The Canyon Strive:ON is a very modern e-bike. You can tell this by its downtube alone.…
The Production Privée Shan No5 will also accept 27.5in wheels too but you’ll need to swap the shock yoke to make the conversion.
This review first appeared in Singletrack World Magazine issue 131
- Bike: Production Privée Shan No5
- Tested by: Andi Sykes for Singletrack Issue 131
- Price: €4,710 for rolling chassis
- From: Production Privée
For this edition of the bike test, I was asked if I could review my Production Privée, and I answered with “Which one?”. You see, I have a bit of a guilty pleasure, and that is Andorran bikes, but it all started with a Production Privée Shan hardtail in those iconic Gulf colours.
I saw that bike in a copy of Dirt Magazine which my brother had brought to China with him while visiting me (I used to live in China) and I remember saying to my wife how much I would love one of those frames and how unlikely it was going to be.
A few years later in Spain – yep, I’ve also lived in Spain – I bought my first Shan, the one with the original laser cut PP logo in the headtube, a design detail that looked great but also allowed water, dirt and grime to eat away at your headset bearings. It wasn’t the Gulf coloured bike, but instead, a blue and white model that I believe was based on the livery of the Ferrari 158 F1 car from back in the ’60s.
That 26in-wheeled Shan took me everywhere around Spain, even to La Fenasossa Bike Park for a demo day with Commencal. While I tested the, then new, Meta 4.2 my Shan was taken for a few hot laps by Commencal staff, hardly surprising as the team behind PP were once Commencal engineers and designers and they all still keep in touch.
Upon returning to the UK I picked up another Shan, this time a Shan 27.5 in black and DVO green with matching DVO Diamond fork. My Shan duo became a trio after I decided to keep hold of a 29in-wheeled Shan GT I tested for Singletrack, I believe that was the first bike I reviewed for STW.
I still have each of those Production Privée bikes. The blue and white bike is now a Zwift machine, the black and green bike is now my son’s and the Shan GT is waiting patiently for me to ride it again, which might be some time away as I now have this.
So this Production Privée Shan No5 29 is the fourth PP that I’ve had, right? Actually, no, it’s the fifth! I did also own the original Shan No5 in yellow with 27.5in wheels, but I ended up selling it because I never really got on with it, so what about this 29er model? Is it a keeper?
It didn’t take long before Production Privée released the 29er version of the Shan No5. The original 27.5in bike launched at a time when many customers really wanted bigger wheels, so it was obvious an updated bike would come along sooner than later.
But let’s not jump into all the nerdy stuff yet, let’s first bask in the magnificence of that paintwork! Like Damien at Production Privée, I’m a fan of cars and so of the two frame colours available I’ve opted for this. Based on the livery of the Lancia rally teams and in particular the insane Group B Lancia Delta, the Shan No5 29 really does jump out from the crowd. If you didn’t want something so gorgeous then you could go for the ‘Classic’, which is still stunning but not epically so like this.
Compared to the carbon and alloy full-suspension bikes we usually see on test, the slim steel tubes of the Shan No5 make for a refreshing change. The tubeset is called MCS and it’s a type of 4130 steel, the same type of material that was used on race car chassis back in the day.
This size large frame gets a reach of 476mm and a seat tube length of 450mm, but the angles are more aggressive than many modern trail bikes with a 64.5° head angle and 77° seat tube angle. The short but straight seat tube allows the bike to be built up with longer dropper posts, so you can buy the frame geometry that suits and get the reach you want without a tower of a seat tube.
Production Privée has kept the design of the Shan No5 as simple as can be. The tubes use external gussets for strength at the head tube and where the shock shuttle bolts to the down tube, and the suspension system is a simple single pivot design with CNC shock yoke which allows the kinematics to be dialled somewhat.
Keeping with the simple approach, all the of the cables and hoses are routed externally with the exception of the very end of the dropper post which is partially stealth. Alloy cable clamps bolt to the frame meaning you can choose the best solution for your set-up.
Other CNC components include that shock yoke and the dropouts which are designed to accept a bolt thru alloy axle.
As you can see I’ve not talked about the build of my bike at all because this isn’t a build that Production Privée offers and also because the build isn’t really what I would choose. My bike was put together by Shimano with a new 1 x 12 XT drivetrain, and a bunch of Pro components. If it had been my build, I would have gone for four-piston brakes with at least 180mm rotors – the tiny rotors and two-piston set-up Shimano gave me is a far cry from what I am used to riding with. Also, I find that the seat clamp on the Pro Koryak dropper post isn’t as secure as some other droppers I’ve ridden with in the past.
Suspension is handled by a 150mm travel Pike Ultimate and a Fox DPS rear shock, giving 140mm travel out back. Not the most advanced shock on the planet but easy enough to set up.
While those steel tubes are skinny, the weight of the frame is pretty hefty – add to that a pair of 2.5in Assegai tyres and geometry that is aimed more towards descending than cross-country and you won’t be surprised to hear the Shan No5 isn’t the fastest of climbers.
In the saddle and up fire road climbs, you won’t really have much to complain about, but out of the saddle that rear suspension does like to get its bob on. I suppose it’s just as well the rear shock has a lockout lever. On tricky climbs, climbing progress can slow; just take your time and keep on the gas and you will get up anything, but don’t expect to take home any KOM trophies.
Once you start descending though, that uphill struggle is soon forgotten and the Shan No5 handles like a bike with much more travel. The long front triangle and low-standover offer huge amounts of confidence when leaning the front into steep chutes and loose corners, while that simple suspension does a surprisingly good job of ironing out the trail.
If, like me, you prefer a more lively ride feel with a little more ramp up towards the end of the stroke then you’ll want to add a volume spacer or two to the Fox DPS rear shock; with that the PP becomes a lively lip popper.
If you’re coming from a carbon or alloy bike, as your confidence and speed increases, you will notice flex from the slim steel tubes that make up the rear triangle, but it’s never disconcerting or worrying, it’s just different.
Speaking of the material, I don’t know if it’s because of the steel tubeset or not, but the Shan No5 is a very quiet bike even in the roughest and rockiest of sections, and that’s saying something, considering the extremely low-tech chainstay protector.
On a less than glowing note, I did experience some tyre rub on the seat tube of my bike after a trip to Bike Park Wales. I think the combination of 2.5in rear tyre and cased landings are the leading cause and it’s not something that I’ve noticed on local trails, which are more steep and rocky than fast and jumpy.
You might be thinking that I’m going to give the Shan No5 a perfect conclusion and tell you to forget what you’re riding now and buy one of these instead, but I’m not.
For a 140mm travel bike, it’s pretty heavy, and far from enjoyable on the climbs. Sure, it’s amazing going the other way, but I think that most people in the market for a 140mm travel bike want a bike that is more of an all-rounder, something lighter, and with a more efficient pedal platform.
I love this bike, but tend to choose it for playing around on in the forest and looping fun lines; it’s also a great bike for bike parks and trail centres with easy fire road climbs or an uplift. I’ve taken it on longer rides and explored on it, but each time I feel I would have had more fun on something more efficient and lighter in weight.
For fans of steel who want to go down and around as fast as they can then give the PP a close look, you’ll certainly be the envy of your mates even if you are the last up the hill.
Production Privée Shan No5 Specification
Frame // Production Privée Shan No5 29 140mm
Fork // RockShox Pike Ultimate 29 150mm
Hubs // Shimano SLX
Rims // Shimano SLX MT620
Tyres // Maxxis Assegai 29 x 2.6in
Chainset // Shimano XT 32T chainring
Rear Mech // Shimano XT M8100
Shifters // Shimano XT M8100 12-speed
Cassette // Shimano XT M8100 10-51T
Brakes // Shimano XT M8100 2 piston
Stem // Pro Koryak 35mm
Bars // Pro Koryak Carbon 800mm
Grips // ODI lock on
Seatpost // Pro Koryak Dropper
Saddle // Pro
Size Tested // Large
Sizes Available // S, M, L, XL
Weight // 16.3kg (35.93535lbs)
This review first appeared in Singletrack World Magazine issue 131
|Price:||€4,710 for rolling chassis|
|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for Singletrack World Magazine Issue 131|