DMR SLED - BIKE TEST
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
DMR as a brand should need no introduction. But for the youngsters out there that may not know the brands extensive history, just know this....they are one rad company! Having spawned in the world of dirt jumps and hardtail bikes, the Trailstar or Sidekick were bikes that I would have done crazy things to own when I was a kid.
DMR have ventured into the world of full suspension bikes a good few years back now with the Volt. This 'steel is real' bike was not bad, but not a patch on the newer age trail boss, the Sled. The steel has been swapped out for aluminium and the chassis has had a whole new linkage design. We have some big hopes for this bike.
Suspension and Chassis
The Sled has DMR’s Orbital link suspension design. This has a similar look to the old VVP design that Santacruz used but the linkage on the Sled has a pivot that wraps around the bottom bracket. The Sled fires 160mm of rearward travel through a RockShox Monarch RT3 Damper. Upfront the RockShox setup is completed with the Lyrik RC fork that offers 170mm travel.
Shape and Fit
The size Large bike that was supplied seemed to be pretty up to date. There was more than enough room in the cockpit albeit a little low. The Sled is a pretty up to date machine. It may not class as a super long, low and slack bike anymore but there are some crazy numbers being thrown about from Pole and Geometron right now. The Sleds reach figure of 462.3mm, head angle at 65.5 degrees are good safe numbers that should relate to a fun, nimble and well fitting bike. The number that we would like to improve on would be the bottom bracket height. Measuring in at 344mm it was a tad on the high side.
For the price tag posted on the Sled, there seems to be a pretty good list of components. Upfront there is a RockShox Lyrik fork where most bikes will be fitted with a Yari in this area. The TRP stoppers were also a welcome sight.
Rock Shox Lyrik RC Boost 170mm
Sram Monarch RT3
FSA Grid 35mm / 35mm clamp
FSA Grid Low Rise 800mm / 35mm clamp
X-Fusion Manic 150
Sram GX Eagle
Sram GX Eagle
Sram GX Eagle 12
Sram GX Eagle 32T
DMR have done a great job with the look of the Sled, clean lines with a solid construction, all things we like here at Descend . The guys at DMR have clearly been listening to what bike testers have said, this shines through in the seat tower height. No one wants the seat up their backside after dropping the seat. When looking down at the top tube it is pretty clear that the profile of the tubing is pretty slim. This seems to be all for a good reason, to keep that stiffness flex balance bang on.
Ride wise the Sled has definitely been put together well. The overall chassis feels tight, yet with enough flex built in to give low amounts of fatigue on long rides. The beefy bolted pivot rockers give a real air oF confidence in the bike standing the test of time.
The mixture of numbers equates to a fun ride, and the surprise was that the Sled actually goes back up the hills pretty well too. The seat tower may not be super steep but the mixture of the bottom bracket height and the natural riding position make for a balanced climbing position.
When it came to pointing the Sled down some tracks, it started to open the bike out. After changing out the bar for a higher rise option there was far more room and a better riding position for the descents. Ideally I would have liked to drop the bottom bracket height by 15mm but the bar swap was a good compromise. This then allowed for the aggressive riding position and body shape that I would be looking for in a 27.5 enduro bike.
One of the most impressive attributes that the Sled has is the shear ability to jump. It feels like there are springs in the tyres. After taking the bike to some of the usual haunts, it was clear that DMR have lost none of that heritage for jumping performance. There is no doubt that this bike makes you smile. Who doesn’t love a good send from time to time?
This may be more of an upgrade than a limitation but the rear suspension would definitely benefit from a Damper change. The Monarch is more than enough to deal with most of the riding that you throw at it. When things get a bit more severe or hard hitting, you soon find the limits and blow through the travel.
The other thing that is worth a mention is that I would be mounting the gear shifter on a separate mount. This would allow the brake lever to be inbound on the bar and have the shifter close enough to have ease of access for shifting. It is a simple yet effective change.
The DMR Sled packs a serious punch for the amount of money on the table. This bike was an absolute blast and at no point did I doubt the quality on offer. A silent, solid ride, with a few simple upgrades this bike would be a weapon. It does not matter if you are new to the sport or looking to upgrade a current bike, this Sled is a solid option and should be on most peoples hit list.
WORDS - Ieuan Williams
PHOTOS - Alex Hunter / Ieuan Williams
PRICE - £3500