BIKE TEST - RADON JAB MIDSEASON
Updated: Jan 18, 2020
Radon are a direct sale brand similar to the likes of YT and Canyon. Being able to sell direct saves the customer money, however it doesn't have the same after sales service that you get when buying from a shop.
After dropping out from the world of downhill for 2018 and focusing more on their trail bike lineup, the Jab is one of the new range along with a 29” Swoop. At first glance this new Carbon Jab certainly looks the part, almost stealth bomber in its stance and a full blacked out colour scheme.
Suspension and Chassis
Radon have gone down the line of Fox damping on this Jab Midseason. Upfront the Blacked out 36 Performance Elite with 170mm travel. At the rear the Fox DPX2 Performance Elite offers 160mm travel, 10mm less than the previous model the Swoop.
Looking at the numbers it is not something that cries innovation. The 65.2 degree head angle, 346mm bottom bracket in the low setting (measured off supplied bike) and 466mm reach for the largest sized bike are just some examples. Most bikes in the large end of the spectrum usually punch in much longer reach numbers. There are some strong points from the 428mm rear stays, this should give a nice nimble snappy feel.
Fox 36 Float Performance Elite, 3-pos, Boost, 170mm travel
Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite, EVOL, Trunnion Mount, 205x65, 160mm travel
e*thirteen TRS, 30mm, 110/148
SRAM Code R, SRAM Centerline, 200/180mm, 6 bolt
SRAM Descendant Eagle Carbon, Boost, 32T, 170mm, SRAM GXP Pressfit 92 bottom bracket
SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed, Matchmaker
SRAM X01 Eagle
SRAM GX Eagle XG-1275, 10-50
e*thirteen TRS Race SL, ISCG05
Race Face Turbine R, 35 x 780 mm, 20mm rise
Race Face Turbine R, 35 x 40/40 mm
SDG Tellis, 31.6 x 150/150 mm
SDG FLY MTN 2, CrMo
Front, Schwalbe Magic Mary, Addix-Soft, TLE, Kevlar, 27.5" x 2.35". Rear, Schwalbe Hans Dampf, Addix-Soft, TLE, Kevlar, 27.5" x 2.35"
Taking a tour around the Jab, it is apparent that Radon have done a great job specifying the bike. The lightweight yet burly setup of E-13 wheel and Fox dampers. SRAM Code brakes are on show, albeit the R, they still do the job. Looking at the overall chassis there are some really nice details to the linkage, from the hidden bearings to the flip chip for geometry adjustments. It is certainly a clean looking frame. The bulbous head tube is not something we are massively keen on, it looks a little clumsy.
Ride wise is where the Jab starts to show its shortcomings. The 20” model that seems to be the largest bike that you can get hold of comes up on the small side, with a mere 466mm reach for the larger bike it is not something that I would class as ground breaking. It is a similar story when looking at the BB height, measuring in at 346mm it is not a low slung bike by any means. It’s all just a bit of a shame when the Swoop 170 was such a good bike. These measurements equate to what is a twitchy and fairly unstable feel while hitting things at pace.
The damper tune that this model has also seems a little off. With a rider weight of 78kg and the sum of 250psi in the rear damper, the bike still had a feeling of being a little soft and blew through the travel on numerous occasions.
Plus points are the bikes ability to climb or navigate technical sections, the short wheelbase and higher bottom bracket aided this no end. The lightweight feel and construction of the Jab is also a worth a mention.
First thing to mention would be the cockpit. This Raceface setup would be right at home bolted to a 130mm 29er, but this is not what we have here. It just felt a little out gunned by the rest of the build and did not make the bike feel like it should have. It is a simple job to change this as most riders have a preferred setup.
The second point is not so simple to remedy. This is the size of the bike. Being a Large bike it just missed the mark when comparing this to other bikes like the Whyte G170. Now there is only 10mm difference between these two size large bikes, but it feels like so much more. I dont think this bike will be something to consider if you are over the 6ft mark.
All in all the Radon Jab did not live up to the expectations that we had for it. The Swoop is a truly great machine and built for a purpose, destroying enduro tracks and keeping you smiling while doing so. The Jab on the other hand seems to float somewhere in a no man's land. It is hard to pinpoint what this bike is aimed at, as it is no Enduro beasty. Granted the Jab did climb well, but whats a climb without a great descent? The combination of small sizing and a twitchy ride made me want to get back on the Swoop and have a great day out. There are some great details and features but these are outweighed by the performance defects.
Words - Ieuan Williams
Photos - Ieuan Williams/ Alex Hunter
Price - €3599