With the race season on hold, we've been left to trawl through the archives looking for our World Cup downhill fix. Here's a look at ten downhill bikes from the past few seasons that are a bit unconventional or are just simply more exotic than the norm:
This Cavalerie Falcon equipped with an Effigear gearbox was raced by AM Dorval's junior Emilie Rilat in the 2018 season. It certainly stands out from the crowd in the World Cup pits, we took these shots in 2018 in Val di Sole and, while one did grace a tech randoms gallery, it never went much further than that. Here's a little more in-depth look.
At the heart of the bike is a 9-speed Effigear gearbox.
We haven't spotted another Cavalerie Falcon on the WC scene.
Kellys Noid 90
Kellys are no strangers to the World Cup circuit but their flagship downhill model, the Noid 90, is definitely a little more unconventional when compared to most of the other rigs in the WC pits. If you want to take an even closer look you can read our bike check of Rastislav Baranek's Noid 90 29er.
When Rick Schubert shot these photos at a European DH Cup round in 2018, the team was currently testing a carbon version of the Think Link that was engineered by the technical university of Bratislava.
The Noid 90 seems to be an extremely versatile bike as there are two adjustment options, one on the chainstay and one at the rear shock, which alter the head angle and bottom bracket.
This bike speaks for itself and caused quite the stir in the run-up to the 2019 season as we were teased with glimpses of a twin shocked Cannondale downhill bike being ridden by Matt Simmonds. The first round in Maribor offered us a clearer look
at what Cannondale had been working on before we were able to get some more information out of team manager Daniel Hespeler and mechanic Tom Duncan.
The bike could be run in both a twin/split shock and single shock configuration. Simmonds ran the split shock in Maribor (left) before using a single shock at the following round in Fort William (right).
The bike had a huge amount of adjustability with various linkages, geometry chips, headset cups, and chainstay lengths.
Unno is the brainchild of one of the industry's leading designers in Cesar Rojo. What would later come to be known as the Unno Ever
first came to most people's attention after being ridden to first place at masters World Champs in Andorra in 2015 in the hands of none other than the man who'd designed it. The all-carbon Ever is one of the most drool-worthy and exclusive bikes on the market, it's laid by hand in Barcelona in limited numbers and has a price tag to match.
Limited production numbers and a price tag on the higher end of things make the Unno Ever one of the most exclusive bikes on the market.
Nicolai 29er Prototype
We only saw this bike for one race with it popping up at the end of 2018 season finale in La Bresse in the hands of Jack Reading.
It shared similar geometry to the 27.5" G19 that he was on previously with the biggest change a 10mm drop in rear travel to 180mm. That combined with a change in the position and angle of the seat tube ensured the bigger wheels didn't make contact with the frame under bottom out.
The geometry remained pretty similar between the 27.5" and 29" model with one of the biggest change being a 10mm drop in travel to accommodate for the larger wheel size.
There's something beautiful about the craftmanship on the Nicolai frames.
Pole Machine 200
The longest downhill bike to grace the World Cup circuit? Quite possibly. Isak Leivvson rocked up to the 2018 Fort William World Cup aboard this monstrous Pole Machine 200 proto
, the bigger brother to its trail going sibling. Although the two shared similarities in both the unique manufacturing method used and the Evolink suspension design, the bike's wheelbase measures in at a huge 1360mm with the chainstays ticking over 460mm. All of this combined with the 29" wheels and 830mm bars made for a roomy ride for Leivvson who stands at 187 cm tall.
The Machine 200 utilises Pole's Evolink suspension design much like it's trail going sibling.
Pole uses a unique manufacturing method where two machined pieces of 7075 aluminium are bolted and bonded together.
We spotted this Antidote Darkmatter belonging to Polish racer Agata Bulska lurking in the SRAM pits at the 2017 Leogang World Cup.
The Darkmatter is far from a common sight at World Cups but we kinda wish it was... I mean just look at the thing!
The NS Fuzz isn't too far from the norm but it also isn't exactly a mainstream bike on the World Cup circuit, despite the NS Factory Racing Team existing for a couple of seasons before it morphed into Gamux Factory Racing last year. The clean frame design built around a 4-bar horst linkage is certainly easy on the eye and has some neat features tucked away out of sight, like offset cups that can be used to adjust the reach.
The bike is built around a 4-bar horst linkage.
The Norco Aurum in its current guise has been around for a few years now but it still cuts a unique silhouette when lined up to its competitors. It first came to our attention towards the end of summer in 2016 as Sam Blenkinsop pushed it through the lift queue in Whistler
and the wild-looking suspension layout and idler position was a big departure from the previous Aurum. It has since been refined and now has a 29" equivalent which the likes of Sam Blenkinsop are running on the Norco Factory Downhill Team.
The HSP and idler give the Aurum a unique look.
Santa Cruz V10 29er
Okay, I can already hear the comments... "How is a Santa Cruz exotic or unconventional?!" Well, because this was the first 29" downhill bike to be raced on the World Cup circuit, and it certainly seemed like Santa Cruz left everyone scrambling after they pulled the trigger on the bike
for the start of the 2017 season. Their riders dominated qualifying in Lourdes but they, of course, were all caught up in the race day washout. The point was made, 29" wheels had arrived in downhill and they were here to stay. They came in thick and fast after that but Santa Cruz had already stolen a march on their rivals.
The move to 29" wheels meant Santa Cruz's partners like Fox, Maxxis, and Enve had to step up to the plate with suitable 29" components.
The V10 was one of the most refined 29ers we saw in that 2017 season.