A bit of background on how I tested this bike. Since it is truly an entry level bike (based on price and specs), I decided to take it through one of the best newbie trails there are, the world famous Fullerton Loop. Mind you, we say this is a newbie trail, there are more people that get hurt on this trail than any other that I know of. I think what it is, people just don’t expect it to be gnarly or challenging, so their guard is down and when they least expect it, BAM! The Loop strikes!
Before we go on, here’s the specs. The Skookum has an MSRP of $529.99.
• Lightweight alloy frame in 4 sizes.
• Suntour XCT 80mm travel fork.
• SRAM/SR Suntour 24 speed drivetrain.
• Reliable mechanical disc brakes.
• Low profile knobby tires-excellent for traction in all conditions.
Ok let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Though we consider it an entry level bike, the Skookum can handle abuse from a seasoned mountain biker. Not once did I ever experience ANY mechanical issues with the bike. From the time I assembled it out of the box to the last day of testing, the gears shifted precisely, brakes stopped on a dime and the wheels stayed true. The Suntour XCT 80mm fork lacks adjustment controls, it only has pre-load. But if the fork was upgraded to a type that has air/rebound and compression, then you’d be stepping away from $529.99 price point.
Unfortunately, the spec sheet doesn’t show much info about the tires. To my surprise, they are fantastic! They actually remind me of far more expensive tires, the Kenda Small Block Eight. The small knobbies provided great speed without sacrificing traction.
There wasn’t much information about the tires, other than the website name on the sidewall. But even after checking their website, I couldn’t locate the model.
As far as mechanical brakes are concerned, the Promax disc brakes performed really well! They never faded or did the rotors warp at all. They are even adjustable on both sides of the pad. If coupled with a set of compressionless brake cables/housing, you could totally make them feel like hydraulic.
As I mentioned, the Torker Skookum is an entry level bicycle. So what does this mean? Well if you’re just starting out in the sport of mountain biking and you’re not quite sure if its something you’d want to invest too much money into, then this is where the Torker Skookum comes in. With its parts spec and low MSRP, the Skookum makes for the perfect bike for someone that is getting into the sport.
An ideal situation would be this, let’s say you’re an avid mountain biker, but your wife wants to “try” it. You and I both know that it would be foolish to get too excited and get her a $2000 bike without the guarantee that she’ll like the sport or not. The great thing about the Skookum, even if the newbie rider were to fall head over heels (no pun intended) with the sport, they can simply upgrade parts on it if they really wanted to. The Skookum frame is pretty tough and light enough that if you were to mate it with a lighter fork and possibly a wheelset, you could easily have a decent XC race bike. Overall, I liked the Skookum because of the fact it’s a gateway bike. A bike like this will help get more people into our beloved sport. One thing I may add, I LOVED the paint scheme! Black with Green looks pretty legit to me.