By Jeff Price
Maskinen Bikes are based in Denmark and aim to produce a bike that excels in terms of price and performance. I’ve been testing the Prodigy R1 B+ for a few weeks in the UK. Now straight away I’m loving the name, Prodigy, which means sensation/phenomenon is there on the button. As I first cast my eyes on this fine example of carbon loveliness it was a bike that made you say “Wow” out loud. And its black, my favourite!
The carbon High Modulus T800 frame has a lifetime warranty should anything amiss happen. The frame has clearance for a 5” tyre on the rear 197mm 12mm through axle. This makes the frame very versatile as an all year round fat bike as you can change your wheel/tyre size from 5”, 29+ or 27.5+. On closer inspection the frame is produced to a very high standard on the finishing. Internal cable routing is neat and the colour of black and a splatter of red on the rims is awesome.
So this R1 came equipped with a Rockshox Bluto on the front. Most of us know how good the Bluto is at easing the lumps on the front end and it did its job on this test. However the result of having the Bluto on this bike instead of the carbon Maskinen Thor fork, raised the front end and thus slackened the head angle of the bike. This made it great for descending as the geometry worked well but on steep climbs the front end struggled to stay on the ground. The low weight of the bike made the handling of the R1 very responsive when descending. Loose rocky drops were made easy and tight turns were made easy work.
So on the Plus bike side of things, the rims were Maskinen’s carbon Revolvek 27.5 X 50mm which took the 3.25 Vee Tire Trax Fatty, tubeless. These rims were super light, weighing in at 490 grams! They also have a 5 year warranty slapped on them for good measure. The tyres sounded like a fat bike tyre on the tarmac which meant it gave grip, good grip on wet roots and rocks. The downside to good grip is they were a little draggy but not excessively. The bike was rapidly fast from the off.
The R1 is armed with Sram’s top end XX1 which complemented what Maskinen are aiming for, top end performance bikes. At first I was a little unsure how I would manage with just 11 gears, but I must admit the 30t on the front running the 10-42 on the rear worked a treat on the hills of North Wales. The 11 speed set up is a definite hit with me. The crisp changing worked faultlessly and the chain never dropped once. This could be down to the profile of the teeth on the XX1 as they are deep and rounded gripping the chain in place. Acceleration was very noticeable and the bike begged for more with thanks to the light build of the bike.
Braking was achieved thanks to Sram’s Guide Ultimate system. A 200mm rear disc and a 180mm front worked nicely with the carbon levers. One finger braking was easily achieved and no issues were found using them.
A Reverb seatpost was a good addition which came in handy on a few steep occasions. Maskinen’s carbon 820mm bars and 80mm stem gave very responsive steering which finished of this carbon beauty.
In conclusion this is a fine example of how light a top end carbon Plus/Fat bike can be. The R1 was a joy, especially when pointing it downhill and when lifting over gates! If you ride one, you’ll want one.
For more information about Maskinen Bikes visit – www.maskinenbikes.com