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Crankworx Whistler 2023: We Are One’s Prototype DH Testing Mule

It’s always exciting to see a prototype bike, and this year at Crankworx Whistler We Are One had one hiding in plain sight at their demo booth. Spoiler alert – There are no current plans to put the bike into production. So why did they build it…?

We Are One prototype DH bike, close up
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We Are One prototype downhill bike

We Are One’s prototype downhill bike was designed just two months ago, and you’re looking at the only one in existence. However, there is a second one being produced (in a different size) so more We Are One employees can get in on product testing. And that right there is the reason this bike exists. We Are One figured out it would be easier and cheaper to make their own DH frame rather than buy a fleet of someone else’s for product testing purposes. They intend to develop more downhill parts in the future including two that are already on the prototype bike… more on that below!

We Are One prototype downhill bike swingers

One way they kept the prototype’s cost down is by using the same rear triangle found on their Arrival trail/enduro bikes. This wasn’t just about saving money though, using a rear end that is familiar to the staff and test riders helps them focus on other adjustments they make to the prototype. That said, because they’re using stiffer suspension links Design Engineer Vladimir Yordanov notes that this rear end does feel a little stiffer than the Arrival’s.

We Are One prototype downhill bike links

In the above photo you’ll notice a small ‘01’ on the shock mount. We Are One has four different sets of mounts they can play with, furthermore, they worked with SRAM to get four custom-tuned rear shocks to line up with their sets of mounts.

The bike was thoughtfully appointed with different shock mounts, links, and a geo flip-chip so every possible adjustment can be isolated; if they want to alter the shock rate without affecting geometry, that’s an option. If they want to play with geo but maintain the shock tune, they can do that too. Yordanov firmly believes this is the ideal way to nail down all the various attributes of the bike.

We Are One prototype downhill bike rear shock

Since nothing is set in stone, and the bike may not ever be available to the public, I didn’t nag Yordanov for all the various geometry figures they’re testing… mixing up the mounts and shocks will yield a wide range of results, and that’s the whole idea of this test mule. I can tell you the bike is currently running 215mm of rear travel (which could change) and the reach is 480mm, which happens to fit a handful of We Are One’s staff.

We Are One prototype downhill bike head tube

This bike was built to test downhill components, beginning with We Are One’s carbon downhill rims. But the prototype now has two incoming parts on it; the stem and handlebars. All I can tell you about the bars is that they are carbon fiber, no geometry has been decided at this point.

We Are One prototype downhill bike handlebar

One cool thing about the prototype stem is that the clamps can be run as shown, or reversed. Flipping them around offers a wider clamp, which should increase or decrease the stiffness of the handlebar. This will likely be quite useful as We Are One tests and hones in their new carbon bars. The prototype stems have been produced in 46mm and 50mm lengths.

We Are One prototype downhill bike front end

While We Are One currently states no intention to produce this prototype DH bike, it’s obvious they have everything they need to do so – but no promises were made! For now, the carbon handlebars and stem are coming soon, so keep an eye on We Are One’s website for those components.


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9 months ago

Seems like it would be a very significant cost to build the front triangle mold for a single bike, just sayin’.
In any case, kudos to them for building a real-world test bed that can be controlled to such a degree. Science-nerd in me is impressed.

9 months ago
Reply to  carbonfodder

They have their own machining department, and the majority of the triangle looks the same as the arrival. Could be a tweaked mold.

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