3D Printing, Flat Top Tubes, and Hidden Motors: The Bikes of Crankworx Whistler 2022

While touring the village at Crankworx Whistler this year there were a lot of interesting new bikes on show, and at the end of the day, bikes is what we’re here for. Some were electric, some weren’t. Some were production-ready, others weren’t. They were, however, all very exciting. Here are the highlights.

New Knolly bikes have flat top tubes and improved suspension and geometry

We managed to get a sneak peek at a couple of Knolly‘s latest prototype bikes including the Fugitive above and the Endorphin below. What looks like a minor change of a dropped top tube is actually a lot more than that when we look at the details.

Knolly is rolling out a complete change to all of their bikes with some major revisions and bikes available next summer starting with the Fugitive, Endorphin, and Chilcotin. Changes include a one-piece upper link, increased travel, increased progression, mullet wheel sizes, bearings throughout the linkage, and more sizes for better rider compatibility.

Knolly’s prototype Endorphin featured a whole host of changes, most notably a mullet wheel setup.

Geometry changes across the board means size-specific chainstays and seat tube angles across the range, increased top tube lengths, and head tube lengths increased on 27.5 bikes so stack is pretty similar across all wheel sizes. Seat tubes are also shorter across the range to enable fitment of longer dropper posts for all sizes. In short, these are some big changes. The numbers aren’t all nailed down yet however so stay tuned for more information in the future.

Knolly also had a few other bikes showing off some of their favorite paint jobs inspired by their favorite cars and alcohol, a couple of things I can also get behind. Notable mentions include this McLaren-inspired Warden, the Yellow Dog inspired Chilcotin, and the Beere Brewing inspired Cache Below

Knolly bikes is 18 years old, much like Noel’s favorite Whisky. He had this whisky-inspired logo CNC’d onto the head tube of a titanium Tyaughton frame. The eagle-eyes amongst you will also spot this detail on most of the other frames above.

Trek’s new lightweight Fuel EXe has some neat details

Trek also recently joined the lightweight e-bike party, and so they had their new lightweight e-bike the Fuel EXe on display. It truly looks like an absolutely dialed package with a crazy amount of detail. With a TQ motor producing 50Nm of torque and 250W of continuous power plus a 360Wh battery it’s competitive with the rest of the field.

Speaking of details, the 9.9 has Shockwiz and Tirewiz built in to monitor fork and shock settings and tire pressure, electronic drivetrain and dropper post, and their Race Shop Limited integrated bar and stem combo with a sweet integrated tool. The charge port lives in the top of the down tube to stay out of dirt’s way, plus can we take a second to check out that cable powering the AXS derailleur off the main bike battery? Yep.

Spotted: Atherton Bikes are 3D-printed and bonded together

Spotted rolling around the village were Dan and Gee with their space-age Atherton bikes. Created with 3D-printed titanium lugs bonded together with lightweight carbon tubes, each bike can be fully custom in terms of geometry. I’d never seen one before in the metal so I had to snap a couple of quick photos.

Giant bikes have a new integrated cockpit and custom-painted frames

At the Giant booth were a couple of really cool custom-painted Glory frames, one of which was Reece Wallace’s Rampage frame, the other of which was celebrating 50 years of Giant bikes and was being raffled off to one lucky winner.

They also had this new integrated bar/stem combo on show, which differs from the norm in that there are apparently several different reach positions and three degrees of roll/sweep adjustment via internal spacers hidden under that big top cap.

That same stem is specced on Giant’s new super high end Trance X E+ LTD complete with Fox Live Valve 36 and Float X, SRAM X01/XX1 AXS drivetrain and AXS Reverb and Zipp Moto wheels. Fancy.

Norco shows us their R&D mules and new affordable crowd pleaser

Norco has been killing it lately and on show was another killer-looking bike: the wallet friendly people pleaser the new Fluid FS 140/130mm trail bike. This top spec A1 model here with XT drivetrain, Fox Factory 36 fork and Performance Elite Float X shock retails for $4,499 USD. The entry-level A4 build sells for an even more wallet-friendly $2,249 and has everything you’d expect from a modern trail bike including hydraulic disc brakes and a 1x drivetrain.

Norco had this custom painted gold Range on display as well as a bunch of their test mules including a 3D-printed prototype and some aluminum mules.