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HQ Tour: Brazn Makes Unique High Pivot Bikes in New Zealand

Feb 28, 2023 at 13:15
by TEBP  
The European Bike Project is one of our favorite Instagram accounts. Alex from TEBP constantly updates his feed with everything from interesting curios from tiny manufacturers to inside looks at European manufacturing to analyses of the environmental impact of our sport. He's currently travelling in New Zealand, where he started The Oceanian Bike Project.


Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
The pre-production park bike with the old "Zen" decals.


Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
The team at Brazn Bikes has been working on an impressive range of bikes.


The Company

Milton Bloomfield founded Dynamic Composites in 1997 to make his own carbon products, shortly after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering. The shops next door were a kayak and a bike shop, so it’s no big surprise that he soon built a kayak and a bike frame.

Not long after that, he got interested in multisports, such as the Coast to Coast race. While Milton took part in such races, he also built carbon parts for others to use in the race, such as special drink systems or parts for kayaks. After this success, Milton soon made a frame for Sarah Ulmer who won the individual pursuit race at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Over the years, Milton was involved in more than 20 NZ Olympics and Paralympics medals as well as some iconic sailing achievements.

Now Dynamic Composites is working on its own mountain bike range, which will be sold under the “Brazn” brand. The track bikes used to be labelled “ZEN”, but Milton decided to move away from this name.

Currently, the team is working on three different bikes: a trail bike, a park bike, and an e-bike. They all have a single pivot suspension design with a medium to high idler pulley. The frames will be made in-house in Christchurch, NZ, including the CAD, tooling, making the actual frame, painting and assembly.

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Milton Bloomfield working on the latest iteration of the e-bike.

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
After eight iterations Milton is satisfied that the e-bike frame is now good enough to go out to keen riders.

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
A new roll of carbon fiber just arrived at the factory.

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Thanks to careful planning, the offcuts are minimal.
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Fresh out of the mould.

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Some of the work that Dynamic Composites does is confidential, so we couldn't take a lot of photos in the factory.

Milton acknowledges that it’s challenging to build frames in New Zealand because of the costs, but he’s passionate about bringing some carbon frame manufacturing back to New Zealand. Since 2015 the company has been ISO 9001 certified because of their work for the aerospace and medical industry and that’s the level of precision they also want to bring to Brazn.

The carbon itself comes from Gurit, a world leader in carbon fiber. All products have serial numbers, so Milton can track which carbon he used for which product, which paint was used and other details.


Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
All frames are painted in-house.

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
The team has also been working on new handlebars, but releasing the bikes is their first priority. As you can see, the handlebars have gone through some testing.

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
A handlebar and rear ends in the factory.


The Suspension Design


“Keeping things simple is difficult, making something complex is easy,” says Milton. When he went with his family on a three-week trip to Whistler back in 2018 he crashed and broke his scapula after the first week. While the rest of the family was in the bike park, he had two weeks off the bike to design a new bike for his next visit. He found that the waiting time at bike shops in Whistler was long and he was working on the bikes of his family every day, so the question of how he could build a frame with a simple suspension design came up.

He liked the high pivot bikes that started to appear in the downhill World Cup back then, so he decided to take this route too.

bigquotesKeeping things simple is difficult, making something complex is easy.Milton Bloomfield, Brazn Bikes

“With the right design and spring rate, you can have the progressivity to prevent bottom out harshness and maintain sensitivity at the same time,” Milton explained – and I could definitely feel that he was right when I had the chance to ride the park bike in Christchurch Adventure Park.

The biggest challenge was to get the lateral stiffness of the bottom bracket right. While some riders think that single pivot frames are not stiff enough, Milton points out that many motorbikes are single pivots too – so it’s all a matter of the right concept. One key feature to get the right stiffness is the use of bottom bracket size bearings for the frame pivot, but the braces between the seat- and chainstays surely help too.

The design also allows Milton to create pretty light frames – not having a lot of bearings and a rocker link simply saves weight. For example, the trail bike frame is around 2.8 kg (including shock).


The E-Bike

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour

Milton says: “I’m a perfectionist. When you understand all the aspects of bike design, it’s difficult to say 'It’s good enough.' I went through seven iterations of the e-bike frame before I actually built one frame. There is only so much you can do in CAD, at some point you have to go to the physical product. I could go on with the design forever, but version eight really is good enough.”

For 2023 and 2024, the e-bike will be available with Shimano Motors and Brazn got all the parts in stock for 2023. Suspension duties will be managed by DVO products and other parts will come from E*Thirteen and PRO.

When Milton designed the e-bike, he didn’t look at other options that are on the market. “Ignorance is bliss," he says. He didn’t want to take inspiration from other bikes, he wanted the bike to be his interpretation of an e-bike.


Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour


Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour


I had the chance to ride this bike around the Port Hills and in Victoria Park. While this is by no means a review, my first impression was positive. There are not many high pivot e-bikes with idler pulleys out there, even though the design makes a lot of sense: The slightly increased friction does not really matter and the lack of pedal kickback and more active suspension makes the ride even more enjoyable.


Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour

Details
- Head Angle: 65°
- Effective Seat Angle: 76° / 75.4° / 75.1°
- Reach: 450 / 480 / 510 mm
- Stack: 633 / 642 / 647 mm
- Chainstays: 460 mm
- As ridden 22.3 kg (according to Brazn)
- 160 mm front, 150 mm rear travel
- 29” wheels
- Rear shock: 205 x 60 mm Trunnion


The Park Bike

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour


I was lucky enough to ride the park bike at the chairlift-assisted Christchurch Adventure Park, which proved to be the perfect test lab for this bike. Riding this bike was a lot of fun and I was amazed how well the rear suspension worked. There was a lot of plushness, but at the same time there was enough progression to prevent any bottom-out harshness. Of course, the pedal kickback-reducing idler pulley design was very welcome too.

Due to some issues with my hands I usually ride with a Fasst Flexx handlebar, so using the almost perfectly straight carbon bar felt a bit harsh in the beginning, but I got used to it after some laps. Overall I loved the characteristics of this rig and if you mainly ride park, I’d definitely recommend staying tuned for the official release of this frame.


Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour


Details
- Head Angle: 63°
- Effective Seat Angle: 73°
- Reach: 450 mm
- Stack: 609 mm
- Chainstays: 430 mm
- As ridden less than 15 kg (according to Brazn)
- 27.5” wheels
- 180 mm front, 180 mm rear travel
- BB92 bottom bracket
- Rear shock: 205 x 65 mm Trunnion



The Trail Bike

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour

Milton went the extra mile and gave me the trail bike to try out as well. I rode it up the rather cruel Huntsbury Avenue and down the pretty mellow Huntsbury downhill track. I was amazed how well the bike pedalled uphill, even though Milton had put some decent rubber on the light carbon wheels. There was no suspension bob and the bike felt very efficient. Naturally, the downhill performance was not even close to the park bike, but I had a good time nevertheless. The rear suspension seemed to work better for me than the Fox 34, which I found a bit unresponsive, even with the compression open and the correct sag. What really counts for me though is the XC-like uphill performance of the frame, combined with an impressively low weight.

Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour

Details
- Head Angle: 65°
- Effective Seat Angle: 75°
- Reach: 480 mm
- Stack: 613 mm
- Chainstays: 435 mm
- As ridden less than 14 kg (according to Brazn)
- Frameset with shock as ridden: 2780g
- 29” wheels
- 140 mm front, 130 mm rear travel
- PF30 bottom bracket
- Rear shock 185 x 50 mm


Brazn Bikes Factory Tour
Brazn Bikes Factory Tour



Details
- Frames made in Christchurch, New Zealand
- E-bike: Available now
- Trail bike: Release approx. September 2023
- Park bike: No release date yet
- Price: Full E-Bike build from 18,995 NZD (= 11,750 USD)
- Website: https://www.brazn.bike/
- Instagram: @braznbikes
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraznBikes


Author Info:
TEBP avatar

Member since May 15, 2020
47 articles

160 Comments
  • 123 5
 Other than roadies and maybe the occasional XC guy, has any MTB rider EVER asked for one piece bar/stem comobs? Ever?
  • 94 4
 Dangerholm's quads have entered the chat
  • 112 1
 No one asked for headset routing, yet here we are. lol
  • 15 0
 @dreamlink87: He and his quads are an exceptional outlier. All trends, fashion, and lesser humans bow to their demands. Big Grin

@nickfranko agreed
  • 11 4
 Once you found out the perfect rise and stem length combo, a one piece bar/stem can be nice looking I guess
  • 15 2
 Personally, I really like it when I have to replace multiple parts when only one of them is old or broken.
  • 25 0
 The only thing is bar roll. Otherwise they make way more sense than clamping carbon.
  • 7 9
 @Armand74: that only works if all the bikes you'll ever ride have the same geometry. Once you change fork travel, A2C, reach, head angle it will be impossible to rotate the bars to have the same position consistently. That's why most of Scott consumers, who think internal cable routing for the rear brake (which is not much different than through headset routing) and one-piece bar-stem combos are great ideas, is because they are 40+ wealthy weekend warriors that give more importance to looks than function.
  • 13 1
 @dick-pound: whats your problem with 40+ wealthy weekend warriors?
  • 5 5
 @slickwilly1: chill mate, I'm not blaming that demographic, just stating that those are the people with the acquisition power that drive brand's sales, which designs based on looks rather than function.
  • 6 0
 Mate you ought to see the one peice Fork Bar Stem Thing that Sarah Ulma won the Olympics on. No drop bar, instead the Handle bars come out of the the fork above the crown an below the stem, Its a beautifull montrosity and this Kiwi legend deserves more than cheap comments about stem/bars, they're awesome in the right aplication and that's what he's building them for.

imgur.com/aHceD9W
  • 1 0
 @dick-pound: I get what you're saying, but can you really tell 1 degree bar roll? I put an angle set on my bike and never even thought about rolling my bars. When the bike has to go in a travel bag, I paint pen the stem and bar but I'm pretty sure they don't go back in that fine a tolerance
  • 2 1
 @dick-pound: He isn't making it for 40+ weekend warriors, they're going to be on world cup XC riders bikes.
  • 1 2
 @inside-plus: XC racers get custom products if needed, everybody else doesn't.
  • 3 0
 There’s loads of new interesting stuff coming out of New Zealand lately , did they get reconnected to the internet or something
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: Nah bro, we just had a bumper season when breading our carrier pigeons ! LOL
  • 58 6
 Kinked top tubes still hurt my eyes.
  • 45 1
 Don't kinkshame
  • 9 1
 stop the kink-shaming
  • 9 2
 Nothing wrong with a bender
  • 16 0
 Could kill two birds with one stone by straightening and raising that top tube.

- would look way better
- make room for a water bottle
- bonus - less complicated construction = cheaper to make.
  • 4 2
 @bashhard: As an Ibis owner, don't yuck my yum
  • 4 0
 Can anyone explain why kinked top tops are even used? Surely it's a weak point - I'm no engineer. Apart from perhaps being easier to step over.
  • 9 0
 @chriswcollie: It's a combination of a way to lower the top-tube and support the seat-tube without adding an extra void (as would be the case with a split junction to the seat-tube). The exact profile - whether a sharp or gradual radius - is an aesthetic choice, though a more gradual radius may be a slightly better design if we ignore considerations of appearance.

Nothing has to be a weak point if the design and manufacturing compensates for it. A sharp kink could be the strongest point on the bike if there's enough material! A better way to look at it is "structural efficiency".

You're correct it's a point of structural inefficiency. No cause for concern if Brazn has used sufficient material and applied it correctly, just slightly heavier than a different shape might have been. That said, the reason we perceive such design elements as "weak points" is because many products fail to properly compensate for structural inefficiencies.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Agreed you can always make something strong enough if you just add material in the right places. I think a bike should first and foremost do what you want it to do and not get in the way of allowing yourself to do what you want to do. I prefer to have a lot of room over the top tube to move around. Not just to step over, but primarily because I want to be able to tilt the bike without having to always raise the inside pedal. I set as a requirement that I want to have my knee all the way above the top tube when the cranks are level. For me this implied that for my current frame, I asked for the (straight) top tube to meet the seattube below a certain height. Something like 370mm or so (from center of bb) with a 400mm seattube (which was basically their "small" seattube on my otherwise "large" geometry frame. They (or actually Tom, from BTR Fabrications) did the calculations and decided I needed a stronger seattube for that, so that's what I got (Reynolds 853 instead of 631 like they'd otherwise use). I'm not questioning whether it was needed, I'm just happy with how the frame turned out. If they'd need more tubes inside that front triangle, I'd get that too as long as I have the room outside the frame for myself to play with. But indeed on many aluminum and carbon production frames, I often see that kink in the top tube. Does it meet the seattube at a higher point because it is stronger or is just because the want a tall seattube (for those who do seated pedaling with a high saddle) and need the top tube to support that? Either way, if the seattube really needs to meet the seattube that high, I'd rather see the top tube bend or kink a little to get it out of the way rather than a straight high tube between headtube and seattube.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: It's just a matter of how to use the material most efficiently. A low top-tube can produce a straighter top-tube at the expense of a longer cantilevered section of seat-tube. If the seat-tube were to be short, we might need droppers with greater wall thickness, which isn't ideal, as that extra material would be present on all posts, regardless of whether the frame in which it's mounted requires that thickness.
  • 1 1
 @R-M-R: The dropper issue isn't mine as I don't use one Wink . I just leave my saddle slammed so that's easy on the frame. However, I'm using a 400mm rigid seatpost in a 400mm seattube. Should I really need to raise it up to XC height, I can just reach that if leave the required 100mm minimum insertion length indeed inserted. I trust they have thought about that 100mm minimum and that it should survive though fair enough, on my previous frame which took 26.8mm seatposts (a DMR Switchback) I bent loads of seatposts with this approach. Race Face, NC17, Azonic, brands I trusted to be strong. Just riding them on the road to the trail (where I'd lower the saddle). I was below 70kg at the time, so not even heavy. I do understand 26.8mm is relatively small diameter, niche and chances are the seatpost manufacturers may not have put enough thought into them. My current seatpost is something like 31.6mm iirc and I trust that it will probably survive XC saddle height riding. Dropper seatposts can (in their extended state) be a lot taller these days. And if you get one from a reputable brand, I think you can trust they will keep up if you use them as instructed. So as long as you keep the minimum length inside the seattube, you can get the saddle mighty high. If I'd get a One Up 240mm travel dropper, I can get over 400mm extension. Which implies that even with a 300mm seattube I could get my saddle up to XC height. BTR may not do that, but Starling might do. At least they'd happily go well below 400mm. And a stock Curtis Racelite does get you a 12" seattube indeed. Obviously that long One Up dropper won't slide all the way down into the frame if the seattube is that short, but it does give you more versatility. Install the longer seatpost for those rides where you may appreciate the high saddle and install a shorter one when you don't need that. I can see myself appreciate that versatility. A short seattube with a long travel dropper may not allow you to slam the saddle even though you can get it up to XC height. But the lowest position will never be higher than what you could otherwise get with that same dropper slammed inside a taller seattube. And yes, a fully extended tall dropper like the One Up mentioned would look extremely daft in that Curtis Racelite. But isn't it a great option to have if you just have a single frame? Slam the rigid post on the track and install the dropper on your trail rides. No need to increase wall thicknesses on those current dropper posts as long as they are indeed as good as advertised. If they don't live up their own claims like I had with my old 26.8mm seatposts they yeah, you're in trouble. But let's for now trust that they live up to their claims.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: An interesting use case. Keep in mind you're an outlier and bikes have to be designed for a more typical use case. Outliers can - as you've done - get a custom frame to suit their unique needs.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Yeah, I understand that I am but I'm happy that there is the option to get a custom frame. It completely removed from going "Oh, I'd really like to have that frame instead of what I'm riding" into being really happy with what I have. I might get a different fork at some point (currently on a Magura TS8 because it works for me and I like the simple maintenance) but as I'm in no rush to get something new, I could just as well save up for something from Intend and stick with that forever (as everything can be maintained, modified and repaired on these forks).

However, I still thing the discussion about seattube length. If the seatpost engineers actually trust that the minimum insertion length is sufficient for them to perform and survive then it is wasted to not take advantage of that. The current consensus seems to be that the ideal length is the dropper that when extended reaches the saddle up to XC height yet still has the outer tube nearly entirely slid into the seattube. Whereas I'd say that when the saddle is at that height with that very same dropper seatpost (so with the same amount of travel), you only have little more than the minimum insertion dept inside the seattube. As I mentioned, that gives you most flexibility to play with the saddle height. You can still do what you could do with the conventional/current seattube dimensioning, you just also get the option to play with a lower saddle height when you do what that. Of course many here say they won't use and need that so that's all fine. It is just a big brands that designs bikes for the masses could actually benefit from more versatility. Especially as many of these big brands also have athletes on their roster who compete in 4X, DS and pumptrack racing. If they're on hardtails, they already have good options. But if they're on full suspension bikes, they typically get the small size XC or trail bikes. And I feel that they choose them for their low height, but the short reach is a compromise. The shorter seattubes could solve that without anyone losing any functionality. Again, provided the droppers live up to their claims and the minimum insertion is indeed sufficient.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: If we're going to explore ways to optimize seatposts and their interactions with the frame, the real solution is to integrate them with the frame.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Agreed and I'm surprised not more brands are going the way Liteville went. I was also once thinking about what a linkage would be like that'd do it instead of the telescopic design. But in the confined space between the rear wheel (and it's travel through the suspension stroke) and the suspension linkage, you don't have much left. Especially if, like me, you also value a low top tube it will just be looking for trouble. I actually considered the Liteville dropper back when I had my frame built (finished in May 2018 ). But aside from the fact that it may not have been available to buy aftermarket at that point, I also wasn't sure whether I wanted a dropper that badly. And then it would have been quite a commitment and an investment (in an even larger diameter seattube). But yeah, I'm surprised not more brands are using it on their frames for which they're pretty sure people are going to ride it with a dropper anyway.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: there was a linkage dropper in the 1990s. It had a CNCed parallel linkage atop the post. The saddle swung forward (if my memory serves)
  • 1 0
 @handynzl: The Power Post! An underappreciated feature was an extra far forward position for climbing.
  • 1 0
 @handynzl: I had that issue of Mountain Bike Action. Even as a young rider, I remember thinking how brilliant the Power Post was and how frustrating it was that it didn't have a greater impact on bike design.

The review heaped praise on the "climb" position, yet bike design clung to the 73° seat-tube angle due to a prevalent belief that a short wheelbase was superior. A short wheelbase does have some advantages in some situations, yet it seemed so obvious that the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. We had to either fold ourselves in half or sit on the very tip of the saddle's nose to keep the front wheel down on any climb that required the small chainring.

Similarly, we either had to get off and adjust our saddle height every few minutes or our default descending position was full Superman, resting our solar plexus on the rear edge of the saddle, yet the article states "To date, we have yet to find a use for [the Stowaway position]".

Was every bike designer in California and Colorado riding nothing by gently rolling terrain? Were they all so convinced of the short wheelbase dogma that they ignored the obvious problems and rejected the obvious solutions? My friends and I were flex-honing our seat-tubes, greasing our quick-releases for faster adjustment, and choosing saddles that didn't bruise our ribs quite as badly, waiting for bike designers to do the obvious. Little did we realize we would have to wait decades.

Anyway, the Power Post may have been imperfect, but it was visionary.
  • 1 2
 It's there for practical reasons. That kink keeps your knees from hitting the frame when cornering - and I can tell you that it works too!
  • 38 4
 Who really needs water anyway
  • 29 64
flag tacklingdummy (Mar 7, 2023 at 8:08) (Below Threshold)
 There is this thing now that you put on your back that holds water. It is pretty cool.
  • 30 2
 @tacklingdummy: It's pretty heavy...and high. Love riding without a pack on my back. Did it for years, not going back.
  • 12 2
 @tacklingdummy: Sure, but a frame lacking bottle mounts in the front triangle is such a small detail that can make a huge difference. I haven't run packs routinely since '14 and do not miss them in the least. The inability to portage a bottle on the frame within the front triangle is a nonstarter for me and many others who've grown accustom to not having to wear a pack. That said, I think these bikes look good, but the bottle issue and the conservative geometry bring the vibe down.
  • 24 1
 @carlitouk: Idk how people survive with a single water bottle. Even two isn't enough. On a hot day I'm emptying the majority of a 3L hydration pack.
  • 3 1
 @tacklingdummy: And hot, heavy, sweat inducing and if large enough can raise center of gravity.
  • 8 0
 some would say it was a brazen move from Brazn to exclude any what bottle mounts
...I'll see myself out Razz
  • 4 1
 @hellbelly: agreed, this bike looks awesome, but I would never buy a bike without a water bottle mount. I only ride with a pack if i'm doing some 30km+ sufferfest.
  • 4 0
 @mkul7r4: This. I do a less than average job staying hydrated in general, but I sweat as if all life on earth depended on it. I have an Osprey back bag with a 3L bladder and it gets a full workout. Even on the road bike I have two of the Zefal 950ml bottles just in case. It's a lot to carry but I don't enjoy life at all when I run out of water.
  • 3 6
 @hellbelly: You would really compromise bike performance and design just to put a water bottle in the front triangle? I prefer bike companies design a bike around bike performance and not around a water bottle.
  • 6 6
 @carlitouk: I rode with a water bottle for years and never going back. I don't like the weight on the bike, not enough water, and don't notice the weight on my hydration pack. How do you bring enough water for longer rides? Hot days with 2-3 hour rides, I will need about 2 liters. Can't put 2 liters in a water bottle.
  • 2 1
 @tacklingdummy: Don't think they're saying that. I think they're saying on-bike water is an important enough feature for their ride type that they will find the totality of circumstance that best fits. If that frame is to have a bottle mount, this won't be the high-pivot bike they're looking at. Besides that, it appears, if the builder so wanted, they could fit at least one standard bottle on the downtube and just haven't incorporated it yet. There are options to mount an "anywhere" bottle though (SKS makes a decent solution, just doesn't look amazing).

I totally get why one wouldn't like a backpack, but I'm the opposite. The bike can't carry enough water for me so I'm resigned to carrying the back bag. Even though all my bikes have at least one bottle mount.
  • 1 0
 @mkul7r4: Yup during the summer on a mountain bike ride, I regularly drink three bottles and then stop and refill a couple to finish the ride.
  • 3 2
 @tacklingdummy: I think at this point there are very few bad or poorly performing bikes and on the contrary there are many great performing bikes. The only real differences at either end being ones of nuance. Thus if given the choice between two similar bikes in all other aspects, I'll take the one with bottle mounts. Most of my rides are less than three hours and on the local stuff around me I have access to additional water sources as needed. If I'm going on a ride that is longer or it's really hot out or both, I'll wear a hip pack (Bonntrager Rapid pack FTW!) carrying an extra bottle there. Additionally, now having a bike with internal down tube storage I have yet another place to stash a small bladder bottle or a chocolate eclair as I did recently. Big Grin
  • 4 1
 @tacklingdummy: I don't think that bike performance and design vs water bottle in front triangle is an exclusive thing. MANY brands have been able to offer excellent performance AND include provisions for a water bottle. You're not the designer at Brazen so who are you to say that including a water bottle would compromise bike performance?
  • 2 5
 @hellbelly @Spencermon But it is still is a limiting factor to work around. To me, it is like designing a high performance race car with a requirement that it has to have back seats or a big trunk. There is a compromise on performance. I'd much rather have a bike company not even consider the water bottle and design the absolute best performing bike, but that is just me.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: I ride only pack

@hamncheez: undead and unalive
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: that's understandable. It can be a limiting factor to some designs. I think that @hellbelly makes the best point that given the choice, I'd pick a bike that allows for a water bottle. It's an option on almost every bike up to 170mm travel. unfortunately, the market is not logical and once a feature is common enough or requested enough, it becomes a detriment to not have the same features as other bikes on the market. see: mullet wheels, threaded bottom brackets, water bottles, longer droppers, etc.
  • 2 0
 @mkul7r4: Not everybody lives in the dessert. Here in Swiss you'll risk not finding water only during the coldest winter months due to the pipes freezing, but also I doubt you need 3 lt of water when you're riding in negative temps.
  • 1 0
 @mkul7r4: I ride with a filter.
  • 5 1
 @tacklingdummy: you should try hydrating before you ride. That’s an obscene amount of water to consume during exercise. Not saying it’s wrong, but damn son.
  • 6 1
 @tacklingdummy: but putting 4 kilos on your back undoubtedly affects performance.
  • 3 1
 @tacklingdummy: the “best performing suspension” is gonna mean no space for a dropper post.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: NO NO NO, you can't use common sense on PB, it's not allowed!
backpacks can get real hot though so i use one of these
www.osprey.com/us/en/product/seral-4-SERAL4S21.html
  • 4 0
 Water bottle cage mounts are an option available on the ONE eMTB.
  • 1 0
 @BrianColes: I do hydrate before. You live in Canada, I live in California. Big difference. Also, I'm strange, I like to sweat. It gets a lot junk out of the body.
  • 3 0
 @p0rtal00: Yeah, I do like the hip pack system, but they just don't work for me. They ride up on my stomach and are very uncomfortable. I don't even notice my hydration pack or get any hotter.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: i used to have a backpack but after a couple of days away it'd reek (i'm a sweaty b*stard) and the back'd be covered in salt, don't want to go there again.
thank god for bike packing gear for those multi day excursions.
  • 3 0
 @p0rtal00: @p0rtal00: the lumbar packs get real uncomfortable when you possess a middle-aged equatorial mass. personally i like the camelbak skyline. holds a crapload of water and keeps the weight low, while distributing strap load to the shoulders and around the waist. and keeps the pack mostly off your back, which is real nice. the only beef i have with camelbak is their little elastic loops stretch out too quickly.
  • 2 0
 @mattmatthew: i don't want to admit it but i've been getting a puku also, i've started to remove all sugar and a lot of salt from my diet as i've only heard bad things.
just had a look at the camelbak that's not bad from the looks, have to see who distributes them here.
ta for that.
  • 2 0
 I also prefer the pack on my back. Just get one where the water sits low. I'm using the Ergon BE1. I want the back protection anyway (I can slide their protective pad in there) and I feel having more weight on my body gives more command over a lighter bike than the other way around. Also for pumping, carrying more weight on your body and less on the bike is more effective. Finally as everyone does seem to agree that your legs are your best suspension, weight on your body is sprung weight and weight on the bike is still somewhat unsprung weight.
  • 2 0
 @mkul7r4: If it's not warm you need less. If you can refill then why carry all your water for the ride for the whole ride? If you can stop at a cafe or a van for a cup of tea, why the hell would you want water? ;-)
  • 1 3
 God, front triangle water bottle mafia is competing with the balanced chainstay crew for most annoying group of posters. if that's your main criteria for choosing a bike, cool. just stfu about it already, because it's not a great criteria. it's also expressed here constantly by the staff writers.
  • 2 0
 @p0rtal00: I'm not sure what a "Puku" is slang for as the computer says its a type of antelope. As for the diet, I'm with ya on the sugar reduction as most people take in way too much of it. This is particularly tricky with hydration supplements, energy bars and the stuff we find ourselves using for our efforts. In my case as a Type 1 diabetic it's even more challenging since even though I need hydration and some carbohydrates for energy, consuming too much at one time can easily cause my blood glucose (BG) to elevate making me feel like garbage. I recently began using a newer hydration supplement called LMNT that is sugar free and is sweetened with Stevia, but the real trick is that it is salt and electrolyte based. I can drink a full 22-26ml bottle of it and it doesn't eff with my BG. I've now used it on seven rides and cannot believe how good I feel. No dumb sugar crashes/rushes. No I don't work for them nor am I am influencer or whatever nonsense. Yes, it is salty, but in a pleasant kind of way like a good margarita.

@TheRamma Bottle mounts are certainly not the main criteria for me choosing a frame, but like I mentioned above if I am looking at two bikes with similar performance attributes the one with bottle mounts will get the nod. This is not a dis to any company that doesn't have them, but if I was a designer/product mgr for a bike manufacturer it would be something that would be in the discussions. It is feasible on nearly every bike out these days. Lastly, I'll mention a US brand that makes killer bikes that would greatly benefit from bottle mount inclusion that being Canfield. I would be surprised if they do not go for this in their next design updates. Revel proved it is do-able with their CBF suspension and I would love to them do it as I prefer Canfield's vibe.
  • 1 0
 @hellbelly: that's a great example! I ride a Canfield lithium, friend rode a Revel Rail. After hopping on the lithium, and hitting some really chunky lines, he said "shit, the rear on this bike is so much more stable and predictable," and went off and bought himself one.

I can ask Lance if he's going to redesign for ya, but he's a pretty good engineer, so I imagine if the solution was simple and didn't require a big trade-off, he would have done it. IDK, not speaking for the dude, I'm an engineering moron.

If you're ever in Western CO, let me know, you can probably go ride with him and ask him yourself. The bikes are ridiculously good, as is the company. Can't say they're the best, but the suspension outperforms anything I've tried, including Revel. I gave up a Process 153 with a water bottle mount in the front triangle for that Lithium, and haven't looked back.
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: Right on! I was out in GJ in 2018 and our group had blast riding the Lunch Loops stuff. I loved the techy stuff and all of it, but some of our group was less fond of all the pedaling. I was less enthusiastic over the Fruita trails, but whatever. I'd love to come back to ride CO in general and would certainly put GJ back in cue.

I was a Evil creep for nearly six years. I had a great time on both of the Wreckonings I had, but more recently moved on to riding a Stumpjumper EVO. There is plenty of love and hate out there for the big S, but I can't really find much of anything I don't like about it. It has a bottle mount and frame storage and is just silly fun. Despite having less travel than the Evils, there is not really anything I would be concerned about riding with it.
  • 3 0
 @hellbelly: sorry shoulda thought, it's a Maori word for belly.
i've taken to bringing a banana and an apple on rides longer than a few hours these days but you can feel the difference in energy levels. i tried using a very dilute saline solution for electrolytes but yuck, nope not doing that again. then i put a little bit of ginger and lemon juice with it and that's not too bad. the issue is i'm so used to sweet sugary stuff it's taking a while to acclimatise.
  • 1 0
 @p0rtal00: plus there's space for 3L of water, tools, personal items, and beer
  • 2 0
 @hellbelly: yeah, lunch loops is where it's at! other great system is out in Mack, Mack Ridge to Troybuilt is pretty epic.

No hate for the Big S. I do know, and accept, that I pay extra for a small company where I can talk to the owner/designer/engineer if I call the website's number. Not everybody cares about that, though.
  • 11 0
 I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat. Yes, "E", please.
  • 3 0
 You have to he at least this (add exuberant high number) old to get this joke. Unfortunately, I did.
  • 9 3
 While I do not work for, or am I affiliated with BRAZN, as I know the owner Milton I currently have the grey e-bike to use (I am doing the extreme end 'fat boy' testing on it! - I'm about 320lb in old measurements).
I can honestly say that the suspension ride on the thing is astounding with far more supple a ride feel than my 21'/gen5 Fuel EX, and yet with WAY less suspension bob than the Fuel too. The traction when climbing on some of the small hills near where I live is unreal, and when just riding through some of the single track on those trails local trails that I normally ride trying to get fit, the addition of the motor means that in areas where I'd be peddling around at up to 16kph / 10mph, I was doing twice that speed and turning the mundane into fun and exciting.
I've been fortunate enough to ride a well sorted Rail a few years back, a fantastic bike, there is no denying that. In my opinion the 'way' the BRAZN ride's made it much more enjoyable of a bike to me!
I was skeptical and curious as to how well that rear end could work before riding it properly (if i am honest), all I can say is that everyone should have a go so see for themselves, it's that well sorted!. To be expected from an engineer who designed and built Olympic gold and silver medal winning track bikes, who then started on a MTB path as a way past others issues.
A lot of my initial riding was done in the open setting on the shock (still with little to no noticeable pedal bob), the switch to the trail setting was hugely noticeable, and made a great bike even better on flatter sections and general trail riding!
As for water, I'm one of those that can't suffice on a tiny little bottle's, so I have wore a 3lt pack for longer than I care to mention.
  • 9 0
 Single Pivots will never die!
  • 6 0
 Balfa bb7 reincarnation! I new it would come with high pivots being more popular (once again). I like Balfa looks more though.
  • 4 0
 I don’t get the kinked top tube trend. If that top tube was straight there would be more room for a bigger water bottle and and you’d lose marginal standover height that’s not going to matter for anyone on the proper sized frame.
  • 6 0
 I'm curious how quite the bolted together rear triangle will be after a few miles?
  • 3 1
 I'm sure it will be fine. Plenty of carbon rear triangles are glued together at the bridge.
  • 2 0
 Creaky and require disassembly and regular cleaning. Will be fun when all the paint wears off.
  • 2 1
 If well engineered, why would it be any worse than your "bolted together" cockpit?
  • 6 1
 Unrelated to the immediate topic, but these bikes make me wish every bike had an elevated driveside chainstay. Less noise, cleaner bike, easy chain maintenance, cool look.
  • 2 0
 Almost everyone designs bikes like they're waiting for front derailleurs to come back. It's bizarre.
  • 1 0
 Orange has been making bikes like this for a good while though sadly hardly anyone mentions it as a pro. I did take it as an advantage on my Cannondale Prophet though when you do drop the chain without a chain device, it really does drop deeper (into the dirt and possibly in your spokes) than if you have some means of retention like a front mech, a chain device or a chainstay. My Prophet has a big bashring on the outside so there's no way it can drop in that direction anyway.

Now that the chain is elevated on this particular bike, all these pros and cons compared to a traditional bike are out of the way. It is pretty much the same again.
  • 1 0
 Alpinestars were awesome!
  • 7 2
 high pivot bikes just don't look right in my opinion, totally unnecessary to just be different. More parts more weight is going in the wrong direction for me.
  • 3 1
 “Totally unnecessary just to be different” that could be said about literally every suspension design out there, no? They are all doing something different in order to achieve a certain end goal. If this was no benefit though, we would all be riding single pivots and be more than happy. And if that’s what you want, there are still lots of options available. High pivots have more ability to manipulate the axle path. Add in idler location and now you can really tune pedalling characteristics. It may add some complexity but it does come with some benefits depending on what the end user desires. Does a high single pivot layout really have more weight and more parts compared some linkage designs out there? Personally I don’t think so.
  • 3 0
 @norcorider-13: Great points. As you said, indirect drivetrains add parts, complexity, and mass, as do multiple links. Of course, we could combine indirect and multi-link, but it's interesting to compare an indirect single-pivot to a direct multi-link: both add one class of complexity, with different pros and cons.

Currently, I feel a direct multi-link may be best for most riders in most situations, but that could change when we get bypass shocks, as they'll be able to offer more sophisticated curves for both spring and damping.

In any case, it's great that companies are exploring these options. Even if few people buy boutique bikes like the Brazn, the learnings from outlier designs help advance the entire industry.
  • 3 0
 @R-M-R: appreciate your insight to my comment.

I do agree that a direct multi-link layout likely works best for most riders in most situations, because most suspension designs these days are very well sorted (and quite similar in the resulting kinematics). Interesting comment about the bypass shocks and it’s possible advantages, I’m not up to speed on these and will have to learn more.

I also agree it’s great to see small brands trying different designs, exploring new ideas, or revisiting old designs with a modern interpretation. I love that we have all the options we do regarding suspension designs.

I did however just purchase an indirect multi-link bike… yet to confirm if it’s better than my 4bar bike but it super is pretty.

Cheers!
  • 4 0
 Review made me look up Fasst Flexx handlebars. At first I laughed. Then I read the online reviews from Beta and Enduro MTB. Perhaps more interesting than the Brazn bike.
  • 5 0
 Can I be brazn enough to ask for the pricing?
  • 2 1
 Motorized model is NZ$18,995 (CA$15,966, US$11,610).
  • 2 5
 @R-M-R: Yes, and for that you get a limited run custom one off bike, the DVO suspension is tuned internally for the owners weight and intended riding style by DVO NZ themselves, you get bespoke paint on one of 2 schemes from a pallet of something like 2000 colours on top of the ever reliable and smooth as butter XT gear-set and brakes.
They are built for the owner, and no-one else, so unlike most other bikes out there, you don't have to put up with a colour choice you may hate, or a bike tuned to a person who rides and or weighs nothing like you!
  • 5 1
 Trunnion with that much leverage on it???
Fox Float X2 blown in 1/2 of a ride
  • 1 0
 As i state above, I am lucky enough to be riding the very pre-production e-bike as shown in the photos at 320lb in body weight (I'm doing the 'larger rider' testing process). I've not managed to ruin the shock to date, so there must be something done right in the frame design to remove the issue you seem to think might be there!
  • 1 0
 @FOBMTB: it’s somewhat weight biased for sure. But it’s more so how fast you are. Flexing a frame in corners and off bigger jumps. Either way. Trunnion shocks are proven to blow up on pretty much every frame design, and this would have by far the most leverage
  • 2 0
 On these High Pivot bikes, does chain wrap on the chainring not matter that much? No skipping under power like a singlespeed conversion with a push down tensioner and not enough wrap?
  • 1 0
 Would be cool if they'd visit Craftworks from Oz someday. They've been making high pivot mid-travel bikes for so long but even though more recent bikes from North American bikes got a lot of praise for being so innovative, I've seen little mention about their ENR bikes here on Pinkbike.
  • 4 0
 Very cool! Great to see some homegrown bikes from the South Island even.
  • 1 0
 If you are in CHCH, there is one to look at at Scotty Browns (a cool while / pink one in their co colours), one at a store in Arrowtown, though I understand that the dudes moving to Frankton (can't remember the shops name sorry), and one set for a store in Auckland.
They ride great too! Like I expected it to ride well post some really good conversations on it with Milton over the last 6 months or so, and yet it still blew my mind that something with the comfort support and 'feel' of a DH rig in the way it takes up all the chatter and makes the trail disappear under you, still pedaled with almost zero bob - it actually messed with my head a bit as all bikes are generally a compromise in some way, this one didn't feel like it was burdened with that problem though! (even with my fat butt on it!)
  • 1 0
 @FOBMTB: Arrow bikes cool, they are still unpacking
  • 1 0
 @dkendy1: go have a nosey if in the area!
  • 3 0
 I like the look of these bikes. Love that are more and more small companies out there offering up unique designs !
  • 4 0
 Congrats Milton - quite the accomplishment.
  • 3 0
 The white and blue colorway looks sick
  • 8 7
 Dude needs to hire an actual designer. Unappealing angles and bulges everywhere, underutilized and undeveloped surfacing all over the place.
  • 3 0
 With a name like that you would figure the bikes would be brazed..........
  • 3 0
 I'd like to buy an E for $250 Pat.
  • 3 0
 Good stuff, I look forward to seeing what comes in the future.
  • 1 0
 The website is going through an update process ATM, so perhaps keep an eye out for what is coming up.
As a hint, look at the pic above showing the trail bike with the e-bike in the next photo. Take a look at the shock and bottom bracket positioning on them both, and how the motor could potentially line up on both bikes! Wink
  • 1 0
 It's really nice!
But on the park bike, wouldn't the shock work better upside down? Like more oil on seals for dusty park laps?
  • 2 0
 That park bike, it was built back in 2019, it's not a new design. You can see the genesis from that through to the trail bike and then the new E-bike, same design language, just evolved from the park, trail (late 21' vintage I understand) and then the e-bike that is the first production bike.
The coming trail and park bikes will in turn be evolution's of the bikes shown in here!
  • 1 0
 @FOBMTB: Thanks for the detail!
  • 3 1
 don't know much about NZ, but looks like it is tuff to be an MTBer there with that conversion rate eh?
  • 1 1
 @valrock: This is not how it works mate.
  • 1 0
 Try building boutique, limited run bikes in any 1st world country and you will see they are expensive. While the ONE Emtb is like NZ$18K retail, I've personally seen an SC Heckler at the same local store selling the BRAZN's at, for NZ$27.8K!
The BRAZN, on the grand scheme of things isn't actually THAT expensive!
  • 2 0
 Whatever happened to Zerode? Those were some dreamy high pivot kiwi bikes.
  • 1 0
 I ride one, it's a great bike, not high pivot but it is a single pivot; you don't need fancy linkages for a single speed.

I love mine. They are still being made, mine is a Taniwha Mullet 160/180 full coil.
  • 1 0
 @sanchofula: ah maybe it was just their dh bike that had the high pivot.
  • 1 0
 Go to their website mate, google it. Katipō and Taniwha available for purchase on a keyboard near you
  • 2 0
 1 piece stem handlebar and bolted rear triangle ?
  • 1 0
 Confused on the park bike set up. Saint brakes Atlas stem but Turbine cranks?
  • 1 0
 I reiterate: Who. Is. Buying. These. Things. Unproven ugly ass bad named bike for $12Gggggs?
  • 1 0
 Shame about the dated geometry...tall seat slack seat tubes are not great for anything...
  • 1 0
 this looks like a perfect slopedurocross bike for me!
  • 6 5
 Theres some seriously Brazn design work going on here - nice job!
  • 7 1
 It could use some extra brazeons though
  • 3 1
 Balfa BB7 is back!
  • 1 0
 Its got this 90's vibe to it. I like it!
  • 1 0
 What in the actual bend is going on with the rear derailleur routing?
  • 1 0
 It goes from the frame through the swingarm and then out the back to the derailleur like on most bikes.
  • 2 0
 Looks like an Orange!
  • 2 1
 Erm, I might have missed something but a 73* STA?
  • 3 1
 The Parkbike was designed for bikeparks, not so much for uphills.
  • 2 0
 @TEBP: I have a 180mm high pivot park bike with a steeper sta.
  • 1 0
 Park bike with a dropper post?
  • 1 0
 The pivot on that park bike is high af
  • 4 3
 its carbon and highpivot but looks ugly tbh
  • 1 0
 that park bike looks pretty amazing. purpose-built
  • 3 1
 No, thank you
  • 1 0
 Good for him to make something in his own country
  • 1 0
 A real high-pivot. Literally
  • 2 0
 Holy Anti rise
  • 2 0
 Looks like a trek 9000
  • 1 0
 Looks like a scott and a deviate mixed together
  • 1 0
 top tube looks like a 'crumple zone'
  • 1 0
 The Zen decals and name is 100% more classy then the Brazn one
  • 2 2
 Scott called.. they want their old front triangles back.
  • 4 0
 No they don't.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Giant
  • 1 1
 Maybe dumb question, but is there a reason top tubes have a kink in them
  • 1 0
 it could be for ergonomics. i really really highly doubt it adds strength, if anything it might even make it weaker but probably not by enough to make it much of a concern given so many companies do it. i hate how they look though
  • 2 0
 looks like a 'crumple zone'
  • 2 1
 lost me at the top tube.
  • 1 2
 That's like an early 90s Trek. Progress?

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