We are very fortunate to have a European contributor in “c_g” who can attend the Eurobike trade and consumer bicycle show in Germany. Although the show is over, “c_g” will continue to download a few more reports to us from all the information he gathered. Here is his second report regarding bicycles from the show.
EUROBIKE Report IV – bikes / frames- part two: by “c_g”
Last time we were covering some new introductions to the twentyniner market by rather big companies SCOTT, ROSE and ORBEA . This time some smaller manufacturers get to show their news – ROTWILD, IDWORX, FRM and VINER SPA – bikes that all have something in common – UNIQUENESS and a special approach to 29er.
Rotwild is a German high end manufacturer that has made a really good name with its meticulously shaped (or better tapered) alloy tubes (“Channel tubing”) and now are focusing strongly on Carbon technology. There are several really good national and international XC and marathon race teams running on ROTWILD bikes and so it is no wonder they are known far outside their targeted market.
At BIKE EXPO earlier this year ROTWILD showed for the first time a bike that looked very much like a 29er – the R.T1. Interesting was the concept that the exact same frame was shown in 3 configurations ranging from high end touring bike components to full on 29er specs. No geometries or details communicated back then.
Flash forward to EUROBIKE´10: Now the full specs, geometries and prices are out. There will be 4 versions of the bike sold (5 actually if you add the E-bike utilizing the same frame platform as this bike :)) – one 29er version and three rather touring oriented bikes (all braze ons and mounts for fenders and racks are standard).
Shown are two versions; the R.T1 CROSS (€ 2299.-) – swap out the tires and you’ve got a rigid 29er-like bike – and the R.T1 29 PRO (€ 2499.-). Both have pretty similar componentry with Shimano XT drivetrail, Citec WS1675 wheels, FORMULA R1 brakes- only differing in tires and forks.
Looking at the bike you can tell it is a touring bike in 29er disguise rather than an aggressive MTB. The combination of a really long seat tube (starting at 52 cm ,size S, to 61.5 cm, size XL) resulting in a really high stand over height and a rather compact effective top tube from 575 mm (S) to 615 (XL) and a rather low bottom bracket at 290 mm are closer to touring geometries than to MTB 29er. Nonetheless the bikes are beautifully executed with a real high end 7005-T6 CHANNEL tube sets. They have enough tire clearance to run any real 29er tire (makes them look a bit strange with narrow cross tires, tough). Oh yes, there is also an eccentric bottom bracket version available (Single speed and internal geared riders listen :)) that comes with a Shimano Alfine rear hub – and there is an “E-bike” version on the basis of the exact same frame. “E-bikes are also a really big thing here at Eurobike 2010. All bikes are ROTWILD’s typical mix of industrial and aesthetic graphics and will come in either black or white.
Though not filling the bill of a real MTB 29er I suspect these bikes will be really good adventure touring bikes with enough versatility towards cross- and MTB-use.
UPDATE- 9/13/10: I have just been informed by ROTWILD, that the geometry info I had been given during the show had been wrong.
The new (and correct) ones say that the smallest size will have a 49 cm ST (not 52 as mentioned above) with a 575 mm eff. TT, reducing stand over height considerably to 750 mm). The largest size will not feature a 615 mm ST but a 580 mm with an eff. TT of 615 mm.
Therefore the geometry does approximate towards 29er MTB standards considerably.
Additional info: the chain stay length is a rather standard 450 mm.
“c_g” End update…….
IDWORX (pronounced: “It works”)
IDWORX is a small GERMAN based company that focuses strongly on making their bikes as reliable and long lasting as possible with the lowest requirements in maintenance. This is often expressed in non mainstream details/components. IDWORX, with an output of about 1700 bikes a year, is the largest OEM customer of Rohloff. IDWORX´s front man Gerrit Gaastra, (also the man that has assisted BULLS in creating their 29ers, see report here) doesn´t get tired in telling how IDWORX bikes had always been on the larger side of wheels (through the large volume tires), and so going 29er was only one more step. In fact he chose to call his newly introduced ROCKnROHLER (or: RnR)a 30”-bike (by rounding the outer diameter of his tires; it is 29,6” :)).
Other than wheel size the RnR is a true IDWORX, featuring the super low maintenance Rohloff Speedhub, a Marzocchi T44 Ti 100 mm (or alternatively a lighter parallelogram GERMAN-ANSWER KILO, more on that later) front fork and Avid XO brakes.
* The asymmetrical yoke does allow for great chain ring and tire clearance plus providing maximum stiffness.
* The single chain ring up front on the Stylo cranks is a special production knife-grade steel at 39 teeth (also available at 43 teeth).
* Additionally the KMC X1 extra hardened chain should guarantee a long running time without swaps.
* The EBB is IDWORX’s own LONGLIFE design with a super-sized drive-side bearing. Both bearings are 100% grease filled with stainless steel balls and races. This system is made to run trouble free for really loooong. The adjustment range is about 15 mm.
* The bottom bracket is a split-shell configuration with two massive screws to hold on tight and secure.
* The frame has an integrated rotation reducer head tube / head set (called STRESS REDUCER) that prevents damage at crashes or when falling over when loaded.
All these features and reliability certainly do not come in super-light – the bike weighs a reasonable but not record breaking 12.7 kg (27.85 lbs) but weight is not the main focus of IDWORX. Being a rather small manufacturer prices for the RocknRohler bike are € 3695.- (with the Marzocchi 44 Ti, or € 3895.- with the lighter GERMAN ANSWER fork).
The geometry does (like all IDWORX bikes) feature rather slack angles at 70.5° and long seat stays with 460 mm (in fact some 26” bikes do have the same chain stay length!). No surprise that the riding characteristics are said to be on the stable side. Overall the frames are a bit taller and compact than the standard 29er bikes, but still within the range of a true MTB (590 eff. TT at 460 mm ST or 610 eff. TT at 510 mm ST).
Like I said in my intro this bike is a bit different by design and intention but a really interesting approach to 29ers nonetheless.
No more intro to this Italian company that has been supporting 29er for long and always is striving for the lowest possible weight. They have been introducing 29er components one by one over the last years and have always believed in 29er. Now they have released a whole array of new 29er components (read about them later on) and three new 29er MTB frames.
The flagship frame is called ANAKIN. 100 % handmade in Italy this frame features an integrated seat dome, tapered head tube and integrated head set, a special front derailleur called FD-M ZX (cool how much this tells you, right?) that is pivoting to allow for 36 to 40 outer rings, a press fit BB 92 bottom bracket and a Kevlar protected down tube and drive side chain stays. You can tell the frame really goes all out in technology. By the large box shaped down & top tube and the strongly sloping TT the bike looks pretty aggressive yet through the shiny clear coating over the carbon and the scarce silver labeling it is elegant at the same time.
The rear triangle is a more curvaceous kind that was deigned to optimize vertical compliance. This full package (all above mentioned features included) is claimed to weigh 1220 g only.
Then there is the more conventional looking (if that can be said about a cutting edge Carbon frame) GALAXY 29er. It shares the same high end Carbon and same compliance optimized rear triangle but rounded tubes on the main triangle). Additionally the TT is even more sloping creating huge stand over clearance. All other features are just like with the ANAKIN and so the weight (incl. BB bearings, head set and seat collar) is a swooping 1050 g (medium size).
Ultimately there is the 8HP 29er alloy frame made of EASTON Ultralite RACE (triple butted 7005 alloy), with a1 1/8 head set included, BSA 68 mm BB and 31.6 mm diameter seat angle at 1420 g.
All FRM 29er frames will be available as frame, frame kit (incl. FRM´new tapered all FULL CARBON suspension fork, wheels, cranks and 29er specific bar). No prices yet
But this isn´t all coming from FRM for 29er so stay tuned for more news when we turn our attention to components.
Lastly but not least, let´s talk about VINER SPA, an Italian bike manufacturer (since 1947 and still a family run company) with a long heritage of custom made road bikes (and more recently 26” MTBs), that now stray to the world of 29er – and do this with quite some momentum.
There will be two models; one Carbon bike called SF CARBON 29” and one alloy bike called VR RACE 29”.
Both are manufactured to the customer´s specifications so be prepared to work with your VINER rep to get you exactly the frame you had always wanted. But customization goes one step further with the VINER Carbon bike. You can ask the VINER engineers to fine tune the riding characteristics of the frame – a technology (called “MAXIMA”) only offered for the top end of their line up, that now is being offered for a 29er MTB also. This approach to “ride tuned” bikes is not uncommon with steel or even Ti custom bikes but to my knowledge is new to Carbon framed bikes.
You like it super stiff, favor it as light as can be, or rather like a more compliant ride – anything is possible (within the limits of reason and technological possibilities of course). By what I hear and read on their road frames I have gotten positively curious as to what extend VINER´s claim to be able to fine tune their Carbon frames really does make a tangible difference in getting just the ride characteristics the individual customer prefers and I am hoping to get a chance to test this in the future, but for now I have to take the word of some roadie friends, who back it up out of their own experience.
Prices, as you guessed correctly are on the upper end but considering you get a 100 % Italian custom built bike – each being one of a kind, and with the Carbon bike even “characteristic tuned”. VINER is asking a rather breath taking € 2649.- for the Carbon frame and the € 839.- for the alloy. At these prices the VINER bikes will not be for everyone but for those loving traditional Italian frame building coupled with the utmost possible in hand made Carbon technology and custom fit (both frames), the VINER 29er might just be the ticket.
An average weight for the Carbon frame is said to be around 1450 g (but like stated above it can vary by your preference), the alloy frame should run around 1700 g. Though the weight claims are not spectacular the finest of Carbon technology and the sleek lines of the frames are rather appealing. Two colors (BLACK and WHITE) with a multitude of decal options let you create a personalized look of your VINER.
The VINER 29er will come standard with a tapered head tube but 1 1/8” are optionally available as well. They also leave it to the customer to decide, what BB configurations he/she prefers.
OK, so much from EUROBIKE NEWS for now – stay tuned for more.