Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Peek At The Future?

Posted by Mike Curiak, the Lenz Behemoth with Plus sized wheels.
Probably six or seven years ago or so, I was contacted by Mike Curiak to meet him just off site in the parking lot at Interbike's Outdoor Demo. He wanted to have me check out "the future" of long travel, 29 inch mountain bikes. Now mind you, at that time there were no long travel 29'ers and nearly everyone said it couldn't be done.

You couldn't get the geometry right, there were no forks, there was no tire suitable, and on and on, yet here was Mike, showing me a six inch travel, full suspension mountain bike with beefy tires, slack geometry, and a "real fork". The bike rode and handled better than any 29"er available at the time, and the prototype WTB tires were flat out monsters. The bike was waaaay beyond my capabilities then and now. Oh.......and it was the future. Easily five or six years ahead of its time, and in terms of mountain bike technology, that may as well be an eternity. The Lenz "Lunchbox", as it ended up becoming, was a ground breaker. 

Tires were so secret, I couldn't take a close up! From I-Bike '08
Now Mike has posted this beast, a Behemoth, with plus sized rubber. looks like 29+ to me, but whatever- this is the future of dual suspension mountain biking. In many ways, it is simply an evolution of that bike I rode back in '08. That bike laid the foundation for what seemed to be impossible, but Mike and Devin Lenz keep pushing the envelope, and quietly, together, they are showing up bigger companies at their own game.

All that aside, the Lenz shown here has short chain stays for tires this big at a claimed 434mm/17.08" and with the 1X set up, the plus sized rubber has room to spare. I've no doubt the bike is dialed and would make mincemeat of any trail anywhere near where I live. In fact, you'd have to take lines that weren't lines here to make this bike worth owning in the Mid-West. That isn't the point though. The point is that folks that don't think it would work, well........they are wrong. It would work, of that I have no doubt. That ride in '08 convinced me that Mike and Devin were dead on to the way big wheels can work in a full suspension setting.

I think B+ will become this. I am pretty sure 29+ will find an application here as well. The Boost axle spacing will become standard fare, and as far as "fat bike" dual suspension, ala the Bucksaw- I think those will be super rare. Those 4" tires and the wheels they go on are just too heavy. Not that the plus-sized/mid-fat FS stuff will be a whole lot lighter, but it will be lighter.

I'll tell ya what, this kind of bike looks like a ton of fun to me. If I were to able to take any bike I could get my hands on to Texas where I go occasionally, I would want that Behemoth pictured above. The Franklin Mountain State Park would suit it perfectly, and I would be having a ton of fun with that sort of rig. Maybe someday I'll make that dream come true.........


MG said...

I'm with ya Brother!! Bring it on!

Pete said...

Very interested to see what becomes of this!