After our initial test runs with the first prototype at Whinlatter, in very dry weather, we carried out further tests on trails at the Forest of Dean in slightly damper conditions. Here is some video footage shot whilst testing the first bike, during one of our recent visits to the #Launchpad trail.
After riding on different trails and terrain, in a variety of conditions, we have now obtained enough information to know what needs modifying. So, the prototype has returned to the workshop for some remodelling of the bike frame geometry, to gain further improvements in performance and handling. Although we cannot go into too much detail at the moment, we are planning to simplify some elements of the manufacturing process, to create the best possible version of a gravity mountain bike.
We are going to change the front wishbone design to make the bike stronger but lighter at the front end, making it easier to jump the bike, whilst retaining the overall durability of the design. New front wheel mounts are to be specially machined to include the steering knuckles for increased solidity, whilst reducing further weight and the overall width of the bike. Hollow wheel axles are also being manufactured, to save more weight without compromising the overall rigidity of the design.
In addition, we are going to test the second prototype on 20″ front wheels, to further assess the handling capabilities, as well as shortening the length of the bike. There is also going to be some changes made to the seat position/angle, to give it a lower centre of gravity and to make it adjustable for different riders. The angle of the head tube will also be altered, so the handlebars are easier to reach, without interfering with leg space and/or access to the footplate. All this will help to fit people of differing heights, as the stem can also be set to face either forwards or backwards, as required by individuals.
There will be a redesign of the rear swing arms, to incorporate the larger shocks in a better position on the frame and further enhance their performance. We will also increase the rear footprint of the bike to improve stability through the corners, whilst minimising any drag from the rear wheels/tyres. The sub-frame will have some minor changes too, creating more space for a rider’s legs and feet, with a small handle added to the back to assist in moving the bike around, loading/unloading, etc.
We know that there are a lot of people out there waiting for this bike to be completed and ready to buy, but creating the best possible product takes time. We are examining and addressing every little detail of the design, in order to achieve engineering excellence. The end product is intended to be a once in a lifetime purchase, so the bike has to be both high quality and cost effective for people, in order to guarantee years of trouble free riding.
So, the plan now is to make all the necessary technical changes described, and tidy up the overall design. There will then be some final testing of the second bike prior to announcing production. We really do appreciate your patience during this process and, of course, we will continue to keep you informed of our progress with the project. More news, photos and other information on the new bike will follow as soon as possible, via the website and our social media channels.
The wheels are in motion… #NotLongNow