Mojo Suspension and Chris Porter have a history of ruffling feathers: Remember the PVC style skinsuits that popped up at the Fort William World Cup in 2008? Technology taken from ski racing that gave two team riders their best results ever? What about strapping lead weights to his racer's bikes to improve the sprung - unsprung mass ratio? More recently, Chris has been seen riding chopped out monster bikes with crazy angles and even racing an EWS with FOX 40 downhill forks on his bike. After years of testing and timing, Chris has put his money where his mouth is, and in conjunction with Nicolai, the 'GeoMetron' has been born. The black beast is now available through his Mojo Suspension Centre in South Wales, so I headed down to Risca to ride and get the low-down direct from the source.
GeoMetron customers have various build options, starting from a frame kit with custom-tuned Fox Float X or X2 shock, for £2100 GBP, to a top-range complete build for £6700 GBP. For that price, you're not only getting a bike. Included with your complete build is a full day of testing and tuning with Mojo, where you can try a choice of frame sizes, tires, damper tunes, handlebar widths, gear ratios and anything else you might fancy. Once you have decided on all of the above, Mojo will build your fresh frame up to your personal spec's and include two pairs of wheels (Crossmax SL and Crossmax XL) for different riding styles. Plus - if you're not happy - you can keep going back to Mojo to try different options until you are - an unparalleled service in the mountain bike industry.
• Intended use: all-mountain/enduro, going insanely fast.
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Rear-wheel travel: 150mm
• Fox 36 fork and Float X or X2 shock - custom tuned.
• Welded aluminum frame
• 77° seat angle
• 62-63.5° head angle, dependent upon shock and fork length.
• Sizing: Long, Longer, or Longest
• ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
• MSRP: £5200-£6700 ($8150-$10,500 approx
) dependent upon build kit and service package.
• Contact: Mojo Nicolai GeoMetron
All Nicolai frames are 100-percent hand-built in Lübbrechtsen, Germany. Nicolai say this helps them to create some of the best bikes in the world as design to final test riding can all be performed under one roof. The tubes are cut and welded, dropouts and links are machined, frames are straightened, painted and assembled then shipped worldwide. The GeoMetron sports a ZS 44/56 tapered head tube, a 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket surrounded by ISCG 05 chain guide tabs, a PM 180mm brake mount and a 142mm x 12mm rear axle.
It's all in the details.
A custom tuned Float X shock with an EVOL air can.
Replaceable drop outs and hanger.
More hand-crafted goodness.
The GeoMetron is a result of a lifetime of fiddling, testing and timing from Chris. After years of running a race team, the crucial measure is the stopwatch. Every angle, setting and detail has been timed and tested to find what he thinks is the fastest recipe on the market. So what is the GeoMetron all about? It's the longest bike on the market, and Chris says his personal bike is the longest mountain bike ever made with a limo-like wheelbase of 1370mm. He also says that, against the clock, it's the fastest bike they have taken down the 'Mojo Test Track' (and several) others between the legs of three different riders and pitched against many other bikes time and time again. He was also keen to point out that the Mojo track is one of the tightest and twisty in the area but the biggest bike still shone through.
The geometry certainly is extreme but as current trends continue to get lower, longer and slacker Chris says "Why not keep going!" The head angle sits between 62° and 63.5° with rear-wheel travel between 145mm and 155mm. The seat angle is around 77° and the bottom bracket height drops around 17mm below the axles. On my 'Longest' test bike, the wheelbase was 1320mm. Why such vague values? Your GeoMetron will be built with different fork travel, fork offset and shock length, dependent upon your riding style and favorite terrains.
The GeoMetron's Suspension Explained
The GeoMetron uses a basic design taken from a Nicolai ION 16 bike. A four bar linkage using a Horst-style pivot, with a solid, CNC machined rocker link to drive the customized shock. Of course the kinematic isn't just lifted from the standard ION, the pivot placement and leverage curve has been tweaked to give certain anti-squat ratios and progression. Chris built my bike with a Fox 36 fork set at 180mm. This was to raise the front end and slacken out the head angle even more in to the 62° degree range. He also built the fork using a crown/steerer assembly from a 26" travel Fox 36 fork, which has a shorter offset than the 27.5" version, meaning the steering feel will quicken slightly to offset the lag given by the slacker head angle.
Chainring size is also considered for suspension set-up. Decided not by leg power but by the required level of anti-squat for the rider and style. My bike was built with a 36t chainring, which raises the chain in comparison to the main pivot. This was chosen to suit my riding style - I try to pump to create speed more than pedaling through rough sections, and care more about going downhill fast than speeding up hills.
Being the UK's FOX distribution and service center for the last two decades, the damping should be the jewel in the crown. Suspension will be tuned to your riding style using air pressure, volume spacers, shim stacks, oil weights and whatever other 'Suspension Hoodoo' they have up their sleeves.
Climbing: I often find that being a tall rider on L or XL frame sizes with modern, short chainstays that my mass is too far over the rear axle when climbing. This can lead to an overly saggy rear and a wandering front end. The GeoMetron solves this 'lanky riders' issue with the super steep 77° seat angle, combined with the long-ish 445mm chainstay and the elongated front triangle that moves your mass into a more central position between the wheels and reduces the wheelie effect. This was taken even closer to the extreme by the saddle being slammed as far forward as possible on the rails, even the seat clamp had seen and angle grinder at some point to gain couple of extra millimeters forwards. As for the strange looking seat angle - this bike is designed for going up and then down, on steep climbs it's more comfortable than it looks.
I rode the bike for two full days, only at the end of which, I realized that not once had I felt the need to reach for the compression lever. Normally I feel the need to stiffen the compression in order to keep the bike sitting high at the rear and give better climbing geometry. Admittedly I never got in to any super-technical climbs, but trail center hairpins were manageable and however steep the incline I was more centered and comfortable than anything else I have ridden.
Descending: When turning back down the hill a change of riding style is required. If you're used to hanging off the back off your bike like Fairclough, or getting your weight back for the steep stuff, a massive, high speed accident is more than likely. A more central riding position is required, and when conquered magic things can happen. You can charge down steeps in a neutral riding position with plenty of front end grip and braking traction, without the fear of going out the front door. The massive wheel base makes front to rear weight distribution a cinch on flat corners and long camber - subtle fore to aft movements can gain grip at one end or the other. A short travel downhill machine, and possibly a bike that would out-descend many true downhill bikes.
Suspension: The customized suspension has next to zero breakaway and the support in the fork mixed with the super slack head angle leads to no noticeable dive at the front end even on steep, stepped switchbacks. As mentioned previously, being tall makes life difficult with seat angles but another problem I face is weighing 72kg, but riding fairly hard and having a downhill and BMX background where pumping and driving the bike in to compressions and corners is the norm. What does this mean? It's hard to get suspension supple enough for small bump compliance and grip, but also progressive enough for the big hits (RockShox suspension offerings over the last few years with Bottomless tokens have been a godsend).
The takeoff is behind that tree, and I went waaay too deep, missing the landing and just about holding on to the barge. Suspension? Ten millimeters of travel left at either end.
The custom tune from Mojo also solved this - meaning I could run 30-percent sag and get great support thanks to volume spacers and valving. In fact the suspension progression is unlike anything I have felt on any other air suspended bikes - Here's the proof: Going straight in to our photoshoot on the first run, I overshot a big hip jump, going about 45 feet out and 15 down pretty much to flat and just about holding on at my limit of strength and range of motion; my chin was almost on the stem and crown jewels on the top tube. The result was exactly 10mm of suspension travel left at each end. I suggested to Chris that it should have bottomed out here and his response was, "If you did bottom out when you where that close to blowing up, the extra impact of hitting the bottom-out stops might have sent you past your limit."
|I remember saying to a friend in 2007, "why doesn't somebody just make a six-inch travel trail bike with downhill geometry, that you could pedal up the hill?" Eight years later and this is what we have! The GeoMetron is the ideal machine for people who want to get to the top in their own time, then challenge the downhillers' on the way back down. The customized suspension is sublime, with initial breakaway unnoticeable. Progression is unreal from the air units, not even bottoming out when overshooting a huge jump, even though I was sitting well in to the travel with 30-percent sag. The cockpit isn't as enormous as it looks, with the longest size having the exact same bottom bracket to handlebar measurement as my XL Specialized Enduro, bearing in mind different stem lengths and stack heights. The support offered by the fork and the super slack head angle means I could load, and charge at the front end whatever situation I was in and keep it under control. The GeoMetron is a bit futuristic, but take the time to get used to the geometry and you'll be having a blast. - Paul Aston|
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The latest addition to the Pinkbike Technical team, Paul Aston is a racer and dirt-jumper at heart. Previously competing in World Cup DH, now he's attacking Enduro and has been since before it was fashionable. Based in the UK, but often found residing in mainland Europe allows him to experience a huge variety of terrains and trails.Stats: Age: 29 • Height: 6'1” • Ape Index: +4" • Weight: 161lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: Rockwell Watches