Spot Brand showed us a rideable prototype of their full suspension mountain bike concept exactly one year ago. At that time, it was using a similar suspension design, but had a titanium flex plate in place of a lower linkage arm. Now, a ballistic carbon fiber plate has replaced the ti, which improved fatigue life by many multiples. So much so, in fact, that their test rig was no longer putting the plate through its paces. Rather, the carbon flex plate was testing the limits of their lab equipment. As Spot’s folks put it, you’d have to ride every day for 12 years to match what they did in their testing (3,000,000 cycles) and it still wouldn’t be worn out.
But durability is only part of the suspension’s story, which is only part of the whole bike’s story. The new Spot Rollik was built as a spare-no-expense exercise in making the best mountain bike they possibly could…
The Living Link was designed by Wayne Lumpkin, the original founder of Avid and father of Spot’s founder. It replaces a lower linkage arm with a carbon fiber leaf spring that only pivots at the front. It bolts into a fixed sleeve on the rear’s unified rear triangle, which forces it to flex through it’s range of motion. At rest, the spring is unloaded. Half way through the bike’s 140mm travel it’s maximally flexed, then is fully relaxed at bottom out. The effect is a sort of spring loading of the suspension they say helps improve rebound speed. Coupled with the kinematics, it also enhances the bike’s anti-squat characteristics, too, which should help keep the rear wheel planted when climbing up rough terrain. Absent pedaling effort, though, they say it’s very active.
Another benefit of the design is the improved lateral stiffness. Because a flat blade like this can’t flex in such a way that could fishtail the rear end, and because they used ample TeXtreme carbon fiber throughout the entire frame, the bike is very torsionally and laterally rigid from front to back.
The front of the leaf spring is connected by conical washers to lock it into the frame and dual row Enduro Max bearings throughout all high-stress pivots.
Image on the left shows the bike with zero compression. Image on the right shows the bike deep into compression.
All bearings are externally sealed with O-rings to prevent contamination. The upper rocker link is a two-piece
carbon fiber machined alloy part with custom fasteners that act like a pin joint to keep them together.
Spot has spec’d a “Metric” sized shock on the Rollik, one of many modern features. Others include Boost 148mm rear and 110mm front spacing and internal routing for all shifting and dropper posts. Those lines run through internal conduits to, as they put it, slide in the front and pop out the rear for extremely easy installation. The rear brake hose, however, remains outside the frame and runs through a combination of zip-tie and bolt-on guides.
Boost spacing provides for stiffer wheels, but not “plus” sized tires on this one. Instead, it’s designed around normal 27.5″ wheels and tires, fitting up to a 2.4 in the rear. It comes spec’d with a 2.2, though:
The bike uses rigid EPS foam internal molds to press the Oxeon TeXtreme carbon into place. TeXtreme’s already able to maximize the fiber-to-resin ratio, and using hard internal molds optimized compaction to further reduce resin levels. The result is a lighter, stronger frame that’s also more impact resistant.
On top of all the tech, Spot did some interesting things with the geometry. To aid climbing, they use a very steep 76º seat angle to keep the rider’s weight more centered. And the largest frame size uses a slightly longer chainstay length to help taller riders maintain traction on the steepest climbs.
Available now, the frames come in at about 6.25lb with shock (claimed) and retail for $2,999. Complete bikes have a 150mm Rockshox Pike RCT3 Boost, Cane Creek headset, SRAM X1/X01 drivetrain with GXP 73mm threaded bottom bracket, Maxxis Ardent 2.4 and Ikon 2.2 tires, Race Face bar and stem, Reverb Stealth 125mm dropper post, and WTB saddle. Wheels are new Stan’s NoTubes Arch MK3, which will be formally unveiled on April 14th. Complete bikes retail for $6,499.