Test The Best 2016 I took a late drive to Modderfontein with the family today to try out a Camber at the Test The Best demo day. I was lucky to get my hands on the 2016 S-Works version with XX1. I should add that I currently ride an Epic Expert with Di2. But I wanted to know what all the Camber fuss is about. I took the yellow route (+- 35kms) so I got a good feel for the bike. So is it true that the Epic is more of a race bike and the Camber for trail-shredding? Simple answer: yes! It took me a kilometre or two to get used to the different feel for the bike, but after that the Camber's trail ability became obvious. I immediately noticed how the front wheel plants itself firmly to the ground. I am not sure whether this is because of the RS-1 fork or the Camber geometry. But it is VERY noticeable. I pushed it much further than I would with my Epic and it held on easily. Funnily enough, I thought the tail slipped out a little more, but that could have been because of the wet trail. The front never let me down. How much difference did it make? Quite a bit. On 3 to 4 minute sections I was about 20 seconds ahead of my previous PBs (thanks Strava). Another element of the Camber which I loved was its ability to throw itself around a little. Getting airborne over small jumps was much easier, and more balanced. This machine has "fun" written all over it. Having said that, the Camber felt a bit sluggish on the climbs and open flats, compared to the Epic. I was wandering during the climbs whether it was all in my head, or whether I had just been influenced by the marketing hype. Comparing my strava sections, and whereas the tight singletrack sections clearly favoured the Camber, for many of the climbing sections, I didn't even place in my top 3 results. Some climbs I was way off my PBs. And I was pushing the climbs on purpose. Another huge difference was the XX1 vs Di2. After some muddy sections I had to tinker with the barrel adjuster on the XX1. As the kilometres ticked by, the shifting seemed less and less clean. Based purely on this single ride, the Di2 is miles ahead of the XX1. Oh, and the dropper post. A new experience for me which I was quite looking forward to. I did use it for about 4 or 5 technical sections. For me it felt a little weird when the seat was down. I did handle the technical sections better, but I felt a little unstable without the reassurance of the seat directly underneath me. Perhaps something that requires a bit of getting used to. So what is the ultimate verdict? I will be sticking with the Epic and Di2 and rather look to upgrade my frame to the 2016 or 2017 s-works version with the RS-1 fork. If that RS-1 fork can do 80% for the Epic compared to what it did for the Camber today, it is hugely impressive. The reason why I still prefer the Epic is because my season focus is on stage races. I want the easiest bike for the job. And while the Camber is an exceptionally balanced bike, it is not the race machine that the Epic is. I am by no means a podium contender (more like top 1/3 of the field), but the Epic is much more effortless in the energy sapping stuff, like long climbs, and generally faster in the flat sections. For stage races, I don't need the extra time on the singletrack because that is not what saps my energy. But if my focus was 1 day mostly singletrack riding of 50kms or less, I would definitely go for the Camber. It is a beautiful machine.