Knolly Endorphin - Close-up Look at a Pioneer AM/Trailbike

Apr 26, 2012 at 0:10
Apr 26, 2012
by Richard Cunningham  
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The Knolly (say, 'Know-lee') Endorphin has a cult following that ranges far from its Vancouver birthplace. The magnetism of the 140-millimeter-travel aluminum-framed AM/trail machine comes from the fact that its creator understands the Northwest riding style and his frame numbers are fine-tuned to the genre. The Endorphin uses Kolly's patented Four-by-4 linkage suspension, an improvement on the classic FSR/Horst-link four-bar design that separates the suspension metrics from the shock rate by means of an independent linkage that drives the shock. With a frame that weighs in at 6.55 pounds, including its Fox Float CTD shock, a complete Endorphin can be built up as a plausibly lightweight trailbike, or as a sturdy All-mountain ripper. Sizes are small, medium, large and X-large and the MSRP for the Endorphin frame and shock is $2250 USD. Kolly

Knolly Endorphin
Kelsey Hamilton photo

Knolly Endorphin Details:
-Frame: Aluminum, rectangular-tube, four-bar linkage suspension
-Sizes: S, M, L, XL
-Head tube: 1.5 inch zero-stack (tapered steerer compatible)
-Linkage: Patented and proprietary Four by 4 Linkage
-Tire Clearance: 26 x 2.5 inches
-Recommended fork travel: 140-160mm (5.5-6.3 inches)
-Rear Travel: 140mm (5.5 inches)
-Rear Hub: 142mm x 12mm thru axle
-Dropouts: 12mm pinch-bolt type with replaceable derailleur hanger
-Weight: Frame and Fox Float CTD shock - 6.55 pounds
-Price: frame and shock - $2250 USD

Knolly offsets the seat tube forward of the bottom bracket to exaggerate the seat angle. This anomaly moves the saddle 'forward and out of the way' when it is slammed to emulate the seating position of a dedicated big bike on the descents. The effective seat angle is 73.5 degrees and the head tube angle is 67 degrees with a 150mm fork, so the simple addition of a longer fork will slacken it out a half degree. Oddly, the Endorphin we shot did not have a dropper post, a sad omission for a machine tailored for the Pacific Northwest. The guides are there, however, and the seat tube is straight and reamed so a post will drop into its entire length. Another nod to the rain-forest slug-poppers in Knollyville is full-length cable housing to keep mud and crud from gumming up the shifting. Most Knolly owners will be adding a chainguide, and ISCG-05 tabs are standard equipment on the frame - as it should be.

Knolly Endorphin shock
Knolly's Four by 4 suspension linkage is CNC-machined. The main four-bar suspension ensures that the Endorphin remains active under braking and pedaling, while the secondary linkage that drives the damper controls the shock rate. Interesting that the Specalized Demo 8 frame also drives the shock separately from the four-bar linkage. Kelsey Hamilton photo

Knolly Endorphin frame details
(clockwise) Endorphin frames use a straight 1.5-inch head tube so any steerer tube will fit - tapered, 1.5 or 1 1/8 inches will do. The Four by 4 suspension begins life as a FSR-style four bar as the rear dropout attests. Clamp-type dropout are a plus for rigidity. ISCG-05 tabs are a must in the single-chainring world of all-mountain and the threaded bottom bracket is compatible with almost any crankset. Kelsey Hamilton photo

Those who wish to peruse the finer details of the Knolly Endorphin can visit its geometry page, but the highlights are not in any of its specific numbers. Instead, the Endorphin has been tweaked over time to be the 'one bike' for a talented trail rider who happens to huck, jump and drop on the way around the mountain. I have only a little saddle time on an Endorphin, but it was enough to understand its following. Every Knolly rider I have come across has gushed about the bike's handling. You can't buy that kind of advertising. As they say in sheep country: 'Eat more lamb - 10,000 coyotes can't be wrong.' - RC
Must Read This Week


  • + 58
 I could see myself on one of those . Haters will hate but I reckon just let them ride their Enduros and stumpjumpers
  • + 5
 Ride the Mirrortrail and you'll see yourself...
  • - 10
flag p0ttz (Apr 26, 2012 at 7:55) (Below Threshold)
 I do believe it's just their stylesheet that's not loading... so the info is just being dumped on the page. Looks like they're having some problems!
  • + 5
 Site was working fine just the other day... some I/T guy asleep in a room full of servers somewhere.
  • + 4
 Haha! I like my Stumpjumper. But this thing is Sick!! would love one
  • + 1
 Bike pages seem to be loading again now -
  • + 8
 What makes you think that Specialized riders are haters? Nothing like it. Specialized makes great bikes at great prices and they are rider owned and operated too. Truth of the matter is most bike manufactures really make quality bikes. Ride all of the bikes that you can, then buy what feels best to you.
  • + 5
 People that ride Specialized bikes shouldn't hate on it, the bike has a very similar suspension design to Specialized. It's basically a double FSR. I have a Stumpjumper and think that the Knollys look bitchin. The only reason I might hate on it would be that I can't afford one.
  • + 4
 Dear Santa...
  • + 10
 I really like the Knolly Bikes, but their Webpage is not worth mentioning. They really try to keep people away from getting a frame since their are hardly enough information on the page to really get so pumped to buy a Knolly. It is kinda sad that a good Canadian company is putting hardly any effort in how they present themselves to the outside world. I loved my Delirium but after I never got any customer support from Knolly, I sold it and went all Cove . At least they still produce good Canadian Made Bike Frames, which doesn't say that Taiwan made Frames are worse - I guess it is just a patriotic idiotism on my part. (I know their webpage sucks too, but at least their customer support doesn't). And with regards to the price tag on those frames, since they moved the production to asia in order to make them cheaper, they still settled on prices as if they were produced locally here in good old CAN. Smile
  • + 4
 Yeah wow, their website is pretty awful. The front page isn't so bad but I went to the bikes section and it needs some serious work. I wonder where they could find some tech savy, bike obsessed, web page designers....?
  • + 3
 Well that's one way to sell a particular model... every bike link I click on leads to the Podium haha.
  • + 3
 I do believe it's just their stylesheet that's not loading... so the info is just being dumped on the page. Looks like they're having some problems!
  • - 18
flag CFOxtrot (Apr 26, 2012 at 8:14) (Below Threshold)
 If you need a website to get you interested in a bike, maybe you're not much of a bike rider. Websites are not reality. The bike itself is reality. You probably think you are what you present yourself to be on pinkbike too, rather than you being what you actually are in person. You probably think facebook is real human interaction, rather than a bunch of projection of wishful images of self. Maybe you should simplify yourself and your outlook. Pay attention to the bike itself, not a website. If you want to know about the bike, call Knolly. It's not that tough. Or are you just spoiled and lazy and think that everything has to be dropped in your lap?

All you whiners are doing is trying to present yourselves as web-savvy geeks, trying to show that somehow you are superior to Noel. I find it sad, pathetic, and childish. Just because you think the InterWebToobz are reality doesn't mean they are. If the Toobz suddenly stopped working, would you stop riding bikes? Or maybe would you actually BEGIN riding bikes then?
  • + 7
 Thanks for your thoughtful comment. You surely display a huge spectrum of knowledge. I wish you could show me how life works. Please don't tell me that you are in the CF? I didn't really know that Facebook wasn't real. Know that you've brought light into this darkness, I can finally see.
I assume that you had a bad day in the woods, crashed a couple of times and are frustrated that you didn't managed the last double, drop or road gap. But that's okay. Good criticism isn't my strong suite either when I had a bad day of riding. Cheers and take care.
  • + 0
 ^ * now... come on really?
  • - 5
flag CFOxtrot (Apr 26, 2012 at 9:08) (Below Threshold)
 SIGINT, you ought to try less projection and less egotism. I haven't ever had a bad day on a bicycle. I don't spend my time trying to prove I'm smarter than Mr X or Ms Z with commentary on the internet. I rarely comment at PinkBike. I'd rather ride my bicycle than pretend or fantasize about it.

So what you have "assumed" is completely wrong. I'm just commenting on the childish view that Noel's bicycle is somehow lesser because YOU don't like his website. You know what? The bicycle is not the website and the website is not the bicycle.

Those of you who neg-repped me because of my facebook comment are comical. Facebook is artificial socializing. It is not the same as meeting friends and talking to them in person or doing things with them in person, and the fact that you think it is and defend it as being such... that's just sad. It also shows your blind spot about human-human interaction and what matters.

Of course, I should expect a bunch of e-rider fantasy fools posting on pinkbike instead of riding their bikes would be the kinds of people who think facebook is reality.
  • + 4
 Man, you sure are creative. Wow.
I still try to find the spot were facebook came into the discussion. Oh, wait - it didn't cause you started this rant. Who do you think you are giving unqualified opinions about other peoples choices of how they ride, and when they ride and of course what they ride? Just go back in your sad little hole and log yourself out from that unsuccessful online dating site your on. And where do you see criticism against Mr Buckley? I used to own a Knolly Bike and my opinion: awesome bikes, awesome inventor, still shitty website. Deal with it. No go back outside and leave the internet alone.
  • + 10
 most people are on here all the time (myself included) because we can't ride every second of every day like we wish we could. The next best thing to riding is socializing with other riders, keeping updated on current industry happenings, reading reviews of products we might be interested in, and looking at other peoples rides and riding. BAM -> for most of us Pinkbike is perfect for that!
People were complaining out of what sounded to me like sheer pity that a bike company that is so loved and pure is not living up to its full potential, not because anyone felt they could do better or were whining because their shiny silver spoon (the internet) fell out of their mouth.
It's hardship and haters that bring forth innovation and push boundaries. High standards and expectations are necessary.
  • + 4
 CFOxtrot: chill the f*ck out.
  • + 1
 looks like the pages weren't loading before but there is a lot more info now -
  • + 2
 They didn't move the production to Asia for the "cheaper" costs.
They moved because nobody in NA could meet their needs especially QC.
What would you do if you had to write off an entire run due to bad QC from SAPA and it cost you the year on that model?
Add that to ongoing issues that were had with SAPA over a number of years - they could not guarantee either the quality or any volume. The choice was basically forced on them to go overseas. Noel is very happy as he now has access to materials and processes that were not available to him in NA.

As far as customer service goes, they once replaced a frame for me in an unusual way. Was the end of season and I broke my Delirium-T. Called Noel, he shipped a frame to me (Greyhound to Ontario), I built up the new bike, boxed up the old frame and sent it back. No money, CC, LBS or anything to guarantee the new frame. All done within a week. Broke the frame on Saturday, was riding the new one the next weekend. That said more than words in my opinion.

I am now on my 3rd Knolly - A 2010 Delirium - and I'm still very happy. The bike is bulletproof - have checked many times but every pivot and bearing is still as solid as new. Never had an issue with the pivots on this one or any of the others. INA bearing rock.

The new Endo is definitely on my radar, would allow me to run the Delirium in big-bike mode full time, and have a nice light snappy trail-bike for local rolling XC stuff...
  • + 1
 Where did you find that info with regards to the production? BTW, your white Knolly looks awesome. I wish I had mine dune up like this.
  • + 13
 knolly bikes are so nice, but too expensive Frown
  • - 2
 True, and look at the cable routing. I think after a couple of jumps that brake hose and shifter cable housing is going to wall apart. Plus the cable ties won't last long.
  • + 1
 yeah i know what you mean, if it was mine I would cable tie the cables tight to the top end of the linkage, which will keep them solid and stop them rubbing the ties, but then leave a little extra cable below to compensate for the extension. I think knolly should employ me as a designer with my million $ cable ideas Razz
  • - 11
flag CFOxtrot (Apr 26, 2012 at 8:16) (Below Threshold)
 SIGINT, your comment is worthless. There's nothing wrong with the cable routing. You're just trying to "prove" that you're a better engineer than Noel. And you're not. So stop trying.
  • + 4
 no need for an arsey comment really, he was just saying what he thought could be improved, if he started talking about shit to do with the frame saying he could design one better, then fair enough, but he didnt...
  • + 2
 Thanks bendy, I guess some folks just like to interpret what they think and not what they read. I used to own a Knolly so I think I'm entitled to give a little criticism. And as you can see on my picture from my Delirium, the cable routing was almost identical to the Endorphin, but I still had worn out cables on that spot.
  • - 16
flag CFOxtrot (Apr 26, 2012 at 9:11) (Below Threshold)
 How did your cables "wear out"? You mean they had little scuff marks on the housing? Gosh, that's so painful. It made your bike look used!

As to interpreting what I "think you said," maybe you should learn to write better so that it's not as vague. As you typed it, it was only this: cable routing sucks, ruins cables. I'm afraid that's patently false and just a whiny little complaint.

Do you really think that comments on the internet are how Noel designs his bikes? You think he reads pinkbike to see how he should route cables?
  • + 0
 In order to "wear out" cables, you'd have to ride your bike - which clearly you don't do that often. Otherwise the forum wouldn't be jammed with your awesome comments. And why the hate? You little 400lbs desktop warrior. The closest you've come to a bike is on Youtube. I love guys like you that are slack and idle and don't go outside much just because the third bowl of mac and cheese made them so utterly overweight that the only satisfaction they get in life is to log in to some strange forums and rant about other peoples opinions. Leave the interne - now.
  • + 6
 @ SIGINT why u gotta hate on the world man? We're all here in this site to enjoy the world of MTB and socializing with each other about it. The fact that you're commenting on the man's weight is just wrong especially if you don't know him personally. You and CFOxtrot should just make up and enjoy the fact that we're all equal in the sense we're all here for MTBing not hating
  • + 2
 The routing on my Chilcotin is exactly the same as the Endorphin and I think the cable routing is actually well thought out. I'm not sure why they didn't snug that loop on the zip ties (zap straps for you Canucks) where they go under the linkage, but that's what I do. I've had my Chilcotin for 6 months now and rode it through a nasty PNW winter and only had to change the housing/cable once and that was due to the normal mud factor. It had nothing to do with the routing.
  • + 2
 knolly is bling
  • + 5
 I am on my third Knolly. My first DH bike was a V-Tach, I then got a delerium and now a Chilcotin. I cant compliment Knolly enough for manufacturing such fantastic bikes. Customer service has been great. Totally Stoked.
  • - 15
flag CFOxtrot (Apr 26, 2012 at 8:23) (Below Threshold)
 I was lucky enough to get in on the first run of V-Tachs. What a well-built and bombproof bike that rode like a champ. I have no doubt that other Knolly models are just as good.

Of course jealous e-riders and armchair engineers will take potshots at Noel by saying "cable routing sucks" or "what's with that crazy linkage" or similar nonsense. I wonder how many of these phonies have ridden one of Noel's bikes. I wonder when they will have the humility to shut their traps and step away from their keyboards unless and until they have actually ridden one of Noel's bikes. Probably not likely to happen. Too many phonies posting here.
  • + 12
 Holy crap @CFOxtrot & SIGNIT.... Seriously just let it go.... Someone has to stop the ranting, it's like grade school on here. You guys spammed the most of this thread with useless banter. Can't we just agree that the bikes awesome, and all get along. Every bike has up and downsides. But you guys are arguing like a married old couple.
  • + 1
 True, sorry - won't happen again!
  • + 14
 CFOxtrot, are you dating Noel or something?
  • + 1
 It's either a relationship or he's just really cool and has valid points because he can use a persons first name that most PB users wouldn't know.
  • + 3
 How can I test out a KNOLLY,been in love with there looks and story, any way I can test one out living east coast of usa?
been saving bout 3k so far want a 140-160mm full. Want one today....(29 or 26?)
but do you think 29er world will be at this level - and good at it any time soon?
love my stumpy hard tail 29er now..... Just sick of beating it on super fast ruff dh.
I ride bout 10-20 miles a day, rain or or play.... nothing stops my fun......
Really just need all around it all........ what ya think- is a do it all kind of bike.
my home town bike shops haven't a clue bout high end bikes that dont have a S on the head tube.
  • + 1
 I think there current do it all bike is the chilcotin but $2600 or so will get you a frame with a shock, so you would either need to have a bit more then 3k as a lot of your 29er parts would not work.
  • + 1
 I personally don't like the bikes cosmetics, but cosmetics are easily ignored when you're pedaling down the trail. I think the seat tube joining the downtube in front of the BB would be nice on some of the new single speed DJ/ slopestyle bikes that use the BB as the pivot point for the rear swing arm. Especially with an ovalized down tube allowing for good size bearings on the main pivot.
I would be happy to ride a frame like the knolly but for $2250 usd i could buy a super nice complete bike at the LBS. Unless something drastic happens to the industry soon, I see mountain biking becoming a rich white mans sport, cutting out the working class families like mine. It took me $4-500.00 to take my family camping and riding in Moab this year and i live in Utah 4 hors away. My kids are growing and will both need bigger bikes in 2013 which will leave us riding only local trails and no road trips with the new bikes that year.
  • + 4
 Front Derailleur's are so 2011
  • + 28
 Yeah, pushing the bike uphill is the real deal in 2012!
  • + 5
 I live in a steep hilly city and run a single ring. Get bigger legs.
  • + 4
 and buy more chains.
  • + 3
 My Stumpy ran up until this week a 32Front 1x9 (11-34) setup and hills aren't a problem. By hills I mean 1600m climbing in 22kms. I recently went to 1x10 (11-36) with 34T front ring and its equally as good, the bike regularly gets used in enduro races and I never have a problem. Less mechanical issues, less weight and less handlebar clutter (I needed that spot for the dropper post lever).
Back on topic, The Knolly rocks, interesting rear linkage, I want to see more detail on the 2 pivot connection points at the top of the seat stay.
  • + 1
 I'm using 36/22 with 11-25 (9spd). Just not a fan of the chain running athwart.

The double ring on this Knolly lets you get to the top with less pain (with a litte weight penalty compared to 1x10 stuff), and I like that.
  • - 25
flag CFOxtrot (Apr 26, 2012 at 8:18) (Below Threshold)
 Oh great. A bunch of e-riders trying to show they're Real Men by running 1x__. Have fun pushing your bikes up the hill on those 3 days a year that you get away from your computer and actually ride.

How about using these threads for information sharing, rather than bragging and projecting that image of the Mr Tough Guy 1-By that you wish you were?

If you think your bike is improved by "less weight" from removing a front der, you're thinking about the wrong things and being an e-rider. You could shed more weight by taking a crap before you ride, and it would be far more noticeable... if you actually ride.

If you can't adjust a front der, the solution is to learn how. Or pay a good mechanic to do it for you.
  • + 3
 Single ring isn't for everyone, but I live in Colorado and I don't have a problem pushing a single ring all over here, Utah, and wherever else I ride. I don't do it to be macho, I do it because I prefer it - it's a lot lighter, simpler, and it makes you stronger. I might run 2x on a XC bike, but more-so for the top end gain, not for an easier gear....
  • + 5
 Jesus you come off as an A@@ CFOxtrot. Did they even say anything negative about your beloved Knolly?
  • + 3
 @CFOxtrot I can assure you that by judging me as an "e-rider" you couldn't be further from the truth, anyway......

Oh and Irritum, your 22Fx25R has you at .88 lowest gear, my 34F 36R is .94. stuff all difference really. In fact if I ran a 32T front ring (36R) I would be running an identical ratio..... food for thought Wink

Back on topic, Knolly is hardly ever seen here in Australia, would be good to see more of them.

Never thought I would get sucked into these online arguments but there I go eh... might go for a ride.
  • + 1
 That's because I did not want to go all out XC mode, but if I'd run a 11-34 at the back or something, well that's for climbing vertical mountains and stuff. Smile As said, I just prefer my chain running in a straight line.

Also Endorphin is an AM bike, so it just has to pedal up everywhere, letit be the Rockies or the Alps. Smile

Enjoy your ride, I might as well go for one as soon as my new rotor arrives.
  • + 0
 I haven't ridden one, but I would like to. I imagine the extra bar, helps absorb the little stuff, much like the extra bar on the Demo. Would be fun to see a compariosn chart of shock rates with and without the extra bar. My guess is that specialized did the same calculations but opted to keep the enduro/ stumpy/ epic/ SX lighter instead of the slightly improved shock rate.
  • + 3
 Why isn't the price reflective of the lower cost of manufacturing? They just moved production overseas...
  • + 4
 Looks like a better choice than the Spec Enduro.
  • + 2
 Sort of reminds me of my Specialized Pitch that Specialized have stopped making.

This thing is awesome for the exact same reason I love my Pitch (just a better version), it's a do it all with real ability to do everything on one bike.
  • + 3
 Enduro looks more DH oriented. Heavier, slightly more travel, slacker. Looks more like a stumpy EVO to me.
  • + 1
 The Pitch was more like the current Camber. Enduro is a different type of bike than this. Like Thrasher said, it's like a stumpy EVO.
  • + 2
 A little more room in the chainstay/seatstays and I bet I could get my 650B wheel in there....
  • + 1
 Great looking design. My friend has the previous Endorphin and loves it. I like the refinements here, especially the thru axle rear and direct mount front derailleur.
  • + 1
 Wow, there is a lot of bitching on this thread. Its an old thread,I know.
Does any one have a Knolly and have bearing problems?
Or any problems with the bike?
  • + 1
 Great bike, but on the thread of NW-spec (correct geo, full housing, but lack of dropper post) who's running a triple chainring setup anymore?
  • + 2
 I think that's the SeaOtter build ;-)
  • + 1
 ha, for climbing the DH course after ripping down it?
  • + 2
  • + 1
 I really like this bike and love the color. Would like to see a carbon version. I could see it replacing my blur ltc.
  • + 1
 Endorphin vs '11 slayer 50? Thinking of making the swap. What u guys think?
  • - 1
 Lots of small bearings and superfluous linkages. Probably has the stiffness of sausagelinks. Neongreen makes bikes almost as fast as red anodized. Anybody know a faster color?
  • + 1
 Cracking looking bike. Same name as my clothing venture too. Smile
  • + 1
 A little late to the party...Knolly website says tapered head tube..this article says 1.5 which one is it?
  • + 1
 Have a like new frameset for sale cheap
  • + 1
 That design would work great for a big travel 29er.
  • + 1
 That's how the Nicolai Helius AM29 is made. It's still a custom in Nicolai's line up, but they have done at least two of them.
  • + 1
 Bike's got what I need...Now I just need some $$
  • + 1
 if this is the tread for colours for the next few years, just kill me NOW!
  • + 1
 Love how every frame is over $2000. Way to price out most of us folks Smile
  • + 1
 Different choose of setup for the rear
  • + 1
  • + 2
 Sexual mmmmmmmmm
  • + 1
 Please!! Really, please do something similar but with the chilcotin
  • + 1
 6 pivots? Chainstays look pretty long as well comparatively
  • + 1
  • + 1
 ALL the linkage pivots
  • + 1
 Gotta protect those tips! Razz
  • + 1
 Could it be the perfect Enduro bike? Eye Candy Meter Says 'YES!'
  • + 1
  • + 1
  • + 0
 is that front mech mounted to the iscg tabs?
  • + 1
 It is a direct mount front derailleur and has a attachment point specifically for that purpose.
  • + 2
 whats bolted to the iscg tabs in the last photo?
  • + 1
 ^ the black tabs bolted to the BB mount *are* the iscg tabs - it's a replaceable part in case you break the tabs (for instance with a taco bash) - great little extra feature. I've had several knollies, and despite 'all' those pivots, the bearings are so high quality that they're maintenance-free.
Yes the Knolly website is missing a lot of info right now - customer service was and continues to be impeccable though, even though you're unlikely to ever need it.
  • + 1
 so the ISCG tabs are bolted to the BB shell? Crazy
  • + 1
 Extra nice!
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