It’s been 12 months since we caught up with Dan Stanton at last year’s London Bike Show. At that show, Stanton had a new 29+ version of the Sherpa hardtail designed as a go-anywhere bikepacking adventure wagon. But aside from that, there wasn’t a whole lot of new stuff aside from a colourful display of Stanton’s existing hardtails including the Switchback and Slackline.
However, we did catch some whisperings about a future idea. An idea to build a full suspension frame – a first for Stanton. Even more exciting though, was the idea that this full suspension bike would be manufactured right here in the UK…
About a month after the London Bike Show, some photos were leaked through Stanton’s Instagram feed about a new prototype full suspension frame. Those CAD drawings suggested a single pivot suspension design built around an alloy frame, though this one was going to be produced in Taiwan – or at least, that was the early plan anyway.
Reactions were mixed for Stanton. Fans of the brand were keen for a full suspension option, but many associated the Stanton name with steel. So Dan went back to the drawing board, and back to his original idea. A couple of months later, some images surfaced on the internet of a new full suspension frame design, and this time it was (mostly) made from steel. The frame made use of the front triangle from the Switchback hardtail frame, along with a one-piece alloy swingarm and a dual-link suspension design. Details on the rendered images were scant, and while we pressed for more information, things went a bit quiet.
In the meantime, Stanton has been doing some heavy investment behind-the-scenes. Dan has hired a full time welder and a painter, and the company’s Matlock facility has increased its floor space significantly. And if you follow the Stanton Bikes Instagram feed, you’ll have no doubt picked up that something’s been in the works.
Well, we can now reveal what that something is. It’s the brand new Switch9er Full Suspension bike – an entirely UK-manufactured frame, which will be proudly sitting on display at Stanton’s booth at the London Bike Show this weekend.
Stanton Switch9er Full Suspension Features
- Made in the UK
- Reynolds 631 steel mainframe
- Heat treated T6 alloy swingarm
- 29in wheels
- 140mm rear travel
- Virtual pivot suspension design
- Öhlins TTX 22 M coil shock
- Designed for 160mm travel forks
- Head angle: 63.75°
- Seat angle: 76°
- Chainstay length: 445mm
- Reach: 440mm, 470mm, 500mm
- English threaded bottom bracket
- Boost 148x12mm rear thru-axle
- RRP: £2500 (frame w/hardware & Öhlins TTX 22 M coil shock)
Like the original CAD drawing that surfaced about six months ago, this real-life model is built with a Reynolds 631 steel mainframe along with an extruded and welded 6061-T6 alloy swingarm. The swingarm is formed with large CNC machined vertical struts that house the connecting pivot assemblies for the two suspension links.
The rear suspension uses a virtual pivot design, with two alloy linkages connecting the mainframe to the swingarm. The upper link drives the rear shock, while the lower link assists with governing the wheel path. There’s 140mm of travel out back, and Stanton has designed the kinematics to provide an overall ‘progressive spring curve’. That means this frame will ideally be paired to a coil rear shock, or an air shock with a large volume air can. Small volume air shocks will create too much ramp-up at the end of the travel.
The rear centre measurement grows around 7mm through the travel, which according to Stanton, is to help the rear wheel move back and up out of the way as the tyre drives into rocks and roots on the trail.
Stanton didn’t have a specific number for maximum tyre clearance on the Switch9er FS frame, but these big volume 2.3in wide Vee Rubber tyres had loads of clearance. Also of note is just how wide the bearing placement is on that lower linkage, which uses huge 15mm alloy thru-axles to increase strength and stiffness.
While the lower link rolls on 15mm thru-axles at each pivot, the upper link uses a single 15mm thru-axle just above the shock mount, and a smaller 12mm thru-axle where the link mounts to the frame. At the top of this image, you’ll see that upper link is finished with titanium hardware.
Although the frame on display at the London Bike Show is a prototype (cable routing and the rear swingarm design is still yet to be finalised), Stanton is expecting production frames will be ready to go in six months. Geometry is pretty much set though, with the three frame sizes all featuring very progressive geometry. How progressive? There’s a 63.75° head angle and a 440mm reach measurement on the smallest frame! And the largest size? Five, whole, hundred, millimetres. However, because Stanton will be making these in the UK, there is likely to be the option to have custom reach measurements produced for those who are after a specific fit.
If you’re digging those numbers and the design, Stanton is already taking preorders for the first 100 frames, so get your name in if you’re keen.
We’ll be interviewing Dan Stanton tomorrow at the London Bike Show about his new full suspension frame and his desire to manufacture in the UK, so make sure you tune in to our Facebook page for the Live video so you can ask Dan any questions you might have about the new frame.
Or if you’d like to know more about the current range of steel and titanium hardtails, head to the Stanton website here.