If you start from the back end, the Structure full suspension bike looks pretty normal, but one you get a forward of the bottom bracket and… whoah mama! Now that is a different looking bike!
And it has WTF suspension! (Standing for ‘Without Telescoping Fork’ – geddit?)
Structure Cycleworks comes from Calgary, Alberta, Canada (with bikes made in Taiwan, where most carbon bikes are made) and it was founded by an electric motorbike racer called Loni Hull. This, the company’s first model is called the SCW 1 Enduro. Despite the linkages and the shock-where-a-fork-goes, the whole bike is said to come in at 31lbs or so, and there’s a lifetime warranty on frame and bearings.
The Structure uses the WTF suspension system. Cheekily standing for ‘Without Telescoping Fork’. The whole bike features 150mm of travel, front and rear and Structure touts the benefit of a linkage fork in many ways: a slackening head angle through the trael, a lack of fork stiction and a consistent trail measurement (and a slackening head angle) through the fork’s travel.
The head angle of the bike becomes 8° slacker through the fork’s 150mm travel, while also resisting brake dive. Structure reckons that the bike will be easier to steer under braking too, as there aren’t any suspension bushings to bind and the whole thing moves on bearings. These are many of the benefits that other linkage forks tout, like Trust and Motion Ride and it also shares the visual challenges that those forks face. However, here the quirky fork is part and parcel of the whole frame, like the old (but popular at the time) Whyte PRST-1, so you’re committed to the whole bike and not just a fork – there’s no chance a regular fork will slot in here.
The company had a few Structure full suspension bikes to hand at the Sea Otter and there was a steady stream of interested and intrigued punters lining up for a squish. The company also had some racers out on the courses, earning some respectable results in the downhill and dual slalom. And the prototypes have been seen in the wild in Whistler and other venues for the last half-dozen years…
We’ll leave this bold quote from the brochure here:
“The SCW 1 not only revolutionizes mountain bike design with enhanced linkage fork suspension, but creates huge performance advantages that the industry has not seen since Gary Fisher launched the RS-1 almost 30 years ago. The WTB front suspension platform solves performance issues inherent to all telescopic suspension forks, while the SCW 1 offers enhanced stability, reduced dive, improved braking performance, and unparalleled bumpt handling”
Bold claims indeed… Especially with a frame/fork price of US$5995 and an all-up top spec of a cool ten grand. However…
…Structure Cycleworks seems prepared for the usual disbelief and questions and its FAQs include answers to the likes of ‘Why now’, ‘Is a linkage bike reliable?’, ‘Why not a 29er?’
(‘The time is right’, ‘yes’ and ‘stay tuned’ are the answers apparently)
With much made of the pedigree of the designers (who ‘have designed and manufactured some of the most highly reviewed and loved bikes in the world for decades’) there’s a lot to live up to, but it seems that the company has done its research into the bikes and is ready to start cranking up the machines. There’s a comprehensive-looking (though non-transferable) lifetime warranty policy on frame parts and bearings for the original owner and Structure seem keen to work through bike shops, though direct sales are possible too.
So, what do you reckon? About time someone did a decent, integrated linkage frame again? Or should we just stick with what we know?
Learn more about the SCW1 at structure.bike