First Look: Knolly Warden Carbon

The Knolly Warden Carbon frame is the next addition to our long term test fleet. The Warden is a 155mm All Mountain/ Enduro Bike featuring Knolly's Four by 4 suspension technology and adjustable geometry.


Iwan Kemp will be putting it through its paces on the trails around the Western Cape.

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The Warden we have is the carbon version of the aluminium bike we reviewed last year. Travel has been bumped from 150mm to 155mm for the carbon version. As is the case with a number of modern bikes, the Warden has the option to adjust the geometry. The mounting position of the shock can be changed via twin bolt holes on the lower shock mount. In the low position the bike has a head angle of 65.5°, a 337mm bottom bracket height and a 75° effective seat angle compared to the high setting with 66.5° head angle, a 345.5mm bottom bracket height and a 74° effective seat angle.


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The claimed weight for the frame is 2.8 kg with a DB-Inline shock and features replaceable ISCG 05 tabs, a threaded bottom bracket shell, a pinch bolt 12 x 142mm axle and full internal cable routing. Tyre clearance is massive with enough width out back to run beefy 2.4" or 2.5" rubber.


Knolly's dual-linkage suspension design involves many pivots with lengthy maintenance intervals ensured by using angular-contact cartridge bearings on all the main pivots and Igus bushings in lower-stress locations.


Such is the confidence in their workmanship and durability of their frames that Knolly have announced a limited lifetime warranty (to the original owner) on their frames along with a crash replacement program



  • Side-pull front derailleur
  • ISCG05 Chainguide Tabs
  • 73mm threaded BB Shell
  • 160mm Post mount Rear Brake Tabs
  • Two geometry settings allow you to fine-tune your ride experience
  • Bottle mount inside the main frame
  • Removable downtube guard included
  • Downtube trap door aids cable routing and houses di2 battery
  • Full length seat tube allows for 175mm dropper posts
  • Integrated rubber chainstay protector included
  • Frame Weight: 2835g with a DB-Inline
  • 155mm Rear Travel
  • Wheel Size & Max Width: 27.5" x 2.5"
  • Dropout/Hub Spec: 142 x 12mm axle (included)
  • Headset: 44mm upper & 56mm lower
  • Seatpost Diameter: 31.6mm
  • Post Collar: Size 35.0mm
  • Seatpost insertion depth: 280+mm
  • Entire frame formed by superior 'internal mandrel' layup process
  • Low stress pivot locations rotate on long lasting IGUS bushings
  • Industry leading geometry - Long reach, Low bb height and standover
  • Full internal routing via all-new custom modular door system. Rear brake line can also be routed externally


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Build Kit

The following components have been fitted to the Knolly Warden Carbon frame.


Fork: MRP Stage

The Stage is MRP's All Mountain / Enduro fork and is available 140, 150, 160, or 170mm for 26" or 27.5" bikes and 120, 130, 140, or 150mm for 29ers. The latest version is a dual air fork with positive and negative air that can be adjusted independently. There are also external settings for compression (8 clicks), Ramp Control (16 clicks) and rebound (20 clicks). Most if not all riders, will appreciate the ability to fine tune ramp up via the Ramp Control dial. Ramp Control gives you the ability to make on-the-fly adjustment to the air spring’s ending-stroke curve. Part high-speed compression damping, part bottom-out control. Ramp Control is completely independent of your damper or air spring pressure settings. On a Rockshox or Fox fork you will need to play around with tokens that need to be installed internally (not difficult, but can take some time to fine-tune).


Shock: Fox Float X2

FOX says this is their “highest performing air shock,” and have aimed it squarely at gravity-oriented riders. The Float X2 is high on tuning as it features low and high-speed rebound adjustment as well as externally adjustable low and high-speed compression damping. End stroke ramp-up can also be adjusted by sliding off the outer air sleeve and adding or removing volume spacers as needed.


The only other shock I've ridden with as many settings that can be adjusted externally was the DB-Inline and I'm looking forward to seeing what is possible with the FOX X2.



  • New X2 2-position Open/Firm lever retains high and low speed compression adjustment
  • High- and low-speed compression and high- and low-speed rebound adjustment
  • Advanced RVS damping system provides more tunability
  • High oil flow improves damping control and consistency
  • EVOL air sleeve improves responsiveness and sensitivity
  • Genuine Kashima Coat reduces friction

Wheelset: Corse Components Dopamine

Corse Components specialise in the design and manufacture of high-end carbon and alloy cycling components. The wheelset is built using their hubs that feature a four pawl, 36 point engagement system, with standard size Enduro bearings used throughout. Both hubs and rims are offered in 32 hole only as Corse Components claim this is due to the inherent strength achieved with a 32 hole, two or three cross lacing pattern: further catering to product reliability.


The Corse Dopamine carbon rims have an internal width of 34mm placing them just outside plus size. Corse Components say that these rims combine ideally with a 2.4" tyre, with anything narrower risking a squared edge.


Handlebar & Stem: Descendant Kyle Strait CoLab Bar and Descendant stem

The Descendant bar and stem are old school 31.8mm Aluminium models. Weighing in at 349g the bars are a healthy 808mm wide (will most likely get chopped down to 780mm) and come with a Backsweep of 9º, Upsweep 5º and 25mm rise. The decals are exceptionally well designed and executed.


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I've decided to keep it in the family and run a 50mm Descendant stem. It is 3D forged 7075 aluminium that has been CNC machined for weight reduction. It is a work of art with a chunky, aggressive look.


Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate

Billed as a trail brakeset I will have to see how these fair on an AM beast paired with the 180mm rotors. They carry over several of the Guide brakes tech, but in a slimmed down version to reduce weight. The main thing to watch would be heat build up and how they fare in hot conditions.


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Grips: ODI Rogue

I have carried these over from my Mercer Hungry Monkey build. They have seen their fair share of abuse, but are still holding up fine and I felt that there was no reason to mess with a trusted recipe.


Drivetrain: SRAM and Box Components

For most, Box's new drivetrain components need little introduction. After several years in development their first MTB drivetrain components started shipping towards the end of last year. First out of the gate was their .one. shifter and derailleur and .two. 11-46T cassette. Their .one. range sits at the top of their line-up with the .two. sitting one level down.


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Sporting several unique features, what really sets it apart is the unique single-lever shifter which handles both upshifts and downshifts. Pressing forward on the lever like a normal thumbshifter downshifts the drivetrain to an easier gear, and then pressing in on the lever with the tip of your thumb upshifts into a more difficult gear.


The rear derailleur (there is no front derailleur) comes with an ace or two up it's sleeve. Pivot Tech allows the derailleur to swing backward when it experiences a hit, in an attempt to keep the derailleur or the hanger from breaking and also comes with the now-common "clutch" tech. Box calls theirs “Cam Clutch technology,” and it’s always on and always engaged.


Powering the drivetrain is a SRAM XX1 crank with a 32T Absolute Black direct mount chainring.


Seatpost: RockShock Reverb 150mm Drop

I've upped the drop from 125mm on the Hungry Monkey to 150mm, but could easily have gone with a 175mm or maybe even a 200mm dropper. I think a 200mm drop will be a bit much to get around on, but a 175mm may just be worth the change on a bike like this.


Saddle: Specialized Henge Comp

The Henge is the Trail and All Mountain saddle in Specialized's line-up. Available in two widths (143mm and 155mm) and in this Comp version or the Expert that sits one level up. Low-friction coating on the nose and tail ensures you glide smoothly when shifting weight rearwards.


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SWAT-compatible Allen key mounts in the base of the saddle integrate neatly with Specialized’s own storage solutions, and mean you can mount essential trail gear on the bike and potentially ride without a pack.


The comp features extra padding (compared to the Expert) and weighs in at 252g.


Tires: Maxxis DHR II front and Aggressor rear

We have had these around the office and on a bike or two, details can be found here, but this will be the first time I will try them on a proper big bike. I will keep the option open to run a DHR II on the rear as well, but will first see how things go with the combo as is.


They have been converted to tubeless using Stan's sealant and I'm running a set of Huck Norris anti-pinch-flat insert for the first time.


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Pedals: Point1 Podium

The pedals that just won't die! These have been moved around for a good couple of years now and, amazingly, are still holding out fine with all pins in place and the axle spinning up as intended.


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Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Mar 31 2017 08:54


BaGearA, Mar 31 2017 09:00

Awesome write up !

Bibi, Mar 31 2017 09:08

Very nicely built Iwan and Stefan. Not to forget the new 2017 MRP Stage Enduro fork as well ;)

trail - er - park, Mar 31 2017 09:32

Soooo much of goodness!

Josh0, Mar 31 2017 09:37

I really dig those pedals. I see they are being made by Gamut now, and also pretty expensive at $169, shew!


Are there some Point1's hanging around in SA that I can purchase?

Hairy, Mar 31 2017 09:48

awesome bike indeed.



this is also a really great pic!


Odinson, Mar 31 2017 09:59

Some hardcore bike porn right here. The post needs a 'NSFW' tag.

Odinson, Mar 31 2017 10:03

It's curious that when you Google "Corse Components", it's clear that they have virtually no online presence. Where is the brand from? THIS is apparently their website, according to their Facebook page's 'About' section: http://corsecomponen...oaOlo2WvrP5jLab=

Bibi, Mar 31 2017 10:18

Stefan de Wet of EvoBikes did great job on this Knolly as well. Nice one guys!!

Headshot, Mar 31 2017 11:36

And the price and weight of this build is?

NicoBoshoff, Mar 31 2017 11:57

66.5' = "neutral"


Man how times have changed.

Iwan Kemp, Mar 31 2017 12:44

And the price and weight of this build is?


Will weigh it next week and ask Evobikes to do a rough calc on what the bike as build will set you back. 

NicoBoshoff, Mar 31 2017 01:35

And the price and weight of this build is?

A lot and not a lot.

Pikey, Mar 31 2017 03:53

It just screams hooligan.....And I'm a bad ass mofo

L.T.G, Mar 31 2017 06:48

Yoh!!! I know what I'm dreaming about tonight...


those hoops need just a subtle touch of yellow Bogus love on the lettering...

Mongooser, Apr 01 2017 08:05

first time i've seen a bike come out with a BOX one group

Shebeen, Apr 01 2017 10:36

Call me a [AFR]box[\afr], but I'd never heard of box before this.

Iwan Kemp, Apr 03 2017 07:56

And the price and weight of this build is?


13.4kg inclu those flat pedals and bottle cage.

Iwan Kemp, Apr 03 2017 08:01

first time i've seen a bike come out with a BOX one group


It's a custom build, so not OE. 

Iwan Kemp, Jul 29 2017 11:16

I really dig those pedals. I see they are being made by Gamut now, and also pretty expensive at $169, shew!


Are there some Point1's hanging around in SA that I can purchase?


Point1 never made it to our shores. I bought these direct from overseas, but you can get the Gamut version locally. These will make way for some Spank Oozy pedals soon...