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As the saying goes, "better late than never" - Knolly knows they are late to the game with the Fugitive. That doesn't make it any less impressive as a bike however. While many manufacturers have been touting slacked-out, trail-ripping 29'ers for several years now, Knolly is just now entering the game with their latest rig, and yes, it's sporting 29" wheels - finally! Rejoice Knolly die-hards, the 29'er trail bike you've been wanting is here.
For those of you less familiar with Knolly, it's important to know that building bikes is a labor of love for the folks that comprise the company. Of course this much could be said for most bike companies, but for Knolly, it REALLY rings true. Don't take our word for it though - give them a call if you feel so inclined, and they will talk your ear off for hours about all the nerdy details you could possibly want. The takeaway from all this? Knolly agonizes over every minute detail of their bikes - hence why the Fugitive has taken so long to come to fruition.
First and foremost, the Fugitive has the option to utilize either 120mm or 135mm rear suspension travel. A 185 x 50mm metric shock it used on the 120mm platform, and a 185 x 55mm metric shock is used on the 135mm platform. The frame itself remains exactly the same, but the recommended fork travel varies. Typically we'd recommend a 140-150mm fork on the 135mm platform, and a 130-140mm fork on the 120mm platform. This does give you the freedom to pick one travel option now, and should you decide to change your mind down the road, you may do so by purchasing the other shock. In addition to the travel options, the Fugitive is also equipped with adjustable geometry, much like the rest of Knolly's bikes. The two settings (neutral and slack) are set by placing the lower shock bolt in either the forward or aft mounting position. The geometry figures affected by this will be bottom bracket height, effective seat tube angle, and head tube angle. Check out our geometry charts below for all the numbers on these two settings. This is one of Knolly's most versatile bikes to date, as it can be setup to suit a wide variety of preferences thanks to the adjustable geometry and the two rear travel options.
As with all Knolly bikes, the suspension platform is one of the main attributing factors to the overall ride quality. Many smaller boutique companies choose to license an existing suspension platform to cut down on research and development costs. The CEO of Knolly, Noel Buckley, just happens to be an engineering/suspension wizard, so it should come as no surprise that he has developed an exclusive patented suspension platform called Four by 4. This is not to be confused with the generic 4-Bar linkage term used on many other full suspension bikes out there. Knolly’s Four by 4 is truly something special, with little compromise - and you won’t find it on any other bike brand as it is exclusive to Knolly. It's also plays nice with both air and coil shocks, so you have lots of options when it comes to picking out a rear shock.
But what’s with all that linkage? Certainly a question that comes up frequently. Yes, it is true that Knolly bikes employ an impressive number of pivots and parts. Rest-assured, this was not an afterthought. Each of those pivot points are strategically placed, and every single detail of this platform has a purpose. Us mountain bikers are a tough bunch to impress. We want our mountain bikes to climb well, descend like a monster, hold momentum over chatter, maintain composure under braking forces, and of course, provide loads of traction. It’s the ultimate challenge for engineers to strike some sort of balance between these factors. Inspired by Formula One auto racing strut-style suspension, Knolly’s Four by 4 suspension technology provides freedom in design and execution that few other platforms can match. This allows Noel to tweak the Fugitive from the ground up, manipulating wheel path and shock progression completely independently. This leads to a naturally linear-to-progressive suspension rate curve, which is important because it means your shock doesn’t have to to the hard work to provide bottoming resistance, as it would on a bike with a falling rate curve. Ultimately, this means less wear-and-tear on your rear shock, which also means less heat generated. As we all know, heat buildup in a rear shock is no good, and leads to quickly degraded suspension feel. You’ll also find that service intervals on your rear shock may be less frequent compared to other bikes you’ve owned in the past.
Knolly bikes have always been known to climb impressively well, and the Fugitive is likely the best climber of the bunch. Again, with the Four by 4 linkage, Knolly is able to provide exceptionally smooth pedaling characteristics with little feedback. All of the shock options employ a climb switch, which helps reduce any unwanted sag or suspension movement while climbing Under heavy braking, the Fugitive maintains traction and a fully active suspension feel. There is very little, if any, brake-induced suspension lockup, and no brake jack.
Surprisingly, Knolly continues to offer the option to run a front derailleur. Although the front derailleur has largely gone the way of the dodo in the mountain bike world, there are still a few out there who prefer this setup. Don't care for the front derailleur? Simply remove the detachable E-Type mount and forget about it. All cables on the Fugitive are routed internally, and the frame is Di2-ready with an on-board battery compartment located at the bottom of the downtube. With at least 280mm of seatpost insertion depth, most riders will find they can fit 170mm, or longer, dropper posts in this bike. A water bottle cage mount on the downtube allow for a full-sized water bottle to be used on all frame sizes, and will even clear shocks with piggy-back reservoirs.
Another new development with the Fugitive is the jump to 12x157mm rear dropout spacing. As it stands now, this spacing has been named "Super Boost", although Knolly prefers to just call it 12x157mm. That said, there is an important difference, as 12x157mm has been around for years on downhill bikes, but only recently available on trail bikes. While a 12x157mm DH hub will certainly fit on this bike, a 12x157mm Super Boost rear hub will maximize the benefits of this newer size. Just like Boost hubs, the hub flange spacing has been widened on Super Boost hubs, which in-turn improves the spoke bracing angle on your wheel, and ultimately improves wheel stiffness and strength.
The folks at Knolly know that their customers ride bikes often and HARD. Every last detail of their bikes are engineered and built to last, so it should come as no surprise that Knolly offers a limited lifetime warranty on all of their bikes. Rest-assured, your investment is safe with a Knolly.
|Rear Shock:||Your Choice - Make a Selection|
|Rear Suspension Travel:||120mm or 135mm|
|Rear Shock Size:||185mm x 50mm185mm x 55mm|
|Rear Shock Hardware:||Trunnion Top / 8mm x 25mm Bottom|
|Rear Axle Width:||12x157mm Super Boost|
|BB Standard:||73mm BSA|
|ISCG Tabs:||ISCG '05 3-Bolt|
|Brake Mount Type:||Post-Mount 160mm|
|Max Rear Rotor Size:||203mm|
|Minimum Chainring Size:||28T|
|Maximum Chainring Size:||36T|
|Seat Post Diameter:||31.6mm|
|Seat Clamp Diameter:||35mm|
|Water Bottle Cage Mounts:||One|
cm / ft
|Rider Height (cm)||160 - 173||170 - 180||180 - 188||188 - 198|