Here at Slam69, we like to do things differently. Sure, we stock as much of the more widely seen products as possible, but we also like to lead rather than follow…
Aside from being one of the country’s busiest fat bike retailers, we also stock bikes with progressive geometry such as Mondraker. Continuing our shepherd-rather-than-sheep role, we are also the UK’s only Dartmoor distributor. So, in the name of thorough testing, we recently gave our Wish Enduro demo bike to our ‘tame racing driver’ Dave Foster, to see what he thought of the Polish Brand’s first foray into the Enduro market.
Polish perfection or all mouth and no trousers?
First impressions of the Wish, when scanning the geo chart, show a bike that is beginning to dabble with the ‘long, low and slack’ ethos commonly found nowadays. With a short seat tube and low standover, matched to a slack head angle, all the ingredients are there for a properly tasty helping of Bigos (Polish hunter’s stew!). Aesthetically the Wish is adequate with a nice amount of colour options, in the case of our demo bike, loud blue splashes on a gloss black frame scream ‘I’m a wild ride, even if I do look a bit like an old Lapierre spicy’! Fortunately, that’s where the similarities end, the Dartmoor is an absolute ripper! The boys at Slam slightly frankensteined the demo Wish by fitting plus sized tyres to the 27mm (internal) wide Dartmoor Revolt rims, partly for a laugh and partly scientific. The outcome was that the BB was lifted rather high, its not low to begin with, and whilst there was grip by the bucket load on harder surfaces, the narrow rims (for plus tyres) made it hard to find an edge due to the overly rounded profile. We had some fun and swapped back to ‘normal’ tyres to get serious! What it does prove however is that tyre clearance on the Wish really is not an issue, even with it’s ridiculously short 419mm chainstays.
The short back end really does mean the Wish changes direction like a Lioness chasing a gazelle. Normally it would also mean climbing savagely steep climbs becomes an issue too however, Dartmoor have thought ahead here. The seat angle is pleasingly steep at 76 degrees meaning the Wish will happily winch its portly rather than featherweight behind up some of the steepest climbs the XT 1 x 11 would allow. Unfortunately, somewhere Dartmoor do fall short with the Wish, is in that they’ve allowed their freeriding roots steer them a little too much. The Wish only comes in short and long, meaning for shorter riders, the fit will likely be fine but if you’re over 5ft 10, you’re going to find the Wish rather short, playful, but short. The BB height is also a little high too meaning flat corners lack precision at times. What it does mean though, is that with that slack 65 degree head angle, high(ish) BB and tight back end, playfulness comes by the yard load, #lovesbackwheel rings very true with the Wish!
Suspension, S&M and hucks, lots of hucks!
Our demo whip had the sexiest of Fox 36 170 mm forks on the front and a Fox float X on the rear. Whilst the fork felt wonderfully supportive once dialled in, the shock, which is available as an option when speccing the Wish, came with no volume reducers installed. What that meant was the rear end lacked the support of the forks on big hits, further exacerbating a wallowy feel – all could almost certainly be rectified with a decent sized piece of plastic shoved in the rear shock can to reduce volume and ramp up some end stroke progression. You’ll almost certainly want to do that too as once you point the Dartmoor downhill, it’s freeride heritage oozes from its frame. It gets sluggish and boring on pedally, non technical terrain but line it up at some decent sized hucks and it gags for more, like a politician at an S&M party!
We found ourselves riding the Wish more and more how it wanted to be ridden, ludicrously harsh gas-to-flats and regularly barreling into large steps and drops with true hamfisted brutality. It’ll do this all day mind, happily in fact. Even with its outdated 135×12 rear axle spacing and slightly odd geometry options, the Wish is a real riot to ride. Just be sure to buy it for what it’s designed for, and not to pedal around your local XC loop on a Sunday, you’ll hate it for it and the Wish will hate you too!
- Dartmoor Wish frame, size long.
- Fox 36 float forks.
- Fox Float X shock.
- Dartmoor V2 Revolts rims 27.5
- Halo 6d hubs.
- Maxxis Minion DHF tyres.
- Dartmoor Lightning Handlebars 35mm
- Raceface AEFFECT 35mm stem
- Shimano XT 1×11 drivetrain.
- Shimano XT brakes.
Images by: Rich Parkes
Words: Tester Dave Foster and for Slam69, Graham Foot.
Thanks to Adam Wright for modelling for the photo’s.