Spot Ryve 115 Review: First Impressions
Ok ok, I’ll only say it once. Downcountry. There, I said it.
The Spot Ryve 115 review starts with a long weekend in the Colorado backcountry. The Ryve 115 sits between your trail bike and your cross country rig. Having done some bikepacking, I kept thinking how fun it would be to put in some serious seat time on the Ryve 115. I have been dreaming of another Arizona Trail Race or Colorado Trail Race on a machine like this for years. Riding a drop bar hardtail for 5 years, I’ve been wanting more squish for greater longevity in the saddle. The Ryve 115 gave me the perfect plushness on the downhill with rocketship potential on the flats and climbs. This is the type of bike you can rip with your friends on the daily, then unleash it for some serious rocky miles on the weekend.
Spot Bicycles was acquired by the Lumpkin family. You may have heard of them from a little brand they started called Avid back in 1991. Yea, that Avid. Engineering is in their blood and you can really see it in the details on the Ryve 115
Rides: Buffalo Creek Trail System Buffalo creek, CO – Dirty Bizmark Boulder, CO – North Table Mountain Golden, CO
Build: 5 Star Build
Rider Height: 6’0″
Rider Weight: 165lbs
Size Ridden: Large
Living Link Composite Leaf Spring
In any Spot Ryve 115 review, the Living Link would be a very important performance factor to talk about. The Living Link is what is setting Spot full suspension bikes apart from the rest in their respective categories. I wouldn’t do justice in trying to explain the actual function of the leaf spring through the shock’s cycle. You can read about the amazing technology here. However, what I will do is tell you how it felt and how I think it affected my ride. I will be the first to say, I didn’t feel anything crazy different when I was riding the bike on flat terrain or hopping around the yard getting the feel for the suspension. And that’s probably by design.
I felt glued. That is the best way to describe the suspension and Living Link composite leaf spring. The rear tire filled the gaps between rocks, hugged the crest’s of boulders and was planted to the terrain. Having the leaf spring in full actuation mid way through the shock stroke kept it active or aggressive feeling when I needed it most. So is this all a marketing ploy to get you to buy a crazy futuristic suspension system original designed for NASA (that’s a lie)? No, I think I felt a noticeable difference on all of my rides.
DoppelBox Lower Shock Mount
The double wall thickness of the mount is said to provide torsional stiffness between the head tube and the bottom bracket. Torsional stiffness is the kind of force that would give the bike a twisting feeling from front to back. I never felt like I or the trail was overpowering the frame and never left me asking for more stiffness. Being stiff while being supple is an engineering feat in itself and I think Spot nailed it.
Another somewhat understated feature of the DoppelBox lower shock mount is the physical opening below the mount. This type of construction allows for dirt and debris to pass through the opening, exiting the bottom of the frame. You may think this is trivial, however the longevity of your bushings are increased due to the cleanliness of the system.
Bikes like the Transition Spur and the Specialized Epic EVO are all very stiff competition when it comes to 110-120mm travel bikes. In my opinion it all comes down to ride characteristics. On the uphill, I want the bike to feel planted, efficient and waste no momentum while climbing. Spot suggests you leave the compression dampening open when climbing due to the efficiency of the Living Link.
On the uphill, I felt like the Ryve 115 was glued to the ground. There are times when climbing on other bikes, when the rear end almost feels unweighted and it more skips off the terrain than actually grips it. This was not that type of feeling. Each and every crevasse, grain of dirt and rock that it passed over, it felt like it was hugging them. With that feeling comes confidence in climbing harder terrain and overall being more efficient with you energy. I never felt like the bike was steering me, I always felt like I was in full control.
To preface this paragraph, this is not a trail bike and not a cross-country bike, so it shouldn’t lean either way dramatically… and it didn’t. As I said a couple paragraphs up I can see the Ryve 115 as a shining star in the long distances mountain bike races. It is the perfect balance between efficient climber and honestly, completely ripable on the downhill. Without going to the bike park or hucking off anything over a couple feet, this machine took everything I gave to it and kindly asked for more. Remember that planted feeling I got on the uphill? That translates to downhill too. With the ability to suck up varying terrain on the downhill, this very much becomes a trail bike for most riders. Kinda the do-all category for everyone looking to put in some serious-ly comfortable miles.
Other Notable Features:
Matte Hot Tomato Paint: This thing somehow glows while being matte at the same time.
Travel: 120mm up front and 115 in the rear.
Head Tube Angle: 67.4°
Effective Seat Tube Angle: 75.0°
Seat Post: Dropper post for increased clearance when ripping’ down… country
Frame Protector: Plastic piece guarding underside of downtube
Rocker Link: Carbon – Stiff and Light
Bike Weight: This thing is light, starting at 24.2 lbs.
Groovy Guides: There is a little indention in the side of the frame allowing the brake cable to sit snuggly on the exterior of the frame.
So it all comes down to, would I buy it? That is a complete and resounding yes. For the short duration of this Spot Ryve 115 review, I had some incredible rides. Again, I prefer racking up miles to hucking off cliffs so the Spot Ryve 115 provided me everything I needed. Before you buy your next big box bike, try the little guys in Golden, CO. Check out their demos here.
Questions about the Ryve 115? Hit me up in the comments.
If you happen to try one out, tell Spot Dirt & Sol sent you!