There's a little thing called "crossover" that we take into consideration when we come up with subjects for review in this column. For example, it doesn't make much sense for us to test, oh say, a hang glider. Besides the problem of how to get Stover extricated from a wadded ball of aluminum and nylon somewhere on a cliffside, there's the fact that fewer than one percent of our readers hang-glide. But biking is another banana. Lots of off-road enthusiasts also mountain-bike, so we searched long and hard for a good all-around bike that could climb as well as descend and that combines great value, good components, and killer performance. We found it all in the Fezzari Nebo Peak.
Headquartered in Orem, Utah, Fezzari is right smack in the middle of some of the best mountain biking (and wheeling) in the world. It's a bike designed by hardcore riders and as such, the Nebo Peak is loaded with some of the best components available. For starters, the Fox Talas RLC fork and Fox RP23 rear shock are the stuff of legend. The other components, like the SRAM X9 shifters, SRAM X0 rear derailleur, Avid Elixir R brakes, and more are listed in detail on the company's website and are all top-shelf items normally found on bikes costing twice that of the Nebo Peak.
Don't think, however, that since the price is low that the quality is low. Since Fezzari cuts out the middleman and sells direct, it is able to keep prices down. To order, you take some measurements, and the company's design team builds the bike to your body specs, fitting the right-sized frame with the right-length stem, handlebars, and so on. You basically get a custom-fit bike at a fraction of the cost. Our test bike arrived neatly packaged a few days later and even included the tools needed to put it together. Basically, all we had to do was hang the handlebars, install the pedals, and toss on the front wheel and we were good to go. Fezzari set up the fork and shock to our weight, so right out of the box, we only had to fiddle slightly with the rebound and low-speed compression settings to suit our taste.
We really enjoyed our short time with our test Nebo, clocking over 200 miles on it in just a couple weeks. Our typical 12- to 15-mile ride started almost instantly with a grueling 2-mile climb to the top of a mountain. With a flick of the height adjustment, the Fox Talas fork drops from 150 mm down to 110mm to keep the front end down, and the Propedal is engaged on the rear RP23 shock to eliminate pedal bob. As the climb intensity increases, the SRAM X9 shifters give the command and the carbon-fiber X0 derailleur snaps the chain to the next cog crisply. The bike's 29.5-pound weight is hardly noticeable underneath you. The low-speed compression on the Talas fork offers up a pillowy-soft ride over small rocks and little hits on the way up. At the top of the mountain, flick the Propedal off and raise the Talas into the 130mm position for a fast haul along the trail en route to the single track and downhill sections. The Maxxis tires roll fast and easy. Once at the single track, we select the full 6-inch, 150mm setting on the Talas fork, adjust the quick release to lower the nicely-stitched Rocket V saddle, and drop in. The supple low-speed compression sucks up small incongruities allowing more control in the corners and a higher descent speed than we've previously been able to carry on other bikes. The Avid Elixir brakes grab hold when needed, despite a smallish 160mm front rotor, and don't fade out on the way down, but next time we'd spec the optional 185mm or 203mm rotor. Landing from big-air launches feels bottomless and controlled, allowing us to line up on the next obstacle instead of recover from a harsh landing. And then, all too soon, we're at the bottom with a big grin on our face, ready to turn around and do it again.
The Fezzari Nebo Peak, boys and girls: It's an incredible bike that offers exceptional value considering the components with which it's equipped and the performance it offers.
Model: Fezzari Nebo Peak
Frame: 150mm travel, full-suspension aluminum w/sealed
Fork: Fox Talas RCL with 150mm, 130mm, 110mm travel, lockout force adjustment, rebound adjustment, low-speed compression adjustment
Rear shock: Fox RP23 with 150mm travel, Boost Valve technology, 6-way rebound adjustment, 3-way Propedal adjustment
Shifters: SRAM X9
Front derailleur: SRAM X9
Rear derailleur: SRAM X0
Crankset: Truvativ Fire X 3.3 GXP
Handlebars: Truvativ Stylo
Stem: Truvativ Stylo
Saddle: WTB Rocket V
Rims: Mavic XM317
Tires: Maxxis Larsen TT 2.35-inch
Brakes: Avid Elixir R disc, 160mm rotors
850 W 200 S