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Test: Conway WME 627 & WME 729

Test: Conway WME 627 & WME 729

31.08.20 07:30 16.069Text: Ralf Hauser (Translated by: Carola Felchner)Photos: Erwin HaidenOne specced with 27.5" wheels, the other with 29" WME 627 and WME 729 are basically the same kind of Enduro bike. In this double test we try to find out how they differ in detail, and which one has the edge over the other in the end.31.08.20 07:30 16.069

Test: Conway WME 627 & WME 729

31.08.20 07:30 16.069 Ralf Hauser (Translated by: Carola Felchner) Erwin Haiden Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarOne specced with 27.5" wheels, the other with 29" WME 627 and WME 729 are basically the same kind of Enduro bike. In this double test we try to find out how they differ in detail, and which one has the edge over the other in the end.31.08.20 07:30 16068

We Make Enduro (WME) was the 2015 statement with which Conway added their first genuine Enduro bikes to their lineup. The basic frame layout of that time has remained. Geometry and numerous details such as hidden bearings or an integrated storage box on the down tube of the full carbon frame are supposed to lead the WME series into the next decade.

It is interesting that customers can choose between wheel sizes 27.5" and 29" according to their preferences considering that most geometry values are the same down to the millimetre; spring deflection of the WME 627 model with smaller wheels, however, settles at 170 mm – which is a full 20 mm more than the 29" model offers.
Also pricing of both bikes is similar with WME 627 being available for € 4,399.95 and WME 729 for € 4,299.95. WME 627 is specced with Sram parts including RockShox suspension, WME 729 with Shimano gears and brakes as well as Fox suspension.

Cyclists can choose from a total of seven differently specced versions, four of them with 27.5" wheels, three with 29" wheels. Entry-level bike WME 329 is available for € 2,899.95, top-level model WME 827 for € 6,499.95.
By the way: At least for the 2020 season, WME models are the only full-suspension bikes in Conway's range - full devotion, so to speak.

The frames

The frames of both models are made of carbon. What’s new is that even the rocker arm is made of the black magic material.
The top tube bend in the head tube area is part of Conway's design language. As a side effect the water bottle has a little more space in the frame triangle.
Talking about space: The integrated storage box on the down tube is a very nice detail since more and more people want to go on their rides without a backpack or the like. Two integrated Velcro straps hold utensils in place.

Designed as a real four-pivot system with Horst link at the dropout, suspension remains active even when braking. The floating rear end is compressed from both sides, on one side by the carbon rocker, on the other side by the suspension at the chainstays’ link.
All bearing points are hidden and only accessible from the inside. This does not only look clean, but also reduces susceptibility to dirt.

WME 27.5” and 29” both got rear shocks with different strokes. WME 627 has got an installation dimension of 230 x 65 mm, WME 729 of 230 x 57.5 mm.
The average lever ratio is 2.62 : 1 on 627 and 2.61 : 1 on 729.
In addition, kinematics is slightly adjusted from one wheel size to the other by a flip chip on the upper shock mount.

Cable routing for gears, seat post and brakes is completely internal. Cable ducts ensure that Bowden cables do not hit the inner walls; specific plastic end pieces hold the cables in place at the head tube outlet.
Furthermore, an integrated chain guide holds the chain in place. A small integrated fender protects the rear suspension element from stone chips and heavy dirt.

Officially, tires up to 2.35" fit into the rear triangle, but Conway designed the rear triangle width very generously and thus generated a lot of tire clearance.
The frame weight without shock is stated at about 2,700 g. The complete WME 627 bike weighed 13.875 kg, WME 729 was slightly heavier at 14.295 kg. Both models are available in four sizes (S-XL).

Tech Specs WME 627

Frame: Conway Carbon WME Cassette: Sram PG 1275 Eagle, 10-50t
Sizes: S/M/L/XL Chain: Sram Eagle
Front Suspension: RockShox Lyrik Select +, 170 mm Wheels: DT Swiss Spline M1900, 27,5"
Rear Suspension: RockShox Super Deluxe Select +, 170 mm Tires: Schwalbe Magic Mary, 27,5 x 2,35"
Schwalbe Hans Dampf, 27,5 x 2,35"
Crankset: Sram X1 Carbon, 32t Headset: Acros
Handlebar: Conway Low Rizer, 780 mm Stem: Conway Alloy Light, 31,8 mm
Front brake: Sram G2 RSC, 200 mm Grips: Conway
Rear brake: Sram G2 RSC, 180 mm Saddle: Conway 1489 Sport Light
Shifters: Sram X01 Eagle, 12-fach Seatpost: Contec Drop-A-Gogo, 125 mm
Rear derailleur: Sram X01 Eagle, 12-fach Weight: 13,875 kg (BB scale)
Chain guide: Conway Price: € 4.399,95 UVP

Tech Specs WME 729

Frame: Conway Carbon WME Cassette: Shimano CS-M7100, 10-51t
Sizes: S/M/L/XL Chain: Shimano CN-M7100
Front Suspension: Fox Float 36 Performance, 150 mm Wheels: DT Swiss Spline M1700, 29"
Rear Suspension: Fox Float DPX2, 150 mm Tires: Schwalbe Hans Dampf, 29 x 2,35"
Nobby Nic Evo, 29 x 2,35"
Crankset: Shimano XT FC-M8100, 32t Headset: Acros
Handlebar: Conway Carbon Superlight Rizer, 780 mm Stem: Conway Alloy Light, 31,8 mm
Front brake: Shimano XT BR-M8120, 203 mm Grips: Conway
Rear brake: Shimano XT BR-M8120, 180 mm Saddle: Conway 1489 Sport Light
Shifter: Shimano XT SL-M8100, 12-fach Seatpost: Contec Drop-A-Gogo, 125 mm
Rear derailleur: Shimano XT RD-M8100 Shadow Plus, 12-fach Weight: 14,295 kg (BB scale)
Chain guide: Conway Price: € 4.299,95 UVP

Geometry

Modern, but without any extreme values WME 627 and 729 are similar down to the millimetre in many respects. 65-degree steering angle and 75-degree seat angle define the two most important radii of the WME bikes.
Both bikes have the same front frame triangle, only the rear triangle is adjusted to the different wheel sizes - the only component that differs is the seat stay including linkage for the Horst link in combination with a different shock travel.
In order to create almost exactly the same geometry on both models, 627 is specced with an external 10 mm thick bottom bracket shell on the headset, 729 with a zero-stack version. Thanks to suspension forks of different lengths and travel, even stack height ought to be exactly the same.
Our test bikes in size M have a horizontal top tube length of 594 mm, seat tube length of 430 mm, 445 mm reach and 609 mm stack.

With only 430 mm for the 27.5” bike and an also quite short 440 mm for the 29” model, Conway designed two different chainstay lengths. The wheelbase of WME 729 increases accordingly, but only by three or four millimetres, depending on the frame size (size M wheelbase measured 1,198 mm for WME 627 and 1,202 mm for WME 729).
Since even stack and all other values are the same, the question arises why this value differs by 10 mm. A discrepancy that cannot even be fully explained with a slightly different offset of the suspension forks.

Geometry WME 627

Size S M L XL
Seat tube length (mm) 400 430 460 500
Head tube length (mm) 100 100 100 100
Top tube length (mm) 569 594 619 644
Chainstays length (mm) 430 430 430 430
Steering angle (°) 65° 65° 65° 65°
Seat angle (°) 75° 75° 75° 75°
Stack (mm) 608 609 617 631
Reach (mm) 421 445 467 487
Wheelbase (mm) 1173 1198 1224 1250

Geometry WME 729

Size S M L XL
Seat tube length (mm) 400 430 460 500
Head tube length (mm) 100 100 100 100
Top tube length (mm) 569 594 619 644
Chain stay length (mm) 440 440 440 440
Steering angle (°) 65° 65° 65° 65°
Seat angle (°) 75° 75° 75° 75°
Stack (mm) 608 609 617 631
Reach (mm) 421 445 467 487
Wheelbase (mm) 1177 1202 1227 1253

Parts

As far as suspension parts are concerned, WME 627 (RockShox) and 729 (Fox) go their separate ways.

More precisely, 627 features a Lyrik Select suspension fork and Super Deluxe Select + rear triangle element. The fork works with DebonAir air suspension and a Charger RC damping system, which is a slimmed down version of their Charger 2.1 system. Rebound and compression damping are adjustable.
627’s RockShox Lyrik 27.5" has an offset of 46 mm.
The Super Deluxe Select + suspension element also works with a version of DebonAir air suspension but comes with RT damping system. Rebound damping is adjustable, a threshold lever adds a platform to suppress bouncing if necessary.
Maxima Plush damper oil in both suspensions reduces the damper’s friction and noise.

729 is specced with a Fox Float 36 Performance with 150 mm travel and black anodized dip tube coating, EVOL air suspension and GRIP shock. Compared to GRIP2 the latter is a somewhat simpler system in terms of adjustability but rebound and compression can be adjusted independently. The offset of the selected model is 42 mm.
Also, the DPX2 rear-end element comes with EVOL air chamber and features rebound damping and a platform lever.

Both bikes are specced with a Contec Drop-A-Gogo telescopic seat post with 125 mm drop, which is used for sizes S and M. L size bikes have 150 mm, XL bikes 170 mm.
They come with DT Swiss wheels with straight-pull Centerlock hubs, rims are made of aluminium. WME 729 is specced with the 29” version of XM1700 wheels that have an inner rim width of 30 mm, WME 627 rides on XM1900 wheels with an inner rim width of 35 mm.
Both handlebars are 780 mm wide, WME 729 even has a Conway carbon handlebar, WME 627 only got one made of aluminium.

On the trail

Due to the thin-walled tires of both bikes, I installed tire inserts with tubeless conversion in the front as well as in the back of both bikes as test setup, so that they would not loose air every few metres in rough terrain.
Since our WME 729 test bike was delivered with another rear tire that was not tubeless ready, we had to switch to a different model.

 ... you cannot help but exiting flowtrail sections with a broad grin. 

About WME 627’s willingness to be pushed into curves

Climbing

A category in which the bikes’ wheel-related advantages and disadvantages lead to a relentless battle.

A battle of physics: a bike with a 27.5" rear wheel can be accelerated more quickly due to its lower rotational mass; an advantage that is of course noticeable when setting off, but also with every acceleration, e.g. out of tight bends.
On the other hand, the 729 has better rollover ability and traction, especially on loose ground. Once it rolls, it glides smoothly over uneven surfaces and tends to better maintain the built-up speed.

The seat angle of 75 degrees is okay for both of them, but not really that outstanding these days. Bikes with a few more seat angle degrees allow for a more efficient position to convert pedalling into propulsion.
I pushed the saddle to the limit on both bikes in order to be able to position myself further forward and was quite satisfied with the result even on long tours.

There was no rocking of the rear suspension noticeable on either model, it is not even really visible when looking at the rocker while pedalling on level ground. The suspension elements’ platform lever can be left untouched in 99 percent of cases - but they are quite easily reachable when bending down a bit, if you want to suppress the rear movement almost completely on long asphalt passages.
Nevertheless, the chassis reacts very sensitively to uneven ground, which makes for a smooth, efficient ride. Conway has excellently mastered this difficult balancing act.

Both bikes master steep technical climbs with ease, their front wheels stay on the ground without much physical effort. However, 729 seems to require a little more effort on really steep climbs than 627. It is anyone’s guess whether this is due to the slightly higher weight or the higher flywheel mass of the larger wheel; it is probably a mixture of both.
With 13.88 kg (WME 627) and 14.3 kg (WME 729) there is not much difference in weight between both bikes. These are very good weight values for full-fledged Enduro bikes – and both felt even lighter on the trail.
Efficient suspension and the wheels’ system weight both contribute to the bikes’ smooth propulsion.

Considering this, it is difficult to determine a real winner. As far as I am concerned, I would prefer WME 627 due to its better acceleration, as I have always felt a certain aversion to getting larger wheels going (which requires a little more effort).
But the better rollover ability and traction of the 29" bike should not be underestimated either, apart from the fact that WME 729 climbs smoothly and the 29" wheels’ system weight is also quite low and therefore they are quite easy to get rolling. The difference in weight is too small to make any difference.
Therefore, both bikes draw level here.

1:1

 The greater running smoothness directly translates into a higher feeling of safety, which normally translates into higher speeds. 

Larger means smoother in the case of WME 729

Agility

WME 627 (at least starting from size M) is not really a nervous ride but feels noticeably livelier than 729. This is partly due to the short 430 mm chainstays, which surprisingly also fit the size M frame well - I know of bikes with similar measurements, which felt much less balanced. I cannot tell whether this also applies to the larger frames with longer reach, but experience shows that an imbalance results from a longer front combined with a short rear, because the rider's weight bears down on the rear of the bike and pressure has to be built up actively on the front.
WME 627 reacts very willingly to the rider’s weight shifts and steering movements so that you cannot help but exiting flowtracks with a broad grin.

Also 729 takes tight bends willingly as with 65 degrees its steering angle is not yet extremely flat. The 29" wheels stabilize the bike due to their rotational mass in a way that requires a more sophisticated riding technique to be able to push the bike into tight bends quickly. Also due to the 10 mm longer chainstay the wheelbase is slightly longer. This is in no way problematic but makes the bike slightly less agile than WME 627.

2:1

Running smoothness

When it comes to the opposite of agility before-mentioned characteristics are of advantage to the 729 though. The greater running smoothness directly translates into a higher feeling of safety, which normally translates into higher speeds.

WME 627 also likes high speeds but cannot quite convey the feeling of 29" wheels. How much more nervous the size S model feels, I can only conclude from experiences of the past years. As far as I am concerned, however, I don’t want to ride a bike with less than a 450 mm reach anymore.

2:2

Suspension

Conway has nailed kinematics of the rear triangle and thus the general damping behaviour of both WME models: Sensitive at the beginning of suspension travel, with sufficient counterpressure in the mid-range and high final progression to keep the rear triangle on track even when hitting hard bumps. A strategy that some companies have unfortunately still not managed to implement in their Enduro bikes.
In any case, this way a solid platform to finetune the suspension performance is created. In addition, both bikes offer the option of installing volume spacers in the rear end for greater progression and reducing the air pressure for a little more sag. I didn't really feel the need for this, although I would certainly experiment with the option if I rode the bikes for a longer period of time.

Over the years Fox and RockShox have taken two slightly different approaches to suspension tuning, and both have found their fans.

As usual with RockShox, rear end suspension of the 627 feels a bit slow and lifeless during a test on a parking lot. Lightweight riders may consider the Super Deluxe shock probably even a bit too much. Interestingly enough, not much of this is felt on the trail, damping is good, if not necessarily as good as with Fox’ DPX2 element though.

Seen over the entire range of suspension travel, the 627’s 15% progression is a bit higher than WME 729’s at 14%, but that’s of no consequence. Although these figures may seem low on paper, the characteristic’s curve linear course prevents punches efficiently towards the end of the travel.
The suspension fork is quick and easy to adjust. The fact that it has only one adjuster for both compression and rebound will not be a problem for most riders, unless they have a very specific feel-good setup or participate in races where every second counts.

At 729’s rear, a DPX2 Performance suspension element is used. This is an extremely capable absorber of shocks of all kinds, which can be made extremely progressive in its spring characteristic with volume spacers subsequently, should one want to advance in such territory. The rebound damping can be adjusted over a very wide range and the absorption capacity is enormously high even on more radical trails, which makes the bike a good companion for Enduro adventures.
With the right setup (my personal favourite is two volume spacers with slightly lower air pressure for high sensitivity with good punch protection) the 36 fork creates a good compromise between shock absorption that is easy on the hands and control in rough terrain. Although it tends to dive a little more than a comparable model with GRIP2, its sensitivity and ability to absorb shocks of all kinds is nevertheless excellent and it can easily compete with some more expensive forks.

As far as I am concerned, I prefer Fox’ somewhat more active suspension behaviour - especially in the rear end - because the excellent sensitivity of the GRIP damper translates into hands-friendly riding pleasure. However, RockShox’ Charger dampens also very efficiently.

Both companies also work on a very high level with more affordable models and it is hard to tell whether one brand or the other could make you ride faster or safer. At the end of the day it is also a matter of taste which suspension concept makes you feel better on the bike. Again, a draw in this category.

3:3

Downhill

Considering all the similarities in the setup, it is surprising that Conway’s 729 has a full 20 mm less travel than their 627. Though 150 mm travel may feel like a little more on larger wheels on some occasions, e.g. when riding over root carpets as wheels hit the obstacles at a flatter angle, this does not make up for 20 mm less travel, especially not at the front.

When stone fields turn from fist-sized to child's head-sized chunks, riders either need to grab the handlebars really tight or slow down - although I don't want to imply that you have to go downhill at a snail's pace in such situations. I still managed a top 10 Strava score on WME 729 on a fun long trail in South Tyrol, even though I had to tie my shoelace in the middle of the trail.
In technically challenging terrain the front just never gave me the feeling that I could speed through such sections with unrestrained aggression - like I would have done on other bikes with more suspension travel. Let alone the fact that my hands were sometimes quite strained after a hard ride or that I felt more like a jolted passenger than the rider in control. After spending several months on the same 36 mm model with 160 mm travel, I know that just ten extra millimetres can make a noticeable difference in this respect. As far as I am concerned, I would immediately invest in retrofitting more travel at the front - the expenses to do so are reasonable.

At the end of the day, 729 filters less bumps than 627, especially hard shocks that get through to the hands. 627 tends to seduce riders to take root carpets and similar obstacles at higher speed. The quality of the suspension has nothing to do with this.
Also, during bike park rides and when riding higher drops 729 will reach the end of its comfort zone a little earlier – but nevertheless you can have a lot of fun in the bike park with it and take it with you for an occasional trip there trouble-free.

Due to the rear suspension’s smart kinematics, the bike runs smoothly in almost any situation and only starts bobbing in stone fields. This applies to both the 27.5" and the 29" version, whereby the difference in travel is of course noticeable, but not as much as it seems to be at the front.

It is a pity that 729 was not thought capable of a little more extreme potential. 160 mm travel front and rear, or even 170 mm, at least at the front, are nowadays no longer a problem in terms of geometry and would have suited 729 excellently in my opinion, even though its current setup is also fit for flying visits to the all-mountain segment.
Since 627 and 729 at least share the main frame, there are however technical limits - at least when considering Conway's goal to keep the geometry of both bikes as similar as possible.

To determine which bike is "better" or "worse" is not at all an easy thing to do. As far as I am concerned, I prefer these days the higher feeling of safety provided by a 29" front wheel. But as I put agility and playfulness above everything else just a few years ago, I still get the appeal of 27.5" wheels.

Even though I feel a bit more secure on 729 when it comes to handling and would therefore tend to ride all trail sections at higher speeds, the reduced travel sometimes thwarts these intentions.
Instead, WME 729 loves flowing tracks with some scattered roots and stones every now and then. It generates propulsion wherever possible and speeds confidently over trails.
Especially when the track gets steeper and the ground looser, 627’s smaller front wheel is inferior to 729’s larger one. The front may easily get pushed out of the curve a little or grip may be lost prematurely for a short moment, despite the grippier front tire.
On the other hand, a smaller rear wheel offers more freedom of movement behind the saddle, especially for shorter riders. With 29" wheels, it may happen that the rider’s bottom unintentionally touches the tire when riding very steep downhill sections or rolling drop-offs.

While there was no unusual noise to be heard on 627, something in the 729’s cockpit rattled nerve-wrackingly. Even after a long inspection, nothing obvious could be found, it may have been an internal problem of the suspension fork or a loose cable inside the frame, but this is only suspicion. However, I assume that it was a onetime problem that doesn’t affect the whole series, since it didn’t occur with 627.

To cut a long story short: in the final count, WME 627 with its extra suspension travel beats WME 729 which is more of an uncompromising Enduro bike.

4:3

Details

Seat post & insertion depth
Only 125 mm of height adjustment on size M frames is nothing outstanding these days. The freedom of movement is limited, and especially in steep passages or when fine riding skills are needed the rider’s butt has more contact than desirable.
Maybe the hesitant decision not to use a longer seat post is due to the construction of the frame. As the suspension element separates the seat tube, insertion depth is somewhat less than a continuous tube could provide when smartly constructed and could become a problem for shorter riders who also want to benefit from telescopic seat posts with greater adjustability. But despite the fact that the suspension element separates the seat tube, insertion depth is not that bad - at least from size M upward.
In the end Conway wants to make sure that even slightly shorter riders can still take a seat, but it is still a compromise and if leg length allowed it, a new model would have to be invested in.

For sizes L and XL seat tube length increases considerably compared to reach, so depending on leg length and preference it might not be possible to ride models with longer reach. But at least seat posts with more stroke are used here.

Brakes
As I’ve already ridden WME 627’s Sram G2 brakes on several other test bikes, I can confidently state that they are not suitable for Enduro use. Their braking power may be adequate for cross-country riders but is unsatisfactory for Enduro riders. A lot of hand power is needed to stop the bike in time at high speeds, at the end of a long day or even in a bike park your hands will fatigue more than they should. Dosage and ergonomics are convincing, however.

Shimano’s XT (BR-M 8120) with four-piston brake calipers do a much better job. Perfectly modulated, with plenty of braking power in most situations, they are currently the first choice for anyone who likes to go downhill fast.
Furthermore they are very reliable, although their brake point does move a little under extreme conditions such as long, very steep descents - but this “a little” is enough to deviate from the individual ideal brake point so much that I prefer to adjust the distance screw a little on such rides.

Gears
Sram or Shimano, that is the question. Both groupsets perform impeccably. With one sprocket tooth more Shimano's new XT is slightly superior to X01 Eagle when it comes to bandwidth - a great feature for the 29" model, allowing both bikes to cover almost an equal distance per pedal revolution.

XT makes less noise than X01 when shifting up under load, although both groupsets will willingly change gears under most conditions. I am still surprised that it takes a little more thumb power to initiate gear changes on the XT lever, especially when shifting down. This is not a problem and after a short period of getting used to you won’t think about it anymore, but I prefer the softer operation of Sram’s trigger shifters – and also, I like the fact that Sram’s cage can be locked when taking the rear wheel out. A light carbon crank is the icing on the cake.

Both rear derailleurs securely prevent chain drops, Shimano’s adjustable Shadow RD Plus rear derailleur system once accidentally got into a position with less retention force in the bike park, however, which immediately led to wild chain slapping.

All in all, it is a draw again in this category, both systems work well.

Wheels
All-mountain M1900 Spline wheels did a good job, even after lots of kilometres on finest Enduro tracks and many a visit to the bike park. The wide inner width of 35 mm provided great lateral support for the tires and would even be compatible with a plus width of 2.8".
With a stated total weight of 1,991 g they are not even extremely heavy.

Things looked a little different with WME 629’s M1700 Spline wheel set with 30 mm inner width: spokes loosened after a relatively short time, which was quickly fixed. For the whole test period there remained, however, a strong radial runout on the rear wheel, whose origin we couldn't quite explain – maybe the loosening of the spokes had a part in it. But this can happen to the best aluminium rim and must rather be attributed to a riding error, especially since the rims of M1900 and M1700 are identical, apart from the inner width.

I had to tighten the DT Swiss quick release thru axle with unusually high force to prevent it from loosening unintentionally.

Tires
Magic Mary is an established tire in Enduro riding, as it offers very good grip on a great variety of surfaces with its aggressive side studs, coarse tread and Addix Soft rubber compound. Especially on hard and soft forest grounds it offers reliable grip, the only grounds that it fails to convince me on completely is loose gravel.
While Magic Mary is mounted in the front of 627, a Hans Dampf tire sits on the rear wheel, which has slightly better rolling characteristics and thus provides a good compromise between uphill efficiency and grip - even if Hans Dampf generates slightly less grip than Magic Mary.

On 729 Hans Dampf is mounted at the front, a Nobby Nic tire at the rear. Both are good all-rounders, but don’t have as much grip as Magic Mary in rough terrain. Even though I didn't get into trouble very often and had confidence in the track guidance of Hans Dampf and its Addix Soft rubber compound, there were a few situations in which the front tire swerved sideward and a fall could only be avoided by quickly putting my foot (and in an inconspicuous curve once my whole body) on the ground.

All tires have rather thin sidewalls, so they have to be ridden in rough terrain either with rather high tire pressure or tire inserts. Addix compounds also performed convincingly in the rain.

Various
The plastic headset top cap appears to be a joke rather than a serious component part. The edges of the carbon spacers that only got steplike rests dent already when the slightest pressure is applied - in the case of 729 this means so little pressure that the headset could not even be tightened closely. If slightly more pressure was applied the cap would simply break. Tightening worked better on 627 with its aluminium spacers. Nevertheless, it is surprising that Acros produces something like this at all.

Even though the small integrated mud guard protects the rear suspension from the worst dirt, it could have been designed a bit longer to really eliminate the danger of stone chips on the lower part of the shaft.

A great feature is a cap on the lower main joint that prevents small stones from getting caught between the moving parts.

The integrated storage box is a useful detail, too. There is room for a small multitool, a thin replacement tube and a CO2 refill cartridge, but not for larger items.
The reel-based closure system can be operated even when wearing gloves, and two integrated Velcro straps keep most utensils safely in place. If you are carrying small items, put them in a small cloth bag or the like, otherwise they will rattle nerve-wrackingly.

Conclusion

WME 627
Model year: 2020
Test duration: 2 months
Price: € 4.399,95 UVP
+ Powerful rear suspension
+ Massive suspension travel for extreme conditions
+ Agile handling
+ Good all-rounder
+ Very good price-performance ratio
o Not as smooth as WME 729
- Weak brakes
BB judgement: Consistently implemented Enduro with responsive kinematics.
WME 729
Model year: 2020
Test duration: 2 months
Price: € 4.299,95 UVP
+ Powerful rear suspension
+ Smooth running
+ Very good all-rounder
+ Very good price-performance ratio
o Could use a bit more suspension travel
- Tire combo with less grip
BB judgement: Enduro with some all-mountain genes.

With a final score of 4:3, WME 627 is the winner in direct comparison to the 729, at least on paper. Of course, this kind of comparison is not to be taken very seriously.

With both bikes being categorized as Enduro bikes, WME 627 implements this concept more consistently due to 20 mm more suspension travel, especially in the extreme range. Looking at the 729's choice of tires and its suspension travel, it almost seems as if Conway had tried to place an all-mountain bike rather than a true Enduro bike with the 29" tires in their range. Although it still does a good job on 80 percent of demanding Enduro trails and you can really speed ahead, I’d rather have some more suspension travel and better tire material in races and extreme situations, so that my hands don't feel like they’re falling off at full throttle in highly technical passages.

Kinematics of both bikes are great, and the rear end works very smoothly. If you really want to go all out in brutally technical passages, you will inevitably be jolted more on 729; its suspension travel cannot be compensated for by a larger wheel size.

You can ride fast, even really fast, with both bikes. I beat some of my Strava PBs on 729, especially when fast passages and flowtracks dominated the course. As far as I am concerned, I like the feeling of safety and the smoother running of the larger front wheel and the slightly longer chainstay of 729 better anyway. If only it had a bit more travel, it would probably have beaten 627 in the downhill category as well.

When it comes to specs, WME 627’s brakes are something to be improved, but the tires are more suitable for downhill riding. Sram’s and Shimano’s groupsets work equally well. The price-performance ratio of both bikes is astonishing. Normally, you would have to pay a lot more for high-quality packages like these.