Spotted: Mysterious Full Suspension 650b Prototype

Prototype 650b 1

Sometimes things can hide in plain sight. That seems to be the case with these two prototype full suspension bikes we spotted in the parking lot of Snowbasin Resort. Sitting in the bed of a pick up, the bikes had clearly been ridden but had no distinguishing marks to be seen.

Details of the moto-link suspension after the break.

Prototype 650b 2

Both bikes were fitted with Sun Ringle Black Flag Pro SL 27.5″ wheels , leading us to believe it’s a shorter travel frame designed for the lighter weight trail segment. We’re guessing 120-140mm.

Prototype 650b 3

The suspension on the frame certainly looks crazy, but we think it’s probably an adjustable design for the prototyping phase only. The seat stays have at least two different positions that would probably allow for shock rate changes, along with what looks to be an additional bearing bore on the chainstays. Perhaps there is a separate seat stay that would mate to that?

Prototype 650b 5

On the Non drive side, the brake is mounted inside the rear triangle to a massive cast piece that forms the rear 142×12 dropout.

Prototype 650b 6 Prototype 650b 4

The frame has an integrated direct mount front derailleur tab, along with ISCG (05?) tabs.


bzo75 - 07/24/13 - 4:48pm

Looks like some new Rocky Mountain frames to me. The design has similarities to some of their old designs (IMO) and both bikes appear to be rocking the new 35mm bar and stem from Race Face along with the cranks. It just reeks of Rocky Mountain to me. I wonder where the truck is from? (CDN or USA)

warthog - 07/24/13 - 4:52pm

I’ll take a crack at it…..Hyper?

Topmounter - 07/24/13 - 4:55pm

My guess is that it is the new 650b from Niner.

Chunky - 07/24/13 - 4:57pm

Shocks in a nice protected position….

Brian - 07/24/13 - 5:05pm

Looks like a Turner to me.

ccolagio - 07/24/13 - 5:13pm

i doubt its a turner – it has a tapered headtube. turner uses straight. they also have a small line of bikes and have the burner 27.5 already out

maybe something from commencal??

patrik - 07/24/13 - 5:17pm

Looks like a Bizzaro Horst link.

Larry - 07/24/13 - 5:19pm

Is that a rack mount extendiing up from the chainstay?

Ian Settlemire - 07/24/13 - 5:22pm


pornitswhatlwouldratherbmaking - 07/24/13 - 5:26pm

i was going to say Hyper as well.

Carlos - 07/24/13 - 5:32pm

It looks like a MIT Master’s Degree thesis project. D-.

Saris - 07/24/13 - 5:44pm

Me three on the Hyper, but their 650b design is set to launch at Interbike and was in the last phases of testing when I spotted it at Sea Otter:

ccolagio - 07/24/13 - 5:47pm

haaa. yes. def looks to be a hyper. it has the same stout rear brake mount too. thanks for the link

randy - 07/24/13 - 6:39pm

three wheel sizes…26/650/29. Looks like wheel can be moved back and top arm moved to bottom hole to make a 29er.

jeff - 07/24/13 - 6:58pm

it’s a braze on for a sweet rat trap.

Zach - 07/24/13 - 8:53pm

randy, I was thinking the same thing. The other hole on the chain stay looks like a second place for thru axle.

CMZee13 - 07/24/13 - 9:10pm


feldy - 07/24/13 - 10:23pm

Switching the holes on only the seat stays would pretty drastically affect the angles/BB height. My guess is the second set of holes on the chainstays mates with the second set of holes on the seatstays.

Patrick Michael - 07/24/13 - 10:28pm

I believe that Hyper and some of KHS bikes have the same set-up.

greg - 07/24/13 - 11:24pm

my guess is that the second holes on the seatstays match up with the second holes on the chainstay. looks like it would very slightly slacken the bike out, while changing where the bike sits in the “S” shaped leverage rate graph.

greg - 07/24/13 - 11:32pm

differences between this and the Hyper are:
this prototype does not seem to have a moto-type linkage between the shock and chainstays.
the top tube/seat tube reinforcement is a tube in this one, a folded sheet on the Hyper.
the seatstay pivot is much further back on the prototype.
odd that the prototype has an unmounted rear brake with an IS adapter but the frame takes a direct post mount.

Honeybear - 07/24/13 - 11:32pm

Agree w/bzo75–its a Rocky Mountain–extra holes make it faster, speed holes.

JOEP - 07/25/13 - 12:28am

Kudos to Topmounter for the most subliminal comment today!

Sabastian - 07/25/13 - 1:13am

Salsa/surly had there 2014 product launch/dealer demo at snow basin this week….

Boggiano - 07/25/13 - 2:35am

Expresses Rocky Mountain from shock placement and compartmentalization.

MsC - 07/25/13 - 4:34am

Damper position is like the Airborne Hobgoblin :

ChrisG - 07/25/13 - 8:27am

The mystery is that anyone should be interested in this. Its an unusual “faux bar” i.e. a single pivot delivered in the guise of a four bar with a different position for the swingarm link pivot than we commonly see. So what changes with that pivot behind the rear axle rather than in front of it? Nothing! The main pivot on the swingarm completely determines a) axle path and b) acceleration (pedaling performance) and braking response. So, what’s left? Repositioning pivots can and will vary the leverage rate/ratio of the rear suspension. Yawn! Now we have another way of making a completely trivial change to the way a bike operates.

rodeoj - 07/25/13 - 9:24am

Its not a Rocky… you old guys… RM doesn’t utilize anything near that linkage setup anymore. If the year was 95, you would be right. Its a shorter travel Kona mule. Take a look at the 2014 Process and some of its other variants… and you’ll see a mirror image.

lock-in raceing peddles - 07/25/13 - 9:31am

The only absolute and indisputable certainty to be had here is that it is definitely NOT a campy seatpost

AZBikeFreak - 07/25/13 - 10:59am

The mid section of the bike looks just like the Airborne Hob Goblin. Take a look.

Looks like they maybe testing a value oriented 650B.

Captainsnappy - 07/25/13 - 12:26pm

Def not a Rocky. They just revamped the Altitude (27.5) suspension design last year which has received good reviews. Plus, why would RMB drive 22hrs to ride Snow Basin when their R&D shop is in North Van? Makes even less sense. If they want dry conditions they only have to step outside for the little rain they’ve had for the last 4 weeks already. If not the Shore, just drive 4 hours to the BC Interior which is already semi-arid and hitting 90-100F

The shock placement thru the seat tube looks like the Commencal DH, but I’ve never bothered to look at Hyper so could be that too… the seat tube reinforcing at the top tube looks like a Turner to me but why would Turner dump the DW link so fast when he’s just really getting into it?

Hmm, Hyper…

Honeybear - 07/25/13 - 1:31pm

@rodeoj–well played sir, you nailed me. As far as testing in Snow Basin–they obviously wanted testing done on the D.L (no decals) and as far from B.C. as possible, RaceFace cranks say it all–Rocky Mountain.

Sevo - 07/25/13 - 5:32pm

Suspension nothing unique. A dozen or so companies use this. Believe Keineses owns that basic setup.

Rear. $10 says big extra hold is to adapt to 29er. Smaller set of holes could be to change travel from 140–160mm or such. So. Such a frame would be a perfect budget Enduro rig with such versatility.

Or a budget prototype to test concepts etc. as for who? I’d say all are wrong. And no one took to the fact this was snapped at the same time as QBP’s Sadddle Drive :)

ambrose - 07/25/13 - 11:18pm

Guys, I think it’s an airborne. The rear suspension looks like the same system used on their 29er full suspension bikes. Looks like they’re coming out with 650b as well.

Niko - 07/26/13 - 12:30am

Commencal meta AM.

niko - 07/26/13 - 1:05am

Its a Commencal Meta AM. The patent on horstlink end in the US and all the european brands are drooling for a marketplace in US.

ChrisG - 07/26/13 - 2:49pm

This bike is not anything like most of the mentioned bikes above. Those who see similarities to the Commencal Meta are right but why would Commencal go stateside to test a bike that shows zero improvements on their existing design. The bike could easily be a Hyper (although quite different to the other prototype bike referred to by several contributors). They have a distinct skill for only testing bikes but never releasing them.

Captainsnappy - 07/30/13 - 12:00pm

“@rodeoj–well played sir, you nailed me. As far as testing in Snow Basin–they obviously wanted testing done on the D.L (no decals) and as far from B.C. as possible, RaceFace cranks say it all–Rocky Mountain.”

– RMB test bikes all the time on the Shore so why would RMB drive 20+ to test a bike when they can do it right outside their own door with either Simmons, Gulevich, Vanderham & Hestler who are all locals?
– RF cranks make it a Rocky? If a production car runs a Haldex AWD system, does it have to be a Volvo? Nope.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.