CACHE - A new model with old roots
photo: Alex Morgan
The Knolly crew have been riding for a long time. In fact some of us started riding when mountain bikes were just a twinkle in the founder’s eye (we won’t get into the argument over who it was - we don’t care - but a huge thanks to those who started this crazy ride). Through our riding and personal careers one thing has always been constant, we are happiest when we are on two wheels. So with an entire lineup of new full suspension models designed and heading into the production phase, we focused on a new type of Knolly, one that we wanted to build just for the hell of it (and a sign of things to come). OK, let’s be honest, we wanted to add a bike to our personal quiver. But that’s the best part of being a bike company isn’t it? We build cool stuff and ride it. And when we have something new to bring to market, we get excited!
A DIFFERENT ANGLE Knolly CEO and Head Engineer, Noel Buckley, wanted a gravel bike that would deliver a ride experience similar to our mountain bikes. He wanted a bike that could go harder and farther, while also immediately feeling “right”, with minimum adaption time. To differentiate our Cache from the cattle, Noel custom designed a titanium bike with a longer front center (like our off road products), which when combined with a shorter stem gives the bike amazing handling characteristics.
MATERIALS To start, Noel looked at frame material options and chose titanium (Ti) because it would deliver the best overall performance and comfort for gravel riders. But off the shelf Ti tubing would not provide the ride experience Noel was looking for so we built the Cache with custom tubes and pushed the boundaries of manipulating Ti. Yes, it was more costly and labor intensive, but it delivered the precise ride performance that we desired.
KNOLLY CARBON FORK AND FRONT SUSPENSION With the Cache built for versatility we wanted to offer a few options for forks.
Our new fully carbon gravel fork is a clean straight blade fork designed specifically for multi-surface and gravel riding and is exceptionally lightweight but strong (465g including axle). Featuring a DT Swiss RWS 12mm thru-axle and flat mount brake standard, it is a one piece steerer / crown / leg assembly made with high quality Toray UD fibers.
The Cache carbon fork uses a rigid upper crown section for steering accuracy combined with a tapered and tuned lower leg. This fork matched with the Cache Titanium frame, provides a compliant ride with extremely precise handling. Other fork features include hidden fender mounts, piped internal brake routing and there is ample clearance for 700c x 45mm and 27.5 x 2.1” tires (with fenders).
For mixed technical terrain, when you know your wrists and shoulders are taxed, we offer two 40mm fork options: the FOX 32 Step cast AX and the MRP Baxter Adventure fork.
GEOMETRY When it came to geometry, Knolly didn’t follow gravel bike trends and simply create a ride that was essentially a road or CX bike with burlier tires. Instead, we utilized our mountain bike expertise and formulated a geometry with a longer wheelbase for optimal stability at high speeds and increased comfort on longer rides. Our design features a compact rear triangular, with a shorter chainstay for ideal pedaling efficiency while offering plenty of tire and fender clearance when the weather gets nasty. The sloping top tube and shorter stem allows for more aggressive steering and incredible control, while the curved offset seat tube ensures vertical compliance, yet provides a stiff BB for efficient power transfer when cranking out the miles.
GIVING YOU ALL THE OPTIONS The Cache hits the bar high with a load of intuitive details. It has a threaded BB shell, custom right side chainstay yoke, full fender mounts and an industry first frame design that connects the down tube to the highly manipulated seat tube so that you can run an internal dropper post.
Every tube on the CACHE is custom including the seat stays. With lots of clearance in the rear triangle for 700x45c tires or 27.5” x 2.1 tires, they still leave room for full fenders. Backwards or down facing eyelets might be clean looking but it makes them a pain to use. We prefer to keep them easily accessible.