Sea Otter 2023 | Released, unreleased and prototype mountain bikes from Nukeproof, Pole, Vitus and Yeti

Sea Otter 2023 |  Released, unreleased and prototype mountain bikes from Nukeproof, Pole, Vitus and Yeti

Sea Otter gives the press and public a chance to sneak a peek at the new bikes, and brands are eager to fill their stands with their most exciting models for the world to see.

While brand new launches are less common at trade shows these days, there are still new bikes we haven’t seen in the flesh yet.

Also, some brands are brave enough to show off the unfinished models yet, teasing us with some pre-launch goodies.

In fact, only one of the five bikes shown here, the Nukeproof, Paul, Vitus and Yeti, is on full release and available for purchase.

Nukeproof descent carbon downhill bike

Nukeproof descent carbon is a natural evolution from the already successful alloy descent.
Tom Marvin / OurMedia

Nukeproof has released a carbon version of the Descent DH bike for the 2022 downhill season following extensive testing by professionals.

The frame’s carbon front and rear triangles make for a bike that’s as adjustable as they come, along with a number of geometry and suspension tweaks available at the top of your allen key.

The replaceable headset cups offer +/- 6 mm of reach adjustment, while the chainstay can be changed in length with a three-position chip at the rear of the bike.

The Descent can run on 29in or mullet wheels, giving options to change the ride feel or suit different rider styles and heights.

Finally, there is the ability to change the rear suspension’s travel between 21%, 25% and 28% via a main pivot. Two of those position changes are tool-free, thanks to a lever that swings neatly around the pivot, the third comes via a quick twist of your Allen key.

The bike has 200mm of travel at both ends, Nukeproof is intended to improve the suppleness and responsiveness of the rear suspension on this bike.

2.5in wide rubber from the shop, Enduro Bearings are standard and room for plenty of frame and paint protection.

Comp ($5,199) and RS ($6,999) builds and frame-only ($3,199) options are on sale, with builds featuring RockShox suspension, SRAM brakes and drivetrain components, and a nukeproof finishing kit.

Vitus E-Mythique LT Electric Mountain Bike

The new Vitus E-Mythique should be launched this summer.
Tom Marvin / OurMedia

Later this year, in July, the E-Mythique LT will join the E-Somate in Vitus’ electric bike stable.

While the regular Mythique rides on 140mm of suspension at the front and rear, the E-Mythique LT enjoys 160mm of suspension at the rear and 170mm at the front. If you have a motor to help on ups, you might as well get the most out of it and drag around a little extra travel, right?

Being a Vitus, it’s no surprise that the geometry looks advanced, with the Large getting 485mm reach, 445mm chainstays and head and seat angles at 64 and 78 degrees respectively.

It’s also not surprising that prices seem to be keen.

There will be three models (VR, VRS and VRX), with the top-end bike getting a SRAM GX drivetrain, Rockshox ZEB/Super Deluxe combo, Vee tire rubber and 4-piston brakes, all for around £4,000 (US price TBC).

Costs are obviously reduced in two ways. The frame shares linkages and bearings with the non-powered Mythic, and the frame shapes are less complex than those found on the E-Sommet.

Vitus has also, interestingly, gone to Bafang for motor and battery systems, the brand becoming Bafang’s biggest client.

This means Vitus has apparently been able to work with Bafang to get the M510 motor tuned to the bike’s needs, as well as influence the general build of the system.

Riders will have access to five modes with an on-bar controller and separate display.

The motor will put out an impressive 95Nm of torque, up to 400 watts of power and the 630Wh battery can be swapped through the doors in the down tube.

Paul Onni downhill bike

Paul Onni is his first DH bike
Tom Marvin / OurMedia

The Finnish brand Pole has, up to this point, had a glaring gap in its range – a downhill bike.

However, lovers of innovative products and rather extreme geometry will not have to wait much longer.

Paul founder Leo Kokonen showed us the new Onni downhill bike, which should be available for pre-order in mid-May.

It’s no surprise that the bike is built using two halves of CNC’d aluminum, machined in Finland and bonded together to form each major section of the frame. The CNC’d finish is just as telling as the wild shapes the company creates.

According to Pole, tolerances are said to be incredibly tight, with bearing surfaces to 0.01mm accuracy, and outer surfaces cut to 0.1mm accuracy. This, Paul says, ensures consistent performance, minimal maintenance and plenty of longevity for the shocks.

The pole uses aluminium, as it is said to be more environmentally friendly compared to carbon fibre. Metal is easy to recycle, there is an established recycling industry, and swarf from machining is easy to clean up and recycle.

On the face of it, the 200mm front and rear travel bike is what you’d expect from a DH machine – plenty of travel, slack angles and laterally stiff (as Leo was keen to show us).

However, there aren’t many DH bikes that you’d want to do a multi-day enduro race on, like the Trans Madeira…

Yes, Leo is taking his DH bike, with a regular 12-speed drivetrain, to the island to compete in a five-day race.

That’s because the frame has a high level of anti-squat and seat angle for a DH bike – so, with a dropper post and regular gears, it shouldn’t be too painful to pedal around. That’s his hope, anyway.

Leo reckons that with 3.5kg for the frame he can get the bike up to around 16kg fairly easily, even when using DH-spec components.

More details on pricing and geometry should be available soon.

Yeti Special Projects DH and Dirt Jump Frames

Yeti DH bike belongs to the brand’s special project team. See the rider in the background?
Tom Marvin / OurMedia

If you’re a high-profile, long-term rider for a brand, you’ll occasionally exert a little influence and ask your bike brand’s engineers to knock up a bike for you.

In this case, Richie Rudd is said to have asked Yeti’s engineers to knock out the downhill bike ready for next season.

The Special Projects DH bike has 205mm of rear wheel travel using a 6-bar linkage, similar to Yeti’s ebike, the 160E, known as the Sixfinity. It runs on mullet wheels.

Borrowed from the Yeti E160, Linkage does not use the brand’s Switch Infinity system
Tom Marvin / OurMedia

On a DH bike, there is a bit more rear axle path, thanks to the raised main pivot and idler pulley wheel.

Development bikes often require a lot of modifications to get the suspension and geometry lay-up right, carbon is a tough material to work with given the cost of the mould.

As a result, numerous chips and adjustment points are built in-house by Yeti to provide a little more flexibility.

Next to the DH bike was the dirt jump bike.

Yeti’s dirt jump bike looks like a hoot to ride.
Tom Marvin / OurMedia

Sadly we weren’t able to get much information on the bike, as the Yeti stand was predictably very busy!

However, it looks the part.

The bike rides on 26in hoops, has a Marzocchi Z1 DJ fork up front, and is finished in Yeti’s signature turquoise paint.

There is a chain tensioning system at the rear of the bike to teach the chain.

There was a jubilee-clipped strip of rubber around the non-driveside crank/BB interface, so that the crank wouldn’t spin when Reid Boggs (the Yeti’s dirt-jumping supremo) stepped off the pedal and was in the air.

As of now, we don’t know if either bike will be available, but we hope to see them on the tracks and trails soon.

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