When we stumbled into the Identiti Bikes booth at the 2017 Core Bike show, we must admit we sensed a little déjà vu. At last year’s Core Bike show, Identiti was showing off a prototype full suspension frame that was dubbed the R01 project. 12 months on from then and several iterations later, the latest version of that R01 bike was again on display at Core Bike. This time though, things are looking much, much closer to production.
We’ll excuse any mountain bikers who aren’t familiar with the Identiti Bikes name. Because while the company has a history spanning nearly two decades long, Identiti has primarily been a brand focused on dirt jump, 4X and slopestyle bikes. Recently however, the brand has swung its priorities in a different direction. It’s released a carbon fibre road bike, and it’s just about to unleash a brand new full suspension mountain bike called the Mettle.
“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.
The Identiti Mettle Features:
- Tough 6000-series alloy frame
- 160mm of travel front & rear
- 65° head angle
- Four-bar suspension design w/Horst Link pivot
- Metric-sized rear shock w/captured lower shock eyelet
- 27.5in wheels
- Clearance for up to 2.5in tyres
- Short seat tube lengths designed for use with 150mm+ dropper posts
- Boost 148x12mm rear hub spacing
- ISCG 05 tabs
- Threaded bottom bracket shell
- Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
- RRP: £1599 (frame with RockShox Deluxe shock)
It only takes one glance to see that the Mettle frame has been built with strength and stiffness in mind. This frame is beefy! It’s all built from hydroformed and custom butted alloy, with large tube profiles and oversized junction points such as the flared and tapered head tube, and the triangular profile top tube.
There’s a mixture of internal and external cable routing on the Identiti Mettle, with the rear brake and gear cables running along the outside of the downtube, while the dropper post cable runs inside the frame.
The four-bar suspension design has gone through several iterations throughout the Mettle’s 3-year development process. The pivot points have been reworked to develop a suspension kinematic that offers a 15% progression towards the end of the stroke for bottom-out control. Identiti has designed the Mettle as a capable all mountain bike, but one that can handle the rigours of enduro racing. As such, pedalling performance was an important aspect to factor in, and an detail that has been refined since the first prototypes were shown.
Halfway through the prototype phase, Identiti got wind of the change to Metric shock sizing. Committing to the new standard, the Mettle runs a 230mm long RockShox Deluxe rear shock. The Mettle will also be available with the Super Deluxe shock for an extra £100. Both shocks roll on cartridge bearings at the lower eyelet, thanks to the new mounting hardware developed by RockShox. According to Identiti, this feature helps to reduce the breakaway force required to activate the shock, resulting in a smoother suspension feel. It is science after all.
A stout welded rocker link drives the rear shock, and rolls on big sealed cartridge bearing pivots. In fact, each pivot point on the Mettle’s back end is built with the same size cartridge bearing, which makes things a little easier when it comes time for servicing and replacement.
Out back, a lowered horst link pivot forward of the Syntace 148x12mm thru-axle allows for a slightly rearward axle path. The arrangement is not dissimilar from Norco’ A.R.T suspension design, which builds in a degree of chain growth to help keep the suspension stable under pedalling. But perhaps we’ll just have to ride one to find out eh??
Overall, there has been plenty of effort that’s gone into developing the Identiti Mettle. And with the kind of geometry numbers that Identiti has shown off above, it certainly looks like it’ll be a bike that is 100% up for getting rowdy.
The new Mettle frame will be available over the next couple of months, and complete bikes will follow shortly. In the meantime, check out our video from the Core Bike show, where we had the chance to go through the Mettle with Identiti’s Pat Campbell-Jenner.
Use code HELLO54 when you join us as a print or digital member and your membership will be half price for the first year.
The Print+ membership where Singletrack magazine drops through your door, plus full digital access, is normally £45, now only £22.50 with the code. And a digital membership where you can read all the digital magazines is normally £25, and now £12.50 with the code.
Simply use code HELLO54 at checkout.
(New annually renewing membership only. Excludes Gift Memberships, Discount applies to first year. Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers, or when switching memberships)