Liteville usually have a stand outdoors at Eurobike, along with their partner brands Syntace and Eightpins. It means you often pass it when you need to get between halls, because whatever the weather, the big outdoor causeways are much faster to walk than the cramped, packed, shuffling corridors inside.
This year, Liteville were showing an ultra-shiny build of their 301 MK14, and every time we walked by it was turning heads. Including ours. For this iteration, they’ve made significant revisions to the rear end, in the process opening up new sizing options. Here’s a rundown of what’s on the bike, and what they’ve changed on it.
The bike on show was a medium. Last year, there were four sizes for the 301, but for 2018, they’ve moved to having six sizes, from XS all the way up to XXL. The two extremes of the range aren’t really moneymakers for them, but they’re resolute that they want to offer the best bike they can for every customer, and a part of that is for the frame to be the right size, rather than use finishing kit to compensate around limited sizing options.
XXL will have 29″ wheels, XS 26″, and all other sizes 27.5″. Each size also has tuned chainstay lengths, all have 160mm of travel, and the XS and XXL will have different shock lengths and tunes compared to the rest.
Before we get stuck in, it’s worth pointing out just how much of this Liteville make themselves: pretty much all of the chassis and most of the finishing kit. It’s easier to list the bits they don’t make nowadays: tyres, drivetrain, brakes, fork, shock, saddle, grips. Oh and spokes. The rest is pretty much all Liteville/Syntace though, and as a result they can do some clever, if standards busting things with it.
At present, the Eightpins post is only available on Liteville frames, but from next year they’ll be licensing it to other manufacturers.
You can read more about the Eightpins here, from when we looked at it last year, but the headlines are: 34.9mm seat tube, and a post that you can various saw down to length and install bump stops in, to get it to exactly the right height for you with maxiumum possible drop.
To explain what’s going on with the rear end, they had this neatly presented demo model with a linear actuator in place of the shock to make it move. The linkage is shown at full compression in the photo below.
They’ve widened the pivot and combined that with a new yoke design to create more room. Evo6 refers to their own chainline, which is in their view a correction of a bike industry mistake – continuing to route the chainline to the middle of the cassette as the number of sprockets and hub widths have both increased. Evo6 aligns the chainring with the fourth sprocket up the cassette, and with Syntace’s new hubs, is also designed to produce a wheel that requires hardly any dish and has almost identical spoke tension on both sides.
In talking us through their frame, Syntace were adamant that form follows function, saying they designed their linkage to produce the suspension characteristics they wanted first, then developed the aesthetics around that. They’re also great believers in their own product too: not only does everything they make have a ten year guarantee, that guarantee is transferrable between owners.
One last thing: Liteville don’t really do clothes, and if you see someone in a Liteville or Syntace t-shirt, that’s generally because they work for them. That’s changed a little now though, since they’ve partnered with Endura, who are making Liteville riding kit for them.