Truly, one of the most interesting and exciting new bikes that we saw at the Sea Otter Classic this year was a surprise from Spot. They are a small Golden, CO-based company owned by the same family that created the original Avid. The Lumpkin family and Wayne Lumpkin himself crafted the Rollik 557, the first full suspension design and the first carbon frame for Spot Brand.
We talked to Spot’s chief Imagineer (that’s really what his business card reads) Andy Emanuel who explains that the employees all love riding hardtails (mostly singlespeed, naturally), but they wanted to create an all mountain/trail bike that they could ride, instead of the various dual suspension offerings from various other manufacturers that they all currently were riding on.
The Rollik frame is made from TexTreme carbon (like Felt and a few other bike companies) and features 140mm of rear travel provided by a modified four bar suspension design that replaces the lower linkage with a carbon leaf spring. The bike was in development for two and half years and Emanuel explains, “Basically, what we did is replace a set of cartridge bearings with a carbon fiber leaf spring. Cartridge bearings wear out, but the leaf spring never will. Bearings have play in them and the leaf spring is really stiff. It gives you a little bit of extra spring force in the sag range and then that dissipates when you hit a bump. In addition, this design has a high level of anti-squat so you don’t have to hit any switches for different terrain. When you do hit the bumps, you get a little more compliance out of the suspension because that leaf spring force falls away once you pass the sag range.”
Called the Living Link, the design has two patents pending and works in conjunction with another unique feature of this bike, the 76 degree seat tube angle. Obviously, that seat tube angle is a lot steeper than the current all mountain/trail “norm”, but the Spot Brand guys explained that their climbs back home are all straight up or straight down and they were tired of climbing and feeling like they were positioned behind their bikes. For the descents, Spot claims that with the saddle dropped, you can still maintain a longish reach and a long front center to help keep the bike stable. The head tube angle is a more standard 67 degrees.
Here is a short video showing the actuation of the carbon Living Link.
Emanuel continues, “With our geometry, the Rollik is nimble in the slow stuff but stable in the fast stuff. We rode these the other day at Soquel Demo Forest and we were pitching it down trails like Braille and Sawpit like we were on mini-DH bikes. This bike is strong and stiff and really stable, but it’s also light and quick on the way back up.”
The carbon plate has metal plates for retention purposes and it’s been tested through 10 million cycles. Emanuel explains, “I built a flex testing machine just for the carbon leaf spring that duplicates the same flexing motion it experiences in the bike while pulling on it with 500 lbs. of tension (because it is under tension when a rider is sitting on the bike). After 3 million cycles and no failure, I had to rebuild the testing rig multiple times because the carbon leaf spring was wearing out the test equipment!”
The 140mm of rear travel is designed to be paired with a 150mm fork and comes matched with a RockShox Pike. Other parts spec highlights include a SRAM X01 drivetrain, Fox Float EVOL shock, RockShox Reverb dropper post and Stan’s new Arch wheels with a retail price of $6400. There is also a frame and shock only option at $2999 and the bike and frame will be available in May of this year.
For more info, visit spotbrand.com.
This article is part of Mtbr’s coverage of the 2016 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. For more from Sea Otter CLICK HERE.