SwiftCarbon has just unveiled the Evil Twin, its first full-suspension mountain bike frame, at Asiabike 2014. Designed for marathon and stage racers, this new competition-bred frame is based on the brand’s Detritovore hardtail frame and comes after 18 months of development.
Update: March 2015 - SwiftCarbon Evil Twin Frame Review
“For a bike brand, the jewel in the crown – and the most difficult task in production terms – is a full suspension bike,” said SwiftCarbon founder Mark Blewett. "Even though I personally test ride all the models we produce, I know my expertise doesn't go nearly as far as our pro riders', so we really value their input. We asked them what they imagined as the perfect marathon bike and, while they gave many different responses, there was one common answer – make it like our hardtail!”
A look at the geometry suggests that the Evil Twin will exhibit similar handling characteristics to the 29in Detritovore hardtail, which we tested perviously and loved. According to SwiftCarbon’s head of design, Rene Baretta, his ideal is for the Evil Twin to replace the use of the hardtail in most situations: “It's been designed to behave just like the Detritovore hardtail, just with more control and traction.”
Frame sizes will range from extra small to large (sizes run long). The extra small with use 650b wheels; all other sizes will roll on 29in wheels.
The top tube driven linkage adds stiffness to the design
The Evil Twin has 90mm of rear wheel travel, courtesy of a single-pivot linkage and supplied and a RockShox Monarch XX remote lockout rear shock. According to Baretta, the shock rate curve offers responsive pedalling and plushness in the mid-stroke, ramping up progressively at the bottom of the travel.
Blewett hinted at a collaboration with suspension guru Patrick Morewood (co-founder of Morewood and now Pyga) when plotting out the suspension kinematics: “We're friends, and friends like to chat and help each other out. He advised our designer Rene on the suspension, and we've passed on some of our experience in manufacturing with carbon fibre. It wasn't a full-blown partnership, but he did lend a very useful hand.”
The Evil Twin will feature a mix of Mitsubishi-Rayon and Toray high-modulus carbon fibre in critical areas. Head of marketing, Neil Gardiner, says, “We set a target frame weight of under 2kg, wanting to keep it stiff at the rear end, but like a mountain bike should be, we made sure the layup keeps it robust and we were careful not to go too light.”
A carbon down tube cover protects the frame and cables. It is said to make servicing easier too
Little details seem to be well considered; the removable down tube bashplate that holds the cables in place, for example. Baretta says: “This one's for the mechanics on stage races like the Absa Cape Epic – full-length housing keeps the muck out and all mechanics have to do to replace them is loosen the screws and pull them out and replace.”
Further cable routing details include the ability to run a stealth dropper post and an electronic drivetrain.
With box-section chainstays, PressFit30 bottom bracket, 142 x 12mm Maxle rear thru-axle and a tapered head tube, the frame should be reasonably stiff under power.
Being able to fit two water bottles within the frame is a big thing for marathon racers
Lastly, the ability to fit two waters bottles inside the frame is a major bonus to serious racers. According to Neil Gardiner, all frame sizes will fit two bottles, but the two smaller frame sizes will likely need a side-pull cage and a smaller bottle for the second mount. This is achieved with a rear shock that mounts to a raised top tube, at the cost of standover height.
Pricing is to be confirmed, but SwiftCarbon estimated US$3,500 for the frame. With ridable samples not too far away, we’ll be doing a full test on an Evil Twin soon.