Canadian Custom: The Xprezo WUUU 650

Canada’s Xprezo bike company is hard to pin down. While they hand make their bikes in Canada and qualify to display at the North American Handmade Bike Show, they are a far cry from a frame builder working out of his parents’ garage. They offer 14 models of mountain, fat and road bikes that look ready to do battle with the big production brands. The WUUU 650 is the perfect example of this handmade production approach to the trail

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WHO IT IS MADE FOR?

The WUUU 650, with its 4.5 inches of rear wheel travel and 27.5-inch wheels, is all about trail riding. It was born on the singletracks around Quebec. That stuff is tight, twisty and challenging, with a surface laden with roots and rocks.

WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?

Xprezo builds the WUUUU 650 out of an aluminum frame and Columbus chromoly steel tubes for the rear triangle. The bike has a 90-millimeter PressFit bottom bracket, an ISCG 05 adapter, and a tapered head tube. The frame is designed with interchangeable rear dropouts (142X12mm or 135x10mm).

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WHICH COMPONENTS STANDOUT?

Xprezo offers a “Get A Quote” service on their website that allows you to build up your WUUUU 650 the way you want it. Our build, with a 1×11 SRAM drivetrain, RockShox Reverb dropper post and Stan’s NoTubes ZRT Crest wheels is a racy trail bike mix. Think fast but tough.

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HOW DOES IT PERFORM?

The setup: Set the front and rear suspension to 20-percent sag and you are done. Nothing tricky.

The fit: We are talking classic trail bike position with the rider centered and upright. This means you are not required to do a lot of moving around in different riding situations. A little movement is all you need.

Moving out: The Maxxis Ardents in the 2.25-inch width are meaty tires, but they certainly don’t feel sluggish getting up to speed. The 1×11 drivetrain with the lowest gear of 5.5 feet per crank rotation is a tall one for those of us not in racing shape, so setting the shock to Trail mode and getting out of the saddle may be necessary.

Cornering: This bike loves to be counter-steered into corners, and once it drops in, those 27.5-inch wheels give you plenty of confidence. The trick is staying off the brakes so the rear suspension remains fully active. The rear suspension has the ability to overpower the front-end performance so you also have better results shifting your weight slightly to the rear.

Climbing: Nice size wheels and low weight help on the climbs. You want the shock set in Trail or Climb (if it is smooth), and in- or out-of-the-saddle efforts work well.

Descending: This was the biggest surprise and this bike’s strong suit. The thing rolls like a runaway train. Every crewer commented on how fast the bike accelerated as soon as it was pointed downhill. There were sections where we caught ourselves tapping the brakes where we had never tapped them before. It was that much faster.

We found it tough to hold a line on fast off-camber and rough descents. Similar to the cornering performance, the rear suspension overpowers the front suspension so the rider is always trying to find that sweet suspension balance by shifting weight. You need to be precise to get the most out of the WUUUU on the downhills.

Braking: We did feel the rear suspension firm up under hard braking, so the trick is to use the brakes before you enter the corner and get off them when you are in the corner. The trait is not a deal breaker, though, and you might not even notice it unless you have ridden another rear suspension design (like the wrecking crew does every week).

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TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?

We would spec our WUUU with a longer-travel fork. Xprezo allows up to a 5.1-inch-travel fork on this model. Go for it. Also, the WUUU 650 will allow a direct-mount front derailleur for a 2×10 or 3×10 drivetrain option. If you are young, light and fit, a single chainring will work fine. If you are not sure, go for a front derailleur for a 2- or 3-chainring setup.

Canadian riders must be a lot tougher than the wrecking crew, because we found the Chromag Moon saddle intolerably firm. Even its titanium rails couldn’t soften the ride. Something like the company’s Trailmaster saddle would be a better choice, and you’ve always got the WTB Volt and Rocket V or Koobi saddles to fall back on.

Xpresso inverts their shock for “easy access to the CTD lever,” but we found it just the opposite. Inverted, the lever is way low and hard to find. It appears that the shock will fit with the lever up front, but without proper testing (for clearance issues when the suspension is bottomed out), we don’t want to risk telling you to change the shock’s position. Instead, start doing those stretching exercises you’ve been putting off.

The dropper seatpost hose made rear wheel contact when the suspension bottomed. We don’t see an easy workaround on that one. You’ll need to keep an eye on it for wear issues.

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BUYING ADVICE

The WUUU 650 favors tight trails over wide-open terrain and leans more towards the short-travel-trail-bike world than long-travel rock eaters. Since many riders end up with too much bike for their trails, the WUUU makes a lot of sense for riders looking for a fast-rolling, fun-loving trail bike. Build it with a bit more front-end travel and a more versatile drivetrain and you will be saying “Wuuuuuu” down every descent.

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