Founder and President of Maverick Cycles, Paul Turner, completed the first Maverick MonoLink frameset in 1999. Dubbed the ML7, partly because it was the 7th prototype, this new frame design was unlike any other to date. The integration of the shock and the rear triangle was a bold concept requiring proprietary shock components and a heck of a lot of engineering prowess. Now, almost seven years later, the Maverick ML7 is legendary on the trails for efficiency and smooth travel. And, to further validate the design, custom titanium bike frame manufacturer, Seven Cycles has licensed the MonoLink design for their bling bling framesets since 2001.
Not to be satisfied with just the ML7, Maverick introduced their awesome 6.5-inch travel ML8 last year. Now, Maverick has set their sights on splitting the difference between the ML7 and the ML8… so, for 2006, there’s a new kid on the block… the Maverick ML7/5. Boasting five inches of plush, yet efficient travel, the new ML7/5 hits the trailbike market head on.
Maverick ML7/5 (Now the Durance) Details
The new ML7/5 appears to look very similar to the current ML7 frameset–but beefed up where needed. The trademark curved seat tube, MonoLink rear triangle and floating bottom bracket keep the ML7/5 closer to the ML7 than the ML8. The major difference between the ML7 and the ML7/5 comes in the welded one-piece rear triangle, which is very similar to that found on the ML8. In fact, the ML7 is a full 1/3 lb. lighter than the ML7 frameset! The linkage and hydra-formed downtube of the ML7/5 is beefier than the ML7 to provide a solid trailbike platform. With five inches of travel in the rear, the ML7/5 is well-suited with up to a six inch travel fork–though Dave Wittingham of Maverick Cycles tells me that the frame can handle any fork you want.
As tested, the ML7/5 came with the SC32 inverted single-crown five inch fork and a mixture of solid trailbike components.The overall build offered a lightweight, yet stable trailbike build–ready to tackle all-day epics and great for the terrain at Bootleg Canyon.
Maverick ML7/5 On the Trail
Though my time on the ML7/5 was limited, I did get a great overall feel of Maverick’s new trailbike. The beautiful white paintjob on the ML7/5 is outstanding!
Hopping on the bike, I immediately noticed how efficient and plush the MonoLink suspension design is. This was my first spin on any Maverick bike and I liked what I felt right off the bat. While climbing, every pedal stroke felt solid and responsive. The MonoLink suspension design lacks the bells and whistles found on modern platform shocks, but it doesn’t need them. Climbing efficiency is among the best bikes I’ve ridden. Never did I feel like the rear end was losing traction or locking out because of inconsistent pedal strokes in the granny gear. The rear wheel stayed firmly planted in the desert soil.
Set up with five inches of travel front and rear, the Maverick isn’t built for huge drops and rock gardens, but with the DUC32 or other six-inch fork, the ML7/5 could descend with more “point it and go” prowess. As it was, the rear suspension truly soaked up everything I threw at it. I was surprised with the overall plushness and smoothness provided by the MonoLink suspension design. Stutter bumps–you know, those small bumps in the trail that can cause some suspension designs to show their biggest weakness–didn’t phase the ML7/5 one bit. The rear stayed supple enough to absorb and extend through rough and rocky terrain.
I wasn’t super impressed with the rims on the test bike, but that’s a personal preference. On rollers and hard cornering, the wheels flexed and the tires rubbed on the chainstays. Speaking of chainstays, I’m told that tire clearance is up to a 2.5 inch tire, which is perfect for this bike. The curved seat tube looks great, but does give you a very relaxed seat angle, so proper sizing is key. On top of that, the curve prevents the seatpost from slamming down all the way for steep descents.
The SC32 fork is impressive and smooth overall with an inverted fork design making the travel feel very smooth and laterally stiff. I did wish for a little more squish up front and wanted to try the bike with the DUC32 up front, but, unfortunately, I didn’t get back around to it.
The Bottom Line on the Maverick ML7/5
I was pleasantly surprised with the overall feel and performance of the new Maverick ML7/5. As an all-around trailbike, the ML7/5 will outclimb the majority of the bikes out there. And, you’d be hard-pressed to find a smoother and plusher ride–even with all the latest and greatest shock technology.
I loved the spirited climbing and smooth descending of the Maverick ML7/5 and really wanted to get on it with a longer travel DUC32 fork–which would be money on this bike. The ML7/5 is going to be a great choice for anyone looking for an all-around, yet capable bike for both up and down.
Visit WrenchScience.com to purchase a Maverick ML7/5!