WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Our Divide came equipped with Shimano’s almost-perfect
XTR group and Mavic’s five-star Crossmax SLR wheels. If
you’re going to drop $5000 on a frameset, you might as well
dress this bike with the best.
Still, what’s most impressive about the Divide is the finish quality. Titanium is the toughest material to finish properly, and even after inspecting this bike with a fine-toothed
comb, we couldn’t spot a chink in its armor. We’ve seen aluminum and carbon bikes come through our doors with
alignment issues, crooked decals and a host of other defects,
but this frame showed us that it’s still possible to make a
hand-built frame perfectly.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving out: The Divide has a uniquely shaped frame that evoked very different reactions from
the crewers. Whether or not you’re into the look of shaped titanium, it’s definitely eye-catching. The fit of the Divide is pretty conventional, although the 100-millimeter
Moots stem and very narrow 25.9-inch bar make the cockpit feel pretty long.
The shaped top tube keeps standover
height on the low side for a 29er, which is always a plus.
Pedaling: The Divide’s single-pivot design is very active, and as such, it benefits from Fox’s CTD system when pedaling. Moots has done a nice job making the CTD
lever accessible; it’s easy to reach down to flip it. They also did a nice job valving the shock,
because it gives more than adequate damping to keep the
rear suspension firm when it needs to be.
Climbing: We found ourselves switching between the
“trail” mode for technical climbing and the “climb” mode
for longer fire-road climbs. The titanium frame isn’t as stiff
as an aluminum or carbon frame when sprinting, but this
bike is light, and you can feel it going uphill. We set a personal-best time with this bike on one of our regular test
climbs. So even though the frame doesn’t feel like a rocket
ship, at the end of the day, it gets the job done.
Cornering: The Moots’ steep head angle makes it a quick-steering machine, despite the long wheelbase. This bike is stable at speed, and it’s not afraid to dive into a tight switchback
when it needs to. However, flex is noticeable on fast corners.
Descending: The Divide damps trail chatter better than
any bike in this travel category in recent memory. This is
because the titanium can damp vibrations that are too small
for the suspension to pick up. The result is a feeling that
can’t be matched. This bike has a springy feel coming down
the trail that begs to be played with. The longish chainstays
and wheelbase lend stability and confidence on rougher sections, but don’t expect the supple titanium to add a bottomless-travel sensation. The Divide’s steering is quick, so picking the right line and staying loose is the best way down.