BERGAMONT THREESOME 5.0 Review - Issue #38

threesome

Bergamont is a German company that has been making bikes for the past 15 years. It may not be a brand you’re familiar with, but it’s pretty big in Europe, selling 70,000 bikes a year. Now, thanks to a German expat, it’s made it to New Zealand. The Threesome 5.0 fits what I consider to be the first level of a ‘proper’ mountain bike. It’s reliable, will go where you want to go, won’t break easily and doesn’t need upgrading straight out of the box. Considering the price of just under $3000, the Threesome 5.0 is nicely put together. It has a RockShox Monarch rear shock, an adjustable travel RockShox Recon coil fork (130 mm), Juicy 3 brakes, X7 shifters, an X9 rear derailleur and a smattering of Deore with the external-bearing cranks and hubs. The bars, stem, grips, seatpost and surprisingly skinny rims are made by Tattoo, Bergamont’s in-house brand. There’s nothing overly fancy here, but this is a solid bike and just as capable as any other on the shop floor. The rear suspension is a linkage actuated single pivot setup with 140 mm of travel. It’s nicely constructed with lovely looking pivots and tidy embossing all over the frame. Sealed bearings are used at the main pivot point and there are bushes out the back. This is to increase stiffness and reduce weight, and with only six degrees of movement for this pivot, it seems to make sense. The frame has a low top tube for easy clearance and the now virtually industry standard tapered head tube––the RockShox forks are just 1 and 1/8 inches. At this price point you also get the same frame as the 8.0, which is the 5.0’s bigger brother. The styling may be more conservative than other brands but the sensible design and build principles that the Germans are famous for are evident in the Taiwanese manufacturing. Bergamont classes the Threesome as an all-mountain bike. Arguably it is, but it’s much more trail focused than freeride light, with a shorter travel fork, longer stem and more conservative angles. It weighs in at 13.6 kg but climbs like a much lighter bike. When pinning it the Threesome certainly felt solid, and the suspension action was smooth and progressive. It wasn’t as lively as other bikes I’ve ridden but makes up for it in dependability. I can see it being a reliable workhorse through various terrains and seasons. I didn’t go looking for lips or drops but when they found me the Threesome took them all in its stride. The bike felt balanced and composed, especially with the surprisingly large but great 2.4 Maxxis Ardents, but it didn’t invite any crazy behaviour or unusual line choices. Fifteen or 20 mm forks are now the standard for this type of bike, and the lack of added stiffness was noticeable. I never needed to adjust the fork’s travel though. The rear shock has a pedal platform but I only switched between fully open or closed, both of which worked perfectly for my requirements. There were some niggles. I tested the large sized frame and was surprised to find the coils too soft in the forks, even though I weigh just over 80 kg. The seatpost clamp was the worst I’ve seen in a while, the seat was unjustly hard and there was some unusual cable routing. Most importantly of all, why design a frame to take 150 mm forks and then hamstring it by giving it just 130 mm? The Recons worked fine, but on occasion the frame felt inhibited by them and I missed out on seeing what the Threesome was truly capable of. While the Threesome is more Turkish bath house than the Swedish sauna the name suggests, I still think it’s an enjoyable bike. Five years ago you would have paid twice as much for a ride as good as this, so if you’re looking for a reliable all-day bike with a decent amount of travel, here’s a good place to start. Everything on it is a solid performer. In time you may want to upgrade to a taller fork but I would think you’d still be pretty happy a year from purchase. MARK DANGERFIELD