Not all of the racers who travel the globe fighting for positions in the Enduro World Series events have their own mechanics, or get paid, or even have their travel covered. A good number of those athletes are pocketing every penny they can to afford their shot at the toughest tracks EWS promoters can find, and they need bikes they can depend on.
The folks at Privateer Bikes aim to create an affordable whip designed specifically for the rigor of a full race season. The bike has been tested over the past 18 months by the likes of top 20 EWS rider Matt Stuttard, to ensure its worth. I recently caught up with the Privateer team at Eurobike, and they were eager to show off the latest prototype frame, aptly named “161” after its rear travel measurement.
As stated, the rear of the frame squishes about on 161mm of Horst link travel and can take a 160mm or 170mm fork. The pivots use doubled-up, sealed cartridge bearings, aimed entirely at surviving a long and fun race season. The bike’s rear triangle has space for 29×2.6″ tires on all sizes except the smaller “Size 1″ that will roll on 27.5” rubber. Privateer has decided to use a number system to delineate frame measurements, in lieu of the traditional small through extra-large nomenclature, since a lot of riders are selecting frames based on their personal geometry preferences rather than sizing these days.
In addition to solid clearance, an abuse-ready alloy tube spec, and an easily-serviced BSA BB, the 161’s geometry is 100% enduro-fixated. The frames will all have a 64° headtube angle along with a wall climbing 80° effective seat tube angle. The Size-2 frames receive a stretched 470mm reach and froggy 440mm chainstays. The brand’s ambassadors mentioned that the seat tube angle felt a bit strange at first, but now that they have spent some time on the bike it feels like the perfect climbing position.
Based on the experience of the brand’s lead designer, the 161 should be a fierce weapon. “We worked closely with Alistair Beckett of Redburn Design (Previously Nukeproof Bikes/part of Forbidden Bike Co.) to bring our ideas to life.”
Privateer will launch the 161 as a frame and shock combo only to begin with, but they are looking to introduce full builds in late 2020. Frameset prices, with a RockShox SuperDeluxe Ultimate shock, are set at £1200-£1300 (about $1,500USD). Frame pre-orders will launch this autumn or early winter, and they expect goods to land in the spring of 2020.
The Privateer team is already looking toward the future, with a 130-140mm trail bike in the works for riders who are in search of a daily driver.