Now most riders are happy to let the ‘industry’ design their bikes, trusting to caffeine fuelled designers, labouring over suspension kinematic curves while sipping coffee from the latest ‘stay calm and carry on’ mugs. But imagine if you could build your own enduro bike, designed to your specifications, tweaking the angles and tube lengths to suit your style of riding! Not everyone has enough tools in the shed to knock a frame together, but the small bike Polish bike company, Zumbi, are offering a chance to customize their F-11 frameset to personal requirements. Designing a bike from the ground up is always going to be an interesting proposition, allowing you to create something that will ride uniquely and tailored for the sort of trails that you ride. What if you come from a WC downhill background and want something outlandishly low and long, embracing DH geometry but delivered up at an Enduro weight. That’s exactly what elite rider Alasdair MacLennan dreamed up, and working with Zumbi, had crafted in metal.
There are few companies that offer a truly bespoke option for riders to express their creative side, however Polish bike company Zumbi offer just that, working with customers to create unique machines. Elite racer Alasdair MacLennan has been working with Zumbi owner Pawel Matuszynski to put together a bike that makes no attempt to disguise its gravity orientated roots. Low slung and slack the medium sized (in stand over anyway) bike has a super long 635mm top tube and 65 degree head angle and 430mm chainstays. With adjustable travel from 140 to 165 the bike can be set up for nimbleness or big hits. I caught up with Ali at the SRAM Specialized Enduro at Kronplatz to check out his creation.
So how did this bike come about?
I met the man behind Zumbi by chance out in Poland at an enduro race, I had just placed third and after chatting with Pawel Matuszynski, he decided that he wanted to make me a frame. I thought it would be pretty cool to build something tailored for the way I ride, so after talking about geometries, 3 weeks later it was delivered to my door.
So is a custom build something that anyone can do?
It’s something they offer out of the box, you can choose seat tube length, top tube length and head angle, pretty much anything is possible.
So what was your inspiration for the design?
To be fair Pawel was fairly sceptical about my geometries when I gave them to him. It has a bit of Mondraker dune XR in there, a mate has one that I rode and really liked, but was not into the funky forward geometry stem, having a custom bike meant that I could go for the full 635mm top tube, 65 degree head angle with the rest of the angles pretty conventional.
Is it a lot more costly to get a custom frame made?
It’s fairly cheap, as every frame is handmade so the tubing has to be cut to order, I really like the creative control you have, you can choose rear dropout size, 142 or 135, you can even choose internal or external cable routing.
What is it that you like about the bike?
It’s really stable, even in the short travel mode that I have been running it feels sharp, sprightly but still takes the hits. Even though the bike has morphed from a trail AM template, the front end is all downhill, in fact it has replaced my downhill bike. The trails that I like riding are big and rough and this bike rides like a DH rig, though can still be ridden all day and climb like an enduro bike.
What about the build?
I am running float 36’s on the front, I wanted the RC2 damper, but was not really fussed about the CTD, I would be interested in the new 2014 CTD setup, but it was not available at the time of order. I am looking to kit it out with XX1 next. The rest of the kit is all sourced from Hope with Pro 2 Straight pull wheels, M4 brakes and Burgtech for bars and stem.
And what about that colour, pretty loud?
It was nothing to do with me, Pawel said, “I want to build you a frame and I want to paint it yellow”! But I like it, it looks great.
Any chance of squeezing a 650b in there?
Not in this design, but they have been prototyping 650b frames and I am looking forward to getting hold of one.
What sort of enduro’s do you think that the bike is best suited for?
With the custom length, it is not going to be quite as good at climbing or on the flatter stuff. It does hold its speed really well over rough stuff and roots, and as soon as you wind it up above around 10mph it feels amazing. It was great in the Mega, especially on the snow, it did not feel twitchy at all, (Ali finished 50th at the mega and 14th at Cervinia)
Zumbi offers the custom option on their Enduro/All Mountain focussed F-11, for more information check out their website at www.zumbicycles.com