In 4-Cross and dual slalom, every second counts. The races are short, the tracks are packed with obstacles and, with up to three other riders on the course at a time, banging bars is almost a given. While this style of racing is not what comes to most riders’ minds when they think about mountain bike racing, for a special breed of riders, these intense races are a recipe for a good time.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The Snap Comp is for the 4-Cross or dual-slalom racer who’s looking for a World Cup-level rig, but is not up for completely draining his bank account. The Snap Comp uses the same frameset found on its more expensive sibling, the Snap Pro, which is used by the ChainReactionCycles/Nukeproof team, but is equipped with a more affordable component package.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Snap Comp’s frame is constructed of double-welded, 7005-grade aluminum. It features replaceable rear dropouts that work with either standard 10-millimeter options or Maxle 135 rear wheels. The RockShox Argyle R fork features rebound adjustment and a 20-millimeter thru-axle for stiffness.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
The SRAM X7/X9 drivetrain is an affordable build kit that performs. The 1x10 gearing makes it easy to use, while the X0 chainguide keeps the chain safely in place. The Maxxis High Roller tires are not the fastest-rolling tires out there, but when it came to cornering hard, we could trust that the tires would do their job and hold.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
The Snap Comp is a bike for a specific job. From the first pedal stroke, you can tell that this isn’t your typical mountain bike. The saddle is very low and mainly there for setting up in the gate and as a landing pad, in case your feet blow off the pedals. The cockpit is compact, like a BMX bike, but allows plenty of room for your legs. The Nukeproof 29.9-inch bars are wide but fitting for this bike’s gravity orientation.
The Snap’s stiff frame, low center of gravity, wide bars and 20-millimeter front thru-axle work to help it get through corners as fast as possible.
The Snap is named for its ability to get out of the gate in a hurry, and it delivers. Even while your legs are burning, you can still be sure that your power is getting to the rear wheel. A stout downtube, bottom bracket and chainstays ensure that power transfer is at a maximum. Thanks to the X0 chainguide, we never worried about the chain coming off, allowing us to put the power to the pedals with confidence after landing from jumps.
This bike is all about feeling the track and being as efficient as possible, so don’t expect a plush ride in rough terrain. The RockShox Argyle fork soaks up hard hits, but rides much like a rigid fork over most terrain to help pump the rollers for every bit of speed. Manualing the Snap takes some practice and strength because of the long wheelbase, but at high speed, the stability is welcome.
With its slacker angles and longer wheelbase, the Snap is a stable and predictable jumper. Even when things didn’t go according to plan, we were able to keep it on two wheels, thanks to its stability. The RockShox fork saved our wrists on a couple of occasions when we overshot or cased a jump. In the air, the Snap is fairly nimble and doesn’t mind being thrown around a bit.
The Avid Elixir 3s and meaty Maxxis tires provided good stopping power; however, the brake pads developed a bit of a squeal under hard braking. Of course, ideally, the only time you’ll really hammer the brakes during a race is after you fly through the finish line ahead of your competitors.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
The Snap Comp is a dialed setup for most riders without any glaring weaknesses. If we were going to upgrade some- thing on the bike, we would look at the wheelset first. With the stiffness of the frame and fork, any flex in the wheels becomes more noticeable. A lighter, stiffer set of wheels would help this bike get out of the gate even faster than it already does.
If you are just getting into racing 4-Cross or dual slalom, this bike has everything you need to get going and more. The Snap frame is a great platform that can be upgraded to your heart’s content over the seasons. For more experienced racers looking for every competitive advantage, the more expensive Snap Pro offers a lighter package with a more tunable fork.
This test was reprinted from our August 2012 Issue. Subscribe to MBA here.