German brand Liteville
is well known in Europe for their lineup of well executed aluminum bikes that rival carbon offerings in both weight and price. This is especially true of their 601 frame, with the 2014 Mk 3 version shown here weighing in at an impressive for its travel 6.2LB (without shock
) - the complete 601 pictured here is said to weigh just 28LB - and the frame alone retails for $2,999.99 USD. That may seem like quite a bit of money for an aluminum frame, especially given that the average consumer automatically assumes that carbon anything is superior to aluminum, but the nicely finished frame is sporting a number of very clever details that make it stand out.
The 601's most obvious talking point is its 650B front wheel and 26" rear wheel, a combination that will likely have some readers harkening back to the days of different wheel sizes on some production bikes. Why would Liteville re-visit the idea? It comes down to the physics that have proven how larger diameter wheels have better roll-over capabilities than smaller wheels, a fact that Liteville says is especially important when talking about the front wheel. Out back, they've stuck with 26" because it allows them to utilize a shorter rear end and a theoretically stiffer wheel. Their 'Scaled Sizing' theory see a 26''/24'' front and rear combo on extra-small frame sizes, 650B/26" on medium frames, and 29"/650B on larger, shorter travel models. The concept is certainly interesting, although we suspect that preconceived notions about such a setup could give Liteville trouble in the North American market. Having said that, we'll be testing a 601 of our own within the next few months, so you'll be able to read about how the bike fares.
Litevile 601 Details
• Rear wheel travel: 190mm
• Wheel size: 650B front, 26" rear
• Mk3 version of the 601
• 2° head angle adjustment via forward shock mount
• Integrated derailleur hanger protecter and chain tensioner
• Tapered head tube
• Syntace thru-axle
• Frame weight: 6.2LB (w/o shock)
• Availability: January, 2014
• MSRP: $2,999.99 USD
|The answer to the question of the correct wheel size (front and rear) is always dependent on the frame - and hence the rider size. - Liteville|
The is the third generation of the 601 frame, and this latest version sees Liteville make some changes to the bike's suspension layout in order to improve both shock compatibility and the its pedalling characteristics. Yes, Liteville fully intends for the 190mm travel 601 to be ridden to the top of the mountain, and they told us that slight alterations to the bike's pivot locations have added further efficiency to its ride. It also makes use of revised rocker arms that see the lower shock mount shifted up to allow clearance for the bodies of all rear shocks. To keep things simple, much of the bike's pivots share hardware that can be swapped around if need be.
There is a less obvious frame detail hidden within the front of the bike as well, with the only hint that something is going on being a two inch long weld on each side of the down tube. No, the welder wasn't drinking during his lunch break; the opposing beads are actually holding an aluminum cross-member in place that spans the inner walls of the down tube, an add-on that Liteville says increases protection against dents caused by the upper tubes of dual crown forks impacting the frame during a hard crash. Internally, the cross member is actually corrugated in shape to allow it to better absorb strikes. Bumpers must still be used on the fork, but the German brand says that this concealed feature does help to prevent damage.
Liteville has also built-in a large range of angle adjustment on the 601, an important fact given that the 190mm travel bike could be fit with either a dual crown downhill fork or a shorter single crown slider. A sliding forward shock mount allows for a full 2° of head angle tuning and the associated bottom bracket height change, and rather than it being held in place with two steel bolts from the side as is commonly used, the shuttle sits on interlocking teeth with a single bolt that runs down through its center. The setup makes for a clean, uncluttered appearance. The frame is also ready for pretty much any dropper post on the market, with a cable entry point at the bottom of the seat tube for posts that use internal routing, as well as two entry points on the top tube and top tube brace for external cables like those found on Crank Brothers' Kronolog and KS' Lev.
Just in case you haven't noticed yet, Liteville is all about clean and practical integration. This theme continues at the back of the 601 as well, with a smart bolt-on tensioner that's attached to the chain stay yoke just aft of the main pivot. The Syntace SCS II chain guide is held in place by two bolts, one on the side of the stay and one underneath, and it uses a low friction polymer that is claimed to offer very low resistance properties. Different polymer sections can be used that allow it to work with single, double, and even triple ring cranksets. Moving further back, a short aluminum arm has been employed to both protect the derailleur and add rigidity. The Syntace Rockguard II bolts to the chain stay just ahead of the bike's X-12 thru-axle, with a steel post that extends into the derailleur's main pivot. Different posts are available to fit models from both SRAM and Shimano.www.liteville.de