Carver O'Beast 2018 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Should I Buy This Bike?
The O'Beast certainly offers high-end performance. This high-end performance is accompanied by a lofty price tag. Out test bike retails for about $4397, but build kits start at about $3600. This unique bike does provide a high-end ride and the ride quality of the titanium frame is excellent.
The Trek Farley is a high-performance bike that retails for $1729. The Farley is a fast rolling fat bike that has 27.5x4.5-inch tires and a solid build kit. This bike shines on straighter and rowdy trails where the big wheels can monster truck over rocks, roots, and holes in the trail.
- - Titanium Frame
- - Available with Rigid or Suspension Fork
- - Front Derailleur Compatible
- - Compatible with 29+ Wheels
- - Threaded Bottom Bracket
The O'Beast is a well-rounded descender. This bike is comfortable speeding down fast and flowy trails. Thanks to its titanium frame, meaty tires, and high-quality suspension fork, the Carver is confident charging over rocky and rough terrain. The high-front end feels very confident on steep terrain but it can feel a little awkward on mellow trails.
The titanium frame offers fantastic descending feel. Titanium is more damp than aluminum or carbon fiber. This gives a more forgiving feel over chatter. The damp feeling is similar to that of steel without the weight penalty of a steel frame. 5.0-inch tires only add to the muted feel over small bumps. Mix in a high end Manitou Mastodon fork and you have formidable downhill weapon. Manitou is not known for super high-performance fork, but the Mastodon pro breaks from this trend.
The angles on the O'Beast are on the steeper end of the spectrum. A 70-degree head tube angle works well enough on a fat bike even though many would consider it too steep for a regular mountain bike. The Carver is at its best charging high speed, flowy, sections of trail. Despite the relatively upright geometry, this bike is not disturbed by bony trails thanks to its suspension fork and meaty tires.
The high front-end on the O'Beast made short work of steep trails. Having your bars a little higher keep your hands in a good spot when the going gets steep. The steeper geometry helps retain excellent slow-speed handling. Low-speed cornering is precise and sharp while high-speed cornering is confident and stable. The Vee Snowshoe XXL tires hooked up well on hardpack and loose/fresh snow. Despite having big, bulky, 5-inch tires, the Carver remained fairly playful.
The Ti O'Beast provides stellar climbing abilities. An upright climbing position paired with a manageable top tube length allows for efficient climbing and sharp handling. The titanium frame allows for the damp feel of steel while retaining a lightweight feel. The 100mm rims paired with 5-inch tires allow for endless traction.
The O'Beast sets riders up in a comfortable and upright climbing position. The rider's hips are placed slightly behind the bottom bracket/cranks. The reach avoids going too long and measures 430mm on the 19-inch frame. This bike puts your upper body in an upright position and doesn't stretch you out.
Uphill handling is excellent. The steep geometry allows for sharp steering and quick line changes. Working through an uphill switchback is relatively east. The 100mm rims provide a very nice footprint when paired with the 5-inch tires. With that much rubber, you can be a little lazy with line choice. Just get a portion of the tire on a rock or obstacle and the Carver will pull right up and over. For added efficiency, use the climb switch on the fork to stiffen the front end. This helps prevent any suspension bob when standing up to hammer.
The Carver's titanium frame pays dividends on the ascent. We mentioned the damp and muted ride characteristics that both steel and titanium possess. The gigantic advantage of titanium is that it is far lighter than steel. When grinding your way uphill on this monster truck, you are thrilled to have the weight savings granted by titanium.
There is no-doubt that Carver is a boutique brand. In fact, it is about as boutique or niche as it gets. The $4400 price tag is over twice as expensive as other thest bikes. That said, the quality of the titanium frame is great and the build kit is very impressive and ride quality is excellent.
The Carver Ti O'Beast is a high-end bike from a high-end manufacturer. There is no doubt the $4400 price tag is expensive. Regardless of price, the titanium Carver performs well on the trail. Climbing is efficient, handling is crisp, and downhill performance is confident. Pair that high-end performance with quality components, and you have a formidable fat bike.
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