Cornering: Despite the bike not having a dropper post, it was
fairly easy to shift our weight around to maintain traction. The
geometry felt comfortable and allowed us to distribute our weight
the way we wanted to. Cornering can be heavily dependent on tire
pressure, and without running tubeless we ran our tire pressures
fairly high to avoid pinch flatting. These higher pressures did affect
our ability to push hard in tight corners at times but didn’t completely shut us down.
Climbing: The Shift comes stock with a 2x10 drivetrain, which
on paper sounds appealing. We were a little surprised to see the
bike come stock with an 11-34 cassette instead of having that
little extra 36-tooth in the back. The rear suspension felt stiff and
responsive with the Monarch switched to the firmer position. The
Shift wasn’t in a hurry to make it to the top of the mountain, but it
got us there in a reasonable amount of time.
Descending: For a bike in this price range the Shift descends
with confidence and is fun to push down the mountain. We didn’t
let “high-posting” stop us from having fun and hitting steep sections of trail. The slacked-out head angle felt stable and allowed us
to move our weight back behind the saddle. The rear suspension
felt impressively smooth and gave the Shift a solid ride quality. On
smooth trails the Shift was fun and responded to banked turns and
built sections well.
TRICKS, TIPS OR UPGRADES?
We convert nearly all of our test bikes to tubeless, but the Shift
comes stock with wire-bead tires that are a bit of a buzzkill in
that regard. We did manage to get a handful of pinch flats during
our testing, which made for a long walk back to the car on one
occasion. Converting the wheels to a tubeless setup will drastically
change the ride. The climbs were a grind at times, and an 11-36
cassette would have given us a little extra push up the steep
sections. If you’re willing to spend the extra cash, a dropper post
would definitely add to the fun factor and keep you from stopping
to adjust your saddle height at the top of the trail, but it’s not a
Proven XT legacy: This is one rear derailleur that we have seen plenty of and know just how well it operates. The rear gearing
came with an 11-34 cassette. Riders looking for a little extra push might want to upgrade to a slightly taller cassette.