PressCamp 2013: David Turner on the Turner Bikes Line

Turner Burner 3-4 1After sneaking some photos of the new Turner Flux earlier in the week, we had the chance to sit down with David Tuner of Turner Bikes to talk about what’s new at Turner, what hasn’t changed, and the company’s vision for the entire range.  Better still, we had the opportunity to spend several hours on Enve-wheel’d Flux, Czar, Sultan, and Burner bikes.  While we’ll save our (very positive) impressions of the bikes we rode for another day, you can find out what we learned from our discussion after the jump…

With 20 years’ experience building mountain bikes, Turner has achieved elder statesman status within the industry.  Turner Czar 29er carbon fiber full suspension mountain bikeMountain biking is clearly a passion for the entire Turner crew- and we saw the entire family taking advantage of Park City’s beautiful trails during our time at PressCamp.  2013-14 is shaping up to be a busy time for the company, with new domestic production hitting its stride, their first carbon fiber model hitting the trails, and big updates to a couple of classic models.

After Sapa pulled out of the bicycle tubing and fabrication business, Turner began a relationship with Zen Fabrications of Portland, OR.  This relationship has allowed them to keep production of all aluminum frames–and the associated profits–here in the United States.  The change has also allowed the company to take advantage of new tubing suppliers and manipulation techniques- as evidenced by the increased use of curved and profiled tubing within the Turner line.

In addition to keeping their riders’ money closer to home, maintaining US production has allowed Turner to remain flexible. As the cost of Asian production has increased, the brand is seeing competitors come around to where they’ve been all along.  That said, this spring’s debut of the 100mm Czar 29er is the first foreign-made Turner.  SONY DSCDespite discussing the possibility with domestic manufacturers, the labor-intensive nature of composites manufacturing made an American-made carbon fiber frame infeasible.

But don’t expect composites to take over the Turner range.  For the foreseeable future, for example, Turner have ruled out a carbon fiber Burner.  As well-received as the 150mm 650b trail bike has been, Turner feel that a bike intended for riders inclined to push their personal and equipment limits may not be the best use for composites.  Instead, Turner would like riders to be able to continue riding their dinged and dented (to a point) bikes with confidence.  With their a high-end, US-made frames, Turner is providing something that their customers demand- and have increasing difficulty finding elsewhere.

Realizing that many riders upgrade their bikes over time rather than replacing them altogether, Turner have a no-nonsense approach to the 29er and 650b wheel revolutions.  Along with bare frames, the brand sells reasonably-priced Upgrade and Starter Kits consisting of the frame, fork, headset, and (in the case of Starter Kits) wheels and tires.  It’s a great idea and helps riders to embrace newer wheel sizes.

The takeaway?  While carbon fiber is clearly on the company’s radar, if Turner is going to use carbon fiber or any other material, it will be a well-considered decision rather than a response to current trends.  The purchase of a Turner is intended to be the beginning of a long-term relationship.

Without further ado, the Turner range:

Czar 100mm 29er:

  • Tuner’s raciest offering- one that still fits 2.4s comfortably
  • Intended long rides at speed:  50mi, stage, and 24-hour racing
  • Versatile enough to be fun on and off the race course

Flux 120mm 650b:

  • A more nimble, lighter-riding rendering of the Burner trail bike
  • Long and low with a 12.8mm bottom bracket
  • Takes advantage of 650b wheels for a quicker, more playful feel than the Sultan

Sultan 125mm 29er:

  • A mid-travel 29er that can be ridden without mentally or physically fatiguing the rider
  • Stable, planted, and solid

Burner 150 140mm 650b:

  • An all-around trail bike for riders pushing their physical and technical limits
  • Higher 13.3in bottom bracket encourages pedaling through rough sections
  • A versatile, dependable, long-term partner

DHR DH 26in race bike:

  • A world-cup downhill race bike
  • Slack, long, and low for ultimate speed and control on steep terrain

We are expecting a Burner and (possibly a Flux) for review shortly- look for our impressions soon.

www.turnerbikes.com

Comments

Jorge - 06/21/13 - 2:16pm

As a past owner of an Intense Tracer Vp, aluminum is pretty forgiving, comfortable and takes a beating! As a carbon fiber hardtail owner I like the stiffness it provides. My point is, it would be cool to make the flux carbon fiber…and let the burner be alloy. I guess there are no real world advantages to have the burner made out of carbon, as I see it, the Intende tracer I had was for play only, I never felt the use of carbon neccessry. Turner frames are stiff and not too heavy. I think Dave is doing the right thing. A Carbon flux would be awesome though…

John - 06/21/13 - 3:02pm

Major kudos to Turner for keeping it real and (mostly) made in the USA!

BT - 06/21/13 - 3:15pm

The 5Spot is dead?

MMyers - 06/21/13 - 6:20pm

As a TNT Flux owner, the new Flux is still quite ugly.

Which seems to be the internet consensus.

Turner is a very small operation, which means that it can be fixed.

Straight top tube with a brace like every other Al Turner. 1/4 pound doesn’t trump aesthetics, Dave.

dale - 06/21/13 - 6:31pm

Carbon is not a new trend.

Tim - 06/21/13 - 7:59pm

MMyers – The frames look completely fine, you’re just being overly critical of how a mountain bike “should” look in your eyes. You fashionable a$$clown.

Chasejj - 06/21/13 - 8:42pm

MMyers- Really? Internet consensus? WTF is that?

You really can’t appreciate the win-win of eliminating the brace and it’s 1/4lb and additional labor and weld joints associated with fitting it?
Gee- lower cost, lower weight , simpler design.

MMyers- You are the definition of an internet retard.

deanopatoni - 06/22/13 - 11:20am

GT are making their 2014 fury an aluminium frame, changing from carbon for 2013.
http://www.pinkbike.com/news/GT-2014-Fury-DH-Bike-video.html
Makes you think right?

gopherlaught - 06/23/13 - 12:01pm

Come on…carbon is here to stay. Its proven and reliable. Innovate like other small builders and get your CAD carbon going or go extinct. I’ve always loved Turners but they seem to be stuck in the past.

gopherlaugh - 06/23/13 - 12:02pm

Go carbon or go extinct. Love Turners but they are stuck in the past.

Big Baller - 06/23/13 - 6:24pm

I guess we will see a lot of micro manufacturers going extinct in the near future because they do not offer carbon fiber. I think that’s a narrow minded view……Turner is not going anywhere regardless of only offering one carbon frame.

D2 - 06/24/13 - 10:06am

I rode this bike at press camp. Aside from the matte finish, I thought it looked pretty badass. Rode well too.

Chris - 06/24/13 - 7:52pm

I hope Turner is here to stay. Their deliberate decision making is what I can appreciate. I don’t care if it takes another two years to release the new 5.Spot or RFX. I don’t care whether it’s made of carbon fiber or aluminum or what size wheels it uses. I trust that if it’s a Turner, it’s going to be dialed and I’m going to want one.

Mindless - 06/25/13 - 4:41pm

There is nothing wrong with aluminum. I hope Ventana, Turner, Foes and Nicolai are available in aluminum as long as I ride.

Madameclarabel - 12/24/13 - 6:15pm

Max Commencal refuses to work with carbon due to the amount of 20 something’s that work in Asia producing it suffering from serious respiratory problems. It’s labour intensive, yes, but it will also have huge health and safety costs for any workforce in the western world

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