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Esker Cycles Announce New Smokey Ti Hardtail

Jun 10, 2024
by Esker Cycles  
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PRESS RELEASE: Esker Cycles

Esker Cycles is broadening their hardtail lineup with their most aggressive hardtail to date, the Smokey Ti. Longer, lower, and slacker, the Smokey Ti has a 64.5 degree headtube angle and geometry optimized for a 160mm suspension fork. The frame has ample tire clearance fitting up to a 2.6" tire.

The Smokey Ti is constructed from seamless, butted, and cold-shaped 3/2.5 titanium, delivering a durable yet comfortable ride.

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The Smokey Ti comes with Esker’s tried and true Portage Dropout System. Now updated with a Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH). Portage Dropouts allow the frame to run with geared or singlespeed drivetrains and also adjust chainstay length to fine tune the ride feel.

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The Smokey Ti may be the most aggressive frame Esker have ever made, but it is still an Esker. Prioritizing durability and ease of maintenance, the Smokey Ti has external cable routing, threaded bottom bracket and a 44mm head tube. The Smokey boasts four different water bottle and accessory mounting positions, including a 3-pack mount on the downtube for when you need a little extra carrying capacity.

Pricing:
Frame Only: $2500
Frame + Fork: Starting at $3100
Complete Builds: Starting at $4500, with numerous upgrade options available.
Complete Single Speed builds start at $4200

Learn more about the Smokey Ti HERE

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Author Info:
EskerCycles avatar

Member since Oct 8, 2018
17 articles

54 Comments
  • 13 0
 Damn! I need this in my collection.
  • 5 1
 Can someone explain 160mm hardtails to me? The front is just going to write checks the rear can't cash. It's not really going to be nimble, front end will wallow around out of the saddle and on steep climbs, not really useful for bikepacking as expensive as a full suspension frame. Can't really imagine running singlespeed on it. All the drawbacks of a big enduro bike with hardly any of the benefits. Oh well, I guess it makes sense to someone.
  • 4 0
 Hardcore hardtails (130-160mm travel) are a great way of improving your bike handling skills and line choice. In the UK hardcore hardtails are used by most people (not me, I use them all year round) in winter as there is less maintenance when riding in sloppy conditions. There also just really fun to ride and you get a great sense of achievement when you beat someone down a hill who's riding a full susser.
  • 4 0
 it's a completely different ride characteristic. i can ride my 160mm pole taival on most everything i can ride my 170mm enduro bike on. it's much slower and requires a lot more attention to picking lines, but that's what makes it fun. it's hard to explain the fun of it without trying it. this is on socal black trails, double black probably wouldn't be as fun. i haven't run into anything yet where the rear has caused problems
  • 5 0
 @hardtailhooner: I feel like you are describing the benefits of hardtails in general. I love hardtails and I ride mine about as much as my full suspension. It's SS, 66 degree HTA, short chainstays, either 120 or 130mm travel. I can clean anything on it that I can on my full sus but how fast I ride down techy stuff is limited by no rear suspension. I don't really see how a 160mm fork and a super slack head tube angle add much capability when you have zero rear travel and it removes a lot of the usual hardtail benefits. I guess it makes it marginally better at descending steep tech slowly but worse at jumping, cornering, climbing, out of the saddle pedaling, etc. Additionally the Ti removes affordability for not a ton of benefit beyond cool factor. Bike doesn't make sense to me but obviously it makes sense to someone else and that's totally fine.
  • 3 0
 They are really cool. That's all.
  • 2 0
 Based in CO, I currently own a 120 hardtail and a 160mm hardtail. For me, the comparison is SUPER similar to comparing the 120 forked full sus and 160 forked full sus. I grab the 120 when I want something lighter, quicker climbing, and want to knock out pedal-y days. The lighter weight, lower stack, and more forward riding position of the 120 bike makes me want to charge and get out of the saddle to sprint. When I want to ride some more technical/gravity oriented trails, I'll grab the 160mm hardtail - the higher stack, steeper STA, longer wheelbase, and bigger fork/slacker front end are something I really enjoy for trails that one would choose a 160mm forked bike for. And I've heard the "The front is just going to write checks the rear can't cash" phrase from the internet before, and some of that is true? But for the most part I don't think it matters as much as folks think it does. At the end of the day...I f*cking hate working on my bike, and the simplicity of hardtails help me get on the trail more.
  • 3 0
 I'm with you. After having owned several 140mm hardtails, I'm pretty stoked on my Esker Japhy with a 120mm fork. It's a lot more balanced and responsive for the trails where I'd grab a hardtail instead of my 150mm travel FS.
  • 4 0
 The long wheelbase (and slack HA of course) is the key. Picture riding through choppy tech section…as you get comfortable with the idea of weighting the front end, it’s almost like the bike starts pivoting ‘around’ the front axle and your rear wheel is going up and over the chunk rather than hanging up on it. It’s kind of an addictive feeling once you figure it out. I’ve had short CS / shortish WB hardtails before and they encouraged an off-the-back ‘manual all the things’ style. But sick bikes like this Esker are a different ballgame
  • 3 1
 If you ride one you'll get it. I'd take a 160mm hardtail over one of the trendy, neither here nor there 130ish mm travel downcountry bikes everyone seems to want these days. You have to ride a little light on your feet, but you get all the geo benefits of a long travel bike without all the mushy feel.
  • 2 0
 I had my FOX36 set to 160mm for a few rides on my hardtail and it was way better than I imagined. Now I have it at 140 and it feels way more harsh.... I think it might be that the FOX36 isn't optimized for shorter travel but I dunno.
  • 2 0
 @JonDud: typically you need to add a volume spacer for every 10-20mm travel you reduce in order to balance the sizes of the pos/neg air chambers. I'd start there. Dampers are pretty travel agnostic but air springs can get weird when you add or subtract travel. since the tube doesn't change size, just the location of the pistons inside.
  • 3 0
 Honestly, because they look really really good, and when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you ride good.
I ride a 150mm 64.5 degree (might be 64, can't remember) RMB Growler that was $2,000 less than the equivalent full sus. The bike has not failed me yet. Big volume tires, and the understanding that you are riding a hardtail go a long way. Hard tails are fun.
  • 2 0
 @GTscoob: interesting. I had two spacers in there, just added a third one based on your advice. Can't wait to see if it helps.
  • 1 0
 @JonDud: hope it works. Shorter travel needs more progression or spring rate to handle the same kind of hits.
  • 1 0
 @GTscoob: Should I also reduce the PSI? I figured I should drop it from 80psi down to 75psi with the additional spacer?
  • 4 0
 As a steel Japhy owner, I hope they make a cheaper steel version. By the time you dress up a frame with heavier casing tires and everything you want on an agro hardtail, you're not going to care about the 1.5 lb weight difference between ti and steel. Also, I would rather have the same Portage mounts with adjustable chainstays than a UDH. Agro hardtail people don't run $500 electric derailleurs.
  • 3 0
 Steel would be rad! But I bet the weight difference would be more than 1.5lbs...especially with a 160mm steel bike? Probably a much burlier tubeset than the Japhy. And the Smokey has the adjustable dropouts. The UDH hanger update makes it so you only have to replace the hanger when you bend/break it, and not the entire dropout plate. UDH hangers still make it easier for folks running mechanical dropouts to find a hanger easier.
  • 2 0
 You can absolutely adjust chainstay length with these. It looks like they're shipping with the two position dropout chip that gives you short and long positions. If you go to their website, you can buy the infinitely adjustable nut/bolt setup that you use to tension a SS setup.

EDIT: confirmed via the press release above:
"The Smokey Ti comes with Esker’s tried and true Portage Dropout System. Now updated with a Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH). Portage Dropouts allow the frame to run with geared or singlespeed drivetrains and also adjust chainstay length to fine tune the ride feel."
  • 1 0
 I personally wish I could afford a Ti frame for the material characteristics outside the weight. That is just a nice bonus. I'm sure I'm not the only one in a wet coastal environment who has killed steel frames from the inside out. Even with coatings/sprays/etc and re-applying with seasonal maintenance. That being said, at $2500 for the frame I could buy several steel frames and have spares.
  • 1 0
 Currently my favorite bike is a Epic Evo 7, 110mm rear 120mm front. Hard to justify going back to a bike like this, feels like bike tech has evolved and this is old school in comparison. These were fun bikes though, I used to ride a Kona Honzo with a 160mm lyrik and it was rad.
  • 3 0
 It looks nice, are the discontinuing their carbon FS frames, they are only on the sale page?
  • 18 0
 We have something up our sleeve for later this summer. Stay tuned...
  • 3 0
 @EskerCycles: sweeeeeet
  • 1 0
 @EskerCycles: I love my Rowl. Can't wait to see what y'all are cookin
  • 3 0
 The head tube is 174mm in XL? Wow.
  • 2 1
 Plus the 13mm headset lower stack... wow wow
  • 1 0
 This looks really solid. Sagged geo looks spot on for an aggressive hardtail even it it'll look less aggressive in comparison to other hardtails shown at topped out geo.
  • 2 0
 150-160mm is hands down my fav travel range for burly hard tails. The HTA change is real, but that doesn't bother me much.
  • 2 0
 Love it! I think it looks amazing. Probably rides so nice. I want one!!!!
  • 2 1
 is it a 64.5 head angle at sag?
  • 7 0
 based on 30% fork sag according to the product page
  • 1 4
 No. Given reach, stack and Cs, wheelbase should be much bigger if that were a sagged HTA.
  • 1 0
 Look pretty sack eh!
  • 1 1
 @anomalouspixels: that would make it 62.1 static, c’mon.
  • 1 5
flag Cooper09 (Jun 10, 2024 at 18:40) (Below Threshold)
 Nah, heat tube angle is always measured at standing position, without sag. But kind of a good question
  • 6 0
 Esker does say below their geometry chart that “Hardtail geometry based on 30% fork sag”. 64.5deg at sag would be a very slack HT angle unsagged.
  • 1 0
 @DGUSMC: I dunno, it looks super slack to me, heading towards Grim Donut territory. I wouldn't be surprised if it's 64.5 at sag.
  • 3 0
 @Cooper09: There is no industry standard for anything you see on a geo chart. All of the numbers here are given at 30% sag. The A-C on a 29 160mm lyrik is usually in the ~571mm range and they list "fork length" on their geo chart at 530mm.

This is a ~62 degree head angle frame at static with something like a Lyrik 160mm 29 fork
  • 2 0
 @WishIWazFaster: the numbers don’t “add up” (note: it’s obviously geometry not addition). I didn’t plug it into geocalulator but with a 440 chain stay and 490 reach at that stack and 62.1 static HTA the wheelbase would be close to 1300 not 1245. Something’s wayyy off.
  • 2 0
 @DGUSMC: I just plugged them in to mad scientist bike geo calculator and the medium and large add up perfectly.
  • 2 0
 @DGUSMC: Also, not sure why you'd be plugging in some unsagged and some sagged numbers, the entire chart is sagged and it all adds up if you consider that. ITs a 63.4 head angle at top out.
  • 1 0
 @plustiresaintdead: nope - it calculates exactly at 64.5 static. If it’s 64.5 sagged, that’s 62.1 static and then the wheelbase would be 1286.
  • 1 0
 @DGUSMC: When I plug in the above geo numbers I get a fork length + headset cup length of 545, and the wheelbase checks out. However I didn't calculate the sag correctly, so now I'm getting a HTA of 62.55 and a wheelbase of 1274 at topout, which seems reasonable. Are you plugging in the entire fork + headset at 530?
  • 1 0
 @plustiresaintdead: you do not need ATc calcs IF stack is correct. Stack assumes an atc. And as fork travel or atc changes then the implied stack would adjust. What I think is obvious is that their geo chart is not accurate.
  • 5 0
 We only do our hardtail geometries at sag. That it the proper way to design a hardtail because thats where it is ridden. Nobody rides a bike at static height, so those numbers are meaningless.
  • 1 0
 @DGUSMC: Its accurate. What part do you think is off?
  • 1 0
 @DGUSMC: If you're still noodling around on geo calculators, you're probably not the intended audience for this bike. That HTA will swing through almost 6 degrees to bottom out. I wouldn't worry about a tenth of a degree here and there.
  • 2 0
 @tim-at-esker-cycles: couldn’t agree more. I have 3 hardtails: Pole Taival, Honzo ESD and Rootdown. I use anglesets and adjustable travel forks (usually 130-160) to get the set-ups I want. So, my guess is I am exactly the desired audience. I often convert to static so I can compare bike to bike. Just can’t make the math work on wheelbase if you have to add 48mm (.3 X 160) to get back to static fork length. That should mean a static stack of 688! That bike would surely be longer the 1255mm.
  • 1 0
 Killer, I love hardtails but my mojo to ride them these days is dwindling.
  • 1 0
 Love the name, only bettered by 'Tokey'...
  • 1 0
 Smokey gives a Hoot
  • 1 3
 Not slack enough - should be 63 minimum to steepen to 65 or so at sag.
  • 6 0
 RTFA, it's 64.5 at sag, probably around 62.5 untagged.







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