Liteville 301 MK10 Review

Dec 9, 2012 at 18:16
by Richard Cunningham  
TESTED
LITEVILLE
301 MK10
Words Richard Cunningham
Photos Ian Hylands

Liteville’s 301 MK10 is an elite level AM/trail bike that bristles with innovative features, most of which are camouflaged by its simple welded-aluminum, double-diamond frame design. Liteville may not be on the radar of rank and file mountain bikers, but the boutique German bike brand is becoming well known among Europe’s most accomplished big-mountain riders because of its blend of solid descending and cat-like climbing attributes. The uninitiated may pass the 301 off as a pumped-up cross-country sled because it lacks the X-tubes, Foo-links and Umma-Bummer technology so prevalent in contemporary all-mountain haute couture. Among those who are familiar with the brand, however, that would be a laughable mistake.

Simply designed and elegantly engineered, Liteville targets the 301 at accomplished all-mountain riders who have already been to the circus and who place attributes like light weight, pedaling efficiency, and trustworthy handling over trendy materials and chassis design. As delivered, our 160-millimeter-travel 301 weighed 26.63 pounds (11.66 KG) without pedals and a medium-sized frame reportedly comes in at 5.34 pounds (2450 grams). That is pretty darn light for an AM bike, but in case there are any doubts about the 301 MK10's reliability, Liteville’s $2595 MSRP for the frame and shock comes with a limited, ten-year transferable warranty that does not stipulate rider weight or riding style.

Liteville 301 MK10 side shot

Liteville 301 MK10 Details:

• Purpose: All-mountain, Trail, Enduro racing
• Frame: Butted and manipulated high-strength aluminum.
• Four-bar rear suspension: 160 or 140-millimeter options
• Recommended fork travel: 150mm-plus (545 - 585mm axle to crown)
• Tapered head tube with integrated double-sealed stainless steel cartridge bearings.
• Sealed cartridge bearing suspension pivots.
• ISCG-03 chainguide tabs
• Dropper-post ready with addition of seat-tube shim.
• Syntace X-12, 142mm axle system and break-away derailleur hanger.
• Oversized 34.9mm seatpost
• Shock: Fox RP 23 CTD with Kashima coating



• Fork (furnished): RockShox Revelation WC Black Box 150mm stroke
• Accessories: Syntace SCS integrated chainguard and P6 seatpost
• 180mm minimum brake-rotor diameter, post-mount brakes
• Six sizes from X-small to XX-large
• Variable geometry, specific to each frame size
• Wheel-diameter options for extreme frame sizes
• Tires up to 2.5 inches (all brands)
• Color options: Anodized black, natural aluminum or white.
• Five-year unconditional plus five-year 50-percent crash warranty
• Frame weight (medium): 2800 grams with shock
• MSRP $2723 USD (frame, shock, headset and X-12 axle)
• Estimated cost for 301 as tested: $6595 USD
Liteville USA



Inside the 301 MK10 Chassis

Liteville engineers achieved weight figures comparable to its carbon-fiber-framed competitors by first scrutinizing and then redesigning every aspect of the frame and its key components to work together as a system. They then put the welded-aluminum chassis through a punishing series of laboratory and real-world tests to ensure that the 301 would deliver as promised on the all-mountain battlefield. While Liteville’s 301 has been in production for a few years running, it has periodically been updated to the extent that our 301 MK10 represents a complete redesign.

liteville MK 10 Tapered head tube ISCG 05 chainguide tabs Syntace derailleur guard.
  (From left) Liteville's tapered head tube arrangement can be adapted for straight, 1 1/8-inch steerer tubes. A look at the underside of the bottom bracket area reveals ISCG-03 tabs, internal routing for the rear derailleur and a spare derailleur hanger screw for the Syntace X-12 dropout system threaded into the BB shell. Horst-link dropouts and a slick-looking optional derailleur bash guard by Syntace.


The 301 frame begins with dramatically oversized and manipulated tubes that are reportedly drawn from a special high-strength aluminum alloy and then butted with up to five different thicknesses in a single length. Each frame member is drawn, tapered or profiled to handle the loads in its sector without wasting a gram of metal – to the extent that the right and left chainstays are completely different tubes. The seat tube is flared dramatically where it reaches the bottom bracket to boost stiffness there and on the opposite end, the wall thickness is greater to provide strength at the shock mount. Up front, the 301 has a tapered head tube, machined to directly accept double-sealed stainless steel cartridge bearings. The top tube is grooved on its underside, forming an invisible channel to route a dropper post cable, and tunnels are welded into the frame at key junctions to cleanly route cables and to ensure that suspension action will not affect the bike’s shifting performance.

All of the welds throughout the 301 frame are treated with a second, smoothing pass. The second pass with the TIG welding torch gives the joint a smoother look, but more importantly, it reduces stress concentrations at the frame junctions. Time and testing have proven that the treatment can add years to the fatigue life of a welded-aluminum frame.

Syntace and Liteville are confederate companies, so many of Syntace’s innovative products are designed into the 301 chassis, like the X12 through-axle system with its break-away derailleur hanger bolt, an optional integrated rear-derailleur guard, the Syntace Chainguide System (SCS), and the 480-millimeter P2 seatpost which was integrated into the frame design to reduce its stand-over height. The 301 is definitely designed as a system of components that are integral to the performance of the frame.

About That Suspension

Liteville’s four-bar rear suspension actuates the 301’s signature top-tube rocker link which drives the shock into a welded boss near the seat-tube junction. The unusual arrangement is designed to use suspension forces to counter natural load-pathways in the frame, so stress is actually reduced in the top tube and seat tube area. Watching the slim rocker links swing above the top tube as the suspension compresses for the first time gives the impression that the 301 is a surgical tool intended to lop off male parts at the least convenient moment, but such is not the case. The rockers are placed in the area protected from contact by the saddle and considering the depth of the 301’s design and testing, it should not come as a surprise that no rider even brushed the links throughout testing.

liteville MK 10 RockShox Black Box Revelation fork and Fox Float CTD shock
  We expected the RockShox Revelation fork to be underwhelming when we pushed the bike hard, but the 32mm fork proved us wrong. Liteville's top-tube-mounted rocker link is unusual, but it works - and its simplicity adds to the 301's uncluttered profile.


Liteville configured the 301 linkage to deliver efficient pedaling action while the shock is set to its most active mode. The linkage geometry is engineered to eliminate chain-growth through its the entire range. According to Liteville, this translates into a suspension that is free to move about the rocks and bumps while the rider is smoothly pedaling up and down the trail. The same should be true when braking, as the 301 suspension uses a Horst-link dropout arrangement that uncouples braking forces by placing the caliper on the isolated seat stay member of its four-bar linkage.

Liteville 301 MK10 sag position indicator
  Setting the proper shock-spring pressure is simple. The 301 has a peg welded to the top tube that lines up with a red dot on the rocker link when the rear suspension is perfect.


The 301 MK10 can be configured with 140 or 160 millimeters of suspension travel via interchangeable rocker links. Ours was set up with the 160-millimeter option. Up front, the factory allows for forks ranging from 140 to 160 millimeter strokes (545mm or 565mm axle-to-crown lengths). The suspension pivots on eight stainless steel cartridge bearings, and the rocker assembly utilizes a fail-safe sag indicator that lines up with a boss on the top tube to ensure proper ride height. Spacers are provided to ensure that the frame’s steering geometry is optimized, and a kit is also included to adapt forks with untapered 1.125-inch steerer tubes.


Custom Geometry

Liteville went to great lengths to ensure that the 301 will fit riders of any stature. Frames are available in six sizes from X-small to XX large, and the geometry of each frame is adjusted to provide a similar weight balance and handling feel. Liteville is not a huge operation in any respect, so it boggles the mind that it could commit to the time and expense of fabricating such a large variety of swingarm-lengths, frame angles and in some cases, wheel-sizes for the 301.

Many riders differ in leg length and torso proportions, so Liteville keeps the top tube low throughout the size range and keeps the tapered head tube low to offer riders a choice of top tube lengths without sacrificing the bike’s stand-over clearance. This should make those with longer torsos happy. For tall riders, or those with longer legs, Liteville uses a triangulated brace at the seat tube/top tube
junction, and the frame is designed to work with Syntace's oversize, 34.9-millimeter seat post to prevent unwanted flexing between the rider and the bike. Liteville's bottom line is that almost anyone who chooses a 301 will be able to achieve a fit that rivals a custom-built frame.

Fit is only part of the all-mountain equation, where higher speeds and toothy terrain dictate that sharp handling is job one. The 301 is both slack enough and low enough to enjoy the steeps, with a 66-degree head angle and a 13.9-inch bottom bracket. The 74-degree seat tube angle puts the rider’s weight forward, which helps to pin the front tire to the ground while cornering, and keeps the bike in control while climbing technical sections. The wheelbase is a bit long at 45.6 inches, but its relatively short 16.9-inch chainstays mean that most of that extra wheelbase is in the bike’s front-center. Liteville’s sizing system allows riders to tune their wheelbase by shopping top tube lengths and choosing a larger or a smaller frame. For those who sweat the small details, Liteville posts separate geometry charts for the 301 for 140 and 160-millimeter configurations and forks with either 545 (our test bike) or 565-millimeter axle-to-crown measurements.

liteville MK 10 geometry chart



Component Check

Liteville sells the 301 MK10 chassis complete with a Kashima-coated Fox Float RP23 CTD shock and X12 through-axle system in bare aluminum, anodized black or white. To showcase the 301’s intended purpose, Syntace built our test bike specifically as an all-mountain/trail bike. Front suspension was handled by a 150-millimeter-stroke RockShox Revelation fork, spaced to 545 millimeters. The brakes and two-by-ten drivetrain were Shimano XTR. The crankset was fitted with a sweet looking machined-aluminum Syntace bash guard as was the rear derailleur. The 301 rolled on 2.35-inch Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires mounted to Syntace’s new 35-millimeter-wide W35 MX wheels. For the steering department, Syntace furnished its oversized, 740-millimeter-wide Vector carbon handlebar, paired with a 50-millmeter aluminum Megaforce 2 stem. All tallied, the 301 weighed only 25.625 pounds (11.66 KG) without pedals. For testing purposes, we later added at RockShox Reverb dropper post, which added over a pound to the 301's weight.

  Wayne Wonnacott descends Chewy's line somewhere in Sedona.


Liteville 301 MK 10 Trail Test

Get a few accelerations in, then push through the first succession of turns and your first impression will be that the Liteville 301 is going to show you a distinctly different take on trail riding. The 301 feels efficient, calm and capable on the trail. The chassis feels longer and its steering is slightly slower than the most popular 26-inch-wheel all-mountain designs. Coasting down a typical XC trail gives the impression that the bike may be too smooth and too stable, but put the 301 to task on a technical drop or a maximum effort-climb and it springs to life. For hard-chargers on challenging terrain, the end product of its dual-natured handling is a welcome period of recovery between 100-percent efforts.

Setup: After some experimenting, we quickly learned that the sag indicator built into the 301’s top tube and rocker link is not to be trifled with. With the shock’s air spring adjusted to line up the red dots, the 301’s suspension feels too soft, especially for efficient pedaling, but it turns out that the Liteville pedals, corners and climbs best with its suspension set near 30-percent sag – right on the dots – which turned out to be 175psi for a 180-pound rider, including a hydration pack and gear. Except for a loud freehub ratchet, the 301 is a very quiet ride, and that sensation translates to its pedaling and handling performance as well.

Acceleration and Climbing: We tested the 301 initially with lightweight Specialized Ground Control 2.35-inch tires and found it to be quite fast on the flats, with acceleration that feels energetic, but not quite XC-racer snappy. Later, when outfitted with larger Schwalbe tires, the 301 slowed a little, but remained frisky over everything but paved surfaces. There is, after all, over 150-millimeters of squish on either end of the bike, so we had to plan ahead before committing to an explosive, out-of-the-saddle effort by maximizing the pedaling platform of the fork and shock. In real life, however, we rarely, if ever, used the pedaling platform on the Liteville because its suspension action facilitates power output by erasing chatter on the flats or by calming sharp impacts up the climbs without sapping the power from your legs – and this was true whether we were seated or standing.

  Full-time suspension action was a plus over Sedona's chunky trails. Liteville is one of the few bike makers licensed to use the Horst-link/FSR rear suspension - and one of the better uses of it.


Technical performance: Fitted with the Specialized tires, the 301 could corner and brake predictably at speed, but there was always some degree of drifting involved. Luckily, the 301 is an easy bike to slide with its low bottom bracket and a longer-than-average wheelbase. Upgrading to the 2.35-inch Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires that Liteville sent us, however, made the bike run around corners like it was on rails. We had many opportunities to test the Liteville’s straight-line climbing and braking traction during the test period with similar results. The long-ish chassis, paired with the monster-sized Schwalbe tires left no excuses for botching a technical section.

Staying centered over the 301 is best, and it requires minimal fore/aft weight shifting to transition to steeps in either direction. The front end needs slightly more of a pull than many AM bikes to loft the wheel over gaps or obstacles, and its rear suspension action is deep and soft, which means that you really have to pop it to get both wheels off the ground. In similar fashion, the 301 tends to stay glued to the earth unless its rider makes an effort to jump it off minor lips and senders. When you do launch the 301, landings are non issues, even if you miss your transition or jump to flat.

Suspension report: With high-volume tires and nearly a third of its 160-millimeter rear suspension sagged, the 301 rides like a leather sofa. With the fork sagged to 25-percent, the 301 settles slightly in the rear, which slackens the head angle about one degree, drops the bottom bracket about a quarter of an inch and enhances the bike’s handling throughout its performance envelope. The rear suspension curve begins with minimal resistance, which provides a supple ride in the first part of its travel, and full-compression events feel bottomless. This indicates that the 301’s suspension transitions smoothly into a rising rate towards the end of its stroke.

Up front, the 150-millimeter RockShox Revelation fork out-performed our expectations with precise steering and smooth action throughout the speed range – not bad for ‘old-school’ 32-millimeter stanchion tubes, a 15-millimeter axle and a carbon fiber crown. After being subjected to ten hours of red Southwestern micro-dust, the Revelation’s seals started to get sticky, but a squirt of chain lube into the wipers immediately put the sliders back in operation. Typically, the formula for optimum big-hit suspension performance would be to choose a fork with a slightly longer stroke than the rear suspension travel, but the extra measure of sag that Liteville builds into the 301’s 160-millimeter-travel rear end proved to be a good match for the 150-millimeter RockShox fork.

Overall Feel: The 301 proved to be an ultra-reliable mount that could easily be an accomplished rider’s ‘one bike.’ The 301 is light, fast and uber capable in the most challenging terrain. Add efficient pedaling and power transfer to that mix and you get a recipe for success. Its only technical flaw of note was the rare but bothersome tendency for the chain to slip in front of the Syntace integrated chain guide when throwing a big shift from the large to the granny chainring. The bike could still be pedaled at full power, but the noise would not go away until the rider paused or momentarily back-pedaled. Our test bike was outfitted with Syntace’s ultra-wide W35 MX wheelset, which pushed the width and volume of the Schwalbe tires to a dimension closer to a 2.5-inch DH tire, which should be noted as a contributing factor to the bike’s stellar climbing and cornering performance.

Component Report:

• Syntace X12 through-axle system is a major plus, but its Allen-key removal could be a time waster should one flat in competition.
• Syntace bash guard on Shimano’s XTR crankset is one of the nicest two-by setups we’ve used.
• W35 MX wheels, at 1680 grams are a performance enhancer for those seeking lightweight wheels with big-bike traction.
• Oversized P6 seatpost design requires a shim to mount a dropper post.
• Dedicated head tube bearings may not allow an adjustable-angle headset for those who must have that option.
• Syntace’s Rear derailleur bash guard could be a cash-saver in rocky terrain.
• Twelve-degree pull-back of the Vector Carbon handlebar effectively reduces the bike’s stem length 10 to 20 millimeters.

liteville MK 10 and RC at Sedona High Line
  The Liteville's long front-center and precise feel in the steering department turned Sedona's technical redrock into a playground.


Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesLiteville's 301 is proof positive that some pleasant surprises remain to be discovered in the mountain bike universe. Who would have guessed that a total rethink of the classic welded-aluminum diamond frame could produce a competitive long-travel all-mountain bike at a weight figure that rivals the most elite carbon fiber offerings of its day? Liteville's painstaking application of science and simplicity to every aspect the 301's chassis, and its integration of key components from Syntace has proven that it is possible for a small bike maker to triumph over megabuck manufacturers. We can guess that the 301's stark profile, unusual suspension design and vanguard features will not capture the imagination of the mass market, but we are absolutely sure that there are a sizable number of trail riders, big-mountain specialists and Enduro racers who get it. If you are among them, the Liteville 301 deserves a look.- RC
Must Read This Week

152 Comments

  • + 101
 "For testing purposes, we later added at RockShox Reverb dropper post, which added over a pound to the 301's weight."

You should have added pedals too. Easier to test that way.
  • + 66
 Didn't get to finish. I'm tired of forks weighed without skewers/ axles, shifters without cables, brakes w/o fluid and or pads, wheels w/o tubes, no grips and bikes w/o pedals. My bike weighs 2 lbs more than a similarly equipped machine. The only problem is that I need the fluid in the brakes, the cables, and the skewers/axles.

Oh, wait. Pedals are a personal thing. Yeah right, so are all the rest of the components. It doesn't have my Minions, but you still gave a test weight with tires.
  • + 5
 i have to admit some pretty good features on this bike
  • + 27
 @chickenlassi - i think you have hit the nail right on the head, I completely agree with what your saying, which doesn't happen often with the amount of crap people talk on here tup
  • + 1
 similar is not he same.
  • + 8
 At least they took a risk and did some thing that looks new. thats kinda ballsy for the bike industry!
  • + 10
 Why add a dropper and not drop it?
  • + 14
 We weigh bikes without pedals because it is the industry standard. Pedal-weights are significantly dissimilar, which would lead to an inaccurate comparisons unless we chose one pedal for every test (Shimano XTR pedals on a Santa Cruz V 10c?). Its a fair compromise, now that so few bikes come with pedals out of the box.
RC
  • + 3
 I don't think I saw this mentioned, but it is no accident the liteville's seat-tube is kept straight and uninterrupted - that way so you can stuff your whole damn seatpost down it. I suspect this is done because dropper post doesn't make sense on what seems to me a vert-riding bicycle. The dropper post is just another lb of weight to carry up the mountain.
  • + 2
 I agree with bikes being weighed without pedals as an industry standard as so few come with them. Now if only we could agree on an industry frame size. As consumers we should be able to compare bikes weight online and be able to trust that we are making a fair and honest comparison.
  • + 4
 Love how he's running a reverb and then descending with the reverb still raised... d'oh
  • + 1
 Liteville’s $2595 MSRP for the frame and shock comes with a limited, ten-year transferable warranty that does not stipulate rider weight or riding style
  • - 1
 I wrote a reply to RC about the logic of not weighing pedals with a "complete" bike but it was too big for this box and I got a message that my IP was logged against spamming. I cut the message into pieces and got the same message.

Perhaps RC, as a moderator perhaps you could post the whole comment that I sent you?

It began with--

Definition of irony—Doesn’t weigh bike with pedals but uses them. Gives us weight of dropper post, but doesn’t use it.

And basically end with if it's an industry standard to use pedals why not weigh them?

The comments aren't levelled against you RC, but rather what we assume to be "industry Standards"
  • + 2
 In terms of the weight and pedals, as long as you state what pedals you used to test and give both a weight with pedals and with out. Example: this stumpbumper weighed 11kgs with out pedals and 11.2kgs with shimano xt. pedals - that way everybody is laughing plus we receive a weight for the pedals.
  • + 1
 Honest practice seems to be listing frame weight with the proper shock(5.75lbs in this case) then weight as equipped(27lbs). I think lots of manufacturer won't do that because people(is weight weenie acceptable?) make a huge deal out of a few grams on the frame, so manufacture can fudge the weight with variable components and still come out magically at the same "golden" weight point for the reviews. It's a strange game as eventually the weight is found out by the very people they're trying to hide it from. I mean there are entire forums dedicated to obsessive people with scales weighing these parts like they're coming from Columbia and might have coke inside!
  • + 0
 chickenlassi you are retarded. tell me what would be the difference on saying, "bike weights 14,5 kg, using CB mallet ( 450 lbs)" AND " the bike weights 14.05 kg" and then you add the pedals weight that you actually would use on it? what if they test with plastic pedals? spd? flats? there soooooooooo many pedals..

and with the wheels it would be stupid to give you the weigth with a tire on because of the same thing, you use a maxxis, i ride shwalbe, so why would i want the weight of a wheelset with wheels that i dont use?
[Reply]
  • + 21
 Such a clean machine. I love the look of it. I can't help but think a stealth reverb and a Talas 36 wouldn't make for a killer enduro race bike..
  • - 1
 I can't stand bikes with ridiculously complicated linkage systems. It's like telling whoever works on it, "good luck bro" haha
  • + 5
 Haha, you must HATE the Demo then. I do like the clean look of this bike though, it's a modern classic.
  • + 1
 Demo is definitely not my favorite. Except for this one: www.pinkbike.com/photo/8638383

Cause it just MIGHT be the coolest ninja bike ever.
  • + 1
 well, i love the demo for the most part but thats only because its thousands of dollars haha
[Reply]
  • + 15
 RC, thanks for the in-depth review. However, and this is really something that is a major problem in our industry, what are the comparisons to other offerings? You don't need to do side-by-side "shoot-outs" to be able to say: "At $6595 USD other bikes to consider would be the Specialized Blah, the Commencal Bleh, and the Pivot Blip." In all my time reading bike industry reviews I've noted three, disparate levels of reviewing:

1. We just rave and gush about this bike, and it does this, that, and the other so good (as if the competition doesn't). From $600 bikes up to $6000 bikes we just talk about how fun this thing is to ride and how accomplished it is. Comments include: "This bike rode nicer than any $600 bike has a right to!" or "This bike rode lighter than its 32.8 lbs. would have you think!"
2. We actually get more critical and mention some distinct characteristics of how the bike rides along with some caveats or negative traits.
3. We actually realize there are other offerings, and we have enough industry experience to be able to make point-blank comparison statements, such as: "Due to the longish 16.9" chainstays the front end needs slightly more of a pull than many AM bikes to loft the wheel over gaps or obstacles, unlike the Pivot Blip."

Bottom line: I have a lot of disdain for these reviews filled with vague and general praise.
  • + 2
 Those MBA type shootout were just annoying. I prefer the standalone
  • + 1
 I would like more direct comparisons between similar products also. Most bikes today are pretty well built. Stand alone reviews are nice but they mostly all end up like "this is a great bike except for these minor details".

When we're buying a bike/part we usually have several options available so it would be nice to have comparative input from the few people who are lucky enough to get decent saddle time on multiple bikes.
  • + 1
 Tom and PLC not speaking for RC but speaking as someone who does have access to lots of bikes what I do is ask people to ask me in comments if I've ridden other bikes and then to ask specific comments. There are so many bikes and so many choices (good and bad) - that where does it end? How do you restrict the sample size of the comparison? To me (emphasis on the subjective me) that is the difficulty.

Appreciate the thoughts behind your comments though
  • + 1
 I agree that it could be quite tedious seeing the number of options available and that not all reviewers get the chance to try every bike. This is a great review, don't get me wrong but a lot of bikes today corner/climb/pedal/absorb/downhill pretty well so a lot of the reviews sound similar in the end.

People seem to like certain suspension platforms so the articles could have a small paragraph comparing different offerings on similar suspension platforms with similar travel. Or pinkbike could do a yearly top 3 of the reviewers prefered bikes (and/or parts?) sorted by categories (xc, am, fr/dh).

When I bought my last rig, even though I read a gazillion bike reviews from various websites, I still had to end up doing a blind guess in the end, which doesn't seem right to me when you look at all the available info.
  • + 2
 Guys, thanks for your comments. Lee, I have some funny comments:

1. I actually like shootouts, but I think they are probably tedious to do.
2. You say you like people to ask you for comments regarding specific bikes. I remember when MBA's "Ask RC" column was running in the early 2000's, and I was amazed at how much advice RC would give to people asking about almost every single bike out there. I thought the guy must have had a keyboard duct-taped to his handlebars, lol!
3. You are correct about the problem being "How do you restrict the sample size of the comparison?" I think what would satisfy me is if, in a review like the one above, there were simply references to maybe one of two other competitors. For example, when I read the "Technical Performance" of this bike, I immediately thought, "This reminds me of a review I read of a BMC more than a few years, ago." The key is to be able to recognize what is unique about a particular product and say, "This product has trait 'A'. Other products that have trait 'A' include X, Y, and Z. Some riders do not like trait 'A' and prefer trait 'B'. In this case they should check out products G, H, and K."

Unless a reviewer is able to do this, the review doesn't mean much. The point is that there are so many offerings, and they are all supposedly unique (even though many are not), that a good review will have some comparative statements, and those comparative statements will be linked to alternative products.
[Reply]
  • + 15
 i can only imagine getting my junk caught in that slider shock geometry on a crash or something...
  • - 4
 just imagine that too.. LOL
  • + 24
 i think that for you to get your junk caught in the slider, you'd also have a sizeable chunk of the saddle through your spine
  • + 7
 Benji man has a point, I think you can hurt yourself on just about any bike design, I bet saw rotors didnt put you off buying them? those things are lethal! I have scars to it prove.. haha

I also like the easy shock set up feature!!
  • + 2
 Righto monster, us more normally proportioned guys will stick to worrying about our heads and limbs in a crash.
  • + 6
 Those Liteville riders are the most missionary and at the same time over-critical riders you can find in (german) bike forums. They discuss every single detail over dozends of pages. But *any* experience of a male part / suspension conflict has not yet been seen.
  • + 1
 im sorry flamshmizer are you replying to my comment?
  • + 1
 Nah sorry was in reply to the original post talking about catching his "appendage" in the suspension. I guess it doesn't read right.
  • + 6
 dbodoggle! You ride naked too?...
  • + 6
 Don't T-bag the top tube! Man, that looks scary...
  • + 0
 Seems like Germans have a weakness for nut-cracker suspension. First the Nicolai Lambda, now this!
  • + 5
 Everyone who says that the rocker links would make scrambled eggs from your testicles, get on your bike, and try to sit on the top tube so that your ass is where the rockers would be. Then get half of your seat out of your spine and ask yourself what part of your body would get hurt in the first place.
  • - 3
 Are you saying that if you were climbing and came off you pedals, fell on the top tube with the bike in an inclined position, you sack wouldn't get caught in the mechanics? I myself am German, and that just dosen't look like a design I would like to take a chance with.
  • + 4
 I don't think I've ever smashed my balls on the top tube in all of my many falls so I think we can all chill out with our manhood/wedding vegetables/balls/bollocks/junk/testis intact Smile
  • + 4
 When you fall off the suspension becomes unloaded, so it'd be just like landing your nads on the top tube. By the way, ever actually done that on a regular bike? If no, what's the worry? If yes, it f*cking hurts anyway!
  • + 23
 This is easily the dumbest argument I've ever come across on Pinkbike.
  • + 3
 There is absolutely no way that your junk is going to "get caught" in the 301's linkage, it just can't happen. Also, the linkage and top tube area is very slim and the hardware is all flush.
  • + 5
 I'm actually pretty impressed by the design, I was just joking if anyone took this literally Smile
  • + 3
 Yes the design does look awesome, and it is really impressive. And I don't think any bike company with male designers would let a nutcracker out on the market. Nevertheless, it makes for a good laugh. Smile
  • + 2
 Absolutely no way huh!!? Why would you say that when anything and everything can happen. I've ridden out of a lot of jumps off the pedals and straddling the top tube. I have found myself wedged right in there more than once. This suspension design would have ended my manhood. Maybe this is OK for a AM bike that won't see the antics of a park bike, but absolutely no way..........
  • + 2
 Powkill... Don't buy this bike. That is all. This bike is nicely finished though! You can see that it works, would defiantly go for a glossy paint job not matte black!
  • + 1
 I stopped riding with a seat, stem and rear wheel for the sake of my balls. Still have my top tube though cause i haven't hit them on it yet. On another note I like that it is innovative.
  • - 1
 Geeez guys... I have been riding this bike for like 6 years now? And never, has there been any issue.

The suspension is only compressed that far that you could get something stuck in there, if you have full weight on both pedals, or on the seat, on both cases your nuts are not dangling down where the rocker arm is!

BTW, waiting and relaxing on a startline ready for a race, it is the most comfortable position, to be sitting where the rocker arms are, because the rocker arms to the left and right of the top tube create a large flat top surface, much larger and flatter than most other bikes would have her, so actually comfortable to rest on (no in this case the rear end is not sufficiently loaded for the shock to compress and the rocker ams to move and bite your nuts!)

For those of you that think you wouldn't want to dirt jump the 301, there are plenty that do it, but Liteville also has the 101 4X which is much more suited to dirt jumping... wouldn't most dirt jumpers use a hardtail anyway?
  • + 1
 I raced as a kid, I ride AM & DH as an adult. I am seriously looking to get a dirt jumper and a freeride bike this year because of my love for jumps and all that kind of riding. I would not want a scissor on my top tube, period. For many out there this bike would be awesome, Almost every guy I know over 40 would love to have a bike this nice. They don't ride like me, though. That's it, I'm done. There are some funny comments above, good thing humor is still free and alive in this world.
  • + 3
 ... of course any discussion of it's usefulness for All Mountain riding can be put to rest watching Harald Philipp and Tom Öhler riding a pair of these in today's VOD... www.pinkbike.com/video/287022 I seriously doubt any of us would be putting them to this kind of test. Sweet technical riding with some serious consequences for failure.
  • + 1
 Ok, I'm not done here. You want to know what I really think? Stupid design. Coming from a large German family, I know how stubborn the mentality is. Probably why when they heard the first nutcraker jokes about the bike they ignored the facts and just went with it. I wear baggie shorts, and at 6'3" my clothes are pretty loose and there is a lot of material down there by the top tube. I get shorts caught on the quick release once in a while, and I'm sure it would happen with this linkage design.
I understand a need for a design that does not infringe on patents, but this is ridiculous. For the weekender, great bike. BTW, they never show the spills in those videos, and they do happen. I have had 2 this year and I ride 4-6 times a week. Pretty good odds, but it even happens to me. I jump 20-30 footers, I ride technical climbs & descents. I do 8hrs of shuttle DH runs, and the next day climb 4000+ ft. in a 3-4hr AM marathon. It happens to the best of us, even those guys in "sea of rock".
Now, stop worrying about hurting the company's feelings (if they are German, they probably don't have any anyway) and say the truth in a review for once.
  • + 4
 the Trouser-Schnauser-5000! And, yes I do have a lot of free time. Thats all, Gotta ride.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 That really is a great review especially with the pics from Ian. Would also be good to review and compare the 601 since this is also a very nice frame. Anodizing the frames is also very popular these days through www.tf-bikes.at.

I've been using the 901 for the last couple of years ( since discontinued for the 601 ) and have recently switched to the 301 mainly to have a lighter bike for alpine carrying / biking. I'm really amazed at how good the 301 is.
  • + 1
 I'm on it colin. But not till spring
[Reply]
  • + 6
 wow, this thing seems pretty impressive: light weight, great angles, low key aesthetics and a 10 year transferable warranty - who does that?! a pleasant surprise indeed. are they available in north america?
  • + 1
 Yah in the US. Not yet in can.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Not sure if anyone noticed the best part... ten year TRANSFERABLE warranty. Take note, every other manufacturer. The warranty should be a guarantee of your product regardless of who owns it, and preferably for longer than just one year. One year warranties just show how confident you are in your product failing.
  • + 2
 agreed! I feel like bike companies are like, oh you actually ride your bike? Sorry- its not under warranty anymore...
[Reply]
  • + 5
 This bike is using the Chewbacca Defense on me: it has the looks and weight of an XC race bike, but has the travel and chainguide of an AM bike.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Wowzas, weighs the same as my gt force carbon pretty much but adds a lot more geo options, transferable 10 yr warranty, and unlike santa cruz blur ive been eyeballing, running bigger forks, let alone racing w/said forks wont void warranty!

Thats huge! Ready for 601 review as well.
Nice article/pics/riding.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 Way to apply the KISS principle.
  • + 1
 Hear! Hear! A smart design from stupid engineers!
[Reply]
  • + 6
 Nice bike features but the framekit is too expensive!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have rented the latest version of 301 in 140mm setting this summer in Mallorca. Had around 10 days of rocky, technical riding on it.
Prior to riding the 301 I thought of replacing my SC Nomad with it. Talk of positive bias to start with.
Sadly after a few days in the saddle I ended up disappointed, here's why:
- My bike was equipped with RS Revelation 150mm and Fox RP23 in the rear - both did an inferior job compared to my '07 Talas 36 and Fox coil. I weigh over 200 pounds w/ gear and at the right pressure the rear shock wasn't responsive at all. At lower pressures the suspension pumped and wallowed extensively.
- 301's design limits rear shock availability to RP23 exclusively - the only way to remedy the problem for the big guys would be custom shimming the air can of the stock RP23 but you will still lack the adjustability of DHX Air / CCDB.
- The geometry made for good uphill handling but coupled with the suspension I was too scared to ride features that would be a no brainer on my old Nomad.

On the positive note however the bike was uberlight and a joy on xc rides. This particular build had a light DT wheelset which even when paired with 2.4 tires allowed for long sprints.

IMO might be a good bike for someone 200lbs or with a more XC approach to trails.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I would love to see a litville 601 mk2 test- in my opinion the perfect bike. unfortunately the frames are not in my price range.
  • - 2
 Germans are rich, they can buy what they wantWink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 similar to a rocky mountain element. i like it. plain simple looking. about time someone made a normal looking bike. some of the frame designs as of late are pretty ugly. swoopy hydro formed garbage doesn't catch my eye, unless the design was based around a non derailler system.....
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Pretty cool overall. I wouldn't mind riding one.

Now the engineer in me want's to see the suspension gubbins low and centralized (as opposed to up high like that) but the over all weight is low enough that it's most likely not an issue anyway. Besides, their idea to use "suspension forces to counter natural load-pathways" sounds perfectly logical. I hope they have good luck with it. :-)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 While a plain Jane of a bike, it sure packs some neat and useful features. I think a few bucks spent on some decals/paint would go a LONG way from keeping this from looking like a mail-order Asian-built no-namer. It reminds me a lot of the homely Banshee Scratch of a decade ago. No, it doesn't have a swoopy/ugly TT, it just has this plain, unadorned look to it. Look at Banshees now - pretty awesome, I think. Check out a Mondraker, a Turner, a Devinci, a Commencal, a Ventana even - some of the best small-volume builders, and see how those bikes are spiced up with some graphics.
  • + 2
 One of the aesthetic feature I like the most about it is that it's matte black with very little graphics. Combined with simple look of the linkage, it makes it looks like a trail murder weapon more than a kiddies bike and I like that a lot.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 When you have to close your appeal with something like "This bike won't sell very well, but if you are really smart or down with the hot enduro scene, you should buy it," it's a red flag. This bike is not a work of literature bound to be ignored by the masses and beloved by the elite. It's overpriced. If it's as good as you say, it would sell just fine, if it were priced correctly. If Liteville want to make bikes for snobs (there are several solvent if not successful manufacturers w/ tiny market share that seem OK w/ that route), then let them, but trying to entice PB readers into being snobs is lame. Trying to get PB readers to waste money to support your industry is lame. Everyone wins if you work with some integrity, to get the most value and the most ride time to the most riders.
  • + 2
 The wrap-up of the test was not an appeal. They gave their take on a bike and those whom it is likely to interest. It appears to me that the testers were pretty smitten with it, and that was reflected in their writing. True, it is a spendy frame, but that is true of pretty much any frame worth purchasing for the kind of riding for which this one is built. The pricing of frames is not the result of the machinations of greedy manufacturers. There are real manufacturing costs involved (welders have to eat too), profits are factored in and, distribution with each handler adding to the end cost.
Why do any of us prefer the frame and components we put together to create the bike that opens the world up for us? If it appeals to you and you can afford it, buy it. If not, don't. Railing against a reviewer's closing lines because the author acknowledges that this bike won't appeal to everybody (note the myriad inane questions about whether or not one's 'nads might get caught in the suspension linkage) but that it warrants a look from those for whom this kind of riding appeals, accomplishes little (save raising a little ire in response).
The whole snob angle is irksome as well. I was unaware that there were bikes made specifically for snobs, though if a company can exist by tapping that alleged and seemingly lucrative market, more power to 'em. This is not an attempt to, "entice PB readers into being snobs" rather, it is the perspective of a tester and writer letting those who care to read the words know his impressions of this bike.
  • + 3
 PB comments are not an appropriate vehicle for serious and thorough conversation about the cycling industry, so I take full responsibility for not being clear. I don't think Liteville, Turner, Pivot, etc are doing anything wrong, nor do I think their riders are doing anything wrong. I don't think having or spending money is wrong. The problem, in my eyes, is the presumption that these PB articles by RC et al. are "reviews". They look like reviews; they sound like reviews. You can tell by the comments that many readers interpret them as reviews. But they fail to make critical comparisons of the bikes. Other readers point this very fact out on this page and on others. All the small details mixed with all the speculation (e.g. longer warranty = stronger frame). All I'm advocating for is honesty. "Brand X and Brand Y are so refined and ride so similarly, that only totally subjective and personal preferences distinguish them mechanically or in terms of performance. The $1000 difference in price will perhaps appeal to people who want to support European over Asian welders; if you don't care who welded it, then X is clearly the better bike, because, to reiterate, they are almost exactly the same." Honesty. I have owned a Turner. I get it. But I don't need a reviewer to vaguely justify my spending at the cost of his own credibility. I need some voices in the bike industry to tell the bike manufacturers to cut the shit. I'll acknowledge that some portion of bike pricing is driven by labor and capital and materials cost in a weird, semi-global marketplace. You (not you, personally, reverend) acknowledge that the free market also has mechanisms for prices coming _down_, though we seldom see them. Reviewers and consumers pretending every bike is great in its own way blunts the effect of competition. Also, PB is just less fun to read when major contributers are with the bullsh1t. The posi prop you got was from me Big Grin
  • + 1
 I hear you. I know at least one of the PB reviewers personally, and hear what you've said with regards to many of the bikes feeling and handling very similarly, and that the average rider wouldn't be able to tell a qualitative difference between manufacturers x and y's rigs, and it would come down to the "totally subjective and personal preferences" of riders/purchasers.

I don't know how it hurts the credibility of the author to suggest that this (or any) frame/bike is worth considering for its targeted rider, since it truly is up to the purchaser to make the final decision. Even the subtitle for the last bit is "Pinkbike's take" making it perfectly clear that this portion specifically is opinion. I read the end of the article as coming from the head of a rider/writer who likes what he just rode, and says we might too.
  • + 1
 @Snfoilhat - Liteville are welded in Asia, but ltv give 10-years warranty for every user (not only first user). American companies give 1-3 years of warranty, only Spec gives 5 years , and trek gives more but they make shit-frames. In Europe used 1-2 years used Liteville frames still cost 70-90% of new one.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The design is too obvious, the color too boring. It uses alloy and no fancy carbon.
Actually one of the best AM out there, just ignore the masses that love to buy bikes with zigmillions of hydroformed tubes (and weight). Pair it with XX1 and gripshift and you'll have one of the soberst and most efficient bikes ever.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 When I first looked at the thumbnail on the home page I thought it was a hardtail AM. lol
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Rock Shox Rev 150 C/A 545? No, more like 529. 545 to 565 C/A are 160 to 180 forks.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Superior article RC...
[Reply]
  • + 5
 their 601 is super sexy
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I have to say that having a pivot point come up into our seat area is kind of a silly move. I mean, to have the pivot travel entirely above the top tube seems a little backwards, and at much risk to my nards. Most pivots are located BELOW the top tube, or mounted vertically with the seat tube. This design, well scares my nuts too much for me to like it....just imagine getting blown off your seat, then having that pivot chomp down on ya....OUCH!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Got more questions?
LITEVILLE & SYNTACE USA CONTACT INFO

Radsport USA
2020 Dennison St
Unit - 5
Oakland, CA 94611
510-261-8836
www.litevilleusa.com
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Adding a shim to a frame does not make it "dropper post ready". A 31.6 or 30.9 (or hell even 27.2) seat tube with appropriate routing guides would make it dropper post ready.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wait a sec- there is no Fox "RP 23 CTD"
There is a Fox "RP23" (2012)
and a Fox CTD (2013)
This is like the billionth time someone has been this mistake!!!!!
  • + 2
 Fox printed RP32 on the CTD shock for 2012, so it is a confusing topic when one wants to underscore the Climb-Trail-Descend aspect, which is often, more important than the technically correct name of the shock. PB readers are sharp enough to figure it out. RC
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "engineered to eliminate chain-growth through its the entire range." in this case i wouldnt mind seeing a more compact, single speed, DJ/slopestyle bike with this suspension
  • + 5
 I think that means that the chain-growth is minimal. It's not possible to entirely eliminate it with a 4bar design.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Such a clean machine. I love the look of it. I can't help but think a stealth reverb and a Talas 36 wouldn't make for a killer enduro race bike..
  • + 1
 gah double post. come on PB, make an app already!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Saw one of these on the weekend. Really nice looking. Light and amazing attention to detail. Good welds. Lots of cool features also.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I rode Winterberg a couple of times this year and the Germans love them, they were everywhere.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Did no one else notice the size of RC's calves in the first photo? Did he get stung by a bee or something? Holy crap...
[Reply]
  • + 0
 The bikes aren't bad but image wise they go best with overly clean shaven consultants who drive Porsche Boxters and wear Polo shirts...
  • + 0
 That's because everything made in Germany is made that way.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 interesting, weird, simple, but very sick! very interesting build, i like it
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The Liteville and the Orange 5 are certainly on top of my list! Such clean and classic looks!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 love it fist pic the guy has a dropper post but yet he isnt using in what a div
[Reply]
  • + 1
 that's nice, Woul've been cool to have swappable rear dropouts to work with 650b.
  • + 2
 Hey Minotro - these guys were testing a small frame but med and up are compatible with 650b - been out riding it myself the last few days.
www.facebook.com/pages/Syntace-USA/206652042688778?ref=hl#!/photo.php?fbid=506314516055861&set=a.206661502687832.48370.206652042688778&type=1&theater

Kenny Roberts
Syntace / Liteville USA
  • + 1
 that's great news. I'm on a converted bike now which has it's compromises so when the 'new bike' time comes I'll be looking at the 301 650b option.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Always use caution when following chewy down a trail you have never ridden!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Anybody know what trail this line is near?
  • + 1
 Can' tell you, but it's huge and steep - about 700 feet from top to bottom.. Chewy is the king.
  • + 2
 No worries, already figured it out with the help of some AZ intel. Lots of fun to be had there for sure! Enjoy your time there!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I'd love to hear on the 601
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Really want to have
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Love this frame set.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Did RC part ways with Mountain Bike Fiction?
  • + 1
 Yep, he's been here for a while now.
  • + 1
 They can have him back.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 is that some bodged up "Daves Chain Device" on the swing arm ? with a perfectly good ISCG 05 mount to use?
why
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Looks like a sick setup! But it would suck to miss the pedals and seat though...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wouldn`t mind giving it a test ride.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think that this geometry will be awsome fore a slope frame
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Had to look twice at that rear suspension.
  • + 2
 There is an interesting animation plus a lot of information on the rear suspension on their website: www.liteville.de/t/25_29.html
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Does this frame have pre drilled holes for the stealth droper?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What chain guide is that and how do I get one?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The 301 is not new it's available since 5 years
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's smoothing looking. Looks like a hard tail but not!
[Reply]
  • - 2
 reminds me at this guys: www.pronghornracing.dk

They've been using a similar design for quite sometime but don't think very successfully.
  • + 4
 and a bit more ugly...
  • + 2
 igunanbartola, ta. I knew it reminded me of something I'd seen before.
  • + 1
 Fugly and expensive!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Why ISCG 03 ?
  • + 2
 It says ISCG 05 ?
  • + 2
 Their website says ISCG 03 => "For all of those that like the pluses of geared cranks (such as the Hammerschmidt), we have given you the option to use these in giving the 301 Mk10 an ISCG 03 tab."
www.liteville.de/t/25_29.html
  • + 2
 I haven't looked at their page. Those are really 03 tabs, but in the article it says 05.
  • + 2
 We were informed that it was ISCG-05, but on the Liteville site, it says - 03 (to be SRAM Hammerschmidt-friendly). We'll update the story if Liteville confirms otherwise.
RC
  • + 2
 Yes on the ISCG-03. Liteville is working on a running change for the chainguide tabs, but it was not instigated for the MK 10. RC
[Reply]
  • - 2
 How do u ride? How can your knees can touch the shock? It's been years that shocks are mounted that high!
  • + 12
 most people don't ride with their knees so close to the frame... unless they really need to pee that is...
  • + 3
 i think this was supposed to be a reply to dhache's comment
  • - 1
 First Giant Glories were really killing thighs and knees with their upper links yet no one had such insecurities Smile as far as I know current models and Summums are not inner thigh friendly either.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 I stopped reading at "corners like it's on rails". No-one who uses this phase has an opinion worth hearing.
  • + 15
 I bet people who review trains do.
[Reply]
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