Privateer's trail focussed 141 and enduro 161 are bikes that have gone down rather well in our tests and with the launch of the E161 and the DJ101, the brand has been rather busy. But behind-the-scenes momentum isn't slowing as its designers have been working hard to take the foundation that has been laid by its original bikes and sought to tweak an already solid formula in the name of refinement. We managed to get a sneak peek at two prototype Privateer bikes and here's what we know.
Privateer's very first bike, the 161, was designed to offer privateer enduro riders (elite-level athletes who ride under their own funding) a capable but durable enduro focussed bike at a relatively low price. Due to the success of that ethos, the brand then brought that recipe to a smaller travelled platform, the 141.
After a number of years on the market, while still rather progressive in its geometry and modern in its looks, Privateer has been working to refine those two bikes. At a secret location, we managed to get a close look at prototypes of the next generation of Privateer bikes.
Even though these are just prototypes, they look strikingly sleek compared to the current iterations. Now there are smooth curves and new braces at the seat tubes. Similar to the 141 and 161 on the market today, these bikes are built around an almost identical frame, thus each should benefit from exactly the same features and perhaps somewhat kindred geometries.
Around both frames, there are flip chips that we expect will offer geometry adjustments. One at the linkage will probably do the bulk of the work, but hopefully, this should also allow for easy fitting of a 650b wheel, to make the full 29in happily run a mullet wheel setup.
At the rear dropout, there's another flip chip that should offer a degree of adjustment in the bike's chainstay length and overall wheelbase. However, by the looks of it, these dropouts aren't UDH-compatible.
Elsewhere, Privateer has taken what it learned about the current generation of bikes and has brought it to these prototypes, so present are the bolt-on cable guides at the headtube and around the bb area. What looks like shock mounts, look to make more sense as mounts for additional bolt-in cable guides. Cable routing in general looks a lot tidier.
The biggest difference on the new bikes is their suspension layout. Gone is the massive forged rocker link which gets much, much smaller for this generation. This time around, the suspension kinematic is the brainchild of designer, Dan Hicks (who we sat down with before to learn about how brands build bikes), who is also the man behind the whole bike's design.
2023 privateer 141 proto large bearings.jpg, by Liam Mercer
While the new suspension platform is much more compact, its main pivot bearings are absolutely massive. We imagine that this change has been made in the pursuit of longevity as bigger bearings are generally more durable.
These two prototypes give us a bit of an idea about the potential specifications Privateer might offer them in. As what makes sense, the 161 gets a burlier enduro build with a Fox 38 fork and X2 shock while the 141 prototype is kitted with a Fox 36 and a Float X shock. Hunt wheels are present on both bikes, as are four-piston Hayes Dominion A4 brakes. This brake choice suggests that the 141 is still built to be a very capable machine.
For now, that's all we know and can guess about these two Privateer bikes but we're pretty excited to see what's next from the brand. We'll keep you updated if we learn any more.
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