A best seller gets better
With most every company offering complete bikes these days, the complete market has gotten more competitive than ever. This can be tough as a company owner, but as a rider you get to reap the benefits with lower prices and higher quality than ever before. But with such a wide selection of bikes to choose from, at what price do you get a bike that is both reliable and affordable, a bike that will last you more than a few months and is worth investing in? We did some searching and came across the 2013 Stolen Sinner, a complete bike that is not out of reach of the average rider’s budget, but is also a bike that should serve as a solid, reliable tool to build your skills and help take your riding to the next level.
At $450, the Sinner is built around a full chromoly frame with 20.8” top tube, 75˚ head tube and 13.75” chainstays. A full chromoly fork with one-piece steer tube and 8.6” Stolen Tall Boy chromoly bars keep the front sturdy and the bars are held in place by a forged Convict TL stem. The Sinner features a sealed Mid bottom bracket and SIC 3-piece cranks along with Stolen 25t Class 2 chainwheel helping keep the drivetrain nice and smooth. Rolling on Stolen’s 36-hole Revolver rims, the Sinner has a semi-sealed 14mm cassette hub with a 9t driver and up front you get a sealed cartridge hub with a 3/8-inch axle. The Sinner gives you cushion where you need it with a fat 2.3” tire up front and slightly smaller 2.2 tire on there rear helping keep the weight down and the bike rolling fast. If barspins are your thing, or maybe you just want to take a quick break in between sessions, Stolen’s fat Kushion Pivotal seat offers plenty of padding and Stolen was able to drop a few ounces thanks to their Thermalite Pivotal post. Lastly, Stolen has given you options with removable brake mounts allowing you to run the provided Tektro U-brake and lever to rock some fufanus, or go brakeless and drop a little more weight off the Sinner.
With decent parts package and a name like Sinner, we couldn’t help but be a little excited hop on and see what the bike was made of so we called up our secret weapon, Mitchell Gamble, to give the bike his all over the course of one afternoon. We met up at a local school where after about 3 minutes of riding Mitchell to fire out the bangers. We warmed up with some bar-high crack rides on a wall where we had no problem making the hop up thanks to the low weight of the bike, and the fat tires were more than happy to stick to the narrow 2-inch crack. After a few more wallrides the session moved on to a small drop into a grass bank. This is where things got heated, with Mitchell sending big 360’s, no footed can’s and even learning fully stretched bunnyhop supermans in just a few tries which made it clear that he was more than comfortable on the Sinner. After our flat ground box jump session we made our way across town, hitting up a few little spots along the way until we came across a near perfect tree ride in a park. We say near perfect because while it would be hard to find a better tree, thanks to some recent rain the runway was through wet, muddy grass and over some soft woodchips before making it to the tree. As if he didn’t even notice, Mitchell flipped the switch and monster trucked through the mush of the less than perfect run up before blasting 6 foot high carves up the tree over and over. It was clear that his comfort level on the Sinner was near that of his own bike, and to be blasting six feet up a tree with wet, muddy tires shows that there was a lot of trust put in the Sinner. After a few more carves the weather started closing in so we had no choice but called it a day and the test a success. Since the bike didn’t come with pegs, we never got a chance to get our right side grind on, but this doesn’t change the fact that there aren’t many options when it comes to bikes in this price range that are offered in LSD, so if it suits your riding style, the LSD and RSD options of the Sinner are super cool and are one more reason to narrow this bike down to the tip of your selection spear.
As good as the Sinner felt and as comfortable as we were on it, there were a couple problems that we couldn’t shake. First off, the stem on the Sinner would not, or should we say could not, hold the bars in place. The bars literally moved on our very first bunnyhop and from then on slipped every single hop after that. We would take a run, and then readjust the bars, then repeat. No matter how hard we tightened the stem, they’d move, making our session very slow going and frustrating having to constantly reset the bars after every trick. Looking at the stem it’s clear that it is designed to be light weight, however the forged stems minimal clamping surface is no match for the leverage coming from the tall 8.6” rise bars. The second issue we encountered was with the brakes not grabbing. The rims on the Sinner are anodized black and when combined with the harder black brake pads the result are brakes that gently eased us to a stop. It was near raining conditions outside while we were doing our test and we know how the cold weather can affect braking, but we would have still liked to have seen some softer brake pads that were capable of a decent skid. Clear pads would be a huge improvement to this bike overall.
If you’ve read to this point, then it’s very clear that we felt right at home on the Sinner. From the geometry to the overall weight, the Sinner was set up similar to how we’d build our own bike, which made for a great ride. The full chromoly frame, fork and bars serve as a solid core for the bike while the rest of the components all play their part in giving the bike a quality, solid feel. The wheels were stiff, grips were comfortable, seat was soft and the bike rode great but as we mentioned in the prior paragraph, we just couldn’t deal with the stem. We would liked to have seen a more sturdy stem capable of holding the bars in place, even if it were a couple ounces heavier. So upgrading the stem would be a mandatory purchase in order to get a reliable ride, which will also add, around another $50 on to the price of the bike. This is the biggest bummer because with the increased cost, there are more options to pit the Sinner against. Fortunately for your decision making process, we are yet to test a 2013 freestyle complete where the stem didn’t slip, so it has become an added cost to nearly every bike under the $700 mark. Again, we blame the sport wide move towards taller bars, which increase the leverage on old stem designs, which have yet to meet the new clamping demands as the bars have pushed into the 8.5” and taller range. With that said, the Sinner is a great mid-level bike that has comfortable geometry for any terrain and features a solid core should you choose to upgrade any parts later on down the road. The 20.8” top tube and 8.6” bars will fit a slightly taller rider perfect, and the Sinner is also available in a RHD model which is a nice option should you grind on the left. Overall would we invest in the Sinner, even with the added cost of a new stem? We liked the way the bike rode enough that we would, but if we were buying the bike from a local shop, we wouldn’t hesitate to see if the shop would give us a trade in value on the stock stem, buy a new one then and there and never look back.
Head Tube 75˚
Seat Tube 71˚
Top Tube 20.8”
Comfortable, all round geometry
Stem didn’t hold