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More long-travel refinement for 2009

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Yeti will eventually supplement its

Yeti will eventually supplement its
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The Yeti 303-R prototype offers just 5.4" of travel

The Yeti 303-R prototype offers just 5.4" of travel
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Yeti's unique AS-R 7

Yeti's unique AS-R 7
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Intense Cycles' new M6 FRO

Intense Cycles' new M6 FRO
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Foes displayed a new prototype RS7 frame

Foes displayed a new prototype RS7 frame
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Ellsworth has revamped its popular Moment frame.

Ellsworth has revamped its popular Moment frame.
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The rear end features the same ICT suspension geometry as before.

The rear end features the same ICT suspension geometry as before.
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Yeti will eventually supplement its innovative 303 downhill platform with this lighter and simpler option, the 303 RDH.

Yeti will eventually supplement its innovative 303 downhill platform with this lighter and simpler option, the 303 RDH. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The stout-looking rear end offers 7" of travel and is intended for downhill applications.

The stout-looking rear end offers 7" of travel and is intended for downhill applications. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The swingarm activates a rail-controlled linkage for a more precisely controlled shock rate.

The swingarm activates a rail-controlled linkage for a more precisely controlled shock rate. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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In spite of the complicated look the prototype Yeti 303 RDH is essentially a single-pivot bike.

In spite of the complicated look the prototype Yeti 303 RDH is essentially a single-pivot bike. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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After a successful initial run on the 303, Yeti has expanded its rail technology to other models.

After a successful initial run on the 303, Yeti has expanded its rail technology to other models. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The prototype 303 RDH is rife with intricate machining work.

The prototype 303 RDH is rife with intricate machining work. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Full downhill frames are still equipped with 1 1/8" head tubes both top and bottom.

Full downhill frames are still equipped with 1 1/8" head tubes both top and bottom. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The beefy dropouts help keep the rear wheel in plane.

The beefy dropouts help keep the rear wheel in plane. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Whereas the 303 RDH uses the rail to control shock rate, the upcoming 303-7 uses it to control the wheel path.

Whereas the 303 RDH uses the rail to control shock rate, the upcoming 303-7 uses it to control the wheel path. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The somewhat complicated-looking rear end of the 303-7 is designed to provide a rearward axle path for better square-edge bump performance.

The somewhat complicated-looking rear end of the 303-7 is designed to provide a rearward axle path for better square-edge bump performance. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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There's a lot going on here.

There's a lot going on here. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The sensitive parts of the centrally located rail are somewhat shielded from muck thrown off the rear wheel.

The sensitive parts of the centrally located rail are somewhat shielded from muck thrown off the rear wheel. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The unique suspension kinematics requires the use of this complex forward pivot.

The unique suspension kinematics requires the use of this complex forward pivot. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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A small swing link adds rigidity to the rear end.

A small swing link adds rigidity to the rear end. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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As on all of the Yeti prototypes, there's a lot of machine work involved here…

As on all of the Yeti prototypes, there's a lot of machine work involved here… (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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…and here.

…and here. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The head tube on the prototype 303-7 is also a standard 1 1/8" all the way through but the head tube is still machined to shave a few grams.

The head tube on the prototype 303-7 is also a standard 1 1/8" all the way through but the head tube is still machined to shave a few grams. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Looks like we'll all be waiting a while for this one.

Looks like we'll all be waiting a while for this one. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Yeti 303-R prototype offers just 5.4" of travel will a stiffer feel for slopestyle and 4X-type events.

The Yeti 303-R prototype offers just 5.4" of travel will a stiffer feel for slopestyle and 4X-type events. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Fox Racing Shox DHX Air rear shock is controlled by the linear motion rail.

The Fox Racing Shox DHX Air rear shock is controlled by the linear motion rail. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The 303-R is intended for use with a single crown fork, hence the use of a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube.

The 303-R is intended for use with a single crown fork, hence the use of a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Yeti's unique AS-R 7 mates an aluminum front end with a massive carbon rear.

Yeti's unique AS-R 7 mates an aluminum front end with a massive carbon rear. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Yeti eliminated the driveside chain stay to improve clearances…

Yeti eliminated the driveside chain stay to improve clearances… (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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…meaning the single-sided non-driveside chain stay is appropriately gigantic.

…meaning the single-sided non-driveside chain stay is appropriately gigantic. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Likewise, the AS-R 7's main pivot is hugely oversized to accommodate the loads.

Likewise, the AS-R 7's main pivot is hugely oversized to accommodate the loads. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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A small swing link is included here, too, to help with rear end stiffness.

A small swing link is included here, too, to help with rear end stiffness. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The upper shock link is carbon fiber, too.

The upper shock link is carbon fiber, too. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Get used to seeing a lot more of the 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube in the future.

Get used to seeing a lot more of the 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube in the future. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Ellsworth has revamped its popular Moment frame.

Ellsworth has revamped its popular Moment frame. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Frame weights remain consistent from last year but the swoopier tubes and beefier rear end deliver a stiffer chassis.

Frame weights remain consistent from last year but the swoopier tubes and beefier rear end deliver a stiffer chassis. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The new Moment down tube takes two turns on its way from the head tube to the bottom bracket shell.

The new Moment down tube takes two turns on its way from the head tube to the bottom bracket shell. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The rear end features the same ICT suspension geometry as before.

The rear end features the same ICT suspension geometry as before. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The new chain stays are way bigger than before, which should make for more predictable handling.

The new chain stays are way bigger than before, which should make for more predictable handling. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The new rocker arms have a sleeker look and are also now mounted inboard of the seat stays.

The new rocker arms have a sleeker look and are also now mounted inboard of the seat stays. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The seat stay bridge includes plenty of room for an Ellsworth logo.

The seat stay bridge includes plenty of room for an Ellsworth logo. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Tire clearances on the new Moment are vastly improved.

Tire clearances on the new Moment are vastly improved. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Foes displayed a new prototype RS7 frame that is intended as lighter weight complement to the existing DHS Mono.

Foes displayed a new prototype RS7 frame that is intended as lighter weight complement to the existing DHS Mono. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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In typical Foes fashion, the RS7 is built with heavily shaped aluminum.

In typical Foes fashion, the RS7 is built with heavily shaped aluminum. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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We obviously haven't ridden this prototype yet, but the inclusion of Foes' Curnutt shock is a good sign of what's to come.

We obviously haven't ridden this prototype yet, but the inclusion of Foes' Curnutt shock is a good sign of what's to come. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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A tiny swing link is fitted beneath the bottom bracket shell.

A tiny swing link is fitted beneath the bottom bracket shell. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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This is certainly one of the stoutest-looking thru-axle rear dropout and derailleur hanger combinations we've seen.

This is certainly one of the stoutest-looking thru-axle rear dropout and derailleur hanger combinations we've seen. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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A floating rear brake mount should help keep the rear wheel firmly planted.

A floating rear brake mount should help keep the rear wheel firmly planted. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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Intense Cycles' new M6 FRO is ready to race… and as we all know, red paint always makes things faster.

Intense Cycles' new M6 FRO is ready to race… and as we all know, red paint always makes things faster. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The rear end offers 231mm (9.1") of travel and uses a relatively low 2.6:1 leverage ratio for a supple ride.

The rear end offers 231mm (9.1") of travel and uses a relatively low 2.6:1 leverage ratio for a supple ride. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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A small scallop on the driveside of the swingarm makes room for the chain to pass.

A small scallop on the driveside of the swingarm makes room for the chain to pass. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The M6 requires a rangy 10.5"-long rear shock.

The M6 requires a rangy 10.5"-long rear shock. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
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The 1.5"-compatible head tube can also be used with a zero stack 1 1/8" setup for a lower ride height.

The 1.5"-compatible head tube can also be used with a zero stack 1 1/8" setup for a lower ride height. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)

On Show: Sea Otter Classic, April 24, 2008

Yeti Cycles unveils trio of striking gravity machines

Yeti Cycles' product development team has obviously been working overtime lately: at last year's Eurobike show, it unveiled a new AS-R Carbon, a revamped standard AS-R and brand-new versions of its popular 575. Only months later it showed off a prototype of its novel AS-R 7 and this year's Sea Otter booth was crammed with no fewer than three all-new prototype gravity rigs, all of which featured some incarnation of the rail technology that Yeti originally introduced on the current 303.

The 178mm-travel (7") 303 RDH is intended as a lighter, simpler and less expensive version of Yeti's full-blown downhill race machine. The 303 RDH's rear wheel path is distinctly single-pivot but an intermediate linkage drives the rear shock on a linear rail for more precisely controlled shock rate. According to Yeti's Chris Conroy, the new frame will end up around 4.5kg (10.0lb) and US$2500, making it about 0.9kg (2.0lb) lighter and US$1000 cheaper than the 303.

In contrast, the new 303-7 uses a single rail to help control the wheel path instead of the shock, which is directly actuated by the rear swingarm. The rearward axle path should be a boon on square-edged hits and in spite of the roughly 5cm (2") of chain growth through the full 178mm (7") travel range, Conroy says the rail's vertical orientation should mostly mitigate pedal-actuated suspension movement and pedal feedback. Projected frame weight is in the neighborhood of 4.8kg (10.5lb).

Like the 303 RDH, the 303-R utilizes a rail-controlled shock rate but its shorter travel (137mm/5.4") and overall stiffer feel will make it more of a four-cross or slopestyle rig than a downhill racer. Tight 42cm (16.5")-long chain stays and a low bottom bracket should make for snappy acceleration out of the gate and quick handling while the tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube will allow for the latest crop of big-mountain forks. Conroy says that Yeti is also developing a lighter version of the 303-R to better suit the all-mountain crowd.

All three prototypes are still around a year out of production but will probably end up in the 2009 lineup. Conroy cautioned, though, that all of them require intensive race testing this season and some models might retain their current 'race team only' status.

The innovative AS-R 7 was introduced several months ago but production versions were finally on hand in Monterey. Frame weight is now pegged at 3.3kg (7.25lb) and the massive single-sided carbon rear end has gained a small aluminum swing link behind the seat tube for added rigidity. Finally, the head tube has now sprouted a 1 1/2" lower cup for use with tapered forks. According to Conroy, frames will begin shipping in June.

As for that much anticipated AS-R Carbon, frame production is now finally in full swing after an initial delay.

Intense Cycles' downhill platform sprouts new iteration

Intense's venerable M-series of downhill frames has spawned yet another iteration for the new year, aptly named the M6 FRO (For Racing Only). As compared to the M5, the M6 FRO incorporates a swoopier look (including a newly curved down tube) but retains the M5's 240mm (9.5") of VPP-enabled rear wheel travel and relatively low 2.6:1 leverage ratio.

Frame geometry has apparently been tweaked for a bit more agility and frame weights have supposedly dropped yet another couple hundred of grams. If the race car red paint job doesn't do it for you, Intense will also have it available in black, white or 'Works' raw silver for the truly weight-conscious.

Foes does lightweight DH

Foes Racing introduced a lighter race-specific downhill option at this year's Sea Otter that is claimed to shave over 4.5kg (10lb) off of Foes' own DHS Mono in fully built form. That figure is naturally tough to swallow but the RS7's claimed frame weight (with shock) is down to 4.1kg (9.1lb), shaving almost 900g (2lb) from the DHS, and Foes anticipates that its associated build will be decidedly more svelte as well.

Travel is reduced down to 178mm (7") from the DHS Mono's 250mm (10") and the primary shock option is an air-sprung Foes XTD. More budget-minded racers can instead opt for a Fox Racing Shox DHX Air but leverage ratio for either is still an unusually, and impressively, low 2:1 as is typical for Foes.

As usual, the RS7 is a single-pivot design but the XTD shock's Curnutt-style stable platform valving and included floating brake mount should largely negate most of the usual single-pivot drawbacks. Production frames are expected to be ready around September or October.

Ellsworth's workhorse Moment goes big

Ellsworth's 152mm-travel (6") Moment just received a significant freshening last year but gets a wholly new frame for 2009. The front end sprouts newly curvaceous and shaped aluminum tubing which are claimed to improve torsional rigidity while the ICT-geometry rear end gets substantially beefier.

The asymmetrical swingarm's chain stays grow noticeably bigger but still deliver more crankarm clearance than on the '08 model; likewise, the seat stay assembly is stouter and more widely set for more rigidity and far more tire clearance than before. In keeping with the front end's new aesthetic, the aluminum rocker arms boast some new curves and are now placed inboard of the seat stays to tighten up the rear end.

Head tube size remains 1 1/8" top and bottom and frame weight remains constant but the added rigidity will be a welcome addition. According to Ellsworth's Paul Verdile, the company has instituted the updates as a running change and new Moment frames are already available.

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