Fair Wheel Bikes Part 2 – Crumpton 29er Evolves, Gets Sequential Di2 Shifting & More

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

First shown at NAHBS earlier this year, Fair Wheel Bikes’ Crumpton 29er project has come a long way, baby.

Originally spec’d with a full SRAM XX group, all traces of a mechanical shifting group are gone in favor of an automatically sequential shifting system custom programmed by their wizards (we hear its some of the same people that code for Apple). Notice any triggers or buttons up there?

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

Few items other than the frame remain from the original build.

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

From a distance, the one-sided carbon rigid fork grabs the eye first. This is one of about eight or nine ever made. Wheels are comprised of some trick prototype Tune hubs, Pillar ti spokes and ENVE rims with Geax handmade tubulars.

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

Shifting is handled by custom thumb buttons built into Ashima lever clamps, one button for up and one for down located on left and right brake clamps. Shifting is sequential, choosing the next best gear among 14 available distinct combinations. But it’s smart. Rather than just go up and down until it needs to shift in the front, a computer inside the stem knows where the chain is on the cassette and keeps it in the same front chainring until the gear ratios warrant a change, then it adjusts both simultaneously to move the gearing progressively harder or easier. On top of all that, they changed the shift timing to make it a little quicker than stock Di2.

Think this is hot? They’re working on a wireless version…

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

KCNC’s new spider web chainrings, also used on the sub-11 pound road bike they showed off.

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

2012 Tune prototype rare earth magnetic rear bike hub

Rear Tune hub is a prototype version with three or four paired rare earth magnets that push the drive rings together, so there are no springs. The magnets are tiny, so they save weight over having multiple springs. It’s loud but super light at just 99.3g on their scale at the show. On the left pic, the drive ring is literally floating inside the hub shell. On the right, the small silver circle just barely visible on the inside right edge is one of the magnets. There’s a corresponding magnet in the drive ring that’s flipped to oppose (push against) it.

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

The saddle stays the same (Tune), but they swapped in a red KCNC Ti Pro 8000 Lite seatpost (scandium tube, alloy head and ti bolts). The headset is a new, possibly prototype KCNC titanium DLC headset with ti retainers with DLC coated races. It’s almost $400.

2011 Interbike Fair Wheel Bikes Crumpton 29er hardtail mountain bike with sequential shifting Di2 electronic group

Some of the chatter around the booth was that Fair Wheel Bikes actually added about two pounds back to this bike to put it at 14lbs because “people would give us too much crap if we brought a 12lb mountain bike to the show.” Not an exact quote, but the point is, this bike is stupid light. Price was undisclosed, but it appears to be an ongoing project as the wires running to/from the shift buttons were taped to the bottom of the handlebar and the downtube…not the usual elegance we see from FWB.

Comments

Matthew - 09/19/11 - 5:03pm

Impressive build. I can’t understand why this bike hasn’t appeared in any other Interbike coverage I know of, when to me it was the most striking MTB on display. Perhaps becuase it doesn’t have a big company logo?

Electronic shifting is here to stay and I’m looking forward for Shimano to markeat a Di2 XTR.

About the BlackCatBone fork. It seems they made a “1st edition” 10 units run, but they’re workin on some more.

Steve M - 09/19/11 - 6:45pm

Whatever weight you subtract you are going to need in tools to keep the thing running.

Robin - 09/19/11 - 7:14pm

I’m surprised Shimano hasn’t marketed Di with sequential shifting. It is the natural evolution of electronic shifting. FWB’s thinking goes well beyond custom bits and bobbles.

sambo - 09/19/11 - 10:08pm

interesting bike. i do wonder if its truly trail worthy. if these super light custom bikes are anything more than window dressing then they should make one available for review!

g - 09/19/11 - 10:31pm

the people that can afford these things don’t need reviews…

Warp - 09/20/11 - 12:31am

Cool bike!! Certainly striking at any rate. In regards to the sequential shifting, it’s very good to have but you should have also the option to make dumb combinations/gear changes yourself… because we humans are anything but logical.

Robin - 09/20/11 - 2:10am

Nick Crumpton doesn’t build frames that can be used for their intended purposes, in this case riding on the trails. FWB doesn’t really do that either.

moz - 09/20/11 - 11:55am

Bicycles & electronics, quite paradox combination that is.

Gillis - 09/20/11 - 2:09pm

The thing with sequential shifting is that sometimes a single gear change in the rear will suffice even if the next in sequence might require a front AND rear shift. That’s extra time and shifting going on that isn’t needed and could be costly in a race situation.

dgaddis - 09/20/11 - 3:48pm

@Gillis – my thoughts exactly. I love the idea of electric shifting…but let me still make all the choices.

I don’t like anything that thinks for me, I just want it to do what I ask.

Joseba - 09/21/11 - 4:04am

I really like the “naked” style of this bike. Really cool and different bike!!!

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