Mountain Biking magazine has just named the Cove Shocker its DH Bike Of The Year 2007.
At Cove Bikes we’re all about big backdoor wattage. New in 2006, we introduced the Shocker, our fresh-from-the-factory DH bike. Designed and built for major speed and amplitude, the Shocker features our new Dual Link suspension platform, delivering a mega 8.75 watts of rear travel via a Fox DHX 5.0 rear shock. A SRAM Maxle rear axle and Easton RAD tubing bring it for a super stiff ride that takes corners and rails them. Tested and proven by Canadian National DH Champ Tyler Morland, the Shocker is love Cove Tribe style.
Mountain Biking June 2007 – Cove Shocker DH 2007 Bike Of The Year
What three things must a Downhill bike do, and do well, to become an award winning bike? First, it must be a competitive race bike up to the pro level, meaning that it has proven lightning-fast geometry and a flawless suspension system and weighs in at under 44lbs. It must be technologically advanced yet well-functioning. Does a badass frame design make the bike? No – all parts must work cohesively. Second, it must last more than one season without a major failure. This means it can’t be the least bit fragile… many racers don’t have the money to buy a new bike every year, so it has to be built work-horse tough to last season after season. Lastly, it must be within the budget of the average DH racer: not exorbitant, but not exactly cheap either. The question we’re really asking: What is the best value?
With these requirements in mind, we chose the Cove Shocker as DH Bike of the Year.
The Low Down:
In 2006, Cove introduced the world to their DH demon The Shocker. After many successful races on it by Tyler Morland (Pro Cove and SRAM rider) they have refined it for 2007 to make it even better. They start this process off by using Easton RAD 7005 series tubing. The frame is built to Cove Bike specs and designs by Yess Products. Up in Canada, Cove is producing some of the beefiest 100% Canadian made bikes. The frame uses a dual link design with the links configured to achieve a rearward arching wheel path. The top link is two pieces of aluminium and the bottom is one solid piece for extra stiffness. The pivots use oversized sealed ball bearings and the shock bushings consist of full aluminium sleeves with spacers to centre the shock eyelets. The shock itself is a three-inch stroke DHX which supplies nine inches or rear wheel suspension travel, making the leverage ratio 3:1. The rear axle uses a convenient 12mm Maxle system which makes taking the wheel off a 15-second job you can do without tools.
Handling in the Rough:
The Shocker really likes to absorb everything and stick to the ground. Rocks, whoops, roots, braking bumps… it devours them without losing any speed. This is great for the off-camber sections – the bike sucks up everything and keeps the tyres glued so you don’t fall off line. Last week, on one of our more gnarly DH trails, we were having trouble holding speed through one particularly tricky section, a left hand corner into an off-camber hillside with rock water bars about an arms length across. On another test bike all we could do was suck up the water bars and try to keep the tyres firmly planted on the ground while praying to God we didn’t fall off into the poison oak below, but the first time on the Shocker was totally different. It was like the Almighty had intervened and rotated the mountain just for us. We didn’t even notice the off-camber, being able to double up and pump through the water bars with ease. That was good enough proof that the Shocker is balls-on when it comes to suspension performance.
The Shocker uses a 65 degree head angle, a good compromise between road-hog slack and face-plant steep. This gives good stability on the wide open speed sections yet still steers quick enough to navigate through the twist wooded sections.
The front and rear weight distribution feels good as well. The front wheel is weighted a little more than the rear, so it doesn’t feel like the front end is plowing dirt rather than changing directions like it should be.
One thing that’s really nice is how the bike takes whooped-out, rutted corners. If there were a world championship downhill race for sport riders where generous amounts of skidding have blown out every corner, you would have no problems on the Shocker. The stiff rear end holds the wheel on line and the nine inches of travel smooth out even the sharpest braking bumps without getting hung up. This is also a huge help in rocky turns, the suspension is smooth enough so that you could ride a mountain creek bed and still focus on correctly apexing the corners.
One thing that really sticks out is how well this bike pedals. When you put the power down, you propel forward like a road runner trying to outrun a shotgun blast. The suspension stiffens up and the bike instantaneously starts moving faster. One of our more insane testers said he was able to do a full three-mile cross country climb on the bike… and this was with the stock 42-tooth chain ring and road cassette!
Riding the Shocker you’ll make up time sprinting out of the gate and pedalling out of every corner. For racing, this is what you need to win. The Shocker gets an A+ for pedalling efficiency.
Because of the Shocker’s tendency to stick to the ground you won’t get as much hang time as you would on other DH rigs. But this is not to say it can’t be jumped; it can. It just takes a little more manpower to get the air you need to impress scanty trackside women. But this is not all bad; one advantage is that it’s easy to stay low on speed doubles. So depending on the course, this can hurt or help you.
Once you do get airborne, the bike is nice and stable, it’s effortless to tweak around and land slightly turned if you’re jumping into a corner. Upon landing, the shock ramps up nicely… there is no clunky bottom out or tyre rubbing on the seat or frame.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, we really like the Cove Shocker; it’s a beefy design that rides as good as it looks. If you’re an aspiring downhill racer looking to get to the next level, or just an average guy who wants something to terrorize the local trails and put a smile on your face, the Shocker certainly will not let you down. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t find one thing to shoot down about the Cove Shocker. For a downhill bike, this is the total package.