Low-and-Slack Aluminum Rocket Ship
has been making the DHR since 2000, and since its inception, it has been a privateer racer’s dream bike. It has been through four iterations, and many of the previous generations can still be seen in the lift lines at bike parks worldwide. This is not a disposable bike; it’s an investment that will serve the fast downhill rider for years to come. While the first generations are still favorites of downhill racers around the world, this DHR is designed to smash the previous ones and live on the cutting edge of performance.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
Turner makes no apologies about the way this bike rides. This is a fast bike, and you have to ride it fast to experience its potential. It’s designed to satisfy the demands of expert and professional downhill riders and racers. With an ultra- slack and low geometry, this bike is right at home on the steepest of tracks. Make no mistake: this is not a beginner’s bike.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The DHR is American-made aluminum. The dw-link suspension design rides on cartridge bearings to deliver the 8.2 inches of travel. It also uses an 83-millimeter bottom bracket, 12x150-millimeter axle, 1.5-inch head tube and ISCG-05 tabs.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
If you can’t find a component group from Turner, you’re too picky. They offer two different build kits, three wheel choices, and multiple fork and shock options. All of these can be mixed and matched to build your dream machine.
Our bike came equipped with some of our favorite components, including a SRAM X0 drivetrain, top-shelf Fox suspension and Industry Nine wheels. (We could have built this bike with a less expensive kit.) If there’s something you want to swap out, Turner makes the job easy. It’s like a make-your- own-burrito bar. Only take the ingredients you want; just remember, guacamole is extra.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving out: Jump on the DHR and you’ll notice the race-inspired geometry right away. The bike sits low, the wheel- base is relatively long, and the head angle kicks the front wheel out far past the handlebar. This bike begs to be ridden fast.
Suspension feel: Once past the initial anti-squat at the top end of the stroke, the DHR feels remarkably bottomless. Turner has harnessed the dw-link suspension in a way that delivers efficiency when sprinting, great small-bump compliance and excellent big-hit absorption. While there are ways to tune the suspension to feel more progressive and more like a park bike, we found it unnecessary. If you’re looking for a jump bike, look elsewhere.
Descending: The DHR is a downhill race bike that’s clearly designed to level the ground and lay waste to rocks, roots and chutes. The DHR likes to descend at Mach 5 with the rider’s hair on fire. The relatively long wheelbase can be tough to manhandle in tighter situations (e.g., hairpin switchbacks and low- speed technical turns), but the geometry pays off when the tempo increases.
Pedaling: The dw-link provides a perfect pedaling platform, delivering plenty of anti-squat pedaling efficiency for a downhill race bike. While the geometry can be a bit of a handful on slower, flatter courses, the efficiency allows the rider to pedal-power the bike back up to speed. If you’re concerned with the low-speed prowess of this bike, you’re not riding it fast enough. This bike needs to be sprinted when it’s not using gravity to feed its habit.
Cornering: This is where the DHR’s race-inspired feel is most apparent. Cornering on the DHR is a pleasure. The low bottom bracket feels like it nearly scrapes the ground, lowering the rider’s center of gravity more than almost any other bike. This low center of gravity allows the rider to carve turns with confidence, even at breakneck speed. Surprisingly, we rarely snagged pedals, except on G-out turns where we had to be careful with pedal position. As the rider gets used to the bike, it becomes a non-issue and is worth the additional cornering prowess.
Snap turns: The DHR’s snappy acceleration out of corners will help any racer shave seconds off of his split times. The dw-link suspension delivers excellent anti-squat characteristics, even for this much travel. The excellent cornering ability and efficient pedaling make this bike rip out of corners like a scalded rat. Snap turns and quick acceleration out of these turns are the specialty of the DHR.
Boosting it: The DHR is a race bike that likes to stay glued to the ground the bulk of the time. However, the stability gives a very predictable feel when the bike gets airborne. While clearly not designed as a park bike, this bike is so fast through the corners that it’s agile enough to ride jump-and-berm-style lines with no problem. Just be ready to work a little harder to get this thing off of the lip until you get used to it.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
The 1.5-inch head tube allows the rider to tweak the head angle with an adjustable-angle headset, like the Cane Creek AngleSet. This is one time when it might make sense to use the AngleSet to steepen a head angle. The steeper head angle and slightly higher bottom bracket could make the DHR a little more beginner-friendly. We don’t recommend this bike unless you can handle its ready-for-business nature, but this would be a helpful tune for riders looking for a more maneuverable whip.
Make no bones about it; this bike is for serious riders. Like a golden retriever with a stick, this bike will keep coming back for years to come without tiring. This will be a favorite bike for a rider who wants to shred downhill tracks, has the skill to harness the progressive geometry and wants a bike that will last more than a single season.
This article was reprinted from our June 2012 issue. Subscribe to MBA
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