Suba Cycles' Flow is a High-Pivot Steel Creation from Spain

Dec 5, 2023
by Jessie-May Morgan  
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Benjamin Caperan is the French proprietor of Suba Cycles, based in Barcelona, Spain. An industry life-timer, Benjamin has been involved in steel bicycle design for many a year, having had a hand in the creation of some Jeronimo Cycles and Nordest bicycles. For the past 3 years he's been fabricating custom-geometry hardtails, each featuring a characteristic compliance-bestowing bend in the seat stays.

More recently, he has turned his attention to full suspension frame design. First out the door is the Suba Cycles Flow, a long-travel linkage-driven high single-pivot bike. It's a very versatile frame that allows for both 29" and MX wheel configurations, with multiple geometry adjustments on the table. Multiple travel lengths, too, by virtue of the three sets of links available.
Suba Cycles Flow Details

• Steel frame
• 29" or MX wheels
• 150-170mm fork
• 138-170mm rear wheel travel
• Gearbox or traditional drivetrain
• Rear-center lengths: 446mm or 456mm or 466mm
• Sizes: S, M, L & XL
• Claimed weight: 18.5 kg (~41 lbs) - Large
• Price: 2,960 € (Frame Only) / 4,480 € (with Pinion Smart Shift Gearbox)
subacycles.com

The Suba Cycles Flow is not short on points of interest. On top of the geometry adjustments and three different travel configurations, prospective customers also have options when it comes to the drivetrain. Thanks to its Universal Transmission Cradle, the Suba Flow can accommodate a traditional derailleur-equipped drivetrain (with a proprietary hanger), a gearbox such as the Pinion SmartShift, or it can be set up as a humble singlespeed.

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All components of the Flow frameset are sourced within Europe. The frame's steel tubing is a mix of 853 and 525 from Reynolds, and T45. The CNC machined parts are made in France, while the fabrication and final assembly is performed by Benjamin in Barcelona.

Geometry & Travel Configurations

Benjamin is offering the Suba Flow in three travel configurations, each running the same base frame but with varying sets of dog-bone links and shock dimensions. Rear wheel travel is slightly reduced on the S & M frames as compared to the L & XL, owing to the latter running a shock with 2.5mm added stroke length.

Rear-center length can be varied, too. There are three stock chainstay lengths to choose from; 446mm, 456mm and 466mm, by virtue of interchangeable dropout chips. In a bid to keep things somewhat proportional, Benjamin recommends longer stays on the L & XL frames.

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The AM model is a full 29er. The two smaller frame sizes are equipped with a 205mm x 57.5mm shock, damping 138mm rear wheel travel. The larger sizes run a 60mm stroke, increasing travel to 145mm. That's paired with a 150mm fork.

The EN model is also a complete 29er. Complementing its 160mm fork is 152mm rear wheel travel on the S & M sizes, with 159mm on the L & XL.

The EN MAX is the longest travel configuration. Here, the S & M frames are intended for a 29"/27.5" setup, with a 205mm x 65mm shock for 159mm rear wheel travel. The larger frames are intended as full 29ers, with a 225mm x 70mm shock damping 170mm travel.

Seat tube angles vary between 77° and 78°, and head tube angles vary between 63.4° and 65.1°. Benjamin is able to offer riders various Works Components angle sets, allowing for head tube angles +/-2° beyond what is seen in the geometry chart below.

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Kinematic

The Suba Flow is a single-pivot affair. As the rear wheel is displaced, a pull link pivotally connected to the front of the lengthy swingarm pulls on a shorter link connected to the front triangle. This shorter link drives the rear shock. It results in a rather progressive leverage curve; the EN MAX has a high starting ratio of 3.15, finishing up just north of 2 at full compression.

That high main pivot means the rear axle tracks an almost exclusively rearward path, but it does of course necessitate an idler pulley positioned close by to keep chain growth in check.

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With the gearbox, anti-squat is relatively high around sag at 116%, giving the bike a tendency to sit up out of its travel under pedal-induced acceleration. In my experience, that can be a good thing in steep climbing scenarios, helping to keep the seat angle steep and some weight on the front wheel.

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The Suba Flow with a more traditional drivetrain

Another point of interest on the Suba Flow is its employment of a floating brake arm, put in place to change how the suspension behaves under hard braking. In its absence, anti-rise would sit at around 130%, giving the linkage a tendency to compress the shock under braking. The floating brake arm lowers that number dramatically, to around 50% at sag, altering the behavior such that the shock will extend, bringing the bike up and out of its travel under braking.

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Benjamin intends to open up pre-order for the Suba Flow in the next few weeks. Frame alone price is set at 2,960 €, going up to 4,480 € with the Pinion Smart Shift Gearbox. He also plans to offer custom geometry for those who want, though within the constraints of the downtube rocker anchorage, the seat tube's main pivot location, and the lower shock mount position - i.e. the bits that dictate the bike's kinematic. The custom option will come at a surcharge of around 450 €.

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Author Info:
jessiemaymorgan avatar

Member since Oct 26, 2023
40 articles

129 Comments
  • 69 0
 I love these kinds of bike checks. So much to look at. Every time I think I understand what's happening, I see something new.
  • 41 1
 Did you see the flux capacitor on it.
  • 2 1
 @Azrocktester: First thing I noticed.
  • 9 4
 They had me at “gearbox”… then I saw what a hot mess these bikes are. Really cool to look at nonetheless.
  • 8 1
 @gnarlysipes: gearbox should simplify a bike. Then they went and added complexity like I have never seen before.
  • 2 1
 @Azrocktester: first thing i noticed was the reciprocating re-capitulator...
  • 6 5
 @s100: What are you talking about, its a single pivot, with a linkage driven shock,
no more complicated than a horst link bike...or a pretty much any other link driven single pivot.
  • 2 1
 @gnarlysipes: What is the hot mess youre talking about?
  • 3 0
 @onawalk: I think you know exactly what he’s talking about.

This one’s similar to the Dave weagle linkage on evil bikes but with the high pivot, gearbox and steel frame it all looks even more complicated.
  • 9 3
 @blackthorne: Its no more complicated than 85% of current suspension designs out there.
Honestly, I really dont understand you lot at all.
Soon as a bike comes along that isnt a Session or clone of some sort
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: Same ammount of suspension pivots and same ammount of pulleys compared to something conventional with a dreallieur. The only thing you could call more complicated is the floating brake.
I guess as soon as it looks busy or uncoventional it's complicated Wink
  • 3 2
 @onawalk: plus a rod going to the brake? Plus wire springs plus headtube reinforcements.
  • 1 0
 Comment of the Year.
  • 3 1
 @s100: Take a look at the last 4 pics, more refined swingarm, no spring on the idler pulley. Does that ease the complication for you?
Maybe youre a bit new this, but therees nothing more going on here than pretty much any other full suspension bike. Carbon bikes just have the headtube junction reinforced with more weaves and layers, and alloy bikes typically have the area welded up as well.

The rod going to the brake if a floating rear disc, you know, similar to early 00's Konas....theres nothing complicated going on here
  • 1 0
 @Azrocktester: the redebigulator is amazing!
  • 41 1
 Many thanks for the words, this little push is much appreciated. Next is a real field test I guess: any interest Europe, let us know as we are currently building a little fleet for this purpose.
  • 29 0
 Looks like a modern iteration of a Brooklyn Machine Works - I wanna see it getting hucked down some rocks in Central Park.
  • 8 0
 Looks like it might weigh less than one of those old BMWs though. Smile
  • 5 0
 As soon as I saw this, I thought of Brooklyn machine works as an owner of one immediately thought this is a modern day version
  • 3 0
 @FatTonyNJ: 41 lbs - yeah, this is a lightweight relative Smile
  • 3 0
 Funny story, when I worked at a bike shop in Manhattan Joe came in with a BMW and was showing it to my co-worker I walk over not knowing who Joe is and say, this shit is needlessly over complicated. Let's just say Joe didn't take it too well. lol
  • 2 0
 @ohbmxer: I am picturing Robert Dinero in Taxi Driver.."You talkin' to me, you talkin' to me, Well I'm the only one here. Who the fxxx do you think you're talking to?"
  • 5 0
 @RadBartTaylor: He just looked at me in awe like, "who the f*ck is this rando that just criticized my life's work?" I felt bad after knowing it was him. Frown
  • 3 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Robert Dinero.
Lol
  • 16 0
 It looks like Wall E threw up a drivetrain.
  • 3 0
 Yea, like idea but keeping that clean is something other worldly
  • 10 0
 subaru drivers queueing already
  • 12 2
 Belt belt belt belt belt
  • 9 1
 I'd rather have a chain than a belt drive. Belts suck in the mud and can't be repaired on the trail.
  • 6 6
 @WalrusRider: Belts don't "suck in the mud" any more than a chain, BUT belts are better in the mud when you consider that derailleurs do suck in the mud.

That said, I'm riding a belt now, but my next Pinion will be chain for simplicity, reparability, and reduced friction.
  • 5 0
 @sanchofula: Belts do suck in the mud... it gets stuck underneath the teeth, has no where to go and increases the belt tension. I tried really hard to like my belt drive, but it just kind a never worked properly... chain in the mud however, totally fine. I'll take compromised shifting over a thrown belt any day.
  • 2 0
 It must depend on the consistency. My belt has been great in the mud, it clears it all, and a quick spray with my water bottle at the end of the ride and it's clean again.
  • 2 0
 I'd prefer chain over belt. My belt-driven Zerode gets better the wetter and muddier the conditions are... but in dry conditions it squeals like crazy within 2-3 hours of riding, even after a fresh "lube" with the reccomended silicone spray.
  • 5 0
 That tensioner spring on the Pinion version with the high tensioner is not adequate, is that a prototype or the final iteration
  • 1 0
 I don't want to knock something where someone's put a lot of effort in to create something really cool. But yeah, that spring...
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: Not contesting or anything, but how come? Couldn't it just be a wear item?
  • 1 0
 @RadioactiveBurrito: that type of exposed spring is prone to damage IME. A rear mech is being asked to do a similar tensioner task, and has a torsion spring on a shaft, which is much better protected and less ugly
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: fair enough. I immediately thought of a rear brake setup on a motorcycle. It uses a similar spring setup
  • 3 0
 good catch and sorry for this "quick fix": we are working on an integrated spring of course, I needed a temporary solution to get all other points on the bike reviewed before settling in. Think multiple chainlines: with a 30T in the back when gearbox is on, a 16T for bipepark SS set up and a 10/50 casssette too, that's already a lot to work on. The next iteration will have the capacity to digest the 3 different CS values, a dust proof cap too.
  • 3 0
 @mountainsofsussex: it is ugly, apologies, but working for now. As a small company, we have to be cautious on priorities and sometimes the look of the package is seconf to its function. Stay tune, the next version is encapsulated in the upper pulley axle.
  • 3 0
 @SUBAcycles: you've designed, built, and brought to market a really interesting bike. I haven't. So I am deeply impressed by what you've done! I'd have probably done something similar in that situation too (I'm a real engineer, not an armchair one)
  • 3 0
 @SUBAcycles: PS you're one of the few companies doing what I'm sure is the right thing by having that lower idler tucked up nice and high, to maximise chain wrap and keep that lower span under control
  • 2 0
 I like it. It looks functional. And frankly, super easy to just carry a spare in the ride kit and very easy (and cheap) to replace should it fail on a ride. I'd probably just order one spare with the bike tbh. An insignificant cost overall.
  • 2 0
 @Hydrophobic: yeah honestly, I don't see the need to over-engineer a spring. Like I said in a different bit, dirt bikes use a spring attached to the rear brake. It's been like that for decades, and I've never had an issue with them. It might be possible to get a "better looking" spring that would convey the quality the rest of the bike has, but otherwise, I see no issue.
  • 1 0
 @Hydrophobic: might as well stay like this you're right, but a coiled spring around the idler pulley will be neater. We are not too concerned with mud here in Spain, but right now i could see some issue with this spring being cogged in mud.
  • 3 0
 Love the innovation here. A lot of good ideas from other bikes in the past all starting to come together on one bike. Really cool. I hope to see more revisions of this brand in the future. I'm currently in the process of building up a Zerode belt drive bike. Look forward to riding.
  • 3 0
 That looks interesting, & actually pretty good value too, considering the amount of work that’s gone into the design, the versatility on offer + the fact it’s from a small scale builder.
  • 2 0
 116% antisquat is quite normal and will not make the bike "sit up" under pedaling, for what it's worth.

Pedal jack is something nobody wants no matter how steep the climb is, but you have to go really crazy with high antisquat to accomplish it.
  • 2 0
 When I see this kind of thing I think of early DH bikes like the v10 and the like. I take that as a good thing because if they evolve in a similar fashion then we will be seeing pretty rad bikes in the future.
  • 2 1
 "[anti-rise] around 50% at sag, altering the behavior such that the shock will extend, bringing the bike up and out of its travel under braking"

50% anti-rise alone won't extend the suspension. It simply counters half the weight shift experienced relative to rear brake force. It's the weight shift that _allows_ the suspension to extend, it's not forced by the less than 100% anti-rise. If you suspended the bike in a stand, removed the shock, got the rear wheel up to speed, and pulled the brake, it wouldn't shoot towards extension, as implied here.

And no matter the anti-rise, the suspension will be allowed to extend under front-only braking, so the end of that sentence could use some clarity to specify it's the rear braking force that anti-rise effects.
  • 2 0
 This entire industry thinks sub-100% anti-rise will behave like negative anti-rise..

Google search "what is anti rise" and read the bikerumor article where "engineers" talk about anti-rise. It is so cringe
  • 1 0
 @skimgosu: it's even sometimes similar with anti-squat: folks will claim that sub-100% AS acts like negative AS and actively pulls the suspension towards compressed.

Very cringe.
  • 1 0
 Steel frame, gearbox, floating brake arm. 18,5kg really? C'mon, give us the real weight, not the claimed weight! BTW, I once owned a Tomac Magnum 204. Frame was 7,5kg including shock - and I had plenty of great park days with this bike. So whatever.
  • 2 0
 Hello Daniel, if you had had a chance to swing by at the Bespoked in Dresden where those 2 bikes were on display, you could have verify this number by yourself. Wheels are pretty light and I'm using only SuperTrail casing, some carbon components and there you go. There will be a test bike begining of next year swinging in Germany if you wanna try, stay in touch.
  • 1 0
 @SUBAcycles: Do you happen to have the frame weight without shock but including the normal drivetrain adapter and floating brake?
  • 2 0
 @skimgosu: right now no ideas I'm afraid, I did not scale them separatly. I'll be building new frames coming month, with different parts to save weight and speed up building process: Pinion 4130 cradle, lower seat mast beam to shock foot attachment, twin bearings brake caliper instead of a double row one. I will keep you posted if you send us an email.
  • 1 0
 @SUBAcycles: I’m interested also in the frame weight. Seems a bit heavy at the moment.
  • 1 0
 @joelsman: @skimgosu here you go: an L size front triangle made of Reynolds 853 is 2.8kg w/paint and the swingarm scales 2.0kg straight (previously was 2.4) with added clearance. It's about what is going to be for our production targets, even if the gearbox bracket is now cromoly4130 (was s355 and more complicated), moving to T45 tubings and redesigned gussets will shave 250gr as they both don't need to be reinforced so much. Where the big work is now is on the next iteration of all CNC aluminium - bearings - push rod assembly now at a beefy 880gr: projection are at +/- 600gr. So all together, production version will be around 5.2kg for a complete frame and SS hardware.
  • 1 0
 Hello,
I come from France and many people here have lot of problems with SUBA. Bad communication, very long time for delivery, bad paint finishing, crack on the frame . In my case it's the postmount rear brake which is not aligned. Impossible to mount the brake whithout adding 4 mm wedge between hub and disc. So don't buy anything you'll have lot of regret ! You can see some things at www.facebook.com/groups/Endurigide/?multi_permalinks=7253055048070640&notif_id=1708768186386074&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&ref=notif
  • 1 0
 hello guy, be carefull with SUBA , i 'm from France and many people have problems with his frame. very long delivery, bad communication bad paint finishing, crack on frame etc.. In my case it's the postmount rear brake on a HT140 frame which is not aligned and it's impossible to mount a brake whitout addind a wedge of 4 mm between hub and disc. Don't buy anything you'll have a lot of regrets.. You can see some example at www.facebook.com/groups/Endurigide/?multi_permalinks=7253055048070640&notif_id=1708768186386074&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&ref=notif
  • 5 0
 Hefty!
  • 2 0
 yes
  • 5 1
 YAHPSTB yet another high pivot steel bike
  • 3 1
 The equivalent of "you probably haven't heard of the bands I listen to." You haven't heard of the high pivot steel mullet pinion inverted fork bike I ride with small batch idler pulleys made by hand in a carbon neutral factory that only employs fair trade elf labor.
  • 3 0
 Pretty sure that stainless steel 16t idler pulley is made by 77Designz(Kavenz).
  • 2 0
 I'm not sure about the upper idler, but the lower idler is a Garbaruk Pully.
  • 2 0
 Was about to say the same. Has to be from the Kavenz
  • 4 0
 you're right! Nice, available and machined by cool people: why would you hesitate?
  • 6 6
 Go away with this brand. It's an absolute shame. I have a really bad experience with. Receiving a frame with 123mm rear acxel instead of 142. How could deliver shit like that. And I'm not the only one. This guy don't deserve your money go away
  • 1 0
 hello, sorry for the inconvenience. We did offer to fix or replace the frame under warranty.
  • 3 0
 Who here sees this bike and thinks to themselves “ can’t wait to get me one of these”?
  • 3 1
 make some reseachs on FB or some french forums, you'll discover some easter eggs about this brand...there is a difference between a good branding and...
  • 3 0
 Loving the Britten paint job!
  • 3 0
 It looks like Brooklyn Machine Works had a fling in Spain!
  • 2 0
 I thought the exact same thing as a Brooklyn machine works owner. This looks very interesting to me.
  • 3 1
 Had the chance to ride it a few days ago and I can attest it rides wonderfully.
  • 2 0
 Hey Jesse,

Are you and PB going to continue the series on alternatives to derailleurs?
  • 3 0
 A steel Evil, with a gearbox and a brake mount from 2001?! Pinch me!
  • 2 0
 Bike design influenced by Ok go and Rube Goldberg's greatest time saving devices Smile
  • 1 0
 First bike I've seen with the FAST coil shock and their new fork, from what I've heard so far it sounds like it's a well sorted suspension setup...
  • 1 0
 Cool looking headtube reinforcements, is the idea that they provide a little more flexibility than traditional type, lighter weight, or both?
  • 2 0
 you've named them all, yes. I've been riding them on my hardtails in Catalan Enduro Cup and they're holding well so far.
  • 2 0
 That's... a bit much. But at the same time, it's fuckin awesome.
  • 2 2
 I don't get why 130% anti-rise is a bad thing. Nice with options, I guess. "Today I would like it to dive and land on my chin!"
  • 3 0
 I was wondering why you'd want it to rise under braking. I'm sure there's a use case, but if the front doesn't do the same, wouldn't it be pitching you OTB?
  • 3 0
 @icanreachit: Anti-rise puts additional compression on the rear shock under rear braking. Too much anti-rise can cause the ride to feel harsher and the rear wheel to lose traction more easily. In my experience, most people tend to not notice and acclimate themselves to a bike's braking characteristics as they get used to it, but having anti-rise values too low (~50%) or too high ( >~150%) can feel unpleasant, as the bike pitches forward or backward very easily under rear braking.
  • 1 0
 @cosmicCnidarian: Thanks cosmic!
  • 1 2
 @cosmicCnidarian: From what I understand, having a bit above 100% anti-rise is useful if braking at high speed, when both the rider weight will shift forward and the fork will compress and make the bike dive like the Red October. With above 120% anti-rise the rear of the bike will answer to all this with a nice little squat (not talking about anti-squat!) to prevent this launching of the rider. Landing on your chin can also be unpleasant.
If the goal is careful Sunday trail riding, having a neutral feeling bike with 100% anti-rise is maybe more appreciated.
  • 2 0
 @joni0001984: Nonsense. High antirise is for bermy jumpy flow tracks. If you want the bike to actually work on rough high speed tracks, 100% anti rise is the way.
  • 2 0
 50% anti rise is just mental though. I can't think of any situation in which this would be beneficial
  • 1 1
 @gabiusmaximus: I've tended to see very low values mostly on downhill and enduro bikes, though it is far from the norm. The biggest benefit is that you "gain" extra travel and the rear wheel tracks the ground better. I would guess this is most beneficial for rough, fast trails with lots of baby-fist rocks everywhere.
  • 4 1
 Why? ‍♂️
  • 2 0
 It's like a mutant evil. An eviler evil
  • 2 0
 Nice! Looks similar to the archibald.
  • 1 0
 we are walking in the same direction, might even be the same trail sometimes!
  • 2 0
 This little spring on tensioner blow my mind
  • 2 0
 good catch! We are working on integrating this spring and hide it into a dustproof shell, keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram and wait until we can show the production version.
  • 1 0
 Doesn't Eminent Cycles have some sort of floating rear brake thingy going on? Who came up with it first????
  • 1 0
 that's an old feature you could find on Kona's DH bike, the D.O.P.E. system for instance. Our system offers the key asset to stay on the swingarm would you need to remove your rear wheel for a puncture for instance.
  • 2 0
 I want one. Somone want a well loved evil insurgent so i can start saving?
  • 1 0
 Looks like a steel hsp aurum with a gearbox. Pretty much identical linkage.
  • 2 0
 Wicked , thanks Suba and PB.
  • 1 0
 Hi guys,

You can see these pictures and more in @blackbermmedia ‘s instagram! Hope you like it
  • 2 1
 Why are the photos private?
  • 2 1
 Everything except the floating brake looks pretty sweet.
  • 1 0
 What's wrong with the floating brake?
  • 2 1
 @Neechy: it looks weird these days.
  • 2 1
 @Neechy: Added weight, complexity, potential for squeaks, and I like a little bit of brake squat in the steeps.
  • 1 0
 Should be named "War-machine"
  • 2 1
 More moving parts than the space shuttle!
  • 1 0
 I like the little spring. It’s cute.
  • 2 0
 I just love this!
  • 1 1
 It looks cool, but with my luck, something complicated would break on it rendering it unrideable.
  • 1 0
 whoa
  • 1 1
 Interesting but looks more like a 45 pound bike
  • 1 1
 This bike is like prog rock: heavy and complicated.
  • 1 1
 Looks like a Brooklyn Machine Works!
  • 1 2
 why are all the comments in pink?
  • 3 0
 For breast cancer awareness.
  • 3 0
 Because it's Pinkbike obviously
  • 1 3
 18.5 kg for a pedaling bicycle. We are constantly getting on the wrong side of common sense and logic.
  • 2 0
 It's the rider who does the pedalling.
  • 1 0
 @redrook: BINGO!!
  • 1 0
 @Gmauro: You said a "pedalling bicycle", they don't pedal themselves.
  • 1 3
 A gearbox is not simple and has a lot of friction. Friction is wear.
  • 5 8
 lol what a pile
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