Jan Karpiel and the Karpiel Armageddon is back for 2019, this time as a modern WC downhill race machine with 29in wheels.
If you have fond memories of Josh Bender launching his custom Karpiel Apocalypse off cliffs in the desert, then have we got some exciting news for you!
Karpiel is planning to return to the mountain bike market with an all-new, big travel, full-suspension bike, but rather than being aimed at our inner ‘Bender’ this bike will follow the Polish brand’s downhill heritage.
Jan Karpiel, the founder of the ground-breaking bike brand, recently posted photos of the new Karpiel Armageddon downhill bike on Instagram. The last Armageddon was put into production back in 2009, but this updated version features current trend technology mixed with a little classic DH flavour.
Like many of today’s WC DH bikes, the new Karpiel Armageddon is built around 29in wheels and features a floating, virtual pivot point rear suspension design, but visually it shares more with the bikes of the early 2000s than designs of today.
The heavy-duty front triangle is welded together from a mix of CNC alloy components and oversized alloy tubing ensuring it retains that classic Karpiel look.
We’ve reached out to Jan for details of the bike and will update this article if we receive a reply, but on the face of it, the new Karpiel Armageddon appears to have a much lower standover and much longer wheelbase when compared to Karpiel’s of the past. The front end of the bike also appears to be slack and a short head tube ensures the height can be adjusted for riders who like to keep as low as possible.
UPDATE: We’ve had an update from Jan who confirms that the bike is a prototype and is still undergoing testing. The plan is to put the new 29in Karpiel Armageddon into production, if the testing goes as planned, in early 2020.
Jan tells us that the rider who is testing the prototype, Kuha Ruthowski has managed to knock 25 seconds off his best time on a 7-minute course compared to his old 26in wheeled bike.
The prototype is an XL frame with a wheelbase of 1291m, 470mm reach, 460mm chainstays and 63.7° head angle. The rear wheel travel can be adjusted from 205mm to around 230mm by switching shock lengths.
Jan has promised to update us in the summer with how the project is going.
The images shared by Jan also seems to confirm that the 29er version of the Karpiel Armageddon has internal cable routing, making it possibly the first Karpiel to be released with this design feature.
Once we’ve heard from Karpiel and have more details about their plans we’ll update this article, but in the meantime please head to the comments and let us know what you think of this modern classic.