Bicycles

Canadian mountain bike follows a different trail

An SCW 1 prototype, in front of the Calgary skyline
An SCW 1 prototype, in front of the Calgary skyline
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An SCW 1 prototype, in front of the Calgary skyline
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An SCW 1 prototype, in front of the Calgary skyline
If you're interested in giving the SCW 1 a try, you'd better start saving now – plans call for a frame, fork and shocks package to go for US$7,000, while complete bikes could sell for over $13,000
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If you're interested in giving the SCW 1 a try, you'd better start saving now – plans call for a frame, fork and shocks package to go for US$7,000, while complete bikes could sell for over $13,000

It's not unusual for new mountain bikes to be unveiled at the Crankworx festival in Whistler, British Columbia. What certainly is unusual, though, is a carbon fiber bike that premiered at this year's event. Made by Calgary, Alberta-based Structure Cycleworks Ltd., the SCW 1 does away with a traditional suspension fork, and replaces it with a linkage-style suspension.

So, what's wrong with just doing things the normal way?

"The telescoping suspension fork has been highly refined over the past quarter-century, but will always suffer from two major drawbacks: instability under load and friction," Structure Cycleworks CEO Loni Hull tells us. "The former is a result of all three principal measures of steering stability – head angle, trail, and front-center length – decreasing as a conventional fork compresses, making the bike least stable when the rider needs it most."

That situation is reportedly addressed by the SCW 1's 150-mm-travel Without Telescoping Fork (WTF) chassis, which relaxes the head angle, increases trail, and maintains a more consistent front-center length. It's also claimed to be subject to approximately 40 percent less brake dive than a traditional telescoping fork.

If you're interested in giving the SCW 1 a try, you'd better start saving now – plans call for a frame, fork and shocks package to go for US$7,000, while complete bikes could sell for over $13,000
If you're interested in giving the SCW 1 a try, you'd better start saving now – plans call for a frame, fork and shocks package to go for US$7,000, while complete bikes could sell for over $13,000

"The friction issue arises from a telescoping fork attempting to do double duty as a structural element and shock absorber, attempting to slide on bushings while the fork is subjected to heavy bending loads, causing sticking and binding," Hull continues. "Structure has removed these bending loads by mounting all moving parts on low-friction bearings designed specifically for bicycles and by using a custom-tuned rear shock absorber for front suspension duties."

If you're interested in giving the SCW 1 a try, though, you'd better start saving now. Plans call for a frame, fork and shocks package to go for US$7,000, while complete bikes could sell for over $13,000 – they're expected to weight about 30 lb (13.6 kg). Delivery of the first units is scheduled for the summer (Northern Hemisphere) of next year.

For another take on a mountain bike with a linkage-style suspension, check out the even weirder-looking Scurra Hard Enduro. And if you like the idea of keeping your existing bike and just swapping in a linkage suspension, then you might like the Motion France Dynamic fork.

Source: Structure Cycleworks Ltd. via Pinkbike

10 comments
Grunchy
The article suggests you have to pay $13,000 to buy the bike in order to try it out, but I think I'd just try it at the bike store for $0. (I got a second-hand CBR600 for $2,000, so I wouldn't ever be buying a mere bicycle like this. So I probably wouldn't even waste time trying it out either. It's not even carbon fibre? The guys are being completely, outrageously greedy here.)
Cornball
No mention of Hossack or BMW Doulever?
Joshua Tulberg
I've seen many variations on this same concept. I love the way they solved for steering on this one. But for the love of the Flying Spagetti Monster, show us VIDEO.
MD
meh. Solve one problem and replace it with increased complexity. Steering link is pretty standard in aircraft industry. (Combined with a "simple" single strut.)
Alexander Lowe
As Cornball implied, this is the sme front-suspension as used by BMWs Duolever system for motorcycles, which itself is a copy of Norman Hossack's front suspension for motorcycles. It differs from the Scurra Hard Enduro, a single-wishbone design which uses the steering linkage to locate and absorb some of the loads on the front wheel, which is why it is rather beefy, compared with the slender scissor-linkage on this machine. The Whyte PRST-1 ws another single-wishbone design, with the steering link doing double duty. Although the Motion France Dynamic fork uses linkages rather than relescoping elements, it is still a form of steered suspension - a kind of trailing link with leaf-spring. The SCW1 has a suspended steering head. Anyway, it's been done before on a bicycle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38TBaqs-cfc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn2uHY8uRFY
ljaques
Why not $30k, or $50k? They'll sell six of these total.
loni
Structure Cycleworks here. In response to some of the comments here, a few clarifications. We will offer free demo events next summer. $13,000 is very reasonable for a premium carbon fiber bicycle with the best components available and a ground-breaking chassis, especially given the manufacturing complexity involved. Yes, the bike frame is entirely carbon fiber. With a nod of deep respect to Hossack and BMW, we would like to point out that we have done some things to significantly update linkage design of this kind, with large cartridge bearings for the horizontal axes of the control arms and standard tapered headsets for the steerers. We have designed an entirely new means of allowing the steering links to pitch in relation to one another when the steering axes become misaligned, while also allowing the links to collapse at very low friction during suspension movement. A a result our design deviates from standard practice in aviation and Hossack suspensions. Last, but certainly not least, our twin parallelogram chassis is tuned so that front and rear have complimentary motion ratios and create true 0-10% brake anti-dive relative to a rider's centre of gravity. We want to be another flavour in a marketplace full of vanilla. Hopefully we'll sell a few more than six.
Dan Lewis
Funny...they don't let us see it move. I couldn't find it on YouTube.
loni
We'll post numerous YouTube videos of the bike in action once production-spec units arrive out of the molds in spring. Until then, please see a short clip of the prototype posted under Structure Cycleworks on YouTube (please forgive/enjoy the enthusiasm of my young niece). We'll get additional clips up as soon as possible.
Antony Stewart
Intelligent design of a concept bike. One hinge is replaced by 9 and it's not as light as traditional forks, It's probably not expected to be for mass production. it's probably fun to ride and nice in a collection. the rebound on traditional is a hybrid of springs and pneumatic in direct impact through the fork bars. It does look cool, it also has a finger pinching appearance.