NAHBS 2013: Kent Eriksen full-suspension
By James Huang | Saturday, February 23, 2013 10.46pm
The titanium wizards at Kent Eriksen Cycles debuted a new full-suspension mountain bike design at this year's North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Though still unnamed, the single-pivot arrangement was designed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado by Eriksen welder and designer Brad Bingham, offering 90mm of travel in a scalable layout that will work for 26in, 27.5in/650b or 29in wheels.
Unlike the Yeti and Ventana rear ends Eriksen has shown in previous years, this new design uses titanium chain stays and seat stays that are more in keeping with the rest of the frame. The main pivot rotates on double-row sealed cartridge bearings and a 20mm-diameter axle for stiffness and the chain stay yoke is a massive TIG-welded titanium box-section made from sections of 6/4 plate cut with a water jet.
Up top, the shock is driven by a burly CNC-machined aluminum link but the front of shock is mounted with another boxed-in 6/4 welded titanium arrangement that should be much less prone to flex than typical parallel plates. In between Eriksen relies on titanium's inherent flex to accommodate slight changes in geometry as the rear end moves through its travel.
Eriksen claims the new frame will weigh about 2.4kg (5.3lb) on average with smaller sizes flirting with the 2.25kg (5lb) mark. Somewhat unusually, Eriksen intends its 90mm-travel frame to be paired with a 120mm-travel fork.
The new, as-of-yet unnamed, full-suspension rig from Eriksen
All of that titanium artistry will cost you, though. Estimated retail price for the frame and rear shock is a whopping $5,400.
Eriksen had heaps of other titanium masterpieces on display, too, including two pieces that highlight the company's expertise in the finicky material.
One was an Eriksen-sponsored TradeWind Energy team-issue road bike, built with a frame that was left intentionally raw post-welding – as in no finish work, no brushing, no polishing. Some might see it as being incomplete but a closer inspection reveals just how well it's made and in particular, the evenness of the weld beads.
Looking even further under the surface, another frame was literally half-finished with some welds completed, some started, other joints merely tacked, and some that weren't welded at all to show the quality of the mitering. The tightness of the fit is quite impressive.
Eriksen only welded parts of the junctions to show off the tight mitering work
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