When I first found out we were testing Knolly’s latest offering in the all mountain department, I knew we were in for something special. Knolly started out as a rider driven company building bikes inspired by a passion for riding. The philosophy behind these bikes has always been to build strong and durable frames that can be ridden hard day-in day-out. When you take a closer look at the Chilcotin frame, it’s easy to see the Knolly means business. Clean welds, solid tubing, beefy linkage design and a pretty bulletproof spec makes for an exciting package. The intended purpose of the Chilcotin is an all mountain weapon, perfect for the enduro racing scene which is rapidly gaining popularity, or even just shredding your local trails if you’re looking for something that can take a bit more abuse than an XC / trail bike.
With the purpose of this bike to be able to climb and descend all in one package, the components need to be light enough to get to the top but strong enough to withstand plenty of abuse on the way back down. The guys at Knolly havn’t held back on the Chilcotin, with a pretty impressive spec that really allows this frame to be ridden to its full potential. The Fox 36 Float with FIT damper and Kashima coating up front, paired with the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air shock in the back knows just how to get the job done. The gear changing department is taken care of by Sram X9 groupset, while braking is covered by Avid Elixr 9’s with 180mm rotors for some extra stopping power. Some other noteworthy features include the Raceface SIXC carbon crankset, KS dropper post and some great looking Joystick components. Rounding out the spec list are the DT Swiss hoops on Hope Pro 2 Evo hubs, wrapped in reliable Maxxis rubber. The frame is also equipped with 1.5” head tube, 12mm rear axle for extra stiffness and chainguide tabs if you want to take it to the next level.
Looking at the geometry of the Chilcotin reveals a fairly standard set of numbers for a bike in the all-mountain category. However, unlike many other bikes the Knolly has chosen to keep adjustable geometry simple with either low and slack for descending or steeper and more agile for better climbing. I think this is a part of how Knolly designs and builds bikes; simple, effective and without unnecessary add-ons. The correct adjustment of the rear shock to suit your riding style can also really change how the bike feels, making it adaptable for a variety of applications. If you adjustment junkies that wanted to take it a step further the use of an Angleset headset will allow you to steepen or slacken the headangle to further meet your needs.
Before getting stuck into it, I highly recommend taking the time to set up the suspension to suit your riding style, cause it makes a huge difference to how the bike rides. The first place I took the Chilcotin was some rough local singletrack, with a huge variety of obstacles I’d find out what the bike was made of in no time! The first thing I noticed was how smooth and quiet the bike was, with the front changuide preventing the majority of usual chain slap. The low bottom bracket made the bike instantly feel at home in the corners, and even in the slack setting it still felt very nimble. Steep, technical climbs were made easy and the bike seemed to stick to the ground with plenty of traction. On some of the longer climbs I could start to feel the extra weight of the Chilcotin, which made it a bit sluggish. However, once the descent began I forgot all about that. This bike loves to go downhill. After a few more trail rides on the Chilcotin, I thought I’d take it out to some of the local downhill tracks to see what it was made of. After being quite hesitant at first, after no time I was smashing all the A-lines with ease. The bike rides with a really solid and confidence-inspiring feel on rough terrain and big hits. After a while I was flat landing the jumps and feeling faster than I did on my downhill bike. With a good balance from even weight distribution, the bike also feels very at-home in the air. The best part about all this was that once I reach the bottom, I could turn around and ride back up!
This bike is really fun to ride! The Chilcotin loves to descend and can definitely take some big hits without flinching. This bike is perfect for the rider who is into all-mountain / trail riding and looking to take their riding to the next level on the downhills. The bike inspires confidence and makes you want to push harder. While the bike it slightly on the heavy side compared to other brands on the market, that peace of mind from knowing that you’re riding a strong and durable frame is a must for many. The Chilcotin would be a great do-it-all bike for the weekend worrier who rides XC one day and DH the next, and would also be perfect for some enduro racing!
Frame only RRP $2450
Complete Built w/ Fox RP23 RRP $6400
If you would like to get your hands on one of these bad boys contact