Stanton's new Switch 9er FS is one seriously long and slack trail bike, marrying a steel front end with 160mm of travel to an aluminium rear with 140mm. However, the really big news is that it's designed and made in the UK, with the bulk of the work being done in-house at their Matlock base.
It's safe to say that UK bike manufacturing is having quite the resurgence at the moment, with the likes Trillion, Shand, BTR and many others choosing to weld up their frames in Britain, rather than shipping them in from Taiwan.
Derbyshire's Stanton Bikes is the latest to join this group, choosing to make this all-new full suspension machine in the UK, with 75% of assembly work taking place in the Peak District, the other 25% sourced to other UK firms.
The bike uses a Reynolds 631 steel front triangle married to an extruded aluminium rear end, with the raw materials being sourced from Birmingham and Nottingham respectively. The two halves are joined by a multi-link suspension system, with all the pivots save for the uppermost shock link using sturdy 15mm diameter axles to help rigidity. The 140mm of travel is designed to be progressive, with the leverage ratio starting off high in the first 30mm of travel before tapering off to give ending stroke support. This built-in progression means it's designed to work with a coil shock, such as the Ohlins unit fitted to their show bike. The shock is mounted to sit almost parallel to the downtube to reduce bending forces being transmitted into it, reducing stress.
The geometry is extremely long and slack, with the smallest of the three frame sizes having a reach of 440mm and the biggest a whopping 500mm, with the medium frame sitting at 470mm. The head angle is very slack by the standards of traditional 29ers, choppered out at 63.75º. Seat angle is at 76º while the chainstays are longer for better stability at 445mm, which also helps them get clearance at full travel with the big wheel. On the largest bike, the downtube is so long that Reynolds had to custom make them a butted tube as the only ones they had at this length were hefty plain gauge items.
Of course, if you want to go more or less extreme, Stanton will be offering custom geometry options - indeed, if you're willing to pay even more then they can custom spec any element of the bike, including suspension characteristics. With an off the shelf price of £2,500 for the frame and shock it's not cheap, but it's not too bad by the standards of low volume British made bikes. The bike is available to pre-order now, with stock being available in around six months time.
If bikes without back-springs are more your thing, then Stanton has just released a titanium framed option of the hardtail version of this bike, the Switch 9er Ti. Again, it's long and slack and has big wheels. Hopefully we'll be getting our paws on one of these fairly soon...
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