Liteville's Out of the Box 601 - Interbike 2013

Sep 21, 2013
by Mike Levy  
Interbike

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
bigquotesThe answer to the question of the correct wheel size (front and rear) is always dependent on the frame - and hence the rider size. - Liteville
Interbike

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.

Interbike

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


102 Comments

  • 71 2
 Looks lovely to me , clean and simple. 190mm of travel seems like it's kind of in no mans land really , not quite full DH and not really AM , unless they have some clever way making pedal well uphill with all that travel. Still appeals to me though
  • 35 1
 at 28lbs wtih a smooth pedal stroke you'd fly up the mountain even with all the travel
  • 64 1
 Using cleats and a pro-pedal combined with a Talas I really don't think pedaling uphill is a problem. My wallet, there you have a problem..
  • 14 0
 Seems to me like a dream park bike, with the ability to ride up after hours or just avoiding long lines.
  • 5 15
flag kleinblake (Sep 21, 2013 at 14:20) (Below Threshold)
 I think there used to be a 190mm travel fox 40. That fork and this frame would go well together.
  • 12 0
 There's always that new DB CS that could work really well on this bike too.
  • 3 23
flag Lilshredman (Sep 21, 2013 at 16:39) (Below Threshold)
 There are a lot of great ideas here in this comment section, but I really like the way they did it for the price. At least for me, I have to ride my 45 lbs. hunk of junk (Scwinn 405) to school up some big hills, but I upgraded the gears and cranks and that stuff, and I just put it in a low gear and fire away...I can beat some Roadies up the hill, and definitely downhill.
  • 5 0
 Beautiful bike. I love the different wheel size and travel ideas, makes it more MX. I think they're all running 19" rears and 21" fronts, with ten inch travel at the front and 12 at the rear. All we need is more USD forks on the market and we can complete the look.

I was thinking about the 650b up front idea myself a couple of months ago, and by the look of this picture no one would even know if you did it, because they look exactly the same to me. I had to look twice, and I still can't tell.

Regarding the 190 travel debate. I bet if you actually rode this bike without being told you wouldn't be able to guess the travel or the different wheel sizes. 190mm travel or 200, there isn't much difference is there? Well, it's ten millimetres. Who could tell that? The suspension design is much more important than the actual travel. Look what Gravesy did at the worlds on his 150/180 bike. Smiffy was on fire in practice on his 165/170 little devinci. He's been using it at Leogang this weekend too.
  • 18 3
 This is definitely my dream bike, I built the poor-man's version using a 2010 Specialized Big Hit frame with 190mm rear travel: www.pinkbike.com/photo/9867504
  • 1 6
flag finnrambo (Sep 21, 2013 at 23:54) (Below Threshold)
 is it a 3 grand frame or complete? if complete it'd be an awesome deal
  • 1 0
 I think it is a great concept (the light weight full on travel AND the different wheel size). I built up a front 27.5 wheel for my status (can't fit one on the rear) and am very happy with the 27.5/26 setup (I also have a 26/24 setup for certain conditions). I've had people do a double take all season with regards to the front 27.5, they only notice it when they see 27.5 written on the rim/tire! Unless you're a bike geek like myself you won't notice it.
As for the MX comment: yes MX bikes have different diameter rims but the overal wheel diameter is around 28in (just like 27.5 with large tyres) front and back. I've been running a 2.35 front tyre with a 2.5/2.6 rear and the diameter is about 15-20mm apart. Also MX bikes actually have more travel on the rear: 12/13in.
  • 2 1
 Silvbullit's definetely doesn't deserve neg props for an effort like that.
  • 2 5
 Hmm, Just eems like a lazy way of entering the bigger wheeled market, without having to design a new frame or modify one to me. Don't get me wrong, I love liteville by the way, but this looks like 'just add a 650B fork and come up with some marketing to match'. Seriously, you can do this on any bike, and I would bet large sums of money that blindfolded, you wouldn't feel the slightest difference..
  • 3 1
 @chazdog - did you read the article or just look at the photos? They have designed each frame size to be paired with different front wheel sizes and rear wheel sizes. That means they have completely tweaked EACH frame size. How is that lazy?
  • 2 0
 I did read it, as i was intrigued. And from my perspective, 'tweaking' any frame is much much easier than a redesign. My point about negligible differences and easily replicated changes still stands. Again, not hating here, not even on 29ers. I just don't understand the hype about having a front wheel that's marginally larger....
  • 2 0
 I am not a fan of differing wheel sizes especially since I build my own wheels. That being said though, MX bikes have had wide rims (like what Liteville's parent company, Syntace is doing) and larger diameter front wheels for 30+ years now. How many times has MTB successfully adopted a technology that has been proven in MX for years (more like decades)?
  • 32 1
 Looks simply stunning!
  • 8 0
 Yeah, Liteville figured it out when it comes to looks.
  • 9 2
 The good thing at the bike is u can do whatever u want to. U can build it up at low weight or put a Double Crown in. I was riding both with the 601 MK1 Downhill All MTN. Everything and it works pretty well.
  • 5 0
 Could be really interesting. If its really pedalable it could potentially replace my AM bike and park bike and make the price worth it, although i'd still probably want different wheels/tires for each purpose. I can't wait to read the PinkBike review to see if this thing is actually viable for climbing. The backend looks flexy with a lot of travel and no frame attachment/pivot on either the seatstay or the upper rocker.
  • 4 0
 I really hope they give this bike a thorough review. I believe the pedal-ability will be fine but I want to see how 27.5 up front and 26 rear works out.
  • 2 1
 Don't those wheels look the same size front and back?? My eyes are a bit blurry tonight but those wheels both look like 650B.
  • 1 0
 I've been running 27.5" front and 26" rear on my Ibis Mojo XC bike for a couple years. It's a great combo if you want a little more front end stability and roll-over but like short chainstays.
The Liteville rep left the previous version of this bike at our shop for a month. Everyone prefered it to the Nomads we have around. The derailleur brace seemed a little useless. The hanger was bent when we got the bike and while straightening it the brace seemed to offer little support.
  • 2 0
 It rode great
  • 4 0
 I think this is the future, once designs are better thought out than pure marketing around wheel size, it makes more sense to me to have a 26" rear and 27.5" front, than 27.5"/27.5" that is purely manufacturer driven, props to these guys I think they are on the right track, would love to ride one to see if the 190mm travel is efficient as the claim, though my V10c felt like a big Nomad so it can be done Im sure! Funny though with XFusions new Revel I was thinking about going this route myself, continue with std 26" front n rear but also experiment with a 27.5" wheel up front on XF Revel USD 27.5" fork.. Great minds think alike I guess haha.
  • 3 0
 I think this bike would be a ton of fun to ride but with the 190mm travel it seems to serve too specific of a purpose inbetween dh and enduro/all-mtn, unless this was your dh bike, but then again for $3000 for an aluminum frame, I could get an evil undead or devenci wilson carbon for about the same price and theyre proven. It will be a hard sale
  • 2 2
 I think the point of these bikes is that they are pieces of art designed to appeal to the connoisseur with a lot of disposable income. Kind of like a Ducati. On paper, it will lose to any Japanese bike a fraction of the price, but it has character and appeal that none of them will ever have. Compare a Ferrari to a NIssan GTR - same again. I'd personally take a carbon Wilson, GTR or ZX-6R. There are a lot of people who would rather fork out more money for lower performing but classier ride.
  • 4 1
 Have you actually ridden a liteville jaame? did you look at the geo at all? How does it "lose out" to a bike like the Enduro evo, for example, or the RM Slayer? Liteville are massively engineered. I would lay money down to say anyone who has a liteville would disagree with the "lower performing" tag as well. The 301 Mk10 is the best trail/am bike I've ever ridden. It doesn't have the massive marketing scheme, the big red "S" or the latest and greatest carbon, but it is a well engineered, incredible riding rig. Ask yourself why even second hand, they fetch absolutely top dollar?
  • 1 2
 People are entitled their own opinions. Your argument is entirely subjective. How much is "top dollar"? Like I said earlier $3000 for an aluminum frame, ABSURD! You can get a complete bike for that price and it will easily perform just as good and the money you save you can upgrade components to the point of it outperforming the liteville. Liteville has nothing unique, noe do they make anything with a competitive advantage. This bike is merely an overpriced aluminum frame.
  • 1 0
 My friend has an older Liteville, 301 or 901. It is made very nicely. It has a lot of special touches, like a pierced seat tube for the rear gear cable to go through. A nice idea, but not as nice as internal routing. A lot of thought has clearly gone into it, but it's still a bike I'd look at and appreciate, but never buy. I want the latest fad, and that starts with car and ends with bon. I've got Liteville in the same box as Nicolai. Well made but overpriced and not particularly cool. My dad would like them. For the record I'm not a fan of Specialized or Rocky Mountain either. But I am a fan of cutting edge technology and fashion. Carbon, internal routing, bold graphics and wild colours. That's what I want to see along with a good percentage of others.
  • 1 0
 I test rode a 601 once, the old 26 front/rear ones. They are awesome bikes! They climb exceptionally well! I was damn surprised! So yes, they are not just classy rides. They are really good bikes! That's why Liteville really urges you to try their bikes and decide for yourself. I was close to getting one. But to be honest, I'm just a mere mortal. I don't earn that much. I couldn't afford it. I ended up building a Canyon Torque from used stuff. I am very happy. I still think the 601 climbs better than my Torque but I don't care any more. I keep in mind that it's not only the bike but the rider as well. Smile
  • 13 7
 Looks like a Scott Voltage...
  • 7 1
 or a canyon frx, but that's not bad !
  • 4 6
 Scott voltage 650B. Wanna see dis!
  • 3 1
 Looks like they are using a proven design
  • 3 16
flag Buggyr333 (Sep 21, 2013 at 13:55) (Below Threshold)
 Looks like a Trek Session
  • 1 2
 It looks like my Devinci Ollie!
  • 3 4
 Specialized status?
  • 1 0
 horst link voltage fr
  • 4 1
 I'm not sure what I love more, the concept or the execution.

I wish there was something like that derailleur rock guard that could be fitted to any bike; genius.
  • 1 0
 I thought the whole point of a derailleur hanger was to make it easy to break! If you hit a rock, the hanger breaks instead of your $4000 x20 rear derailleur
  • 5 0
 It's Not the travel its how the energy is transferred Into motion
  • 1 0
 Commencal hip hop with less travel in the rear than in the front is getting rave review of being a very fun bike, this liteville has the opposite amounts of suspension which sounds to me like it won't be fun. I'm curious to read the ride reports.
  • 2 1
 I swear I can't see the difference in wheel sizes from the pics! Is all this trouble really worth it?
I run small block 8's on one set of wheels, Maxxis Minions on another set, and Hans Dampf on another. The wheels vary about an inch in diameter between those tires choices already. Just sayin'
  • 2 1
 Asking is it really worth it is a completely subjective question. For you? Maybe not. For someone else? Yes. Do I think niners are worth it? Nope. Not for me. Are they for other people? Absolutely.
  • 3 1
 I guess options are supposed to be good. But eliminating a perfected design (the 26", 6" travel bike) in the process makes as much sense as Microsoft's Windows 8 to me. I am speaking of what is going on in the whole bike industry right now. My next bike will be a Banshee Rune so I have the option to switch back. A $4k bike plus extra wheels, dropouts and a second fork is better than getting stuck with a bike I do not enjoy riding. Now putting the 650 wheel on the front of the banshee and a 26' in back might be interesting to try? Hmmm...
  • 1 0
 This makes perfect sense. Slightly larger front diameter for easy rollover, your legs make up the differance at the back. Smaller back wheel to keep the faster acceleration and nimble feel. As a retrofit idea you will also gain a slight slackening of head angle. Most forks seem to fit 650b already even if not specifically marketed as such. Doesn't look out of balance like 69ers. And the bonus for me is both my full sussers already running x fusion forks compatible with 650b. Will definitely be trying his one. It just looks, right..
  • 1 0
 Being a little on the lighter side of weight myself, this bike really peaked my intrest. At 28 lbs, it weighs about half of my Flatline and I could actually pedal it without it feeling laborious. You have my attention Liteville.
  • 1 0
 Had test it about a year ago on a 3 km trail on the outskirts of Athens. With not much experience in long travel fs bikes, I was amazed with the pedaling efficiency even in steep sections as well as the handling when you are going down the trail. Excellent weight balance and the finish is much more impressive than it appears on the screen.
  • 1 0
 This bike in black anodize (without logo) version, with ENVE 26/27,5 combo wheel set (with Kappius KH-2 rear hub and Tune Kong MK front hub + Sapim CX ray spokes), wearing new Magic Mary tires and CCDB CS and race tuned FOX Talas 36 180mm (properly spaced for 27,5") RC2 forks (If there would be an alternative from Moarzocchi with this travel and features would be even better) and TH Carbones Clavicula Crankset (36/22 chainrings) with pedals of HT PEDAL ME03T and SRAM XX rear derailleur and additional Action Tec 39T cog and Shimano XTR Trail brakes and rotors and RASE Black Mamba in Titanium version (because doesn't exists my choice would be 150mm KS LEV) and Specialized Phenom PRO Carbon saddle and Renthal Lock On Kevlar Grips and NOKON Carbon cable sets and a lot of toilet paper...
This will be my next setup...Wink
  • 1 0
 This bike in black anodize (without logo) version, with ENVE 26/27,5 combo wheel set (with Kappius KH-2 rear hub and Tune Kong MK front hub + Sapim CX ray spokes), wearing new Magic Mary tires and CCDB CS rear shock and race tuned FOX Talas 36 180mm (properly spaced for 27,5") RC2 forks (If there would be an alternative from Moarzocchi with this travel and features would be even better) and TH Carbones Clavicula Crankset (36/22 chainrings) with pedals of HT PEDAL ME03T and SRAM XX rear derailleur and additional Action Tec 39T cog and Shimano XTR Trail brakes and rotors and RASE Black Mamba in Titanium version (because doesn't exists my choice would be 150mm KS LEV) and Specialized Phenom PRO Carbon saddle and Renthal Lock On Kevlar Grips and NOKON Carbon cable sets and a lot of toilet paper...
This will be my next setup...Wink
  • 1 0
 I was thinkn about trying a 650b upfront on my gt force, to slacken it and lengthn wheel base..
These bikes are sick..i really wanna try the 301. But...complete Al kona process' and bronsons go for @$3k
  • 1 0
 Been thinking about a 26/27.5 combo for my Mega, both to slacken it out and improve rollover. If I broke my current front wheel I'd definitely replace it with a 27.5, makes a lot of sense.
  • 1 0
 I had ventana build me a 29 front 27.5 rear frame built around a Pike 150 and with 160/140 rear travel. Gotta say I absolutely love how it rides...tall front and slightly lower rear is money for me.
  • 3 0
 those are some pimp welds
  • 3 0
 i like the combo front 27.5'' rear 26''!!!!
  • 1 0
 You can have that on any bike as long as you have a suitable fork.
  • 3 0
 Love seeing straight tubes on frames again. This looks sweet!!
  • 2 0
 diferent wheel size! just what im saying for the las 2 year just look at motocross or enduro bikes
  • 1 0
 With the weight of bikes coming down drastically in recent years I wouldn't be surprised if there was a v10 all mountain bike with the right set up its all possible!
  • 2 1
 Since the lifts just closed my V10 got Exo tires, a 34t ring, wide range cassette with long cage derailleur, and a dropper post. Until next June it's a 29.5lb AM bike. I use a toeclip strap to cinch down the fork for long climbs.
  • 1 0
 pics or it didn't happen
  • 1 0
 I LOOK FORWARD TO ALL THE DIFFERENT WHEEL COMBINATIONS COMING OUT 650B REAR 29ER FRONT WILL COME OUT ON TOP IS MY PREDICTION & WITH SEALED DRIVES
  • 1 0
 and not to forget: there is also available an adjustable headset which gives the customer another 1,5° of head angle adjustment. i just love my 601mk2 already.
  • 2 0
 clean, strong,can do bike
  • 1 0
 What are the preconceived notions about having a larger wheel up front? Did anyone ride the Trek 69er?
  • 1 0
 The front rolls over stuff better, that's the general idea. Trek had their 69er, which died off for reasons I don't know, I'd wager piss poor marketing to be honest, it seemed like a good idea, and they rode really well. And a couple companies had DH bikes with 26" in the front, and 24" in the rear. That didn't last long though (I for one did not like the way they rode at all.)

I don't think this idea will last long either. It may offer some benefits, but truthfully I'd wager they are so small or have trade offs that make it a moot point and going one wheel size on either side of the coin would be more beneficial for most riders. Though a full blown DH bike with this set up might see more benefits.

That said, I like a lot of what is going on with the bike. I'd like to ride one.
  • 1 0
 This is by far the most exciting thing pinkbike has covered at interbike so far.
  • 1 0
 6.2lbs w/o shock? The session 9.9 is 7.4lbs with a steel coil, and its a pure DH bike
  • 1 0
 I have no idea where these bikes are produced but I hope they are prevalent in the US because I want this bike!
  • 5 4
 Wow. Impressive. Love the larger front wheel.
  • 2 0
 best of both world really...a taller wheel up front has been accepted a long time ago in the moto world but for some reason, the idea did not stick on dh bikes...I for one will definitely make certain my next fork will be 27.5'' compatible to be able to run a taller tire upfront...I don't get the neg props ?!?...
  • 1 0
 Apparently now on pinkbike you only get neg props when you like a 27.5 front and back wheeled bike. So long as there is one 26in wheel on the bike then they let you off...
  • 1 1
 If this bike had a 650b rear wheel I'd be into it. Plain and simple. It looks fantastic.
  • 2 0
 And I ride a 67.5er already!
  • 1 0
 Since when did fox start making a 650b 180mm fork?
  • 2 0
 the fox 36 is a mixed bag at 650b, the lowers have plenty of clearance, but you have to space the air spring to limit the travel to 170 to stop the tire hitting the fork crown
  • 1 0
 Thanks man that's good to know.
  • 1 0
 Canyons Twin for sure.Nice tho
  • 1 0
 fu&ckin bike is soooo sick.witha cane creek db
  • 1 0
 Looks to be plenty of room for a 27.5 on the rear as well.
  • 1 0
 dear santa......................
  • 2 0
 Looks like a status Wink
  • 1 0
 Amazing frame details and numbers...
  • 1 0
 YMMV...I am a circus freak...
  • 1 0
 LV monster Smile
  • 1 1
 i think the seat angle needs a bit of change
  • 1 0
 I WANT
  • 1 0
 Looks alright
  • 3 5
 really doesnt look like the chain is going to stay on the chain ring to me otherwise very nice looking bike in my eyes !!
  • 7 0
 Behold the wizardry of the narrow-wide chainring mere mortal!
  • 2 3
 It's just ehhh,OK. I'll spend my three grand elsewhere!
  • 1 4
 it looks like the one-off prototype 650 devinci that smith ran at worlds... except with no pivot on the rear axle to make it the split pivot.
  • 5 7
 DREAM BIKE WOWWWWWWW. HOLY SHIT.and then I ..... Jizzed In my pants
  • 3 0
 Moto style. I like the idea of wheel size being dependent upon rider size...and purpose.
  • 7 10
 I'm getting a 'one step forward, two steps back' feel from this bike.
  • 5 0
 How so?
  • 5 0
 looks ten steps forward to me Smile
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