Pivot Point

Pivot Point...end of a generation.

It’s been sitting there, accepted as part of the furniture. One never thinks of what more can lie behind things that are just 'there'.

Mountain Cycle Zen II
Mountain Cycle Zen II

It was not until very recently that the importance if this bike dawned. It was more than just a bike racked, it was in fact a pivot point in mountain biking history.

Quite literally when this frame, a pre-production sample, was being welded up, frames for 27.5” were already in production. That meant at least a year and a half prior, the ‘industry’ had already decided that the 26” wheel was dead. Conspiracy theorists can make of that what they will.

Mountain Cycle Zen II
Mountain Cycle Zen II

What it all ultimately meant was this frame, and the ensuing spec, was at the top of both 26” thinking and Taiwan’s best ability to weld metal tubes together; within a year carbon would be the material for mid to high end bikes and most of the component spec would be relegated to the junk pile.

Today, the build retains key parts of what the production bikes were supposed to have come with. ‘Were’ because full builds never walked out the door on the small production batch that was made.

The 'race clip guides' came about as the CNC prototypes were a little off...!

Mountain Cycle Zen II
Mountain Cycle Zen II

What makes this bike really ‘special’, more so than the production units that followed, is that it boasts features that were ditched for production. Features that, it could be argued, made a lot of sense from a design and practicality point of view but not from an industry's; forced antiquity was kicking in and backward compatibility suddenly became of little interest.

But the best part? It's 100% unique.

It was the only one made to this spec. The only one not covered in paint. There were 54 subsequent production frames made, all with 'the new standards' changes but this one stands alone as the sole example of the 'before'.

Mountain Cycle Zen II
Mountain Cycle Zen II

Various sample parts have been bolted to this frame, after all, at the time that was it's purpose - to make sure the intended spec played nice.

Not the original Turn cranks specified, those are out of harm's way on the shelf, but the updated Girder M30 make a nice replacement.

Spurcycle bell, XT anchors, Ergon grips. Not part of the original spec!

Mountain Cycle Zen II
Mountain Cycle Zen II

10mm QR thru axle; pretty much as good as the 12mm bolt up that replaced it, but on standard 9mm dropouts. Backwards compatibility was key...

The drive-case ,or 'DEX' as we called it, united the pivot and BB in a single piece shell that provided unrivaled stiffness and eliminated any sort of alignment issues during production.

The heart of a modern single pivot - The 'Turntable' by Sotto Group, has proven itself to be in a class of it's own.

Mountain Cycle Zen II
Mountain Cycle Zen II

Easton Haven Carbon, even the Al versions were too expensive for OEM spec.

Easton Haven Carbon, even the Al versions were too expensive for OEM spec.

Mountain Cycle Zen II
Mountain Cycle Zen II

In every way, this bike is a pivot point. It marks an exact point in time where everything changed. Some might say "for the better", others "for no reason other than marketing"...