Was it worth the wait?
If there’s one thing that we love here at BMX Plus!, it’s getting to test out bikes before they’ve been released. There’s just something about getting a little taste of what the future holds that puts a smile on our faces and gets us pumped up for the next model year, especially when it comes from the good folks over at Subrosa. Whether they are introducing a new product or just refining an old one, Subrosa puts it in high gear to come out with the best product they can that closely follows the trends and needs of today’s riders delivering a result that is never disappointing. So when we asked Subrosa for a new bike to test and they sent over the 2014 Malum, our first thought was, “Wow, is it 2014 already?” followed by excitement to see what Subrosa had in store for the future.
THAT’S A COMPLETE?
Just by looking at the Malum it’s hard to tell that it is a stock complete bike. Subrosa started out with a 100% seamless chromoly frame with integrated head tube, machined Mid bottom bracket, removable brake mounts and an ovalized downtube to help resist denting. The forks are full chromoly as well, with tapered legs and an integrated bearing race which mount up to a Subrosa top load stem and 8.5” chromoly bars with a 28” width and soft Shadow Conspiracy Thirteen grips. Chromoly 3-piece cranks spin freely on a sealed Mid bottom bracket while your feet rest on some Ravager PC pedals from The Shadow Conspiracy. A 25t alloy Subrosa Shred sprocket pairs up to a sealed Rant hub with a 9t driver in the rear and a sealed Rant hub up front, both with female axles that roll on Rant double-wall rims with fat 2.3” Shadow Conspiracy Strada tires. Subrosa ditched the one-piece seat/post combo for 2014 to go with a fat Shadow pivotal seat and post giving you plenty of room to pinch for those barspins or just a comfortable place to rest in between sessions and a pair of Rant pegs beg to be grinded on. The whole package is topped off with a perfect combo of chrome highlights and deep blue paint that make this bike look more like a custom, pro level build than a stock complete.
It seems rare these days that we receive a test bike that has pegs included as most companies try and keep the cost and advertised weight down so pegs are often the easiest part to do without. Needless to say they were a pleasant surprise as pegs open a whole new door for bike tests and riding in general, so we once again enlisted the help of all-round shredder Mitchell Gamble knowing that he would be putting the pegs to good use and ride the Malum like it was meant to be ridden, hard. We decided to meet Mitchell at a middle school with a good variety of street obstacles, from a huge four block to various rails and ledges. We unloaded the Malum and rode it over to Mitchell, said our hello’s and then he asked where the test bike was before realizing that we were riding it to which he replied, “oh wow, I thought you got a new bike.” A few moments later after the disbelief went away, our test rider got on the Malum, took 5 to 10 pedals before bunnyhopping up a 6-stair set, turned around and hopped into a double-peg grind down the 6 stair rail showing instant comfort and immediately eliminating any sort of warm up period or need to actually get used to the Malum. After that, the test was on like Donkey Kong. Mitchell hopped up and spun a few 360’s down the six set and the pegs got their fair share of action with a few more double pegs down the handrail. We then headed over to a steeper 7-stair rail that he wanted to grind up. With a pole at the bottom and a pole at the top, there was no chance of hitting the rail straight on because the bars would not clear the poles, but after a few full speed sprints to uprail attempts, he got it done with a quick hop in, hop out and rode away in victory. If you’ve ever watched or attempted an uprail yourself, then you know that they aren’t always the smoothest, most graceful thing that you can put your bike through, but everything on the Subrosa held tight and we kept the session going. We then rode around the schoolyard for a little while hopping random obstacles and admiring how nice the new Strada tires felt. At 2.3 inches they gave us more than enough cushion on drops and the minimal, low profile tread design made them feel like there was little to no rolling resistance giving us an unbelievably smooth ride. We came across a water fountain that we thought would be cool to wallride over and after a few minutes of setting up for a photo, we got it done first try and we finished out the day sizing up a big 360 down a huge 4-block but with the sun setting and a tricky run up, after a few jumps to flat we decided that the Malum had already more than proved itself street-worthy so we packed it up and called it a day.
BUT THERE’S A CATCH, RIGHT?
At the end of every test there is almost one or two things that we either had problems with or would want to change, but that’s not really the case with the Malum. The usual, often expected bar slip never happened, the wheel never shifted despite the pegs being pounded into a handrail repeatedly at full speed, and even the grips were surprisingly comfortable. But if we had to find something to complain about it have to come down to the lack of bubbles. Yup, we always wanted a bike that would blow bubbles as we were grinding a rail and the Malum did not have any bubbles. Maybe in 2015 Subrosa will step it up and add bubbles, but for now we’ll have to take the Malum as it is.
THAT’S A WRAP
It’s no secret by this point that we loved the Malum. From the dialed paint and chrome highlights to the parts package, the Malum does not look and certainly does not ride like a stock complete but more like that of a custom build. At $569 the Malum is priced at the higher end of the spectrum and the package as a whole will meet the needs of everyone from the beginner to the experienced rider. Between the dialed chromoly frame, fork and bars and the mix of aftermarket Shadow Conspiracy parts, there aren’t really any parts of the Malum that you look at and immediately want to upgrade. The geometry of the Malum is designed around all types of riding, with a 75˚ head tube being nice and responsive, while the 13.75” stays are stable enough for flowing through a set of trails. The 21” top tube is a perfect fit for most riders around 5’7” and above and at 25.5 lbs the Malum isn’t tipping any scales. If you have the attention span of a squirrel and like to skip ahead to the end of stories then we’ll say this; the Malum is a dialed ride that looks great and rides even better. If you’re in the market for a new bike, you might just want to hold off and save your pennies a little longer, because the 2014 Malum might just be the bike of your dreams.
HEAD TUBE: 75˚
SEAT TUBE: 71˚
TOP TUBE: 21”
CHAIN STAYS: 13.75”
WEIGHT: 25.5 lbs
Dialed parts package
Quality frame and fork
Does not shoot bubbles while grinding handrails