Roughly four years after Specialized trotted out their Enduro 29er, long-travel 29ers seem to be the hot young things of the moment. While Guerrilla Gravity’s new 140-millimeter travel Smash model is at least 10 millimeters shy of what’s quickly becoming the new normal these days (for "long-travel 29ers" anyway), the company argues that they’re focusing on quality
of travel over sheer quantity.
The Smash, Guerrilla Gravity contends, lives up to its name—a bike designed to smash into and over anything in its path. To wit, the company is billing the Smash as the 29er version of their Megatrail model, with a leverage curve that is a bit softer off the top, yet supportive deeper in the travel for those high-speed, big-hit moments. Here’s the basic breakdown on the new bike, something we’ve cobbled together from the press release, since the new bike has yet to roll through our office doors.They Decided Not to Go Longer
While the Smash will play nice with forks boasting as much as 160mm of travel, the Smash frame offers up 140 millimeters of squish. Not 160 or 150 millimeters. 140. Yes, Guerilla Gravity could have gone longer. Many riders are expecting more rear travel these days, but the company says that they were purposefully trying to avoid what they see as ills of the long-travel 29 breed: long chainstays, excessively tall bottom brackets and slack actual seat angles.
Those are all laudable goals, though its worth noting that the Slash 29, Enduro 29er and Wreckoning (to name just a few models) aren’t exactly dogs when measured by that same yardstick. Nevertheless, the Guerrilla guys argue that quality of suspension trumps an extra 10 millimeters of squish.
“By really analyzing how the bikes use their travel and making fine tune adjustments to the leverage curve,” reads the press release, “it’s possible to have a slightly shorter travel bike that rides like a longer travel bike downhill, but is going to have a noticeable pedalling advantage uphill…. The Smash will be the ideal bike for riders that have relentlessly rocky and high speed terrain.”Steep Seat Tube Angles are a Big Deal with These Guys
Once upon a time, every seat angle listed on a geometry chart was an actual seat angle. This was back in the double-diamond frame days when a straight tube spanned the distance between your bottom bracket and saddle. Full-suspension designs, however, soon made straight, uninterrupted seat tubes something of a rarity, which is why geometry charts often list both actual and effective seat-tube angles. To determine the effective seat tube angle, you’re measuring the angle created by an imaginary straight line that runs from the center of the bottom bracket through the center of the saddle. Your seat tube could be bent or s-shaped or angled way the hell back, but the constant is this: We’re measuring what is effectively
the seat tube angle, as defined by the saddle’s location in relation to your bottom bracket. Got it? Nope? Someone on Reddit probably explained it better than me and even included a drawing with smiley faces. Moving on...
Two Different Suspension Modes: Crush and Plush
Some people, Guerrilla Gravity included, are not particularly keen on this concept and argue, for a variety of reasons, that the actual seat tube angle is still vitally important to a bike’s performance. In a nutshell, if your bike has a particularly slack actual seat tube angle, the effective seat tube angle and cockpit length differ significantly when the saddle is either slammed for descending or at max height for climbing.
Guerilla Gravity puts it this way: “The problem with effective numbers is that they are measured at the height of the top of the head tube and are only valid for one point in space. That point is usually closer to the saddle height used during descending than climbing, and hence, by itself, does not tell the full story. Typically, the steep effective angles use a slack actual angle with significant offset in front of the BB. This can mean even with a steep effective seat tube angle, when the saddle is at climbing height, it is still too far behind the BB. Then, on rolling terrain, lowering the saddle an inch or two makes for a noticeable change in cockpit length.”
For that reason, the new Smash is designed around a 73.5-degree actual (75.8-degree effective) seat tube angle, which the company claims allows for an upright, efficient climbing position at any saddle height.
As with other Guerrilla Gravity bikes, the Smash can be run in either “Crush Mode” or “Plush Mode.” The goal here is to allow riders to dial in the suspension platform that’s ideal for their local terrain. Per their press release: “Crush Mode has a more supportive mid-stroke for flow trails and all day trail rides, while Plush Mode is softest off the top, making it the go-to for plowing into rocks at mach-chicken.”
Riders can also choose between an air shock and coil shock. Guerilla Gravity says that designing a platform that works well with a coil shock was a priority given the bike’s “smash” vibe. As a general guideline, GG recommends running an air shock for a lighter weight trail setup and for those that don’t have exceptionally rocky or loose terrain, while a coil shock is ideal for those that prioritize small bump compliance and traction over weight. Nope, Carbon is Not Happening Here
Guerrilla Gravity is one of the few outfits designing and building bikes in the United States of America. Labor costs in the US of A being what they are, don’t expect anyone to offer a complete carbon fiber full-suspension frame made in Detroit or Des Moines at a price that any of us could dream of affording. The Smash, in short, is an aluminum affair, made in Guerrilla Gravity’s Denver facility.
Guerrilla Gravity is offering the Smash as a frame-only option or built up in several component kits that include parts from SRAM, Shimano, RockShox, Race Face, e13, DT Swiss, Industry Nine, SR Suntour, MRP, and Maxxis. Frames and build kits are customizable. Riders can choose the fork, shock, control components, brakeset, drivetrain, wheelset, and tires for each model.
• Frameset: $2095
• Ride 2 build: $3295
• Ride 1 build: $4295
• Race build: $5295 For specifics on build kits, go to RideGG.com/TheSmash-Build-Kits