Chemical Bikes Adrenal Electro Slam Review
September 9th, 2016
Product Full Name | Chemical Bikes Adrenal Electro Slam Limited Edition
Retail Price | Full builds from £3600
Available From | Chemical Bikes
Words | Tony Williams of Evolve MTB
Chemical Bikes Adrenal – 150mm travel Enduro race bike
Taking on the bike industry in what seems to be an ocean of choice in terms of bikes right now, Dan Lewis of Chemical Bikes has come up with a beauty of a bike in the Adrenal.
The beautifully crafted carbon Adrenal is a really well thought out bike and one heck of a looker. Whenever I pulled the Adrenal out of the back of the van, you could sense and see people casting a curious, admiring eye over it. It literally pulled people in with it’s sleek, purposeful frame and eye-catching graphics – I reckon I could’ve sold a bike every time I went out on it!
With roots firmly set in Derbyshire, the Adrenal has been designed & tested for UK riding conditions in mind – Dan’s background in design, product development & marketing, tied in with his mountain bike experience has proven to be all the ingredients for the perfect product. Dan told us how there were three prototype bikes tested throughout 2015 – which then saw a lot of changes.
It was down to the Chemical Bikes race team to then test for durability and iron out any issues – their proving ground included EWS stages and the British Enduro Series. After a solid season the bikes have just needed basic servicing – as expected for any bike put through it’s paces on UK soil…
The Chemical Bikes Adrenal is based around a Toray carbon fibre structure, and delivers 150mm of rear wheel travel via a VPP style twin opposing linkage set up (lower linkage, and upper swing link actuating the shock). The frame features built in bash protection, has durable Chroma steel bearings and is specced with a Rock Shox Monarch Plus RC3.
Our (large) 19in frame has some pretty interesting numbers – up front the stock head angle is 67degrees; seat angle a climb friendly 74degrees and wheelbase 1191mm. Interestingly the chainstay length is a touch longer at 439mm – than other similar bike designs. (The Adrenal sits somewhere near a large in Santa Cruz sizing – though the Bronson has shorter chain stays at 432mm, and the size large has a wheelbase of 1189mm).
When you spec the Adrenal, you can choose to add their Race Refine headset – allowing you to slacken the head angle by -1/-2degrees which- further increases the front centre as well as offering a more aggressive stance.
The Chemical Bikes Adrenal is definitely on a par with the YT Capra in terms of value for money. Rolling stock as standard on the Adrenal are Mavic Crossmax XL PRO LTD WTS. With excellent pick up, they’re also fast rolling, relatively light and as strong as Popeye after a can of spinach. Excellent Mavic tyres come with the wheels – the front is confidence inspiring, but the back gets twitchy when a bit of mud shows its face.
Keeping the front wheel pinned is a Rockshox Pike RCT3 160mm – Dual Position Air. Tried and tested, the Pike is one of the best performing forks out there, and offers incredible value.
Shimano XT brakes offer no-fuss power and modulation, and there’s a Shimano transmission too. XT chainset and Shadow Plus Clutch rear mech keep the gears crisp, positive and durable. A Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post is also fitted as standard and there is quality Funn finishing kit with a Kratos 785mm 15mm rise bar and Stripper EVO stem 45mm combo.
Out on the trail:
The Chemical Bikes Adrenal is one of those bikes that just feels right. At 5ft 8” the size large test bike felt lively, fast and highly manoeuvrable. When you start to open up the power and start to hammer down some root infested trails, the Adrenal has a poise that just makes you go faster and faster.
I was lucky enough to have this bike for just over a month – during this time I used it for my day to day work. It saw pretty much all the conditions a bike is likely to face. Gritty, wet Dartmoor rawness; dry and dusty trail centres; loose and rocky trails; tight single track; floaty doubles and cheeky off piste loamy trails with the DH boys. I even used it demonstrating coaching MTB techniques and leading groups on ride outs – and the Adrenal really did take everything in it’s stride.
This bike rips down any trail you point it toward – I genuinely haven’t felt this quick on a bike for a long time. It literally rips the trail apart, making fun of trail features that often leave riders holding back and mooching through – the Adrenal eats it all up and pushes on looking for more to demolish.
I really didn’t want to pack this bike back into the box and send it back to Dan, it was that good. Inspiring, stiff, stunning to look at and some great design features like the lower linkage protector and the heel rub patch on the chain stay. The Chemical Bikes Adrenal has a well considered design – and it does the job very well.
The Chemical Bikes Adrenal is an alternative to many of the big brands out there, and was conceived on the UK shores.
On paper it shares similarities with the YT Capra – though the longer rear end and shorter front end does make the bike feel different. Whilst the Adrenal does feel lively out on the trails, the longer chain stays do take a touch longer to get used to – but give you more rear end grip. Certainly no bad thing!
If you’re on the lookout for a new bike, then seriously take a look at Chemical Bikes. This alternative Enduro shredder offers great value and very good performance. It also inspires your inner devil – it took me close to my limit a couple of times, and felt so much like my DH bike it’s untrue – I loved riding it!