Bulgarian brand Cross didn’t watch water running under the bridge too long and came up with mountainbiking’s new star, a 27.5 inch model. Entry-level enthusiats are the favoured ones by the Euphoria G27, but first, let’s recap the perks of a 650B wheeled off-road machinery.
The 27.5 inch standard is anything but new, but has been brought to light recently by manufacturers, mainly to revitalise the industry with something new. Something new also carries along new options, and this should be interesting judging by the simple fact that the last big change in this field took place only 5 years ago, through the 29er mountain bikes. Briefly, the 27.5 inch wheels manages to get together the best of both worlds, namely 26 and 29 inch wheels, and more precisely handling and stability. This should make for a thrilling and efficient outcome, but only given that the 650B model is manufactured by the book. Yet, is this the case of the Cross Euphoria G27?
Frame/On the trail
The word solid is the first that crosses your mind at the initial encounter with the bike. Graphic design enhances this feeling, but unfortunately it doesn’t do the frame any justice when it comes to weight. The Ehuphoria G27 comes just nearly short of toping the 16-kilogram milestone. Yet, the frame’s actual weight is decent, of 2.14 kilograms, therefore the manufacturer must have made some compromise with the components. This is also an acceptable version given the under-700 euro pricetag of the bike, so don’t expect top specifications in this episode!
Agility and handling are at home thanks to the 70.5 degress of the head tube angle, tight turns or steep descents proving to be a poor match for this frame. Adding to the truly enhanced stability are the wide tires, thus balance problems becoming more a thing of the past, while the 690mm handlebar only completes this very inspired configuration that turns control into a child’s play. The backsweep of the handlebar isn’t what I honestly expected though…
The tapered headtube is said to work little miracles when it comes to stiffness, but lab data reveal a 101 Nm/degree stiffness and a stiffness-to-weight ratio of 48.1. Translated into plain speech, this is nothing outstanding, but makes do in adding extra stability and tops a lot of competing frames.
Climbing is rather difficult on the bike, mainly because of the weight. However, the sit on it offers the possibility of good leverage, and combined with some training, things can become smoother. I must admit that it wouldn’t have been an impossible task to bring the weight figure of the Euphoria G27 down by at least 1 kilogram.
The down tube of the frame has a trapezoidal shape, like the tubes of the seatstay. The chainstay however has a peculiar construction and can be easily scratched by the heels of the one who’s pedalling. It’s not really a nuisance, but I don’t believe either you’ll be too glad when the paint gets wiped-off the frame. Then again, maybe the Euphoria G27 wasn’t built for recreational rides, but more for serious riding, even low-level racing, taking into account the small dropouts of the frame and the lack of a mounting place for a luggage rack.
The frame is a good starting point, although stiffness figures don’t blow your mind, but weight is acceptable and finishing touches are carefully crafted. It runs smoothly despite its less than aggressive position, so you might consider upgrading or simply replacing some parts with the right ones according to your riding style.
Getting in the way of better performance are the wheels, made out of Shimano hubs and CRX6 rims. The tires do little to reach a decent weight outcome, with a single one measuring 805 grams, so the total weight of the pair, tire, tubes, sprockets and QR included, easily gest to 5.36 kilograms. The manufacturer’s decision of fitting 2.4-inch wide and beaded tires makes little sense to me, but swapping them with something more competitive isn’t too difficult. Otherwise, the Continental X-King tires are grippy, yet fail to help you keep a high rolling speed.
Cross got it right with the fork though. The Suntor XCR 27.5 model is capable of better performance than XCM models usually found in this price range. Dampening is efficient, weight is of 2,22 kilograms and Lock-Out is included. If you add the tapered steerer, then things get really good regarding functionality.
The 3×9 speed drivetrain consists of a Shadow-less Shimano Deore derailleur, which has some issues to overcome when it’s faced with shifting speed and noise level, and of an Alivio front derailleur, shifters and crankset. Another component that does a good job are the brakes, also coming from Shimano, in the form of the M395 model.
If I were to be asked by someone what would I recommend between a 26er or a 29er entry-level mountain bike, I would dare him to take a spin on the Euphoria G27. Being less than euphorical, the bike is capable of above-average handling and is one of the stars of its range. The shortcomes of this model are the wheelset and its components and the drivetrain, so by changing them you’ll get a rather competitive 27.5 inch mountain bike. So, from forest to mountain trails, the Euphoria manages to perform nicely, but you should keep in mind that the weight figure may cause you some headache when climbing.
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