Litespeed has brought back their Unicoi model as a lightweight, short travel soft tail using a dual spring design hidden inside the frame. For more aggressive riders, the new Nolichuky provides 120mm rear wheel travel on a modern trail bike. Here’s the video overview directly from their booth at Sea Otter:
Named after a trail-rich region in northeast Tennessee, the Unicoi has been one of their short travel XC race bikes in the past. Now, it’s fully updated to accommodate modern forks and tackle tougher XC trails. The geometry was actually designed around 120mm, giving it a 67.5º head angle. Putting a 100mm fork on it would steepen it by 0.4º.
It’s 45mm rear wheel travel comes via a sliding stanchion driving directly into the top tube. Inside is a main spring to handle compression, plus a rebound spring to handle top out. This dual spring set up, combined with a friction damper, prevents a harsh, overly-quick rebound from snapping back and throwing off the handling. On either end are soft canister system to keep the springs from banging against the metal, too. It’s user serviceable and setup with a spring rate for an average size rider, but they will offer other springs for smaller or heavier riders.
Going with carbon chainstays added lateral stiffness and kept the frame both lighter and more affordable.
The Unicoi will start at $3,775 for the frame, and complete bikes around $6,600 for a GX Eagle bike, up to $9,350 for XTR. Available with 27.5+ or 29er wheels and tires, price is the same either way.
2019 Litespeed Nolichuky
The Nolichuky is their new trail bike with 120mm rear wheel travel designed around a 130mm fork, with a 66.8-76º head angle and good reach. They’re updating the geometry slightly based on feedback they received at Sea Otter, which is one of the benefits of making the bikes themselves here in the U.S.
Suspension action comes from their four-bar UpLink system, which means the upper link is facing up, toward the top tube rather than starting from the top tube and coming down. This provides better standover clearance, and a smoother stroke.
Prices are $3,925 for the frameset, and complete bikes start at $6,799 for SRAM GX Eagle, up to $9,675 for Shimano XTR, and all kits get the Factory level Fox forks.
Both bikes come with their lifetime warranty, and everything but the carbon parts are made in house at their Chattanooga, Tennessee factory. Pre-orders are open now, and the Unicoi will start delivering in late June, the Nolochuky in July. They’ll come in small through XL frame sizes.