Interbike 2008 – Arantix Ascend Road Bike

Arantix unveiled their new road bike, the Ascend.  It’s a 1.8 lb (817g for 56cm) road frame using their carbon/kevlar IsoTruss tubeset bonded to carbon fiber lugs.  If you’re not sure whether you want to plunk down the $1,000 deposit to reserve your frame from the limited production run, read “more” to see some pics and our thoughts on the test ride of their mountain bike…

Unlike its mountain predecessor, the Ascend uses more traditional carbon seat and chain stays, probably to give it a little more cush on the rear end…their IsoTruss tubes are extremely stiff.

You can see the bullet-shaped ends of the lugs protruding into the woven tubes.  The manufacturers claim that thier frame is slightly more aerodynamic (less drag) than regular tubes in wind tunnel tests conducted at A2 in North Carolina.  It seems counterintuitive, since the wind looks like it would get all caught up in the weave, but that’s what they’re claiming.  I wonder about wind noise…  (NOTE: The road frame was not unveiled until the indoor portion of the show, they did not have it available for demo days).

Closeup of the rear seat stay bridge.  The frame retails for $5,995 MSRP and is available in 50, 54, 56, 58 and 60cm sizes.  I rode their mountain bike at the demo day, and it was quick.  It was a Medium, a bit (a LOT) small for my 6’2″ height, but I can tell you this:  The bike went directly where you pointed it, accelerated like a rocket and had solid handling.  For an all out race bike, it would be hard to beat.  Besides not getting to ride one my size, my only complaint would be my knees brushed the top tube.  Normally, I tend to ride with my knees coming in and occasionally rubbing the top tube and it’s not a big deal, but on this bike, I could see getting scratched up a bit on a longer ride.  If you don’t have the same riding style, it shouldn’t be an issue.

That said, I think their IsoTruss technology should produce a very quick, very responsive road bike…we’ll see.  I’m trying to line up a test unit for a review.  If you get a chance to demo one, let me know what you think.

Regarding their mountain bike…

The Arantix, which debuted last year to much interest, but a lot of doubt that it would succeed.  The news on this one is the price has dropped to $4,895 (from over $6k), and that the company recently secured $1.5 million in capital to grow distribution and ramp up manufacturing.  In fact, they’ve moved all manufacturing in house, so the bikes are designed and built in the USA.  Frame weight is about 2.6 lbs.

This one has the full IsoTruss treatment…every tube is a weave.  There was a rumor floating around Interbike demo days that one of them broke, so I asked their rep to confirm.  Apparently, the batch they produced directly before the show had some bad glue in the bonds and one of the demo bikes separated.  Not good, but not anything to due with the frame design, just some bad construction on a run.  To their credit, they immediately pulled all the bikes from that run out of action and overnighted more frames from a previous run to the demo.

So what’s next?  Rumor is they’ll be working on a 29′er and full suspension models next…

Comments

Neil - 10/01/08 - 1:37pm

Does any one know how many of the Arantix frames failed during test rides at Interbike. I know of two, but I heard there were several more failures.

Delta 7 Sports - 10/02/08 - 9:38am

Tyler,
Thanks for the post and mentioning the comment. We look forward to a chance to get you a road bike to demo as well. Will you be attending the Outdoor Demo East? In response to the comment this is what I would like posted if you approve:

Delta 7 Sports -
Unfortunately there were two failures during the demonstration at Bootleg Canyon. The batch of bikes made specifically for the event had an epoxy failure and the head lug disconnected (came apart) from the IsoTruss tubing. Complete analysis is still being worked on. The company went to great lengths to gather a few bikes from previous production runs to have available for the demonstration.
Delta 7 Sports will be at Outdoor Demo East where its expected to have both the Arantix and the Ascend available for demo rides.

[...] out close-up pics of this frame and their Arantix mountain bike in our Interbike post.  Hopefully they’ll have a wider range of sizes to demo at Sea Otter than they did at [...]

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