It’s one of the most anticipated dirt jump bikes to be released in some time, and one of the most frequent topics of discussion between fellow freeride bike geeks. What is it, and why is it so many freeriders are anticipating it while drooling on their keyboards? It is a bike that has the potiential to break the mold and possibly create a new one: a full suspension dirt jumper. Based on the concept the Black Market Mob was based on, it is a 26″ version of a BMX bike with rear suspension that is only there when you need it. It’s the newest model from Black Market bikes, dubbed the Killswitch.
If we can take anything from the rampant popularity of their current dirt jump frames, (the Mob and the Riot) it is that the Killswitch may be the bike that has all the other manufacturers taking notes. A few friends have ridden one briefly, and reports from the field are that it was “the best bike ever ridden.” Obviously, this is in the context of freeriding/dirt jumping/ slope style bikes, but what does that mean to the average joe?
For the average joe, probably nothing. If you don’t already own a dirt jump hard tail mountain bike, or ride bike parks, dirt jumps, and pump tracks, it is just another bike to choose from in a sea of choices. But for those of us that love launching booters and want a ride that feels like our hard tails, with just a bit of suspension insurance against blown out ankles and wrists, this could be the one.
Killswitch Vital Statistics
- Top tube – 21″ actual or 22.25”
- Chainstays – 16″/406mm
- Standover height – 26″/ 660mm
- Bottom bracket height – 13″/ 330mm
- Wheelbase – 41.25″/ 1047.75mm
- Rear shock – 6.5″ x 1.5″/165mm x 38mm air
- Head angle – 69-degree standard with the option of 68 or 70 with concentric headset
- Frame weight – 8 lbs./ 3.62 kgs. with shock
- Complete bike weight – 26.5 lbs./12 kgs. as shown
- Rear travel – 4 inches
- Seat clamp – 34.9mm (included)
- Seat post – 30.9mm diameter
- ISCG 05 mounts
- Headset – internal
- Seat clamp – 34.9mm (included)
- Seat post – 30.9mm
- ISCG 05 mounts
- Internal headset
- Options: Concentric headset, Replaceable drop-outs available in: Maxle Horizontal or 10mm QR
Colors: Flat black with gloss grey and black sticker kits, Flat grey with gloss grey and black sticker kits, Flat purple with gloss purple and black sticker kits.
Based on proven winners
Taking a look at the specs show similar numbers to the Riot and Mob frames. In fact, the basic underlying concept Carter Holland brought to the game was that he wanted a 26″ MTB that rode like a BMX. Looking at the numbers, it is clear he has now taken that concept to the next level, and added rear suspension to the mix. The rear chain stays of the bike have increased a bit- this was to be expected with the addition of rear suspension travel. However, the listed length of 16″ for the stays is still incredibly short- this is a full suspension bike with shorter chain stays than many hardtail dirt jump bikes.
In fact, there are only a few models that come to mind that compete in this niche- the Double from Transition, and the Hooker from Cove. Both bikes feature 4″ or 100 millimeters of rear wheel travel, and many of the numbers are close and inline with what Black Market is doing. However, both bikes are unable to do two things the Killswitch will: run single speed without the aid of a tensioner, and match the ultra short 16″ chainstay. The Hooker has a 16.7″ stay, and the Double has an impressive 16.3″ stay. Both are popular bikes- we saw a ton of Doubles at the Ranch last weekend during both the slope style event as well as the dual slalom. However, if the Mob has shown us anything, it is that even the smallest amount of difference can make that “magic” happen.
For the average shopper at a bike shop, this just adds to a possibly confusing and diverse product selection when it comes to buying a new bike. This isn’t the bike for them. The slopestyle/ freeride catagory just got a bit bigger though- many are already wondering if they can trail ride this bike. Based on the short seat tube height, it doesn’t look like that would be a lot of fun on a long distance pedal. However, that won’t stop a lot of guys from doing it anyway, knowing they can get rad on any type of trail. Personally I can’t wait to spend some time on one, and am really curious about what running a single speed drive train with hammerschmidt would be like. I’m already dreaming of the possible lines with a bike like this: step up to manual on an elevated ladder, log ride to 180 out, street riding in the woods. It could be awesome.
Press release from Black Market:
Black Market Bikes is proud to announce the the arrival of our prototype short travel frame…the “Killswitch”. We worked closely with Pablo Tafoya in developing our “Hammer-Link” design, creating a truly low profile suspension frame. The Hammer-Link provides 4 inches of rear wheel travel while maintaining a stiff, flickable feel with short 16” chainstays and the lowest seat height of any suspension frame….period. The Killswitch has the ability to be run single speed or geared for true versatility.
Hand made from 6061 T6 aluminum with function and durability in mind, the Killswitch was meant for the bike park…this is not one of the usual suspects in fresh paint. Like anything we produce, there was a need for something more…and the time has come to…”throw the switch!”
The Hammer-Link is the epicenter of our suspension technology providing 100mm of extremely versatile travel. After months of successful testing it has undergone some additional machining to reduce weight in non-structural areas.
One of the more important revisions has come from X-Fusion in the form of a custom tuned version of the 2010 02 RCX shock which has performed exceptionally well during testing. Expect to see and hear more about this soon.
“We worked closely with Pablo Tafoya in developing our Hammer-Link design, creating a our compact low profile suspension frame,” pro rider and company founder Carter Holland said. “The Hammer-Link provides four inches of rear wheel travel while maintaining a stiff, flickable feel with short 16-inch chainstays and the lowest seat height of any suspension frame, period.”
Handmade from 6061 T6 aluminium, the Killswitch prototype can be run single speed or geared.