The Karpiel Armageddon Returns as a 29er Downhill Bike [Updated]

May 1, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

Memories of Josh Bender, Monster T forks and a saddle that stretched the length of the top tube may be what come to mid first when you think of Karpiel bikes but after ten years in hiatus, they have returned with something totally different.

First started in Reno, Nevada, Karpiel rose to fame thanks to its double shock, Apocolypse huck-and-hope bike that was famously flung off cliffs by Bender. However, Jan Karpiel also masterminded the Disco Volante, the lesser known Hillbilly hardtail and the Armageddon race bike. The last we heard of Karpiel was in 2009, but a recently opened Instagram account is hinting at a rebirth for the legendary Polish brand.

The 2009 Karpiel Armageddon, Jan has managed to retain the classic shape for the new model.
The 2009 Karpiel Armageddon, Jan has managed to retain the classic shape for the new model.


This 29er prototype has been hand crafted by Jan from aluminium and it has retained the look of the classic bike from a decade ago. There are some modern touches here as well though, including internal cable routing and what looks to be modern, slacked out geometry. We've reached out to Jan for more details and will update this post when we get them.



Update:

bigquotesIt started as a project for a friend and I was actually surprised by the interest it has been generating. It's always really inspirational to see people get excited. We are still testing it in the races, so modifications may be made. An XL offers a 1291 wheelbase, 470 reach, 356 bb, 460 chainstay, and 63.7 head tube angle. Short travel with a 222mm shock is 205mm, long travel is around 230mm.

I haven't committed to a specific launch date at this time. The racer who is posting about the bike (Kuba Rutkowski) knocked 25 seconds off his best time on 7 minute meandering course, compared to his old 26" model, so he's pleased with it. If it tests well with different riders, it will be available in 2020.
Jan Karpiel

Jan has suggested the bike will be tested through 2019 and ready to order in 2020. We'll keep you updated with any news. Follow Jan here.


175 Comments

  • + 243
 16 year old me is so pumped right now.
  • + 194
 Waiting for the Brooklyn Machine Works 29er Big Grin
  • + 90
 This is the bike equivalent of Stifler's mom, back with even bigger... eyes
  • + 28
 Bender has to ride it!
  • + 2
 This bike kept me going when I was young. I remember Joshua bender smashing some drop offs with this!
  • + 24
 @natedh9: balfa bb7 29er lol
  • + 10
 Yes bring back BMW!!!!
  • + 5
 @natedh9: ...or Spooky Project-X
  • + 14
 Heat treated or nah? #ridemonkeyjokes
  • + 2
 Wow the 29er version looks better than 26er! +1 for Bender test Smile
  • + 6
 So is Will....White
  • + 18
 I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR AN ETERNITY FOR THIS MOMENT!!!
  • + 3
 @brianpark Huck Your Meat!
  • + 3
 @dhdave13: balfa's are wicked bikes!!
  • + 4
 The Jah drop revisited!!!!
  • + 6
 @kingbob734: Did he ever land one?
  • + 15
 @brianpark - you can finally put to good use the Azonic Love Seat and Risse fork you’ve been hanging on to!
  • + 4
 now all we need is ductape another tioga saddle to extend the current saddle.
  • + 2
 @qreative-bicycle: He rides an e-bike now..
  • + 3
 @dmarsh15: probly does...on the strand...sippin' a breakfast smoothie...
  • + 2
 @lubes17319: How about a NICOLAI LAMBDA...
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: I have 3 love seats , one in use & two on reserve
  • + 2
 @BEERandSPOKES: I vote yes.
Crowd fund 10 Lambda's from Nicolai
  • + 6
 That is something @mikelevy could still upfork... huckcountry
  • + 3
 ...and Clif Cat had a beastly lookin' bike back then too(and some fugly ones)
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_XzSTrx00Xx4/TH7PlPm_spI/AAAAAAAADNc/SPbQsXlV5_o/s400/Battle+Axe.jpg
  • + 2
 @qreative-bicycle: @ Bender, where are you our friend?!?!
  • + 2
 @BEERandSPOKES: If Nicolai has to re release a bike it has to he the M-pire ! Loved that beast, 165mm hubs and 100mm BB shell that was something else
  • + 1
 @danielsapp: Really should have bought a used Azonic Love Seat. I bought a Race Face Aeffect, it's definitely no Azonic Love Seat. It's like a road bike seat.
  • + 1
 @natedh9: That would be SOOOO AWESOME!
  • + 1
 @joedaho: Not that I know of, well even the ones he did he came off further down lol
  • + 1
 @AdamOdh: Zzyzx forks on his bike in that vid, surprised he didn't need a fork service pit stop half way down...
  • + 2
 @natedh9: I would LOVE TO SEE A BMW COMEBACK! I had always wanted one of those back in the day. I do have to say tho, I used to own a full factory works Cortina DH Extreme 8 with full Downhill Avalanche racing suspension and linkage upgrade-- so sexy (mine was all black tho, I wished I didn't sell it!!!!!) Most of the younger folks don't know about this...

www.avalanchedownhillracing.com/cortinamtn3.html
  • + 1
 How about a new ironhorse Sunday!
  • + 1
 @trex1984: it worked for Sam hill. He needs to bring it back from the grave
  • + 2
 I do! Love that era of dh bikes! @diggerandrider:
  • + 1
 @diggerandrider: I have 01 DH8 black frame w/ silver swingarm. Did the 24/26 combo back in the day. Love that bike. Avy is 15 minutes away from me now.
  • + 1
 @Kramz: Just found an NOS tioga multi control saddle clearing out our warehouse. Thinking full sus barstool.
  • + 1
 @joedaho: Well technically yeah? Kinda depends on where you draw the line for "Landed".
  • + 29
 sick bike. Both disgusted and amazed by the way they managed to mix components from various market competitors on the bike. Launch video needs to be at original rampage site with Josh Bender at the helm, with a mixture of heel clickers, nothings and supermans to boot.
  • + 26
 Rockshox fork and fox shock was a classic combo back in the early 2000s
  • + 10
 @zyoungson: Fox only made shocks back then, no forks yet.
  • + 18
 @zyoungson: If I remember correctly, most people were on Marzocchi forks back then.
  • + 5
 @zyoungson: what I run on my DH bike...
  • + 6
 @zyoungson: and you can still get bikes like that... My 2018 Transition Scout has a RS Pike and Fox DPX2
  • + 1
 @Leppah: Besides the MonsterT crowd, Boxxers were the answer before the 888 came around.
  • + 2
 Does anyone know what the red circle parts are for? Just adjusting the shock mount?
  • + 4
 @hamncheez: shock, seat, i think maybe one for bb
  • + 3
 @mammal: The junior t, super t, and shiver would like a worth with you, mister
  • + 5
 @bendrew: Super T was nice, and so were shivers, but that all trickled in a bit later. The gold standard in Whistler circa 99/2000 was a SC Bullet with Boxxers and a Fox RC. But yeah, lots of variation through the years as more durable product was released.
  • + 1
 @mammal: i had exactly that bike once. Longshocked bullet with the noodliest boxxers ever made. Handling was.... unpredictable...
  • + 24
 The original Sender with the original Armageddon;

www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8cc49ZVBF0
  • + 90
 Should just be tilted 'crazy madman ragdolling across various scenic backdrops'
  • + 2
 @ctd07: Best comment ever!!!!
  • + 4
 @ctd07: Could also be called "Bender cant land"
  • + 8
 I love the clip of Bender sending it off the roof of the chiropractor.
  • + 4
 @ctd07: Dorps to flat
  • + 5
 @Fifty50Grip, thanx for that link, even with all the fails and bails, I have much repect for Josh Bender. he had vision and super persistence to open the canvas up.
  • + 0
 What a lucky guy he was...
  • + 17
 I'll be first in line if Jan decides to make a trailbike with the classic Karpiel look.
  • + 8
 now the remaining old school companies need to come back and join this mission! lets get frank to weld together some sinister r9's, Brooklyn to build a carbon race link. avalanche to make a modernized mtn-8 fork, and mr.dirt to make carbon chain guides and a fork to do battle against avalanche with! ah the good ol days...super stoked on this
  • + 10
 First time being excited about a bike since 2010. Now this is news and the Amoeba post, pure greatness!
  • + 6
 I still have an Amoeba DH bar somewhere. 680mm wide, and 1/4” wall thickness. It was like 600g and still flexy.
  • + 2
 @skylerd: I have the Borla stem and bar combo somewhere at home. After the classic Deity riser bar and stem, the Amoeba is hands down my favorite cockpit of all time.
  • + 10
 Stacks of dimes, STACKS OF DIMES!!
  • + 1
 May not be any stronger but it sure is purty
  • + 7
 This is the kind of news that give me goosebumps, and I don't even do DH. Love the fact that they kept the look of the older version. Such a legendary brand, way to go Karpiel and welcome back, we missed you!
  • + 6
 There are geometry details of the prototype her from Jan. Looks sick singletrackworld.com/2019/04/karpiel-is-back-with-a-new-29in-karpiel-armageddon-prototype
  • + 1
 You're right on the mismatched compenents - check out the historic TIME DH pedals! Im still running a set of those.... circa 2004
  • + 5
 Someone has to say it: I hope Jan settled all his bad business from round one - word was he left a lot of people holding the bag when he split.
  • + 8
 What's next Lahar Mk X?
  • + 5
 Great, now i have to change my pants...
  • + 2
 don't tease that
  • + 7
 This just after Cannondale just released their version of the Apocalypse
  • + 6
 Wow. welds dont look so hot, but the rest is amazazazing
  • + 2
 Still looks a lot better than anything Orange bikes pointed a TIG nozzle at.
(the weld on the top tube on the testbike above looks a bit rough, but the rest looks more than fine to me)
  • + 3
 Cool bike. The welder in me cringes at the sight of some of those welds.
  • + 2
 @chaserider: Nonsense, selective Orange hating
  • - 2
 @jimmythehat: Well, call it what you like. I know what I have seen.
  • + 3
 So i can still hold out for hope of a modern mountain cycle shockwave? would pay way too much for this to happen, would ever consider that wretchet carbon stuff so it won't snap like the last lots. And a mini park version..
  • + 3
 I had a Shockwave 9.5... loved that bike... would be rad with some modern geometry...
  • + 1
 Unfortunately they tried a "shockwave 2.0" circa 2010 but it died in the egg.
  • + 1
 @faul: you mean that abortion kinesis produced?
  • + 4
 I read at a different site the rider returned the bike to Karpiel for heat treatment after a race.
  • + 2
 Yeah! Now who’s take this beast to the limit like Bender did? Still have my old Bender poster dropping a huge cliff in UT on a Karpiel.

m.pinkbike.com/photo/17157189
  • + 1
 3rd attempt on Bender's World
  • + 4
 More aluminum bikes from all brands please. Also, I would love to have a disco volante
  • + 2
 Looks to me like it has adjustable seat angle, and top/bottom shock mounts (where the red-anodized circles are with pinch bolts to lock them in place). I wonder how much rear wheel travel?
  • + 5
 Armageddon one of these bad boys
  • + 3
 Would you be able to get a warranty on a Boxxer from this bike or if you do not break anything then you are not trying hard enough?
  • + 5
 What a machine, loved the original and this one too.
  • + 1
 I bought an Armageddon in 2000. Dad got it for me during the dot com boom right before the stock market crashed. Good times. I still have the frame with the Risse Jupiter rear shock. I'll clean it up one of these days and mount it to my office wall. Unfortunately for Jan, I'm not nostalgic enough to get another.
  • + 1
 "Jan tells us that the rider who is testing the prototype, Kuha Ruthowski has managed to knock 25 seconds off his best time on a 7-minute course compared to his old 26in wheeled bike."

I think that Karpiel should design and made a new F1 car for Williams.

Declaration about 25 sec. off is hard to believe or maybe that 26" bike was hardtail.
  • + 9
 It takes 25 seconds to Huck 65ft to flat and get back up to speed
  • + 5
 really? its hard to believe a decade of improvements in tech and geometry makes a bike 6% faster? is that really that big of a jump? if it was a 2 minute track then maybe itd be unbelievable, but one rider on one run to the next on the same bike could be 10 or 12 seconds different without worry, one or 2 corners could change it by that much.
  • + 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: as in most of "press releases" he didn't mention any details about that 26" bike so still 25 sec. for me is really huge. It's nice to see Karpiel back sort of but story of his business in USandA is much more interesting than that new bike ;D
  • + 0
 @EnduroriderPL: no he didnt, but again, 6% difference really isnt that much. tbh, im still on a 26 inch bike from 2012 (intense ss2) and it genuinely brilliant, but ive recently rode a mates nearly new commencal meta 650b and i reckon i was 6% quicker straight away, its really, really not that hard to believe. ignore the 25 seconds, thats incidental, its the 6% that matters, and thats not a great deal, its same as 7 seconds on a 2 minute track, which isnt that much, again, i can vary by that much between runs.
  • - 2
 @inked-up-metalhead: that's quite interesting because when I was forced to switch to 650B (I was unable to find 26" frame in acceptable price) it didn't felt that I was that much faster than on 26" wheels despite modern geometry. Still for me quote of 25 seconds sounds very marketing.
  • + 2
 @EnduroriderPL: i literally cant even. your still focusing on 25 seconds, not the 6%. its 420 seconds, not 120. its hardly a statistic tbh, 6% variation in results is usually seen as inconclusive. so it really isnt that big of a gap, from one day to another, or dusty vs hero dirt id expect there to be as much difference.
  • - 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: I'm still talking about what he said so there's nothing else but to wait for some tests.
  • + 0
 @EnduroriderPL: so am i. im just converting the difference to a percentage. which highlights thats its not a rediculous claim, and that its actually not that big of a time difference WHEN YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ITS A 7 MINUTE TRACK.
  • + 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: you right! That bike is crapp! It only took 6% off a 7 minutes track comparing to unknown, old 26" bike!
  • + 1
 @EnduroriderPL: you're an idiot.
  • - 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: the sad thing is that I was expecting much more from you, but oh well... what can you do.
  • + 3
 I would love to ride a Karpiel again, I had 2 Disco Volante's back in the day. Awesome bikes!
  • + 3
 Best news I seen on PB since the return of the Big Hit.....I mean, the 27niners....
  • + 3
 First the big front wheel, smaller rear wheel (big hit style)makes a comeback. Now this. OMG what could be next????
  • + 9
 Next trend prediction: Bikes built of metals instead of $10k plastic bikes painted to look like metal... remember when!? OMG what a throwback that would be!
  • + 6
 29" Gazzaloddis
  • - 1
 @lubes17319: I like my traction so no thank you
  • + 3
 Karpiel, Antidote, Omen, NS, Dartmoor and a few more... the rise of Polish bike industry... Kurwa mac!!! Big Grin
  • + 2
 Who was that young guy with the long blonde hair that did rampage on a karpiel in 2013 or 2014? His dad looked exactly the same as him, but 30 years older.
  • + 5
 Wil White?
  • + 1
 @megaold: Ah Yes! Wil White! Hero! Have you heard anything about him over the past few years?
  • + 2
 @jaame: He might still be an active member here. His username is suicidedownhiller.
  • + 1
 @megaold: awesome dude!
  • + 1
 @jaame: Wil is the homie. He's still out sending it huge on his property in Socal. He's been rocking a knolly Podium for a bit now.
  • + 3
 actual monster bike ...brings out the old "shut up and take my money" in me
  • + 1
 No two rear shocks. No supermonster. Not that crazy to me. Looks like another attempt to conjure nostalgia. Just like the new dodge "dart". Lol
  • + 4
 OMG I'd buy. So dope
  • + 4
 Thicc!
  • + 3
 lifes too short to not go big!
  • + 3
 Subscribed for the Bender comments
  • + 3
 Josh bender for rampage 2019
  • + 3
 Can't wait for a throwback 29er square tubed Turner DHR to come out
  • + 4
 I would happily pay for a conversion kit to at least 27.5 for my DHR. I have a round tubed DW link but man does it ride good, and very light too at around 32 lbs no carbon!
  • + 1
 @BrigadierBuege: I've always wanted one. Sweet ride for sure.
  • + 2
 Wil White killed it at rampage in this thing!! I don’t know why everyone is talking crap
  • + 1
 I still ride a 26" mk2 Disco, can we have a 27/29 option flip chip thing, pleeease!! and some spares support this time lol, hope this is for real...
  • + 2
 Duck yeah says 20 year old me, now i can afford one. only major difference difference I noticed if the head angle
  • + 3
 phew im glad it kept its classic shape
  • + 3
 needs monster t forks haha
  • + 2
 www.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=88782&pagenum=3

look at this badass thing!

(that bb height though... )
  • + 2
 If I can get one ...would be nice to have again a dh bike
  • + 3
 This is so awesome!!
  • + 1
 #heattreatordie All kidding aside though this is cool to see! hopefully it all works out.
  • + 1
 I think I would prefer a modern bike on Disco Volante base bu sti what anews! Certainly blast from the past!
  • + 1
 They need Bender at the Jah drop for a photo shoot. One day someone will ride away from it
  • + 2
 Guys it's May 1st not April 1st, you're a month late.
  • + 1
 I still have my Armageddon with a set of Monsters on it. Really good bike for its time
  • + 2
 Yes thank god such a wicked idea!
  • + 2
 They should have spec'd it with a marzocchi for old times sake....
  • + 1
 those must be some old bars, i think i have the same ones. Scott pilot's, stupid me that i cut them just a little too short
  • + 2
 *urge to huck stupid shit intensifies*
  • + 1
 love the fact they have kept their identity, but tbh I was never a big fan of how they looked
  • + 2
 Dope! Virgin Utah hucker
  • + 2
 Dude sweeet.
  • + 1
 Much nicer looking bike than expected...the logo still sucks in my opinion
  • + 1
 End of the f***ing world is here again
  • + 1
 I'd ride one! No questions asked!
  • + 1
 Still UGLY!....and don't I remember them breaking in half constantly? Smile
  • + 1
 All I can stare at are the welds...not an FTW job for sure.
  • + 1
 First started in Reno but it is a polish brand?
  • + 1
 Holding out for the Balfa BB29.
  • + 1
 Remember that stair huck in NY?
  • + 1
 That looks slick, needs to have a vid with Bender for it's launch
  • + 1
 Joshua Bender might be proud, but can it survive a flat drop from 70 feet?
  • + 6
 Yes if you like 29 inch waffles
  • + 2
 Old school, yes!!
  • + 1
 gopping
  • + 0
 Will this big wheeled madness never end?
  • + 1
 Awesome!
  • + 0
 Those welds look like my 6 year old decided to take a shot at it.
  • + 0
 I would definitely not take her to the prom. And no water bottle mounts!
  • + 0
 Another frakking clown clone to not get excited about
  • + 1
 take my money!
  • - 1
 Hey,it’s the new cannondale!
  • - 2
 Noooooooooooooo
  • - 2
 Still isn’t an eye catcher in terms of beauty
  • - 1
 looks like an ancillotti
  • - 2
 Over half their followers liked it. Lol
  • - 1
 Tank??
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