand why other people praise this bikes climbing ability. It felt like my hardtail with a longer front end.
If youâre an xc, marathon, or road guy looking for a bit more bike than take my stamp of approval and do yourself a favor and treat yoâ self to a 4.5. If youâre a trail bro than this bike can be awesome if you arenât looking to be the last one getting to the gnar and realize that there are limits to the rear suspension.