This overview has been revealed as a part of our Headline Bikes take a look at, the place we put eight trend-setting mountain bikes for 2023 by way of their paces. Learn extra concerning the bikes setting the development for the yr forward.
The Chicken Forge was first launched in 2021, with the chrome steel model touchdown this autumn.
Chicken has at all times designed its bikes in the direction of the forefront of contemporary geometry, with longer reaches, steeper seat tube angles and slack-ish head angles. That is no exception.
Chicken Forge Stainless SLX customized construct body
Swinley-based Chicken has gone to Californian producers KVA for its chrome steel MS3 tubes.
Chicken says the body ought to really feel just about the identical on the path because the Reynolds 853 Forge, however be extra impact- and corrosion-resistant, particularly with the clearcoat it applies.
The draw back is that this metal is dear and arduous to work with, mirrored within the value.
The attain on my massive body may be very lengthy at 496mm, whereas the underside bracket is nearly scraping the bottom at 302mm.
Body particulars embody ISCG-05 mounts, exterior cable routing, a properly solid yoke to present spectacular tyre clearance, plus two bottle cage bosses.
Chicken Forge Stainless SLX customized construct specification
Chicken means that you can customise the spec of your bike on the level of buy. My construct might not be low-cost, however that’s as a result of the body is dripping with elements that depart little to complain about.
The Shimano SLX drivetrain on my take a look at bike is improved by an XT shifter, the Hope-hubbed wheels include torque caps pre-installed, and the 200mm dropper will get the saddle proper out of the best way. These are all neat touches that present Chicken actually considers its builds.
RockShox’s new Pike Final is among the main path forks, and I really like Method’s Cura brakes.
The one ingredient of the spec that I wasn’t offered on was the skinny EXO-casing Maxxis tyres – I’d spec some burlier mountain bike tyres to profit from the geometry.
Builds on this body begin at round £2,300.
Chicken Forge Stainless SLX customized construct geometry
Chicken Forge Stainless SLX customized construct trip impressions
No body with out rear suspension and a pair of.4in rubber on the again (slightly than a currently-out-of-favour ‘plus-size’ tyre) is ever going to really feel ‘easy’. Nevertheless, the classically skinny metal tubes on the Forge S give a slight respite in comparison with a stiff carbon or alloy body.
Add in an extended 1,200mm wheelbase, and the Chicken pitches ahead and again much less over bumps than a shorter bike would, calming the trip in tough terrain. These two parts allow the Forge S to carry good pace off-road, with out feeling prefer it’s rattling your fillings.
In turns, the reasonably slack 65.5-degree head angle (with a 140mm fork) combines nicely with the slammed BB. Your weight is dropped low under the wheel axles, encouraging you to lean the bike to carve corners.
The lengthy entrance centre, mid-length chainstays (435mm) and low BB make the Forge sound as if it might be a handful in tighter terrain, however I by no means discovered it held me again. It’s simple to pivot backward and forward, and even encourages the odd cheeky Scandi flick.
Its largest nemesis is thick, reasonably spaced roots, which rob pace greater than intently packed equivalents. Right here, and over equally spaced rocks, I felt the EXO-casing tyres had been in danger.
Given the pace the Forge S evokes, I’d need to run an EXO+ casing at the least, or maybe a tyre insert.
Chicken’s spec choices change with availability; on the time of going to press, an EXO+ Assegai can be a (slower-rolling) choice. At the very least DT Swiss’s broad EX 511 rims provide first rate assist to the tyres.
Down steep descents, the brand new Pike’s spring and damping give nice assist as your weight is pitched forwards. Whereas the entrance wheel doesn’t look miles forward of the bar, the Chicken by no means felt nervous as I tipped it into extra precipitous terrain.
The agency chew and ample energy of the dual-piston Cura brakes enhance confidence additional.
On paper, the 75.2-degree seat tube angle, measured at my pedalling peak, doesn’t sound steep, however with the fork sagged, the seat tube turns into extra upright, slightly than slackening as it might are likely to on a full-suspension mountain bike.
As such, it places you in a superb place over the BB. Together with the shortage of suspension bob, this helps the bike ascend decently.
Chicken Forge Stainless SLX customized construct backside line
Chicken’s new Forge is a really succesful hardtail mountain bike, with well-considered trendy geometry that delivers stellar dealing with.
The Forge is lavished with high-quality elements, however the tyres specced with my take a look at bike wrestle to maintain up with the tempo and there’s no getting away from the excessive value that accompanies that chrome steel KVA MS3 body.