Karpiel Bikes, the rebirth

Jun 22, 2009 at 13:03
by Wil White  

A lot of people have been wondering about the new Karpiels, some of you didn't know they came back, and probably quite of few of you are asking what Karpiel is. They are a DH bike company based out of Poland.

Here's some background info, and a rundown of their bikes, and how they handle.

First off, for those of you who don't know, Karpiel is a bike company that has been around for quite some time. Jan Karpiel is the main visionary behind the company, which he founded in Reno Nevada, in 1997. Jan karpiel's story is interesting, but I'll just jump to the bikes.

His first most popular production group consisted of the Disco Volante, Armageddon, the lesser known hillbilly hardtail, and the Josh Bender inspired Apocalypse.

Older Armageddon

Older Armageddon



Custom Apocalypse that Bender rode

These bikes were conceived over a decade ago, and after a short hiatus, Jan is back at it again for '09 and onwards, with a vicious offering of new, redesigned bikes.

New Armageddon

New Armageddon


These new bikes almost completely navigate away from the pre-conceived image of Josh Bender hitting 50 ft cliffs. These bikes are racers, and they are fast. They can still handle cliffs just as well as ever, so you freeriders keep an eye out as well. But Jan designed these bikes to be fast, light, adjustable, and indestructible.

Let's start of with my current ride, the new Karpiel Disco Volante:

My bike

My bike


It's Karpiel's lighter DH bike, and seems to be the preferred bike of the team for this years World Cup courses, and also my choice for freeriding and even slopestyle.

The new frame is different from pretty much everything else on the market. It weighs in at a respectable 4.5 kgs, or just under 10 lbs, with a Marzocchi Roco WC shock. Here's all your geometry info, in inches:

Top Tube: 23.5
Stand over: 27
Wheelbase: 45.5
Chainstay: 17
Head angle: 65-66 degrees
BB height: 14 inches

PB user Markice's bike 37.7 lbs

PB user Markice's bike 37.7 lbs


Now for how it rides. The Disco frame is most at home on any type of DH trail, it definitely loves the rocks and the tight corners, but can hold its own on fast flowy courses as well. The adjustable suspension allows the rider to tune the travel and progression rate using the barrels. This means the bike can go from a stiffer, freeride feeling bike for the flowy stuff, or for the jumps, to a softer, slacker, and a more linear travel for rough DH courses. The travel is adjustable from 195-250 mm. When the bike is set in the 195 mm mode, it feels like similar to a low slung slopestyle bike, and makes it an ease to jump and whip around. But when the courses get steeper and rockier, the 220-250 mm range turns the bike into a no holds barred full blown DH bike, with never ending travel for the bigger bumps and of course the 40 ft drops I love to hit.

Frame 'testing' at utah

Frame 'testing' at utah


Bottom Line:
This bike has proved itself over and over to me, being able to hold it's own on any DH race course and it's just as nimble through corners as it is being thrown around in the air. The suspension design from Karpiel is once again revolutionary, with an insane amount of adjustments as well. There is virtually no brake jack as the suspension is separated from braking forces. The rear end is stiff, especially with the swingarm reinforcements. When the going gets steeper with multiple hits, the bike truly shines and provides a bottomless feel on even the biggest hits. It is able to take multiple hard impacts without packing up at all. This bike rules at every type of extreme gravity riding, with the exception of slopestyle.

Price: $3,000.00 (USD)
Weight: 4.5 KG
Travel: 195-250mm

Frame in Pearl White

Frame in Pearl White

Superman on the Disco

Superman on the Disco

Whip

Whip

Views: 26,570    Faves: 58    Comments: 81

Now, My other ride, Karpiel Apocalypse:

To start off, this is the infamous 'HUCK' bike from Karpiel, which features two rear shocks. It is also the bike Bender rode for quite some time.

Apocalypse 09

Apocalypse 09


I would like to dispel a couple things about this bike. First of all, yes it is a tank, No it is not heavy! My built up bike, weighed in at 43 lbs. Yes, it is heavier than most world cup DH bikes, but this is an entirely different style of bike. The second thing most people get confused is this, the second air shock is NOT a blow off shock. It is there to work with the back shock to prevent harsh bottoming. It is activated about a 2/3 of the way through the travel. Now that we've got these out of the way, we can move on...

The Karpiel Apocalypse is one of a kind, no doubt about it. It's designed for psychos, and the "huckers" of our sport. This bike was made to do one thing and it does it well. That's soaking up anything and everything you can throw at it and ask for more. When it's time to go bigger than your insurance allows, it's time to take this bike for a ride.

I rode my bike for a year and half, winning 3/10 races and reaching the podium on 4 more. I also took it to Virgin Utah and hit some ridiculously high drops that I never want to again...ok maybe I do. I also rode it at my local spots, which inspired me to build some of the stupidest most technical lines I have ever ridden, and some of the dumbest drops I have ever done. But this bike took it like a champ and came back begging for more.

Testing at Utah

Testing at Utah

Drop to near flat

Drop to near flat

Another stupid drop

Another stupid drop


Perhaps the only two downfalls of this bike are tight corners, and flat pedally courses. It's a 12.5 inch travel bike, with 3-4 inches of sag, of course it's not going to pedal very well, but it still gets the job done. I rode it uphill a lot to get to the DH and I was able to hang with my buddies on their Bullits and Nomads. Tight corners prove to be a problem when your up so high, but throw a handful of big rocks and a berm into it, and this bike will beat any other through it.

The strengths of this bike are what makes it perfect for insanely technical terrain or huge freeride style terrain. It never packs up, even after ten 8 ft drops in a row. Braking jack is entirely gone, and it balances like a dream and tracks where you want it to track even in the roughest terrain. The travel is adjustable and tuneable with progression and travel being tuned by simply turning the barrels on the frame.

Bottom line:
This bike is insane. It's 12.5 inches of travel lets you go as big as your balls will let you, and it smooths out any DH course in the world. It'll definitely open your eyes to lines you never thought possible.

Price: TBA
Weight: 5.4 Kgs with shocks (12.3)
Travel: 12-12.5 inches

Some extra info, Karpiel will be making a new 4x/DJ frame for next year, in testing phase right now according to Jan and Maciek. The release of the x-1 is still unknown...

Contact Info:
If anyone has any questions regarding Karpiel bikes please feel free to contact Brian. brian.g@karpiel.com or call 925-552-9327. He currently has 2009 Disco Volante's in stock!
General contact: m.kucbora@karpiel.com

Visit them on the internet at karpiel.com.
Must Read This Week






64 Comments

  • + 6
 I have not met Wil,yet,and I have heard about his attitude,cockyness. What I do know about Wil and his Dad is that when I was reaching out to the jumping community,trying to build a jump/skills park,Wil and his Dad both offered to help in any way possible.When I explained the park would be for beginner-intermediate-advanced riders,both Wil & his Dad acknowledged that this is what is needed to help our sport progress.A 14 year-old that goes as huge as Wil does,willing to help build 2' tabletops so others may learn,shows me a level of maturity and true devotion to our sport that is lacking in many riders much older than he.

I have met Wil's Dad,and I could sense the pride he has for his son. When many youth are getting into drugs and pulling away from parents, here's a family brought together by riding.

The fact Wil has acknowledged,in this thread,of his past cockyness and the fact he maintained composure while his character,and his Dad's, were attacked,tells me this young man will probably be able to do anything he sets his mind to.He's no doubt stepped on some toes;I can't wait to see how he kicks our sports ass. Wil, I'll be calling on you and your Dad when I get a site to build,I have not given up.Looking forward to working with you and your Dad.
  • + 1
 this i did not hear! thanks for the post! all i know is what i've seen at races.
  • + 3
 thanks for putting up the article, i haven't heard much about karpiel in a while. its really a shame that a few of these posts are so full of hate, and whinging. you will do well to disregard these internet haters, its pathetic really. and to hate in bender? most of the kids on this site weren't around when bender was progressing the sport back in the day, and don't have the capacity to realize his influence on mountain biking. thanks again for the article. have fun riding your bikes.
  • + 3
 It just sucks that they use marzocchi suspension which from a tip top went to almost RST level after 07. If its polish market i can understand Karpiel for doing so as the polish Zocchi distributor is definitely the best suspension suplier in Poland. Fox an RS are realy bad distributed, ppl buy these through ebay. Maybe thats why.
  • + 1
 Take a look at the new 2010 Marzocchi forks and then tell me that they're "almost RST level."
  • + 0
 ok, not bad, hacen't seen those before. Graphics are better, form still sucks. I just hope they revised the internals, or at least adapted the 2006/07 ones to the bigger stanchions. I see no point but the "marketing reasons" of increasing the stanchion diameters. Besides the tech I sort of think they lost this italian-design touch with it... it's tawianese as hell
  • + 3
 I do think 08/09 forks perform worse than 06
  • + 1
 what are you guys talking about? i have a pair of the 08 888s and they work BEAUTIFLY, they take always are reliable and take what ever it is i throw at them. if u look around at your local bikepark, youll see more 40s, and Boxxers with blown seals. period.
  • + 2
 rode with bender at this years rampage, the guy is rippin on a canfield/jedi with tag wheels. still hittin phatty gaps and cleaning some of the gnarliest rock gardens on the planet. hes strong and riding better than ever. peace on dirt
  • + 1
 I'm happy he is live. I thought he would die young.
  • + 2
 The Karpiel site needs more info. Desperately. When you read the info on the site, it's hard to tell the diffence between the Armegeddon and Disco Volante (other than the fact that the pictures look different). More info is needed to diferentiate between these two models. Also, both bikes advertise the ability to use 3 different shock stroke lengths. Which strokes lengths? What are the effects of each different length on geo, travel, etc? How do the adjustable shock mounts work? Are they simply used to acomodate the diferrent strokes, or can they be used to adjust geo/suspension on the same stroke? For any gearhead who's curious about the bikes, there's just not enough info. Sure a person could contact Karpiel directly, but why do that unless your seriously considering purchasing? But then again, how can you seriously consider the bikes without more info?
  • + 0
 I agree. The barrels are used by putting an allen wrench in the hole and turning them, which moves the shock mount or linkages up and down to adjust travel, ride height, wheelbase, geometry, and prgression of the suspesnion. I'll let Jan know. Thanks!
  • + 1
 Has anyone noticed that the two links are what makes the so called virtual pivot used by santacruz & intense? Karpiel & canfeld bros were using this design years before the big names jumped on it & gave it their own name...

Bender is a legend & he can ride with style on single track, & he's fast too. It's guys like him that pushed the bounderies in the hey day of our sport. He's good at what he does if a litle mental. Things have obviously progressed now, with bikes & the riding that is possible. Bender didn't have foam pits!
  • + 2
 Very nice Wil! If anyone has any questions regarding Karpiel bikes please feel free to contact me. brian.g@karpiel.com or call 925-552-9327. I currently have 2009 Disco Volante's in stock!
  • + 0
 You can also contact me for basic info through PB. I'm on usually daily...
  • + 1
 always wanted a disco volante, and was trying to buy a new one when i heard they were coming back a few months ago. bought a racelink instead though.
  • + 0
 How about mentioning Karpiel's rare 4x bike?
  • - 1
 What rare 4x?
  • + 0
 frame wiht to socks, i wonder how the rear schok system works, i dont find th frame beuty, but it can bue very interesting when it comes to geometry anda rear shock system.
  • + 1
 Karpiel made a 4x bike. I've only seen a couple, but there out there.
  • + 1
 Awesome bikes, the industrial look really fits with the apocalypse, keeping it super long travel and ready for anything. Love the disco volante, too, it looks like it just wants to go fast without being too flashy/showy, almost sleeper.
  • + 2
 I'm really impressed after i read that this Bender's 'big monster' is designed by polish guyBig Grin Jan, dobra robota, dzięki takim jak Ty mozna się czuć dumnym, że się jest PolakiemWink
  • + 2
 yeah... well the story tells everything but I think that the market for hucking bikes is small these days... and there are better frames for racing, freeride etc. You should really think about some light freeride frame Smile
  • + 1
 I was thinking more about Apocalypse frame... How much does your other bike on Apocalypse frame weight? No doubt that those frames are strong... but 1 year warranty for a 3000$ frame could be a bit longer... I wonder how much will they ask for Apocalypse frame with 2 shocks?

"Karpiel helped SC design the vpp. Karpiels system is ATP, it is similar to the vpp though" - wow did not know about that! nice!
  • - 3
 Ah, the apoclypse is 5.1 kgs with both shocks put in. It weighs around 42 built up right now, that's with no light parts at all! I would think anywhere around 3-4 g USD for the frame.
  • + 0
 This kid rips for a 15 years old, Karpiel makes some decent bikes. everyone makes enimies, and some make their enimies closer. let the kid do his thing and ride. he could be abit cocky but so what, i would be too if i was 15 and karpiel sent me a free bike.
  • + 1
 Bla bla bla. My comments "2" got deleted. Im not a hater im just expressing my pov on karpiel's bike. Pinkbike is NOT freedom of speech. Instead it makes me feel this is a paid publicity.
  • + 0
 the girls on the top have a lot of drama and new to grow a pair....karpiel bikes are amazing i dream of owning one of those, just my preference, other people have theirs and thats cool, i have ridden both the apocalypse and the disco because WIL was NICE! enough to let me test ride them in virgin which is crazy so maybe its u guys that just don't give him a chance. he's got skills and is spinning around big rigs like nothing so when he said its a 540 and its a little less..who cares!? he was only freaking 13 when he did that.. that takes skill just give him props..him and his family are big help to lots of people so just take the trash somewhere else cause everyone here has something in common which is riding bikes and haveing fun doing it..i'm not saying people don't have their oppinion, but instead u don't have to say it so negative.. and this is mine
  • + 1
 If you write something like that, keep that in mind, that NOT everyone uses damn inches, and lbs! So for many peoples such numbers, doesnt tell anything, they are just numbers.
  • + 0
 Yeah I know, and I apologize for that, I tried to give the kg and grams/mm measurements where I could
  • + 3
 JejQ

in the same respect, many articles are the opposite on pinkbike, and lack measurments in inches and pounds. however we don't sit there and complain. i simply just convert it with the conversions you learn in like 5th-6th grade?

1" = 25.4mm
1 pound = .45kg, or 454 grams
1kg = 2.2 pounds

quit crying
  • + 3
 cool article will sdmtn guy prally is some 40 yearold loser that lives at home wit his mom wit no life so hes jus jealous!
  • + 2
 i had an old disco v , would say it was one of the best bikes i had ridden, had an avy shock on it
www.pinkbike.com/photo/1927733
  • + 2
 I still have my Armageddon its a great bike there are some pictures on my profile I rode it hard and its still kicking.
  • + 2
 why is pink bike deleting people's comments? what happened to the discussion about the VPP history and Outland?
  • - 2
 Booyeah! Boo FRICKIN yeah!

Wicked sweet in a way that makes Monica Bellucci wearing nothing but fresh raspberries and maple syrup seem drab by comparison.

Good job on keeping it going Karpiel!

My first "inappropriate fantasy" about a bike was about the Karpiel Armageddon nearly a decade ago.

That Disco Volante looks uber.
  • + 2
 Nice, I would so get the disco volante if I could afford. Nice line up.
  • + 2
 sweet! any word about Bender???
  • + 2
 No. Last time I talked to him he was taking it mellow. Broken bones finally caught up with him. He rides everyday, just nothing insane now. Still a legend.
  • + 1
 is there a pic of the x-1 cause karpiels site doesnt have one and it says it will be available later
  • + 0
 Nope...I don't even know anything about it. Seems like it MAY be a slopestyle/light fr bike. Last I heard, back in 08, was that Jan had plans for it to be a shorter travel, 'do it all' bike. But I may be wrong.
  • + 1
 maybe a 6" travel bike then o.O for freeride/allmtn
  • + 1
 No. It will be 4x HT Smile
  • + 0
 I love the Apocalypse, but I'm more into Downhill racing now so I'm more after a 7-8" bike!

You should come to Australia to hit some drops Will!
  • - 1
 I would love to visit austrailia some day! Very beautiful and diverse country..just no plane ticket Frown

Check out the disco if you want. It is possible to modify it with a shorter shock to get 6.5 to 8.5 inches of travel...
  • + 0
 Alright, looking at the website, what the hell is the difference between the Disco Volante and the Armageddon, aside from 0.1kg with shock?!
  • + 0
 few inches of travel
  • - 2
 Geometry is a little bit different, but the biggest difference is the feel of the ride. They also didn't really double check when they typed it up, there's quite a few difference in geo and travel. I believe that the disco is 8-10 while the apoacalypse is more like 9-11. Also, it has a lower center of gravity thanks to the low stand over, and makes it easier to whip around...
  • + 0
 I said armageddon, not apocalypse, that's obvious enough.
  • + 0
 Yes I know. I was talking about the aramgeddon, I just accidently said apocalypse. Sorry!
  • + 0
 nice article , nicer bikes but some of you guys are just moaning faced bitches . haha .....free the trees
  • - 1
 Nice~ Good to see an older company back in the mix. I got a lil scared there for a sec. when I hadn't seen anything from 'em in a long while~
  • + 1
 this does not like a session
  • + 1
 I just had mine 4 a week & I am loving it. corners grate
  • + 1
 oh my god 3 grand i though the wildcard was a lot at 2
  • + 0
 Damn!!that,s a frikkn monster.I like it
  • + 0
 nice one wil! you get a lot of coverage
  • + 0
 welcome in Poland, guys :]
  • + 1
 Xaxa sick frame
  • + 0
 yea the disco is the only 1 i like
  • - 1
 super sick line up. the disco looks crazy fast and nimble. they were always super solid bikes from the begining
  • + 0
 Fucki'n sick !!!
  • - 2
 surprisingly not that heavy at all
  • - 3
 that's a good article. it answered alot of the questions i had about karpiel.

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2017. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.062553
Mobile Version of Website