For generations, mountain bikers have had to make the sometimes difficult choice between affordable, nimble-climbing hardtails and fast, cushy full-suspension bikes. German company Altinsoy Manufaktur has a different idea. Its Bees Bike has a completely modular design that lets you quickly change over from hardtail to full suspension. You can also adjust sizing and positioning with ease.
One of the interesting standouts at Eurobike 2015, the Bees Bike makes clear that it's not your typical bicycle from the moment it catches your eye. Even in a world where we have everything from wooden bicycles, to diminutive folding bicycles, to bicycles dressed up as motorcycles, the Bees Bike stands out. It has a beefy trellis-style frame made from a "special light alloy."
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Its look is unique, but it's the modular design that really separates the Bees Bike from the pack. The bike adjusts around the rider through an integrated system of bolts and mounts. In this way, the bike can adjust to better fit your body and riding style. Of most interest is the stabilizer bar that can be swapped in for the DT Swiss rear shock, creating a fully metal hardtail in place of a springy pivoting rear triangle.
While a nice way of packing hardtail and full-suspension into a single bike, we wonder if the Bees design will provide the same level of smoothness as a hardtail frame construction or even the lock-outs and semi lock-outs common on rear shocks. The swap-in hardtail component looks solid enough, but if there's even a little jiggle at the mounting points, it could prove inferior to a solid-frame hardtail in terms of rear-wheel stability, pedaling performance and feel. We'd recommend a thorough test ride before you buy.
Altinsoy plans to begin selling its bikes through a small dealer network following Eurobike. First up will be an electric bike with a mid-motor drive supplied by Brose and a battery from BMZ. Altinsoy will follow that model up with standard pedal bikes next year. The company told us that it's a small operation with the capability to build about 10 bikes a day.
Full-bike prices should hover around €3,500 (US$3,950), but since Altinsoy plans to sell the frames to bicycle dealers and have them work with customers in building up their individual bikes, pricing is sure to fluctuate based on selected components. The company is displaying its bikes with a component set that includes a Gates Carbon belt drive, Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 and RockShox Bluto fork.
Altinsoy also has an active Kickstarter campaign out there, but it seems designed more for raising brand awareness than money. The company is offering only a €10 donation level, and at about €250 out of a €111K goal, it seems like the campaign is sure to be unsuccessful, barring some type of huge single donation or miracle.
We hope to update with more information and video when these bikes start rolling out of the factory and onto the street.
Source: Bees BikeView gallery - 12 images