Kavenz Launches VHP 18 for Super Enduro, Freeride & Downhill

Apr 25, 2022 at 8:44
by James Smurthwaite  

Last time Kavenz released a bike, it was teased with a series of 25 YouTube videos over two years and arrived onto the scene on a wave of hype. That hype seems to have been justified as when we reviewed the VHP 16 we nicknamed it the 'The Traction Master' and it's also the bike of choice for out 'Things That Are Made in Europe' correspondent The European Bike Project.

This latest iteration of the bike may not have benefitted from the same marketing push but it's safe to say we are still excited for the German brand's next project. The new version of the bike builds on those solid foundations but with even more smashability.

VHP 18 Details

Frame Material: aluminium
Wheelsize: 27.5" (rear)
Travel: 180mm
Head Tube Angle: 63.5°
Seat Tube Angle: 77°
Sizes: 440-520mm reach (in 20mm increments)
Price: €2,645 (no shock)
More info: kavenz.com
As the name suggests, the bike now has 180mm of rear wheel travel and Kavenz recommend pairing that with anywhere from 180mm to 200mm up front. This allows you to create a versatile build that Kavenz says can be used for everything from super enduro to freeride and downhill.



A new shock mount allows for a longer shock and more travel. The mount is compatible with current Kavenz frames that have sufficient clearance and all new ones going forward.


Kavenz says the bike is suitable for a full 200mm double crown fork or a nimbler 180mm single crown.

The new configuration means the VHP18 is 27.5" only in the rear

It's not strictly correct to call this a new bike and most of the platform is identical to the VHP 16 but with a different shock mount and a new shock. On the VHP 16, the shock is trunnion mount 205x65mm but on the VHP18, it's a 225x75mm trunnion mount. In fact, if you have a VHP16 from batches 0-5 and a reach of more than 500mm you can make the conversion to your current bike (all reach sizes of future batches will also be compatible with a VHP18 conversion).

The German craftsmanship shines through on Kavenz bikes.

The conversion to a longer shock and greater travel will also result in some other changes it's worth knowing about too. Firstly, the longer travel version of the bike only allows for a 27.5" rear wheel so it can only be run as a mullet or a full 27.5" bike. There are also some geometry changes too including a 0.5° slackening of the head tube and seat tube angles and an increase of 15-21mm in the wheelbase over the VHP16 (based on 480mm reach).

The kinematics of the bike have also changed, but very slightly. The new suspension charts are below:



Kavenz will continue to build their bikes in Germany, which they say results in shorter wait periods for orders to be completed. They claim a customized frame will be delivered 3 months from ordering and if they have a stock frame in their warehouse, delivery times can be even shorter. - raw frames start at two weeks, powdercoated at 4 weeks and a black anodized frame could be yours within 8 weeks. The VHP18 is priced at €2,645 (no shock), + €600 for Fast Fenix EVO shock & +€600 for an EXT Arma shock.


102 Comments

  • 90 3
 You can't predict Pinkbike comments. I was prepared for "it looks like an Iron Horse Sunday" since most comment sections are absolute peanut galleries. Yet this one is nothing but positivity - any trait this frame is praised as a thing of beauty.

How do you people decide what to hate? Do you coordinate on Discord or something?
  • 28 0
 in this case, it's fairly predictable: raw aluminum = positive comments. Unless the bike is supposed to be eco-friendly, but the facts arent presented in the article, I guess. Yeah, this is complicated, Im out.
  • 17 0
 Is looking like an Iron Horse Sunday a bad thing?!?
  • 6 1
 Comment collusion aside, I don't see the Sunday comparison. The only round tube the Sunday used was it's head tube, and DW Link looks very different than HP horst.
  • 15 0
 Personally, I let my "Pinkbike Wheel of Fortune" decide how to react on an article-to-article basis.
  • 2 0
 @mammal: I forgot about the idler on the Sunday
  • 6 4
 @itslightoutandawaywego: That's because it didn't have one.
  • 2 0
 add few grand or two on that price and wait for "positive" comments Smile
Its raw with industrial look, fair price and speak german, whats not to like Smile
  • 1 2
 @Nygaard: try sticking it out in the wind and seeing which side it lands.. works for me haha
  • 2 1
 It's something we feel in our nipples. Nip Check.
  • 2 0
 @DC1988: At least there is one person besides me who liked the look of the sunday,
  • 1 0
 $2800 usd, its metal, and has no shock. The lower shock mount also looks weak. There ya go, some criticism!
  • 44 0
 Raw Frames look too good.
  • 63 3
 Oooh yeah... a naked frame. Now flip over and show me that bottom bracket... Oooohh... you dirty bike.
  • 68 2
 Sorry, I seem to have gotten carried away there.
  • 30 0
 @bigtim: carry on.
  • 2 0
 Dat Copper-chrome stanctions looks sick ! i know its from the angle or lighting.
  • 5 0
 yes! got an VHP16 in full raw incoming Big Grin
  • 4 0
 @LDG: You will love it!
  • 2 0
 @WalrusRider: @LDG
I second that. Yellow for the win though
  • 1 0
 @bikeflog: Yellow and black looks cool I agree!
If I can save money on an enormously expensive build I do that and so I can get the Era fork Wink
I I want another color I can always paint it later, it's not rocker science Wink
  • 11 0
 Good Lord this is an attractive bike. A lot of things to like about this thing.
  • 8 0
 Nice to read that they’re using a 75mm shock for it. Hopefully more longer travel all rounder bikes start coming with them.
  • 7 0
 A lot better bang for your buck than that new Santa Cruz.
  • 7 1
 Cool bike, but Super Enduro? Have PinkBike editors been inventing new subcategories again??
  • 5 0
 Somewhere between Upduro and DownDH?
  • 1 0
 Think this might be super enduro 'plus' because of the idler? I need to check the regs...
  • 3 0
 Super Enduro has been a thing for about four years. Keep up mate.
  • 2 0
 @chakaping: I think the 2017 Radon Swoop was the first self-titled 'super enduro' bike. Could well be wrong, but I think it was that, and so 5 years ago.
  • 1 0
 @2d-cutout: I had one of those Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @2d-cutout: i‘m pretty sure the term is at least as old as the 2010 scott genius lt
  • 1 0
 Then you have Mondraker's superfoxy in relation to Super Enduro
  • 6 1
 It looks like they used a massive tungsten/cup on those head welds.
  • 5 0
 Like the aluminium Intense bikes used to look like - I think it looks really good.
  • 13 0
 Cup and tungsten size have nothing to do with how an aluminum weld will look. Tungsten size is based off of material thickness and amperage carrying capabilities, and huge gas lenses aren’t needed for aluminum. I’d bet money on this being welded with a size 6 or 8 cup, and 3/32 tungsten (possibly 1/8” but that would be the welder’s preference more than necessity). Large gas lense cups are popular for steel, and pretty much necessary for Ti. All to help control the heat affected zone and keep it under shielding gas while it cools. Pretty color welds on steel are nice, but don’t mean much if the HAZ is small and controlled. If you see a Titanium frame with welds any color other than silver to a light straw gold color, the weld is compromised and more than likely going to fail prematurely. Sick! Bikes had a Ti frame that looked like a death trap.
  • 5 0
 www.instagram.com/p/B3uINVVIHYr/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y

Good video from Nicolai showing the technique of getting a wider flatter looking weld. Gas lense, 8 cup, 3/32 tungsten, looks like 1/8” (possibly 5/32) filler.
  • 11 0
 @mountainyj: Everyone knows you need both girth, penetration and cleanliness, if you gnome-sayin.
  • 3 0
 @mountainyj: i love the look of the chunky nicolai welds. curious why only they (and kavenz, now) are the only manufacturers to do this. added time / difficulty? and is there a benefit apart from (subjective) aesthetics?
  • 7 0
 @xy9ine: material choice is a lot of it. Brands running 7005 (7020) series aluminum such as the ones you named have generally come to a similar technique of what works well. Crossworx and Reeb are up there also. 7 series tends to require more patience while welding, allowing the puddle to soak and smooth out. Video of nicolai shows this well. This helps prevent small micro cracks from forming on the edge of the weld as it cools too quickly. 6 series has more of a buttery fluid feel and can be welded a bit faster. 7 has some arguable benefits in durability over 6 if the frame is built correctly. But is overall considered a more difficult material to build frames from.
  • 3 0
 I’ve had one of these for a few months and love it! It’s been super fun and can’t wait to bring it to the bike park this summer. The VHP18 is sweet.
  • 2 1
 I like everything about it and would consider selling my current sb165 except one thing...I'm trying to get away from the harsh race feel Yeti's have and the antisquat figures on this look extremely high...what the compliance of this bike will be I don't know. Plus even though mullet may be best suited to this bike in their opinion it would be nice to see at least room for a 29 rear wheel if you wanted to go that root instead.
  • 3 0
 Harshness come from axle path and pedal kickback. This one will probably be plush, just loud on climbs because of an idler. Personally, I would 100% but Cavenz instead of Yeti no matter how much money I could spend.
  • 2 0
 I rode a handful of bikes back to back this weekend, two Dave Weagle designs and my Kavenz. The Kavenz is crazy plush and planted, it grips for days. The DW bikes both pedaled better but skipped around much more on the descents. I am on a coil and the other two were both air shocks which makes a difference, but suspension platform is totally different and much more planted.
  • 4 0
 Giacomo is not only the nicest guy, but clearly a talented bike designer. He’s also really fast.
  • 3 0
 Sick! The Kavenz VHP16 is an incredible bike. The suspension feels amazing and it's lighter than many carbon enduro bikes.
  • 3 0
 No mention of the 419mm chainstays? Presumably they get longer as the suspension compresses, but still...
  • 4 1
 Are they really that short? I wouldn't want a hardtail with stays that short unless it was just for pissing about on.
  • 1 0
 14-16mm (or so) longer depending on how much sag you are running looking at the axle path graph.
  • 3 0
 Have an asterix beside chain stay length in the geo chart that says "Plus 15mm in SAG"... so 434 at sag.

Looking at the axle path chart it moves back about 21mm at around half travel... so 440, then it comes back to just 16mm of growth at full travel, so 435.

- 419 static
- 434 at sag
- 440 at half travel
- 435 at full travel
  • 1 0
 Look at the geometry picker 77-store.com/en/Kavenz-VHP-16-MX/1003062.3

Pretty sure Kavenz VHP V6 L (480/450/110) means reach/ chainstay/ head tube length.

Their website could use a lot of QA but I'm reading this as multiple chainstay lengths are coming.
  • 3 0
 @alexsin: From their FAQ page: kavenz.com/faq

"Q: Will you do longer chainstays for taller riders?
A: We believe in short chainstays and have no personal intention to offer longer Chain Stays. However, if the market demands such we will consider delivering with the next batch. Technically it´s easy to do it was just not important to us."

I believe (480/450/110) means reach/seat tube/head tube.
  • 2 0
 @alexsin: it's reach, seat tube, head tube. Maybe they'll develop adjustable chain stays or at least bring longer ones to the market.
  • 5 0
 @Mr-Gilsch: Luckily there's still Nicolai/Geometron for those with a preference for longer chainstays. It's hard to imagine being big enough to ride 540mm of reach and running the same chainstays as someone who is 5'2". It doesn't make a lot of sense.
  • 3 0
 @alexsin: easiest way to cut costs... it sucks for everyone outside that spectrum. bummer it isnt really ever spoken about because practically all bike reviewers on the entire internet always ride mediums and larges which are the most proportionate sizes from all companies
  • 1 0
 @andraperrella27: in their defense, they're a small brand and you have to start somewhere... Producing in Germany is also not the first step for cost-cutting
  • 2 0
 @Mr-Gilsch: oh for sure! I get that. I was more so saying in a general statement. I get it from their standpoint. still a bummer. but I get it
  • 1 0
 @alexsin: Norco also does the size specific rear ends
  • 1 0
 @alexsin: no, it`s reach/seat tube/head tube
  • 4 0
 Have ridden and can confirm this thing absolutely rips.
  • 3 0
 Ooh they're offering multiple rear center lengths now. Very exciting.
  • 1 0
 Sorry no they don't.
  • 2 0
 I'm unlikely to ever need a bike this big, but I'm stoked it is being made, looks amazing.
  • 2 0
 Am I dreaming ? Because it looks like my dream bike. A dream I´ve had for many years.
  • 1 0
 LOVE this desighn, all the modern stuff X'ed with classic straight line non over engineered beauty. This bike is the Dictionary definition of function over form
  • 1 2
 The one thing I have always hated about the bicycle industries is the "Monkey see Monkey do" philosophy.
Good & bad ideas get copied by everyone.

I hate every new bike I have tried in the last couple of years. They are too long, too slack & boring as hell to ride. And most of them are ugly as hell. IMHO they are the worst they have ever been!

I'm sure there are some boutique bikes I don't know about that are not just clones of every other bike. but damn. At this point I don't see myself ever buying a new bike unless it is custom built.
  • 2 1
 If any modern bikes are truly boring, you're the boring one. Except maybe for a DH bike on a green flow trail, even then you could still have fun doing: manuals, wheelie-ing through turns, learning to pop off the littlest things, lanuals, whatever. If the bikes are so easy to ride as to be boring, then you should be able to safely push the limits because the bike will absorb even your worst screw ups. Some/many new bikes more easily allow progression, some are more conservative and do-it-all, but they're all moving forward because we all move forward. If your riding truly is completely static, you're forever done improving, then just find or make a retro build that matches the time when you stopped growing as a person, and get off my lawn.

*Yes, of course if you live some place with very little elevation or really rough trails, then of course you don't want a DH bike, or not even a big trail bike, as your only bike. Even in that case there are still plenty of options: just look how many complained that some of the bikes in this very Test have super "outdated" geo. Or maybe you're looking in the "wrong category".
  • 2 0
 Sounds like you need a brakeless BMX bike for your local trails. Really spice things back up a bit.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: What you call "outdated" I call the sweet spot. Just because something is new doesn't mean it is better.
  • 1 0
 @Darknut: hence why I put "outdated" in quotes. Just because something is different doesn't make it worse.

I didn't say new is always better. I said recent geo changes have made progression easier and more likely, because they're a bit more forgiving and adaptable. It's up to you do decide if that's better, though I think the majority would agree that progress is usually a good thing.
  • 4 1
 Deleted Comment>
  • 5 0
 Deleted reply to comment>
  • 2 0
 now that i can actually see it that thing looks sick
  • 2 0
 Kashima is now just raw polished steel.
  • 1 3
 Those welds look fabulous externally, but if when you guys get one for test, please pop a borescope in there and check the other side of the welds. I'm sure it'll be great, but if you really want to tout "the German craftsmanship", let's make sure it's really really good. See Hambini for details on how bad welds can be while still looking decent, or even great, on the outside.
  • 1 0
 Do you really think PB are going to do that? Sheesh.
  • 1 0
 That was a good marketing move, James!
  • 1 0
 Good looking bike but who the heck runs the levers that steep!
  • 1 0
 Big props for the full length seat tube!
  • 3 3
 Look like a Deleted photo
  • 1 0
 Funny joke is so so funny, again
  • 2 1
 Super-enduro?
  • 2 1
 Aka park aka mini-downhill.
  • 4 0
 Can't wait for the new Super DH, Super XC, Super Trail, Super All-Mountain, etc bikes to start rolling out from everyone!
  • 2 0
 FML!
  • 1 0
 @mendipsboss: yeah f*ck your life, because bike marketing apparently
  • 1 0
 @kootenayrider: Super-gravel?
  • 1 0
 Big fan of FAT WELDS.
  • 1 0
 appreciate the raw frame
  • 1 0
 dream bike
  • 1 0
 Epic welds.
  • 1 0
 *drools in German
  • 2 2
 #deletedphoto
  • 2 2
 deleted photo
  • 2 2
 Deleted photo
  • 1 1
 Dltd pht
  • 1 1
 looks like SESSION !!
  • 1 2
 Deleted photos?
  • 2 5
 What the hell is super enduro?
  • 2 1
 if you know you know
  • 1 1
 It what's you buy into when you break your regular enduhro bike at a shuttle day





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