Spotted racing by the Bart Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team at XCO Worlds and now at a number of national championships over the weekend, Superior bikes out of the Czech Republic look to have two new cross-country race weapons in the wings. The full suspension bike looks to get the name Team XF29 Issue and takes over the top spot from the current aluminum version of the platform. On the hardtail side, the new Team 29 Issue gets new tube shaping over the current carbonXC hardtail to add a bit more comfort so it can be raced on more technical courses. Take a closer look at the two camouflaged bikes after the break and what we can glean from each…
Team XF29 Issue
Superior’s new Team XF29 Issue full-suspension delivers a carbon update to their aluminum XF cross-country racer. Sticking with the same 100mm travel platform, the carbon iteration of the bike drops the pivots at the rear end, instead opting for flex in the stays. In fact a small flattened area just above the rear axle limits flex to a controlled area in the lower half of the seatstays.
The new carbon XF29 combines the geometry that Superior developed on the aluminum bike with carbon lessons learned on their carbon XC hardtail. That gives the bike’s tubing wide flattened box shapes throughout, and a wide spaced PF92 bottom bracket and wide main pivot spacing. The bike uses a horizontal shock position under the toptube drive by an aluminum yoke and linkage to control spring rate, all with oversized alloy pivots.
The Team XF29 Issue bike we got a look at were all 1x Shimnao setups, using an adjustable chain retention device from Cabtech that mounted just on top of the main pivot. W’ve seen the same chain devices from the Prague based company on several pro bikes, most notably on the World Champion winning bikes of Sam Gaze this year and Jaroslav Kulhavý last year. The chain protection mounts to the same modular front derailleur mount that let the bikes be setup with doubles either with sideswing or electronic derailleurs.
An hybrid version (gray above) of the new bike with an aluminum rear end uses the same pivot-free suspension setup, but extended for 120mm of rear travel. This time the dramatically flattening the alloy seatstays in their middle controls how they will flex, and works together with asymmetric chainstays to ensure rear end stiffness.
Team 29 Issue
The team’s race carbon hardtail gets some more subtle updates for 2017. The biggest obvious difference on the new Team 29 Issue hardtail is its reworked rear end. The new bike gets a much thinner flattened set of seatstays that are designed to allow more flex for improved comfort on rough terrain. As XC courses have gotten more technical, many racers have opted to compete on full suspension bikes, but Superior wants them to be able to use the lighter hardtail as much as possible.
To deliver rear end comfort without sacrificing power transfer efficiency, the bike uses deeper, boxy chainstays close to the now wider PF92 bottom bracket which quickly taper down mid way towards the rear wheel to isolate vertical flex closer to the rear axle and lightened dropouts. Overall the chainstays are also shortened down to just 430mm. The bike also gets a more squared off seattube at the BB to stiffen up the front end.
The updated Team 29 Issue has been optimized to run single ring drivetrains with an adjustable chainguide for a bit of chain security, that sits inside a indented area of the driveside of the seattube. With the same mounting setup it also gets front derailleur compatibility via aa removable direct mount derailleur bracket. The bike reworks its cable routing too this year, now getting fully internal routing, including the possibility for a sidewsing front derailleur (vs. the current generation’s external brake hose routing.) With the modular cable routing the new carbon hardtail will suit either mechanical and electronic setups, and it also looks like the bike will offer stealth dropper post compatibility.
We haven’t seen it yet, but have been told that the frame will get an aluminum sibling when it becomes available at the end of the year with the same updates and lower pricing.