• Wheel size: 29 ”
• Fully aluminum frame
• 141 mm travel
• Head angle of 64.5 °
• 485 mm reach (size P3)
• Base 446 mm (size P3), changes with sizes
• Frame £ 1,489 / € 1,739 / $ 1,759 USD
• Complete bike £ 2,989 / € 3,489 / $ 3,719 USD
• Available for pre-order now, delivery January 2021
Privateer saves money by using ready-made frame parts, which are a bit rougher at the edges compared to other more refined aluminum bikes that use their own in-house designed frame parts.
Privateer’s MO since the day they entered the industry has been around affordability. And while it’s a word with positive connotations, the underlying mechanisms to make it happen meant the frames were cheaper. This cheapness comes from their use of open mold frame parts and maybe a little less development time than some of the other brands.
From a distance, the 141 is a nice bike. The proportions and design are attractive and follow very closely the same silhouette of the 161. Get in close and zoom in is where the details start to stand out, and maybe you can see how Privateer brings their bikes to the price they’ve got. they do. If you think it sounds a bit like RAAW Madonna too, then you’re right. Private bikes are actually made in the same Taiwanese factory as RAAW, and they say imitation is the best form of flattery.
The cable routing is a mix of external and internal cables, with the cable of the gear and brake lines attached to the outside of the frame and tight to the steerer tube, the dropper post line being executed internally with a short outer section in shock.
The brake hose and gear cable are all external, primarily using cable ties to hold them to the frame. On either side of the head tube are bolt-on guides which, on our test bike, appear to crease the brake hose without sufficiently tightening the gear cable.
The dropper post cable is routed inside, using bolts on parts, and goes outside for a little stretch under the shock before going back into the seat tube.
The 141, like the 161, uses a huge two-piece construction to connect the bottom bracket, main steerer, lower shock mount, and rocker arm pivot which is made of two machined pieces welded together. Unlike open-mold frame parts, this must have been expensive.
There is a large one-piece rocker arm driving the trunnion damper and a 180mm post-mount brake.
The BB is threaded and has full ISCG tabs. The brake bracket is a 180mm pole bracket. The main connection between the base and the main frame uses three bearings, two on the drive side and one on the non-drive side. The rest of the pivots run on bearings with the lower shock mount using standard Fox hardware and bushings.
There is frame protection on the chainstay, seatstay and underside of the down tube, but it’s pretty basic and comes off already.
Geometry and dimensioning
In a bit of a copy of Specialized, the sizing is not your average S to XL but P1 to P4. The smallest, P1, is a 27.5 “bike while the others are complete 29” bikes.
Scope numbers range from 440mm to 510mm with a base length that scales as you cycle through sizes from 434mm to 452mm. The size range should mimic the 161, jumpers from 1.60m to around 2m.
There is a generous drop in the bottom bracket, giving a BB height of around 340 to 343mm depending on tire choice for the 29 ”version. The P1 gets a smaller 15mm drop with the smaller wheels and should be around 335-340mm BB height.
A 64.5 ° head angle is nice and relaxed while also helping with the versatile nature of the bike and with generous head tube lengths it should help put your hands in a better window for aggressive bike intentions.
The 141 has a slightly slacker seat angle than the very stiff 161, about 1.3 ° slacker between 78.7 and 78.9 ° depending on size. Actual and actual angles cited, and also with the seat fully extended from the telescope, but no exact seat height measurement for this fully extended length Privateer says it is possible to run a pole with 150mm drop on the P1, 175 mm on the P2 and 200 mm on the P3 and P4.
The 141 follows the layout of the 161, with a four-bar layout, a Horst swivel, and a large one-piece toggle link. It uses a 205 x 57.5mm trunnion damper, with the trunnion attachment at the link level.
There is an increase of 15.9% with a starting leverage ratio of around 2.6. After a bit of a bump at the start of the trip, the leverage ratio drops to 2.19.
The anti-squat in the easiest climbing gear starts very high, at 176%, dropping to 84%. Around the sagging window cited, 21 to 35% rear wheel travel, the anti-squat is between 152% and 140%. The anti-lift is between 38% and 49% with a general increase during the trip.
Options, prices and availability
A frame kit option comes with a Fox DPX2 Performance Elite and helmet. It sells for £ 1,489 / € 1,739 / $ 1,759 USD.
The full build option comes with a Fox 36 and DPX2 Performance Elite fork and shock, a 12-speed Shimano SLX drivetrain with an XT shifter, Magura MT5 brakes with 203mm rotors up front and 180mm rear, OneUp V2 dropper and Hunt Trail Wide wheels with a Schwalbe Magic Mary and Hans Dampf tire combination, both Super Trail carcass and Soft compound. It sells for £ 2,989 / € 3,489 / $ 3,719 USD.
The frame alone and the complete bike are available in Raw, Charcoal Gray, and Heritage Green, and are available to pre-order now for delivery in January 2021.
Hopping on the 141 it felt right away, the low BB and long reach combined with the long head tube result in a nice hand and foot position. I am 188 cm tall and size P3 fits me like a glove.
The slightly slacker saddle angle, compared to the 161, is also very nice and results in a riding position that is not too stretched out but not too straight on steeper climbs and flatter trail sections. It allows the seat to be in a nice middle ground allowing adjustment in either direction.
Around Champéry, and Valais in Switzerland, the 141 seems like a very nice little option for many people who are looking for a bit of mountain biking to do it all. This aggressive geometry brings stability, a good fit rider for the comfort and liveliness inherent in the shorter trip while still having enough to get you off a bit of murder here and there.
It also seems like a good recipe for markets like the UK, with mixes of bike trail centers for longer, more technical days in the Welsh and Scottish hills. As Privateer is based in the UK, it’s not much of a surprise.
In terms of driving, it feels good after a few outings. Maybe I’m looking at this bike through the eyes of a bike engineer and overly critical, but in a battle of marginal gains here and there that separate the mediocre from the great, is it too rough around the edges?
It’ll be interesting to see how it holds up in the long run compared to some more refined bikes and what the lower price actually gets you in the long run, rather than on paper. But at first glance, it’s a lot of bike for not a lot of money, but I’m scratching my chin as to how much of that is just specs. Time will tell and I will report back with a full review in the coming months.