The Beta Tests: We Are One Arrival
The bike we thought nobody needed became the bike everyone wanted
-29 inch wheels
-150mm rear travel, 160 front
-Made in Canada by We Are One
-Only available as complete bikes at time of publishing
-Excels on every part of the trail
-Premium part spec
-XC personality while climbing with a no compromise approach to the descents
-Limited availability, even for today
We Are One
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The underdog story in bike manufacturing always has a draw for me. I mean, who hasn’t thought to themselves, “If I were building bikes, this is the way I would do it.” Making those dreams a reality as a small manufacturer is easier said than done in most cases. Especially when trying to execute all the manufacturing in-house, like We Are One is doing at their Kamloops, British Columbia headquarters. So, when I threw a leg over the stunning, We Are One Arrival, I did it with tempered expectations. It was beautiful, of course, but how would those good looks translate into on-trail performance? Spoiler alert, really damn good.
From the first few pedal strokes, it was clear that the Arrival was one of those bikes that had the secret sauce for climbing. The pedaling efficiency on this bike wakes up the little XC monster within and just makes you want to mash up the hill. It’s got a personality that’s always edging the bike forward and encouraging you to push just a little bit more.
This is especially noticeable when powering through rough terrain. The rear wheel has that magic get-out-of-the-way quality, and never seems to get hung up or make you break cadence. All that power to the pedals translates into tremendous grip that is constantly moving you forward. At 30.9 pounds, it’s certainly got a light and nimble feel underfoot, but it’s more than just a lightweight build that makes this bike so quick going up. The suspension kinematics do a great job of minimizing pedal feedback while remaining super active when encountering technical terrain.
I’ll admit that, as I approached the top of the first climb, I was almost resigned to the fact that pedaling prowess would be the biggest strength of the Arrival and just assumed that there must be some compromise when descending. It quickly became clear that I just needed to stop doubting this bike. As much as I loved the way it climbed, I was completely enamored with the way it descended. It didn’t have the big bruiser personality of some of the high pivot bikes we rode in this test. It was like that light and nimble personality that I loved on the climbs translated into one of the most agile yet planted bikes I’ve ridden in recent memory. When it was time to pop off a lip or snap into a corner, it was so easy to put the bike wherever I wanted on the trail. When it came to touch down, it didn’t really matter what was in the landing. It remained composed and in control even if the line choice was, as it often is, incorrect. It’s got that magic hover-bike effect without ever feeling like there’s compromise in stability or control.
It seems to have a synergy between the ride quality of the frame and the major contact points – the cockpit and the wheels. We Are One Revolution wheels and Da Package bar and stem combo have such a compliant yet precise ride quality. Everything is working in perfect harmony. 157mm spacing out back gives the bike plenty of lateral stiffness the translates into such a snappy beast in the corners.
The Arrival seems to be what you want when you need it; XC personality while pedaling, and a no-compromise approach to the descents. It had the goldilocks effect for me – everything was just right.
A Grip2 damper on the Fox 36 fork up front with a Float Factory X2 out back means nothing is left on the table with suspension performance. That theme of high-end parts spec runs throughout. So, not surprisingly, the Arrival does come with a hefty price tag. Our SP2 spec comes in at $9,000 U.S., the other model, the SP1 AXS build, will set you back $11K. And that’s before you consider the Push 11.6 rear shock upgrade option. It’s a lot.
So, is it worth it? In short, yes, with a big if though. If you’re looking at bikes in this price range, it’s hard to think of a bike that would outclass the Arrival. That’s saying a lot considering who they are stacked up against in that category and price range. A remarkable accomplishment for a small manufacturer on their first crack at a complete bike. But just to get into the base level Arrival you’re going to be at a very top end price point. All that being said, when I put price, or even availability aside, and just think about bikes I’ve ridden over the last year or so that have left a lasting impression the Arrival might be at the top of my list.
Studio photos: Ryan Palmer
Action photos: Paris Gore