Titanium, Carbon Fiber, and a 220mm Dropper Post - Taipei Cycle Show 2018

Nov 4, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Taipei Cycle Show


A hammer is a great tool when you need to deliver some blunt force, but there are plenty of times when it's one of the last things you should be reaching for. Removing and installing sealed bearings is one of those times, although I can't blame anyone for wanting to smash things with a big ol' hammer when a reluctant to leave bearing is being a PIA.

Leapower had this clever bearing puller in their booth for exactly those times.

Leapower's kit uses a castle-type tool that fits over the bore to allow the bearing to be pushed out from the opposite side, but what about if you're dealing with a blind hole or tricky location that won't let you get a tool in behind the bearing? The answer is this neat collet tool that expands out to grab the inner bearing bore, thereby letting you literally pull the old bearing right out of the hole from just one side.
This isn't a new idea - what is anymore? - but Leapower's kit is a nice all-in-one solution for common bearing sizes used for mountain bike pivots.
Taipei Cycle Show



Taipei Cycle Show
Taipei Cycle Show


I mostly only do this mountain bike thing so I can play with tools. There are roughly a million different multi-tools out there, with about a million different ways to tighten and loosen the same bolts. Airsmith had this hybrid chain tool and bit carrier in their stand that's just one way to do it, with the separate bits slotting into a holder that's then tucked up into the handle.

Being clumsier than a drunk newborn calf, I'd probably drop and lose the bits pretty quickly, but I'd at least have a little stash spot in the handle for candy after that.





Who remembers when a fresh set of carbon fiber wheels was newsworthy? I barely can, but it's especially ho-hum these days as it seems like every brand has some sort of black rim that cost a lot and looks the same. And then there's Quai. These are their new ISOS 33 Enduro wheels that can be had in either 29'' or 27.5'' sizes, and as you can tell, they don't look anything like other carbon rims out there. Quai says that their rim design isn't just to be different or for low weight, but rather for spoke tension.


The high/low stepped rim is said to mimic the effects of the tall/low flanges that you'll find used on rear hubs in an effort to have the drive and non-drive spokes be closer in tension. Ask a wheel builder what one of the keys to reliability is, and they'll likely talk to you about equal spoke tension. People have been doing things like tall/low hub flanges and offset drilling patterns on rims to this end for a long, long time, but Quai claims that their stepped rim design is a more effective way getting the job done.

The 29'' ISOS 33 Enduro wheels are said to come in at 1-800-grams, and the 27.5'' diameter is about 230-grams lighter.




Taipei Cycle Show


Back to bearings, this time with Enduro Bearings' US-made puller that looks more like jewelery than a tool. This one is made for bottom brackets and the bearings that are used in them, and it employs a split collet to grab the bearing and extract it from the bore.

At $215 USD, these things aren't exactly inexpensive, so you'll either have to really have a fetish for quality tools or be at a bike shop that will make use of it often.



I'd probably give up donuts before I took a pass on using party posts, and that's especially true when it comes to today's long-stroke options. Funn is taking things up a notch (a notch is precisely 50mm, by the way) with this prototype, 220mm-travel dropper that makes all the 170s out there look a little stubby. It isn't guaranteed to hit production, though, as there aren't a ton of frames out there (at least not yet) that have a short enough seat tube for such a long-stroke dropper, besides Mondraker and a couple of others.

Internally, it's similar to their current offering, the UpDown, so it uses a similar twin-tube cartridge that skips the usual IFP (internal floating piston) found inside most other designs out there. Being much longer than the current 150mm UpDown, Funn has beefed up the internals to cope with the extra leverage, and it's a safe bet to assume that the stanchion has received the same treatment.

Taipei Cycle Show 2018
Taipei Cycle Show 2018

Funn also had an entire frame made by a rapid prototyping machine, so while this yellow stunner sure does look nice, it's not actually rideable. Companies will often print an entire frame using this method to check things like cable routing and clearances, and also to see what their design is going to look like in the flesh before picking up the welding torch or sheets of carbon fiber.





Most of us can agree that titanium probably isn't the best material to be building a full-suspension frame out of, with aluminum and carbon fiber generally being easier to work with - and stiffer - than the pricey gray stuff. But I don't give a toss about either if the frame ends up looking like this full-suspension creation from BaoTi. Never heard of them? Me neither, but a little Google'ing revealed that the Chinese company has its hands in all sorts of industries, from aerospace to cookware to the medical world. I'll ruin it for you right now, though: BaoTi makes stuff for other brands to sell, so you probably can't get your grubby paws on the beautiful creation above unless someone puts their own brand name on it.

The very nice people manning the BaoTi booth didn't know much about this full-suspension frame, but it's easy to spot the dual-link design that sees both links rotating in the same direction. The shock is compressed between the two links, both of which are also titanium, to deliver however much travel this thing has. Geometry? It probably has some of that. Weight? Yeah, of course. Price? Probably a lot by the time it gets to consumers.

They also had what appeared to be a titanium version of Santa Cruz's old Bullit on the wall that looks even sharper in my opinion.

Am I wrong for not caring at all that a titanium full-suspension frame is kind of silly? I mean, this thing could be so flexy, have a 120-degree head angle, and no water bottle mount but I'd still want it.

Must Read This Week

94 Comments

  • + 57
 Who else briefly hoped the Airsmith tool thingy was a pneumatic impact driver running on co2 cartridges?
  • + 4
 Very misleading name...I was envisioning a lil ''zzzz...zzzz...zzzz" as I pneumatically zipped off my stem bolts.
  • + 8
 I was expecting a rendition of 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing', personally.
  • + 2
 @dubod22: Once you're Back in the Saddle again
  • + 25
 +1 to "I mostly only do this mountain bike thing so I can play with tools." Glad to see others have that fetish. I want a shop that looks like the basement in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with exotic bearing pullers carefully positioned across the wall.

The titanium 'Bullitt' is the business.
  • - 1
 with Super Magnesium out now, rather have that over Titanium
  • + 10
 If you're really into technical information to give to your readers, STOP STATING more stiffness is ALWAYS the best !!!
  • + 3
 I don't think he said that anywhere in the article.
  • + 3
 That's not what she said.
  • + 1
 Gotta agree, compliance in a frame is one of the most important things for grip and control. But it's very difficult to quantify, so big manufacturers like state it's x% stiffer as a bullshit performance metric. Unfortunately, people start believing the lies!
  • + 9
 My 170mm dropper post is sitting a good 60-70mm out of my frame. Pretty close to that minimum insertion line. I could def use a 220mm dropper.
  • - 13
flag clarky78 (Nov 4, 2018 at 12:43) (Below Threshold)
 Your bike must look hideous.
  • + 7
 @clarky78: it looks pretty sweet actually.
  • + 0
 Either you're 6' 7" or your frame is too small.
  • + 8
 @casman86: I'm 6'5. Bike has a 500mm reach. I can't help how huge I am, dudes. With frames going to shorter and shorter seat tubes, this is going to be my reality if droppers don't get longer.
  • + 4
 You have to consider the clearance at the bottom of the seatpost, too. generally if you're adding 50mm of dropper travel, you're adding 100mm to the total length of the post.
  • + 1
 What they don't mention in this article is that the length of the lower tube is what limits those of us who are tall enough for long-stroke droppers... The compactness of the OneUp design is what makes me wish they had plans to do a 200. In the mean time the 185mm Bike Yoke Revive has the same insertion length as most 170mm posts.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I too could use a 220 post...not because my frame is short...but because I am tall...damn long legs!
  • + 1
 @DrPete: Yes totally. I looked into shelling out some big cash for a 9point8 200mm dropper but the insertion was so friggin long they told me I couldn't actually fit it in my frame. It it doesn't fit in my current-geo XL frame, I don't know where it is going to fit. So the compact design of OneUp is likely where my money is going to go if they expand their range.
  • + 2
 @casman86: nah dude, at 6'-2" a 170mm dropper isn't even close to enough. 200mm would be better, 220mm even better. I run a qr seat collar on my bike since I have to move the post up and down 50mm or so
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33: Bike Yoke Revive is pretty short. I emailed OneUp about their plans for a 200mm when picking for a new build and they said they have no plans to expand their dropper lineup. Boo.
  • + 1
 @DrPete: the cost of the bike yoke for only 15mm more drop isn't worth it, to me. I'm hoping fox will be the first to announce a 200 or 225mm dropper.
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33: Fox is awesome for usability but it's quite long when you compare drop for drop. Without a big redesign a 200mm Fox would be too long for all but something like a Knolly or some other bike with a straight seat tube all the way to BB.
  • + 8
 220 dropper, i’d use it, I’m only 6 foot but have long legs and could really do with my 150 post lower in my frame for the steep gnar.
  • + 1
 I'm in a similar situation. 5'11" with long legs but my torso and arm length often doesn't match up with the TT measurements on large frames. If I could get a longer dropper, I could feasibly ride a medium frame and have proper TT length and seat height as well.
  • - 6
flag nhtowa421 (Nov 4, 2018 at 11:38) (Below Threshold)
 I hear the women love the 9 inch stroke...
  • + 6
 Don't get it. I'm 6'4 and I think my 170mm drop reverb is ridiculous. At full drop it is too low to control the bike, and feels way low to sit on any other time. I end up dropping it and then trying to raise it 30mm or so to get it at a useable height. Which isn't easy as the sticky reverb is, well, sticky and doesn't go up and down smoothly enough for micro adjustments like that. Result? I just don't use the dropper as much as I do my Transfer which is 150mm and is super easy to micro adjust.
  • + 1
 I currently don't use a dropper seatpost, but I usually have my saddle nearly slammed (so lower than in my pictures, that was just because the workstand had to clamp it) though if I'd ever want it all the way up to XC height it would show 300m of exposed seatpost. That's just safe with the 400mm post I have. So yeah, if I'd get a dropper, 220mm travel or more would work just fine for me. I also get that this won't work for everyone. Also because most of these bigger wheel bikes need a kink in the seattube to make room for the wheel (as it goes through its travel) so the seatpost can't pass through the entire seattube. Then again, it is a matter of choice of course. People who want a large range of saddle heights would get a compatible frame in the first place. You'd probably be fine with Orange bikes. Or Liteville of course, but that's because they have to accommodate their own long travel dropper.
  • + 4
 I'd love about 270mm drop on mine, right from maximum height for long road commutes, to fully slammed for dj. This is on a hardtail though, where i need all the rear shock absorbing via legs help that i can get!!
  • - 1
 We care
  • + 1
 @clarky78: try steep slow drops
  • + 1
 @nhtowa421: guess who tell that...
  • + 1
 @clarky78: Too low to control the bike? Go ride a trials bike or a bmx with the seat and seatpost removed. Seats just get in the way. Rode my pumptrack beater to work the other day that way. Rode my bmx to school for months sans seat as a kid when I broke my seat.
  • + 1
 @choppertank3e: The saddle can be used for control with knees or thighs. That's actually why I'm using a saddle with relatively high flanges to the sides, convenient to push against. It is probably personal what height people want their saddle but yeah I use my knees and thighs. With cranks level the forward knee can go just over the top tube (which is what I wanted for this frame) and for me the seatpost about 5cm extended puts the saddle in a good position for most riding. Apparently other people prefer to have it higher where I'd feel like it would be in the way. But it depends on what you're used to of course. If you're used to having it low or completely removed, it soon starts to feel in the way if you set it higher.
  • + 0
 @clarky78: Agreed. I'm 6' 3" and my 150mm dropper is perfect. People wanting more doesn't make any sense except for turning it into straight dirt jump mode. On the trail I wouldn't want the saddle lower than what a 150 provides, because that already brings it lower than a dh bike. It would be pretty tiring doing the squats required to constantly drop the seat 220mm. Maybe if there was a fancy lever to stop it at a halfway point.
  • + 4
 @casman86: This sounds a bit like:

"I'm running V-brakes and they serve me fine. People wanting more powerful brakes doesn't make senses."
"I'm running 100mm of suspension travel and it serves me fine. People wanting more suspension travel doesn't make sense."
"I'm running 3x9 gearing and it serves me fine. People wanting different gearing doesn't make sense."
"I'm running rear suspension without any kind of lock-out or pedal assist and it works great for me. People wanting pedal assist or lock-out doesn't make sense."
"I'm running... . People wanting ... doesn't make sense."

What may be perfect for one person may not be ideal for the other. It is good to have different options. The ones that really don't make sense (at this time) will eventually die or at least get on the back burner.

I personally leave my saddle low and rarely feel the need to raise it, let alone do so on the fly. So I currently have no desire to invest in one of these "dropper seatposts". Especially as the travel is currently still limited to what most modern full suspension bikes are willing to accept (due to that kinked or interrupted seattube). But there seem to be people out there who are fine with 150mm travel posts. Others like 170mm, there sure will be some who like 220mm even better. Great for them that is becoming reality.
  • + 1
 @choppertank3e: I'm not using the bike to ride trials... Where you don't need a seat and need maximum drop clearance. Dh needs a seat to control the bike in turns and also to sit down on flatter parts for a rest.
  • + 1
 @clarky78: I am 6'4" and my new Rootdown is listed as a 533mm seat tube...even with my 170 post I still have a good 3-4 inches of seatpost showing...everyone's body is different.
  • + 7
 Bao Ti has a very long history cooperating with military departments. If my memory works correctly, Hi-light, Van Nicholas and many other brands' nice looking titanium beauties are produced by Bao Ti.
  • + 1
 Oh no, please don't tell anyone. You know what happened to Vista outdoor with Bell, Giro, Blackburn etc. ? Every now and then the bandwagon comes along...
  • + 0
 I wouldn't be getting into building Titanium bikes now. Super Magnesium is lighter than Titanium, stronger than steel !
  • + 9
 Ti Bullitt?

WANT!
Open wide while I shove cash in your mouth
  • + 3
 I have one made in steel, this seems like the obvious next step for me. WANT.
  • + 8
 Stash spot for your candy?
Cotton candy
Maybe some blue berry?
  • + 10
 it's legal now. no need to "stash"
  • + 4
 @lunchbucket: My respect for Canada has skyrocketed
  • + 7
 I ride a Lynskey FS165 Ti coil bike and it flies. Ti ain't all that bad.
  • + 3
 Have the above bearing puller/press from Enduro Bearings...seriously some of the nicest tools around. Their tools make working with bearings painless!
  • + 1
 At 6'2" and 35" cycling inseam I find my dropper choices far more limited by total length of the post than by seat tube length of the frame. Both my Evil Insurgent and Yeti SB130 have nowhere near the available insertion length to allow me to go any longer than a 185mm Bike Yoke Revive at my extended saddle height. I'm asking Santa for a 200mm OneUp, but I don't think he's going to come through.
  • + 0
 "Ask a wheel builder what one of the keys to reliability is, and they'll likely talk to you about equal spoke tension." Yes, equal between spokes on the same side. There was only one guy opining about equal spoke tension in dished wheels (with no data to back it up) and he went out of business.
  • + 1
 Are these wheels still dished? If the drive and non-drive spokes each go towards a different diameter rim, they can still manage to get the spoke angle equal. Match that with different diameter hub flanges and you can run equal spoke lengths and angles left and right and that should work really well. Offset drilling also applies odd loads on the rim so they've canceled that out as apparently they now have managed to get spokes intersect with the same circle in the rim center. I think it is clever. It actually gives them an advantage over "take the aluminium design limited by what can be made using extrusion and now make it in carbon".
  • + 1
 Do the trig on how this design could make spoke angles equal so you can convince yourself why it will never happen. For a DT 240 boost rear hub, the raised parts on this company's rim would need to be 115mm tall.
  • + 2
 As stupid as the rims look in the first place, it could actually be really cool. Because of the bulges they should be much more compliant in radial direction....
  • + 3
 Really interested in those bearing tools. Cant seem to find them anywhere though.
  • + 1
 Harbor freight
  • + 1
 @drunknride: in have never seen those bearing press sets at harbor freight. And the puller i have seen uses a slide hammer
  • + 1
 @mfoga: I was addressing the puller and I could be wrong but the one pictured has to use a slide hammer as well. It's just not pictured. If you want to find similar and inexpensive bearing presses there are a variety on amazon. Harbor freight does have a bearing driver but it's mostly bigger sizes then a bike uses. It is good for seals though.
  • + 1
 @drunknride: I thought the puller looked like it was threaded in some way, only reason I though of for why there was the outer sleeve.
  • + 1
 The issue with the 220mm Funn dropper is that it's made by Funn. They have the WORST reviews I've ever seen on CRC on a dropper post. Majority of people having tons of issues with them. Hopefully that is sorted first...
  • + 2
 Guys, Bullet shock attached to the down tube, Heckler to the top tube. Donut guy? How about the yellow funn bike with no dropper? I'm too lazy to google it.
  • + 2
 Will be neat when rapid prototype machines can help manufacters get cable routing in the best place, as it does not happen very often?
  • + 1
 Owning a M16c and a Slash 9.9, I still get all giggly whenever there is a titanium bike around. There's something magical about a ti frame.
  • + 1
 Titanium frames are just gorgeous.
  • + 1
 I would be wary to use such a long seatpost unless the frame was designed to deal with the leverage it has. I have had my share of broken seattubes because of long seatposts.
  • - 2
 Don’t believe yiu
  • + 2
 I’m presuming that the wrong photos were used to illustrate the beautiful Ti frames - cos those things are bowfin’!
  • + 2
 Is that set of bearing removers cheaper than the 20 dollar blind bearing puller kit I bought on amazon?
  • + 2
 Am I the only one thinking that’s a Heckler not Bullit ?? Eitherway does not look like a session
  • + 4
 Was thinking that too. The Bullit had the shock bolted to the downtube, not to the top tube like the Heckler, Superlight and Juliana.
  • + 2
 Crank Brothers: Yeah, our Colbalts are easily the ugliest wheels out there.
Quai: Hold my beer...
  • + 2
 Let's get that 220mm Funn post 220 likes to try to get them to produce it
  • + 1
 Pink bike found a frame to nab. Give us that ti group buy lads, finally a pinkbike.
  • + 1
 That Funn Frame actually looks like funn geometry. I'd be willing to check it out if the price is right
  • + 2
 Ti iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ! !
  • + 1
 220mm is incredibly pointless. It's like the wide handlebar trend.. There is a "too far"..
  • + 1
 Liking the airsmith tool and those carbon rims. They look different tup
  • + 0
 Looks like a lot of funn.
  • - 1
 Anyone who "needs" a 200mm dropper are either 7" tall or run their seat WAY to high.
  • - 2
 An ideal riding position for me is like 29 inches from the bottom bracket, to the seat. My frame is like 12 inches, so a 200mm dropper post puts it at like 20 inches, which is as good as it gets in terms of compromising.
  • + 1
 In my opinion, I'm 6 feet tall, and I think the perfect frame size at the seat tube is 15 inches for mountain biking. I'd say that's the goldilocks size for maneuverability, and pedalability.
  • + 7
 Trying to picture a 7" tall man.
  • + 1
 Or rides bikes too small for stand over/wheelbase/riding vert/weight and strength reasons like me. I also have stupidly long legs for my torso. At 6foot three I'm the same height as most people 5foot ten when sitting next to them.
  • + 1
 @Kramz: Damn...that's short! I am 6'4" and ride in coastal BC and think 21" is perfect...gotta love how everyone feels comfortable with a different setup eh?
  • + 1
 @JohanG: About the height of G.I. Joe, right?
  • + 1
 @pedalhound: Yeah, my shorter friend used to ride a 15", and it worked pretty well for him too. Probably theoretically a bit bigger for him.
  • + 0
 Neat!!
  • - 1
 Those frames......the chain growth!!
  • + 1
 Is not significant? Not really anymore than any other dual link system.
  • - 2
 A bullet without a name on it? Easyfix sight it in and send it.
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