7 Reasons Not To Hate Super Boost Plus

Words Andrew Major
Photos Fergs
Date Sep 29, 2016

Super Boost Plus is Better

Super Boost Plus is rad, recycled and re-imagined. It’s better than non-Boost. It’s better than Boost. And, that – ladies & gentleman – is how it should be when a new ‘standard’ is released.

What is Super Boost Plus? In a nutshell its the 157mm DH standard hub width that has existed for over a decade. Paired with the same cranks you run on your current non-DH bike. The only truly new component in the mix is a chainring with less offset.

Q-Factor

Another way to think of Super Boost Plus is to take your DH or Freeride bike with an 83mm BB shell and a 157mm (or 150mm) rear end and then drastically improve the Q-Factor for most riders.

The tread, or “Q factor” of a crank set is the horizontal width of the cranks, measured from where the pedals screw in. The wider the tread, the farther apart your feet will be. It is generally considered a good idea to keep the tread fairly narrow.” – Sheldon Brown

Super Boost Plus shares the same cranks and, therefore, the same Q-Factor as both Boost and Non-Boost drivetrains based around a 73mm BB shell.

Super Boost Plus uses a standard PF92, PF30, or BSA bottom bracket shell and the SRAM or RaceFace direct mount cranks you may already own. The only difference up front is the chainring offset. Oh, and that’s lighter weight because less offset. Boom.

Pivot Bicycles’ Chris Cocalis credits their Les Fat fat bike with the discovery. Pivot wanted to produce a fat bike with the narrower Q-Factor that racers preferred for efficient pedaling. At the same time the average fat bike rider was demanding clearance for 5″ tires, rather than the 4″ width racers use, which necessitated a wider rear end.

The end result lends itself beautifully to Super Boost Plus. The bottom bracket hasn’t changed, the ISCG tabs are still where they’re supposed to be, and you can use a standard width MTB crankset you already own. The only difference is that where Boost offsets the chainring outboard by 3mm, Super Boost Plus offsets the chainring outboard by another 3-4mm (6-7mm total compared to ‘standard’).

The Super Boost Plus Super Info Graphic.

Oh, and for all the guys I know that still love the front derailleur (I did a quick count and there are a lot of you old-and-moldy types) by offsetting the chainring, or spider in this case, and going with the 157mm rear hub, Pivot nails the super short chainstays program without eliminating front derailleur compatibility.

Before Boost

If you haven’t been following along from home. There was a time, not long ago, when rear hubs generally came in one of two widths. DH bikes, and some freeride bikes, used a 150mm wide hub with a thru-axle. Almost all other bikes used a 135mm wide hub with a quick release (QR).

In an effort improve stiffness on some full suspension frame designs, generally those without solid rear triangles, some brands started selling bikes that combined the 135mm spacing with the 12mm or 10mm thru-axle design found on DH bikes. These 135mm thru-axle designs are a royal pain when it came to removing and re-installing the wheel. This is due to the fact that the hub itself doesn’t interface with the frame and so it floats around once the axle is removed.

The Pivot Mach 6 using 142mm spacing. The hub axle interfaces with the frame to capture the wheel in place even before the thru-axle is installed. Photo: Kaz Yamamura

Enter 142mm hub spacing. 142mm shares the important dimensions – disk rotor spacing, cassette position, hub flange position – with 135mm but uses a wider hub axle that interfaces with the frame the way the hub axle on a QR hub works. This way the wheel is captured in its proper position before the thru-axle is inserted through the dropouts.

What 142mm is to 135mm, 157mm is to 150mm. The captured hub axle of 157mm is much faster to deal with as a mechanic or rider compared to the floating design of 150mm. Best of all. Many 135mm and 150mm hubs are convertible to 142mm and 157mm. Its always good when bikes can be improved, even marginally, while maintaining the backwards compatibility that many of us love.

Boost

148mm Boost spacing is an entirely new hub width with a different rotor position relative to 142mm (135mm) or 157mm (150mm). There are companies like Wolf Tooth making adapter kits to transform some 142mm hubs to Boost but for the most part the rage surrounding Boost 148mm spacing stems from the absence of forward compatibility. That fancy carbon 142 rear wheel may be useless on your new bike.

Surly, being cheeky as usual, is offering some of their new frames with Gnot boost. 135mm, 142mm, and 148mm compatibility. I still miss the simple days of a bolt on 135mm hub.

Boost didn’t come out of nowhere to ruin bicycles and, contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t conceived to offer the two main benefits we realize today: tire clearance and short chainstays. When Trek introduced Boost 148mm spacing the goal was to provide a large boost in rear wheel stiffness via wider spoke flanges so that riders on 29’ers with aluminum rims could realize some of the benefits of carbon-rimmed 29″ hoops without the price of entry.

The goal was to get as much stiffness as possible without negatively affecting the aforementioned Q-Factor.

Super Boost 157mm

When I referred to Super Boost Plus as “recycled” and “re-imagined” I meant that as a compliment. Where 148m Boost is an entirely new spacing requiring hokey adapters or a new hub, Super Boost 157mm uses a standard that’s been around for years.

In fact, one of the most exciting things, for me, about Super Boost Plus is that it presents a use for all those high-end 150mm and 157mm hubs floating around on DH and Freeride bikes. While Pivot ships bikes with Super Boost hubs that have wider flange spacings than what you’ll find on 150mm or 157mm hubs*, any 157 hub will work. Or any 150mm hub that can be converted to 157.

With 26″ wheels on DH bikes rim stiffness was not an issue so even spoke tension ruled the day. With Super Boost Plus the spoke flanges have been moved to increase wheel stiffness. Otherwise, all the important dimensions (brake position, cassette position) are identical and your old 157mm (or 150mm convertible to 157mm) hub works perfectly with Super Boost Plus.

Why Not Super Boost Plus?

Pivot released two new models recently. The Firebird and the Switchblade. The Firebird uses Boost. The Switchblade uses Super Boost Plus. What gives?

Pointing at the Switchblade on display Chris says: “I could not build this bike without this spacing.” Simply put, to clear 27 x 3.25 tires with short 428mm stays, Super Boost spacing was esssential. Bonus points for the front derailleur compatibility for those that prefer it. Massive increase in rear wheel stiffnesss – to more closely match Boost front wheel stiffness – is an added benefit.

I get why race-weenie XC bikes will be staying with 142mm back ends, but for everything else why not Super Boost Plus with the boost in stiffness and no change in Q-Factor? Rocky Mountain has proven that you don’t need to run a solid rear end to achieve max heael clearance.

The Pivot Switchblade is convertible between 29 and 27 Plus wheels and it boasts chainstays that are remarkably short at 428 mm. The 2016 Trek Remedy has 445mm stays, Yeti’s 5.5 has 437 and the Santa Cruz Hightower has 434 or 435 depending on geo setting. Chris Cocalis says he couldn’t have built this bike, with clearance for 3.25″ tires, without Super Boost Plus.

Chris Cocalis can definitely see a day when all Trail, All Mountain, and Enduro bikes use Super Boost 157mm spacing. With the Firebird a 148mm Boost setup provided everything Pivot needed in terms of stiffness, stays, and clearances. In the future the frame could easily be updated with a Super Boost Plus rear end with no negatives. Why not now?

Simply put. The Switchblade couldn’t exist without Super Boost Plus. The Firebird could. With all the vitriol directed by riders towards 148mm Boost spacing I can see why Pivot wouldn’t want to jump on the grenade of ‘change for change’s sake’

It does make me wonder why 148mm instead of the existing 157mm in the first place?


Should Boost 148 have been skipped altogether? Could it have been skipped?

Trending on NSMB

Comments

esteban
0
Esteban  - Oct. 1, 2016, 12:39 p.m.

Oh god what?

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byron
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Byron  - Sept. 30, 2016, 5:37 p.m.

The problem with all these new "standards", is that they don't stick around long enough to actually be any sort of benchmark. There's no problem with pushing the envelope of innovation, but you can't call something a "standard" if it lasts 2 years.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 6:47 p.m.

I'm sorry but you might as well have just made a comment that said "I didn't read the article or any of the comments but I really want to post something anyways."

The only thing "new" about SBP is the chainring offset. If you have a standard 104/4-bolt crankset you don't even need to worry about that (put the ring in the big ring position).

Yes, it has a different flange spacing but any 157mm hub and any existing crankset compatible with a BSA 73 BB works great.

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burt
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burt  - Sept. 30, 2016, 8:42 p.m.

This is what boost shouldve been. Im not against innovation but boost was half baked and poorly timed and it really is costing all of us money. Eat shit Trek.

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byron
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Byron  - Oct. 1, 2016, 7:45 a.m.

My comment is based on the premise that the majority of us riders have been sold on 12×142 rear axles in the last 2 or 3 years. Now we're getting the sales pitch on why something else is better. And who cares if SBP is "nothing new", maybe not everyone has a collection of rear hubs to fit every bike. Forgive me for being a little frustrated.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Oct. 1, 2016, 7:57 a.m.

I'm sorry if I was quick on the 'Post' Byron. I totally understand why riders are frustrated, especially by 148mm.

Whether a rider already has a 150/157mm hub (or picks on up on the used market) my reaction was more to the comment of 'standards' only sticking around a couple years.

The beauty of 142 is it really is 135mm with a thru-axle. Not re-inventing the wheel so to speak and many hubs are interchangeable via axles. SBP offers the same thing.

I could see two "standards" (yes I know, hahaha) in a few years with 142 for XC/Trail and 157 for bikes that require more tire clearance and multi wheel sizes compatibility. Too bad so sad for anyone who bought a Gucci 148mm hub… Or not maybe.

Thanks for reading.

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Jerry-Rig
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Jerry Willows  - Sept. 30, 2016, 4:03 p.m.

How about we just all go back to 26″ and call it a day…

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 4:40 p.m.

How is it possible that we don't ride single speed hardtails together? Let's get rigid forks and start a club called North Shore Luddites.

I'm pretty sure we'll need vests.

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brente
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brente  - Oct. 1, 2016, 11:30 p.m.

Still riding nothing but 26″ and the best part of all these cheesy changes is I can buy quality 26ers and parts cheap…thanks to all you chasing the latest fad keep it up please.

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zigak
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ZigaK  - Oct. 2, 2016, 4:51 a.m.

I'm guessing you're buying AM or thereabouts. If you're in to 26″ XC, you're screwed - for at least 5 years now you can't buy anything - 0k some boutique brands and so on, but nothing is cheap or abundant. That same scenario is going to unfold in a couple of years in AM, and a couple more for DH.

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brente
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brente  - Oct. 2, 2016, 6:59 a.m.

Have three great cross country bikes see no need to change, one has over 6000 km on it and it's still kicking.

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Faction
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Derp  - Oct. 2, 2016, 7:48 a.m.

I miss using cassettes in the 11-34t range and larger chainrings.

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brente
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brente  - Oct. 2, 2016, 8:07 a.m.

yeah I still use a 2×8 setup on my hard tail it just works in the mud and crud.

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - Oct. 2, 2016, 6:01 p.m.

This from the earliest 29er lover I know!

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Jerry-Rig
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Jerry Willows  - Oct. 3, 2016, 11:51 a.m.

that's funny… it was good for up and across but sucked on the dh

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giddyupPG
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giddyupPG  - Oct. 3, 2016, 11:57 a.m.

Go back to 26″? There are still a huge amount of people that haven't switched over - mainly because it's too expensive.

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kperras
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Kenneth Perras  - Sept. 30, 2016, 1:10 p.m.

The elephant in the room is heel clearance. With regular q-factors (I'm assuming Pivot is not using Race Face Plus spindles on their crank spec) I'm curious about heel inteference on the Switchblade.

FWIW we @ Rocky Mountain went with our new single clevis design to not only maintain heel clearance from our 142mm bikes, but to improve on it as well. Future designs will adopt this philosophy.

I'm aware that our Fat Bikes share the "narrow q-factor cranks w/ flipped ring" philosphy but in these cases with the much larger tires, we felt that prioritizing q-factor was most important since fat bikes have q-factors that are pretty far out there.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 2:56 p.m.

Exactly why I mentioned Rocky Mountain in there. Bikes without solid rear ends have no excuse for avoiding 157mm thanks to you ladies-&-gents 😉

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tehllama42
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Tehllama42  - Oct. 1, 2016, 2:24 p.m.

Drew and I both independently came to the conclusion that the single clevis rear pivot would be the ideal four-bar linkage arrangement to accommodate fat hubs for duck-footed riders, and for that exact reason I keep wondering if it would be possible to have the successor platform to the current instinct/pipeline run that configuration, as that would include all the rear end stiffness one could ask for on a 140mm travel rear end (where a 55mm stroke shock puts it roughly) and the rest of the feature package present (Ride9, MSL carbon, BC-ready geometry) would be awesome all around.

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zigak
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ZigaK  - Oct. 2, 2016, 9:32 p.m.

What about calf clearance? I read a couple of reviews of Trek Stache that claimed the seatstays rub with the calf.

Seeing the fourth picture in the article (below Surley) it's obvious that there's still a lot of real-estate to easily make room for more heel clearance.

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alex
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Alex  - Oct. 3, 2016, 3:53 p.m.

This. I rode the new Slayer this weekend at Outerbike in Moab and my manly calf's rubbed the seat stays. No joke. Awesome bike, probably the most fun one I rode the entire event but the calf rub was real and I noticed it as soon as I rolled out of demo area onto the trail.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Oct. 3, 2016, 10:56 p.m.

I had a light but notable amount of calf contact on the Process 134 I reviewed that was 142 x 12 () which isn't common with most 142x bikes I've ridden even with short chainstays. I'd suggest that if its something a company is thinking about it is fairly easy to design around with modern aluminum forming (and really easy with carbon construction).

I haven't had a chance to pedal a SBP bike so I can't say if the combo of the narrow Q-Factor and wide hub spacing causes calf rubbing. Interesting point though!

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giddyupPG
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giddyupPG  - Sept. 30, 2016, 1:03 p.m.

Is this a parody article? Is it April 1st today? It's hard to take anything that's called "super boost plus" seriously.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 2:57 p.m.

I know. I know. Yes, I know. I can only assume that the guys at Pivot were trying to have a bit of fun when they named it SBP.

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extraspecialandbitter
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ExtraSpecialandBitter  - Sept. 30, 2016, 1:01 p.m.

DrewM, If you never saw Sam of Naked Bicycles last personal bike I think you'd like it (SS 29+)

Roost 29+… but with a 83mm BB and 170mm hubs with zero dish.

A lot of his other bikes have used 157mm rear hubs with 73mm BB though.

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craw
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Cr4w  - Sept. 30, 2016, 2:02 p.m.

Damn that bike is nice.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 3:02 p.m.

Very sweet bike. I do have to say that 83mm BBs have never worked for me re. Q-Factor but everyone is built differently. Also have to say that Sam is a super nice guy.

I love weird, unique, cool, custom stuff. The stuff where the ride quality, cosmetics, uniqueness all takes a front seat and the absolute lightest weight and me-too design is buried in the trunk.

Check out Oddity Cycles (). And better yet, check them out on Instagram and Facebook where they are always posting new stuff. Custom bars, custom "Squid" rigid fork, etc. Basically everything is full custom so geometry and application is what you want.

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extraspecialandbitter
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ExtraSpecialandBitter  - Sept. 30, 2016, 3:30 p.m.

I guess I should have said that when I first saw Super Boost Plus, I thought, Sam's been doing that for a little while now, but without the marketing slang. So I just found it interesting that a creative custom builder was using existing technology to accomplish the same task as Boost… albeit on a hardtail and not a dually.
I linked Sam's bike because it was the only single speed… and I know your soft spot for a lack of gears. 😀

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 3:38 p.m.

Sorry, yes. Totally understood why you were mentioning it!

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Faction
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Derp  - Oct. 1, 2016, 8:03 a.m.

I actually find a regular width (73mm) too be too narrow. I would rather have my feet spread out a little more.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Oct. 1, 2016, 8:47 a.m.

Fair enough, but it's a lot easier to go wider (cleat spacing, pedal spacing, pedals themselves) than wider. I know a few guys who run DX pedals, the widest flats they can find, or pedal extenders to widen their effective Q-Factor but it's a small minority.

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martn
0
Martn  - Sept. 30, 2016, 9:09 a.m.

By using 157 mm spacing you move your expensive rear derailleur 15 mm closer to all those evil trailside rocks waiting to smash it to pieces (compared to 'old school' 142 mm). There's your downside. Sorry.
The better spoke angles are nice though.

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drewm
0
DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 9:31 a.m.

Good point! Less of an issue with Shadow derailleurs and no more falling off skinnies (for most riders) but more of an issue than compared to a narrower rear end.

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humanpowered
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Humanpowered  - Sept. 30, 2016, 11:17 a.m.

Wouldn't it be 7.5mm? Half of the 15mm is on each side.

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martn
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Martn  - Sept. 30, 2016, 1:52 p.m.

Of course, I forgot.

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tehllama42
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Tehllama42  - Sept. 30, 2016, 11:30 a.m.

Rear derailleur is closer to rocks and stuff, and the Q factor is necessarily larger. Tiny bit heavier hub is required. Yup, that's about the sum total of downsides.

Nothing's perfect, and particularly if being paired with expensive Di2 derailleurs or the humongous Eagle stuff, it's a very valid concern… but that's pretty much it for downsides.

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whatyouthink
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whatyouthink  - Sept. 30, 2016, 2:13 p.m.

if your line choice is critical to the half inch margin, you are a way better rider than I am.

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poo-stance
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Poo Stance  - Oct. 1, 2016, 7:49 p.m.

And one of the most successful WC DH bike on the men's circuit runs 135mm rear end.

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tehllama42
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Tehllama42  - Sept. 30, 2016, 8:24 a.m.

Me likey - the possibility of running long travel 29/27+ bikes with the combined SBP and RockyMtn heel clearance maximizing rear pivot is going to be a true do-everything all-mountain bike in 150/140mm travel.

Want 29×2.6″ tire clearance in back? Got it. Want to run 27.5×3.0″ tires? Sure. Like nearly even spoke tension? Run asymmetric rims on top of that.

As a large oaf, if we could get all-mountain bikes to run 20x110mm front axles with 12x157mm rear axles, I'd be 100% down with that. For XC uses, 15×100/12×142 works just fine; I could live with the marginal gains of 15×110/12×148 if it meant XC bikes could all run bigger rubber easily, and if it stabilizes there, but if we're throwing out backwards compatibility with current AM bikes, let's go big or go home!

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poo-stance
0
Poo Stance  - Oct. 1, 2016, 7:46 p.m.

We could've increased flange spacing on 20x110mm hubs and avoided the entire Boost front hub debacle

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drakche
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Dragan Stojanović  - Sept. 30, 2016, 1:24 a.m.

Just to add my 2c.
The diagram shows the distance between the flanges not being even.
Last bikes were also cheeky and went with the 6mm offset to the non drive side rear end. Thus giving a even 50/50 distance between the flanges, same spoke length and stiffer rear wheel. Some of the big wheel problems could've been solved with a bit of ingenuity, and not showing a new standard.

On the front end I totally get the perfect distance offset on the front hubs. But hey, forks are easier to change than frames, but where's the profit in that.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 12:02 a.m.

The Coles Notes: Not a new standard. The only thing truly new about SBP is the chainring offset.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 12:11 a.m.

As an aside, Knolly essentially was making a "Super Boost Plus" bike in 2003.

Aside from the rear spoke flange spacing (the 150mm hubs of the day were spaced such that spoke tension was even since stiffness wasn't an issue with 26″ wheels and Mavic 729 or 721 rims) the first generation V-Tach frames used a 150mm rear hub with a 73mm BB shell.

If you had a Chris King hub and RaceFace 24mm crankset on your 2003 Knolly for the price of a PF92 BB and an axle kit you could put them on a Pivot Switchblade today.

The frames cleared a 26″ x 3″ tire out back and the adjustable chainstays had a short position of 432mm.

For optimum chainline with a single ring you could run your middle ring in the out ring position on the crankset and essentially match what Pivot is doing here.

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martin-spencer
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Martin Spencer  - Sept. 30, 2016, 7:04 a.m.

Banshees bikes have all been 150mm friendly with their interchangeable drop outs since 2013 while running standard cranks and front derailleur if you want too.
Unfortunately their 2017 frames won't have that option yet, but hopefully that will change in time.

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craw
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Cr4w  - Sept. 30, 2016, 7:43 a.m.

Finally I can put those Diabolus cranks back in service!

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 8:13 a.m.

You could run them on your Boosted Slackening but then it would weight more than 29.994444443 pounds.

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craw
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Cr4w  - Sept. 30, 2016, 8:28 a.m.

That bike will never weigh less than 32lbs. Maybe I should abandon the gears and suspension?

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david-mills
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David Mills  - Sept. 30, 2016, 9:35 a.m.

They have already said on a couple of forums that they will make 150 drop-outs for the new frames, likely early in 2017. They could probably make 157 dropouts if there was enough demand. So that could be 142, 148, 150 and 157 usable on the same frame, with adjustable geometry via the 2-position dropouts. The Prime and Phantom [?] will take 27+, 29 and 29+ tires depending on the dropout configuration.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 9:35 a.m.

True. But. Banshee's system is/was great for folks buying a frame and moving old parts across (max compatibility - they also used 49/49 headtubes which are the best in the same regard) but because they accommodate 135mm to 150mm you don't get the advantages of super short CS (if that's your thing) and huge tire clearance which SBP delivers.

Props to Banshee though. Definitely the easiest frames in terms of moving old parts around. I'm excited to see all the new refinements.

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poo-stance
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Poo Stance  - Sept. 30, 2016, 3:04 p.m.

Release it in green and call it the Shrekening!

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 3:05 p.m.

Release it with a sublimated wood grain finish and call it the Deckening!

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drewm
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DrewM  - Sept. 30, 2016, 4:41 p.m.

First you should abandon knowing what your bike weighs. Then yes, rigid single speeding is the next step towards nirvana.

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poo-stance
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Poo Stance  - Oct. 1, 2016, 7:43 p.m.

Yaaaasssss!
Wheels too big. Would hit.

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