Catalogue frames, "open model" bikes that are bought by 3rd party companies to brand and re-sell
, get a bad rap. And rightfully so—they often have dated geometry, afterthought kinematics, and crappy hardware. In an industry as fickle and fast paced as ours, the difference between a progressive trail weapon and a laughable paperweight is a few degrees here, a few mm there, and a new standard that got introduced after production started.
That said, we saw some nice looking catalogue frames while walking the floors of this year's Taipei Cycle Show. With a tweak or two and some fresh branding, some of these bikes could be pretty good—assuming the suspension design is workable and the construction is decent.
Which would you choose if you were starting up a bike company? What would you change?
1. Agogo Bike Company FM-M06Travel:
17", 17.5", 19", 20"Weight:
2050g (±50g) - size 17"Details:
31.6 seatpost, tapered headtube, BSA73 BB, 12*148 dropouts
This clean looking XC frame is a single pivot design and has internal cable and brake routing. No geometry or pricing was available, but we'll update if they send it as promised.
2. Mosso 991TI-DB3Material:
27.5" or 29"Sizes:
17", 19", 21"Details:
31.6 seatpost, 44/55mm headtube, thru-axle, 68mm BB
Mosso is the house brand for Woeifong Machinery Co., and they generally make alloy bikes—including a 1300g 29er hardtail frame. It wasn't totally clear to me if they manufacture this ti frame in-house, but their motto is "probably the best," so who am I to question? It has nice details like internal cable routing and is available in 27.5 or 29er versions.
3. Edge Python One 29er BoostTravel:
34.9 seatpost, 48/57 headtube, BB92, 12*148 dropoutsPrice:
$550 USD if you can arrange shipment from China; MOQ TBDGeometry:
68.5° HTA, 74.6° STA, 438mm RC, 413-488mm Reach, 36mm BBD
Edge had several vaguely familiar-looking carbon frames on display. This flex-stay XC whip is available in a Metric trunnion mount version or a "Legacy" standard mount version.
4. Maxway Y16M04Travel:
Maxway wouldn't provide much info on this eye-searing frame, but they said could accommodate a wide range of geometry requests. Having manufactured for Surly as well as several well known MTB and dirt jump brands, their construction is well regarded but expensive.
5. Pro.Mance VPP3Travel:
Max tire 2.8", 1.5" headtube, 12*148 dropouts, available in gloss, matte, and custom paintGeometry:
65° HTA, 74° STA, 430mm RC, 430-455mm Reach
The best brand name on the list, Pro.Mance has a 4000 square meter plan in Xiamen, China and claims to always surpass the ISO safety standards for bicycles by 20%. The VPP3 all mountain frame looked awesome, but I was baffled by the apparent lack of main pivot and link. They reluctantly procured a brochure for the bike, and althugh it didn't tell me more about the suspension, it did have another manufacturer's name on the brochure. Am I being bamboozled? Is a middleman trying to rebrand another company's frame as their own open model frame? Is this a dream and my dreams are a reality?