Barely one year ago, a small company based out of Wye Valley in Monmouthsire called Robot Bike Co brought a radical new mountain bike to market called the R160. Using a hybrid titanium & carbon fibre construction, the R160 frame employs state-of-the-art titanium additive printing technology in order to produce fully customised frame lugs. With round carbon tubes then cut to length and added together to create the frame structure, Robot Bike Co is able to offer full customisation of geometry and fit for each bike and each customer.
We’ve had the pleasure of testing the design already, and you can read the full review of the incredible Robot R160 right here.
During a walk around the pits at the Fort William World Cup, we bumped into Andy & Ed from Robot Bike Co, along with a very new bike that they brought along with them. Called the R130, this is a brand new model from Robot, and is the second bike in the lineup.
Just as with the R160, the number denotes the rear suspension travel. So in the case of the R130, it’s equipped with 130mm of rear wheel travel. Unlike the R160 however, this bike uses big wheels of the 29in flavour, so the R130 is more trail bike than enduro sled.
We sat down with Ed to pepper him with questions about the new bike, where we learned that not only does it feature some new technologies, it also features a lower price, coming in at £3895 for the frame with shock. Likewise, the R160 will have a £500 price drop to bring it down from £4395 to £3895, putting both frames into similar cost territory as boutique Asian made frames from the likes of Yeti Cycles. The difference being that Robot can offer fully customised geometry and the ability to change fork travel, all while being manufactured right here in the UK – pretty impressive!
Robot R130 Features
- Full suspension mid-travel trail bike
- Made in Britain
- Carbon fibre tubing with Titanium lugs
- 29in wheels
- 130mm rear travel
- DW6 suspension design
- Designed for 140mm travel forks
- 66° head angle (though that’s customisable)
- 73mm English threaded bottom bracket
- ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
- 148x12mm rear hub spacing
- 430mm chainstay length (also customisable)
- Internal routing for brake, gear and dropper post cabling
- Available sizes: Fully custom
- Frame RRP from £3895 (including rear shock)
Although fork travel can be customised, Robot has built the R130 prototype here with a 140mm travel fork to balance with the 130mm rear travel. The recommended head angle up front is 66°, though again, Robot will build it with whatever head angle you choose.
The frame construction and DW6 suspension design is shared with the R160, so you’ll see that crazy collection of Titanium lugs and carbon fibre tubes. The DW6 suspension design is currently exclusive to Robot, and it comes as a result of a collaboration with Dave Weagle of dw-link fame. Unlike other DW designs, the DW6 platform employs a 3rd link down behind the bottom bracket shell, and a pivot just forward of the rear axle along the chainstay. If you want to read how it all works and the effect on the trail, check out the R160 review.
New on the R130 is the use of a Trunnion mounted rear shock. This one is a Super Deluxe from RockShox, and it’s using a Metric size with a 50mm stroke to handle the 130mm of rear wheel travel, which gives it a low average leverage ratio of 2.6:1.
For further small-bump sensitivity, Robot has spec’d the Super Deluxe rear shock with a bearing mount at the lower eyelet too. This is quite unique, with both ends of the rear shock being activated by smooth cartridge bearings rather than traditional DU bushes. During our official carpark test of the R130, it certainly feels buttery, buttery smooth despite having too much pressure in the rear shock.
Part of the goal with the DW6 suspension design was to create similar pedalling characteristics as other DW platforms, but with the ability to change chainstay length on each frame without affecting the rear suspension feel. So Robot can spec you whatever chainstay length you want – within reason of course. On this R130, chainstay length sits at 430mm, which is exactly the same as the 27.5in-wheeled R160. Pretty darn short for a 29in trail bike, without being ludicrously short. Oh and tyre clearance? Robot haven’t quite got an official number yet, as this prototype is so fresh, but it sounds like a 2.6in wide 29er tyre will fit, and they reckon 27.5+ tyres will likely fit too…
Another change over the R160 is the move to 148x12mm rear hub spacing. Ed and Andy from Robot aren’t convinced by Boost 148x12mm spacing for 27.5in bikes, but the improvement in wheel stiffness for a 29er was enough for them to build the R130 with the wider dropouts.
Want to know more about the new Robot R130? Then head to the Robot Bike Co website for information about pre-ordering a R130, and to use the online fit calculator to work out what angles and reach measurements are best suited to your build.