Engineering, Manufacturing and Design Philosophy
Our focus is – and has always been – on hard core engineering and product quality: we sweat the details that no one else does! We are purely driven on designing the most advanced, highest quality mountain bike frames available at any price, worldwide. We don’t have multiple quality levels: we only do one level of quality and it is simply the best we can achieve – period. We reinvest our gross margin into engineering and design, not marketing.
Many bike brands choose to license a third party suspension design, or even choose their frames from a catalog. That’s not how we do things here at Knolly.
This is what sets Knolly Bikes apart from many of bike brands that choose to license a third party suspension design, or even choose their frames from a catalog. Yes, you can do that… you can choose a pre-fabricated headtube or bottom bracket shell or dropout and purchase it for your bike design. That’s not how we do things here at Knolly. Every single tube is designed in-house and optimized for each model and intended purpose. These parameters affect choices like alloy series, tube shape and wall thickness, so each Knolly frame takes on a personality all its own. We don’t settle for cookie-cutter catalog frame parts, and quite frankly, neither should you.
We use manufacturers who specialize in our product space: high end, full suspension mountain bikes. They don’t do road bikes, they don’t do carbon wheel-sets or handle bars or cranks; just full suspension aluminum and carbon frames using the most advanced manufacturing processes and tightest process control available anywhere in the world.
For the past few years we have witnessed larger forces in the bike industry push what they call advancements onto the market but sometimes it is the smaller companies, the ones with engineers at the heart of them that create a product that offers something more substantial.
But before we go forward let’s look back a few years. Back when Boost 148 was launched, we chose to remain on the sideline because we were not convinced it was right. At Knolly our design philosophy demands that any performance feature change needs to be supported by a valid engineering position and proven rider performance benefits. And we were right to wait. When Boost was created it was designed to help fix a problem with 29er wheelsets and it was marketed as "a huge improvement in stiffness". When in actual fact it was simply the widest possible hub width that could be implemented while maintaining normal Q-factors of existing 2 x 10 speed drivetrains and it was limited by certain suspension designs rear stays. Boost 148 was then adopted as a solution by the "plus size" tire community because it gave another 3mm of tire clearance per side. Unfortunately, it did not solve all the tire size issues, and it resulted in unfavorable geometry when switching between 27.5” and 29” tires.
After creating a list of “must have” features to ensure our new line up of bikes can do everything we want, we decided that the only option is to move our entire lineup to the existing 12 x 157 rear spacing. We are calling it 157TRAIL because our Four by 4 suspension allows us to use the wide flange 157 hubs with 73mm BB shells on all our new trail models. The first models to launch will be the upcoming Fugitive 120mm travel 29er and Fugitive 135mm travel 29er. We made this choice because our design priorities are rooted in rider functionality, not in industry trends or marketing.
“We have significant experience running trailbike drivetrains on wide chain-lines. We don’t claim to be the first to bring this back to the market, but our “Trail” version of the 157 spacing allows us to achieve incredible design innovations in our new 2018 frames. We only incorporate design changes when there are legitimate benefits to the ride experience. If the current wave of 1x drive-train technology existed, the wider spacing revolution would have skipped right over 148mm and landed on 157mm. By using 157TRAIL, our new bikes give consumers the widest range of features possible with zero downsides.”
The advantages of 157?
AVAILABILITY: 150 / 157 hubs have been around for years. The only difference between the two measurements is an end cap on the hubs and slots in the dropout for the 157 width. These hubs started out having flange widths that were similar to a standard 135 or 142 hub, and while some manufacturers have stayed with that flange width many have widened their flanges in an effort to make a more durable wheel. If we look at the dedicated Super Boost plus hubs they typically have a non-drive-side hub flange distance of 41mm and a drive side distance of 28. We noticed that many manufacturers have progressed with their hub design and even though they don't call them Super Boost plus they have the same flange width. So this means there are already numerous hubs and wheels available from some great companies. Heck, you might even have a set in your garage already!
TIRE SIZE: 157TRAIL allows us to eliminate tire width and focus on tire diameter. Riders can pick their wheel and tire combination based on intended purpose: be it a razor-sharp handling rocket ship, or a rock crawling monster truck (or anywhere between). The Fugitive is built around 29” wheels but it can also run 27.5” x 3.0” wheels/tires without compromise to the BB height.
The Fugitive with 29” wheels and 2.25 tire
The Fugitive with 27.5” wheels and 3.0" tire
Q-FACTOR: 157mm hub spacing can be implemented using a flipped chain ring to maintain existing Q factors on XC / lightweight cranksets such as XTR, XO1 and Race Face Next SL
The Fugitive can easily run one of the narrowest Q factor cranks on the market – the Raceface Next SL.
STIFFNESS: 157mm has a massive increase in stiffness over 142mm and even Boost 148. In fact, the increase in stiffness between 142mm and 157mm is almost three times of that between 142mm to 148mm Boost.
TIRE CLEARANCE: 157TRAIL provides the most options for tire size across all models. All Knolly 157TRAIL frames will easily clear tire widths up to 3.25".
Fugitive model shown with 29x2.6” tire illustrates the massive tire clearance on our new frames.
FRAME CLEARANCE: We have re-designed the entire rear-end area to keep things as tight as possible. The 157TRAIL spacing increases rear axle width by 15mm (7.5mm per side), and yet heel clearance of our new designs has only moved outward by 1.5mm per side! Our new 157TRAIL rear-end remains the same or in some cases narrower than existing Boost 148 bikes currently on the market.
Current model rear spacing (BLUE) compared to the Fugitive shows how the rear stays are only slightly wider and that we can continue to run a 73mm wide threaded BB shell. The new downtube cross section is also significantly larger for greater stiffness and BB support.
CHAINSTAY LENGTH: Due to our Four By 4 Linkage and Knolly’s forward mounted seat tube we do not need to extend chainstay lengths to accommodate larger wheel sizes, including standard sized 29" tires and high volume 27.5 Plus tires. Four By 4 also allows us to use 73mm bottom brackets shells and is front derailleur compatible.
The Fugitive 29er sports 430.5mm / 16.95” chainstays. BB height in slack is 325.5mm / 12.8”. Our forward mounted seat tube conveniently leaves enough space to store a spare tube and CO2 cartridge.
CHAINRING SIZE: Chainring clearance remains huge: at 36T for 29" models and 38T for 27.5" models
Frame shown with 38 tooth front chainring. (36t max on the 29er)
2x drivetrains are still an option for those who don't want to give up their front derailleur.
E-type standard is maintained for easy mounting of upper chain guides.
COMPATABILITY CHECK LIST:
29” wheels up to 2.6” tires.
27.5” wheels up to 3.2” tires.
Fits wide rims & wide tires (or narrow rims and narrow tires if that is how you roll).
Multiple shock stroke length options on same frame.
12mm axle compatible with existing and upcoming freehubs and cassettes.
ISCG 05 Chainguide.
26t-36t chainring sizes.
Threaded bottom bracket.
Buy online and still support IBD’s
Company does NOT make E-bikes.
Knolly has a reputation for producing bikes that last and we are known for not jumping on the latest trends. We have thousands of loyal riders that, year after year, have ridden our brand because of the performance of our suspension, the longevity of the product and the customer service we provide.
So when it came time to overhaul our entire model lineup we knew we have to live up to the expectations of our riders. Our move to 157TRAIL enabled us to design, build and deliver the highest performing mountain bikes in the industry. Again.
Straight, offset seat tube
The ethos of Knolly’s frame designs is to allow the rider to transition effectively between a highly efficient pedaling position and the “attack position” required for aggressive riding (and be comfortable anywhere in between). The key feature allowing this seamless transition is the offset straight seat-tube, which positions the saddle in an efficient & comfortable climbing position, then moves the saddle downward and forward in the dropped position. Knolly pioneered this technology back in the early 2000’s, and it’s now becoming the de facto way to design most modern mountain bikes. This design element is critical in allowing maximum rear wheel travel while keeping rear suspension elements and the rear wheel away from the seat tube under full compression.
Offset Straight seat-tube advantages are:
+The actual seat-tube location can be designed so that the bike has a steep effective seat position when pedaling and / or climbing (74.5°– 75.5° effective seat tube angle). (The blue dotted line running from the BB to the seat in the illustration below)
+ The saddle not only lowers, but moves forward when dropped, allowing more room to maneuver above and behind the bike (The red dotted lines in the illustration below).
+ The longest possible dropper posts will fit into the frame because the seat-tube is straight and
uninterrupted: many of our frames will support 175mm and even 200mm dropper posts. It’s commonplace for our smaller riders (5’1” – 5’2” in height) to be able to use 150mm dropper posts in their frames. (The green dotted line in the illustration below)
+ No possibility of rear wheel / rear suspension elements colliding with the seat tube / saddle under full compression.
+ Amazing stand-over clearance.
Effective Top Tube explained.
The definition of Effective Top Tube (ETT) length and how it compares to the traditional Actual Top Tube (ATT) measurement can be confusing. Almost all modern full suspension mountain bikes use an ETT because conventional seat-tube locations do not integrate well with today's modern bike geometries. This is why Reach and Stack measurements have become more relevant in the industry. When deciding on bike fit: ETT, Stack and Reach are the best measurements to use.
Some notes on ETT vs ATT:
+Our ETT and ATT are designed to intersect with the saddle at normal pedaling height : this ensures that the ETT accurately represents the ATT when pedaling. Given that the angle between the ETT and ATT is typically well under 10 degrees, the saddle position won't deviate far from the theoretical for riders who are slightly above or below the ETT / ATT intersection point (this is illustrated by the blue and green dotted lines as they converge near the rails of the saddle).
+It is difficult to accurately measure the ETT with a tape measure: this measurement is designed into the frame which is then manufactured accordingly (illustrated by the horizontal blue line "A' above).
+Many riders measure the ATT ("B" in the illustration above) and become concerned that they've purchased a frame that is too small for them. However, the ATT will always measure 1.0 - 1.5" (25-40mm) shorter than the ETT for Knolly frame models.
+If a bike is sized correctly no rider will position their saddle any where near the horizontal line drawn between the seat-tube (post) and the center of the head tube (the horizontal blue line "B" in the image above). In fact most riders saddles are significantly higher than this line so the ATT is not a good indication of top tube length.
+The difference between ATT and ETT will vary slightly between frame model and size.
+We measure our effective top tube lengths off a line that extends from the center of the BB at roughly a 74° angle (image is not the engineering drawing so it is just a representation). (This is the blue line running from the BB to the seat in the image above).
+The higher your saddle is, the closer it gets to this line. You can see in the image above that the center of the saddle intersects this ETT blue line.
Knolly Slack Position
We use adjustable geometry on many of our models (both past and present) and it is as simple as removing a bolt, sliding the shock forward or back and re-installing the bolt.
For those of you who have Knolly frames without the settings indicated here is the 411: The setting closest to the seat tube is SLACK.