Production Privée's Steel Full-Suspension Bike Might Last Forever - Taipei Cycle Show

Mar 21, 2017
by Mike Levy  
2017 Taipei Cycle Show


Taipei Cycle Show


Production Privée, the Andorra brand known for their steel hardtails that are often finished up in classic race car livery, debuted their first full-suspension bike today at the Taipei Cycle Show.

Damien Nosella, one of the minds behind the company's bikes, said that the 138mm-travel Shan Nº5 has been designed to retain the philosophy of their Shan hardtail, but in a more forgiving, all-around package. ''We’ve fully exploited our experience and expertise acquired since 2011 with our enduro hardtail range to develop this ultra-versatile bike,'' he said of the Nº5. ''We wanted the Shan N°5 to be an excellent performer, to be fun, simple, reliable, and with maintenance reduced to a strict minimum.''


Taipei Cycle Show
The new bike is built using chromoly tubing; it's not light, but it should last forever.
Taipei Cycle Show
The 'Bahama Yellow' paint job is a homage to Singer's re-imagined Porsche 911 in the UK.


As you'd expect, the new frame is build using chromoloy tubing, but Nosella did say that it wasn't a 'steel or nothing' sort of decision when he was designing the bike; they were open to using other materials. But, in the end, steel was the material of choice: ''We decided to go the 4130 CrMo route for the chassis. Since the advent of mechanical sports, CrMo chassis’d contraptions have been winning car and motorcycle races every weekend,'' Nosella said in the bike's press release. ''Steel is a magical material with impeccable strength and very high levels of elasticity and fatigue resistance. When used on a bike, incredibly high levels of tolerance and grip are obtained compared with an alloy or carbon chassis.''


Taipei Cycle Show
  A single-pivot layout and clevis-driven Fox shock delivers 138mm of travel.


The Nº5's 138mm of suspension travel is controlled by a single-pivot system and an aluminum yoke that drives a custom tuned, 210 x 55mm Fox shock. Nosella explained that while he could have penned some sort of wildly varying leverage rate that would have sounded fancy, he's gone with a linear progressive setup that he says is all about creating a predictable and easy to understand suspension system. The main pivot is sized the same as a Press Fit bottom bracket shell, with alloy cups and angular contact bearings that he said makes it reliable and easy to service.

And why did the bike end up with exactly 138mm of travel? ''This travel size was not chosen so as to meet the criteria of a specific category, but purely as a way of extracting the maximum amount of pleasure and performance out of the Shan N°5,'' he said of the middle of the road number.


Taipei Cycle Show
It's main pivot is sized the same as a Press Fit bottom bracket shell.
Taipei Cycle Show
The bolt-on forward shock mount has been carried over from the prototype.


So, what is the new Production Privee designed to do? A bit of everything it seems, which is a lot like their steel hardtail. Fork travel can sit anywhere between 140mm and 160mm (it has a 65.6º head angle with a 545mm fork length), it's compatible 27.5" and 27.5+ wheels, and the low seat tube will play nice with the new 170mm-stroke dropper posts. Nosella himself is currently running a 29'' front wheel and a 27.5+ back-end, a combo that probably makes for a quick but forgiving ride.


Taipei Cycle Show
A yoke helps to isolate the shock from torsional forces.
Taipei Cycle Show


The bare frame sans Fox shock is said to weigh a not too feathery 3.8kg, and the bike pictured here comes in at 14.8kg with its plus-sized rubber and pedals. Nosella stressed that reliability trumped low weight when he was listing out priorities, and that he wants Shan Nº5 owners never to have to worry.

A frame and Fox DPS shock will retail for 1,899 EUR when it's released to the public later in April, but only fifty frames will be built in the first production run. All of those frames will be finished in the 'Bahama Yellow' paint job, a homage to Singer, the legendary company that re-imagines Porsche's 964-chassis 911 cars.







155 Comments

  • + 224
 138mm of travel is all it takes to extract the maximum amount of pleasure? Gentlemen, we have our magic number.
  • + 12
 Good one.
  • + 82
 And that without bottoming out!
  • + 8
 That's what she said......as to not hurt your pride.
  • + 7
 @ProductionPrivee: uhhhh we're still talking about bicycles right?
  • + 9
 @gshep: No. Porsche
  • - 9
flag deeeight (Mar 22, 2017 at 10:38) (Below Threshold)
 For american women maybe... canadian women expect bigger.
  • + 31
 @deeeight: Expect it maybe...receive it, thats another story.
  • + 12
 As my fat mate always say "it does not matter how big the nail is, only the size of the hammer knocking it in"
  • + 13
 2 times 69 haha
  • + 56
 mmm prettiest single pivot I've seen in awhile. Absolutely no offense to orange or any other single pivot manufacturer I think their bikes look incredibly good as well but there's something about the thin, almost naked look of that chromoly rear triangle.
  • + 4
 Have you seen Starling bikes? The make these look fugly.
  • + 6
 @fartymarty: You have a point, the Starling is a lovely looking thing.
  • + 3
 I love Starling, but this one is cool too. This one reminds me of the Alutech ICB2.0 which Portus Cycles also makes in steel. That bike is cool, this one is equally cool. Starling is even simpler without the yoke. I like simple, but the yoke makes sense too to protect the shock.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: Joe McEwan knows his way around a bike, no doubt about that. Super nice guy too, and of course his are all custom jobs. He told me his own bike came in at 30 lbs all up.
  • + 1
 I want to like this bike but I just don't. The starlings on the other hand look incredible. Im not sure they'll make many after the initial run but I'd be happy to be wrong.
  • + 1
 Agreed. Loving the head tube.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: I am sorry, but have you seen Swarf Cycles? Their latest fully wins the best looking steel FS frame contest by a mile. And I think it also beats many plastic bikes with ease. Their attention to details like drop outs and internal cable routing ports is just purely pornographic.

www.facebook.com/SwarfCycles/photos/a.360419894038278.85452.360402967373304/1299828990097359/?type=3&theater
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Its a pity its a 29er but they seem to be on point build wise.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: damn that is nice. Sooooo clean it effortless. I'm seeing a resurgence in steel.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: the new Swarf is a very clean looking bike indeed.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: I just saw this thing on my FB feed. This is the most beatiful mountain bike I have ever seen. It's just so simple and beatiful... that it feels brutal. It's like, why has no one ever thought of this form. One day... I bet it costs more than my Antidote if HT starts at 1200
  • + 2
 @DokonjoDaikon: I've got a Murmur on order and cant wait until it arrives.
  • + 0
 @fartymarty: Just checked their website. Over £900 for a hardtail frame. Hmm haha.
  • + 3
 @isolationismdivision: Ummm... isn't Brexit supposed to bring jobs back home soooo... this is how much you pay for a mountain bike made in the motherland? Sooo... maybe a Brenter? Nah, forget it, go for AliExpress, you can't go wrong with them Big Grin
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I saw your comment... who cares about cost when you can ride something so elegant. Hopefully it rides as well as it looks which I am sure it will. You dont get that kind of attention to detail without it riding well.
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Don't be a douche. I could pay that much but i don't need to so i won't. Go elsewhere and pay less, simple really.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: i also was interested in the Starlings but found out they only offer a 1 year warranty which is far too short for an expensive bike these days. especially considering the are working with steel which they would say is supposedly more reliable. i'd be keen to hear what warranty production privee offer on these. its all well and good saying its more reliabale but there are plenty of aluminum and carbon frame manufacturers that offer 5 year guarantees on their work.
  • + 4
 @isolationismdivision: I want to be a douche. The best one out there, ever, on the bike internet. That is a Douché. I just pointed out how much stuff cost if made for decent money in decent conditions... in a way how you yourself would like to be paid for your work, whatever it is that you are doing. Haaa! look I am an a*shole for saying it! Who am I to tell you how to spend your money right? But... how about you sell me whatever you do for 50% cheaper aye? Are you sure that your work is worth what you ask for? Douche douche douche me. And you are fantastic indeed
  • + 0
 @bthomson84: good point but thats the beauty of steel is that it can be easily and cheaply repaired. Also what are the chances of something going wrong with a steel frame after you ride it for a year given you ride it hard.
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: Joe went fulltime -and has a currently closed waitinglist, so if he does not seriously fup there should be more. He is quiet chaotic though- so anything can happen i guess
  • + 1
 @bthomson84: dont be fooled, Joe offers great support and the frames are really important to him, so if something happens outside the first year i am sure he will sort something out for you.
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: sorry, meant the Shan no.5 not Starling.
  • + 2
 @optimumnotmaximum: yeah that's good to hear and i appreciate he is running a boutique hand built business which is to be admired. . but as someone who has snapped several frames from different companies over the years i need an assurance that they will just give me a new one if i break it within 3 years of handing over a stack of cash.
  • + 28
 Steel. Single pivot. External routing. Proper geo. The way God intended.
  • + 3
 Amem to that Big Grin
  • + 6
 Press fit bb alas :'(
  • + 18
 Nice to see that steel isn't dead. Fed up of seeing glorified plastic frames and bits everywhere so this is a breath of old school fresh air.
  • + 4
 True that. 2017 the year of steel!!!
  • + 20
 Somehow has the same drool effect that I get when looking at a chromag.
  • + 5
 I can't really picture Chromag doing a full-sus, but if they did it would probably look a lot like this.
  • + 3
 @ratedgg13: They did one,it didn't look this good.
  • + 1
 @rideonjon: It didn't make it past proto stage as I recall?
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: Yup i saw it in Whistler 6 years ago,testing in the bike park.
  • + 1
 @rideonjon: I googled pictures. Not what I was expecting from Chromag. Maybe just as well it never made it out of testing haha.
  • + 2
 @ratedgg13: Yah it was fugly,but it was an experiment.They seem to be doing well with their hardtails so no need for a dually.
  • + 2
 @rideonjon: True story. My next mtb will almost certainly be a Chromag hardtail. I'm definitely not looking for a full sus from them. They know their market, their niche and boy do they fill it well.
  • + 3
 @ratedgg13: Yah i'm on my second Rootdown,now i'm wanting a Surface.First world problems.
  • + 8
 Man. I haven't really considered steel up until this point. Quite a sexy bike.
  • - 10
flag gbcarmona (Mar 21, 2017 at 23:23) (Below Threshold)
 Consider Ti and your head will explode! In every department, better than this PP bike...or any really! Yes, it's expensive but worth it in the long run...oh, did I tell you I have a frame for half price on the sale section?!
  • + 5
 It does look awesome. I've had several steel hard tails, and there is no denying that they can have a fabulous feel which generally more than makes up for their added heft. Heck, I still own a Bontrager Race Lite, from when Bontrager actually made bikes. In Santa Cruz.

But I wonder if a steel framed full suspension bike still has the same magic as a hard tail? I'm not saying it doesn't, it's a question. It seems to me that if you put a pivot in the frame, that's going to make a huge difference in how it feels. Not sure if the qualities of the steel frame are still evident to the rider or not. Anybody tried one and have an opinion? I've ridden steel Slingshots back in the day, and loved them too. So maybe that answers my question.
  • + 4
 to answer your question: yes it can. I owned a cotic rocket where the difference is not very apparent -its very quiet though. now i own a starling and the feel and grip of that bike is something else. maybe the cotic has too many pivots to translate the feel, maybe its the alu chainstays -who knows
  • + 3
 @optimumnotmaximum: Interesting. The Cotics look pretty awesome (as does the Starling).
  • + 1
 @pinhead907: the cotic works good but i did not like the looks of the alu chainstays -they look unrefined, also the bearings initially had a slightly digital feeling -after 6 months some of them are very digital.to sum it up -it was good the starling is great, although the bearing /axle looks kind of small
  • + 7
 That's a really nice looking first effort
  • + 3
 4130. Back to where it all began. I'm curious about the frame price. I thought it'd be about 30% less. Oh well. Very nice bike. Only thing I'm not stoked on is the cable attachments and routing.
  • + 1
 Yeah that price is a bit steep to me as well. And I'm a PP fan, had the gen 1 Shan, and now riding the Oka
  • + 1
 @greddyvox: what do you think of the oka? I'm tempted...
  • + 5
 If the frame used expensive Reynolds then fair enough, but 4130 brings cost down.

I said this before and I wonder just how low pricing could get for a steel, single pivot frame (like a Starling,so no machined yoke or replacable shock mount to increase cost) if it was purchased in sufficient bulk and used 'off the shelf' machined parts that the manufacturer already makes (headtube, bottom bracket, dropouts, main pivot a bb shell etc) - Nothing fancy and with a simple Monarch RTC3.

Thing is, even if it wasnt too heavy, had great geometry, was cheap and strong people would likely snub such a product unless it had a 'cool' brand behind it.....
  • + 1
 @Racer951: i think if it looked classic and cool people would buy it -it would always be a niche product though. it also should have a coilshock like the new cc il coil. such a singlepivot is always very linear so the degressive springcurve of an airshock around sag will be a problem.
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: I agree with that and that it would be niche, which is really what a £2.8K carbon frame like a Santa Cruz or Yeti should be but that's just the way things are and also an example of how strong marketing forces are in mountainbiking - If Starling had not been raved about by the press I wonder how many would completely throw it out as an option based on it being steel and single pivot?

Using a shorter shock than perhaps typical can help, you get a larger change in shock angle and leverage ratio through the stroke then but it would be harder on bushings (unless you used a bearing mount but that would take away from the budget / simplicity of something like that)

For now - The Starling is the closest thing to what I am talking about, at £1500 I actually think it is a bargain for a UK made Reynolds frame, but do wonder about what a mass produced 4130 version could be built for.....
  • + 1
 @Racer951: one can dream -my starling actually has a shorter shock than regular to achieve the effect you mentioned (142mm travel of happynessSmile ). its about 1800 pounds by now i think. i did not really think about the bushing and the shock actually does not rotate much (a standard starling has a progression of about -10 mine has about + 4 -so the difference is not huge but i did not want a degressive frame
  • + 2
 @Racer951: santa cruz aren't niche. They are mass produced far eastern frames these days.
  • + 2
 @chrismac70: Thats what I meant, we were saying how realistically a steel single pivot if supplied at a low price point would be niche while a £2500 Santa Cruz etc is a mainstream option dispite the huge price difference.
  • + 2
 @kes2903: If you're new to steel hardtails, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise when hitting rough ground at speed. Especially compared to an alloy hardtail.

But if you are already familiar with the genre, seeing as you're from the UK, I'd say it pretty much performs as a steel hardtail should, great power delivery while taking up the hits without shaking you up too much.

Not much diff between the Gen 1 Shan and the Oka, since I overforked the Oka with the 150mm Pike from the Shan. Might be a bigger difference with the newest Shan due to revised angles. Steeper seat angle in particular might be noteworthy.
  • + 1
 @greddyvox: thanks for the info!
  • + 1
 The "feel" of this one is most curious.

We're all accustomed to "stiff here" and "sway here" in carbon variety frames.

I'd be interested to know how the back end of this tracks. Who knows, maybe a little lateral flex plus a "bob" in turns would feel special. Dig the front gusset too.
  • + 3
 The right steel definitely makes a difference. I've got a Cotic Bfe made from Reynolds 853. My previous bikes were hardtails and full sussers, all aluminium. The feeling from my Bfe is really something special, it springs and pops down the trail in a way that makes it as much fun/more fun than my 2011 Glory. It feels like it coils up in corners and pings me out of them, yet it also grips the trails. Could be my imagination but I doubt it. Aluminium hardtails just don't come close. I'd love to try full suss steel bike and see if the spring and pop would still be felt.
  • + 1
 @IrishTom: the type of steel makes no difference to how a bike rides, almost every steel available is as stiff as its counterpart.

What Reynolds do is make a very strong steel which allows them do draw thinner tubing while still being strong enough - this is what allows for 'spring' in a frame.

However, since the intro of modern testing most steel frames are now almost as stiff as alloy ones as they dont pass with the skinny stays which used to make them ride so well.

Stantons are nice and I imagine do help dampen the trail somewhat though, good tubing and design.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: That's interesting I thought the material was part of the feel but you're saying it's more about how the material is used. Should also say the geo on the Bfe is another factor, it's mint.

Never heard of Starling bikes till now but that 27.5 swoop is gorgeous and sounds like a hoot. This PP also looks super, maybe not in yellow though. Would love to see it in nardo grey.
  • + 1
 @IrishTom: Yea, all steels basically have the same modulus of elasticity so a 0.5mm wall 50mm 4130 tube will be as 'flexy' as a 0.5mm wall 50mm dia reynolds tube.

The beauty of higher grade tubing is it allows more extreme butting / thinner walls to be used due to its increased strength - this combined with the correct diameter gives the springy feeling.

From what i gather though it is gettig hard for steel frame manufactuers to take advantage of this as new test parameters mean they have had to increase chain and seatstay diameters - the hand built guys still use skinny tubes though being i believe exempt from the ruling.

As you say its all in the package and Stanton get it right all round.
  • + 5
 32# for a steel bike.
Curious.
  • + 1
 I really appreciate Production Privee as a company. Their hardtails are amazing. I own a Shan 27.5 and look forward to a Shan GT. I really can't say enough good about the hardtails...

BUT I'm not excited about a full suspension steel bike. Extra weight, for what benefit? Sure it may (or may not) last longer but, I'm just not "feeling it". It would be like if Enve started making carbon paperweights.
  • + 1
 IMO this is a really nice looking machine, that was built for all the right reasons that everyone seems to forget(durability, simplicity, easy to work on). Not sure about the bolt on shock mount though. Bolts have a tendency to loosen, and I am not sure thats something I would want to worry about . I am sure they know what they are doing , but I would rather see it welded .
  • + 2
 I don't really get why you'd want a more forgiving heavier material on a bike that squishes, especially one that goes up too. Maybe it's magic, but I'd have to try.
  • + 4
 29'' front wheel and a 27.5+ back-end - This could be magic for hardtails.
  • + 1
 Maximum amount of pleasure? Please, obviously they've never ridden a 160mm trail rig. We need a long term reliable enduro rig not made of plastic and big wheels are okay too.
  • + 3
 I must say from a mechanics stand point that frame would be so much nicer to work with than aluminum or carbon
  • + 1
 Looks beautiful but....,,, it sucks bigtime on teo items.. No proper waterbottle mount and a pressfit BB... Would still love to try one though. I like the abilitu to mount 29 inch wheels...
  • + 0
 I got a hairline crack that turned into a spiral fracture around the downtube on my 853 Reynolds tubed cotic, although that was after 7 years and using too long 160mm forks. And guess what, even with a torn downtube the frame didn't collapse and I made it home
  • + 3
 Again with the press fit bottom bracket.
  • + 1
 Big front wheel and small rear wheel is old news too... I had a Cycletech in 1990 which had a 26 inch front wheel and a 24 inch rear wheel.... :-)
  • + 4
 Press fit. Why?
  • + 2
 cheaper manufacturing presumably
  • + 2
 A bit confused, it's 27.5 and 27.5+? Not 29 and 27.5+?

I'd love to ride this as a 29er if it takes that!
  • + 2
 Simple dependable and versitile. As in a 29 inch wheel up front and a 27.5 in the back. Sweet!
  • + 2
 Might last for ever......... but only warrantied for 2 years. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Shows faith in your product.
  • + 0
 On the subject of steel dual squishies, this one here looks pretty darn interesting www.bikerumor.com/2017/03/21/nahbs-2017-portus-goes-enduro-racing-with-166mm-travel-steel-fast-karl
  • + 2
 What's the matter with your DJ MC Shan? On the wheels of steel Marley sucks.
  • + 2
 i prefer this than carbon things...
  • + 2
 It looks like the perfect bike, I'm in love
  • + 2
 I take it the frame is made in Taiwan?
  • + 1
 Read the article and find out?
  • + 1
 censorship...? That's kinda bullshit PB
  • + 1
 Not sure what you're talking about - no comments have been removed. The below threshold comments can be seen at the bottom if you click on the link to show them. These comments have been down voted past the threshold by readers.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: I sure know how the down vote works ! Smile It's not that. So I guess there must have been a glitch?

My comment does not show up. (searched for my username on the page, both of the comment modes; score, time. It does not come up. Yesterday my comment was in my dashboard, I followed it back here as it said there were 7 more replies in that thread. But it did not come back to the post in the thread? At first I thought maybe it never did that and I was remembering wrong? Which is why I did the search for my username to find the post. But notta. And to the best of my knowledge that thread is gone too. I searched for several key words that were from discussion in that thread and nothing turns up.

Today my comment does not show up in my Dashboard, but there is the reply. Click that and it comes back to the article, but again not to the comment. So I copied and pasted text from the comment and it does not come up in the search? I the searched for the username of the person who replied to me and I can see their replies to other threads on the page. But not the one in my dashboard...?

Could it be that the thread got to rowdy and was axed???

Anyway, thanks for the article nonetheless...
  • + 1
 @stiingya: Hhmm, that does sound like a glitch. We do sometimes delete comment threads of they get out of hand and way off topic, but that's not the case with this article. Awhile back we had an issue where comments made on one article were showing up on a different one instead - not good. Please post your original comment again and let us know if there are issues.

Mike
  • + 1
 Damn frame is clean looking. Solid lines.
  • + 1
 so good yellow steel)) i want this bike))
  • - 3
 It is beautiful bike, but it won't last forever. After some time (months) force from shock via front mount will slightly bend downtube forward and down. Unless it is from very thick steel (more than 1mm) which is probably not Smile It needs another, (even small) strut paralel to shock connected to seat tube. My friend framebuilder makes similar custom frames for 20 years and have it tested.
  • + 6
 Did you notice the additional gusset or plate under the shock's front mount? Look closely at the pictures...
  • + 0
 @weedan: I see it, but such a small gusset won't help much unless it would be very long. It is there probably only because tube walls are too thin for welding shock mount directly. I'm talking about bending whole downtube front to rear - couple of milimetres, not much visible by eye - think shape of a bow.
  • + 2
 Actually it does last forever I checked, I own a time machine and went 10 million years into the future
  • + 1
 29'' front wheel and a 27.5+ back-end now this IS interesting....
  • + 0
 So the bike comes with an infinite time warranty then, regardless of the original ownership?
  • + 0
 Beautifull but,
is it just me? or is there no dropper cable?
not keen on the rear mech cable on top of the chainstay
  • + 2
 If you look at the close up pic of the rear pivot, you can see the hole and the grommet in it...but curiously no cable running through it, despite being setup with a stealth dropper...

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14531332
  • + 1
 @blaklabl: oh yeah! Smile
  • + 1
 drooling
  • - 1
 aluminum bikes are cheaper and ligher than ever so why ride a full suspension made of steel? pointless
  • + 0
 Depends on the type of steel. Depends on the end goal of the product. Depends on your budget.
  • + 0
 @jordanchaos: I think Seel ir real for dirt jump and street but for a full suspension nooooo. too heavy. if you don't have the money to buy a cheap aluminum full suspension so go ride a good hard tail.
Steel full suspension bikes are thing of the past
  • + 1
 @mudmandhbrazil: I'm not totally sure you understand why these brands are using steel. It's not because it's cheap. It's because it's the best material for the application that it was designed for. I don't want to cast assumptions on your knowledge of metals. If steel suspension bikes are a thing of the past. Why are so many people buying them? Why are so many manufacturers developing them ?
  • + 1
 *Race car
  • + 4
 Dammit. Maximum jetlag right now. Good catch.
  • + 1
 a quick *by forgiving ride
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: well done nonetheless!
  • + 0
 Oh, and that main pivot! XL. Sweet.
  • + 0
 I would tottaly be interested in one of these!
  • + 1
 Gulf colours please PP
  • + 0
 Privee-slang for outhouse.Cable routing confirms.And I'm a fan of steel.
  • + 0
 That's certainly a looker!
  • + 0
 29" front 27.5"+rear... I like it.
  • + 0
 That bike is nice.
  • - 1
 I love it i love it i love it. Everything about it.
  • - 3
 you should have a look at the frame i have for sale here...better in every aspect IMHO
  • + 1
 @gbcarmona: I can't believe you are selling the Hex
  • + 0
 Beautiful.
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