ARI LA SAL PEAK REVIEW – THE DO-IT-ALL ENDURO BIKE FROM UTAH

Enduro performance that exceeds its price tag

The frame is clean and simple with plenty of room for a water bottle, though there are no flip-chips or adjustments.

ARI LA SAL PEAK REVIEW

Ari (formerly known as Fezzari) shook things up when they introduced the first generation of the La Sal Peak in 2018, with the second iteration looking to build upon its cult following and progressive nature. Longer, slacker and lower than its predecessor with a bump up to 170mm of travel front and rear, the all-carbon construction is designed to tackle rough enduro stages while still letting you cruise back up to the top with ease. Priced under $4,000, the Comp Shimano build may be a value-driven spec, but the performance it brings goes well beyond the price tag.

 

FRAME

The second generation of the La Sal Peak is constructed from Ari’s CleanCast Carbon, with both the front and rear triangles, as well as the rocker link, being made from the material. Chainstays are fixed throughout the four frame sizes at 437mm, with a 63.5-degree head tube angle and 77.5-degree seat tube angle paired with a 1,265mm wheelbase on a size large.

Our test bike came with a 29-inch front and rear, though the frame is compatible with mixed wheels by way of the flip chip on the rear linkage that tweaks the linkage slightly and raises the bottom bracket to compensate for the smaller rear wheel, as well as steepening the head tube angle by 0.7 degree and seat tube angle by 1.2 degrees.

Other than that, simplicity is the name of the game for the La Sal Peak; there aren’t any other flip chips, frame adjustments or internal storage to speak of. Wheel spacing is standard, with the rear having 12x148mm Boost spacing and the front having 15x110mm. The frame has a threaded bottom bracket.

SUSPENSION

Ari employs their TetraLink suspension on the La Sal Peak, which uses a Horst-link layout to drive the rear shock almost in line with the top tube. There is a DVO ONYX D1 fork cushioning the front end, featuring their D1 damper with high- and low-speed compression adjustments, 22 clicks of rebound control, and DVO’s unique OTT (Off The Top) adjustability. This OTT feature lets you adjust the initial sensitivity of the fork independent of compression and air-pressure settings.

Out back, there is a Topaz 2 air shock, also from DVO, employing a three-position compression adjustment (Open, Mid and Firm), 10 clicks of rebound adjustment and an adjustable air bladder (which works similarly to their OTT fork feature). While both the fork and shock took more time than usual to initially set up, they proved to perform surprisingly well in a variety of conditions.

COMPONENTS

We were sent the Comp Shimano build of the La Sal Peak for testing, which is the lower-tiered build, component-wise, at under $4,000, but still packs a punch in terms of capability, durability and value. The Shimano SLX drivetrain and cranks provided consistent and predictable shifting on par with their XT and XTR offerings, though they are a bit heftier in terms of weight and will necessitate more acute maintenance in the long run. A threaded bottom bracket, also from Shimano, helps with easy maintenance and kept that high-wear area creak-free on our test bike.

Mixed feelings were had regarding the SRAM Code R brakes and Centerline rotors. They took a bit more time than normal to bed in and had some noticeable fade on longer descents. The Stans Flow S2 wheels also had a bit of flex in rougher situations and developed a few loose spokes after one or two test rides, though they performed well and were reliable for the most part. For about $1,000 more, the Elite SRAM and Shimano builds see more powerful Code RSC or XT brakes and a Stan’s MK4 wheelset, along with RockShox Ultimate suspension.

THE BUILD

Being a direct-to-consumer brand, we paid close attention to how Ari shipped the bike to us and how straightforward the build process was. It came in two separate boxes (one for the bulk of the bike and one for the wheels), with the rear derailleur unthreaded from the hanger to prevent it from being damaged. The fork and rear shock were shipped without any air pressure, both to make it more compact for transit and to ensure proper setup, so a shock pump is necessary. With basic mechanical knowledge, the build process was quite easy and straightforward.

We didn’t feel a loss in efficiency when putting down power on the La Sal Peak.

CLIMBING

For having 170mm of front and rear suspension, the La Sal Peak was a balanced and poised climber on pretty much everything—from smooth fire roads to technical singletrack. We mainly kept the shock in the mid setting while climbing, and rarely saw the need to completely firm up the rear suspension. With the anti-squat values sitting at or above 100 percent while at sag, the bike felt much more like something of the mid-travel trail category while putting down power up the trail and was quite efficient.

Tight and technical corners may require a bit more negotiation and technique due to the nearly 1,265mm wheelbase on the size large, but this is a fair trade-off for the bike’s efficiency on the vast majority of climbs. The fork never wallowed or sank too deep in the travel, and the 485mm reach put our test riders in a comfortable and efficient climbing position.

ON THE RIDER: Leatt Gravity 2.0 Jersey ($60), Trail 2.0 Pants ($130); Fox Union Flat Shoes ($150); Bell Super Air Spherical Helmet ($235); BC Goggle Co Enzo Photochromic Sunglasses ($55)

DESCENDING

The stability and balanced nature of the La Sal Peak became evident as soon as it was pointed downhill, helping to make it a versatile arrow in the quiver. Once we got it properly set up, the DVO ONYX D1 fork was sensitive off the top and quieted down trail chatter while still ramping up and providing a progressive platform for bigger hits and landings. Dialing in the OTT settings took a few tries, but once locked in we were impressed with how well it muted braking bumps and helped with front-wheel traction in loose corners.

The Topaz 2 air shock worked just as well, muting small bumps and trail chatter while still ramping up for big hits and hard landings without feeling harsh. Most descents were done in the Open compression setting to let the shock work to its full potential, though we did switch to the mid setting on some flowier trails and for jump sessions when we wanted the most out of the rear end. Our only gripe was that there weren’t any individual compression adjustments on the shock to fine-tune the Open and Mid settings. However, the tune that DVO developed for the La Sal Peak worked very well for the vast majority of our riding and took advantage of Ari’s Tetralink design.

We felt the SRAM Code R brakes held us back at times on longer descents, as we noticed the power fade as they heated up, and they weren’t as punchy as many of us prefer, but they were sufficient when speeds were not as high and on flowy trails. The 1,265mm wheelbase proved to be quite stable in higher-speed tech sections, while the dual 29-inch wheels let us carry speed with ease through corners, and the 485mm reach put us in a dynamic riding position to let us hang off the back when need be.

WHAT DID WE LOVE?

The poised and efficient nature of the La Sal Peak while climbing really impressed us, especially for a 170mm-travel enduro bike. We never felt bogged down and could feel the Tetralink suspension design working to maximize pedal power in an efficient way.

The DVO suspension also stood out to our test riders, impressing us with its sensitivity and suppleness throughout the initial stroke while firming up into a supportive and progressive platform on more significant hits. Having both an open and mid setting on the Topaz 2 shock lets it adapt to a wide range of trails and conditions without losing rear-wheel traction.

WHAT DID WE HATE?

The Comp build is a solid overall value, but the Stan’s Flow S2 rims laced to Bear Pawls hubs didn’t feel durable enough for hard-core enduro riding, and we could feel them flex as we leaned into corners. We would have preferred Stan’s Flow MK4 wheels, which are spec’d on the Elite SRAM and Shimano builds of the La Sal Peak.

Another small issue we found was a very minute amount of play in what we thought was the frame after the first few test rides, which turned out to be a very small tolerance issue with the shock bushing. A simple swap of the mounting hardware seemed to solve this issue for the time being, but it is something we will keep our eye on as we continue riding the bike.

BOTTOM LINE

As it’s built, the La Sal Peak Comp Shimano delivers on most fronts, but with a few changes to components, the Ari La Sal Peak could become the ultimate do-it-all platform to take on your next local enduro race. It climbs efficiently like a shorter-travel trail bike while descending with poise like a true enduro rig. Overall, the balanced feel and simplicity of the La Sal Peak, along with the excellent price point of the Comp Shimano build, make this a hard-hitting and versatile enduro bike that can handle a wide range of trails and terrain.

ARI LA SAL PEAK COMP SHIMANO

aribikes.com

CATEGORY: Enduro

WHEEL SIZE: 29″

SUSPENSION: 170mm (front & rear)

Price: $3,899
Weight: 34.8 pounds (without pedals)
Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
Frame tested: 170mm travel, CleanCast Carbon
Shock: DVO Topaz 2, 230x65mm
Fork: DVO Onyx D1 SC29, 170mm, Boost 15×110, 44mm offset

Wheelset: Stan’s Flow S2, 32h, Bear Pawls sealed bearing hubs
Tires: Maxxis Assegai EXO+, 3C, TR (29×2.5”) front, Maxxis DHR EXO+, 3C, TR (29×2.4”) rear

Seatpost: PNW Rainier dropper (170mm travel)
Saddle: Ergon SM10
Handlebar: Ari Team 35mm
Stem: Ari Charger CNC 35
Grips: Ergon GA2
Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series ZS44/ZS56
Brakes: SRAM Code R
Rotors: SRAM Centerline 200mm (f), 200mm (r)
Rear derailleur: Shimano SLX
Shifters: Shimano SLX Trigger
Crankset: Shimano FC-MT510-1
Bottom bracket: Shimano Hollowtech, 24mm, BB-MT501 threaded
Cassette: Shimano CS-M7100-12, 12-speed, 10-51T
Chain: Shimano SLX 12-speed
Chainrings: Shimano Narrow-wide, 32-tooth

GEOMETRY SIZE LARGE

Head tube angle: 63.5°
Effective seat tube angle: 77.5°
Reach: 485mm (19.1″)
Stack: 630.6mm (24.83″)
Bottom bracket height: 347.6mm (13.69″)
Chainstay length: 437mm (17.2″)
Wheelbase: 1264.8mm (49.79″)

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