The Warden is a bike that Knolly have been producing for quite some time now. While the newly introduced Warden Carbon has taken the limelight lately, they are still offering the alloy model for those who want to stick with metal. The folks at Knolly are quick to point out that their alloy bikes are some of the highest quality money can buy, with dramatic hydroformed tubing all around and impeccable engineering. The alloy Warden handles itself just as well as its carbon brother, but it does weigh about a pound more. Those looking to build the lightest possible Warden should check out the carbon model. But if a pound (as well as a couple other bells and whistles) are no big deal to you, read on...
As with all Knolly bikes, the suspension platform is one of the main attributing factors to the overall ride quality. Many smaller boutique companies choose to license an existing suspension platform to cut down on research and development costs. The CEO of Knolly, Noel Buckley, just happens to be an engineering/suspension wizard, so it should come as no surprise that he has developed an exclusive patented suspension platform called Four by 4. This is not to be confused with the generic 4-Bar linkage term used on many other full suspension bikes out there. Knolly’s Four by 4 is truly something special, with little compromise - and you won’t find it on any other bike brand as it is exclusive to Knolly.
But what’s with all that linkage? Certainly a question that comes up frequently. Yes, it is true that Knolly bikes employ an impressive number of pivots and parts. Rest-assured, this was not an afterthought. Each of those pivot points are strategically placed, and every single detail of this platform has a purpose. Us mountain bikers are a tough bunch to impress. We want our mountain bikes to climb well, descend like a monster, hold momentum over chatter, maintain composure under braking forces, and of course, provide loads of traction. It’s the ultimate challenge for engineers to strike some sort of balance between these factors. Inspired by Formula One auto racing strut-style suspension, Knolly’s Four by 4 suspension technology provides freedom in design and execution that few other platforms can match. This allows Noel to tweak the Warden from the ground up, manipulating wheel path and shock progression completely independently. This leads to a naturally linear-to-progressive suspension rate curve, which is important because it means your shock doesn’t have to to the hard work to provide bottoming resistance, as it would on a bike with a falling rate curve. Ultimately, this means less wear-and-tear on your rear shock, which also means less heat generated. As we all know, heat buildup in a rear shock is no good, and leads to quickly degraded suspension feel. You’ll also find that service intervals on your rear shock may be less frequent compared to other bikes you’ve owned in the past.
Knolly bikes have always been known to climb impressively well, and the Warden is no exception. Again, with the Four by 4 linkage, Knolly is able to provide exceptionally smooth pedaling characteristics with little feedback. The stock Fox Float does employ a climb switch, though we’ve found it’s mostly not needed on the Warden. Under heavy braking, the Warden maintains traction and a fully active suspension feel. There is very little, if any, brake-induced suspension lockup, and no brake jack.
So we know Knolly has it dialed in the suspension department, but geometry also plays a huge roll in the ride quality of the Warden. Targeted towards the aggressive mountain biker, the Warden is sporting slack, long, and low geometry, which is exactly what we would expect. Adding to the versatility of this bike, the Warden utilizes adjustable geometry, allowing you to jump between two main settings. These two settings will adjust your head angle, bottom bracket height, and seat tube angle. The full geometry chart can be viewed below if you’d like to see exact numbers.
Knolly wanted to make this bike as versatile as possible, which means allowing people to build it up however they see fit. Admittedly we don’t really see the point in front derailleurs anymore, but Knolly opted to leave that option open, and has outfitted with the Warden with a front derailleur tab, compatible with 2X Shimano side-pull models. All housing is able to routed externally, with the exception of the internal dropper post routing option. Water bottle cage mounts on the downtube allow for a full-sized water bottle to be used on all frame sizes. Another seriously cool feature on this bike is the full length seat tube, which allows more folks to use 175mm or even 200mm dropper posts. Smaller riders on the small frame can usually get away with a 150mm dropper. This is typically not possible on bikes with interrupted seat tube designs. As with all Knolly bikes, the tire clearance on the Warden is huge - up to 2.6” fits with no issues.
At the end of the day, the Warden is a bike that you can absolutely hammer on day-in and day-out. It is not a bike that you’re going to ride for a week, and spend the next two weeks taking apart linkage trying to track down that phantom creaky noise. The Warden’s outermost pivot locations are all strategically placed in low stress locations, and rotate on long-lasting IGUS bushings. The main pivots rotate on super high quality angular contact cartridge bearings. Planning that next BC Bike Race or epic road trip? Rest assured, the Warden will have your back every step of the way, and you know what? You’ll probably be having a heck of a good time!
The folks at Knolly know that their customers ride bikes often and HARD. Every last detail of their bikes are engineered and built to last, so it should come as no surprise that Knolly offers a limited lifetime warranty on all of their bikes. Rest-assured, your investment is safe with a Knolly.
- Wheel Size: 27.5"
- Frame Material: Aluminum
- Rear Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL Factory
- Rear Shock Hardware Size: M6x21.8mm Top & Bottom
- Rear Susp. Travel: 150mm
- Rear Shock Size: 200mm x 57mm (7.875" x 2.25")
- Rear Axle Standard: 12x142mm
- ISCG Tabs: I-'05
- BB Standard: 73mm BSA
- Front Der. Mount: E-Type Direct Mount
- Seat Post Dia: 31.6mm
- Seat Clamp Dia: 35mm
- Headset Standard :ZS44mm / ZS56mm
- Rear Brake Mount: 160mm Post Mount
- Water Bottle Mounts: One
- Intended Use: Trail/All Mountain/Enduro
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
- 6066-series alloy frameset, extensively hydroformed tubing
- Dual ring compatible. Up to 38T single ring compatible.
- Two geometry settings allow you to fine-tune your ride experience
- Internal dropper post routing