Bike Check: Sophie Riva's Ancillotti Scarab 29 - Superenduro Punta Ala 2019

May 20, 2019
by Ben Winder  




Ancillotti is a small company based in Turin but with a vast history in two wheeled machines. Tomaso Ancillotti is currently at the helm of the company, and has a passion for mountain bikes. Tomaso has steered away from their roots in motorcycling to manufacture mountain bikes, where he's supported many characters we know and love - including Wyn Masters and Brook Macdonald. Now he's running an Enduro team, who mainly compete in the Italian Superenduro series.

We caught up with Ancillotti's young pinner Sophie Riva, who's grown up racing XC. But after stepping onto one of Tomaso's bikes last year, has made the full time switch to Enduro. At just 15 years old, she's one to watch out for in the future.
Sophie's Scarab 29 Build
Fork: Prototype Formula Selva Coil
Shock: Ancillotti - No name
Drivetrain: SRAM - GX Eagle
Stem: Renthal Apex 50mm
Handlebar: Renthal Fatbar Carbon 30mm Rise
Brakes: Formula Cura
Grips: ODI Elite Motion
Wheels: Formula Linea 3
Tires: F Maxxis Assegai 2.5, R-Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.3
Saddle: WTB High Tail
Pedals: HT T1
Seatpost: Yep Uptimizer dropper, 125mm


Ancillotti uses a single-pivot swingarm that drives the shock via a bottom-mounted pull shaft.
As you can see here, the adjustable pull shaft can be used to fine tune the bike's geometry.

Prototype Formula Selva coil-sprung fork.
Formula Linea 3 wheels, with a slightly different spoke lace. The third spoke is laced to the opposite side for help with rigidity.

Carbon 760mm Renthal Fatbar. Notice the flared head tube near the headset.

Sophie is running Formula Cura brakes using 180mm rotors front and rear, ODI grips.
The drivetrain is GX Eagle, with a 32t chainring and 10-50t cassette.

Numbers:

Head angle: 64.5 degrees
Wheelbase: 1230 mm
BB height: 340 mm
Chainstay: 43.8 mm
Bar width: 760 mm
Seat tube angle: Virtual 74 degrees
Reach: 460mm
Top Tube Length: 570 mm (horizontal)
Linkage setting: Soft
Weight: 14.8 kg





117 Comments

  • + 53
 Saw 'Ancilotti'. Came for the welding comments. They exist but aren't at the entertaining stage yet. Hopefully Brian Lopes announces a new sponsor in the next few hours.
  • + 12
 I think Brian Lopes should try to ride for a champagne company. I think he really likes spraying that stuff on the podium.
  • + 9
 @oldtech: he should really announce Uber as a sponsor. Would solve his parking issues.
  • + 7
 Brain Lopes 2019 list of sponsors:

Rio Grande Short-Haul Trucking, Brink and Brown Sanitation, First State Bank of Salome, Wally’s Smokehouse
  • + 1
 Sick Bikes to my rescue!!
  • + 42
 Pic ur welds n be a dick about it
  • + 3
 Im a tigger
  • + 25
 Calling all welders, your opinions are wanted!
  • + 60
 "Oh man I can do that so much better".... *Sips IPA beer and touches his moustache while browsing for a new lumberjack shirt*
  • + 9
 Good welders aren't cheap and cheap welders aren't good. Welders always have the hottest rods.
  • + 5
 I bet if you put Sam Hill on this bike with the exact components he would still win. No talk of the welds aren't pleasing to the eye so it slowed me now. I like new products coming to the stage to be outside of the box. There was a day in cycling where prototypes didn't have to look like a Ferrari rolling on to the show room floor. I am sure when their finished doing in house prototyping and go to production runs, the welds will be more pleasing to the eye.
  • + 1
 @vjunior21: That‘s not a prototype...
  • + 0
 @vjunior21: sure that's great for Sam, be he doesn't pay for his bikes. I'd rather have a supply of free frames for sure, but even getting something like this for a discount would be hard for me to justify. Just my .02
  • + 1
 Frank The Welder probably has time on his hands now that he's probably not building sick bikes.
  • + 15
 I love that it's a small company building bikes and supporting younger riders. But being a welder those welds are crap. If your going to show case a polished frame you better be damn sure those beads are mint, or grind that shit down and powder coat it.
  • + 4
 i am not a welder and noticed the same thing. Chunky.......
  • + 15
 they add character probably
  • + 31
 If they do the job, who cares? same thing people moaning every time one of these bikes is on pb
  • + 9
 Definitely not stacking dimes. Smudged would be a better description. That BB is just caked.
  • + 21
 @zyoungson: "Every good weld will look good, but not every good looking weld is a good weld." -My welding engineering college professor.
Basically in order for it to be a structurally sound weld, it has to look good, but even if it looks good on the exterior, there may be internal flaws.
  • + 1
 Well they are show casing a polished frame and i'm pretty damn sure those welds aint mint or ground down, now what?
  • + 11
 I do not care as long as they don't crack. And most probably you would get some support from Ancilotti when it does. Such a small company probably cannot afford standard "go f*ck yourselve your warranty is over" approach.
  • + 4
 @lkubica: Sadly you wont even get a response from them If you want to buy a frame.
  • + 1
 @NotNamed: yea, was once interested in the bike but never succeeded to get in touch with them...
  • + 1
 @mlunger: i always wonder how they survive, a couple of friends tried to buy frames over the last years -noone succeeded. i got a kästle bike 1998 which was arebranded ancilotti, the details looked exactly like the 2019 bike,crazy. (it was not exactly straight, the bushings knocked after a short time but for the time it worked very very well)
  • + 22
 @jamesturcotte: That's completely contrary to what I learned in college. I was taught you basically can't tell much about a weld without cutting it open. X-ray inspections and mag particle tests tell you something, visual inspections don't tell you shit.

But of course everyone here knows more about it, and can do structural inspections of photos, even though people who have actually studied it don't believe that's possible.
  • + 11
 @Weens: Visual inspections don't tell you shit about what is going on inside, yes, but there are visual indicators to bad welds as well like pinhole voids and crater cracks. In the past PB has posted pics of frames from this company and the welds were not only messy but filled with voids. That being said this frame looks better.

Also there is something to be said for craftsmanship. If you are dishing out thousands of dollars for a frame the welds better damn well be structurally sound and look beautiful.
  • + 5
 @jamesturcotte: 100% true. I got lab about welding. Professor showed us two plates both with beautiful welds then asked us, which is better? Everyone was picking their choice. I was the only one who looked below on the other site of the plates and the answer was simple. Both are bad. Best moment of my life Razz
They can look bad but if they was made correctly they will be stronger that pretty ones.
  • + 3
 @millsr4: just saying: I've only seen one bike where a weld actually failed. It looked fine before it failed. But post-failure it was obvious that the weld penetration was incomplete - this was a tube welded to a forged part. The forging, after the failure, looked like the weld was just glued on; the only real indication there was ever a tube there was the fact it was clean.

In my weld-inspection experience, a visual can fail a weld (for the reasons you say), but can not pass one. I don't see any of the fail criteria in these pictures.
But of course pinkbikers love to have opinions about "beautiful welds" but can't possibly have knowledge to back it up - I've never seen a x-ray of a frame on here...
  • + 1
 @Weens: I used to work for a company storaging bitumen for asphalt plant, at the time they were building new bigger tanks that had to be x-rayed to get the final approval from the gov. Guess what, every piece of the 4500m3 tank that was welded by hand, with an arc welding machine looked like a stack of dimes, it was a piece of art, that shows some craftsmaship and someone that knows his shit, someone that knows to stack dimes like that surely took some time practicing and of course studying
  • + 4
 @Weens: You are 100% correct, a visual can fail a weld but can not pass one and the only way to know for sure is by using NDT techniques. This doesn't take away from the fact craftsmanship and visual aesthetics are still important. Especially for something that they charge THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for... I purchase metal fabricated assemblies for a living and I wouldn't want anything I purchase to look sloppy even if they do pass inspections. I would just move on to the next shop because my customers expect it to look good too.
  • + 2
 @jamesturcotte: agreed. And all those black spots on the edges of the welds are not dirt. Voids and pinholes are the 1st tell tale sign. Just calling it like I see it. My welding experience is in aviation also when everything goes through about 10 QC inspections
  • + 2
 A weld that do not break is a good weld.
  • - 2
 @millsr4: I'll say it again: I've broken several frames, the only one where there was a defective weld, it looked like a nice stack of dimes (or smaller coins). Warranty and a warm fuzzy that the company will stand behind their product mean more to me than what the welds look like. That's because I know enough to know I don't know anything about them from appearances.
  • + 5
 @Weens: Go ahead and say it till you're blue in the face for all I care. It is all part of the equation! Weld penetration, appearance, and warranty ALL matter. Defects are an inevitable fact of manufacturing no matter how pretty something is, sure, but I'm still not paying good money for something that looks like shit.
  • + 0
 @millsr4: The reason these welds aren't a big deal is because they aren't governed by API, ASME, or AWS specs. A bike is not a pressure vessel or anything seriously structural. If you look at the strength of the filler metals utilized in these types of frames, bad welds will hold up. Looks like a few have some excessive reinforcement and cold roll which in the above listed specifications would be defects and fail.
  • + 0
 So basically 3 generations of this family were welding motocycle frames, but cannot weld bikes properly? Yeah, right ...
  • + 2
 @sbrdude1: Whether they are to code or not doesn't matter in my opinion. They are charging thousands of dollars for these things, they damn well better look good too!
  • + 2
 @lkubica: maybe the kid who took over doesn't weld as well as his elder family members? I mean if it's a different welder, then blood relation isn't exactly the end all. I have no idea, I'm just pointing out the possibility.
  • - 1
 @pdxjeremy: You mustn't be working for Boeing then...
  • + 0
 Your confuse proper welding with polishing it out Big Grin
  • + 2
 @millsr4: Fair assessment.
  • + 11
 I love my Ancillotti Scarab Evo 29! It is the best riding and most adjustable bike I have ridden to date, and I appreciate the fact that it was hand-made by folks who care about crafting a sweet gravity racing whip. Additionally, the moto history of the Ancillotti family business is worth reading. They have been creating innovative 2-wheeled machines for three generations now.
  • + 2
 where can you buy it?
  • + 8
 Thought this was a dh rig at first glance, more bikes need to look like this
  • + 7
 By your command. OG Cylon style.
  • + 3
 I think single pivot frames with linkage actuated shocks like this and Evil Bikes's should be the standard in the bike industry. And I even mean in any application, from XC to DH. It's stiffer and less maintenance-dependent than the ubiquituous FSR or multi-arm single pivot designs. This one in comparison with Evil's, has a somewhat lower center of gravity, a little more space for the bottle, and it just plain looks awesome. I could see five or more brands all making variations of this, executing the basic design in slightly different ways. The demand seems to be there!
  • + 3
 I own an Italian ride on lawnmower. The welding on its steel tubular frame is of a similar functional standard - solid but not attractive. It also strains under a load of misguided innovation and unnecessary complexity. And yet...it's quite something to use. This bike reeks of the same spirit.
  • + 3
 This is basically a metal (albeit very rough) version of an Evil. Single pivot, small links driving the shock, and low shock placement. Evil's DELTA system kicks ass and they ride incredibly. Hats off to any bike maker getting young riders going, however I like most of the respondents here believe this bike has a bit to go before it's ready from prime time.
  • + 2
 Except Ancillotti has been developing this suspension design on bicycles since the 90's and motorcycles for decades.

Dave Weagel trying to make every god damn suspension "new" by slapping his name on it is getting old. EVIL's aren't perfect, and the rest of the industry doesn't need follow them around.
  • + 1
 @PHeller: Agreed, link driven single-pivot suspension has been around forever. The first I can recall seeing it were on the Sunn DH bikes in the late 90's. Weagle was just smart enough to clean it up and get a patent for it.
  • + 7
 Curious about that lacing pattern. Anyone got more info?
  • + 12
 "The third spoke is laced to the opposite side for help with rigidity."
  • + 31
 @macross87: I... Probably I deserve that.
  • + 1
 I see nothing special on the spoke lacing? Am I totally missing something?
  • + 4
 I see some photos and don't see any weird on the "3rd spoke"...
  • + 1
 Maybe it means exactly what they said: the third spoke. Out of 32 spokes, the third one is opposite. Not every third spoke, just that one. Of course they would hide this unique development from view in these spy shots
  • + 1
 @showmethemountains: yeah, I get how they'd lace it [kinda], but does it actually do anything? is there a name for the lacing pattern to do some more reading on it? probably the questions I should have asked at the start...
  • + 1
 @CrashAB: I have no idea what is different about the lacing or what it does. I was just making a joke about it being a single spoke per wheel that is "opposite"
  • + 3
 It probably means that at the 3rd crossing of each spoke, the inside and outside spokes each cross on the opposite side, just as you'd have it on a J-bend wheel. On straightpull the spokes normally stay on the out- or inside and never touch another spoke, which is a bit less stiff.
  • + 1
 @NickBosshard: you could be right, but they didn't make that very clear. They're website says they're 28 spoke 2 cross. Nothing about a 3rd spoke on the opposite side.
  • + 3
 So this bike is shit because the ripple spacing in the welds isn’t perfect? Have you guys looked at motorcycle frames? I appreciate craftsmanship as much as anyone, but come on. I think the only poor choice here is a bright polish on a mountain bike frame. I bet half of your most cherished brands would look similarly “bad” with such a finish.
  • + 1
 The reasoning behind this is, that after your race season is over you just have to take of the stickers and polish the scratches out of the surface to get a new looking bike.
  • + 2
 I weld when I get bored sometimes, and am decent at it. Just cause the welds are not smooth and pretty, does not mean they suck. Otherwise they would be out of business. However, IMO, the welds should like nice and flow with the bike. That BB area looks like hot apocalypse.
  • + 2
 i had a ancillotti dh bike in 2003 and it lasted 10 years no issues. not pretty welds but they lasted. just because some one is not using a high pulse welder does not make them poor weld. you cant tell by looking how pure the argon was or whether they purged the tube etc.
  • + 2
 @biglev what happened after the 10 years?
  • + 2
 I ride an ancillotti the best bike I have ridden. I’ve had it for a year and guess what......the welds are fine and the frame hasn’t broken! If you need to contact him just do it via fb messenger. Just get out and ride, if not try your hand at building a frame then comment on other people’s frame building skills!!
  • + 5
 What in the weld is going on here?
  • + 2
 There’s a lot of negativity, I doubt people would want to part with stacks of dimes for that beauty
  • + 5
 Slap a boxxer and drop it to 180mm and you got a dream
  • + 2
 I would prefer the Formula Sela on the front.
  • + 1
 Wait, how is she able to pedal up a hill with a STA less than 76* and then come back down again with a bar width less than 800mm?
  • + 1
 Would it be possible to get a review on these bikes? We keep seeing them in bike checks and besides the welding they look super shreddy, how do they really ride though?
  • + 2
 Long, slack, low, shock placed around bb, sounds like all boxes checked for me
  • - 20
flag Franzzz (May 21, 2019 at 1:44) (Below Threshold)
 You`re talking about the beautiful young italian woman we`ve got in front of our eyes?Smile
  • + 9
 @Franzzz: Dude. she's 15.
  • + 1
 @Franzzz: maybe after another 15 years
  • - 15
flag Franzzz (May 21, 2019 at 3:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Bruccio: I know... I could be his father, but come on, breathe and relax. She`s just young AND pretty. That`s all.
  • + 16
 @Franzzz: " I could be his father" well, that doesn't make it creepy AT ALL.
  • + 2
 To comment an all the other comments...
If the welds' fusion is sufficient and the bike rips... who cares!?
  • + 2
 Bling bling sure hope she doesn't get disqualified for blinding all the other Riders during a sunny race.
  • + 1
 It would be great to see more on these bikes also, Bold, Pyga, Geurilla Gravity, Element, Antidote ETC
  • + 1
 Maxxis assegai are starting to get popular.. really like the grip in any condition
  • + 1
 Saw Ancillotti and knew it would be instant drool factor. Always wanted one when I started racing.
  • + 1
 Ancillotti tomaso was my first DH bike. I can only dream of having one now. I'd slap a foxzocchi and some formula brakes on there for my onw personal nostalgic factor.
  • + 2
 Chainstay: 43.8 mm I'ts shortest chainstays I've ever saw
  • + 2
 A weld welded to a weld, weld who knows? I ain't no metallurgist!
  • + 2
 Heck, what sorta bike did I have when I was 15...??!!
  • + 4
 Huffy?
  • + 2
 Doesn’t look like a boring bike ????
  • + 1
 Something seems off about that top tube length with that reacb and seat angle
  • + 2
 As you can see, the adjustable pull shaft can take massive impacts!
  • + 0
 I think it would be just fine. You'll smash your chainring before you smash that. Welds on the other hand...
  • + 1
 Looks like proper bike to shred tho....
  • + 1
 yes put the title words in front of her face
  • + 1
 Not really a pull shock though, is it
  • + 1
 it refers to the linkage which gets pulled not pushed. kind of like on the evils. pulling the link is supposed to make for a smoother action, although i never felt any difference to a pushed linkage.
  • + 2
 Sick
  • + 0
 It's hard to know where this bike sits on the Radness scale without rider height or bike size.
  • + 0
 Formula is a hipster company to me. "It looks cool, and I want to try it"
  • + 2
 Try it and you'll love it!
  • + 5
 I own Cura brakes from formula and love them. 2 piston brakes are as good as guide's 4 pistons if not more powerfull and the lever feel is miles better and always at the same biting point. Formula really got their sh*t together and are making quality products (was not a fan of their previous brakes until the Cura)
  • + 2
 @steviejks: the selva is also a very solid performing fork,dials are a bit small and sharp but otherwise very impressed by my selva. also it looks as burly as my old bos idyle singlecrown -very cool.
  • + 0
 Hmmmm her legs don't appear to be dinged up enough
  • + 1
 Beautiful bike!
  • + 1
 Hot
  • + 0
 Shit welds !
  • - 1
 That's a big heavy bike for her, how tall is she / weight ?
  • + 0
 Totally, at 15 she isn't even finished growing yet and has to pilot this 29er around. That's a bigger unknown for me than any welds holding up...
  • + 0
 Not sure why the down votes? I am not being critical of her or 29ers at all, genuinely curious how she finds it and what motivated the choice. It is alot of bike.
  • + 1
 @Braindrain: this is the internet.. it doesn't matter if you're telling the truth, being fair, logical, considered or all of the above, if you upset the plebs you get rotten fruit thrown at you.
  • - 3
 Second and third pics, is that a hairline crack on the down tube just in front of the welded brace?
  • + 2
 I think it’s a slit in the graphics to help them curve with the frame
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