Personal Rides: AJ's New GeoMetron G1
Almost two years ago I bit the bullet and dove into the deep end – or what some may refer to as the future. After pondering bike size and geometry for too long I went ahead and ordered a GeoMetron G16. I’d spent some time on a Mondraker Dune and was pleasantly surprised by the geometry but felt there was room for more. Shortly after writing the Mondraker review I was in touch with Chris Porter and Paul Shepherd at Mojo Rising/GeoMetron bikes. I was convinced that these bikes were moving in the right direction.
I first wrote about my G16 in January 2018 and followed up on the fairly significant changes the bike had seen earlier this year. At the time I was really happy but one thing still bugged me; slapping on 29-inch wheels raised the bottom bracket and it was affecting performance. Shortly after the article for the 29er went live, I fitted an offset bushing and that helped heaps but I wasn't completely satisfied.
By the time the follow up article went live, in late January 2019, GeoMetron and Nicolai had announced a brand new bike; the G1. It was the first time since owning my G16 that my eyes wandered and while I held back for a little while, the geometry improvements, ability to run either wheel size and go wild with adjustments sent me over the edge. In April, I reached out to Chris and Paul about a G1. It took the better part of 2019 to complete the build but as of late August – after these photos were taken – I’ve been getting it as dirty as possible.
FRAME: GeoMetron G1
Size: Extra-Longest • Travel: 162mm • Shock: EXT Storia (230 x 65mm) • Wheel Size: 29-Inch
The toughest decision with the new bike was whether to go up in size. My G16 was a size Longest, which had a 520mm reach, 610mm stack, 661mm top tube and 460mm seat tube length. At 191cm tall, I was on the cusp and could have ridden the Longest or Extra Longest G16. But after testing the XL, I wanted more stand-over and didn’t feel the added length was needed for the riding I enjoy; i.e. not racing. I built the Longest with a 40mm stem and it felt similar in the cockpit to a friend's XL. When the G1 was released, the reach of the size Longest had been shortened 5mm. Add the steeper seat tube angle and the cockpit was surely going to be too tight. I’d also had some rides where my G16 felt short and this was especially noticeable during long descents in rough terrain. These were the only times I experienced any sort of discomfort while riding the G16 and I wanted to stretch out more in such situations. After listening to what my body was telling me the extra longest G1 was ordered.
On the surface, the G1 looks very similar to the G16 with only subtle geometry changes but on the trail, they're quite different. The biggest change is that the G1 is now a legitimate 29er or 27.5-wheeled bike, depending on what floats your boat. Adjustments can be made to run either wheel size or a combination of each and maintain the geometry the bike was designed with. There’s also heaps of room for experimentation within each wheel size. With a few extra parts called Mutators, G1 owners can change the length of the rear-centre, the amount of BB drop, or the seat and head tube angles. Rear-wheel travel can also be adjusted between 162 and 175mm with no extra parts required.
An issue I had with the G16 jimmied into a 29er was the bottom bracket drop. It stood on the tall side and while it rode well, I wanted the centre of gravity lower. The G16's 17mm drop was actually low for how the bike rode with 27.5 wheels installed but with the 29-inch wheels, the height had pushed a hair too far the other way. GeoMetron and Nicolai configured the G1 to have a large static BB-drop of 32mm in 29-inch guise . On paper, it suggests ground scraping territory but the reworked suspension and bespoke EXT Storia V3 shock create an excellent ride and dynamic position. I’ve hit my pedals on chunky climbs about the same amount as with the G16 29 setup, despite the static numbers differing significantly.
Another change for the G1 was how the rear travel adjustment is achieved. With two different length shocks, the G16 was adjustable between 155mm and 175mm. But the G1 ranges from 162mm to 175mm by switching the rear eyelet mount position. Flipping the chip affects suspension kinematics some but overall the positions feel very similar, as they were designed to. The longer stroke option is more progressive at the end of the stroke, to better handle the abuse the bike is subject to. Think bike park days verse regular trail riding.
The G1 model from GeoMetron is only spec’d with the custom EXT Storia V3 rear shock though Nicolai offers the option of the Fox Float X2. Chris Porter and his team from Mojo Rising worked together with EXT and Nicolai to develop what they feel is the best shock available and the bike’s kinematics were worked around this custom shock. Because they didn't intend on an air shock being used, the leverage ratios start lower than on the G16. Air shocks have more stiction than coil and the G16's initial ratio was higher to compensate for this. GeoMetron says this also puts less stress on the rear suspension components; pivots, bearings, links and the shock. They also note the more level curve creates a more consistent feel and it's easier for the damper to control certain parts of the stroke.
During development, the team made a decision not to concern themselves with weight (or cost) and the G1’s Storia shock differs from the aftermarket options as a result. It features an internal negative spring, hydraulic top out and the stock hydraulic bottom out. Combined with spherical eyelet bearings, the shock provides an incredible ride that rarely makes itself known. Through choppy sections where other bikes – including the G16 – get jostled about, the G1 remains remarkably quiet, accelerating smoothly with little coercion from the rider. This is the most consistent feeling shock I've ever ridden.
When I initially wrote about my G16 I said; "the G16 rockets through chunk and minimal rider input is required to squirt momentum out of features on the trail.” I was also blown away by the amount of grip it offered. Now I’m on the G1 those sentiments ring true again but it does it smoother, better… as any updated bike should. The longer reach also means I’m more comfortable between the wheels but the bike doesn’t feel as big as the XL G16 I rode, likely due to the updated suspension and geometry. Interestingly, the G1 in the XL fits in the 6-foot bed of my truck better than my modified 29er G16.
FORK: Fox Factory 36
Model: FIT GRIP2 w/ Vorsprung Smashpot • Travel: 160mm
The latest version of the Fox 36 has been an excellent performer and has grabbed many strong reviews – including our own – in a highly competitive field. The air spring updates and the new GRIP2 damper made it the best performing single crown fork from Fox, but also a firm contender for the best all-mountain fork. I’ve been very happy with this fork for 18 months but I wanted to try a coil fork to match the rear and ditch the faffing about with air pressure. Unfortunately, Fox doesn’t offer a coil option but Vorsprung released their Smashpot coil conversion this spring, so I had to give it a go.
The Vorsprung Smashpot coil conversion was reviewed later in the summer and it’s remained in the fork since. Partially because it’s not recommended to flip back to the air spring once the conversion is done but mostly because I’ve gone back to my roots and I'm fully hooked on coil-sprung suspension. Initial setup can be more daunting because of the needed new parts for the correct spring rate but once that’s done, it’s so much simpler. Weather or location don’t affect the coil as much as an air spring and the consistency is great. On the trail, the fork provides more grip than the excellent air spring in the 2019 Fox 36 with GRIP2 damper.
And while I really enjoyed the Fox, it’s going to be put back on my G16 for the moment while I test a new fork that just arrived. I’ve only had a few rides on it so far, but the Öhlins RXF 36 m.2 is proving very capable on my local trails. There’s more mid-stroke support than my converted 36, even less friction, making for a more sensitive top end, and the chassis is stout, improving steering accuracy and minimizing bind through the stroke. Look for a review in the future.
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: Spank Tuned 359/350 Vibracore • Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai DD Maxx Grip 2.5 • Rear Tire: Maxxis Assegai DD Maxx Grip 2.5
I was after a wheelset I hadn't ridden, that didn't have many reviews, and that was alloy. I eventually landed on the Spank website and discovered a wheelset that uses their Vibracore technology. This technology has always left me curious and when I was keen to try it. After initial contact, I was told the new wheels are tuned specifically for front or rear use. It’s something I firmly believe in, as the front wheel typically takes far less abuse than the rear, and the demands differ greatly. A review will be dropping shortly but I will say I’ve been impressed. Does Vibracore have anything to do with my impressions? You’ll have to wait to find out.
When I built the bike I threw on my current favourite tire from Maxxis. The Assegai review went live a couple of weeks ago and while in the summer I don’t plan to run this front and rear, I reckon I will over the winter months. Unfortunately, I slit my rear tire on a recent trip to the B.C. Interior but it was about to come off for the next little while anyway. Now I’m running a Cushcore with Maxxis Minion DHF in an EXO carcass in preparation for an upcoming feature. The DHF is much faster rolling and combined with Cushcore, weighs in lighter than the Double Down Assegai. It's an odd combination but strangely, it's working well at the moment.
SRAM X0/GX Eagle Mix • OneUp Bash Chainguide V2 • Deity T-Mac Pedals
When it came to drivetrains I only had my eyes set on one, the GX Eagle from SRAM. I purchased the full drivetrain – alloy cranks included – and have been happy on the setup since day one. The one luxury I allowed myself was a bump up in the shifter. I’m a big fan of the shape and feel of the GX shifter’s paddle but I prefer the ability to adjust the throw position. So I forked out the extra $$$ for the X0 purely for that adjustability.
As with the last few bikes I’ve owned, I opted for a chainguide with a bash guard. They’re always taking the brunt of impacts and I’ve got less to worry about when it does smack down. The ol’ faithful e*thirteen LG1r guide remains on my G16 and is still functioning but I wanted to try the latest version of OneUp's Bash Chainguide. Install was easy and it’s nice not to need a tool to ‘flip the bird’ for chain access. She’s already seen a few hefty blows that have mushroomed the bottom of the guard but everything remains smooth and in place otherwise.
Earlier this year I added a new pedal to my list of favourites. For a few years now the Nukeproof Horizon has been a staple on my test bikes and I often enjoy the different feel it provides to my other favourite, the Deity T-Mac. The updated ANVL Tilt V3 pedal grabbed hold of my heart and I’ve been enjoying it, but the T-Mac is still my go-to and I still spend more time on this pedal than any other. With the ANVL now in my rotation, the Horizon is seeing far less use. The T-Mac has still seen the most time on my bikes and for the new build, I wanted to stick with what I know best. I’m also a big fan of the latest FiveTen Impact Pro shoes that were reviewed earlier this year and the Deitys' size works well with the large footprint of the FiveTen.
Deity Blacklabel Bar: 25mm x 800mm x 31.8ø • Deity Copperhead Stem: 35mm • OneUp Grips • Saddle: Specialized Phenom • OneUp Dropper: 210mm x 30.9ø
I first ran the Deity Blacklabel bar on my G16 and ever since because I’ve preferred the feel. The ergonomics of the bar work well for me and I've found the flex comfortable. On my G16 I ran the 38mm rise so I could lower the stem, eking out more room while still getting the ride height I need. With the bump up in frame size, I built the G1 with 31.8 diameter, 800mm Blacklabel bars and a more typical 25mm rise, which I find perfect.
I’ve still not felt a need to run 35mm diameter bars and stems and whenever I have, I’ve found them stiffer than necessary. Earlier this year, Deity announced they'd developed 35mm bars that feel the same as their equivalent 31.8mm bars. I’ll be comparing how these feel compared to their smaller-diameter siblings.
I’m still trading between the Specialized Phenom and Power saddles I previously wrote about. These have made it possible for me to ditch chamois and I'm much happier while remaining more comfortable as a result. Previously, I wasn’t getting on with the Phenom as well as the Power but the former's been great on the G1. Perhaps because of the geometry changes.
OneUp’s latest dropper post holds the seat in position and it’s been working wonderfully. I never thought I'd need more than the 175mm offered by the Race Face Turbine post on the G16 but the 210mm OneUp post immediately felt great on the G1. The steeper seat angle does mean the seat can get in the way and the extra 35mm available has meant I never had to deal with that. When fully lowered it feels like I’m sitting on my dirt jumper and it’s nice having the seat far away on spicier trails. Both Cam and I are running the 210mm OneUp Dropper and there’ll be a full review in the future.
TRP Quadiem • Front: 203mm, Rear: 180mm
I finally updated my brakes! Despite finding replacement pads tricky, the SRAM Code Frankenbrakes on my G16 live on but it was time to try another brake. After a good experience with the TRP Slate T4 brakes in 2018, I wanted to try the equivalent version of their burlier DH brake, the Quadiem. Quadiem brakes retail for 149.99 per end and feature many of the G-Spec Quadiem features that Andrew reviewed in the past. Is it possible to achieve the same power, reliability and consistency with the lowest price DH specific stoppers? Watch for a long-term review soon.
I’ve been really happy with the new G1 and have been enjoying it in the stock geometry settings. I was already going to try the shorter rear but the recent fork change made it feel shorter than the previous fork thanks to the more supportive mid-stroke. I’ll still be going through all the possibilities in the future and will share my experiences but with the stock geometry, it’s been amazing. Honestly, I thought the bottom bracket height would be too low and that I’d be bumping it up pretty quickly but it hasn’t been an issue at all. The rear shock is incredible and the parts currently completing the bike have been great.
This will be my test rig, hopefully for years to come because the geometry won’t need to be updated every other year for the next 6–10 years. The raw finish was chosen to further support a lengthy service – I don’t need to worry about scratches in the paint and it’s been so good not to. I never realized how concerned I was about the paint until I didn't have any to worry about.
You can learn more about the GeoMetron G1 on the GeoMetron website and there'll be more to come here shortly.