Borealis is relatively new to the fat bike market, but made a very big impression with the introduction of the Yampa and Echo. The Crestone is a refinement of those technologies, with improved geometry, frame design elements, and quality craftsmanship. Much of what was missing on the Yampa can be found on the Crestone after months of rider and market input. The rear QR was finally replaced with a proper thru axle. The rear carbon dropout was reinforced. The standover clearance was decreased. The “calf-bang factor” was improved. Overall geometry improved, making a much more capable bike. You can check out details of the Crestone here on their webpage.
The Deets (from Borealis)
The Crestone is a closed mold, carbon fiber bike frame that represents the most advanced geometry for fat bikes.
- New impact and fatigue standards to match the demands of riders who might ride a fat bike more aggressively
- Totally new frame design developed to be more durable and thrilling to ride, while maintaining an aesthetic becoming of a high performance product
- Weighs in at 150 grams less than the Echo
- Available in two new colorways
- Advanced carbon molding with state of the art production
- Designed with reduced stand over height–top tube drops by one half inch
- Available with SRAM XO1 or XX1 components
Geometry and Sizing
I was sent a size-medium frame after perusing the geometry chart, which is the same size that I typically ride. Top tube and seat tube height are important, but standover height and reach are my main concerns when sizing a bike. The geo is pretty spot on and summed up well in this chart from Borealis:
Borealis has been working hard on shoring up their carbon while making a capably-light frame, and it shows.
The color I was sent pays homage to the Colorado flag, and the paint stands out with a lot of pop.
Borealis was kind enough to send over the top-shelf XX1 build for review, spec’d with a Bluto and the new Maxxis Minion FBF 4.8s. Despite being a relatively-light frame using the lightest components possible, the build came in at just over 29.8lbs with flat pedals (without a dropper), due mainly to aluminium wheels and large, meaty Minions. The tires alone weigh 3.6 lbs, each! Despite the weight, it was a solid build that never felt heavy.
Borealis spec’d this ride with a feathery but stout RaceFace NEXT 750mm bar and 70mm RaceFace stem, Ergon grips, Ergon saddle, and lightweight NEXT carbon post. No quick release was included on the post, which would be a nice addition given the lack of a dropper.
I was delighted to see that this bike came with the new SRAM Guide
RSC Ultimate brakes. I have had SRAM Guide RSC brakes installed on my personal bikes for the past year, including my personal fat bike. These are quiet, modulate well, and stop on a dime. For a comprehensive review of these brakes, look here. I’ve tested the RSCs on the singletrack, at the DH park, and on several fat bikes.
Borealis spared no expense with the lightest, most versatile crankset on the market: the RaceFace NEXT SL. I have also had a lot of experience with these, which I will expound upon in my final review, and compare it to other bikes I have tried them on. They also supplied a gold KMC chain mated to a RaceFace machined 30T chainring, XX1 cassette, and XX1 rear derailleur. An XX1 shifter handles the tranny.
The newest model of the RockShox Bluto with the RTC3 came with the Crestone, which was set at 100mm of travel and has quite a bit more adjustment than the first generation of the Bluto, which I reviewed here.
Borealis included the house-branded 80mm Turnagain hubs laced to beautiful, shiny, anodized blue Turnagain hubs. The hubs are 150mm in the front to accommodate the width of the Bluto, and 197mm in the rear. This, along with wide stays, allows 5 inch tires to clear with ease if the beefy Minion 4.8s aren’t enough to float your boat. The Minions are supple with a 120tpi casing and have very aggressive knobbies. I set these up tubeless immediately, and the Minions were by far the easiest tubeless tire to mate to any rim I’ve tried.
Here is a complete summary of the build from the Borealis website:
|Fork||Borealis Carbon Rigid Fork|
|Headset||Cane Creek 40|
|Hubs||Turnagain: Front 15×150 Rear 12×197|
|Rims||Turnagain FR 80 FTD Tubeless|
|Spokes||Wheelsmith Black DB|
|Nipples||Wheelsmith Black Alloy|
|Rim Strips||Turnagain RS80|
|Tires||26×4.8″ Maxxis Minion FBF EXO TR|
|Bar||Race Face Next SL 35 740mm|
|Stem||Race Face Turbine 70mm|
|Post||Race Face Next SL 31.6mm|
|Saddle||Ergon SME30 EVO “Borealis”|
|Crankset||Race Face Next SL 30t 175mm|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM XX1 11 Speed|
|Cassette||SRAM XG-1199 10-42|
|Shifters||SRAM XX1 11 Speed|
|Brakes||SRAM Guide Ultimate w/Centerline 180/160|
|DT/CS Protector||Lizard Skins|
MSRP with a RockShox Bluto Fork: $6,050
I have already put some miles in on this bike and cannot wait to log some more! Let me know what questions you may have, and I will do my best to answer them during my final review. Thanks!
Here are some more product shots of the Crestone XX1 build:
Last updated by Greg Heil on 02/04/2016 at 2:00pm MST.