Kevin Sigismondo and Jeff Soncrant have been riding together for years. Both are all-mountain/gravity junkies who also happen to be engineers. Both were lucky enough to land jobs in the mountain bike industry, and it was there where the two forged their friendship and assimilated the building blocks that would eventually led them to pose a life-altering question:
|Why settle for most of what we wanted in a bike when we could make one that was exactly what we wanted?|
Easier said than done. Bikes are pretty damn good these days, so moving the needle requires a lot more horsepower than a good frame design, a fresh take on suspension, and the right numbers. Undaunted, Kevin and Jeff quit their day jobs and founded "Eminent Cycles.
" Three and half years later, they had burned through a big pile of money, a number of aluminum prototypes, and had rejected 85 "almost perfect" carbon frames.
Anticipating that elite-level riders might want the choice, after the chassis was finalized, they worked out suspension tunes with Cane Creek, Fox, and RockShox. When they were finally satisfied with their creation they named the 160-millimeter-travel all-mountain bike the "Haste" and that's when the hard work began.
Direct-Sales Business Model
|When you purchase a bike, typically you are you buying a standard bike with standard components. You'll say, 'Well, I might not like that fork or that shock.' You'll know you'll have to spend money to replace some of the components to get the performance you want. When you order from us, you can choose your components, or furnish information using our bike fit calculator that we'll use to select the proper saddle, handlebar width, dropper post length, and other components, so your bike fits your preferences and riding style.—Kevin Sigismondo|
To succeed on the business end of their endeavor, Kevin and Jeff needed to pry elite-level customers away from the likes of Santa Cruz, Yeti, Specialized and Trek. To that end, they devised a direct sales model that gives potential customers wide range of options a to choose from. Eminent's standard builds range from $5200 to $7800, but their customers are encouraged to tailor their builds by hand-picking drivetrain, cockpit and suspension components from the selection that they stock. If they don't have the item, Eminent will special order it. The bike is then assembled, the transmission and suspension is adjusted, and finally, every Haste is test-ridden before it is shipped to the customer's doorstep in a special box with only its handlebar and front wheel removed. Ideally, when your Haste arrives, you could be headed out for a ride in ten minutes or less.
According to its founders, Eminent's strategy is three-fold: provide a class-leading, good-looking bike; use the savings afforded by selling direct to customers to offer higher-end components and more competitive pricing; and personalize the ownership experience, beginning with the purchasing process and continuing beyond, with a web-based help line which will offer tuning, maintenance, and setup advice.
It's a simple plan - one that a number of bike brands are considering as the likes of YT, Canyon and Commencal grow stronger every day. Eminent's challenge is to span the chasm between bargain bike buyers shopping for price, and the sport's high-end clientele who demand superior performance, but also choose particular brands that verify their skill sets and identities. Read Eminent's PR and you get the impression that they are ready to to rule the world, but the reality is that it is tough to earn the trust of experienced riders, and that doesn't happen overnight. Jeff says that Eminent plans to build sales locally and grow organically, so they can make adjustments along the way. As it stands, Eminent has a good strategy, three employees, one bike, and a positive, winning attitude. Introducing the Haste
I had the opportunity to ride the Haste on familiar trails near San Diego, California, where Eminent is based, and to discuss its finer details with Jeff, Kevin, and the newest member of the team, sales and marketing manager Paul Cusick, who is also an avid rider. The Haste was designed as collaboration between the two principals, with Jeff shouldering the lion's share of the mechanical engineering and working out its four-bar rear suspension design. Jeff says his role was 60-percent product engineering and 40-percent aesthetics, while Kevin's role in the Haste's development was 60-percent graphic design. Both participated in the vetting process (the fun stuff): test riding, judging suspension kinematics and experimenting with various forks and shocks.
Much of that initial process took place aboard aluminum-framed test mules. When they arrived at the function and geometry they wanted, they spent a lot of time getting the carbon version of their chassis to be visually appealing, and then crunched the numbers to ensure that their graphic rendition did not compromise the integrity of the structure. "We wanted the Haste to turn heads," said Jeff. "People are visual beings, so the look is as important as the function." Once the frame's shape and its carbon lay-up schedules were sketched out, the final step (like it is for most of the world's bike brands) was a trip to China, where Eminent had selected a manufacturer that specialized in the quality of construction and smaller production runs they needed.
Construction and Features
The Haste chassis is built around 27.5-inch wheels and incorporates design elements, both familiar and unique, into a profile is sure to stand out in a crowd. Most obvious is its AFS (Active Float System) 160-millimeter, four-bar rear suspension.
The parallelogram configuration is similar to Mert Lawwill's breakthrough design used by Gary Fisher and Yeti in the '90s, but it takes advantage of modern kinematics, materials, and construction methods to provide a level of performance which could not be attained back then.
The suspension's upper link directly drives the shock, which is connected to the swingarm instead of the frame's front section, reportedly, to isolate the shock from lateral forces that could create friction. A relatively linear shock rate was selected to favor descending, and a low-leverage ratio provides more sensitivity to tuning inputs and allows the shock-spring to support a wider range of rider weights.
The brake caliper "floats" between the rear axle and a ball-joint attached to the swingarm in an effort to isolate brake torque from the suspension action. Jeff said that the floating caliper was both necessary and beneficial to the suspension, which ultimately resulted in better brake modulation and a smoother feel while descending.
Motivation for the frame's modern look was as much for aesthetics as it was for function. The shock tunnel eliminated complicated linkages and made room for a single downtube water bottle, and the straight lines of the front-section matched the angular looking rear suspension, while providing a low stand-over height across their selection of frame sizes. One compromise that stands out in the Haste's frame design is the external dropper post actuator. According to Jeff, "Having an exposed cable between the shock and frame could make noise and cause rubbing. Our routing path is cleaner and with less exposed cable."
By the numbers, the Haste reflects its creator's influence. The 73-degree seat tube angle is conservative, while its 65.5-degree head tube angle, 17.4-inch chainstays, and generous reach mirror current trends. Although there is much emphasis upon personalizing the Haste's components, size-specific changes in the chainstay length and seat tube angles are missing from the geometry chart. In defense of Eminent, almost all high-end bike brands ignore those important details, but it seems like an opportunity missed to further personalize the chassis.
Other construction notables include full-complement Enduro ball bearings at key suspension pivots, with Igus plain bearings where angular rotation is minimal. There are guide-tubes to simplify the internal cable routing, provisions for one or two-by drivetrains, and a press-fit type bottom bracket. The frame has plenty of clearance between the rear stays for wider tires and, like most modern mountain bikes, the Haste has Boost axle spacing. Eminent plans to offer the Haste in five sizes (molds are expensive, so they are rolling out the most popular sizes first) which are designated by their effective seat tube lengths, rather than "small, medium, large, etc." Three color options will be available: red, blue, and natural carbon black. First impressions
I rode the Haste in a familiar zone that included steep, loose climbs and a variety of fast-paced singletrack trails. The descents were technical enough to get a feel of the bike's potential, but nothing that would challenge a DH bike. There were enough rocks to wake up the suspension and the dry soil provided ample opportunities to pay attention to the bike's cornering potential. Harold Preston, a familiar face in PB reviews, also put some time on the Haste to contribute his input. Both of us were in agreement that the bike's rear end felt smooth and in control through the entire performance envelope - up, down, around corners, and under braking. Its weight was average for enduro-class carbon bikes (I'd estimate it was just shy of 30 pounds) and like most good all-mountain designs, it responds best when its rider is centered between the wheels.
Acceleration and pedaling feel efficient in the sense that the Haste maintains momentum well and doesn't lag with each pedal stroke when powering hard up a climb. It feels much like a Giant Reign, transferring pedal strokes into smooth acceleration, but lacking the snappy-feeling direct response that you'd get from an Ibis or a Pivot in the same performance class. Where it impresses most is how well the rear end tracks over choppy surfaces without disturbing your pedaling cadence.
Prefaced by the usual first-ride disclaimer, if you ignore the hubris, the Haste delivers on the promises laid out in Eminent's press release. It looks sharp, it tracks where you point it on the descents and holds its line similarly around the bends. I'd prefer a steeper seat tube angle, but it's no slouch up technical climbs and it inspires confidence on the descents, where you'll need it most. It's a fun machine to ride fast, which is exactly what its creators built it for. "Ultimate?" "Class Leading?" "Breakthrough?" - I'll leave that up to you to decide. What I can say is that Eminent's mission statement: delivering an elite-level trail bike to the customer's doorstep that has been custom outfitted, tuned and test-ridden, is a solid first step. It's fitting that the Haste is an enduro bike, because success in the boutique bicycle business is a tall mountain to climb before the fun begins. I wish them luck. - RC
People pick one number (seat tube angle in this case) and bash everything to the ground. This bike might as well be at a sweetspot geometry wise.
Every bike has an advantage and a disadvantage. The question from an engineering standpoint is whether these are balanced out correctly. and there are millions of ways to do that.
Rear end of the bike looks a bit bulky somehow tho. (but thats just me)
@TheLongMan It doesn’t change at different post heights, its just that the angle the seat-tube extends does not originate at the bottom bracket where traditional seat-tube angles are measured from. The origin of the actual seattube angle is 68deg (this is the angle seatpost extends at), and the effective seattube angle (the angle originating from the bottom bracket upto the top of the seatpost opening) is 73degrees.
Least of the problems with this thing though. 432mm seat tube and 411mm reach? LOL!
It would be nice if manufacturers put a simple chart with leverage ratio and anti-squat vs travel position on their website next to geo numbers.
There you go. Whole load of new frames coming. The Lawwill 9 is the most refined Lawwill frame yet it my opinion. All those annoying niggles sorted out.
Would be great to get a better close up of it. Rail bearing on the swingarm whilst pivoting on the rear axle?
Highly ambitious, good luck in your venture!!!
As has often been said (here and other places), to make a million in the bike business, you need to start with two.
While I am personally a fan of this style of suspension, it isn't a game changer, won't steel business from other very well established brands/product, and they are basically starting at the ground level with no reputation in terms of ride, durability, after service, warranty support, etc (not a small thing considering the level of investment). Comments to branding aside, in a crowded market (loaded with solid options) with no demonstrable point of differentiation I hope they have deep pockets and are ready to play the long game.
Seriously though rad looking bike doods. I happen to really like both Mondraker and Canyon.
You guys need to work on your marketing though. Eminent Haste has got to be 1. and 2. on the list for worst name choices. Even the definition is tres wanky:
(of a person) famous and respected within a particular sphere
And sizes are not "designated by their effective seat tube lengths" - rather top tube lengths.
Yeah, you arent wrong but if a small company is willing to show really the easiest work around isnt that bad looking, maybe another company comes along and adopts this as well... yada yada yada shit about snowballs and hills and what not... and maybe one day there is a few more offerings.
I miss the outboard routing of my KS DX model mostly cause even if I f*cked the lever or wrecked the cable I could manually pull the mechanism and have the seat work. not often do I like my bike to have extra cables hanging out of my frame and what not but in this case Is make an exception.
I never thought much about affective seat tube angle until I had a bike with some proper geometry numbers and realised how much more pleasent a steeper angle was.
The OG yeti lawwills had a similar linkage to the one above, but they used a pivot at the front, a pivot at the rear, and an additional pivot that allowed the linkage to "scissor" and neutralize brake forces. forums.mtbr.com/attachments/yeti/625227d1310455305-yeti-lawwill-custom-race-frame-need-help-identification-05.jpg
Not sure why they used a sliding bushing instead of a scissor link as above, perhaps to avoid a patent, perhaps to save weight.
The 463mm reach, while not pushing the outer boundaries of geo, is right in the sweet spot for my just under 5'-11 frame, and for keeping things playful on the less than warp speed trails and big climbs that I normally ride.
And I could mitigate the slack-ish seat angle by sliding the seat rails forward. Shouldn't have to, but oh well...
Despite the often knee-jerk hatred for it, this exact type of... mostly-internal-with-a-stationary-external-end type of dropper post routing is actually my preference. My current ride gives the choice of both full-internal routing, and also offers it just like this bike, and after 2 years I'm glad I chose the latter.
There's never been a downsides for me, but significant upsides like almost instant dropper removal and installation. On my current bike it saves almost 1 foot of cable and housing. I'll take free weight savings wherever I can get them.
Though I suppose there are a limited number of companies that offer this style (my KS, and the FOX dropper above... does anybody else offer them?)
The press fit BB is a strange choice in this day and age, and a "purchase deterrent" that you'd think a small fledgeling company would never consider.
But again my current bike has press fit, and the sweet press fit BB conversion that I installed 2.5 years ago has never been touched since, and is as smooth and creak free as ever.
With all of the odd and angular mechanical things going on with the rear suspension and brake, this thing could have ended up looking like crap, but I think they've really done well with, if not nailed the aesthetic.
Sure, it looks kinda like a _______... but just like in music, there's only so many notes you can play, and someone else has already played them.
I thought about making some sort of badonkadonk joke as there is much junk in the trunk as it were but I am not going to make that joke.
Best wishes for the fellow 'Diegans, though. Hope they make it! Look me up when you're designing a 29" trail bike!
Short is not optimal. It isn't 2010.
If you think about the frame as a lever, pivoting about the rear axle, with your weight through the BB, the shorter the CS, the less leverage your weight is exerting on the front wheel, so short rears actually shift grip away from the front, at which point all you can do to restore it is lean forwards, putting more weight through your arms, which will make arm pump worse and have you OTB much more easily.
Besides, every brand scales their front triangles across the sizes, but only some (Giant, Norco, etc) bother to scale the rear to match, so handling isn't consistent across most brands' ranges and tall guys end up with bikes which climb horribly.
My point about Santa Cruz wasn't that they aren't a valid comparison (they're probably quite a good one), but they've spec'd some pretty nonsense CS lengths on bikes like the Chameleon, so comparing another bike to a Santa Cruz doesn't guarantee that its CS lengths aren't nonsense too. They seem to still be in the rut of spec'ing short CS across all their bikes, without thinking whether that's actually the best way to do things.
A lot brands only make one-size rear triangles because it save a load of cost on carbon mould tooling, but it's a silly way to design frames.
I did see that the new Pole Machine has 10mm *shorter* RC than the evo link does... So I think they may be giving a nod to the fact that huge wheelbases can be cumbersome. I think the Pole Evolink has a solid 100mm longer wheelbase than my 29'er trailbike - that would definitely be noticeable (for both good and bad - but if you're only climbing fireroads and doing lots of descents, sure, it'd be mostly good).
I think on hardtails, having a steep seat angle makes the ride too harsh. I think Kona makes a HT with ~75 degree seat angle with 415mm stays. I haven't ridden it, but it sounds like it should be really agile and really brutal to sit on for 20 miles. I think SC uses a slacker seat angle on their hard trails to smooth the ride out a little bit. But ya, it can imagine that on a larger size that front end would probably get a little floaty going uphill.
I will say I never ended up with mud and crud inside the little mechanism box and it gets pretty wet and goppy here in the PNW.
I have seen people actually put a heat shrink tube around the mechanism and cable area to get it sealed a bit better against the "elements"
DH rigs circa Straight 8 era were designed with a low AS/low pedal kickback, be it 4-bars, faux bars or others, which explain the good tracking abilities on climbs.
Difficult to check the main pivot location on the Eminent cycle, but it seems to be quite aligned with the 32t ring, so I thing it's around 100% at sag in 32/18, maybe a little less.
IMO, a good configuration is the combination low AS (around 70% at sag in 32/18 ), high LR with an air shock, shock and ratio progressivity preventing too much squat and keeping the suspension active while pedaling.
On the Yeti's and Schwinn's the low pivot was behind the BB.
463mm reach, in the 65cm size bike (which, giving them the benefit of the doubt is equivalent to a large) can hardly be described as 'generous'...
it's average at best for this type of bike, and conservative if you look in the context of the latest raft of longer travel AM/enduro bikes... The rest of the geo is equally disappointing, really.
maybe it's me, but it seems that it doesn't have chain growth, but even chain shrink, how does that pedal??
Also, the rear brake moves backwards under compression, so instead of brake-squat, it would extend suspenssion a lot when braking, steepening HA and shit...
Any thougths on that, anyone?
Make it sexy, dirt cheap, more capable than anything else ever and we can talk. Also, are there water bottle bosses or not?!?!
A ball joint wouldn't allow that motion, would it? Not a cam of sorts going on perhaps?
But looks really nice.
It worked for Knolly.
Photos from TEDs
the Cunningham/Preston review dream team
www.eminence.com - manufacturer of high end guitar speakers.
Cool bike, but an original name/logo would have been nice.
I hear all the URT related patents have expired too.
Yeah, away from the bike... It's ugly.