Feels more 'trail' than 'enduro' thanks to razor sharp handling and tight, punchy suspension
The Radon Jab’s stealth carbon chassis uses a 4-bar layout to deliver 160mm travel and sports some seriously sculpted profiles, braces and sharp headtube.
Radon Jab review
The black UD chassis also has a dished out section on the massive downtube to accommodate the piggyback shock’s reservoir under compression. Unlike some here, it’s full fibre too, right down to rear stays and suspension rocker link.
Radon’s geometry is up-to-date with 466mm reach in 20in size, short chainstays, and a tipped forward seat tube angle. A neatly integrated rocker flip chip can switch between slacker angles and a lower BB height, and a taller more climb-orientated attitude. We chose 0.6-degrees ‘slacker’ and didn’t feel the need to swap.
Fox kit at both ends delivers control via Performance Elite gear, which is essentially Factory kit, minus the bling Kashima coatings. The longer travel 170mm Float 36 suspension fork uses Fit4, rather than Grip2, damping and has less sophisticated adjustments, but can be firmed with a 3-position dial for less squish while climbing.
The DPX2 shock uses a sealed bearing Trunnion mount and EVOL air spring to aid initial bump response, and the whole package is slickly integrated inside the frame with hidden bearings on the lower mount. We measured the rear as having less (vertical) wheel travel than the 160mm advertised, and this corresponded with tester impressions of a taut, very lively, suspension response.
Even compared to other German direct brands, Radon’s value is pretty special, so parts are at a level you’d expect for double this price from many mainstream brands. It’s not just expensive for the sake of it either. Powerful 4-piston Code disc brakes keep on working and offer a great feel, the 12-speed SRAM Eagle drivetrain doesn’t cut any corners with cheap substitutions, and powers an e*thirteen TRS wheel package that feels tight and fast with tough-enough, wide alloy rims.
Radon uses Schwalbe tyres with the Addix ‘Soft’ compound that’s good in the wet and accentuates the fast rolling, high-octane, feel of the Jab, but the lower-profile rear Hans Dampf tyre isn’t quite as a assured as Maxxis rubber elsewhere in greasy slop and loose dirt.
We’ve had zero experience with the SDG Tellis Vario dropper post, but with 150mm drop and a smooth action, it worked great here.
Tight and lively, the Jab’s name is pretty apt for this German’s punch. This Radon delivers an urgent and precise ride that begs to be jumped, schralped and played on. There’s clearly less outright cushioning and isolation than others here on rough downhills though.
Even with a 10mm longer fork, the Jab package feels tight and like it has less absorption than 160mm at the rear, largely due to a rampy, progressive feel in the rear shock where feet punch a clear supportive platform deeper in the stroke. This effect can be loads of fun and used to propel the chassis through holes and jump faces with tons of aggression and speed generation. The ramp up is smooth, rather than jarring, too, so with the carbon chassis feeling super-solid, stiff and direct too, it accelerates the overall feeling of nimbleness and rapid reaction, especially on machine-made tracks.
This tightness, and being easily the lightest bike on test, makes the Jab a good climber and sprinter under pedal power, easily killing off small uphills and accelerations in undulating trail scenarios. The flipside is how it feels way less planted and a bit edgy trying to hold rooty off cambers at speed, and feeds back more bump information and chassis-unsettling hits.
On the longest fastest straights, it’s also less confident than a Canyon Torque. Repeated hits transmit way more bump information to really pummel forearms and shoes and also noticeably unsettle rider helmet position, which distracts from focussing as far ahead on the trail.
Radon’s Jab is light, pedals well and fun. Once you directly compare it to faster smoother rivals though, this trait is clearly at expense of pure track speed and comfort, so easier, berm-littered, trails feel like its more natural habitat.
Radon’s Jab is a razor sharp and precise 160mm bike that comes over more like a rock-solid trail bike. The super-stiff chassis and tighter suspension make for a less forgiving ride on rowdy tracks, so it definitely wouldn’t be our first choice for enduro racing, where extended comfort and minimising fatigue maximises results. Radon’s parts package is outstanding, plus the geometry and ride position is good, so if you like a tight punchy ride for hitting lips and squaring off berms, with a bit extra on tap for avoiding occasional trouble, this Jab might just hit your sweet spot.