If you had wanted to start your own bike brand just a few years back you might have looked into complex moulds, carbon layup or simply outsourcing manufacture to the Far East, all quite expensive prospects.
The recent popularity of steel bikes, both hardtail and full-suspension, though, has meant that people with the dream of starting their own brand have been able to do so on a smaller scale and keep manufacturing closer to home.
While we’re not saying that steel is an easy material to work with, it can be as complex as you want it to be, it is generally more accessible, there are more people with the knowledge to work with it, and there are fewer specialist processes and tools needed for steel manufacturing. This means that brands like Starling, Swarf and BTR are seeing business boom and is why we’re seeing new brands like Horton M.T.B appear.
Horton M.T.B is the brainchild of Alan Horton who, despite his none-more-English name, was born in Italy and at the age of 40 decided it was about time he realised his dream of starting his own bike company. In fact, it was on his 40th Birthday that the “Project 40” enduro race bike project was born.
Alan has designed his own full suspension frame that is manufactured from DEDA chrome molybdenum steel in two triangles and fastened together with alloy rockers that make up virtual pivot suspension system. The suspension system has been designed to be super progressive, which is why we see the bike built up with either air or coil shocks in the photos, but has also been tuned so that it will retain small bump sensitivity.
The slender steel frame comes in either long or short versions and designed with an extremely low standover height and uninterrupted seat tube so that even the smallest bike can accommodate a 170mm travel dropper post.
Currently, the Horton M.T.B Project 40 has been designed as a 27.5in wheeled bike, but there are already fans on the company Facebook page asking when a 29er version of the bike will see the light of day.
Keeping on trend the Project 40 features a long reach, 455mm on the short and 480mm on the long, a slack 63.9º head angle and steep 75.5º seat tube. Chainstay length on both bikes is 440mm, and the bikes are designed around a fork length of 570mm which gives plenty of room for a 170mm fork.
Each Horton Project 40 is completely made in Italy, including cutting, welding, and CNC machining of the alloy suspension links, and the plan is to launch the frame in September this year.
We’ve already reached out to Horton M.T.B for additional details, and pricing information so will update this article once we hear back from them.
In the meantime take a look at the photos and let us know what you think of this Italian made steel steed in the comments below.