MEET THE TESLA OF MTB – SLEEK AESTHETICS COUPLED WITH UNIQUE KINEMATICS CONCEPT
The Eminent Haste MT is an enduro bike that took us a lot of riding time to fully understand it. Not because we couldn’t feel the bike, but rather, we took longer than usual to understand why this bike behaves the way it does. First off, the overall aesthetics got us interested and then next, we were ploughing through Eminent Cycles’ suspension design theory. Their approach to solving present day’s frame design flaws is scientific and convincing. But designs will remain as designs if they are not applied to actual products. We had to ride the bike to find out! Here’s what we discovered.
The sub-title may raise some objections? Hear us out first. Tesla had since established their unique selling proposition as the combination of high quality, high performance premium car manufactured with innovative technology. Actually they also added in the part about being eco-friendly. We will leave the debate about electric cars being eco-friendly or not for another time. But for now, taking in the qualities of (1) high quality (2) high performance and (3) innovation would be a good start. But that’s not all. The angular frame tubings and overall frame shape of the Eminent Cycles’ product range, the company’s design language and culture somehow just triggers association with Tesla. This above, is the opinion of our editor. You can form your own conclusion when you view the bike in the flesh.
The Eminent Haste MT is a 170 mm front travel and 160 mm rear travel high pivot enduro machine that adopts the High Pivot Active Float System (High Pivot AFS). From all angles, it’s a handsome bike with a unique angular shape. Descriptions like “neat”, “clean”, “futuristic” comes to mind. I guess one could say this bike is ready for the future of what mountain bikes would become.
One unique feature about this bike it’s its “longest rocker arm in the market”. It makes the rear end of the bike looks really unique and very different from the usual mountain bike frames you would come across. According to Eminent Cycles, this long rocker arm gives the High Pivot AFS suspension design the “quick reset” capability.
In our opinion, this in essence give Eminent Cycles’ range of bikes their unique riding personalities, especially so for their High Pivot suspension design bikes. It is quite commonly agreed that high pivot suspension design often makes the bike a little draggy to pedal. On the other hand, a high pivot suspension design that has the tendency to “wants to reset” back to its equilibrium state (High Pivot AFS) would thus create 2 opposing intentions on the suspension system – the tendency to “reset” vs the tendency to “drag”. The nett end result would be a planted and stable bike that retains some level of agility.
THE HASTE MT
As mentioned, the Haste MT comes with some cool design touches making it a very unique and special mountain bike.
The frame is made from top end unidirectional carbon fibre.
To prepare the bike for big hits, it adopts the 157 mm super boost rear axle standards. This would mean stronger and more durable rear wheels. In addition to the super boost spacing, the frame dropout design also integrates a unique keyed rear axle that locks the two dropout plates together, increasing torsional stiffness in high stress circumstances. The result is a good balance of not only a rigid frame, but a laterally stiff frame matched by a strong wheel.
With a low stand over height and uninterrupted continuous seat tube, this frame has very good dropper post depth allowances. Medium size frame goes as deep as 288 mm and Large size frame goes all the way to 308 mm.
To give even more options for customization, the frame has an integrated flip chip at the upper shock bolt for easy access and quick adjustment. The flip chip allows for a half degree of head angle adjustability: 63.5 / 64° (Haste MT), 64.5 / 65° (Haste LT). Couple this with a seat tube angle of 77 / 76.5 °, you get a bike that is as “enduro” as it gets.
On the underside of the top tube and the topside of the downtube are bolt mounts for water bottle and maybe a spare tube or any other small items that you would want to bring along for your ride.
The underside of downtube and drive side chainstay are also fitted with high quality rubberized protection. As with current market trend, the chain stay protection also helps to numb out chain slap noises.
The Haste MT, with a 451 mm reach for the Medium size frame, did felt a little tight around the cockpit when we first mounted it.
440 mm of chain stay length seems to point towards a bike that strive for comfort, stability and ploughing the downhill gnarls. The bottom bracket height of 347 mm / 344mm, made it felt really low slung for us.
HIGH PIVOT ACTIVE FLOAT SYSTEM
Eminent Cycles offers 2 set of suspension designs for their 2 range of bikes. The Onset range uses the Active Float System while the Haste and eMTB Drive uses the High Pivot Active Float System. We will focus our review around the latter.
The main difference between the 2 suspension systems is the addition of a High Pivot idler (but without tensioner) to the drivetrain. This, along with the frame’s unique rocker and suspension design give the bikes its unique personality. We will now touch on these aspects individually.
The design concept of High Pivot (High Pivot AFS) is to tackle the 3 main problem on any full-suspension mountain bike that affects traction during riding. These 3 main problem areas are: (1) descending (2) Braking and (3)Pedaling.
To explain it as simply as possible; descents are occasions that would determine much of a bike’s character – how well it responses to the terrain, how sensitive it is to small bumps and how much feedback would it give back to the rider. How well the bike absorbs the big and small bumps (progressive leverage) and ability to maintain traction is an important determinant to the performance prowess of the bike. This same bike would also be required to brake (stop) effectively without jamming the suspension or have too much “squats” or “jacks” in the course of doing so. And last but not least, being a bicycle, no matter how hi-tech it could be, it has to be efficient to pedal both on flat and during climbs. As such, this bike must have as little pedal bob while retaining bump sensitivity. Tall order?
To make the Haste range of bikes as confident as possible during descend, the High Pivot AFS resulted in a 15 mm rearward axle path on full compression. This, in turn, translated in a smoother and better tractioned ride. Do note that this editor would only associate rearward axle path growth to traction and stability during riding and not with pedaling forces.
The High Pivot AFS has a very linear progressive curve. This means that while it is sensitive to small bumps as we cruise down the trail, it is also very ready for big hits.
One special feature about the frame is the Floating Brake Bracket. This section, coupled with the long rocker arm, really made the bike looks special. With a floating bracket, the brake force and suspension force are now decoupled, resulting in zero brake jack.
In addition to this floating brake bracket feature, the suspension design also has a very low anti-rise value – below 100%. Anti-rise refers to the metric associated with braking performance. It is defined by the geometric arrangement of the suspension parts that balance the moments and forces of a mountain bike during deceleration (braking). A less than 100% anti-rise means the bike brakes effectively across its travel, or under all riding conditions.
On the department of pedaling (including climbs), this frame boast a 120% anti-squat. In simple terms, when a full suspension bike is pedaled (force applied), there is a tendency for it to “squat” – when the suspension compresses. This is bad for pedaling efficiency. Too much anti-squat is not good too because it inhibits the suspension system to work optimally. At 120%, Eminent Cycles claims that it is a sweet spot for their High Pivot AFS to work beautifully.
Alright, enough of tech talks. Let’s ride this bike!
To deserve the “Enduro” label, a mountain bike has to be both a good climber and a good descender. Bike designers know that strengthening the capability of one of these 2 target qualities could risk a tradeoff with the other quality in the opposite direction. This is especially so for high pivot bikes where the base purpose of the design seem to point towards a planted stable ride.
One of the many climbs tackled was Bukit Timah MTB Trail’s famous Centipede section climb with a tight switchback just before entering into Cliffhanger section. Being a high pivot four-bar suspension bike, we would expect the climb to be draggy and maybe even energy sapping. What we got was a very steady climb, easy to hold our line even amidst rocky slippery features and ending with a stable left turn that didn’t need over-exaggerated shifting of body weight to clear the tight switchback.
Considering this is a 160mm rear travel bike, we would say that: while it may not be the fastest, most efficient climber we had ridden, it is a very stable bike that pedals well. The general feeling during climb was simply to focus on the front end, decide on our line of approach and then the rear end would just follow and add in the stabilizing bits.
To address to a common impression, we didn’t find the bike energy sapping. In fact, we came across non high pivot bikes with the same rear travel that consumes more energy than the Haste MT. (Ed: Granted that efficiency of a bike could be due to a myriad of other factors besides frame design).
While we check out how well a bike pedals and climb so that we would decide whether the bike would be our “go-to” bike for our general rides, it is the descent feelings that determine whether we would LOOK FORWARD to bringing that particular bike out for rides or not. (Ed: That’s assuming some lucky riders have more than one mountain bike. And in such fortunate cases, this editor would assume a rider to decide on which bike to use for the day based on the above decision making process).
Descending seems to be a strong trait for the Haste MT. The bike is able to hold its speed very well regardless of smooth transitions or rock/roots-strewn down sections. The secret lies in the high Pivot AFS’s ability to soak in the terrain and efficiently retains the bike’s energy both during straights and turns. The descent timings surprised us initially too because we didn’t think we pushed the bike hard enough to be faster than our previous rides at some section. A stable rear end means less fidgeting and more confident lines. We would think that contributed to the good descent timings.
We would not classify the Haste MT as a “playful” bike. It is not a bike we would find a tall tree root and bunnyhop over it ending with a Scandinavian Flick. Instead, this bike would gladly plough over the toughest line in a section and enjoy the monster trucking experience. In fact, it is really enjoyable to roll over technical sections with the Haste MT. It felt satisfying and confident at the same time.
During climbs, the Haste MT maintain it’s composed demeanor and take on any unexpected holes and obstacles in a relatively chilled-out confident manner. And then when it comes to descents, we always felt the sections were too short.
This editor felt that the bottom bracket height (344mm low setting) was a tad too low and there were quite a handful of pedal strikes as we rode along.
In summary, we think the Eminent Haste MT is a handsome and likeable bike with unique design concepts that works. Definitely a bike with a personality. And it is ready for trails here and beyond.
WHO SHOULD RIDE THIS BIKE?
We recommend this bike for riders who want a comfortable ride with added confidence for drops and cornerings.
This bike is more than capable for long technical downhill tracks around the world. In fact, long descents make this bike shines and the rider smiles.
Is this bike too much for Singapore trails? It really depends on who is asking and what one is looking for. If you want to have the fastest STRAVA timing, then you probably won’t buy this bike for local use. Logically speaking, a STRAVA nut would not have considered ANY 160mm Enduro bike for local STRAVA supremacy to start with. But, for riders who, by choice, prefers to enjoy and tackle the more technical sections of any trail, have a bike that instil confidence, knowing that they can rely on it at any trail around the world, this bike would make you a happy owner.
On the part of vanity and aesthetics, the Haste MT is also suitable for riders who wish to stand out from the crowd, appreciates the finer details of beautiful frame designs. The Eminent Haste MT is indeed a handsome bike, with neat lines and dotted with great intelligent bits everywhere on the frame. Which is why we coined the term “Tesla of MTB’ for this bike.
Now, don’t just take our word for it, go check out the Haste MT in the flesh yourself. Ride.
Photos by Bikezilla, AFS charts by Eminent Cycles