Not long ago we found ourselves looking at another bare aluminum European trail bike, once again screaming prototype. This time though we had a chance not only to get full details on the bike and take some photos to share, but also to throw a leg over it and ride it hard down some familiar trails. The bike was at Rose Bike’s press launch in the Austrian Alps and is the final working prototype they have used to dial in the geometry of their upcoming carbon Pikes Peak. The standout of the bike is a unique trailside-adjustable suspension setup that lets you not only flip between two different geometries, but also independently swap between two different shock progression rates in about 20 seconds with a single wrench.
Drop in after the break to see how the ProGeo adjustment works, more details on the upcoming production model, and see how it does on the trail…
The test prototype is a direct analogue to the upcoming carbon-framed Pikes Peak, a 27.5″ trail bike that Rose sees blurring the line between All Mountain and Enduro offerings. It gets what has become pretty standard recently, modern trail geometry with a long top tube, slack head angle, and short stem (40mm or less.) This prototype we were able to ride is technically a medium, but had a top tube length that slotted in between Rose’s normal large and extra-large mountain bikes at almost 62cm, and fit our 185cm/6’1″ tester well. The bike’s suspension is a simple Horst-style four bar, with everything kept pretty compact for a low center of gravity. The carbon version will have a carbon main triangle and stays with an aluminum rocker for now.
Its suspension movement is designed around 1x drivetrains, so there will be no front derailleur compatibility, but yielding wider, bigger pivot bearings, good tire clearance, and short chainstays. The rear end also gets the new Boost 12×148 standard for improved rear wheel stiffness. No carbon frames have been completed yet from what we’re told, but the molds are in process and availability is still anticipated for spring 2016 riding.
The new adjustable suspension on the Pikes Peak gets dubbed ProGeo, as both shock Progression and overall Geometry are independently adjustable through a 4-position lower shock mount. By pointing the small arrow on the non-driveside lower shock mount up and either right or left you get a higher bottom bracket and the steeper (but not steep) 66.5° head angle. Point down and you slacken by 1° and drop the BB 13mm. On the other hand by aiming the arrow forward (and either up or down) you end up with a more linear shock compression rate. Then move it to pointing back and you get a 30% more progressive shock curve.
And all you need to adjust it is a single 8mm wrench on this prototype (most likely it will get a 6mm, which is more common on mini tools for the production version.) Just back the single bolt out until it hits a stop. Then the four-sided insert can pop out a bit. Keep spinning it to set the position you want, push it back in, and tighten it back again. No hardware is removed, so no worry of dropping a bolt on the trail, and you can be back to riding in 30 seconds or less once you’ve done it a few times.
The prototype didn’t get any labels, but the final carbon version will get a simple graphic where you point the arrow back for more progression, and down to slacken. It will also get a less boxy bottom bracket befitting carbon fiber, with a more conventional closed downtube design.
Also interesting to note on this bike, Rose developed a nice new cable routing inlet that will get used across their new mountain bikes that tensions the housing as it is internally routed. This keeps housing and hoses from rattling around inside the frame, and should result in much quieter bikes from Rose.
The Pikes Peak will be available in two versions that use the same frame, just with different stroke shocks. The Enduro build will have 165mm of travel in the rear and be paired with a 160mm fork, while the All Mountain trail bike setup will be a bit shorter with 150mm of travel front and rear. We’ll know more at Eurobike about how many sizes will be available, as well as build kits, and final pricing.
The longer travel setup gets slightly slacker angles and a 3mm higher bottom bracket height to start off with. But both versions will benefit from the same 1° angle/13mm BB height adjustability. Just to note in the geometry comparison charts above, both frames start out identical, so the variations for example of effective top tube length and reach are just a result of the different angles moving the frame around a bit in between the wheels. The other fit difference of stack is then a result of the higher position of the longer travel fork.
First Ride Impressions
So how does the Pikes Peak ride? The prototype was setup to test in the 165/160mm Enduro travel option, and we rode it in the steeper angle setup. The trails were technical and gravity-fed singletrack, but didn’t really warrant the slacker mode, especially since we had already spent two days repeatedly riding the same trails on less aggressive bikes.
We flipped around the ProGeo mount once to alter the progression, and that was it. The difference in feel was definitely noticeable, and was maybe akin to changing the air pressure in the shock while keeping the same small bump compliance. After the complete run the shock had traveled a good bit more through its stroke in the linear mode vs. the progressive one. We didn’t have time to experiment too much, and never put it in the slack mode. That being said with 160mm of travel out back and a 66.5° headtube, it was still happy to fly down the trail, wanting to go faster and faster. The riding was lift-served so we only got a relatively small amount of climbing. With a dropper post it wasn’t reluctant to be pedaled up either short rooted sections of trail or longer steep dirt and gravel climbs though, just not in much of a hurry. We also didn’t have a chance to weigh the aluminum prototype, but it didn’t feel heavy at all, so a lighter carbon version can only be better.
Would we personally stop on the trail and flip it from one position to the next? Probably not very often. Most trail riding we do is either so varied that we would be switching back and forth every half hour (and would want a magic remote switch!), or on the other hand pretty consistent so we’d leave it in one position for weeks on end. But I’m kind of obsessed with tech and would probably end up trying out all four positions on a few familiar trails and figure out what I like best for what type of terrain. Then it would get set in place before say a weekend of Enduro racing or lift-served trailcenter riding, then put back to my favorite trail setting when I got back home.
We hope to get a chance to take some photos of a pre-production carbon version at Eurobike, so keep an eye out. As of now there is nothing about the new bike on Rose’s website, but we’ll take a look at the bike again as it gets closer to reality.