What is it
The Eminent Haste is this new bike maker’s initial entry into the MTB scene, and its name gives clear indication of its intentions. It’s the product of company founder Jeff Soncrant, who spent years riding in Santa Cruz and Southern California, ultimately finding himself wanting a bike that was not available for purchase. What happens when a passionate engineer gets really, really motivated? The Eminent Haste comes to life. It’s a 27.5 trail tamer with 160mm rear travel, 170mm up front, and a slack 65.5-degree headtube angle. Seat tube angle is 73 degrees, and chainstays measure 442mm across the five frame sizes on offer. Read on to learn more and find out how it performed on the trail.
- Suspension remains active under braking
- Incredible styling
- Suspension maintains traction
- Exceptionally fast bike
- Holds a water bottle inside main triangle
- Technical pedaling not bike’s strong suit
- Not a super active/poppy ride
- Small brand (both a pro and con)
Eminent is a direct-to-consumer brand. That creates a more attractive price point, but there is no dealer to look things over and fix anything the factory missed before delivery. That means how the bike is packaged and shipped really matters. In this case the packaging quality and completeness of what was shipped was quite impressive. The only tasks for the end-user were attaching the front wheel, securing the bars to the stem, and airing up the suspension and tires.
Eminent even includes a multi-tool, micro-torque wrench, and shock pump in case you don’t already have the requisite tools. The entire assembly and setup process took less than 10 minutes. Another perk with the packaging is if the bike needs to be shipped back to the factory, everything can easily be reused, with the only consumable items being tape and a couple zip ties.
The Eminent Haste comes in five frame sizes, which are denoted as 56cm, 59cm, 62cm, 65cm, and 68cm. The 65cm frame fit my 6’ tall, 33” inseam well — and it paired nicely with the selected cockpit. The frame’s construction is nearly art quality, and significant time was spent on the styling. Every bit of the frame is carbon with enclosed tubes for easy internal cable routing. The Eminent Haste’s styling definitely has more contemporary lines, which people tend to either love or loathe. One thing that cannot be argued, this bike aesthetic screams fast.
Two specifically interesting features of the Eminent Haste are the floating shock and rear brake. The former is intended to reduce binding as the bike progresses through its travel, and the latter is designed to prevent the suspension from firming up due to braking. While testing the bike, I slowly rode down some stairs and observed the rear remaining very active, with braking having virtually zero effect on its suppleness. The rear caliper’s forward mount slides freely, so it does not impact the chainstay movement and thus prevents brake jack. That said, there is definitely pedal kick-back, so driveline forces are still present.
Additional stand-out items of the Eminent Haste frame are sealed angular contact bearings, a carbon fiber downtube guard (nicest I’ve seen), shock stanchion protector, and an integrated dropper post clamp. The cable routing is mostly internal, with internal/external dropper post routing to ease maintenance tasks.
Fox suspension was present on our test model (the Eminent Haste Pro build), including a Fox 36 Factory fork with Fit4 Damper and DPX2 Factory shock. Given the bike’s intentions, I’d prefer to upgrade to the top shelf 36 damper and X2, though the gains would be minimal as this bike’s suspension selection is very capable. Eminent also offers two other builds and accompanying suspension packages, so check out their website for the most up to date component spec.
As a frequent rider, finding Shimano’s crisp, reliable drivetrain was a nice surprise. But after spending considerable time on SRAM Eagle, the reduced range was definitely noticeable. With the bike’s target of grinding climbs to access the good stuff, it’s something that you will feel, though it is a trade-off I’m okay with given how well the Shimano drivetrain moves through its gears.
Our test bike also had Shimano XT brakes, though the present Eminent Haste Pro build spec lists XTR. Rotors could be a tad larger, as they were both 180mm on our tester.
The updated build kits from Eminent use I9’s new Enduro wheel package, so I will not comment on the wheels from the test bike (since they were something different). The updated build kits also feature 2.5 Maxxis DHF front and 2.3 DHF rear tires. The Mtbr tester had s 2.3 DHF front and DHR II rear, and I’m glad to see both wider wheels and larger tires on the consumer configuration.
Eminent has also updated their cockpit, partnering stem, bars and saddle sizes to frame size. The dropper post is a Fox Transfer 150mm, which is less travel than we’d like. But the post worked flawlessly.
Finally here’s a look at some of the size specific component selections. The list includes frame size, bar width, stem length, crank length, and saddle width.
- 56cm: 750mm, 35cm, 170mm, 135mm
- 59cm: 770mm, 50cm, 170mm, 142mm
- 62cm: 790mm, 50cm, 170mm, 142mm
- 65cm: 810mm, 50cm, 170mm, 150mm
On the Trail
The Eminent Haste is very competent at taming chunky terrain. This is the bike you grab for descending fast while keeping the door open to grinding back up for more laps. This bike wants to partner with gravity, the rider just needs to hold on and have fun. Bumps and harshness disappear, though accompanying them are the active playfulness that certain riders seek. The Haste was also one of the fastest bikes I’ve ever ridden.
The first impression from hopping aboard the Eminent Haste is it is the easiest bike I’ve ever wheelied or manualed, something I’m typically not very good at. After researching the kinematics a bit more, that feel appears to be due to a forward axle path. Axle path is one topic you can find many opinions on, and is a differentiator between frame/linkage designs. The Haste’s riding position while seated feels fairly far back, then while standing the riding position feels fairly centered.
The first question asked by many people about enduro-oriented bikes is what the seat tube angle is, as they become steeper on a monthly basis. On the Eminent Haste, my personal opinion is it’s too slack at 73 degrees. That said, front wheel lift was not pronounced as I expected, especially after repositioning the seat forward. The stock WTB Volt Team saddle’s long nose gives the rider a wide range of positions to help keep the nose planted.
Pedaling position is fairly upright, with plenty of stack and riser bars, so I was comfortable on long grinds. Reach did feel somewhat long when seated. Pedal bob was minimal even when leaving the shock open or in the mid setting for longer climbs. Climbing tight switchbacks was more difficult than on comparable bikes, with the feeling like the front wheel is a long ways ahead of you. For comparison sake, I repeated the same climb on a similar bike (170mm travel, 27.5 wheels) and had fewer issues with the same switchbacks, though the descending feel of the two were quite different.
If your primary rides contain a lot of technical climbing, this is not the bike I’d recommend first. While playing with sag (more vs. less spring pressure), using the recommended ~20% sag position significantly firmed up the pedaling platform and reduced pedal strikes, yet left too much travel unused while descending. A softer spring rate produced a frustrating amount of pedal strikes while making small bumps disappear, but also had a soft feel and increased the overdamped feel of short travel rebound.
When things start to go down, the Eminent Haste has everything under control. It is an incredibly effective bike, though it’s a little less lively then I tend to prefer, instead simply muting issues on the trail. Think Baja trucks, where the suspension takes care of the bumps and the body floats along. Traction is plentiful (one of the perks of a well sorted suspension design) but this bike requires speed versus pop to get it into the air.
Instead the Haste likes to stay planted and soak up the terrain. During initial travel, the rebound felt a touch overdamped while feeling slightly underdamped for deep travel. Opening the damper’s rebound completely left it still feeling muted for smaller events (not poppy) but quite bucky for deep travel. Being on the heavier side of the spectrum (220 pounds), that’s not very surprising due to high pressures (spring force) required, and that’s why I tend to gravitate to either a custom shock tune or more adjustable shock such as the Fox X2.
The frame felt fairly stiff, with some lateral movement from the linkage system, yet it remained firm and seemed to give the bike the ability to thread through chunk. During fast turns, the Eminent Haste tracked well. But there is a fair bit of pedal kick back, so remaining loose and letting the bike move is important.
Tight switchbacks were challenging while climbing, yet the opposite was true when descending, where they were navigated with ease. Descending position felt a bit far forward for personal preference, nearly centered, though that was expected due to the slack seat tube angle. That said, I never ended up too far over the bars or had issues weighting the rear tire.
The floating rear brake takes some time to get used to. The rear does not firm up when applying the brakes, so the rider needs to add some extra downforce when wanting to stop on smooth hard-pack. (Yes, I flew over a berm the first time as the rear tire locked up.) The previous bike I’d been riding was an Orange Stage 6, which has the exact opposite behavior. Here’s the Eminent Haste geo chart. Click the image to enlarge.
Tracking this, the Eminent Haste significantly mutes braking bumps when compared to that bike. During rides, I especially felt the active rear suspension during slow speed steep sections, where the rear remains supple even though I was keeping speed in check with the brake. The floating brake and suspension also seemed to improve traction in those situations.
If you like to attempt to break the sound barrier when descending, want your bike to tame the terrain, and aren’t afraid to grind back up for more laps, seriously consider the Eminent Haste. This is a specialty bike, designed by a rider to overcome many shortfalls he found in other choices available. During our test period, multiple personal records were set on trails we ride every day — and that is saying something.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Weight: 31 pounds (XL, tubeless, no pedals)
Price: $6099 (as tested)
More Info: eminentcycles.com