Mountain bike technology has progressed so much over the last 25 years. Bikes have become lighter, faster and stronger, but not all of those bikes have been design classics. Actually, not all of them are good looking, come to think of it.
Some of you have said “Weird” others have said “Ugly”. I’d leave up to you guys to decide. So, let’s take a look at our top 10 weirdest mountain bikes.
CANNONDALE SUPER V
V – shape, it certainly is. Cannondale were really pioneers in developing full suspension bikes in the early 90s, but it definitely is a bit funny looking. Big tubes, striking angles, and that headshot design, finished off with curly bar ends. What a look.
The Whyte had a radical design that certainly made it stand out from the crowd, and we don’t mean radical in a good way. However, they were loved by a small bunch of people for their excellent cross-country characteristics. That was by anyone who was brave enough be seen on one in public. That really unusual looking plus four fork on the front uses an air-shock and they were designed not to dive under heavy brakings. The head angle actualy stays the same. Apparently they’re really hard to set up and dread to think what the maintance would be like.
BROOKLYN MACHINE WORKS
Made in New York, Brooklyn in fact. You’d never guess that. Remembered for massive amounts of suspension, largely overbuild. They weighed in at about 65 lb/29 kg, some of these big old things. Ugly, we don’t think so, but definitely unusual.
It’s not exactly a crazy concept. having the frame tubes with those sort of bends in is definitely unusual. The angles of the seat stays and that large suspension linkage definitely makes it stand out from all those other brands that uses four bar linkage. Whenever or not that’s a design feature or just something to make it look different.
KARPIEL BENDER BIKE
This is a definite case of function over form, so we should cut the Carpel a little bit of slack. This bike was designed to let Josh Bender ride things that were definitely not considered before. You can’t take away from him what he achieved on this bike was definitely pushing the boundaries of the sport, but actually it was purely designed to do massive drops and probably had little use for anything else. It was hugely overbuild, really heavy, 12 in/30 cm of travel, you wouldn’t want to try and paddle or corner this thing.
We would file this under “What the hell were they thinking?”. Just as the Gerban Flex stem was supposed to provide damping free hands with small flex in the stem. This is what they aim to do with the top tube and seat post if you like providing a little bit of flex and therefore a softer ride on your bottom. There’s a long beam mounted at the top tube to give the saddle a bit of damping. We guess somewhat okay if you’re sat down pedaling, if you don’t mind your effective saddle moving all time, but totally useless when you’re stood up.
Not the easiest bike to mount to your car roof rack the slingshot actually uses a steel cable instead of regular down tube. The idea was to use a spring and cable system to return the energy lost during a pedal stroke. Not exactly a slash in the pan the Slingshots, they’ve been making these bikes for 29 years.
Their modern version is actually a very nice looking bike, but the evolution perhaps not so much. The first demos have two sets of seat stays. They’re really sort of weighty and unwieldy. You didn’t need all that framework on there. One thing worth mentioning though two seat stays or not that bike has won two World Championships gold medals.
MOJO NICOLAI GEOMETRON
Designed by suspension guru Chris Porter, not a person scared of pushing the envelope and putting his money where his mouth is, this takes the relatively new idea of Ford technology basically a long reach on the bike to a whole new level. Based around a very slack head angle upfront and a long cockpit for the rider to move around in, plus a massive wheelbase. So obviously super stable when it comes to high speeds. Available in three different sizes, long, longer and longest, this is not a normal mountain bike.
Using a URT suspension design, the Klein Mantra is not only one of the ugliest bikes we’ve ever seen, but also one of the worst performing ones. URT is quite a floor design because the bottom bracket is actually part of the rear suspension. So the only time you really benefit from the suspension is when you’re sat down.
That’s it for our top 10 weirdest bikes. If you fell that we have missed some, please don’t forget leave them in the comments below.