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Best Full Suspension Mountain Bikes of Bespoked 2022

dawley activist mid single pivot steel full suspension mtb made in nottingham
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Last weekend, we headed to the Lee Valley Velodrome in London for Bespoked 2022, a bike show dedicated to promoting handmade bicycles and their fabricators. We got up close and personal with eight stunning specimens, five of which are made right here in the UK, and three of which are made in Germany. Scroll down to learn more about the latest bikes from Huhn Cycles, Dawley Bikes, Coal Bicycles, Howler Frame Works, Rå Bikes, Sour Bike, Actofive and Auckland Cycle Works.

Moor Huhn 129 Ti

moor huhn 129 ti trail bike bespoked 2022
The Moor Huhn is available in Medium and Large with reach figures of 450mm and 480mm, respectively. Custom sizing is also available upon request. The custom frame bags are made by Wit Slingers.

Ralf from Huhn Cycles showed us this beautifully bedecked model of the Moor Huhn 129 Titanium MTB. As the name suggests, its single-pivot suspension platform delivers 129mm of rear wheel travel, damped in this case by a polished Intend Hover shock. A polished 140mm Hero USD fork from Intend manages front wheel hits. An Ingrid CRS-POP Crankset and the Italian manufacturer’s 12 Speed derailleur, said to be the “one derailleur to rule them all“.

The Moor Huhn (or chicken of the dirt) is a complete 29er, and slots into the trail category. With a 210mm x 55mm shock it has 129mm travel, though switching that out for a 210mm x 50mm shock will drop that to 117mm travel. Pair that with a shorter travel fork and you have yourself a titanium downcountry weapon.

huhn moor 129 ti trail bike intend hover shock frame bag
The Moor Huhn was shown at Bespoked with narrower gravel tires, purely for affect, but there is sufficient clearance for a 29″ x 2.4″ tire out back. A newer version is due to be released with a wider main pivot and swingarm that is able to accomodate a 3.0″ tire.

The frame is composed of a Grade 9 titanium front triangle and Grade 2 titanium rear triangle, assembled with titanium lugs created using the Cold Metal Fusion process. This is a form of additive manufacturing that is said to require significantly less energy than conventional printing processes. The excess titanium powder can also be recycled. Huhn Cycles has been using this method of frame fabrication since 2011.

A new version of the Moor Huhn is in the works; it will have clearance for a 3.0″ rear tire, and a stiffer rear end fabricated from straight-gauge ovalised Grade 9 titanium. Keep an eye out for that one due to be shown at the DT SWISS Craft Bike Days. The Moor Huhn is offered in steel, too. There you will find a mullet option with a revised swingarm to accomodate a 27.5″ rear wheel. 

Huhn also had a stunning 36er on show; the Huhn Jersey Giant made for a customer who stands at 206cm tall – check it out here.


Dawley Activist

dawley activist mid single pivot steel full suspension mtb made in nottingham
The Dawley Activist 185mm travel enduro bike is fabricated from Reynolds 853 for the front triangle, and Deda tubing in the rear triangle

This is Thom Dawley’s Activist mid single-pivot steel mountain bike that he developed and fabricated in Nottingham, England. Why the Activist? Because, as compared to the traditional single-pivot mountain bike he created previously, he has reduced the anti-squat and pedal kickback characteristics of the frame to make the linkage more active.

dawlwy activist idler pulley mid-pivot singlepivot
The mid-pivot suspension platform necessitates the use of an idler pulley to route the chain in such a way as the suspension forces and drivetrain forces do not interfere with one another too much

The Dawley Activist is a mixed-wheel bike, pairing a 27.5″ rear wheel with a 29″ wheel up front. It is designed for Bike Park riding and Enduro Racing. Thom’s target customer is one who mostly pedals steadily up fire roads to the drop-in, who is also partial to a holiday in the Alps where the presence of pedal kickback in your bike frame would be a rather undesirable characteristic.

dawley activist 185mm bike park steel frame bespoked 2022

The Activist sports 185mm of rear wheel travel. The one on display is Thom’s own ride, with a reach of 432mm. The chainstays are super short a 417mm. That said, this is a mid-pivot bike with a rearward axle path, so the rear-center length actually grows as the rear wheel is pushed through the travel; at the sag point, the rear-center is 430mm.

dawley activist enduro bike

This one is still under testing; Thom has only ridden it himself twice so far. He is hoping it will be ready for customers to order around this time next year. No pricing available yet.


Coal 84

coal 84 enduro mtb twin link floating suspension linkage

“If you’ve ridden a steel hardtail from a UK brand, there’s a good chance that I made it”, says Gavin White. That is a sweeping statement of course, but Gavin has spent the last 26 years with a torch in his hand, having set up the frame fabrication workshop for better know Stanton Bikes; it’s only in the last 3 years that he has been welding for his own brand, Coal Bicycles. He was at Bespoked showing off the Coal 84 with its twin-link floating suspension platform, as well as the Coal Pony Hardtail with a stunning Black Cat Custom paint job.

coal 84 downtube decals
The Coal 84 is fabricated from Reynolds 853 steel tubing

coal 84 headtube gussets

Coal Bicycles is in fact a three-person effort; while Gavin welds the tubes together, Paul from Rideworks does all the CNC machining required for the links, and Alex Desmond is the man behind the twin-link floating suspension linkage you see here on the Coal 84 (Alex also designed the Howler Fenrir’s suspension platform you’ll see if you scroll down).

coal 84 twin-link floating suspension system cnc machined rideworks

The 84 has been under development for 18 months, with three prototypes and two sets of linkages having been worked through and refined to the bike you see before you. Tommy C Hype, as he is popularly known, is helping to test the bike out in the wild. 

coal 84 twin-link floating suspension platform flip-chip mullet or 29er 160mm 170mm travel

As a complete 29er, the Coal 84 has 160mm of rear wheel travel. Switching the orientation of the flip-chip at the lower shock mount corrects the geometry to allow for a 27.5″ rear wheel if you wish to run it in a mixed-wheel configuration.

The Coal 84 is available in sizes Medium, Large and Extra-Large, with reach figures of 455mm, 475mm and 495mm, respectively. It is available to order now at a price of £2,800 including either a Rockshox Super Deluxe coil or air shock. Ohlins shocks are also available upon request, as is a Rideworks finishing kit.

rideworks pedals hubs headset cnc machined link coal 84 enduro bike bespoked 2022


Sour Double Choc

sour double choc enduro bike bespoked 2022

Sour Bike was showing its nearly production-ready Double Choc, a linkage driven single-pivot enduro bike fabricated from Taiwanese steel in Saxony, Germany. It can be run as a complete 29er, or as a mullet by switching out the short link behind the rocker for an alternative link that geometry-corrects the frame with the addition of a 27.5″ rear wheel. Learn more about this latest Sour Double Choc prototype, including pricing and expected availability here.


Ra 12 and Ra 20

ra 12 trail mtb bespoked 2022
The Rå Bikes .12 Trail Bike shown at Bespoked 2022 in Lee Valley Velodrome, London. Pricing starts at £3,299 for the frame only.

We had a quick chat with Ralph Richardson of Rå Bikes, a North Yorkshire man with a history of racing Downhill at National level. Interesting fact about Ralph: In 2013, he raced his first 29er prototype at the Fort William Downhill Nationals – that bike was allegedly the first 29″ wheel DH bike in the UK, and it was a high-pivot linkage complete with idler. Fast forward to 2017, and Ralph had concluded there wasn’t a bike on the market that he actually wanted to buy. So, he decided to take his enthusiasm for bikes and his interest in engineering to start his very own bike brand. Thus, Rå Bikes was born.

Rå Bikes now has five models in its portfolio; the Valravn Gravel Bike (available in three different models) the Vörðor Adventure Bike, the .410 hardtail, and the .12 and .20 full suspension mountain bikes shown here.

The Rå .12 is their 29″ or 29″/27.5″165mm travel enduro bike. With a 170mm travel fork, it has a 63.5° head angle, a 78.5° seat tube angle and a reach of 465mm in a size medium.

rå .12 flip chip adjusts geometry progression

The Rå .12 and .20 bikes have a very progressive suspension platform; 3.1 to 2, but it is adjustable via a horizontal flip-chip positioned at the lower shock mount. There is also a flip chip where the swingarm meets the upper link that drives the shock; this one adjusts geometry specifically to allow for the 29″ rear wheel to be swapped out for a 27.5″ wheel for those who’d prefer to ride mullet. That said, you can run it in the 29″ setting with a 27.5″ rear wheel if you wanted a 62° head angle and a very low BB.

ra .12 flip chip allows mullet compatibility

The Rå .12 and .20 bikes will be built with a tapered head tube in future. They may also see adjustable length chainstays, though Ralph admits that developing a solution around the new UDH standard will pose a significant challenge.

ra bikes head tube reinforcement
Rå CNC Machine the 3-piece headtube reinforcements in-house, taking care to remove weight where possible

ra bikes top tube profile

The profile of the top tube and the seat tube-top tube brace on the Rå .12 is very unique to the brand, at least within cycling; the top tube was made with the same tooling created to make a 1960s Maserati F1 Chassis, while the brace uses tooling used to make the tubing found on current a F2/F3 vehicle chassis. 

ra 20 trail bike mtb bespoked 2022
The Rå .20 is a 140mm 29er with a 150mm fork; it has a 65° head angle, 78° seat tube angle and a reach of 465mm in a size medium. Pricing starts at £3,299 for the frame only.

For the gravity contingent, Ralph will be going back to his roots with the development of a Rå DH Bike very soon.


Howler Frame Works Fenrir

howler frame works fenrir second prototype bespoked 2022

Howler Frame Works made it to Lee Valley Velodrome to show what will be the final version of their Fenrir; a high-idler linkage-driven single-pivot enduro bike. The suspension platform was designed in collaboration with Alex Desmond, a design engineering consultant who is also responsible for the twin-link floating suspension platform seen on the Coal 84 seen above. The wildest of Alex’s suspension designs can be seen on the Orange Phase AD3, and adaptive 3-wheeler mountain bike with a leaning linkage made specifically for Lorraine Truong.

howler fenrir cnc machined linkage parts high-idler single pivot mtb
Howler’s high-idler linkage driven single-pivot delivers a rearward axle path that extends the rear-center length by a maximum of 27mm. Billy tells us it has a leverage ratio of 3:2.

I digress. That linkage is specific to Howler Frame Works, and it is implemented in the Fenrir by Howler founder, Billy Dye, a steel frame builder educated by The Bicycle Academy. Billy is tig welding frames in his shed at home in London; he owns very little machinery for the work, and every single one of the joins you seen on the Fenrir are hand-filed. That includes the mitering of tubes – he removes the majority of the material with a grinder, and then goes at it with a hand file. He even made himself a butting gauge to check the butting profiles of the tubes. It took Billy a day and a half to complete the front triangle of the Fenrir pictured here.

howler fenrir cnc machined linkage parts rideworks
Paul at Rideworks is responsible for the CNC Machined parts of the Howler Fenrir’s linkage. All the turnings, headtube, bottom bracket, and dropouts are all made by Bear Frame Supplies.

The Howler Fenrir can run 150mm or 160mm rear wheel travel, dependent on the stroke length of the shock used. We’re waiting on some geometry information from Billy but for now, know that the Fenrir will be offered in Sizes S-XL, but an XXL could also be made available upon request. The Small, Medium and Large frames will have the same rear-center length and seat tube angle, but these will be adjusted on the XL, and for any XXL that does come into creation.

The production frame will be fabricated from various tubing; the top and down tubes will be Reynolds 853, the seat tube will be Reynolds plain gauge CrMo. The specific steel tubing to be used on the rear triangle is yet to be decided. 

Pricing and availability to be confirmed.


Actofive P-Train 165

actofive p-train 165 cnc high pivot enduro bike non drive side floating brake arm

Simon Metzner of Actofive gave us the update on his CNC machined P-Train, now a 165mm enduro rig. The new frame replaces the original P-Train 145, but this one is more versatile and can be set up to run 145mm, 155mm, 165mm or 175mm of rear wheel travel. Sticking out like a sore thumb is the floating brake arm, or the Braking Torque Support, as Actofive all it. You can learn more about the P-Train 165 and its floating brake arm here, where you’ll also find a short video of the suspension being compressed, shot from the non-drive side.


Auckland Cycle Works Marra and Reiver

auckland cycle works marra kolarp suspension platform

Last but not least, we had a long chat with Gary Ewing of the nascent Auckland Cycle Works. On display was the above Marra enduro bike with a highly unique twin-linkage layout wherein the two links co-rotate in an anti-clockwise fashion as the rear wheel is pushed through its travel.

uckland cycle works reiver kolarp linkage

Gary was also showing his more recent creation, the Auckland Cycle Works Reiver. Yes, the bottom bracket is positioned on the lower link. We have a lot more to share with you guys on these bikes, to stay tuned for a full feature.

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1 year ago

Great description of each bike and their particular features. It would be nice to know their total weights as well since in my mind a good downcountry bike needs light as well.

1 year ago
Reply to  Richard

you are right.

Deputy Dawg
Deputy Dawg
1 year ago

Beautiful bikes!

Snark On: Tommy C Hype? Really?!

1 year ago

Least ridden bikes of 2022

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