Developed by Alpine Mountain Bike Guides
The main motivation in designing our own bike was our disappointment with the existing products that we guided on each season. After guiding thousands of customers riding tens of different bikes it becomes very apparent that there is room for improvement. 12 years ago, when we first started guiding it was brake technology. This was fixed (thanks Shimano) and the weakness in wheel and tyre technology, which with reliable tubeless tyres and stronger rims, is now much improved. Suspension has largely remained the same; sure, shocks have got better but there was no paradigm shift. Ok, we got a fangled linkage here and a new fangled linkage there, accompanied by a lot of meaningless marketing hype and bearings that rapidly wear out. But on in terms of suspension performance on the trail, not a lot has changed! Also according to most riders, the drivetrain remains the most obvious weak point. Yes, single front rings and clutch mechs are welcome, but it’s essentially the same as the first generation of mountain bikes: a fragile system vulnerable to rock strikes, expensive to maintain and adversely affects any suspension system (especially clutch mechs).
We decided to design a bike that fulfilled what we were looking for as mountain bike guides. We think this is much closer to what most riders are looking for, as opposed to the “race led” approach to development, which many manufactures claim to follow. Every season we each guide several thousand off-road kilometres and descend over one hundred thousand vertical metres. Reliability and ease of maintenance is essential. However, performance is also essential – we want to have fun while guiding, and we often need to ride fast all day. Anyway, here is how we got there…
5 years ago Chris wondered if he could design a better all-mountain bike. It needed to be reliable, have great suspension and work well in both the Alps and the UK. It was apparent that drivetrain technology was holding back both suspension performance and reliability, so the search for a better solution began. The gearbox makes sense as a solution, in other applications they are reliable, lightweight and simple to maintain.
A year later, an aluminium prototype was manufactured which demonstrated the concept with a gearbox driven, high pivot point, 150mm travel all-mountain bike. It proved the concept perfectly, with noticeably better suspension performance and offered a nearly maintenance free drivetrain. Several more prototypes were made, including in carbon, testing variations on his suspension designs.
After riding one of these prototypes, Ben came on board so Chris could focus on the design and manufacturing, while Ben focused on the business side of things. We decided that Deviate’s first production bike should be a 160mm full carbon enduro bike, as this suits the suspension platform Chris had developed and ultimately it is the bike we want to ride! We manufactured several more prototypes in order to further prove our design and we tested several different gearbox options too. Originally we prototyped our own gearbox. However, at this point, Pinion had emerged as offering a high performance and reliable gearbox. We integrated the Pinion gearbox into the design and by Spring 2017 we had three pre-production samples, built them up with different build kits and tested them hard over an entire season of guiding in Scotland and the Alps. We made a few minor tweaks over those months and finally by October 2017 we were ready to produce our first batch.
This is where you find us now. We have spent countless hours testing and refining our design and we are expecting our first batch to be delivered in early 2018 and are very excited to begin shipping.