Knolly bikes are designed and produced in Vancouver, BC, Canada and they have a cult following, which can be attributed to two factors: they're heavily influenced by the trails and riders in one of mountain biking’s legendary locations – the North Shore – and they sport a unique Four by 4 linkage suspension design.
New for 2011 is the Endorphin SL, a 5in-travel (125mm) trail bike that can be built up to thrash the singletrack or specced with lighter weight kit to take on marathon and 24-hour events. It'll be available from February.
The frame weighs 6lb with a Fox RP23 shock, and Knolly owner Noel Buckley estimates that complete bikes will range from 24lb (cross-country spec) to 27lb (trail build). The chassis is welded from US made 6069 alloy – Buckley prides himself on Knolly bikes being made of 99 percent North American sourced parts.
The Endorphin SL has a 44mm ZeroStack compatible head tube, which can be adapted to allow for 1-1/8in straight or tapered steerer tubes. Knolly recommend a fork with 120mm to 140mm travel. Head angle is roughly 69° with a 120mm fork and 68° with a 140mm fork.
The 44mm ZeroStack head tube can adapt via an external lower cup to accept a tapered steerer tube
The bike uses an XV high-volume air can and a 7.5in x 2in (eye-to-eye) stroke shock to keep the leverage ratio as low as possible. With the Four by 4 linkage, Buckley says he can separate the shock rate from the four main forces that interplay within a bicycle suspension system: pedaling input, pedaling feedback, shock progression and brake interaction.
Because the shock progression is handled separately with its own linkage, Buckley believes he can better tune the main linkage to handle the three interacting forces that are left over. The design is also said to allow greater freedom when it comes to locating the pivots, and easy inclusion of a full-length seat tube.
The Four by 4 has an FSR basis, but Buckley is careful not to pigeonhole how his bikes ride
Buckley describes the Endorphin SL as the most "pedaling aggressive" bike that his brand have ever produced. The bike has clearance for 2.5in tires and is available in five sizes.
The Chilcotin is set to be released roughly a month after the Endorphin SL, in March. It's an evolution of Knolly’s original Endorphin and falls into the all-mountain category with 6in (150mm) of travel. The bike is built to be very versatile.
Though it sports 6in of travel, Knolly's 2011 Chilcotin is meant as an all-day adventurer
It comes with a straight 1.5in head tube that can be used to fit an oversized straight or tapered steerer tube. It also comes with ISCG05 tabs for a chainguide or Truvativ’s HammerSchmidt internally geared crankset. “All of our bikes pedal great with HammerSchmidt,” says Buckley.
The Chilcotin comes with two shock positions, giving a choice of 67° or 66° head angles and bottom bracket heights that differ by 1.5in. The bike’s geometry is designed around a 160mm fork.
The Chilcotin's geometry can be changed quickly via its adjustable lower shock mount
The geo change takes all of 30 seconds and allows the bike to be easily tailored to terrain and riding style. Buckley hopes that the fact it’s so fast will make it a useful day-to-day, terrain-to-terrain adjustment for riders.
A medium Chilcotin frame with Fox RP23 XV shock is said to weigh 7.5lb. Other frame stats include clearance for 2.7in tires, 135mm rear wheel spacing (without a through-axle option) and a machined 3/8in alloy derailleur hanger that’s replaceable. Knolly offer the Chilcotin in five sizes.
Both frames will cost around US$2,000 with rear shocks. For more information, visit KnollyBikes.com.