We revealed last year that Seven Cycles would be using Dave Weagle’s latest suspension design, Split Pivot, on their new bikes, and now they’ve released details of the collaboration.
Based on a concentric rear dropout pivot, both parties reckon the platform complements Seven’s favoured material – titanium – and custom-based manufacturing better than Weagle’s previous dw-link design.
“From the titanium construction standpoint, there are only so many designs that really make sense,” Weagle told BikeRadar. “I’ve already been through that design exercise with Indy Fab [Independent Fabrications] and their [titanium] dw-link bike. The biggest question right now is whether we float the shock off the links or if we make a third pivot on the frame.”
Weagle’s work for Seven will allow their customers to add travel and suspension tuning options to the already long list of customisable attributes available on their bikes.
“To us, this is exciting because we’re designing the suspension feel for each rider as an integrated element of the entire bike and rider combination,” said Seven president Rob Vandermark. “When we started this project, we looked at different suspension options. Dave’s experience and reputation for developing technologies such as dw-Link and Split Pivot made him the only choice.”
“It’s a good fit in terms of everything he knows about suspension and everything that we know about customisation,” said Mattison Crowe, Seven’s marketing manager. “To align those two [attributes], you’re going to come out with a winning set of bikes. We’ll be able to customise the suspension as well as the geometry of the bike to what people want.”
Mattison says the first model will be made solely from titanium, though customers will have influence over the butting profiles of the tubes, wheel size and geometry. While still without a name or even a prototype sample, Seven claim the new model will be available later this spring and will likely offer travel that ranges between 80mm and 130mm.
“I think the Seven clientele has more unique body shapes and sizes that can’t necessarily get the fit right on other bikes, so we’re going to do several different sets of [suspension] kinematics that accommodate different body types, shapes and sizes,” said Weagle. “I thought it [Split Pivot] would be a little bit easier to meet their customisation goals and be more cost effective in meeting those goals than with dw-link.”
Split Pivot versus Trek’s ABP
Weagle announced the Split Pivot suspension design to the industry in the summer of 2007, though he claims he filed patents much earlier. At the heart of the design is a pivot that’s concentric to the rear axle, which isolates the suspension almost entirely from braking and pedalling input. Trek use the same concept for their ABP (Active Braking Pivot) suspension system, which was launched within six months of Weagle’s Split Pivot announcement in 2007.
At that time both parties claimed they had applied for patents and both maintained developing their designs separately. Soon after Trek’s unveiling of ABP – and full-scale implementation of it in their mountain line – Split Pivot seemed to go quiet. During that same time, Weagle gained key licensees for his dw-link design. He attributes the Split Pivot lull to “being really busy with dw-link and e*thirteen”, the chain guide company which he also presides over.
In mid-2008 Weagle devoted more of his attention to Split Pivot, even though it remained off of the mainstream mountain bike media’s radar. “I did decide to start working with some companies on Split Pivot about 18 months ago,” said Weagle. “We have a total of seven licensees right now.” Aside from Seven – the latest – and Spooky – the first – he remains tight-lipped over the identity of the five remaining companies who have yet to announce their licensing of the design.
This leads to the question of what stage Weagle’s patent application is in at and whether the growing number of licensees for the Split Pivot design will force a reaction from Trek. Weagle would not answer either of these questions. He did, however, offer the following to BikeRadar: “The Split Pivot design moved really smoothly through the patent process.”
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