This weekend at the Nové Město XC World Cup, World Champion Yolanda Neff earned two podiums on a new carbon full-suspension Kross Earth mountain bike, fitted with new XTR. We previewed the prototype bike last summer, and based on talks with Kross the European-manufactured, 100mm Earth should be ready soon.
Kross Earth 100mm carbon XC race mountain bike
What we know about the bike remains mostly the same as last summer.
The as yet unreleased Kross Earth is a 100mm travel 29er, developed with much of the same carbon technology Kross put into their World Cup winning Level hardtail. It even shares similar shaping around the head tube.
The 29er race-ready mountain bike effectively uses a single pivot suspension design, with a short carbon rocker link that drives a vertically oriented trunnion mount shock.
While sporting Prototype decals, the Earth is obviously a well refined bike, with Neff netting a third place in the XCC short track, and then second place after getting pipped at the sprint to the line by Annika Langvad in Sunday’s XCO cross-country race. Neff also joined van der Poel as one of only three riders to get one of the new XTR M9100 1×12 groupsets revealed on Friday.
The rear end is free of pivots with tall boxy chainstays for good power transfer, and relying on flex at the center of the thinned carbon seat stays.
The Earth gets modular internal cable routing which supports a dropper seatpost. It will also work with Di2, as we saw Neff’s Kross Racing teammates all using current, regular 11 speed XTR Di2 groupsets.
The new bike also includes a high-mount front derailleur tab, and Sideswing routing. Neff is using the new 1x XTR, so the team repurposes that Sideswing cable port for a looped remote shock lock out. A remote lockout probably wouldn’t work with a 2x mechanical setup.
New 1×12 XTR M9100 race groupset
Of course the new XTR was a highlight of Neff’s Kross Earth prototype build. But it also gives another look at a mixed cockpit setup, since Neff is also using a DT Swiss remote fork+shock lockout remotes and a KS dropper remote lever (not the new Shimano one yet.)
Another look at the long cage, mechanical XTR M9100 rear derailleur spinning the wide-ranging 10-51 XTR 12-speed cassette.
Neff mates a 36T direct mount single ring to her XTR cranks and the new 12-speed wide-ranging 10-51 cassette out back.
A new lightweight alloy Ceetec HDM chainguide keeps the chain secure from the high direct front derailleur mount that Neff doesn’t need with a Shimano 1x setup. Shimano does now offer a new guide to match with XTR, but we haven’t spotted it on the pro bikes yet.
Cockpit is all provided by FSA with their K-Force Light rage of alloy stems & carbon bars, plus a customized set of white ESI silicone grips emblazoned with the Kross logo on the front.
Neff sits perched atop a team edition Selle Italia saddle that appears to be a variation of the SLR X-Cross with carbon rails, on a KS Lev Cis dropper seatpost.
Tires are from Czech maker Mitas, a fast rolling dry conditions Zefyros gave predictable grip on the dusty & loose Nové Město World Cup course.
We look forward to hearing more from Kross about the release of the Earth. They say it will be the first production bike to roll off their new in-house carbon manufacturing facility in Poland when it goes into full production this year.