Patrol New Long Travel 29er, the 691, Shreds at a Competitive Price (First Ride Review)

Based on the Instagram-fueled hordes of tourists, many Westerners think of Bali as a hip, first-world island destination. Heading off the beaten tourist track reveals that Bali is truly still a third-world island, and Indonesia as a whole is undoubtedly a third-world country. Traffic is a lawless every-man-for-himself affair, even though accidents are surprisingly rare. Farmers still break their backs in rice paddies, and poverty—especially in the countryside—is widespread. Don’t drink the water. Be sure to get the right vaccinations before you go. And realize that if you’re in a shuttle van that runs on diesel driving up the flanks of a volcano, you may not be able to find fuel as easily as you thought!

Patrol Mountain Bikes is an independent division of United Bike, a family-owned company founded in Indonesia in 1964. United’s roots in a third-world country still inform Patrol’s philosophy today. “The goal is […] to provide the bike that an average Joe could have fun on. We don’t want to provide a complicated [product],” says Arifin Tedja, Director of Patrol Mountain Bikes and grandson of United Bike’s founders. “Especially in Indonesia, it’s really hard to find a really good bicycle store that has deep knowledge of complicated suspension design.”

In order to operate within the reality that many bike shops, both in Indonesia and abroad, aren’t actually equipped to work on the most technologically advanced suspension and components, Patrol has consciously designed their bikes to be easy to understand and easy to maintain. This ethos permeates the new 691 enduro bike.

Previously, all of Patrol’s full suspension mountain bikes came with 27.5” wheels and tires. For 2020, that all changes as Patrol jumps on the big-wheeled bandwagon, updating their 5-inch and 6-inch travel bikes with 29er wheels.

In my opinion, the standout bike from Patrol’s new lineup is easily the long-travel 691 enduro bike. With 150mm of rear travel and 160mm up front, this burly bike is designed to keep up with some of the biggest trail bikes on the market… and yet Patrol is managing to sell it at a very reasonable price.