-135-millimeter rear travel, 150 front
-Full carbon frame
-Two in-triangle water bottles
-Stout, abuse-ready feel
-Buying process may be too involved for some
-Value may distract you from the bike’s other qualities
It wasn’t that long ago when buying a bike from a direct-to-consumer brand was a bit of a leap of faith, with unknown quality, design and support. The value proposition, however, was so hard to ignore that those initial fears were easily quelled. Fast forward to today, and consumer-direct brands are as much a part of the bike landscape as any other. Fezzari, based in Salt Lake, Utah, has been quietly impressing us with bikes that are on the cutting edge of geometry trends, excellent ride quality and sound engineering. The question is, do they have another winner on their hands with their new Delano Peak?
It’s interesting just how close the geometry numbers on this bike are to the much longer-legged La Sal Peak. Same 65-degree head angle, 1/2-degree slacker seat tube (77.5), almost identical chainstays and slightly a longer reach. This is all in the low settings of the bike’s two adjustable geometry modes, which our testers preferred. The Delano Peak really is, in just about every way, a shorter travel version of that bike, something we’re just fine with.
Frame details are solid: Two water bottle mounts with an option for a third, threaded BB, plus a SRAM universal derailleur hanger—a wise choice in general, but especially so for a brand with no brick and mortar dealers. Cable management was acceptable, and despite not being internally tubed as we’d prefer, it was still rattle free. Tire clearance is good, with room for 2.6-inch rubber. Dropper post travel seemingly grows daily, so post insertion depth is a crucial consideration, and Fezzari nailed it in this department with 300mm, which translates to your inseam actually dictating post travel instead of some kinky seat tube or inconveniently placed pivot. And finally, it’s not bad looking, in a burly-looking kind of way. It has a premium feel to it, and an excellent warranty to boot.
Our test bike was the $4,500 Elite build, and had what testers agreed was a very thoughtful spec at an incredible value. Typical carbon XT bikes from the mainstream brands usually cost as much as $1,000 more. It should be noted however, that they did sneak in an SLX shifter in an otherwise full XT build. We’d do it the other way ‘round if it given the choice. The Stan’s flow S1 wheels are a nice touch and have been favorites among testers for their ability to take a furious beating. Fezzari does offer some customization options, like out-of-the-box tubeless setup and some upgradable parts. The last thing you want to do to your brand new shiny bike is peel the tires and splash in some liquid latex.
While making those choices, you’ll be asked to grab a measuring tape and a mirror to move on to Fezzari’s 23-point fit form, a requirement for online purchase. The interface drew some criticism for being a bit clunky, and also for not spelling out the exact, body-size-related specifications that they extrapolate from the fit data entered. Fezzari assured us that once you’ve pushed the button, you’ll be contacted with all of those details, but for those who already know exactly what they want, they can contact Fezzari directly and spell out things like crank length, bar width and dropper height over the phone.
There were some pretty high expectations for this bike due mainly to how good the La Sal peak is, predominantly in the climbing department. Overall it did deliver, but perhaps not with the authority that was expected. It’s stiff and planted while climbing and really excels when on more technical trail. It doesn’t rocket up the climbs or taunt you to suffer like a Yeti SB130 does, but it isn’t that far off, either. Going downhill, it absolutely delivers, with an almost perfect blend of stability and playfulness. One tester even had his best-in-test downhill run on it. The 135mm of Tetra link suspension (read: Horst-link) feels composed and well-damped, with a shock tune more on the lively side. This bike will appeal to a wide range of riders and can make a good case for itself as a one-bike quiver, especially in areas that are more rocky and challenging.
Fezzari may not have the notoriety of Canyon or YT, but they clearly deserve a portion of the credit for the increase in consumer confidence in direct brands. They have consistently been delivering really good bikes, and the Delano Peak is no exception.
So, get this. You can spend $1,000 less than the $4,500 Delano Peak Elite we tested–and spent half the review lauding for its value–and you still get a nearly full SLX drivetrain, SLX 4-piston brakes, respectable 29mm inner-width WTB rims and X-Fusion dropper, and the boutique cachet of ultra-tunable DVO suspension. That’s still a full carbon frame, still futurist geometry, still two water bottles in the front triangle. The $3,500 Delano Peak Comp is a steal. We still prefer the fox suspension of the Elite model, and you should go for it if you can, but if you’re stretching a bit to get into the truly high end market, here’s a way to do it for far less.
Find it at fezzari.com/delano
Photos: Anthony Smith