Crankworx Bikes and Bits Roundup

New bikes from Trek, Norco, Knolly, Chromag, Juliana and more

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Most people recognize Crankworx Whistler by its signature Joyride Slopestyle course, or maybe the Garbanzo Downhill race. Those events, along with a round of the Enduro World Series, Speed and Style, World Pump Track Championships, and now Dual Slalom, are reason enough the Whistler event gets the well-deserved attention it does as North America’s premier mountain bike event.

But, over the years it’s also become a showcase of new products. Whether its a sneak-peek of things we can’t quite share with you(there were surprisingly many), or full-blown product introductions like the Rocky Mountain Slayer we covered last week, Crankworx Whistler is chockfull of new bikes and gear. Here are a few things that came across MTBR’s radar this year.

2020 Trek Fuel EX

The Fuel EX gets a makeover with more travel and clever features for 2020.

Trek had the 2020 Trek Fuel EX on display down in Whistler Village. With, arguably, one of the most beautiful paint jobs seen all week on their carbon 9.8 model. Updated for 2020, the new Fuel EX has 140mm of front and rear wheel travel. The most eye-catching change is the new BITS(Bontrager Integrated Tool Storage) system in the downtube. With a removable water bottle plate on the downtube, BITS is basically what Specialized has had on its bikes for a few years now, which makes it almost more impressive from a legal standpoint. Inquiries about legal efforts or hurdles of BITS were essentially brushed off, but ultimately this might mean internal frame storage will become more common among other brands in the near future.

Much like Specialized’s SWAT system, Trek’s BITS system allows riders to carry repair items (and snacks) in the downtube.

Similar to many historical Trek offerings, the Fuel EX will be available in an aluminum version, a carbon front triangle version with an alloy rear end, and an all-carbon version. A new sizing system omits women’s specific frames, but bumps up to a total of seven sizing options, XS-XXL, including a ML size. The XS only comes with 27.5-inch wheels, the Small is available in either 27.5-inch or 29er versions, and M-XXL run 29-inch wheels. Geometry sounds about normal, with a 66-degree headtube angle, 75-degree seat tube angle, 437mm chainstays, and 470mm reach on a size Large.

A removable sleeve keeps ride essentials secure in the downtube.

In addition to bumping up suspension from last year’s model by 10mm, the trunnion Full Floater shock arrangement has been replaced with one with a fixed lower mount. This is a notable change for Trek’s suspension platform and should equate to a different shock tune at the very least. Whether or not the net result equates to a bike that rides similarly to Treks with floating shocks is hard to say without riding one, unfortunately.

Ending a long list of changes to the new Fuel EX is an update to its ABS hardware. What was simply described as being streamlined for 2020, the new design is a bit narrower, potentially improving clearance for those with larger feet, if not offering a slightly nicer aesthetic, too.

Norco hardtail and kid’s mountain bikes

More teaser than pleaser, Norco decided to jump the gun of their planned launch happening later this month, and show off new 2020 models. Details were admittedly limited, but more info will be released sometime in mid-September when the bikes themselves are in stock and ready to ship.

Long, slack and short on rear suspension, meet the new Torrent.

The Torrent hardtail is classic BC hardcore. Featuring a slack, 64-degree headtube, a 76-degree seat tube, and reach of “around 500[mm]” on a size large, the steel frame should fit right in on the steep trails of Norco’s backyard.

Even the pint-sized riders can get shreddy on the Fluid.

For the groms, Norco’s updated Fluid full suspension mountain bikes look impressively well-sorted. Details were again limited, but both the 24-inch and 20-inch versions were adorned with dropper posts, hydraulic disc brakes, X-Fusion rear shocks with a damping adjustment lever, size-appropriate cranks and brake levers, 1x drivetrains, and internal cable routing.

Three new Knollys

Knolly used Ford’s iconic GT40 as inspiration for their new 27.5-inch wheeled Warden’s paint job, one of three new offerings from the small BC-based company for 2020.

The Warden features 160mm of travel front and rear, is compatible with at least a 175mm dropper on even the smaller sizes, has a whopping 3.25-inch max tire size compatibility, and adjustable travel between what they’ve dubbed Slack and Neutral. The flip-chip offers either a 65.75-degree or 65-degree headtube angle, while Knolly claims seat tube angle remains at 77-degrees. SuperBoost spacing in back keeps chainstays at 16.9-inches, which is respectable for a bike that can wear plus-sized tires. Reach is 500mm/19.6-inches on a size large, and the bottom bracket measures at 346mm.

For a little more travel and similar geometry, the Warden LT uses the same frame, but gets 167mm of rear wheel travel out of a different shock stroke, and comes with a 170mm travel fork.

Bumping up travel to 175mm with a 180mm fork, the Delirium is billed as an Enduro/Freeride chassis with a completely different tubeset from the Warden. It also gets a choice of 64.25-degree or 65-degree headtube angle, a 76.5-degree seat tube angle, and a 350mm tall bottom bracket. Tire width compatibility, chainstay length, and reach are all the same as the Warden.

The Delirium is a long-legged freeride machine.

All three models are available as complete bikes, or as framesets, and any of those choices are customizable with several shock options(check their website for specifics). Each frame is offered in three different colors, too. As a side note, owner/founder, Noel Buckley, shared the that he named the company after his MTBR handle, Knolly.

Spawn Cycles

The Rokk is a rowdy kid’s bike.

Based in Squamish, BC, Spawn Cycles is basically the dad we all wish we had while growing up. Driven entirely by what their son and daughter need for bicycles, the company’s progression of offerings has gone from that of a two-year-old’s two-wheeler six-years ago, to now offering a 24-inch wheeled bike that can be converted to a 26-inch wheeled bike.

Flip-chips allow parents to make the most of an investment in a high-end kid’s bike.

Using flip-chips in the chainstays to adjust the chassis to the two wheel size options, the Rokk features 140mm of front and rear wheel travel. Stock crank length on the 24-inch version is 145mm, and 160mm for the 26-inch upgrade package, which consists of said cranks, wheels, tires, and wider bars.

Spawn Cycles wasn’t entirely sure on tire size compatibility at Crankworx, but based on the Rokk’s clearance with 2.4-inch tires, the Boost fork and rear triangle should “easily go to 2.8’s,”

Chromag Monk Dawg

This particular Monk is one of a kind.

Local Whistler company, Chromag, didn’t set up a booth at Crankworx, but was happy to show us around their new headquarters just down the road. They have a few softgoods and hardgoods in the works that should be introduced early next year, but we can’t talk about those just yet. However, what was one display and definitely worth mentioning was a Chris “Monk Dawg” Vasquez tribute bike.

Legendary mechanic Chris “Monk Dawg” Vasquez was a fixture on the World Cup circuit.

Originally nicknamed “Monkey” as a mechanic on the World Cup mountain bike circuit in the early 1990’s, Monk Dawg not only wrenched for Missy Giove in her heyday but gave her a run for the money on who was the biggest character, too. His was one based on a heart of gold, an ability to fix anything—including his riders’ heads on occasion, and the capacity to make any and all of us laugh at either his or our expense.

Fast-forward to 2013, and Monk Dawg was sharing his endless wealth of character and stories with fellow Trek Global Racing Team mechanic, Ben Arnott. Like anyone who’d worked with Monk over the years, he left quite a positive impression upon Arnott, who now works at Chromag. Monk Dawg suffered from serious health issues and eventually lost the battle in August of 2016. Chromag’s Monk model was named in a completely unrelated manner but seemed a perfect platform for Arnott to build up a tribute bike to the beloved mechanic. The name itself was reason enough, but Monk Dawg was also always using his riders’ DJ-style dual slalom bikes as transportation around the race pits.

Forks have come a long way, but at least it looks good.

Similar to the man it was based on, the Chromag Monk Dawg is a fun mix of old and new parts, along with a black chrome paint job that has to be seen in person to truly appreciate. Upfront, a period-correct Marzocchi fork is the reason given by several people at Chromag for the bike simply being too sketchy to actually ride but it fits the build perfectly. Another throwback is the set of Sun-Ringle rims; otherwise the singlespeed dirt jumper is mostly modern.

Chromag designer Claire Buchar designed the custom Monk Dawg graphic, and Arnott added a tribute decal one of Monk Dawg’s friends made in 2016 to the downtube. (We couldn’t remember who made them. If you know who did, please let us know). Thanks in part to that fork, this one-off project is destined to be on display at Chromag indefinitely. If you happen to find yourself in Whistler and are a fan, old friend, or just an admirer of what Monk Dawg was all about, swing in and check it out.

Custom Canyon

Canyon was raffling off this custom-painted Strive CF6.0.

The Germans were infiltrating Canada and started the campaign by raffling off a one-off Strive CF6.0 with a paint job that’d make Greztky proud. As of Crankworx, anyone of any nationality could win the bike that signed up for the drawing.

Oh, Canada.

It’ll be a few more weeks until a winner is picked, and while Canyon isn’t exactly trying to keep non-Canadians from entering, the remaining raffle entries will be through a Canadian website. Bikes will ship from the US side of the border, and as soon as backend support like customer service is in place, Canyon Canada will be a thing.

Juliana Joplin

The new Joplin is a looker.

We just posted the details of Santa Cruz’s new Tallboy. On the Juliana side, a lighter suspension tune, a women’s specific saddle, narrower 750mm bars, and a beautiful dark green make up the new Juliana Joplin.

Like the Tallboy, the Joplin gets the lower-link-driven suspension used on the company’s longer-travel bikes.

Click here to read more about the redesigned Joplin and Tallboy.

 


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