• Knolly Blog HQ

Knolly widens the gap

Updated: Aug 28, 2020



“We don’t buy into hype - we design bikes that have amazing ride qualities and our focus is on no-compromise high end product”

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.”

Noel Buckley, Knolly CEO

So why 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” x 3.0” wheels / tires

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.

Our new Fugitive can easily run one of the narrowest Q factor cranks on the market – the Raceface Next SL.