We met with chief Stöckli R&D engineer and manager Marco Quinter earlier in the summer to have a look at their new Beryll RSC hardtail that outgoing U23 World Champion Jolanda Neff was racing at the Nové Město World Cup. But then later in the summer as the XC courses started getting more technical, Stöckli brought out a new full-suspension frame prototype to race, co-developed and built in Germany by the composite experts at Bike Ahead. The new bike was developed as a part of their #Trail2Rio program to support their athletes’ quest to represent Switzerland at the 2016 Olympics. Hop past the break for a closer look…
Only a handful of the bikes were made; six were just enough to support Neff and teammate Mathias Flückiger in their World Cup campaigns. Not all information was available, as the bike design is still in development from the Stöckli side, but Bike Ahead was proud to show it off in their Eurobike booth (as was Stöckli in theirs) to exhibit their wide ranging composite manufacturing capabilities.
The prototype frame uses very wide box section UD carbon tubing profiles throughout for a light, stiff ride; claimed frame weight is just 1800g without the shock. As pure race bikes for the Shimano-supported team, the bikes are optimized to single ring XTR Di2 drivetrains with internal shift routing. Even the electronically controlled Fox iRD shock gets internal routing, while brake routing stays outside. A small custom carbon/alloy chain guide is neatly integrated with a direct mount just above the main pivot. The shock link also gets wide spacing with large, light aluminum pivot hardware to keep weight down.
The bike gets a shaped seattube that tapers and curves from round at the top for some comfort, down to a massive width at the bottom bracket where it supports the main pivot and the asymmetric chainstays for max stiffness. The single pivot suspension setup is handled by a rigid, pivotless rear triangle that has seatstays tapered in the middle to allow for flex. The swingarm then drives a custom tuned Fox Float iRD shock by way of a machined aluminum linkage. To finish it off, Bike Ahead was showing the bike with their own carbon spoked wheels that we showed earlier in the week, but the Stöckli team have been racing the bike with more traditional, sponsor-correct XTR wheels and rotors, so it appears to stick with a 12x142mm rear end.
With Switzerland having never won a mountain gold medal at the Olympics, Stöckli is supporting the national team and working to get there with their two young Swiss riders. Feel free to follow along with the #Trail2Rio team (with the help of Google’s robot translation from the original German.)