Back in the dark days of freeriding, a little bike shop in Deep Cove, North Vancouver, BC, saw the mountain bike world morphing into something with seemingly limitless possibility. The only thing holding back the progression was the equipment. So the crew at Deep Cove Bike Shop starting brewing up their own machines, calling them simply, Cove. You probably already know that many of the world's top professional riders grew up riding near the Cove, on trails built by shop rats from the Cove, worked at the Cove, or rode Cove bikes at some point. To say that Cove hasn't had an impact on the progression of our sport would be idiocy. Perhaps it was minimal, but regardless, Cove has weathered the freeride movement and their modern day Canadian-made bikes still show characteristics best suited to their backyard terrain, known infamously as the North Shore.
Cove STD details:
| Cove's Canadian made STD is designed to be a versatile freeride bike, and features a number of updates for 2012.|
• Intended use: freeride/downhill
• 7.75″ rear wheel travel
• 12 x 150mm rear end
• 83mm BB shell
• SRAM Maxle rear axle
• Dual link rear suspension system
• 1.5″ head tube
• Frame weight: 11lbs 15oz (includes shock, axle and seatpost clamp
• Revised geometry for 2012
• MSRP $2,969.00 USD (includes Elka Stage 5 rear shock, Maxle, and seatpost q/r collar
STD evolution for 2012:
| A mildly hydro-formed tubeset maintains the classic Cove look.|
STD stands for Skinnies, Trannies, and Drops, making the STD Cove's versatile freeride bike. It's a long-travel bike with a full-length seat tube for pedalling prowess, front derailleur compatibility, and a beefy chassis that looks just like a slightly scaled down version of their flagship DH sled, the Shocker. Other notable characteristics are a 1.5" head tube that can accomodate any fork on the market and an 83mm BB with 12 x 150mm rear axle for added stability. A successful seller for several seasons, the STD was due for an update to compete with newer bikes in the category of short-travel downhill. Revisions to the STD design came into fruition just weeks ago, making the new STD a 2012 bike that's available right now.
Brian Kelly, Cove's R&D Manager, says of the new STD,
|We've introduced a new hydro formed downtube to allow better clearance with a variety of headset and fork combinations, as well as introducing a new shock mount extrusion to better spread the load imparted by the shock. The lower link and bottom bracket shell have been further machined to remove excess material and we've introduced 15mm aluminum pivot axles vs the previous 12mm stainless steel axles. This has all been to reduce manufacturing costs like welding and machining as well as making the frame stronger and lighter. The suspension has been increased slightly which has improved the bike's ability to go bigger and ride faster. The cockpit has been shifted slightly forward allowing the rider to get over the front end better with the slacker head angle. Overall the bike is lighter and more lively with all the ability it once had for freeride, but is now a bit more capable at keeping up with the sleds as well.|
Geometry revisions include chainstays shortened by 7/16”, a head angle that is slackened out by .75 degrees and bottom bracket height lowered by ¼”. New STD geometry takes a shift towards playful, mini-DH bike. All that weight shedding adds up as well, taking 1/2 lb off just the rear end of the bike alone.
Earn your turns:
| Cove's Dual-link suspension receives stout new 15mm axles and refined machining.|
One of the qualifications for a freeride bike is that it has to be pedal-able. Besides the long seat tube offered on the STD, Cove has confidence in their dual-link suspension design's ability to shine on the climb as well as the downhill. Though DH and gnarly trail is most definitely where the excitement lies, it's not a true freeride bike if you can't ride it to the top. We'll see after a few months of testing how the dual-link design fairs for DH slaying and hitting the big gaps and drops it was designed for, as well as climbing and overall versatility.
Being a home-mechanic, I've always been annoyed by new frames that come with excess paint all over the outside of the head tube and bottom bracket shell. You can't properly build a bike without facing these surfaces because alignment will almost always be slightly off and eventually the paint will crack and lead to creaking and popping in the fork and cranks. Cove frames are reamed and faced from the factory, all ready to be built.
| Notched frame/guide adapter prevents rotation, and eliminates the possibility of damaged frame tabs due to impact.|
While not the first to employ this sort of design, all of Cove's redesigned frames for 2012 come with an ingenious chainguide mount solution. The bottom bracket shell has notches machined into its exterior to accomodate an adapter plate with corresponding notches and outer guide tabs. Like traditional BB-mount guide adapters, the adapter plate is sandwiched between the BB shell of the frame and the drive-side BB cup. Unlike traditional BB-mount guide adapters, the notches prevent rotation of the guide and loosening of the drive-side BB cup due to chainguide impacts. And unlike traditional frame-based guide tabs, damaged guide tabs due to impact will not result in a broken or bent frame tab since the plate is an inexpensive replacement part. Of course it is also available in an assortment of anodized colors to match your handlebar, if that's what you're into.
| The STD now shares the dropouts of its bigger brother, the Shocker. The new replaceable dropouts are stout yet light, offering seamless integration for the use of the included 12 x 150mm Maxle rear axle. Cove frames are prepped and ready for build, already reamed and faced from the factory. Made in Canada, eh.|
Cove bikes are manufactured in Vancouver, BC, a long-standing tradition of quality that Cove takes much pride in. The top tube of my test machine has an Easton aluminum stamp barely visible under the paint. Local manufacturing allows Cove to make subtle changes easily and keeps fellow Canadians employed.
Canadian made, with Canadian suspension:
| Elka's Stage 5 rear coil-over is spec on the STD, with high & low speed compression, and rebound damping adjustments.|
Elka's Stage 5 rear shock offers adjustments for high and low speed compression, and rebound. Elka pressurizes the reservoir with 150psi of Nitrogen from the factory, which is not an adjustable feature for users. The Stage 5's owner manual is incredibly informative; leaps and bounds better than the competition at assisting you with setting up a new Cove's rear suspension. The rebound valving of the Elka shock is tuned in such a way that it provides more damping (slower return) when deep within the stroke to prevent the rider from being catapulted off the bike upon major impacts, with the rebound faster off the top for soaking up washboard chatter. I'm definitely interested in seeing if this really works.
| Just under 12 lbs for frame, rear shock, Maxle thru-axle, and a seatpost q/r collar.|
I received my STD as a frame only, so I will just be evaluating the frame. I chose to outfit mine with a Fox 36 Van RC2 180mm taper-steerer fork, Shimano Saint cranks and brakes, Shimano 1x10 drivetrain, a bunch of Chromag bits, and 2.5 Maxxis Minion rubber. As a rider of the original STD from a few years ago, I'm anxious to note the differences with this new machine over the next couple months. The STD is supposed to excel in steep, rugged terrain, and also offer the ability to get there self-propelled. Expect a full review in a few month's time.
Have you had an STD? Share your experiences below!
For more info, visit www.covebike.com