First Look: Carbon Wasp Truffle - A UK-Made Carbon Downcountry Bike

Dec 13, 2023 at 4:58
by Jessie-May Morgan  
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Carbon Wasp, a UK manufacturer of carbon mountain bikes and aero time trial bars, has updated its flagship frameset, the Truffle. Its flex-pivot linkage delivers 120mm rear wheel travel, a number that would typically place it in the XC category were it not for the 65.5° head angle it's married to.

Indeed, the Truffle has evolved into a bike worthy of the nascent downcountry category, and this latest iteration brings with it a UDH dropout for Transmission compatibility, with size-specific chainstay lengths also added to the feature list.

Truffle Details
• UK-Made Carbon Frame
• 29" wheels
• In-frame storage
• 120mm fork
• 120mm rear wheel travel
• 65.5° head angle
• Size-Specific Chainstay Lengths
• £2,950 (frame and shock)
carbonwasp.com

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Frame Details

The Carbon Wasp Truffle began life as a 140mm travel Horst-link trail bike, but over the years has evolved into the 120mm travel flex-pivot bike you see today. Now, a 185mm x 50mm trunnion shock damps forces from rear wheel displacement, and bearings are used at each pivot point (with the exception of the flexing one of the seat stay, of course). The leverage ratio starts at 3.1, finishing up around 1.9.

Granted, the Truffle is not remarkably different to its immediate predecessor, with many of the changes coming down to a matter of how the frame is actually made. One of the key changes, however, is the addition of size-specific chainstay lengths and the UDH.

The frame also sees a storage hatch on the downtube. The front triangle can be made sans cable ports at the headtube, for those partial to thru-headset cable routing, but designer Adrian doesn't foresee that being a popular option. Cables aren't guided through the front triangle, but they are guided through the stays.

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The Truffle has a claimed frame weight of 2.1 kg (size large). Though respectably light, it's not as light as some of the XC-dedicated flex-pivot frames from the mainstream brands. That said, it's likely no bad thing for this frame to be carrying some additional carbon, given the slack(ish) head angle and the extra confidence it may endow its rider with.

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Geometry
There are four frame sizes on offer, each with a majority straight seat tube at 76°, with plentiful insertion depth for the fitment of long travel droppers. Reach comes in at 430mm, 455mm, 480mm and 510mm across the S-XL range. The 120mm fork is supported at a head angle of 65.5°. While Adrian Smith, frame designer and fabricator, provides a recommended chainstay length range (over 10mm) for each frame size, the final length is to be decided by the customer.

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Carbon Wasp is able to offer this premium custom geometry feature with some degree of economy thanks to the way in which the swingarms are made. Instead of a multitude of molds for a multitude of rear-center lengths, there is a single mold only, with the chainstay and seatstay ends extended to a maximum possible length. After the part has been made, Carbon Wasp are able to machine away the superfluous carbon material and drill the pivot location to make a swingarm of the desired length.


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IS Mount, with maximum rotor size of 200mm
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Minimum tire clearance of 29" x 2.5"


Also helping to keep costs down is the way in which Carbon Wasp make their prototypes. Before investing in a very expensive metal mold, they 3D print epoxy tooling boards to use as more cost-efficient molds, as they figure out exactly what geometry they want to commit to. Such a mold is somewhere in the region of a tenth of the cost of a production-worthy mold. Still, the epoxy tooling boards do produce rideable prototypes - the bike seen throughout is one such frame.

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As pictured, this size large Carbon Wasp Truffle weighs a claimed 12 kg (26.5 lb)

Pricing & Availability

Despite Carbon Wasp's efforts to keep the price of prototyping and manufacture down, realistically, a UK-made carbon frame is never going to be that affordable. The Truffle frame, sans shock, will set you back £2,600. With a Cane Creek DB IL Air, the price is bumped up to £2,950. Carbon Wasp do not yet offer a complete build.

The frame (one size, initially) is set to undergo the TRI-Test at EFBE in Germany and as a result, Carbon Wasp will be offering a lifetime warranty with repair or replacement as necessary. The brand welcomes customer enquiries now.

Author Info:
jessiemaymorgan avatar

Member since Oct 26, 2023
53 articles

129 Comments
  • 36 4
 Minimum tire clearance of 2.5”? Time to break out the 29+ I guess
  • 3 12
flag greg390 (Dec 13, 2023 at 17:03) (Below Threshold)
 Why ? Did you even try?
  • 12 0
 @greg390: OP is poking fun at the fact frames usually have a maximum tire size, not a minimum.
  • 24 0
 I would love to see a future PB article in which Adrian Smith, carbon wonk, contracts with Adrian Smith, guitar master, to produce carbon fiber guitar necks for Chapman Guitars, to be sold exclusively at Anderton's.
  • 14 0
 Up The Irons ,ImI ImI,
  • 8 0
 @dchill: I don't know anything about guitars but these comments seem awesome so I upvoted
  • 11 22
flag NYShred (Dec 13, 2023 at 14:50) (Below Threshold)
 Stop trying to make Downcountry a thing... Bury it with Waki, Randy and the Grim Donut. It's Corn-country.
  • 4 0
 @thomasjkenney1024:
As long as they have a video of Rabia shredding on it..
  • 29 9
 Finally, a DC bike with some decent CS length. Honestly looks like they are hit every major point.
  • 21 41
flag nickfranko (Dec 13, 2023 at 11:13) (Below Threshold)
 There’s no such thing as Downcountry. HTH
  • 13 36
flag sanchofula (Dec 13, 2023 at 11:41) (Below Threshold)
 @nickfranko: Making up names to sell a product, it's just disgraceful!

Why not classify bikes based on travel and leave it be?

Aren't numbers the way we choose the size of other sporting tools, such as skis/snowboards?
  • 26 0
 @sanchofula: race, all mountain, powder, groomer, rock,
  • 25 1
 @nickfranko: Mike Levy rolling in his sleeping bag with comments like that.
  • 109 7
 @sanchofula, I'm guessing you haven't heard of slalom skis, all-mountain skis, carving skis, big mountain skis, powder skis, park skis, etc...? It's ok to have names and numbers to classify things.
  • 12 1
 @SunsPSD: Banshee Phantom has been doing this with 445 (+10 with the modular dropouts if you want) chainstays since before downcountry was a term.
  • 12 4
 Eh. I think 435-440 is proper for a downcountry bike. Keep the long chain stays on long bikes. I like 450ish chainstays on enduro/dh bikes that need to be stable, but I don't want my short travel bike to ride like a sled
  • 5 7
 Yes that will make getting the front end up and manualing it like dead lifting 400lbs.
  • 11 4
 @in2falling: 1) it really doesn't make that much difference in the difficulty of doing a manual as needed to clear obstacles and slow drops, however 2) it'll climb better, descend better, and turn a LOT better with more balanced geo from longer than 435mm stays on L/ XL bikes.
Seems like a fair trade off to me.
  • 3 1
 @Spark24:

Are you implying that Mr Levy is dead, and has been buried, a la Willy The Wimp, in a cherished piece of outdoor paraphernalia?
  • 5 6
 @mikekazimer: thank you, f*ck. I'm still upset we got ride of the all mountain bike moniker and now we have to pretend like 150mm bikes are some sort of trail/enduro hybrid? Just call them all mountain bikes FFS
  • 4 8
flag hardtail29errba (Dec 13, 2023 at 15:16) (Below Threshold)
 @sanchofula: I agree, there are obviously people who fall for this nonsense, hence the down votes. I have a beach house in Phoenix for sale.
  • 1 0
 @ace9: front side, back side, uh side side.
  • 1 1
 @itslightoutandawaywego: “sidecountry” is a thing.
  • 4 0
 @Sardine-Vladu: *for your size. Picking one CS length you think is right across all sizes doesn't make any sense unless you've been 4" taller and shorter recently.
  • 1 0
 With this kind of geometry - it lacks travel in the end... (And now: Let the bashing begin!)
  • 1 2
 Good that you mentioned it, I really liked the look of the frame and only after your comment realized that the chainstays are at least 20mm too long on all sizes.
  • 2 0
 @ace9: very strong point, but you failed to mention "gnar-moss"
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: it’s called all mountain just like we had before.
  • 17 7
 As a rider that loves the feeling of a good single pivot I hate authors refer to flex pivot bikes by any number of descriptors except the correct one.
This is a linkage driven single pivot.

It left Horst-ville when it put a (flex) pivot above the axle. It will have literally identical performance as any other single pivot on the brakes.

Why is this so damn difficult? The current Stumpy gets called so many things, but never a single pivot. And it gets compared to more 'sophisticated' suspension designs but it does exactly what any other faux bar suspension does. (Discounting the specific shock tune and leverage ratio of course)

Just a long time pet peeve of how bad most mtb reviews truly are. Come on, it's not like it's your job....

Oh wait.
  • 6 0
 I went back and re-read it, and the author didn't refer to *this* bike as Horst - the company's previous version of this bike was Horst (with an actual bearing in the chain stay) and this one just gets referred to as flex pivot. I believe there are some Horst-ish flex pivot bikes that flex the chain stay, but it's too early in the morning to go looking and back up my entirely unfounded claim!
  • 3 0
 @mountainsofsussex: cannondale Scalpel.
  • 2 2
 @mountainsofsussex: Cannondale scalpel is a flex pivot Horst. There may be others, but I think Cannondale have a patent that covers most similar options.
  • 1 1
 @FatSanch: that's right! I remembered they'd been doing it for ages, and the scalpel went flex stays back in 2001! Admittedly in a mid chain stay location, rather than normal Horst, but I guess they proved it works...
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: the current one is not in the middle.
  • 2 0
 @FatSanch: should have been clearer - yes, the ancient one forced in the middle, new one certainly is Horst position
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: while that's true that a couple few have flex chainstays rather than the seatstay, that's not all that common.

And calling this a 'flex pivot' type of suspension is silly at best. It's just a single pivot and by giving brands that make 'premium' bikes a pass on them being single pivot and labeling budget bikes as having 'simple' suspension is a disservice.
  • 6 1
 Love the term downcountry in 2023. modern XC bikes have made downcountry obsolete.


What does downcountry MTB mean?
You may have heard the word “downcountry” bouncing around in the mountain bike world. If you're wondering what that means, simply put, a downcountry bike is a light and efficient short-travel mountain bike that is very good at climbing but also a capable descender

What is considered a trail bike?
Enduro vs trail bikes | What are the differences? - BikeRadar
Suspension and travel

Designed with versatility in mind, trail bikes commonly have between 120 and 160mm of suspension travel. Trail bikes with 120mm of travel will appeal to riders who value climbing efficiency over descending prowess, offering a ride that could be compared to a capable cross-country bike.

Downcountry mountain bikes
'Downcountry' is a relatively new mountain bike discipline and isn't that well defined as a result. But in terms of suspension, these bikes range from beefed up cross-country at 110mm of travel, to lightweight trail with around 130mm front and rear travel.

Si hits the nail on the head at the end of this video
www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5NrFMB-LH0
old XC bikes are now gravel bikes
New XC bikes though are what was downcountry which is now obsolete as a category, XC doesnt sound as cool for marketing as XC was about lycra, but downcountry is just XC.
  • 1 0
 I'm bringing TeXC back.
  • 8 0
 Does it shuffle?
  • 1 0
 All the way to Savoy
  • 6 0
 Why do some companies not list the effective top tube length? I find it super odd, especially for an an XC bike.
  • 2 0
 Agree!
  • 7 0
 I'm showing my age here but every day I'm trufflin
  • 2 0
 I'm TeXC and I know it.
  • 9 5
 Didn't read the text, but I'm assuming this is the advent calendar post for today. Can anyone help me find the button to enter?
  • 3 3
 Advent calendar is not available this year.
  • 5 0
 my eyes are tired but am I missing where the water bottle mounts are located?
  • 2 0
 Looks like there’s a hole in the down tube, maybe for in frame storage a with bottle mount?
  • 2 0
 I’ll take the sized appropriate stays and if you don’t want them, there are so many rad bikes out and on sale with that short jibby rear end design. I can jib a 445-450 easily, and happily, and many tall riders have been hoping someone -anyone would do this to the short travel segment. Banshee was close but the reach was too short…. So many good bikes and for almost all the use cases now. We are living in a good time (for bikes) ((( minus the interest rates and global conflicts and stuff. ))) Nice work carbon wasp.
  • 6 2
 I think it's a beauty! Would be nice change from my 170 bomber to thrash through the local northeast US trail networks.
  • 2 1
 loving this post the bike looks great and I do appreciate the carbon look like my old Ibis, also I'm a huge Horst-link fan my Giant is a testament to that design. Wish you success. Price for shock/frame seems in line as well.
  • 8 0
 This is not a Horst link.
  • 1 4
 @BarryWalstead: ahhhh I was fooled by the Trunnion shock.
  • 6 0
 @madmon: pardon, how exactly shock mount type depends on pivot point location?
  • 1 0
 @BarryWalstead pull your finger out they can call it what they like
  • 1 0
 Loved the first iteration of this bike. The new version looks even better. A Small detail I noticed it is at any photo you can see the down tube storage door hehehehe. Devil is in the details! They choose not to show it with very nice selected angles I think. Anyway,lovely bike. Hope a review soon!
  • 2 0
 This is the geometry of the future, today. In the next few years, even world cup XC bike geometry will stabilize at about the numbers for this bike. Looks like a great little ripper!!!
  • 6 2
 Are some of these authors AI programmed by Mike Levy?
  • 61 0
 That's why he disappeared for a while before the recent announcement. Levy spent twelve hours a day strapped to a chair (Clockwork Orange style) and forced to talk about mountain biking to train the new Pinkbike AI, codenamed "Leev-AI".

I'm not supposed to talk about this, and there is a sinister black Tacoma parked outside my home.
  • 11 9
 I feel bad, but it's kinda ugly lol. Mostly the weird seat tube mast and the headtube "joint" looks like an aluminum welded frame.
  • 2 5
 Yeah, design wise it looks amateurish, like something you'd design after completing the first tutorial on rhino3d.
  • 5 1
 What a bike. Really like that
  • 3 0
 finally an ''xc'' bike with decent reach measurement in size xl
  • 1 0
 Those stays look pretty boxy and thick to flex much (compare to tube profile of similar models from other brands). Curious how it is on the trail.
  • 1 0
 You ever seen a hockey stick ?
  • 1 0
 @Ashe14: good point
  • 2 0
 Spur clone with a slightly slacker head angle and longer chainstays, UDH, raw carbon, decent price. What's not to like?
  • 2 0
 Old school Selle Italia Flite. Best sadle ever!
  • 1 0
 Agree!
  • 3 0
 The truffle shuttle
  • 4 1
 I don't like it
  • 5 7
 Skipped the whole dribble over looks to the “How’s it ride” section and nothing seen. WTF. IMHO there’s no such thing as a quiver killer bike or ski just compromises. You can f*ck around with a 120 bike but it’s still a 120 bike and whilst it may be great for everyday it’s compromised for the bike park and shuttles. Same as a good piste ski is never going to be great off-piste and given how most non professionals don’t get to spend everyday on a bike or ski stop bullshitting us into mediocre everything plaything.
  • 3 3
 It's clearly labeled as a 'first look', not a review.
  • 2 0
 All and all, it's just another... Bike On The Wall...
  • 1 0
 imagine being called a Carbon Wasp -Truffle... how would you react to that?
  • 1 0
 I'd love to ride that bike. I love the steep seat tube angle. I love the name.
  • 3 1
 Can we stop with the”down country” moniker. Please.
  • 1 0
 Extra points for the Flite 1990 saddle. Need to point it up a bit so it's level, though!
  • 1 0
 Surprised that the price doesn’t match the name. Well done.
  • 2 1
 Very similar geo to the SST, this dog will hunt
  • 6 8
 Man, I don't want a 445 chainstay. I want a bike with a 435 chainstay, 480 reach, 50mm stem and 800mm Bar. That feels great, handling is precise, wheelbase isn't too long. Perfect for me.
  • 4 0
 So buy one like that. The large Scor 2030, transition spur, and the Reeb SST are pretty much like that
  • 1 0
 Or a SC TallBoy Reach 475, 437 chainstay, in size Large (High)
  • 1 0
 Not sure if satire, but the 445mm chain stay can shorten to 435 with a flip chip, and you can choose which chain stay you want according to the article.
  • 1 0
 If only they called it the Truffle Shuffle!
  • 2 1
 Cheaper then Chinese carbon crap
  • 3 2
 looks like Carbonda FM936
  • 1 0
 Carbon Wasp Truffle. It’ll go great with my Anthrax Ripple.
  • 1 0
 "Carbon Wasp Truffle" Tell me it's British without telling me it's British
  • 1 0
 looks like smol session... me likey Big Grin
  • 1 0
 2600 pounds For a UK MADE Carbon frame is somehow really "cheap"
  • 8 7
 Looks like a Spur
  • 10 2
 don't insult a Spur like that
  • 2 2
 @dchill: as a proud owner of a Spur my statement stands
  • 1 0
 but go figure, it's a TruffleCook
  • 3 3
 it looks like a bike. Nothing special at all.
  • 9 0
 Good thing I ride bikes
  • 1 0
 can you shuffle on it?
  • 5 6
 sorry this one's designed to bumble
  • 1 0
 lmao!
  • 1 1
 @rickybobby19: everyday I’m bumbling, every
Every
Everyday I’m bumbling
  • 3 3
 A spur with a longer CS I am in!
  • 2 1
 Is that a Hope bike?
  • 1 1
 I Hope not...
  • 2 2
 Respect the for the IS mount.
  • 1 0
 A bike for the lowlands.
  • 1 0
 Looks like au Spurggler
  • 2 4
 Steeper seattube + shorter stays and the XL would be looking pretty dialed
  • 15 1
 Keep in mind bikes with less rear travel don't sag as much when your weight is shifted rearward on a climb. This means the dynamic geometry (the in-the-field geometry you actually feel) is closer to the geometry chart geometry than would be the case with more travel.

The more travel, the more extreme the static angles have to be to produce the desired dynamic angles.
  • 4 0
 @R-M-R: good point
always love seeing your name in a thread- guarantees some great insight
  • 2 4
 Gorgeous looking bike..... but " Wasp Truffle" is the corniest name ever.
  • 4 2
 Username checks out!
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