12 Raw Aluminum & Carbon Pro Rides From the Pinkbike Archive

May 3, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
We love a good custom paint job as much as the next mountain bike nerd but sometimes there's no denying the allure of a raw finish. Here are 12 of the best we've spotted at events of all disciplines:

Sam Hill's Raw Nukeproof Mega 29er


We're used to seeing some pretty wild paint jobs on Sam's bikes including a Grave Digger inspired Monster Truck theme and a Day of the Dead paintjob in previous seasons but at Val di Fassa last year he went for muted, raw aluminium.


Alongside the stunning finish on this prototype Mega 290, was an all-new front triangle based upon a longer shock and revised kinematics, which became the base for the carbon Mega released later that year. Sam raced the bike to his first EWS podium of the year and kicked off a run that would see him take the overall for a third time in Zermatt.

Check out the full bike check, here.


Aaron Gwin's Prototype YT Tues 29

Gwin YT Tues 29

Gwin's 2018 season was hampered with a thumb injury and, after he aggravated it with a crash in Val di Sole, he decided to sit out Mont Sainte Anne to get it fully fixed. In that time, we saw him teasing a new bike and when he made a return for the final round in La Bresse though he bought this unpainted, carbon prototype with him.

Gwin YT Tues 29
Gwin YT Tues 29

The YT Mob were one of the last World Cup teams to have a 29er at their disposal and we only saw it in this raw form for one race as they released a consumer version in February the following year. Gwin also only got one race on it as he moved to the Intense Factory team during the following offseason.

Aaron Gwin scrubs one jump and his teammate Angel Suarez whips another off in the distance.

Cube's Prototype 29er DH Bike

Cube DH 29er

If there's any track you're going to switch to 29-inch wheels, Mont Sainte Anne is probably a good one to pick. Cube turned up there in 2017 with this aluminium prototype ready to face the high speeds and big holes on offer on the Canadian track. Although it looked a lot like the old Cube Two15, apparently slight adjustments to pivot placement and geometry made for a much more progressive bike more suited to the needs of a World Cup racer.

Read the full bike check, here.

Cube DH 29er
Cube DH 29er

Greg Watt's Mongoose Fireball


Greg Watts' speed and style bike is an exercise in simplicity, no gyro, a homemade crank stopper, one gear and, of course, no paint. Get all the details, here.


Carlos Coloma's BH Prototype Hardtail

Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma

Nevermind a lack of paint, Carlos Coloma's hardtail from the Nove Mesto World Cup last year didn't even have clear coat on it, leaving the complicated layering exposed. Like all XC hardtails, this is designed to be super lightweight and efficient. Just look at the minimalist chain protection to see how seriously BH were taking that.

Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma

Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma

Jakub Vencl's Rose Bikes The Bruce

Crankworx Innsbruck 2018 slopestyle

Czech slopetlye rider, Jakub Vencl, turned up to Crankworx Innsbruck 2018 with this updated version of Rose's Bruce slopestyle hardtail. With geo designed to suit the bigger Crankworx courses, updated tubing and a raw finish, it was definitely one of the standout bikes of the event.

Crankworx Innsbruck 2018 slopestyle

Brendan Fairclough's Scott Gambler Prototype

SCOTT Proto

Scott spent all of 2018 tinkering with this aluminium test mule that went on to become the carbon Gambler in 2019. Brendan Fairclough was the test pilot and he experimented with everything from wheelsize to idler pulleys throughout the course of the season. The Sharpie style graphics really add to the raw feel of the bike and make for a sweet looking ride.

SCOTT Proto

Joe Nation's Pole Stamina

Pole Stamina

If you're going to use a unique construction method, you may as well show it off. The CNC’d monocoque frame sections and glued join are all proudly on show on all Pole bikes and enduro racer Joe Nation's is no different.

Pole Stamina
Pole Stamina

Atherton Bikes' Prototype


The Atherton bike can have as many as three raw frame materials in the mix with carbon tubes, titanium lugs and aluminium pivots.


Logan Peat's One-Off Santa Cruz Slopestyle Bike

Thirteen Slopestyle Bikes - Crankworx Les Gets 2016

Logan Peat's full suspension slopestyle bike is a head-turner wherever it goes but unfortunately, we're pretty sure it's a one-off and this brushed aluminium masterpiece will never grace shop floors.

Thirteen Slopestyle Bikes - Crankworx Les Gets 2016
Thirteen Slopestyle Bikes - Crankworx Les Gets 2016

Intense's 29er Prototype

Photo Intense Cycles

Intense were the first brand to experiment with 29 inch wheels with the 2951 back in 2009. It took them nearly a decade to bring such a bike to the downhill World Cup circuit but it was worth the wait as at Fort William in 2017, we saw what Jeff Steber had been cooking up in his workshop with these handbuilt prototypes. The bike tasted instant success and Jack Moir delivered a 2nd place, the brand's first podium in a very long time.

After Lourdes we got a sneak peak of Intense 29 offering and here it is in the flesh.

Commencal's ever-evolving Supreme


Commencal's mechanics may have one of the most difficult jobs on the circuit as the Supreme platform is constantly tweaked and tuned throughout the year. Each racer on the team uses different suspension linkages, and when you think about the adjustable chainstay length, reach, and bottom bracket height, there can be a dizzying amount of setup options. Add on top of that, the team's fondness for telemetry tracking and you have a lot of work over a weekend.

This particular bike was a prototype that was being worked on last season that ditches the bolt-on dropout system and has some slight geometry tweaks.




Article updated for accuracy


86 Comments

  • 127 1
 Which frame material do you prefer to ride? Aluminium, carbon, titanium?

Athertons: Yes
  • 8 1
 PVC
  • 1 2
 Anything but plastic..
  • 2 1
 duct tape
  • 41 2
 Santa Cruz need to do a production run of that SS bike, in alloy and carbon just because they would legit sell like hot cakes! I will take mine in alloy thanks.
  • 4 0
 reminds me of this (also in aluminium)
www.pinkbike.com/photo/12595523
  • 14 3
 Santa cruz is ok, but this one is better
www.pinkbike.com/photo/8857303
  • 5 0
 @tobiusmaximum: reminds me of Transition Bottlerocket from back in the day..
  • 8 3
 @frenk12: That is 100% pipedream. Yeti will never make another alloy dually. This bike caused enough tension in the front of short travel bikers pants when it was leaked, but purely only a factory rider special. No need for the dentists to even consider it because it was lacking a carbon frame.
  • 8 0
 Santa cruz needs to run production on their dirt jump bike to begin with!! Can we get full build jackal for one year???
  • 1 0
 @frenk12: That is pretty, but the OG Yeti Four Cross was even prettier.
  • 2 0
 @qdex888: or a Transition Double/Triple!
  • 2 0
 Get a 5010. It's awesome.
  • 2 1
 @constantly-broken: can't the dentists that race 4X ever catch a break?
  • 5 0
 @VtVolk: they cop a whipping, but hey, its funny picking on them (for the record, my cousin is a dentist and legit his firts MTB was an SB 140 with carbon everything, despite me advising what to look for he just walked into one of the shops here, walked around for a bit and said "I like this one, I am getting it" lol)
  • 49 9
 Alu > carbon
  • 11 4
 Fax no printer
  • 2 4
 Call no texting
  • 3 5
 internet no email
  • 5 0
 especially raw. best looking bikes.
  • 42 7
 As far I as know Pole Stamina is not 3D printed, it's CNC machined!
  • 8 0
 Yes, they're most definitely not "grooves" as a result of a 3D printing process.
  • 34 1
 Who needs an editor when you've got the PB comment section
  • 4 0
 @bobj: exactly, they are grooves from an endmill.
  • 3 0
 PB fixed the text.
  • 26 0
 raw alloy is sexy
  • 1 0
 we need more of those, tried to buy the raw YT limited edition enduro bike, but I saw the annoucement too late. At least if brands could listen to their customers...
  • 19 0
 Tomorrow on PB... Black Colored Handlebars of the World cup(Through the Years)
  • 19 0
 Raw alloy & no Banshee?
I guess it's what they sell every day.
  • 14 0
 More raw frames in general okay
  • 6 0
 Besides the prototypes for development, I've never figured out why companies make bikes like Logan Peat's custom SS bike and don't offer even a limited run. Surely a limited run would would offset the development costs. Otherwise it seems like you splash your name around to an audience and then don't have anything to offer when they come knocking...
  • 2 0
 Yeah it's really a bummer. But easier said than done: when I tried to buy Transition's latest slope bike (Triple), no shops carried it or demoed it, even when we were surrounded by 4 large slopestyle/dual slalom compounds and located in the world's 5th largest economy (California). If we can't get the latest slope sled here, then where??
  • 8 0
 The supreme is the one I would choose to ride
  • 8 0
 Even a Cube looks sexy in raw!
  • 1 0
 ya
  • 8 0
 Glorious \m/etal!
  • 8 5
 I was an early adopter of carbon mtbs back in 2007 when carbon Rush came out. However, after I killed 4 carbon (proudly made in USA) Cannondale bikes that love at first sight somehow faded away and now I still prefer aluminium over carbon.
Of course, I understand that carbon is a better material (coming from sailing world where everything is made of carbon) but there is something timeless and sexy in raw alu frame. I find that Raaw Madonna v2 and Pole Stamina are the most beautiful bikes out there (with no disrespect for new Enduro).
  • 2 0
 I would not necessarily say that carbon is a better material. While it is lighter, it has its place. I still prefer alu. I was always worried about cracking my carbon frame. Yes i know carbon is strong and I likely wont have an issue, but I never think twice about my alu frame breaking. But that's not to say it can't break just like a carbon frame...
  • 1 0
 @stumphumper92: Material is not the one here to take a blame but poor engineering or bad pmanufacturing process.
I don't know if you ever heard about it but there's a sailing regatta called America's Cup. Those boats and their equipment are almost completely made of carbon and without carbon fibers those designs wouldn't even be possible. They don't even sail through the water. They are flying!
And if just one small piece of equipment fails, the outcome could be catastrophic. Not to mention millions of $$$ in damages..

images.app.goo.gl/2axVDq4aVZnkgKnQ9
  • 6 0
 Raw Aluminum > Raw Carbon
  • 1 1
 Raw carbon looks so bad lol
  • 3 0
 @stumphumper92: unless it's made by Hope Technology.
  • 4 0
 "Intense were the first brand to experiment with 29 inch wheels with the 2951 back in 2009".

Lenz had a production DH 29er in 2006.
  • 5 0
 That Santa Cruz looks very similar to an NS Soda slope
  • 4 0
 Or the Transition Triple
  • 1 0
 just about to pull the trigger on this enduro beauty just in case you are after some naked alloy loveliness too

www.radon-bikes.de/en/mountainbike/fullsuspension/swoop/swoop-al-80-2021

For 2500 EUR, that is a killer package
  • 3 0
 Literally in the middle of building my bike back up after having it “raw’d”! She’s looking soooooo sick!
  • 1 0
 Let’s have a look.
  • 3 0
 @thenotoriousmic: ‘raw-reign’ in my photos albums.
  • 1 0
 @rudders20: Looks good! What method did you use to strip the paint?
  • 1 0
 @rudders20: she s looking awesome actually....
  • 1 0
 @thegoodflow: I had it chemically stripped, of here is a place local to me that did it for £40! Just clean it up with some wire wool after.

@saladdodger: Thanks man!
  • 1 0
 @rudders20: $40 ain't bad for that at all. Looks good!
  • 1 0
 People seem to forget or not realize that KHS was one of the very first companies to start Prototyping a DH frame that both Kevin Aiello used at both PRO GRT and Nevada races.
  • 5 1
 shimmy shimmy ya
  • 2 0
 What happened to that bos obsys thought ? It doesn't seems to be avaible anywhere
  • 1 0
 Direct from bos and probikeshop have them
  • 3 1
 I got my boy a raw Prophet with clear, embossed Cannondale decals. Look sexy AF even for 15 years old.
  • 2 3
 Accidently down voted you, sorry Frown It'd be really great if you could post a photo of it on your profile - the prophet was such a great bike. I really miss riding mine; it'd be really cool to see an updated version with modern geometry!
  • 1 0
 @arna86: sorry, accidentally upvoted you
  • 1 0
 What could be more beautiful than a raw frame?
Go and see this Lone Bicycle raw edition here:
www.instagram.com/p/B-rHuYyI4x0/?igshid=16itbhjrz1ki4
  • 1 0
 It cracks me up that people insist that they have to have carbon when the three fastest dudes in the world are on full alloy builds: Bruni, Pierron, Hill.
  • 2 0
 Nice guy in the back holding Sam's Bike. Thumbs up for people like him!
  • 2 0
 Raw aluminum any day of the week!!!!
  • 2 0
 what's that usd fork on the gambler?
  • 3 0
 BOS Obsys I’m fairly sure
  • 2 0
 BOS Obsys 42 it is.
  • 1 0
 No raw steel bikes @jamessmurthwaite That might be an "unfollow"!

Wink

JK...

sorta...
  • 1 0
 Love the look of my raw knolly frames. No paint to scratch and they are tough as nails.
  • 1 0
 Cube? More like HYPERCUBE.
I'm out, i'm out.

Seriously though, that bike looks sick!
  • 1 0
 Ok pinkbike, my bike is not even here, how could you...
  • 2 0
 So much porn
  • 11 0
 My roommate walked in and I switched it to porn, it's easier to explain
  • 2 0
 Ooh baby
  • 1 0
 I do love the raw aluminium look
  • 1 0
 time for some clean undies?
  • 1 0
 Nothing beats the look of raw metal.
  • 1 0
 Capra Ltd Aluminum anyone?
  • 2 0
 Where is Ancilotti?
  • 1 0
 How does Greg Watts have the ugliest bikes every time?! Hands down.
  • 3 0
 Raw natural ability.
  • 1 0
 Makes me want to strip the paint off my aluminum Bronson...
  • 1 0
 Aluminio for ver..
  • 1 0
 RAW 4-ever.
  • 4 6
 Atherton Bikes should change their name to Atherton We Don’t Make Bikes.
  • 8 4
 You win. Oh wait. No. That was the Atherton's that won. A lot. A lot more than you. A whole lot more. Plenty of people out there that will be willing to pull the trigger on a bike that was ridden by, tested by, and tattooed with the moniker of a family that destroyed on the world cup dh circuit. I'm personally glad they spent the years training and racing rather than hanging out in engineering school. Their feedback is more important to how the bikes ride... Steve Who Also Doesn't Make Bikes Nor Race Them On The Gnarliest Tracks In The World At The Highest Level.

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