Inspired by the GT mountain bikes from the late 1980’s, German inventor Ulrich Bahr and brother Eric have spent the last 20+ years working to bring their concept of the ultimate mountain bike to fruition. Using their own patent, which was granted in around the time they got started on this project, they’ve gone through several manufacturers, attempted crowdfunding, and finally sold Eric’s house to fund a small run of this: The KineticWorks Quintessence enduro bike.
The design uses a linkage driven rear suspension that starts on a lower rocker arm. The bottom bracket sits at the other end of that rocker arm, which has two effects depending on whether you’re pedaling or coasting. Pedal hard, and the forces you apply downward pull on the suspension for more efficient movement and better traction. Hit a bump, and they move the BB’s center to keep the pedaling position somewhat static. While that’s a big rocker, and there’s up to 200mm of rear wheel travel, they say the BB only moves a few millimeters and has a stabilizing effect on the system.
Where the real magic comes into the design is the adjustable angles. Back in the day, Ulrich had a more upright bike and crushed his friends on the climb. Then they crushed him on the descents with their slacker bikes. So the idea was born, why not have a bike that could do both equally well? The connector piece between the rocker, chainstays and seat tube lets you more the upper rocker pivot closer or farther from the seat tube. This effectively drops the BB and slackens the angles…by a LOT.
These models have a mechanical adjustment, meaning you’d have to stop at the top and wrench it into position. But they mentioned a hydraulically actuated switch as the ideal part here, letting you change geo at the flick of a button.
The beauty of the design also allows non-traditional drivetrains to be used, like the Pinion internal gear box…which would remove a LOT of unsprung weight from the rear of the bike.
They’re offering it in framesets with various drivetrain options, forks and other parts on their website, including complete bikes with Shimano drivetrains (even an Alfine 11 build).