Esker Cycles Releases Rowl Full Suspension 29er

Sep 25, 2020
by Esker Cycles  
Esker Rowl https eskercycles.com products rowl

PRESS RELEASE: Esker Cycles

Esker Cycles is proud to release our newest mountain bike model, the Rowl. The Rowl is a full carbon fiber, full suspension 29er with 140mm of travel, equipped with Dave Weagle’s Orion Dynamics suspension platform.


Esker Rowl https eskercycles.com products rowl
Esker Rowl https eskercycles.com products rowl

After launching the Esker brand in 2018 with the Orion suspension equipped Elkat model, we went to work crafting up a complimentary offering that would build on the positive influence and desirable ride characteristics that have made the Elkat model a success. Over the next two years, the team at Esker set out to design, engineer, and deliver the kind of bike that you would want to reach for day after day no matter the ride.

Photo Credit Brett Rothmeyer

Photo Credit Brett Rothmeyer
Photo Credit Brett Rothmeyer
Brian Lorence riding the Esker Rowl in Pennsylvania, Action Photos by Brett Rothmeyer

At Esker, our mountain bikes are not segmented into unnecessary sub-categories. With the efficiency of the Orion Dynamics suspension platform, and the benefits of modern geometry, we aim to simply make mountain bikes—designed to ride all parts of the trail, and all zones of the mountain. The Rowl continues with that Esker ethos in a 29” wheel package.

“We initially adopted the Orion platform because it has a great balance of extreme small bump sensitivity due to a flatter shock curve than other short-link systems, and Dave Weagle’s signature balance of anti-squat for the best pedaling efficiency. Now applied to our 29” wheel Rowl in a 140mm travel package, it makes the best case for an “entire mountain” bike that we like to build here at Esker,” said Esker founder Tim Krueger.

Esker Rowl https eskercycles.com products rowl

Modern progressive—or what we like to call Slack & Steep—geometry, combined with the insane efficiency of the Orion platform mean that a 140mm travel Rowl can take you from lunch laps on the townie trails to chunder above tree line without flip chips, shock changes or other gimmicks. Versatility, reliability, and timeless design are standard equipment on all of our Esker models, and the Rowl is no exception.

“The Rowl continues the Esker tradition of building versatile and reliable bikes that will take you out into the backcountry and back time and again. Everything we’ve learned from our past bikes has been applied to the Rowl to further this idea. A rider shouldn’t have to worry about their bike while riding but instead just be able focus on the experience no matter where the trail takes them,” said Esker engineer Anders Broste.

Esker Rowl https eskercycles.com products rowl
Esker Rowl https eskercycles.com products rowl

Esker Rowl https eskercycles.com products rowl




In addition to 140mm of rear travel and a 150mm fork, Rowl features a 65.16-degree head tube angle, 76-degree virtual seat tube angle, 425mm chainstays, threaded 73mm bottom bracket, and a 420mm-490mm reach on sizes S-XL. Completes are offered in 3 build levels, and framesets come standard with an axle, a custom tuned Fox DPX2 shock, and a Wolf Tooth Components headset & seat collar.

The Rowl frame features custom molded downtube and chainstay protection, fully routed internal housing, external brake routing for easy maintenance, and of course, room for a water bottle inside the triangle on all sizes. Rowl completes at the R2 ($4999) and R3 ($5999) level are available now in limited quantities through eskercycles.com.



For more information click here.



Photo Credit Brett Rothmeyer





MENTIONS: @eskercycles @brettrothmeyer @brianlorence




137 Comments

  • 66 0
 No geo chart in the article?

Saving people some of the clicking I did then.

All of these are for size Large.

470mm reach
615mm stack
614mm ETT
Fixed 425mm CS length for all sizes
65.16 degree HTA
76 degree STA
  • 23 0
 Good man, thx Wink

Also now in the database...
geometrygeeks.bike/bike/esker-rowl-2021
  • 12 3
 XL looks a tad short for taller people at 490 reach and 637 ETT, would need an XXL with the way their sizes increase
  • 8 4
 @Tobsa: Agreed. Weird that they don't want to sell a bike to anyone over 6'2".
  • 12 0
 @geometrygeeksbob: Thanks for all the hard work on your site.
  • 3 1
 That has to be the perfect size bike for me at 177cm. Pretty similar to my Jeffsy honestly. 10 more mm on the CS would be nice though.
  • 9 2
 @smgishot13: Or they're a small company and the cost on a carbon mold for the 3 XLs they'd sell loses them money.
  • 4 2
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: they already spent the money on the XL carbon mold... They just made it too small.

If you really think they would only sell 3 XL frames than you must ride with smurfs and leprechauns.
  • 2 1
 @smgishot13:

It's just a numbers game. They're a small startup and don't have the monies to invest in a super broad range.

I ran into them at Outerbike a couple years ago when they just had a 27.5 bike.

Agree though that 6'2" is going to be about the max on the largest frame but this looks really good, basically their version of a Ripmo. I wonder if there's more frame flex in the rear due to both links being so low, as opposed to having one of them higher up bolted to the seat tube. Anyways, it's a saturated market but I wish them the best.
  • 2 1
 @WasatchEnduro: luckily some other brands make bikes for us 6'4 and up. Not every bike has to work, but its nice when they do
  • 2 0
 @geometrygeeksbob: Love your site and use it all the time
  • 3 2
 yay - more Weaglenomics - but THIS is the best suspension platform ever devised!
  • 6 0
 It just makes me happy to see a bike company making a size that's aimed dead square at 5'10" riders, IE the most common height for your average male. Most companies place me right between sizes forcing to either size up or size down.
  • 1 0
 @stiingya:

> leprechauns

Hey...you leave Thomas Voeckler out of this!
  • 2 1
 @WasatchEnduro: Are they really gonna sell that many smalls? 420mm reach means it basically only fits women under 5'4". I can't imagine there's more of those than there are men over 6'2" in the target demographic?
  • 3 0
 @smgishot13: Don't forget not everyone and everywhere dictates this Long.Slack.steep crap.
Plenty of other bikes that'll fit your needs, easy to move on.
  • 2 0
 @smgishot13:
I’ve happily ridden bikes with ~420Mm reach for many years @ 5’10”
So have lots of other people.
Sizing is not a rule written in stone.
  • 1 0
 @Tobsa: look at head tube length as well, the XL is too small for me too. Guess I'll keep ridding specialized...
  • 36 1
 The lack of full side shots will keep some of the Pink Bike seat tube angle police at bay! Smart move!
  • 16 0
 I'd like to see a clean side shot nonetheless
  • 1 0
 Was thinking the same thing, seems like spy shots.
  • 3 0
 But that means I have to do actual work at work instead of being the STA police... ;(
  • 21 0
 425mm CS Length and still uses a 148 Boost Hub But I thought the reason for SuperBoost was so chainstays could stay short? Boom! Thanks for staying* with the standard of 148 and threaded bb's - MindBlown

Pictured with a 2.6" Terren Tire on the Esker Website
  • 5 0
 It looks like the lower link that is concentric to the BB gives them more space around the tire/chainstay than the standard DW linkage. Smart design!
  • 3 0
 @Paddock22: The upper link in Orion is pretty much in the same place as the lower link location on DW-link, so not sure what room could have bee saved.
  • 4 3
 My canfield balance with 142x12 has 420mm stays. It is possible but trek/sram were running low on marketing buzzwords at the time.
  • 1 1
 @just6979: I think with a typical DW link, the restriction is the lower linkage. I think it was difficult for them to be able to make a strong enough wishbone with pivots and still have enough clearance for a wide tire and the chainring.

Boost and eventually Superboost allowed them enough clearance to make a strong enough wishbone, fit all the pivot junk, clear a chainring and fit modern width tires. I think that is why you primarily see SuperBoost on DW links or bikes with short 4 bar suspension designs.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: my riot has 417mm crazy short.
  • 1 0
 My enduro has 426
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: Super boost was Pivot with buy in from DT Swiss and I9 you'll find: www.pinkbike.com/news/pivot-switchblade-first-look.html
  • 17 1
 I really would think it's an Ibis if I didn't read the title
  • 2 1
 Exactly. I am wondering how different is this "Orion dynamics" suspension design from DW-link Ibis uses. General layout looks quite similar, but the pivot links are positioned lower. One is actually below the BB, or is it rotating around the BB, like on Pole bikes?
  • 2 1
 Or a Pivot
  • 1 0
 @s-master: It's around the BB. I'd say it's more of an upside-down dw-link, since the upper link here seems to move in pretty much the same way as the lower link on a dw-link: the rear pivot of that link I think moves up-down-up (or down-up-down), probably has the most to do with anti-squat (moving the effective pivot location above or below the chainline), and how far it moves seems to determined by length and relative pivot locations of the other link (upper in dw, lower in Orion)
  • 3 2
 @s-master: it rides very differently than DW, takes square hits better, very good tech climber/rock crawler, supportive mid travel. My son in law has an Elkat, I recommended it to I’m after I demoed one in Moab
  • 2 5
 Good for you @nurseben:
  • 2 5
 @crazy9: so I give first hand knowledge and you’re a dick about it, wow, envy much or just not enough hanging to sack up?
  • 1 1
 That was odd. I gave you praise for recommending a great product to your son in law. Think you got the wrong end of the stick my friend @nurseben:
  • 4 0
 @s-master: I have an Elkat, and sell both Ibis and Esker... My take..It feels plusher while being equally efficient pedaling wise. I has more traction going up techy stuff. Its like a minor improvement on the DW... I just wish, that they were a bit longer on wheel base an TT, like the Mojo 4 or HD4 geo. Nevertheless, frames are beautifully constructed, have a better finish quality (Id say top notch) than the later Ibises from 2016 onwards... Great bikes!!
  • 17 8
 I was unsure about this bike but thought my wife would like it so i decided to esker, turns out she'd rather be orioning my shirts
  • 8 0
 No lower linkage shots unfortunately, but I'm guessing from the pics it's the super short double links by the BB like Atherton bikes.
  • 3 0
 Website has lower linkage shots...
  • 2 0
 This vid gives a very clear view of a different bike (but still an Esker) using Orion:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3NAe4iSKHE

(forward end of the lower link is concentric with the bb)
(argh - how do you link-ify a link?!?)
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: i just looked. couldnt find a picture of the lower link...lame.
  • 3 0
 @jlfskibikesail: Sorry we didnt include that, we overlooked it since our design has been on the market for a few years already with our Elkat model. eskercycles.com/pages/orion
  • 1 0
 @tk55407: that Orion page on the esker site doesn’t show the lower link. How is it oriented? Somewhat similar to the link above the BB shell? Weird to have a PB press release article that doesn’t have frame geo, no clear side view shot, and makes the reader have to be a detective to figure out this is sorta like DW link but with an upper link just 3 - 4 inches above the lower link. Which means more side loading on the shock but a different licensing situation I guess.
  • 6 0
 @frorider2: Its concentric to the BB shell. And actually, thats sorta the intent. The point of a press release is to get people to come get more information on our own site. ALL the info cannot be fit into PR, so at some point, there is a cutoff, and to be brutally honest, our goal with all marketing is always to get a person to visit our own site. So, yeah?

And as to side-loading, proper engineering takes care of that issue. We use carbon for our suspension bikes specifically because we can tune stiffnesses in certain areas where its needed, and not where it isnt. With this design on the market for over 2 years with our Elkat, we havent had issues with any sort of shock side loading.
  • 1 0
 @frorider2: As to licensing, both dw-Link and Orion (this one) are owned by the same guy, so I'm pretty sure the licensing situation isn't that different.

It only means side loading the shock if the main pivots, the links, and the rear triangle aren't stiff enough. Everything looks pretty stout.

And it's more like a dw-Link flipped upside down rather that just with the upper link moved way down.
  • 1 2
 I really want to try one of these but the way that linkage moves, it just seems like it'd be too easy for a rock to get stuck in there. Can't remember, but wasn't it on a recent PB field test they screwed up a frame when I rock got lodged in the linkage.
  • 2 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: A rock in where? Behind the seat tube? Pretty unlikely. And most non-high-pivot full suspension bikes have a nice opening just behind the BB that grows and shrinks with travel that would be way easier for a rock to get stuck in.
  • 2 1
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: That was Bike Mag.
  • 1 0
 @tk55407: the point several of us are making is that the link to the Orion page you’ve been pasting does not show the lower link or the motion. Fortunately @azureblue did a technical marketing favor and posted this youtu.be/s3NAe4iSKHE . From that vid the lower link ain’t ‘concentric’ to the BB. The lower link pivot attachment is near top of BB shell, and effective CS length increases fairly (?) significantly during initial travel...explains the square edge benefit mentioned above. It’s almost as if DW is trying to merge the strengths of regular DW link and the high pivot designs (pulley reqd) of his competition.
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: never mind stuck rocks--how about impacts to chainstay below bb? At 5:34 in this feeble review, some sort of armoring is shown: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yuw8Rqwhq_s. Unique layout by rockstar D.W., the maestro of pivot constellations. I wonder what he's doing with his Kalk--not a swingarm DW link (www.pinkbike.com/news/trust-prototype-213mm-travel-electric-dirtbike-fork.html)!
  • 1 0
 @frorider2: I measured chainstay growth to be around 24mm. So not insignificant, but nothing crazy. Similar to various DW bikes.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: That's exactly where I'm talking about, look at the video. Doesn't seem to hard for a rock to get lodged in the area between lower rear triangle and BB
  • 1 0
 @frorider2: I mean what else are you doing today?
  • 7 0
 Pretty stoked on this, people that have ridden the Elkat have almost universally praised the suspension performance. The travel and angles seem to be in a nice sweet spot too. Wonder what it weights.
  • 1 0
 I love my Elkat and wanted 27.5 inch wheels so it was the perfect bike for me. I love the suspension in all kinds of terrain. I have so much fun on that bike! I'm excited for others to join the Esker family!
  • 4 0
 @hammersorethumb: is the Elkat a mythical beast created from breeding an Elk with a Cat, because that would be badass!
  • 6 0
 Been a fan of Tim and the bikes he designs since the advocate days when he answered some questions about my hayduke build personally. Keep up the strong work, this one looks like a ripper.
  • 1 0
 @kazakers What are you doing with your Hayduke? I've been looking at one to turn into a monstercross/XC rig.

By chance what chainring size are you using and what do you think is the biggest i could squeeze in there? They told me 34T, but i'm hoping to squeeze in a 36T.
  • 2 0
 @bobthestapler: I've had that same debate about running a 36T. I bet with a crank spacer or two it would squeak by, but I haven't given it a shot yet. I've run 34T oval no problem.

My builds of this have gone from 27.5+ with 130 fork and 11 speed drivetrain, to 29 single speed rigid carbon fork, to full bikepacking rig currently. It has impressed me in every one of those configurations, there's really very little this frame can't do well. It would be an excellent monstercross rig, some narrower 29 wheels and fast rolling tires, maybe a stepcast 34 for the XC version.

The updated Esker version checks a lot of boxes and adds a couple things I wish mine had (threaded BB, downtube braze-ons, triple mount bosses). Same excellent modular dropouts.
  • 2 0
 @kazakers: Good to know. From what I know about oval rings is that a 34T oval would have high peak of 36t and low point of 32T, give or take a tad. At least that is how my Absolute Black ring was. Knowing that I think I'm comfortable getting it and tossing a 36T on there.

I'm thinking of running ~25mm rims with ~2.2x29 inch tires, maybe bigger for bike packing. I was thinking of putting a budget friendly 120-130mm fork on there and running the funky Satori Durham bars.

Thanks a ton!
  • 6 1
 "Rowl can take you from lunch laps on the townie trails to chunder above tree line without flip chips, shock changes or other gimmicks."

I swap the headset cups, seat stays, shock, and fork on my Guerrilla Gravity every time I travel to somewhere worthy of a big bike. I go from 120/120 to 160/150 in maybe 45 minutes and I have a completely different bike. It wasn't that expensive, and it's not that big of a hassle. Perfect for people that love to mess with their bike, and hardly a gimmick!

I'm glad Esker dropped a more modern bike though. The Elkat was on my short list, but the geo was pretty outdated. Good looking bikes!
  • 2 0
 That’s waaay to much effort, just get a second GG bike. I’ve done that switch a few times, it takes a couple hours, so not easy or fast.
  • 1 0
 Do the headset cups need to be tapped out and pressed back in or is it something easier to swap? Others steps seem pretty straightforward.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-sf: on the GG, the actual headset cups are pressed, but the reach adjust blocks just pop out without tools.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-sf: Exactly what the other guy said! They pop right out. Takes no time at all! It's a noticeable difference too. I love the bike! Highly recommend.
  • 8 0
 65.16 HA? Have they been talking to SRAM?
  • 1 2
 My guess it comes out to 66 exactly sagged but I don't know.
  • 8 0
 Guess we'll soon have to indicate suspension design not by Dave Weagle.
  • 7 0
 How many different suspension systems has Dave Weagle got? Obviously he’s aiming for world domination soon
  • 2 0
 I count at least 4. 10 if you count each DW-link iteration as different. 5 if you count just DW-link 6 (on the Atherton bikes) as different since it has more links and pivots.

DW-link (1-5)
SplitPivot
DELTA
Orion
DW6
  • 3 1
 @just6979: different branding and iteration for sure. But isn't it really just three? Delta, split and various itarations if his dual mini link?

Different companies use different branding and move their horst link to different spots, up or down or different places on the chainstay along with using all kinds of different pivot and link styles, shock actuation, etc. But we still consider them all horst links. We don't say hey that's a horst link 7, and that's a horst link 82... Smile
  • 1 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: more importantly, when is the dw patent up?
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: yeah, that's why I gave the option to merge the first 5 dw-links. But dw6 and Orion are both different enough to be counted separately. I stand by the 5 count.
  • 6 2
 I don’t know - two links very low in the frame make me suspicious about shock side loads. There’s nothing worse than a shock failing regularly during bike season. I learned It the hard way.
I have +100kg geared up and I’m a pretty fast and aggressive rider, tho.

Nevertheless, nice bike.
  • 10 0
 I’ve been on their Elkat for the summer with lots of ride time. Been running a CC Coil with no tolerance issues. I had my concerns as well S I’ve blown through shocks on similar platforms. The Orion has lived up to their hype. Give it a look if you can. Cheers!
  • 3 1
 The way the shock eyelet is oriented in the yoke means that it can pivot sideways, meaning side loads aren't an issue
  • 1 1
 @Civicowner:
Didn’t see this. Looks like a proper solution ????
  • 4 6
 @Saiboot: Yeah def, most yoke bikes are like this which is good. apart from specialized. who attatch it solidly. i think theyre just retarded
  • 4 0
 These guys are one of the best brands you have never heard of and the bikes well thought out. So,e serious brains power in the ranks of Esker who’ve had past lives making things you’ve lusted over in the past. So excited to see this added to the line up.
  • 6 0
 Yesss! The Elkat is the best bike I have ever ridden! I can't wait to try out the Rowl.
  • 3 0
 Great to see them finally roll out a 29er. I think if they had started with this bike in 2018 and rode the initial wave Orion PR wave they've be a bigger brand right now. I hope they pick up some traction with this bike. Great design and Orion is one of Dave's more unique and different designs in terms of kinematics. Hopefully they can get some more quality content out and/or better marketing to bring them more into the conversation.
  • 1 0
 Agreed, course if they had started 29 and only got to 27.5 now they'd have missed last year's 27.5 surge... Dang fickle customer base... Smile
  • 6 0
 Now that is a good looking bike
  • 5 2
 They say they want to create a bike that's not segmented into sub-categories then next paragraph creat their own with 'entire mountain' bike.
  • 6 0
 For me, the name of a bike that is made for riding a bit of Everything as they claim, is an All Mountain bike Smile
  • 3 0
 An entire mountain bike is of course something comletely different than an all mountain bike.

Or does it mean that it comes as an entire mountain bike, with bottle holders, pedals and a spare tube?
  • 4 0
 May have to trade-in my Ripmo so a Rowl can hang next to the Hayduke in the garage! The Rowl looks like an amazing bike.
  • 5 0
 That bike looks so sexy! Everyone loves the Elkat.
  • 1 0
 Used to own a Hayduke when they were Advocate. Sold a Lorax to a customer....he needed some dropouts for an accident and it took them weeks to respond to an email simply saying “yes we have some”. I responded back that I needed some and it’s been another 3 weeks without hearing anything....

Way to treat your dealer network....
  • 3 0
 Not a single mention of weight here or on the Esker page. Wonder why they are hiding it?
  • 3 0
 Finally big wheels in that platform!
  • 1 0
 Only complaints my son in law has about his Elkat:

Frame chips from rocks
Creaking lower link
Difficulty mounting the bash guard
  • 3 1
 maybe its just me, but I can't get over the name.
  • 3 0
 That's Ripmo as f...k.
  • 2 0
 What a new and totally different frame design, incredible!
  • 2 1
 Looks like a........... Pivot switchblade The old one.
  • 1 0
 Went to buy large frame-only. Not an option.
  • 1 0
 That was my concern, too. I emailed them and they said the first batch is small so they're offering complete bikes only for now. Frameset option will be available in the future as production increases.
  • 2 0
 Good luck finding a large frame in any brand right now. Most sizes really. They’re all sold before they are even put in a container to be shipped to the states.
  • 1 0
 @juansevo: 2021 bikes are becoming available in stores here now, although in some cases 10-20% more expensive than last year
  • 1 1
 It reminds me SNBD industry 10-15 y ago, very other folk the planet launch their brand
  • 2 0
 Looks like a Ripmo
  • 2 1
 Love the high tech bike stand used for the main photo
  • 1 0
 When’s the Escrow going to be released?
  • 1 0
 Laser cut head angle.
  • 2 3
 425mm chain stays. Okay for a small but anyone above 5'3" might as well be riding a see saw.
  • 1 1
 DO NOT PUT A CANE CREEK SHOCK ON THIS BIKE.
  • 1 0
 Can we get more explanation than just all caps?
  • 1 0
 I’ve been running different CC shocks on their Elkat with no issues. Bad experience on your end? @EvilBun:
  • 1 1
 Looks like an Ibis..... hahaha
  • 1 0
 White looks fresh
  • 1 1
 Have you guys seen my baseball?
  • 1 0
 Looks like an ibis
  • 2 4
 Looks like an Alchemy
  • 2 1
 Not at all
  • 3 2
 @juansevo: it kind of depends, if you have eyes then no but otherwise they look quite similar
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