On the Trail
 
Out on the trail is where you can fully appreciate the capabilities and overall comfort that the balanced Fluid platform provides. The mix of angles and components complement each other to put you in a centred and comfortable position. You feel the benefits of the 2.6” tyres early on, especially on very rocky terrain as they really soak up the bigger hits. Though I would prefer a lower size, perhaps 2.4”, as I feel the bigger tyres on the big 29” wheels were holding back some of the agility that the geometry of the Fluid was offering. Agility being picking the bike up and transferring from the left to the right of the trail. This is a preference thing though and the added confidence, traction and stability of the bigger tyre will be to the liking of many riders, especially at the price point where the Fluid FS range lies.


 
Adding to the confidence is the slack head angle and long wheelbase, which both aid in enabling the Fluid to tackle steep terrain at speed and still be stable. A big plus for the Fluid is how balanced it feels. Good trail bikes feather the line between slack and steep angles, so the bike can perform admirably on the widest range of terrain from steep to flatter trails. I feel this is the Fluid’s strongest asset as your position on the bike is very stable and balanced whether you are climbing, rolling along flatter trails or tackling steep descents. The short chainstays are a big plus for forward trail agility as you can easily pick the Fluid up over trail furniture, which is pretty cool considering the Fluid’s long wheelbase.

 

In terms of spec, for $3199, there isn’t really anything to fault. The NX Eagle feels very ‘SRAM Eagle’ in a good way, the Guide brakes felt more than capable for most trails and both RockShox fork and shock perform well and aided in the balanced feel. I would prefer a hydraulic dropper over the cable actuated TranzX, but at this price point the little extra effort to drop a seat is well worth it.