Rule The Trail
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The fact that Turner’s first lightweight carbon offering is
geared toward weight-conscious, cross-country riders is not happenstance. Turner recognizes that there is serious demand from
these Lycra-clad warriors who are looking for every advantage.
Still, the Czar was not created solely with racecourses in mind.
While it was built to be light and efficient enough to grab the
top spot of the podium, Turner also wanted it to handle technical trails beyond what most cross-country courses serve up.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Czar’s carbon frame is a blend of high-modulus C6
Turner carbon. Removable cable routing tabs allow for
clean setups and a clever chainstay guide that doubles as a
wraparound protector. The head tube uses 44/56-millimeter
PressFit bearings to protect the carbon front triangle should
your headset come loose mid ride. The bottom bracket uses a
PressFit 30 design, while the rear end uses a 142x12-millime-
ter thru-axle for stiffness and simplicity.
The Czar features 3. 9 inches of dw-link, rear-wheel suspension travel. The pivots are outfitted with threaded Zerk
grease fittings. These fittings aim to make maintenance
easier by allowing grease to be pushed through the bearings
without disassembling them.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Our Czar test bike came equipped with a parts spec fit
for a king. SRAM’s X0 2x10 drivetrain remains one of our
favorite systems, offering quick and positive shifts without
any troubles. Enve’s XC 29 wheels are attention-grabbing both
on and off the bike. The Float CTD Factory Series shock is
Kashima-coated and tuned specifically for the Czar’s dw-link
design. The RockShox SID RCT3 fork is also a standout per-
former at a svelte weight.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving out: The combination of the Czar’s relatively short
chainstays and slack seat tube puts the rider’s weight toward
the rear of the bike. The slackened seat tube also gives the
cockpit a longer feel than the 23-inch top tube length would
suggest. The rider position falls somewhere between an aggres-
sive cross-country position and a more upright trail position
and can be tailored toward one or the other with different
stem lengths, depending on what you’re after. After
a few rides, we settled on 30 percent sag, which
sounds like a lot for a cross-country bike, but
works well with the efficient dw-link sus-
Cornering: On paper, the Czar’s head
tube angle is toward the slack end of the
short-travel spectrum at 69.8-degrees,
but, surprisingly, it doesn’t give up
much, if anything, in low-speed, tight
sections. Only in the tightest switchbacks did we feel the front end begin to
wander ever so slightly.
The Czar feels especially at one with the
trail in fast corners where the lateral stiff-
ness of the frame and wheels can really shine.
The bike simply goes where you want it to and
doesn’t stray off line. The dw-link also helped by
keeping the rear wheel tracking through braking bumps.
The Maxxis Crossmark tires are outstanding rubber for hard-
pack and loose-over-hardpack conditions, giving the Czar a pre-
dictable feel that didn’t have us wondering how far we could
lean it over.
Climbing: Long before Turner was using carbon fiber, its
dw-link-equipped bikes earned a reputation for being superbly
efficient, and the Czar builds on this. Even with 30 percent sag
in the rear and the CTD damper in the Descend setting, the
Czar only suffers minor pedal bob. For this reason, we spent
most of our time on climbs in this setting to better handle
loose and rough terrain. On longer, smoother climbs, or if we
were really pushing the pace, the Trail setting offered a nearly
locked-out feel with just enough give to take the edge off. For
riders who may be on the fence about giving up their hardtail
cross-country race bikes, the Climb setting is for you.
This efficiency isn’t reserved for seated pedaling. Out-of-the-saddle sprints are also met with prompt acceleration that
seems to take full advantage of every pedal stroke. The bike is
stiff laterally but doesn’t feel “dead” like some cheaper carbon
bikes. Instead, the Czar feels snappy and responsive.
Descending: The Czar handles descents as well as many
dedicated trailbikes out there while maintaining a svelte physique. Small chatter is not a problem for the Czar. The bike
feels very controlled at high speeds, but not necessarily glued
to the ground. After a very usable mid-stroke, the shock ramps
up toward the end of the stroke to give the bike a surprising
amount of big-hit performance. While the front end doesn’t
Turner Bikes has long been known for designing some of the best aluminum mountain bikes on the moun- tain; however, as carbon fiber became increasingly
accepted and sought after, David Turner and his crew knew
that the time had come to venture into new territory. So,
based on 20-plus years of mountain bike design knowledge
and cutting-edge frame materials, the carbon Czar was born.
The Turner Czar