Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

Guerrilla Gravity

SHRED THE SYSTEM

Words by Chili Dog
Photos by Chili Dog, Micheal Darter & Justin vanAlstyne

Guerrilla Gravity is a small brand with big goals. While most USA manufactured aluminum bike brands are happy in their niche market, the Colorado company decided to take a massive risk, setting their eyes on a seemingly impossible paradox in cycling: affordable American-made carbon bikes. To stick their finger in the industry’s eye even deeper, they created a modular bike platform where riders are able to buy one front triangle and mate it to anything from a short travel 29er rear end or a long travel 27.5 rear end. When we got the email from GG owner, Will Montague and marketing guro Big Bobby Brown we didn’t believe it either. The metal heads from Guerrilla Gravity invited us to Burnet, Texas to ride the new chassis at a brand new bike park. Luring us in with the promise of good brisket and new bikes, GG didn’t have to work very hard at getting us to pack our bags.

While it may seem impossibly odd to have a bike launch in the pancake flat state of Texas, it’s actually a rather fitting location considering the implausibility of affordable U.S. carbon bikes. Why not launch the seemingly impossible in a place that is seemingly unfit for mountain biking?

After a quick stop at Salt Lick BBQ for some of the best brisket of my life, we continued on the hour and a half drive to Burnet, setting our sights for the final destination of Spider Mountain Bike Park. Just an hour and a half from Austin, it’s a lift accessed bike park that offered the perfect home base and testing grounds for the new bikes.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

Affordable U.S. Carbon

GG’s goal to produce a carbon bike in house goes back three years. While most companies turn to Asia for carbon manufacturing, they wanted to prove the viability of U.S. based manufacturing and materials sourcing. It wasn’t a simple task, causing them to arrive on an entirely new material and production process after a long and exhaustive search.

Borrowed from the aerospace and the high end automotive race world, the carbon material chosen had never been used in a hollow tube shape before. Materials engineer and mad scientist Ben Bosworth joined GG to make the idea a reality, and together they arrived on a new carbon material, dubbed Revved. Short for revolutionized, the material offers a completely fresh take on both carbon resin and long fiber technology. Not to mention a new carbon manufacturing process. Traditionally a carbon frame takes between 24-40 hours to hand lay and produce. When you’re building in Asia, that’s an acceptable number, but when you’re a small company in the U.S. looking to make an affordable bike, those numbers just won’t cut it.

Guerrilla Gravity’s solution was to reinvent the production process with completely proprietary technology and machinery. They machined and created their own tooling and production equipment in house. While the team was tight lipped on their proprietary automated layup machine, they did show off their “Frame Maker 3,000,” which super heats and cools the frames in record time.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

Unlike traditional carbon resin, Revved isn’t limited by its chemical reaction time. Instead GG is able to simply heat it up as fast as possible to the target temp, and cool it down as fast as possible. Because the resin they use is incredibly heat resilient, the process takes a fraction of the time, and gives GG the ability to powder coat their frames for a more durable finish. Traditional carbon has to be painted as it can’t withstand the heat of the powder coat baking process.

Remember that 24-40 hour time frame most manufacturers need to make a frame? A Guerrilla Gravity frame takes only eight hours from start to finish. The materials are also safe for handling, and the frames are easily recyclable. In fact, Guerrilla Gravity will re-use the extra trimmings and leftovers from the manufacturing process in their new frame production. The best part? Bike prices have only gone up $200 from last year and have remained almost unchanged from two years ago.

The rear ends of the bikes will remain aluminum, since GG decided the weight savings was negligible and would only add to consumer costs. Simply put, there’s less to be gained in a carbon rear end. The rear triangles are updated for 2019 however, and are pushed 3mm to the drive side for additional tire clearance and to center the wheel between the hub flanges.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

The Frames

For 2019, the Smash, Megatrail, Trail Pistol, and Shred Dogg all share the same front triangle. Aside from making production easier, Guerrilla gravity had a larger goal in mind. While other manufactures have used shared front triangles before, they’ve usually kept it hush hush and discouraged enthusiast tinkering for genre-mutating Frankenbikes.

The Guerrilla Gravity team decided to flip that notion on its head, envisioning a bike platform ecosystem where riders can buy one front triangle, and have everything from a 120mm travel 29er Trail Pistol to a 165mm long travel 27.5 Megatrail. It’s an intriguing idea, especially in a time when most bikes are separated more by 10mm travel increments and spec than front triangle geo changes. The goal is that riders can have a short travel 29er during the week, and swap to a long travel bike for a weekend in the park. Swaps take about 45 minutes, and are simple for a decently savvy mechanic. Since Guerrilla Gravity created the bikes with rear end swaps in mind, the process uses minimal tools and is incredibly simple.

Guerrilla Gravity also chose to forgo the traditional sizing increments. Instead, bikes are available in sizes 1-4. While that may seem odd, it encourages people to buy a bike based on fit, and not on what size they rode from another brand. With today’s long top tubes and steep seat tube angles, it makes sense to reevaluate sizing nomenclature.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

To add further tunability, Guerrilla Gravity developed a GeoAdjust headset. The frames are equipped with a flip cup headset bearing cup that can be flipped forwards or backwards to achieve 10mm of reach adjustment. The lower cup is offered in 0 and 15mm heights for further stack height tuning. 0 is intended for 29” wheels, while the 15mm is intended for 27.5, but bike nerdery and experimentation is encouraged by GG.

Between the stack height and reach adjustments, the four basic sizes are able to fit a huge range of riders. Though I’m 6’3” and prefer a slightly undersized bike, I fit just as happily on a size 3 frame in the long position as a 5’10” rider in the short position who liked a slightly longer bike. All frames fit up to a 170mm dropper post, which is a no cost upgrade at the time of purchase.

The frames also have a clever, user-friendly internal cable routing method. Instead of fishing your cables through the frame, Guerrilla Gravity developed a removable door on the down tube that lets you tuck everything neatly out of sight, yet keep it easily accessible for maintenance. They also make a removable bracket to mount water bottles tools or even bananas to. There’s an additional two bolt holes under top tube that are water bottle spacing, where you can mount any accessory that uses bottle spacing. To keep things simple, GG went with a threaded BB and ISCG05 tabs for those that want a bashguard.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

The New Ride

The Smash, Megatrail, Trail Pistol and Shred Dogg don’t just get mated up to the new Revved carbon front triangle, they also see slight changes in geometry to make them a bit more tuned for each riding niche. With the tweaked rear ends and Revved front traingle a size large frame weighs in around 6.5 pounds. While each bike underwent it’s own small changes, as a whole, the line went a degree slacker on the head tube angle, a degree steeper on the seat tube angle and got slight tweaks to the Freedom Link suspension to make for a more supple off the top feel. For the sake of brevity, we’ve summarized each of the four new bikes below with the important numbers and changes from last year. Of course you can head to the Guerrilla Gravity site for more information on each model.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

SMASH

Wheelsize: 29”
Head Tube Angle: 64.4 degrees
Seat Tube Angle: 76.8 degrees
BB Height: 13.6”
Chainstay: 17.1”
Rear Travel: 145mm
Front Travel: 160mm (can run 150-170)

Retains Plush and Crush modes

For 2019, travel increased, chainstays are lengthened, the head tube angle slackened by .5 degrees, and seat tube angle was steepened by .8 degrees.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

MEGATRAIL

Wheelsize: 27.5”
Head Tube Angle: 65-64.5 degrees
Seat Tube Angle: 77.2 degrees
BB Height: 13.5-13.2
Chainstay: 17”
Rear Travel: 155-165mm
Front Travel: 170mm (can run 170-180)

For 2019, HTA was slackened 1.2 degrees, and chainstays were lengthened.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

TRAIL PISTOL

Wheelsize: 29”
Head Tube Angle: 65.9 degrees
Seat Tube Angle: 78.2 degrees
BB Height: 13.4”
Chainstay: 16.8”
Rear Travel: 120mm
Front Travel: 130mm (can run 120-140mm)

Retains Plush and Crush modes

For 2019, the HTA was slackened .7 degrees, STA was steepened .2 degrees, the chainstays were shortened, and geo no longer changes with Plush mode adjustment.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

SHRED DOGG

Wheelsize: 27.5”/27.5 Plus
Head Tube Angle: 65.8degrees
Seat Tube Angle: 78.2 degrees
BB Height: 13.3″
Chainstay: 16.7”
Rear Travel: 130-140mm
Front Travel: 150mm (can run 140-160)

Retains trail mode and gravity mode
For 2019, HTA was slackened 1.2 degrees, STA was steepened .5 degrees, chainstays were shortened, and geo no longer changes with gravity mode adjustment.

Purchase Process

A consumer direct company, GG has retained their bike shop assembly commission policy. They also retain their custom build process that we love so much. On a budget? They let riders get top of the line suspension with a budget drivetrain or bars. Instead of being locked into set builds, you can customize each of their suggested builds to suit you.

Their site now has a new bike building section that lets you input your height and body information, and spits out a suggested size, stem length and GeoAdjust headset position. As you make changes to spec or position, the geo chart below the configurator live updates new information. We wish every company would do something this awesome.

For riders looking to make use of the interchangeable rear seat stay kits, GG made the process streamlined and easy to customize using the bike builder widget. Seat stay kits to swap between models sell for $445 and include a rear shock. If riders want to get additional components like wheels, forks or even cassettes and rotors to make a wheel swap faster, they can be added to any bike purchase directly from the builder. If you’re a rider looking to tinker and build something unique, there’s nothing better. Of course, you can also keep it simple and just purchase one of their preset builds.

Guerrilla Gravity | Revved Carbon

The Ride

While the camp had a lot of details to absorb, we were primarily focused on one thing: how the new bikes would ride. Well that and the exceptional BBQ.

For those familiar with Guerrilla Gravity bikes, the new models will feel instantly familiar, but have subtle tweaks that improve on an already good design. For the first part of our trip, we rode a Trail Pistol with 120mm of rear travel and 130mm front. Then, the GG team swapped our bikes over to the long travel 29er Smash. We got a special treat with our 29er Smash, running the 145mm rear end with a coil shock and 170mm front fork. It’s worth noting that the bikes we rode were pre-production, so small bits, finish and graphic changes will be present on the final production models.

We rode a mix of bike park and local trail networks for testing. While you may not think of Texas as rocky or steep, Spider Mountain and the secret local trails we went to proved otherwise. Climbs and descents were short but packed a serious punch. It was a great spot to quickly and repeatedly test the bike in its various skins.

Trail Pistol

The latest crop of short travel 29ers are truly incredible machines. Just a few short years ago, a 120mm 29er would be reserved for XC riders. Now, we have brands like Guerrilla Gravity cranking out bikes that can climb with efficiency and skip through heinous rock gardens.

Riders looking for a capable, efficient, yet fun mannered 29er will be the perfect fit for the Trail Pistol. Initially I though this bike would be most at home on the blue flow trail on Spider Mountain, but once I got my lines dialed on the black run I was picking my way through the trail at speeds that had me questioning my half shell helmet.

The rear suspension is progressive, with a firm pedal platform and hard ramp to get you through those times when you push the bike beyond its pay grade. That’s a good thing, because the Trail Pistol is constantly egging you on for more. I’d liken it to a Mazda Miata– small package that rewards you for riding on the edge.

The Smash

On the second part of the trip, the team switched us over to the Smash. Much like what they envision a consumer doing on a Friday night before heading to the bike park, the GG team took our trail pistol and put on the 145mm travel seat stay kit, a coil Fox Factory DHX2 rear shock, and a 170mm Fox Factory 36. We watched (and filmed) as they did the swap.

Thanks to the use of easy to access hardware and similar sized bolt heads, the swap was far easier than any other rear triangle we’ve taken off. In 20 minutes, our short travel 29er had been transformed into a bike park worthy beast. Because we chose to over-fork our Smash, we gave up some low speed maneuverability in favor of all out bump eating capability. Yet despite being a large bike on paper, it pedaled and rode with a surprisingly light feel. Make no mistake though, this thing is a hard charger, and our times down the black trail we used as a bench mark improved by seconds.

One area we noticed a marked improvement on both bikes was in suspension compliance. Previous GG bike’s we’ve ridden erred on the side of being too progressive, but their tweaks to the suspension design with the 2019 models have addressed those complaints, creating a more supple initial stroke.

The Wolf’s Last Word

Having come fresh from the Canyon Strive launch, it was interesting to hear the same “quiver killer” term being used by Guerrilla Gravity with such a different view of what that meant as a final product. With so many brands aiming to create do it all bikes through adjustable geo and impressive capability, Guerrilla Gravity’s approach is entirely unique. But will users really buy into the swapping of rear ends at home to mix and match bikes, or swap from a short travel to long travel 29er in an hour before heading to the bike park? Time will tell, but for the core bike enthusiasts that enjoy tinkering a bike to their specific needs, I have a hard time thinking of a better option.

As a brand, GG encourages personalization, customization and an involved approach to bicycle ownership. These are all things we love! Of course, for those that just want a ready to ride bike and don’t have time to work on their bikes, Guerrilla Gravity’s prebuilt options are solid performers as stand alone bikes. Their move to American-made carbon frame is also a huge step in the right direction for the industry as a whole, and we applaud them for doing it right. The frames ride as good as they look, and have an unmatched attention detail with a focus on easy maintenance and a rider centric design ethos.

Much like Texas itself, Guerilla Gravity surprised us in a major way and we are really excited to see how the public receives this new philosophy. Stay tuned for an in depth review a few months down the road as we do some more swapping and riding on our home trails.

Availability

Size 1: April 19
Size 2: March 19
Size 3: Immediately
Size 4: May 19

For sizes other than 3, there is a pre-order system in place, with a $295 pre-order deposit that is fully refundable.

For more information and to play with the bike builder tool, visit ridegg.com

LEAVE A COMMENT, WIN FREE SWAG!

Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack