For many seasons, I’ve owned and ridden two bikes simultaneously – one downhill bike, and one trail/enduro bike for commuting and rolling around the area. At the end of last season, I asked myself a very familiar question; “Do I really need two bikes?” Back then, I still wasn’t 100% of the answer, but a promo video for the Propain Spindrift 2017, ft. Phil Atwill, helped me make a decision – “This is the bike I want to ride next season!”
Spindrift – say what? What is the Spindrift? Enduro? Superenduro? Freeride? Let me explain.
The Spindrift is a 27,5 wheeled bike with 180mm travel, both front and rear, featuring some next level geometry and build techniques. What makes it different from the others is the long reach, the steep seat tube, a very flat head (64,5”) and a very long wheelbase (1227mm on an M).
German-based Propain is a direct-sale manufacturer, which means that you order the bike straight from the manufacturer, without any middle men coming in – similar brands are YT and Canyon when it comes to their business model. This also means that they can keep the price of their bikes really attractive to the customer.
Bikes comes in three ready specs, or you can choose “Project Free,” which allows full customization and is something that I really love. You start with the base model of the bike, and from there, you build up your beauty – from frame size and frame paint job to the colors of the stickers. Every change you make is immediately visible in the preview, as well as the pricing you’re currently at. This means you can really create your dream machine and build a bike that’s suited to your budget at the same time, which is really great fun. There are so many customization options that you really feel unique – it’s like buying a custom built car from a dealership, and let’s be honest; who doesn’t want that? I couldn’t resist and ordered my bike in December 2016. As a sidenote, I have to give props to the Propain guys for quickly and accurately answering all of my millions of questions – I can see why they got a “Best Customer Service” award back in 2015.
The next thing that is awesome about Propain is that they keep you updated all the time. From the moment you order and pay for the bike to the moment it arrives at your door – you’re notified when they got all your parts together, when they’re building it, and when they’re doing a quality check (which has 100 points on the checklist). And then you get it: “Your bike has been shipped.” It’s a great feeling knowing what your future beauty is going through as you anxiously await delivery.
It took about 45 days to deliver the bike, MY bike, just how I “built” it myself.
Once delivered, I checked out how the bike was packed, and neither the box or the inner packaging was damaged. The box was thick, stiff and heavy. Assembling the bike took only a few minutes and the only things I really had to do was mount the front weel, the handlebar, the seat and pump the fork, rear shock and wheels. The gears and brakes were already set up in the factory and I didn’t need to do anything with them, which honestly is a rarity when it comes to these bikes.
My first impression? I’m looking at something that is almost a DH bike. The long wheel base, flat head and the strong lines make you feel solid from the moment you first sit on it – you just know you’ll be able to trust it in every situation. And just so you know; this isn’t a feeling I’ve had on enduro rigs before.
The frame is finished in a great Gunmetal Grey matte paint job, just like I wanted it to be, which fits perfectly with the rest of the black components.
Back in 2016, the Spindrift prototype had internal cabling and reinforcements, but Propain clearly didn’t feel right about it, so they decided to go old-school. The only thing that is internally routed is the dropper post cabling, which enters the frame around the bottom bracket. Honestly, I am a little disappointed with this.
The 1×11 drivetrain is a standard by now and with a 30T chainring and a 11-42T cassette, it means that we’ve got more gear than we’ll ever need. You can also choose a SRAM X01 Eagle 1×1 with a 11-50 cassette but do you really need this? That’s up to you to decide.
What makes this bike look so DH-ready is the brakes – both rotors are 203mm, unlike a lot of other bikes, which rock the 180mm a lot of the time.
The basic Spindrift model doesn’t have a dropper post, which is something you need to pay extra for. Back when I was assembling the bike, I could choose the Rockshox Reverb in different sizing, but 5 months on, and now the Bikeyoke Revive is the dropper of choice for Propain, and I can see why – it’s easier to use and easier to maintain.
Using Project Free opens a world of possibilities for everyone, and my build options are below:
Frame: Propain Spindrift, M, color Gunmetal Grey, black stickers
Fork: Rock Shox Lyrik RCT3 180 SA
Rear Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel Air CS
Brakes: Magura MT5
Gears: SRAM GX
Cassette: SRAM XG1150 11/42
Cranks: Truvativ Descendant Alu (1×11, 30T)
Seatpost: Rock Shox Reverb Stealth 150mm
Handlebar: Sixpack Millenium 785mm
Stem: Sixpack Leader 50
Wheels: ZTR Flow EX 650B on some Propain hubs
Seat: Selle Italia Q-Bik Flow
The bike in this setup cost me 3139 EUR and looking at the build, I can say that I got a hell of a deal! What sets the Spindrift apart from the rest? First of all, the 180mm of travel – a lot of enduro bikes max out at 160mm, which is plenty for most enduro riders, but I was really looking for a bike that was equally suited for riding to work as it was riding some serious techy bike park jump lines.
So what’s next? The bike season is upon us, so I’m going to be back in a few weeks with a bigger review talking about how it rides.
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