As suspension quality and geometry evolve, more and more riders are moving away from relatively long-travel bikes and towards machines that manage to do the same - or more - with less. With their brand new, 120mm-travel Trail Pistol, Colorado's Guerrilla Gravity is aiming to join the list of bikes that may be short on travel but not short on abilities. 27.5+ or 29" Wheels
Guerrilla Gravity says that the Trail Pistol is ready for either 27.5+ or 29'' wheels thanks to its adjustable geometry, and they've also moved away from the linkage-activated single pivot layout employed on their previous bikes to a Horst Link system.
The aluminum Trail Pistol is welded in Denver, Colorado, and a frame and shock retail for $2,195 USD; complete builds start at $2,995 and top out with the 'Race build' at $5,495.
Trail Pistol Details
• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Rear wheel travel: 120mm
• Wheel size: 27.5+ or 29''
• 66.6º head angle w/ 130mm fork
• Adjustable geometry for wheel size
• Frame material: aluminum
• Metric shock sizing
• 148mm Boost hub spacing
• Universal Syntace derailleur hanger
• Weight: 6.3lbs (frame w/ shock, claimed)
• MSRP: $2,195 USD (frame w/ Deluxe RT3), $2,995 - $5,495 USD (complete bikes)
The latest plus-sized setups offer distinct enough performance when compared to 29" wheels that it makes sense for them to be offered as an option, and like a few other companies out there, Guerrilla Gravity has designed their new machine to accept either wheel size by way of two geometry settings. ''The idea here is that plus tires are best for less aggressive riding and therefore should be paired with a less aggressive mode,'' GC's Will Montague explained of their reasoning before going on to say, ''to be sure, both modes are still aggressive by industry standards, though.'' The Trail Pistol in 'Plush' mode with 27.5+ tires and less progressive suspension.
Guerrilla Gravity is aiming for consistency in handling between the two options: both modes are said to maintain the same bottom bracket height, and Montague also said that no fork swapping is necessary, which makes it reasonable to actually own and use both kinds of wheelsets so long as the tire clearance up front is acceptable.
'Plush Mode' is designed for wider 27.5+ tires that are going to be ridden at lower pressures, and it offers up a 1º steeper head angle (67.8º with a 120mm fork) that's paired with a less progressive suspension rate than the slacker option. So, quicker handling and a more linear (but not linear) suspension rate. Want to mix and match wheel size and geometry settings? ''Riders looking to run 29er wheels can still run Plush Mode if they'd like a slightly more linear suspension platform and slightly less aggressive geo,'' said Montague of not being locked into either setting.
'Crush Mode' combined with 29'' wheels provides a slightly slacker head angle (67.0º with a 120mm fork), but maybe more noteworthy, a suspension rate that ramps up quicker than when the bike is set to the more forgiving geometry option. A slot just under the rocker link allows a Velcro (or ski) strap to be run through the frame to hold a tube or other supplies in place.
There is said to be loads of tire clearance regardless of if the rider is in Plush or Crush mode, with Guerrilla Gravity saying that there is room for 29'' x 2.6'' rubber and 27.5'' x 3.0'' rubber. ''Both are actual measurements,'' the company says, ''not claimed, since all tire manufacturers seem to use a different ruler.''From Single Pivot to Horst Link
Up until now, Guerrilla Gravity's full-suspension bikes have all used a linkage-activated single pivot layout the company has referred to as a ''highly refined suspension platform that eliminates unnecessary complication.'' This was put to use on both the 150 - 160mm travel Megatrail and the 195 - 205mm travel GG/DH, but they've gone in a different direction and used a Horst Link design for the 120mm Trail Pistol. They're calling it 'Freedom Linkage,' and Montague said that the name is both a nod to their American-made ethos, as well as how their bikes are ''free from the bullshit. Our suspension designs are incredibly refined, without being complicated or gimmicky.'' Flip the chip to switch between Plush mode (27.5+ wheels) and Crush mode (29'' wheels).
Why the change in design? ''Marketing, mostly,'' Montague says in the most straightforward way possible about the way that other companies tout their own designs as being able to allow riders to go faster while curing everything from club foot to cancer. ''There's a perception perpetuated by other manufacturers that the type of platform used is what creates ride qualities, but this is smoke and mirrors at its finest. It really comes down to the execution of a platform, where the suspension points are located,'' he went on to say.
In other words, Montague is saying that it's not the suspension design used, but how the suspension design is used.
But if that's the case, why not stick with their long-proven single pivot system? ''Most platforms can be made to ride well, or ride poorly. So it came down to this: riders want a Horst Link bike. Can we make ours ride as well as our single pivot design? The answer was yes, so we rolled with it. On paper, the Freedom Linkage does brake 8% better, which is a noticeable improvement to only the most discerning of riders.''
''Our design goal for suspension layouts is this: create the best performing suspension in the least complicated package.''
Three of the four shock options will come from RockShox, with the frame or complete bikes shipping to customers with either a Deluxe R, Deluxe RT3, or a Super Deluxe RC3 bolted in place. If you have a bit more coin to spend, you can have your Trail Pistol with Push's ElevenSix, although the delivery date for the shock, which is also manufactured in Colorado, is still a ways out.