First Look: Identiti Mettle GX

by
August 7, 2017

It’s now been over a year since UK brand, Identiti Bikes, showed off the first prototype of the Mettle enduro bike. We first saw the bike in the alloy at the Bike Show in Birmingham last year, before getting up close and personal with a later prototype at the Core Bike Show earlier this year.

Now, after many months of development and fine-tuning, the 160mm travel Mettle is finally available, and we’ve got a production version in house for a full dressing down on the local test trails.

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Nice thumbprint graphic on the head tube.

If you’ve not heard of the Mettle or Identiti Bikes before, well…here it is!

Owned and operated by British cycling distributor, Ison Distribution, Identiti Bikes has been around for a good while now, but has largely danced within the dirt jump and slopestyle space. The Mettle is the brand’s first full suspension mountain bike designed in-house from the ground-up, having been born largely from the brains of I.D’s own Pat Campbell-Jenner and Michael Bonney. Breaking away from Identiti’s dirt jumping roots, the Mettle is a bonafide enduro bike, and is kind of a big deal for the brand.

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The Mettle is the first full suspension bike from Identiti that’s been designed in-house from the ground up.

“The Mettle has been a labour of love for us here at Identiti. With almost 20 years of experience, multiple national 4x championship wins, and one BMX race world champion, we started a fresh project – code named the R01. We spent a long time studying a lot of graphs, but more time riding, racing and analysing our prototypes. 3 years of testing, refining and repeating all boils down to what we show you today. A product well worthy of carrying the Identiti name forward into the rowdiest trails you can find.” – Identiti Bikes.

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160mm travel, 27.5in wheels and 1x only – the Identiti Mettle is purebred for enduro action.

Identiti Mettle Features

  • 6000-series alloy frame
  • 27.5in wheels
  • Clearance for up to 2.5in tyres
  • Short seat tube lengths designed for use with 150mm+ dropper posts
  • 160mm travel
  • Four-bar suspension design w/Horst Link pivot
  • Metric rear shock w/captured lower shock eyelet
  • Designed for 160mm travel forks
  • 65° head angle
  • 75° seat angle
  • 435mm chainstay length
  • Boost 148x12mm rear hub spacing
  • ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
  • Threaded bottom bracket shell
  • Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
  • Frame RRP: £1599 (with RockShox Deluxe shock)
  • Complete bike RRP: £3599
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Identiti Bikes is looking to expand beyond its dirt jumping roots with the long travel Mettle.

The Mettle is built from hugely oversized alloy tubes, and features big pivot junctions, a large forged rocker linkage, and additional reinforcements to keep the frame stiff and strong. It features 160mm of rear suspension travel, and is built around 27.5in diameter wheels, with clearance for up to 2.5in wide tyres.

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160mm of fork travel up front to match the back end.

Identiti has spec’d the Mettle with a 160mm travel fork, which in the case of our test bike, is a RockShox Yari RC number. Identiti offers the Mettle in a frame-only package for £1599 with the stock RockShox Deluxe shock (an extra £100 upgrades you to a Super Deluxe piggyback shock), and you can get the complete bike in three spec packages.

Our test bike is the base-level SRAM GX Eagle spec, though there’s also a Shimano XT-equipped model that comes with a Pike fork for £4199, while the top end SRAM X01 Eagle model gets a Lyrik RCT3 fork and a Super Deluxe RC3 shock as standard for £4999.

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Identiti Mettle frame geometry.

With the Mettle designed for enduro racing and all mountain hurtling, Identiti has equipped it with plenty of up-to-date numbers to help make it as capable as possible for tearing down steep and technical descents. There’s a 65° head angle, which is combined with a very long front centre that sees the Small frame size getting a 440mm reach! For our Large test bike, the reach extends to 485mm. All frame sizes are built around a 50mm long stem.

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The Deluxe rear shock is of the Metric variety.

The suspension design is a fairly conventional four-bar system, with a horst-link pivot on the rear chainstays. A large L-shaped rocker link drives the rear shock, which is a huge 230x60mm RockShox Deluxe unit. Partway through the prototyping phase, Identiti realised that the Metric shock standard would be the way to go, and so the decision was made early on to commit to the emerging shock standard.

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160mm of rear travel delivered by a 60mm stroke RockShox Deluxe RT3 shock.
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The lower shock eyelet rolls on two sealed cartridge bearings to maximise small-bump sensitivity.
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A chunky welded rocker link connects the seatstay to the main frame, and drives the rear shock.
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All pivots roll on the same diameter sealed cartridge bearing, with anodized hardware and a 5mm hex key for each one.
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Large forged alloy dropouts accept a 148mm wide rear hub and use a tooled 12mm diameter thru-axle.
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For mud clearance, the welded support strut for the seatstays runs around the front of the seat tube instead of behind it.
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Identiti claims there’s about 15% progression to the Mettle’s rear suspension, with the option to add more Bottomless Tokens inside the air can to increase ramp-up.
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All cables run externally, except for the stealth dropper post line.
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Rubber port opening for the dropper post cable on the downtube.
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Otherwise the rear derailleur and brake hose run on the outside of the downtube and down through the wide-stance rocker linkage.
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Simple is sometimes best.
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Being an Identiti, there’s loads of components from Ison Distribution’s other brands, including Gusset.
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Chunky 50mm long stem with a prototype magnetic headset top cap.
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SRAM Level TL brakes are paired up to 180mm rotors front and rear.
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Lever reach is adjustable on the Level TL brakes, but you’ll need a little allen key to do it.
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Identiti has elected for the KS Southpaw lever upgrade for the dropper post. It’s a superb choice in our opinion.
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150mm of drop from the KS LEV Integra dropper post.
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Patriotic saddle from Gusset, for patriotic derrieres.
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SRAM Descendent alloy cranks – just like GX Eagle cranks, only different graphics.
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Because of the big-range cassette, Identiti has upped the chainring size to a 34t for the Mettle.
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SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed rear derailleur sitting behind the beefy horst link pivot.
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The Syntace X12 thru-axle features an alloy derailleur hanger that mounts to the frame via a single bolt that’s engineered to break before the frame, mech or hanger does.
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Schwalbe tubeless rubber front and rear on the Mettle, with a 2.3in wide Nobby Nic on the back…
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…and the excellent Magic Mary on the front.
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Wrapped around a Halo Vapour 35 wheelset, which features a 30mm internal rim width.
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Sealed cartridge bearing hubs that are Boost’d too.
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Chunky RockShox Yari lowers come standard with a Maxle Stealth thru-axle.
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The Yari’s skip the Charger damper used on the more expensive Lyrik forks, instead going with the Motion Control RC damper.
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Even with the chunky Magic Mary front tyre, there’s still oodles of clearance in the 2018 RockShox Yari forks, which will fit up to a 2.8in wide tyre.
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The production frame now features stainless steel barrel nuts for the rear brake tabs.
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The Mettle ain’t built to be lightweight. It’s built for getting rad on the gnar. Dude.

The new Mettle no doubt looks burly, and it possesses some rather tasty numbers that we’re eager to put to the test on the trail. We’ll be seeing how the Mettle holds up over the next few months of testing, though if your fancy has been tickled, then head on over to the Identiti Bikes website for all there is to know.

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Available in both Industrial Grey, or Chocolate Candy Purple.

Identiti Mettle GX Eagle Specifications

  • Frame // 6000-Series Hydroformed Alloy Tubing 160mm Travel
  • Fork // Rockshox Yari RC 160mm Travel
  • Shock // RockShox Deluxe RT3
  • Hubs // Halo Vapor 35, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
  • Rims // Halo Vapor 35, 32h, Tubeless Compatible
  • Tyres // Schwalbe Magic Mary Snakeskin 2.35in Front & Nobby Nic Snakeskin 2.3in Rear
  • Chainset // SRAM Descendent Alloy 34t X-Sync
  • Front Mech // N/A
  • Rear Mech // SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed
  • Shifters // SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed
  • Cassette // SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed, 10-50t
  • Brakes // SRAM Level TL 180mm Front & Rear
  • Stem // Gusset Magnum 31.8mm, 50mm Long
  • Bars // Gusset Slade Alloy 780mm Wide, 19mm Rise
  • Grips // Gusset File Lock-On
  • Seatpost // KS LEV Integra, 150mm Travel
  • Saddle // Gusset R-Series
  • Size Tested // Large
  • Sizes available // Small, Medium, Large
  • Actual weight // 14.59 kg (32.1 lbs)

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First Look